Big Ten Notebook

by - Published February 21, 2007 in Conference Notes



Big Ten Conference Notebook

by Nils Hoeger-Lerdal

The Stage is Set

Ohio State circled the date back on January 9. On February 25, the Buckeyes would have their chance to avenge that January loss to Wisconsin. Not only can OSU avenge the loss, but a win Saturday (assuming they take care of business against Penn State Wednesday) would place them atop the conference standings. The Buckeyes needed to be flawless since the loss in Madison, and they have been, winning eleven straight. At times, the wins have looked almost effortless. Including Sunday’s 85-67 trouncing of Minnesota, where the 18-point final didn’t accurately measure OSU’s dominance. The Buckeyes seem to lull their opponent into a relaxed daze before pouncing with a barrage of threes and fast-break connections. And Greg Oden, when he wants to be and when his teammates allow him to be, is unstoppable. He can make untouchable hook shots from either baseline with either hand, posts up with no resistance and can back a defender out of bounds if he’s really upset. This looks like a more seasoned Ohio State team, one that Wisconsin may find to be much more difficult to defend.

Wisconsin, however, is not the defensive sieve that the Gophers were. Bo Ryan preaches discipline and requires accountability. If you miss an assignment, you’re benched. Wisconsin also has the ability to win in many different fashions, which the Buckeyes are still trying to learn. Ryan’s crew can win with defensive ferocity or offensive explosion. They can win in a shot-clock-less shootout or a patience-testing struggle. They can win on Alando Tucker’s shoulders or via the contributions from their various role players. Their versatility and adaptability are their strengths. And if you think the Badgers are going to be frazzled on the road, you are underestimating the character of Tucker and fellow senior Kammron Taylor. Wisconsin, like Ohio State, dominated Minnesota this week, and made Penn State look like a JV squad. The hugeness of the rematch, however, requires Wisconsin to win at Michigan State this week.

I Promise Not to Use the B-Word

What ‘B,’ you ask? I’ll give you a hint: several Big Ten teams are perched firmly atop it, this globular, filmy, ever-changing cliché. Indiana is trying to avoid falling onto it, but didn’t help themselves this week, losing to both Purdue and Michigan, and boosting both opposing resumes while denting theirs. Luckily for the Hoosiers, three of their final four games are against Minnesota, Penn State and Northwestern. Indiana still feels like a lock.

Any additional bids for the conference will almost certainly be late decisions and require strong finishing pushes or deep conference tournament runs. Illinois and Iowa both sit at 7-6 in conference, but Iowa will probably need to win out to make up for their awful non-conference performance. And the Hawkeyes impressed nobody Saturday, when they were run out of the gym by Michigan State. Not a good taste to leave in the selection committee’s collective mouth. They’ll have a chance to concoct a tastier blend with upcoming matchups against middle-of-the-pack Purdue and Illinois.

Illinois, on the other hand, appear to have a stronger case for a tourney invite. Unlike Iowa, the Crush did not falter in their non-conference slate and have been playing better of late. Since their 1-3 conference start, Illinois has gone 6-3, with wins over Michigan State and Indiana. The end of their schedule also offers opportunities to impress, with games against Michigan and Iowa.

Such is the case for all the Big Ten’s muddy-middle teams. Each will have a chance to beat the teams they are competing against for tournament spots. Whichever teams come through the cleanest will likely be rewarded. At 6-6, Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State are vying to be the recipients of said rewards. Michigan State, coming off impressive wins over Michigan and Iowa, has the best resume of the three, but also will face the hardest tests down the stretch. They still have to tangle with Wisconsin twice (at home Tuesday), host Indiana, and travel to Michigan. A 2-2 finish and 8-8 conference record might be enough, considering the Spartans’ non-conference wins over Texas, Bradley and BYU, but three wins would certainly do it.

Purdue is still looking good as well, especially since the explosion of guard David Teague, who scored 32 points in Thursday’s win over Indiana. In their last six games, the Boilermakers have beaten Illinois (by 17), Michigan State (by 24) and Indiana (by 13) and played Ohio State tough on the road. Those are impressive results against conference foes battling for seeding. Purdue’s closing schedule is also the most favorable, with two games against Northwestern and a home game versus Minnesota remaining. A win Wednesday at Iowa would put Purdue in an enviable position.

Michigan, on the other hand, has some work to do. They did pick up their signature win Saturday by beating Indiana 58-55, but have not fared well against the other mid-pack teams. They are 3-6 against teams that are .500 or better in conference, and face three such teams to close the year. They’ll travel to Illinois this week, and welcome Michigan State and Ohio State to Ann Arbor to finish the season. Again, their fate is in their own hands, but those hands are shaky and unreliable.

     

ACC Notebook

by - Published February 20, 2007 in Conference Notes



Atlantic Coast Conference Notebook

by Michael Protos

As we enter the final two weeks of the regular season, several ACC teams feel comfortable that their NCAA Tournament invitations are in the mail. Others, however, are desperately trying to deliver polished performances that will catch the eye of NCAA Tournament selection committee members.

Let’s break down the RPI numbers, as calculated by Ken Pomeroy, for each ACC team to get a feel for their tournament hopes and potential seed. In addition, we’ll take a look at the finalists for the conference’s major awards entering the home stretch. All of these awards are still in play. Brandan Wright, however, is closing in on the Rookie of the Year Award. One of the other freshmen would need to deliver several sensational performances down the stretch to displace Wright.

