The Very Latest, Indeed:

The Morning Dish – Wednesday, April 1, 2015

by - Published April 1, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

We’re all biding our time until the Final Four games on Saturday, but all news is not just coaching changes and players coming and going (mostly going) as college basketball’s other tournaments are also wrapping up this week.

The 77th annual NIT semifinals were played at Madison Square Garden last night and saw Miami (Fla.) and Stanford emerge with hard-fought victories to move to the championship game on Thursday. Neither game was pretty, but it goes without saying that style points are meaningless at this time of year.
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NCAA Tournament second weekend notes: Duke, Kentucky Final Four regulars, but seldom together

by - Published March 31, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

With a group of regional semifinalists that was dominated by historically powerful programs, the second weekend of the 2015 NCAA Tournament was bound to leave us with a touted quartet of teams for the Final Four.

It has done just that, providing us with a mix of the recent and the historic, including two programs that have joined each other at this time of the season more than a time or two before. Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Wisconsin is not the most history-rich group of four that we’ve ever had in a Final Four-1991, 1993 and 2008 were more so, to list a few-but it is indeed a group with plenty of roots in this sport.

Kentucky and Duke. It should be no surprise at least one of them are here, though it surprisingly is a surprise that both are.
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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, March 31, 2015

by - Published March 31, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

The thinking seems to be that the main motivation for St. John’s to be ready to hire Chris Mullin is that the school wants to follow the Fred Hoiberg Model of hiring an alumnus who was a former NBA front office before making a splash as a college coach.

That may be true for St. John’s, but it also oversimplifies all of what the school will get when it hires Mullin, an announcement that is expected to happen Wednesday.

In hiring Mullin, St. John’s will be bringing back one of its greatest players, a three-time All-American and, perhaps even more impressive, three-time Big East Player of the Year, in an era when guys such as Patrick Ewing and Pearl Washington were in the league. It also will be bringing in a local product in New York City, which even in what is considered a state of decline is still a fertile recruiting area.
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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 30, 2015

by - Published March 30, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Two more teams advanced to the Final Four on Sunday. Their stories are a contrast, even as similar as the programs may be in recent times.

Most expected that Duke would be a Final Four team this season. Take a team that was good last year, though flawed, subtract good but not irreplaceable players, and add the likes of Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow, and that was a natural expectation. Many years, that’s what they expect in Durham. When the Blue Devils ran out to a big start, the idea that they would be a Final Four team only grew, as did the talk that Okafor could be National Player of the Year.

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The Morning Dish – Sunday, March 29, 2015

by - Published March 29, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The 2015 NCAA Tournament now has its signature game. Just like last year, that game involves Kentucky.

Last year, Kentucky’s second round game against Wichita State was the best of the tourney and maybe one of the best in years, an up-and-down, back-and-forth, 78-76 UK win. Last night, in a tourney that started out strong but has almost bordered on dull the last couple rounds, Kentucky’s Midwest regional final against Notre Dame was a welcome return to the NCAA Tournament that we’ve been spoiled to expect. The Wildcats pulled it out, but not without more than a few nervous moments, as Notre Dame gave a heroic effort before missing a shot at the buzzer in falling 68-66.
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The Morning Dish – Saturday, March 28, 2015

by - Published March 28, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

It’s been a long time coming for Gonzaga. The question now is if they have one more in them to go even further.

Since the late 1990s, Gonzaga has been the clear best team in the West Coast Conference and then some. They made a big splash by running to the Elite Eight in 1999, but weren’t just a flash in the pan. They became more than just the alma mater of John Stockton, as they started beating good teams in non-conference every year as well. They would be a lock to reach the NCAA Tournament, helping the WCC become a two-bid league in many recent years as other programs had to get better to compete with them.

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Kentucky 78, West Virginia 39: Tempo Free Post-Mortem

by - Published March 28, 2015 in Columns
kentucky

At the 16:33 mark, it was 7-2. It only got worse. Kentucky thoroughly dismantled West Virginia 78-39 in the Sweet 16.

Thursday’s night in Cleveland saw the Wildcats post an efficiency of 122. That was double the Mountaineer efficiency of 61. The win brought Kentucky’s record to 37-0, while West Virginia ends the year 25-10.

The pace of the contest was 64 possessions, a moderate tempo as full-court pressing was not an issue the final twenty minutes as Kentucky was enjoying a huge double-digit lead.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 27, 2015

by - Published March 27, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

A West Region final rematch is what many have been looking forward to this year, even if they didn’t know it. And a West Region final rematch is what they are getting, and it’s one that will be a historical rarity.

It’s an isolated occurrence for teams to meet in the NCAA Tournament two years in a row at all, and it is flat-out scarce that they square off in the same regional in the same round two years straight. It hasn’t happened since UCLA and San Francisco played in the 1973 and 1974 West regional finals, when the tourney was just 25 teams and placing teams in their home region was a priority and also easy to accommodate with so few teams. It took 41 years, but it will finally happen again on Saturday in the West Region (again) as Wisconsin and Arizona will meet again with a trip to the Final Four on the line after the Badgers defeated North Carolina 79-72 and the Wildcats held off Xavier 68-60 on Thursday.
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The Morning Dish – Thursday, March 26, 2015

by - Published March 26, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The norm in March is that our spectacular finishes traditionally come in the NCAA Tournament. Maybe even conference tournaments. March Madness knows no boundaries, though, and while the National Invitation Tournament isn’t normally thought of as the home for of the amazing, on Wednesday it furnished what should go down as one of the signature moments of the 2015 tournament season.

Old Dominion’s Trey Freeman banked in a running 30-footer at the buzzer for a 72-69 win over Murray State in the quarterfinals that sends the Monarchs to Madison Square Garden next week. The shot capped a wild final 3 1/2 minutes, in which the Racers had rallied from a 10-point deficit and just tied the game on a three-pointer by Jeffery Moss.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, March 25, 2015

by - Published March 25, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

College basketball’s free agency period is starting, as we receive news of transfers daily. Sometimes the news isn’t even of transferring, but just players considering transferring who could still return.

Ugh. It’s one of the most unsavory parts of college basketball right now. A real part of the sport, but one that would just as soon hide under a pillow while is going on.

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Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

March 15, 2015 by

temple

Temple is firmly on the bubble after losing in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to SMU. It’s the first time in head coach Fran Dunphy’s storied career that his team has been in this situation.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen to COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT, a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, joined by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis, former Fairfield head coach Terry O'Connor and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.