ACC Player of the Year candidates:
1. Boston College senior forward Jared Dudley: 19.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists per game; 59.4 percent field goal and 48.5 three-point shooting
2. Virginia junior guard Sean Singletary: 18.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists per game; 41.0 percent three-point and 89.5 percent free throw shooting
3. North Carolina sophomore forward Tyler Hansbrough: 18.5 points, 7.7 rebounds per game
4. Virginia senior guard J.R. Reynolds: 18.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists per game; 36.8 percent three-point and 83.0 percent free throw shooting
5. Florida State senior forward Al Thornton: 19.1 points, 7.0 rebounds per game; 51.9 percent field goal and 42.4 percent three-point shooting

ACC Rookie of the Year candidates:
1. North Carolina forward Brandan Wright: 14.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocks per game
2. Georgia Tech guard Javaris Crittenton: 14.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.2 steals per game; 40.2 percent three-point shooting
3. Georgia Tech forward Thaddeus Young: 13.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists per game; 39.7 percent three-point shooting
4. North Carolina guard Ty Lawson: 10.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists per game; 53.4 percent field goal and 38.3 percent three-point shooting
5. North Carolina guard Wayne Ellington: 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists per game; 38.3 percent three-point shooting

ACC Defensive Player of the Year candidates:
1. Virginia Tech senior guard Jamon Gordon: 2.5 steals, 4.5 rebounds per game
2. Duke sophomore forward Josh McRoberts: 2.5 blocks, 1.2 steals, 7.9 rebounds per game
3. Maryland senior forward Ekene Ibekwe: 2.6 blocks, 1.0 steals, 7.6 rebounds per game
4. Clemson junior forward James Mays: 2.1 steals, 1.0 blocks, 6.7 rebounds per game
5. Maryland senior guard D.J. Strawberry: 2.3 steals, 4.3 rebounds per game

ACC Coach of the Year candidates:
1. Seth Greenberg, Virginia Tech
2. Dave Leitao, Virginia
3. Al Skinner, Boston College
4. Roy Williams, North Carolina
5. Gary Williams, Maryland

North Carolina Tar Heels (23-4, 9-3)
RPI: 2
Strength of schedule: 7
Non-conference strength of schedule: 13
Record vs. top 50: 10-2
Road/neutral record: 9-3

Last week:
Lost vs. Virginia Tech 81-80 (OT)
Won at Boston College 77-72

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 21 vs. North Carolina State
Feb. 25 at Maryland
March 1 at Georgia Tech
March 4 vs. Duke

The Tar Heels’ kryptonite apparently resides in Blacksburg, proven this past week when Virginia Tech upset North Carolina in Chapel Hill to complete the season sweep and grab the inside track to the ACC’s regular-season championship. Despite the loss, North Carolina has the look and feel of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. By far the most successful and consistent team in the conference, North Carolina has the best profile in the ACC with 10 wins against top 50 opponents, including victories against Ohio State, Tennessee, Kentucky, Duke, Boston College and Virginia.

In the wake of its second loss to the Hokies, however, North Carolina needs to demonstrate that it can play hard-nosed basketball against veteran teams. Gonzaga used the same formula to beat up the Tar Heels earlier in the season in the NIT Season Tip-Off. North Carolina will likely need to run the table against North Carolina State, Maryland, Georgia Tech and Duke to claim the ACC’s title, which many had considered to be a foregone conclusion at the start of the season. If the Tar Heels win either the regular-season or tournament title, North Carolina will earn a No. 1 seed. If they strike out on both, the Tar Heels could become the tournament’s most dangerous No. 2 seed.

Virginia Cavaliers (18-7, 9-3)
RPI: 35
Strength of schedule: 34
Non-conference strength of schedule: 177
Record vs. top 50: 6-5
Road/neutral record: 3-6

Last week:
Won vs. Longwood 90-49
Won vs. Florida State 73-70

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 21 at Miami
Feb. 24 vs. Georgia Tech
March 1 vs. Virginia Tech
March 3 at Wake Forest

This time about a month ago, the Cavaliers were barely above. 500 and were a marginal bubble team. But after winning nine of their last 10 games, the Cavaliers look like a solid NCAA Tournament team. Virginia has a solid strength of schedule, but that number is a product of ACC play. The Cavaliers’ non-conference schedule strength is much weaker, mostly because Virginia won its big games in Charlottesville and bombed against Appalachian State and Utah in Puerto Rico. As a top regular-season ACC squad, however, the Cavaliers are likely a lock for the NCAA Tournament.

The Cavaliers have four winnable games down the stretch, with the tougher opponents coming to Charlottesville. If Virginia can end the regular season with a six-game winning streak, the Cavaliers will have won 15 of their last 16 games entering the ACC Tournament. Virginia is on pace to earn a No. 5 or 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, give or take a seed or two depending on the Cavaliers’ performance in the ACC Tournament.

Boston College Eagles (18-8, 9-4)
RPI: 26
Strength of schedule: 10
Non-conference strength of schedule: 51
Record vs. top 50: 6-5
Road/neutral record: 5-4

Last week:
Lost vs. Duke 78-70
Lost vs. North Carolina 77-72

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 21 at Virginia Tech
Feb. 24 vs. Clemson
March 4 at Georgia Tech

With a solid RPI and a spectacular strength of schedule, the Eagles are a lock for the NCAA Tournament unless they collapse in the final three regular-season games and flame out in an opening round ACC Tournament game. Boston College has six wins against the top 50, but the most impressive win is a home blowout vs. Virginia Tech. Although the computer numbers could lead fans to believe that Boston College is destined for a No. 4 or 5 seed in the tournament, this team likely has more work to do to rise higher than a No. 6 or 7 seed.

The good news is that Boston College has opportunities to pick up three more top 50 wins against Virginia Tech, Clemson and Georgia Tech. And two of those are road games. Somewhat surprisingly, the Eagles have lost as many games at home as they have on the road. After dropping two home games to Duke and North Carolina last week, Boston College must finish strong to avoid playing on the first day of the ACC Tournament.

Virginia Tech Hokies (18-8, 8-4)
RPI: 25
Strength of schedule: 20
Non-conference strength of schedule: 107
Record vs. top 50: 7-3
Road/neutral record: 7-7

Last week:
Won at North Carolina 81-80 (OT)
At North Carolina State

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 21 vs. Boston College
Feb. 24 vs. Miami
March 1 at Virginia
March 4 vs. Clemson

Virginia Tech is a tough team to figure out. The Hokies appeared poised to make a serious run for the ACC regular-season title after sweeping North Carolina in Chapel Hill. But then Virginia Tech laid an egg in Raleigh, allowing the Wolfpack to sweep the Hokies. At this stage, Virginia Tech is a lock for the NCAA Tournament, barring a meltdown at home, where the Hokies play three of their final four games. Virginia Tech has a strong RPI and good strength of schedule. More importantly, the Hokies have the second-best record against the top 50 in the ACC.

The selection committee would likely award Virginia Tech a No. 4 seed right now. The Hokies, however, need to finish strong against the likes of Miami and Clemson. Home losses to those teams would be detrimental to the Hokies’ seeding, which could vary from No. 3 to No. 7 depending on the results of the final four games and the ACC Tournament.

Duke Blue Devils (20-7, 7-6)
RPI: 10
Strength of schedule: 3
Non-conference strength of schedule: 11
Record vs. top 50: 7-7
Road/neutral record: 5-4

Last week:
Won at Boston College 78-70
Won vs. Georgia Tech 71-62

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 22 at Clemson
Feb. 25 at St. John’s
Feb. 28 vs. Maryland
March 4 at North Carolina

Last week, media pundits started writing Duke’s eulogy, mentioning the unspeakable possibility that the Blue Devils could miss the NCAA Tournament this season. Coach Mike Krzyzewski clearly had his team ready to play at Boston College and later vs. Georgia Tech. The Blue Devils manhandled the Eagles, holding ACC player of the year candidate Jared Dudley to 11 points. Duke followed that win by avenging an earlier loss to the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. Duke now sits closer to the top of the standings than the bottom and has six wins vs. the top 50. Duke has the second-best RPI in the conference and the best strength of schedule. In sum, the Blue Devils are a lock for the NCAA Tournament now that they have stopped the four-game losing streak.

The rest of Duke’s schedule is tough with three road games against solid teams and a home date against Maryland. After taking down Boston College and Georgia Tech, Duke is probably hovering in the No. 4 or 5 seed range for the NCAA Tournament. With such a strong schedule and quality wins against the likes of Air Force, Indiana and Georgetown, the Blue Devils have the potential to rise as high as a No. 2 or 3 seed if Duke finishes strong, which would likely require a win in Chapel Hill to end the regular season.

Maryland Terrapins (20-7, 6-6)
RPI: 19
Strength of schedule: 17
Non-conference strength of schedule: 63
Record vs. top 50: 6-6
Road/neutral record: 6-5

Last week:
Won at North Carolina State 85-70
At Clemson

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 21 vs. Florida State
Feb. 25 vs. North Carolina
Feb. 28 at Duke
March 3 vs. North Carolina State

Maryland is beginning to look like the defensive-minded team that steamrolled non-conference opponents by holding seven of its first eight opponents to less than 70 points. The Terrapins lapsed on the defensive end, however, to start 2007, allowing five opponents in nine games to score at least 70. But no one has eclipsed that mark against the Terrapins in the past four games, and not surprisingly, Maryland has won three of those, including critical matchups against Duke and Clemson. The recent run has helped Maryland propel its RPI to 19. Coupled with excellent strength of schedule numbers, Maryland has an outstanding NCAA Tournament profile. Maryland is a tournament-worthy team right now, and the Terrapins would likely earn a No. 7 or 8 seed, which would upset many who feel that Maryland remains a bubble team.

The Terrapins will have a couple of opportunities to prove they belong among the higher seeds with remaining games against North Carolina and Duke. Home games against Florida State and North Carolina State should help Maryland seal its bid to the NCAA Tournament, regardless of their performance in the ACC Tournament.

Clemson Tigers (19-7, 5-7)
RPI: 30
Strength of schedule: 44
Non-conference strength of schedule: 188
Record vs. top 50: 5-6
Road/neutral record: 7-4

Last week:
Lost at Wake Forest 67-65
Vs. Maryland

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 22 vs. Duke
Feb. 24 at Boston College
Feb. 28 vs. Miami
March 4 at Virginia Tech

After losing five of their past six, the Tigers have dropped onto the NCAA Tournament bubble — and probably on the wrong side of it. Clemson has won only two games since becoming the last NCAA Division I team to lose a game this season Jan. 13. Clemson’s No. 30 RPI is strong enough to keep the Tigers in the discussion until the end of the season, but the non-conference strength of schedule (No. 188) is worrisome. Clemson simply lacks a standout win to brag about. The best victory is a blowout home game against Boston College in the Eagles’ first game playing without Sean Williams and Akida McLain.

Fortunately for Clemson, the Tigers have three games against teams ranked No. 26 or better in the RPI. The Tigers probably need to win at least two of those games, even though Boston College and Virginia Tech are road games. If Clemson takes care of Duke at home and can steal a road win, the Tigers should finish at 8-8 in the conference and return to the right side of the bubble with a No. 11 or 12 seed in the tournament. Otherwise, Clemson can plan on the NIT.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (17-9, 5-7)
RPI: 47
Strength of schedule: 30
Non-conference strength of schedule: 145
Record vs. top 50: 6-7
Road/neutral record: 3-8

Last week:
Won at Florida State 63-57
Lost at Duke 71-62

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 21 vs. Wake Forest
Feb. 24 at Virginia
March 1 vs. North Carolina
March 4 vs. Boston College

Georgia Tech’s inconsistency will likely result in an NIT bid unless the Yellow Jackets can protect their home court against North Carolina and Boston College to end the regular season. Georgia Tech will struggle to finish better than 8-8 in conference play, and the RPI of 47 is nothing special. In addition, Georgia Tech has weaker strength of schedule numbers than the other ACC bubble teams do. The Yellow Jackets picked up only their first true road win of the season last week when they beat Florida State in Tallahassee. That’s not the description of an NCAA Tournament team.

Despite the pessimistic outlook, Georgia Tech is in control of its destiny with a tough schedule ahead. If the Yellow Jackets can continue the strong defense they played during their recently concluded four-game winning streak, they have an opportunity to take down Virginia, North Carolina and Boston College. Winning two of those three might be enough to keep the Yellow Jackets on the bubble entering the ACC Tournament. Right now, Georgia Tech must be happy with any seed in the NCAA Tournament, and the team’s maximum potential is probably a No. 7 or 8 spot.

Florida State Seminoles (17-10, 5-8)
RPI: 39
Strength of schedule: 13
Non-conference strength of schedule: 74
Record vs. top 50: 4-10
Road/neutral record: 4-7

Last week:
Lost vs. Georgia Tech 63-57
Lost at Virginia 73-70

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 21 at Maryland
Feb. 24 vs. North Carolina State
March 3 at Miami

Florida State is well on its way to the NIT with a four-game losing streak that includes losses to fellow bubble teams Clemson and Georgia Tech. Florida State has great numbers, notably a No. 39 RPI, No. 13 strength of schedule and No. 74 non-conference strength of schedule. And the quality wins include Florida and Duke. Although the Seminoles now have 10 losses, the worst loss is a tough home loss to Georgia Tech. All 10 losses have come against the top 50. Florida State has become the quintessential bubble team – only moderate success against a brutal schedule that includes a couple of marquis victories surrounded by nondescript non-conference filler.

Florida State’s fate might already be sealed because the remaining schedule offers little help. Beating North Carolina State and Miami won’t help Florida State’s résumé. The only potential for improvement is a road game at Maryland. If the Seminoles lose that one, they will need to run to the ACC Tournament title game to have any shot of an NCAA Tournament bid. Even if Florida State wins the conference title in Greensboro, N.C., the Seminoles won’t earn an NCAA Tournament bid higher than No. 9 or 10.

North Carolina State Wolfpack (14-11, 4-8)
RPI: 116
Strength of schedule: 65
Non-conference strength of schedule: 265
Record vs. top 50: 3-9
Road/neutral record: 2-5

Last week:
Lost vs. Maryland 85-70
Vs. Virginia Tech

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 21 at North Carolina
Feb. 24 at Florida State
Feb. 28 vs. Wake Forest
March 3 at Maryland

The Wolfpack are the first of three ACC teams relegated to spoiler status. North Carolina State deserves credit for earning an NIT bid, which is the Wolfpack’s likely post-season destination. With wins against North Carolina and two against Virginia Tech, North Carolina State has shown the ability to hang with the best teams in one of the country’s best conferences, despite playing with essentially a six-man rotation. North Carolina State’s numbers, however, are nowhere near NCAA Tournament quality: a No. 116 RPI and No. 265 non-conference strength of schedule.

North Carolina State has a tough slate to end the regular season with three road games. If the Wolfpack can get a win at Florida State or Maryland, North Carolina State would likely seal its position in the NIT. But if North Carolina State loses four straight to finish 4-12, the Wolfpack might need to upset someone in the opening round of the ACC Tournament to wrap up an NIT spot.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (13-13, 4-9)
RPI: 122
Strength of schedule: 57
Non-conference strength of schedule: 235
Record vs. top 50: 3-9
Road/neutral record: 2-8

Last week:
Won vs. Clemson 67-65
Won vs. Miami 74-69

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 21 at Georgia Tech
Feb. 28 at North Carolina State
March 3 vs. Virginia

Despite suffering a six-game losing streak to fall to the ACC’s basement, Wake Forest has shown signs of life in the past couple of weeks, with wings against Georgia Tech and Clemson. The Demon Deacons are playing tough at home, where they will end the season against Virginia. Wake Forest’s only NCAA Tournament hopes remain on an improbable ACC Tournament title. But the Demon Deacons could earn an NIT bid if they close the regular-season with two out of three wins and upset a couple of teams in the conference tournament, like they did last year. A 6-10 finish would probably get Wake Forest in the conference’s top 10, which should be good enough for an NIT bid.

Miami Hurricanes (10-16, 3-9)
RPI: 161
Strength of schedule: 80
Non-conference strength of schedule: 258
Record vs. top 50: 2-7
Road/neutral record: 3-10

Last week:
Lost at Wake Forest 74-69

Remaining schedule:
Feb. 21 vs. Virginia
Feb. 24 at Virginia Tech
Feb. 28 at Clemson
March 3 vs. Florida State

Losers of eight of their last nine, the Hurricanes will most likely finish in last this season. Miami’s No. 161 RPI is by far the weakest link in the ACC, and Miami struggled against an easy non-conference schedule. The Hurricanes won’t earn any bid to any tournament unless they pull off the biggest miracle in ACC Tournament history and win that title and the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Miami can end the season with some positive energy if the Hurricanes protect home court against Virginia and Florida State to finish with five ACC wins.

     

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Missouri Valley Notebook

by - Published February 20, 2007 in Conference Notes



Missouri Valley Conference Notebook

by Neal Heston

Brackets busted indeed
After a rough weekend on the court for the Missouri Valley Conference, the league may have decreased its potential number of tourney bids to two, with an outside chance for three. Southern Illinois continued its dominance after knocking down No. 12 Butler on the road, but Creighton, Missouri State, Wichita State and Northern Iowa were dealt a few blows. Here is a look at the major O’Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters outcomes this weekend.

Southern Illinois: Southern Illinois was the lone Valley team that had nothing to lose on Saturday, but the Salukis gained a lot with a big road win. The Salukis have been the best story of the Valley for seven weeks, but a 68-64 win at Butler proved that another MVC team has the resources to go deep into the NCAA Tournament. Heading back to conference play this week, Southern Illinois has an opportunity to regain the MVC crown with victories against Evansville and Indiana State. NCAA status: Lock.

Creighton: After Creighton stormed to a double-digit advantage, Drexel made a comeback late in the second half to beat the Bluejays 64-58. A victory probably would have punched Creighton’s ticket to the dance, but now the Bluejays will flirt on the bubble through the final week of the season. An important home date with Wichita State awaits on the regular-season finale Saturday. NCAA status: In.

Missouri State: The Bears face trouble heading into the final week. Friday’s loss to Winthrop was critical, as Missouri State was in need of a strong non-conference victory. And the last two games on the regular-season schedule, at Wichita State and home against surging Drake, won’t help the situation. A 2-0 week is a must; otherwise another talented Bears team will be excluded from the party for a fourth consecutive year. NCAA status: Bubble bursts.

Bradley: While Missouri State faces great adversity in its final week, Bradley has the right pieces to finish the puzzle. Everything seems to be fitting nicely now after defeating Colonial Athletic Association leader VCU 73-64. Now the Braves are poised to complete the regular season at home against cellar-dweller Indiana State and reeling Northern Iowa. Saturday’s win at VCU coupled with a 2-0 week would certainly give Bradley a good case to become the Valley’s third team in the NCAA Tournament. NCAA status: In, barely.

Wichita State: Defeating Appalachian State this weekend wouldn’t have propelled Wichita State back into NCAA Tournament conversations, but the 60-58 loss will keep the Shockers far away from the Big Dance unless a run through the conference tournament decides otherwise. With Missouri State and Creighton on the slate to complete the regular season, the Shockers have an opportunity to finish with a statement or continue spiraling toward the NIT. NCAA status: Out.

Northern Iowa: The second half against No. 10 Nevada closely resembled the second half of this season for Northern Iowa: miserable. The Panthers led the Wolf Pack at halftime, but Nevada stormed out of the gates in the second period and never looked back during a 79-64 win. A victory would have been a huge statement for Northern Iowa, but the Panthers enter the final week still searching for answers. A trip to Bradley Tuesday probably isn’t the first choice to find those answers either. NCAA status: Out.

Game to watch this week: Wichita State at Creighton, Saturday, 4:05 p.m.
Every time these two teams play, the contest seems to go down to the final basket. The last meeting in mid-January went in Wichita State’s favor, 62-59. Also add in that both Wichita State and Creighton really need this win. Wichita State needs strong victories to add to the resume, and Creighton needs a solid win to slip on dancing shoes.

     

Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt Now Regretting Rushing the Court After Beating Wichita State

by - Published February 20, 2007 in Newswire



Vanderbilt Now Regretting Rushing the Court After Beating Wichita State: Vanderbilt students rushed the court after defeating No. 1 Florida Saturday, something which could lead the SEC to fine the Commodores as much as $25,000. The fine is that high because it is the second time in three years that Vandy has rushed the court. They had previously done it after beating Wichita State in the second round of the NIT in 2005. The first time fine is $5,000. SEC commissioner Mike Silve will also review tape of Florida freshman Brandon Powell alledgedly throwing a punch in the post-game scrum, apparently in self-defense. [2/19/07]

Illinois: Don’t Worry Illini, Chief Illiniwek Is Only Going to Mascot Camp

by - Published February 20, 2007 in Newswire



Don’t Worry Illini, Chief Illiniwek Is Only Going to Mascot Camp: For 81 years, Chief Illiniwek has been a fixture at University of Illinois games. But after a university announcement, this Wednesday’s game between Illinois and Michigan will likely be the chief’s final appearance. During the closing seconds of Illinois’ win over Northwestern Wednesday, the Illini faithful pleaded, chanting “Save the Chief! Save the Chief! Save the Chief!” Dissent among the student body is apparently widespread, but not overly outraged. A vigil outside the university president’s house is being coordinated via Facebook. [2/19/07]

Ivy League Notebook

by - Published February 19, 2007 in Conference Notes



Ivy League Notebook

by Jay Pearlman

Yale Survives Must-Win Weekend without Hughes

The entire season lay before them, fifteen minutes to go. They were down 9 at home to Leon Pattman and Dartmouth. Sam Kaplan is long gone. Casey Hughes left in the first half with a foot injury. They’d dealt Penn (now 8-1) their only loss earlier at home, lost by one at Cornell (now 7-3), and stumbled badly at home to Brown. Four winnable home games (winnable with a healthy Hughes) remained before the rematch at Penn on March 2. And now this. If ever Coach James Jones’ team needed to show grit, it was this night.

And they did.

Sophomore forward Ross Morin had the offensive game of his life, scoring 15 points including 9-9 at the line. His seven rebounds were three more than anyone else on either team. Junior guard Eric Flato scored 21, including 4-7 in three’s, and had three assists. Caleb Holmes had 10 points and three rebounds, and Travis Pinick 12 and four. And in the last fifteen minutes of play, the team assumed Jones’ personality, guarded Pattman and Alex Barnett, and won their most important game of the year, 69-64 over Dartmouth. Then, after beating Harvard rather easily on Saturday night (86-71), Yale has reached 8-2 in the league, still breathing with two weeks to play.

Having called last night’s Yale-Harvard game on radio, this writer has nothing new to report on Hughes’ injury. If the league’s best athlete can’t come back, or comes back at half-speed, Yale will have trouble beating both Columbia and Cornell at home, and will have little chance March 2 at the Palestra. But not knowing yea or nay on Hughes’ return allows us do what we sports fans enjoy most, play the “what-if” game: what if Casey Hughes can play this coming weekend (or at least at Penn) at or near 100 percent? That makes for a most interesting scenario.

Yes, Penn has been cruising. Yes they have last year’s Player-of-the-Year in Ibrahim Jaaber, and this year’s likely Player-of-the-Year in Mark Zoller. Yes, they hardly ever lose a game in the Palestra, rarely in conference, and almost never against anyone but Princeton. But they’ve been lethargic in recent home wins against Harvard and Princeton, and no less an authority than the Governor of Pennsylvania (Penn basketball’s biggest fan) told this reporter that Glen Miller’s team doesn’t yet guard the way Fran Dunphy’s teams did. And of course, Yale beat them once already, so even though they have two losses, assuming both teams sweep next weekend, the winner of the March 2 game wins the league. Period. Of course, that’s playing the “what-if game.”

So even though conference tournaments will have started (this reporter would love to be in Richmond that day, but won’t be), and all eight Ivies are playing that night, circle March 2 in your calendars. Wherever you are that evening, keep an ear open for the Yale-Penn score from the Palestra. And if Casey Hughes is right, it’s just possible you’ll hear about one of the biggest road wins ever in that hallowed arena, and that James Jones’ Elis will represent this old league in this year’s NCAA tournament.

     

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Day Of BracketBusters

by - Published February 19, 2007 in Columns


CigarBoy’s BracketBusters Extravaganza

by Bill Kintner

DAYTON, Ohio – The day’s adventure starts at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse on a snowy afternoon in Indianapolis as Butler faced off against Southern Illinois, and it ends on a snowy night at the Ervin J. Nutter Center on the campus of Wright State University. Tonight’s game featured Cal State Fullerton and the Raiders.

Now some basketball fans around Tobacco Row, Mississippi or South Carolina or about anywhere else that BCS schools are located might actually know nothing about the BracketBusters matches. But hardcore hoops fans look forward to this day as a chance to get to see a lot of great action and unusual match-ups from schools that are not always in the limelight.

The Southern Illinois-Butler game drew a near-sellout of 10,827, which if you have been following the Horizon League, is the exact same number of fans as Wright State drew against Butler a week earlier.

It was loud and it seemed like a tournament atmosphere. Of course, a large number of Saluki fans that made the trip certainly helped make the atmosphere very special.

No. 16 Southern Illinois put in end to No. 13 Butler’s 22-game home court winning streak as they upset the Bulldogs 68-64. The Salukis were led by Jamaal Tatum’s 20 points and it was their ninth straight win.

These two schools share a similar history. Both have reached the Sweet 16 since 2000, they are both ranked in all the major polls and both have defenses that rank among the best in the NCAA.

In the first half it was pretty much the Salukis’ Traveling Road Show. Butler’s biggest lead in the first half was at the 17:45 mark on a lay up by Mike Green to make it 2-0 Butler. At the 7:25 mark in the first half Butler (24-4) had their last lead of the game on a 3-pointer by Brandon Crone at 18-17.

In the second half, Southern Illinois (23-5) went on a 6-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 45-35. But Butler was not finished as Pete Campbell went to work making three 3-pointers Then Willie Veasley hit one of two free throws to cut Southern Illinois’ lead to 50-48 with 6:30 remaining in the game.

The Salukis pushed the lead back up to 60-52 and Butler again got close. This time the Bulldogs got to within three points on Crone’s 3-pointer at 63-60 with 1:28 left. The Salukis then made five of six free throws to finally seal the victory.

Butler was led by Mike Green’s 18 points. A. J Graves only scored five points which was his lowest output of the season.

The game featured two evenly-matched teams and it was too bad there had to be a loser.

Raiders Remain On A Roll

The night cap was a little different. As the fans fought the snow to get to the Nutter Center it was probably halfway through the first half before all 9,641 fans found their seats.

There were over 10,500 tickets out for tonight’s game, but a few decided to not brave the cold and snow tonight. The brave who turned out seemed to be pretty hardcore because they were loud, creating a great college basketball environment. There were even a few UNC-Wilmington fans that traveled up for the game to see their former coach Brad Brownell coach his new team, the Wright State Raiders.

It took a second half surge but Wright State took care of business against the Titans to win their ninth straight game 77-62.

In the first half Fullerton lead most of the half behind 14 points from Scott Cutley. It wasn’t until Vaughn Duggins hit a 3-pointer with 54 seconds left in the first half that Wright State (21-8) was able to get their first lead at 33-31. But Fullerton (18-7) let the air out of the Raiders’ tires when Bobby Brown hit a 3-pointer right at the buzzer to give the Titans a one point lead at 34-33.

Fullerton’s Ray Reed hit a jumper to make it 40-38 and that was the last lead the Titans would have in the game.

Duggins hit another trey to start the Raiders on a 12-0 run that didn’t stop until Marcus Crenshaw hit a 3-pointer with 12:35 to play to make it 50-43 Wright State.

Wright State kept hammering away, led by DaShaun Wood’s 19 points, to get their lead up to 20 points when Wood hit a trey to make it 73-53.

It appeared that that the combination of the Raiders’ hot play, tough defense, a great crowd, Senior Night, the cold and snowy weather and the long trip out to Dayton, Ohio allowed the Raiders to pound out a victory.

For the Raiders, Duggins scored 15 points, Will Graham had 12 points and Scottie Wilson added 11.

Fullerton’s 20-point-a-game stud Bobby Brown 12 points on a 5-13 shooting performance and Cutley finished with 20 points.

It was a long day of basketball, but it fun. Now it’s back to conference play for all the teams.

BracketBusters notes

  • Poll Sitting: The Salukis are ranked 15th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and 16th in the AP poll. Butler is ranked 12th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and 13th in the AP poll.
  • This is Southern Illinois’ sixth straight 20-win season.
  • This is the first is the first time that a nationally ranked Butler team has hosted a nationally ranked team at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
  • Southern Illinois’ next game is Wednesday at Indiana State at 7 P.M.
  • Butler’s next game is on Monday at Wisconsin-Green Bay at 8 P.M.
  • Wright State’s next game is Thursday at Youngstown State at 7 P.M.
  • Fullerton’s next game is Thursday night when they host UC Santa Barbara at 10:05 P.M.
  • Since it was senior night at Wright State, Coach Brownell started all four seniors and played them all until the first timeout at the 15:05 mark. All three of the other BracketBusters teams mentioned in this column have home games remaining.

Brownell’s thoughts on his seniors

  • Renaldo Smith: “He always has a smile on his face and probably one of the funniest guys on our team. He is a very good defensive player and he has made some big shots for us this year.”
  • Tyrone Scott: “He is a tremendous worker with a good attitude especially for a guy with so many injuries. He is a great role model for our freshman and he has a great work ethic.”
  • Drew Burleson: “I think one of the better players in our league the last six weeks. It took him a little while to understand out system, but once he did he just took off and played with a great deal of confidence. He will be a big loss for us.”
  • DeShaun Wood: “One of the best guys to ever play at this school. He is a guy that can beat you in a lot of different ways. He is a great success story both on and off the court. He is really a great model for college athletics.”

     

BC A Little Short

by - Published February 19, 2007 in Columns



Eagles A Little Short of Tar Heels

by Phil Kasiecki

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Boston College was just a little short all night long against North Carolina. In many respects, that makes the game a little symbolic of the season to this point.

There were times that the Eagles led during their 77-72 loss to North Carolina on Saturday night, but for most of the evening they were right behind them. On several occasions in the second half, the Tar Heels looked poised to break the game open, but the Eagles would answer each time to stay right in it and even tie it at 61. In fact, the Tar Heels never led by double digits.

For Boston College to be right there with the deep and talented Tar Heels speaks volumes about this team. The Eagles go with eight players, two of whom played limited minutes, and they have three legitimate options at the offensive end. That means there’s very little margin for error, especially if one of their Big Three isn’t on, as was the case with Sean Marshall in the first half (just two points on 0-3 shooting). Marshall finished with 14 points, ten of which came within less than seven minutes in the second half.

“I’m not at all disappointed about my club,” said head coach Al Skinner. “I’d like to win like everybody else, but I can respect and appreciate a great effort, and I think we got that. You want to win, but I have to appreciate a what happened on the floor. There was no quit, we fought through it.”

Besides having the lead on a couple of occasions, the Eagles certainly had their chances in this game. Most will point to Jared Dudley missing three free throws with 1:27 left and the Eagles down 73-70, but like any game, this one wasn’t won or lost on a single play and that one alone shouldn’t be what people look back on.

With a little over four minutes left, Dudley made a great steal off an attempted outlet pass and threw it out to a streaking Tyrese Rice. But instead of driving to either get a layup or short jumper or pass the ball back if the defenders committed, he missed a pull-up three-pointer with just two defenders back in the neighborhood. That was a questionable decision that didn’t help the comeback effort, especially when the Tar Heels got the ball up the court and got a three-pointer from Reyshawn Terry, who scored all ten of his points in the second half. That put the Tar Heels up 73-66 and was arguably a bigger back-breaker than Dudley’s three free throw misses.

In the first half, the Tar Heels were able to build a lead in part from some telegraphed passes they intercepted and turned into baskets. They constantly substituted and were dominant on the boards, as they had more offensive rebounds (10) than the Eagles had total rebounds (7). Still, the Eagles were only down 44-38 as they shot 59 percent from the field.

Marshall’s play in spurts helped serve to highlight the margin for error Boston College has. Only Dudley (22 points), Rice (his fifth consecutive 20+ point effort with 20) and Marshall reached double figures in scoring. John Oates is at times unconscious and his shots will sometimes go and sometimes not, and Shamari Spears is not a major offensive option. Marquez Haynes and Tyrelle Blair bring defense more than anything else off the bench, and Tyler Roche isn’t ready to contribute a great deal offensively just yet.

“Obviously, we have limited resources, so we’ve got to make the most of them,” said Skinner.

North Carolina is now in a tie with Virginia for first place in the ACC with this win. The Eagles are a half game right behind both – a little short, as it were. The fact that they are right there, however, doesn’t say anything about where they will ultimately end up. Saturday night’s game could have turned in BC’s favor, indicative that they could just as easily make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament as they could get bounced in the first round. Skinner appreciates the effort his team gave, knowing that though they appear to be just a little short, this team is capable of getting over the hump.

Not to mention, being a little short of North Carolina is nothing to be ashamed of.

     

North Carolina A&T Arena

by - Published February 19, 2007 in Columns



A night in the MEAC

by Bill Kintner

GREENSBORO, N.C. – What’s a MEAC you may ask? It stands for the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference.

It is a conference of historically Black schools. They are only ranked 31st in the RPI, but don’t tell the fans tonight at North Carolina A&T University; to them the home team Aggies are the NBA Champion 1993 Chicago Bulls. And little Steven Rush, who tonight scored 28 points, is their Michael Jordan.

Well tonight’s tale takes place at the 5,700-seat Corbett Sports Center, a very unremarkable basketball venue built in 1978. But just because the building is unremarkable, doesn’t mean what happens in the building is that way. In fact, this building has been host to a ton of good basketball.

For starters the Corbett Sports Center was home to an impressive 37-game winning streak from January 18, 1986 until November 30, 1988.

Around that time the Aggies appeared in the NCAA Tournament seven straight times from 1981 through 1987. They even made a couple of return appearances in 1994 and 1995. Since then, winning seasons have been few and far between.

Coming into this game, A&T was only 8-12 and the Hampton Pirates were just 7-12. But someone forgot to tell the 4,105 fans who came to the Corbett Sports Center to see their beloved Aggies win.

The Aggies average over 4,000 fans a game, far more than any other school in their conference.

Those fans include the students standing at each end just 2-3 feet from the court. It is very intimidating to have fans that close. Twice during the game there was an announcement to stay off the court and out of play. But tonight the students are well-behaved.

Music is front and center at this venue. When the action stops the very good pep band swings into action. If it is not the band, then they crank up the rap music or sometimes some jazzy R and B music.

But rest assured it will not be quiet.

Now let me add I am not a fan of rap music, but gosh darn it works at the Corbett Sports Center. Maybe it is because of all the fans dancing in front of their seats. The stands start to shake and sway as the dance competition gets going. There is never a dull moment when the action stops on the court.

The PA announcer is a fellow named John Allen. He has a great voice, and the ability to say just the right thing, at the right time, using a minimum of words to do it.

At just the right time he will say, “Are there any Aggies in the House?” Of course, the fans get louder.

Allen must have been a fan of the old Gomer Pyle show because he did a great Sergeant Carter imitation when he said, “I can’t HEAR you!”

Then it gets even louder again.

At the beginning of the evening he reminded the fans that A&T’s Corbett Sports Center was chosen as the 14th-best atmosphere in college. He said it as a reminder to the fans to keep the noise level up.

Never mind that he was referring to a fan poll from ESPN.com where fans who never went to most of the venues presented in the poll to be voted on just voted for their favorite schools.

But that is not the point. The point is that A&T takes tremendous pride in their program and the atmosphere in the gym, plus that everyone there was having a great time.

As the crowd roared the Aggies came out and laid an egg. By the 9:22 mark in the first half, they trailed by 19 points at 27-8.

But the crowd screamed, danced and sang along with the music, and sure enough Lazarus came back from the dead as the Aggies closed the gap to as close as eight points with a minute left in the first half before allowing Hampton to push their led back up to double digits at 41-30 at halftime.

The halftime entertainment was the dance team. They danced to some rap songs and every eye in the place was on the girls, as they worked their way though their routine.

In the second half the Aggies chipped away at the Hampton lead and finally at the 11:09 mark they tied the game at 48-48 on a free throw by Jason Wills.

During the time outs the music plays on. During one second half time out, they cranked up the song “Atomic Dog” by George Clinton. All eyes went up to the upper section aisle, where a fraternity did a fancy dance in unison. A lot of the fans, especially the students, danced a little themselves.

By the 3:59 mark the Aggies pushed their lead up to five points at 62-57.

Another time out and the crowd is going nuts. They played a song called Go Sit Down by Maceo and of course everyone stood up and danced. There was a fraternity dancing in a mob on the upper aisle, and there was one shirtless guy on anther guy’s shoulders. As they were dancing, the guys were all smacking the guy on the shoulders until he fell off. Of course, they caught him and everyone in the gym had a smile on their face.

Back on the court, as the game continues fans are shouting, “defense, defense, defense.” But the game starts going south for A&T and they end up losing 70-64.

The fans go home after another loss, but they will be back again. After all, this is North Carolina A&T and their games are among the most unique, interesting and fun games in all of college basketball.

     

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Saturday Notebook

by - Published February 18, 2007 in Columns



Friars Hold Off Red Storm

by Phil Kasiecki

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – In a game featuring two teams that are on the verge of turning a corner, host Providence held on late by making enough plays and free throws for a 71-66 win over St. John’s.

Both teams were playing on short turnarounds with the game starting at noon after both played Thursday night. They were also coming from opposite directions, as the Friars lost at Notre Dame while the Red Storm beat Rutgers at home.

“Sometimes it’s the best thing mentally, but physically it’s not,” said Providence head coach Tim Welsh of the short time between games. “I saw a few guys whose tanks were under a quarter today, but they fought through it.”

The first half was a two-man show, as Providence sophomore Weyinmi Efejuku (15 of his 22 points on 7-10 shooting) and St. John’s sophomore Anthony Mason, Jr. (14 of his 19 points on 6-9 shooting) combined for 29 points. Both were quiet in the second half as big men Herbert Hill and Lamont Hamilton took over, with Hill scoring 12 of his 16 points for the Friars and Hamilton scoring 14 of his 20 for the Red Storm.

Providence broke the game open at the start of the second half, taking the lead with a 14-2 run that ended with nine unanswered points. The Red Storm would challenge on a couple of occasions, but the Friars generally kept the lead between six and ten points until the final minutes.

“We didn’t come out the way we needed to come out the first five minutes of the half,” said St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts.

Adding to that, Roberts was quick to yank Avery Patterson early in the second half, and he never returned. Patterson, an excellent shooter who has helped their offense this season, never returned after that. Roberts said he wasn’t happy with how he was defending, and Patterson understood it. He was visibly frustrated at the move, knowing he wasn’t working as hard as he needed to.

The Friars won the battle inside, as they have done much of the season. They had a 34-30 edge in points in the paint, but a healthy 39-24 margin on the glass as Hill had 11 rebounds, Geoff McDermott had 10 and Jonathan Kale had 8 to out-rebound the Red Storm all by themselves.

Providence improves to 6-6 in Big East play, while the Red Storm is now 6-8. The Friars still have some work to do if they are to reach the NCAA Tournament, while the Red Storm isn’t far away from getting to the Big East Tournament. That would be a step forward from last season for both teams, as neither team made the Big East Tournament. Both teams finished tied for 13th place with a 5-11 Big East record and also had identical 12-15 overall records.

Other Notable Games

Vanderbilt 83, Florida 70: The Commodores will be in the NCAA Tournament – mark it down. This snaps Florida’s 17-game winning streak.

UCLA 81, Arizona 66: This is a home loss the Wildcats didn’t need, considering they’re already in trouble as far as the NCAA Tournament is concerned.

North Carolina 77, Boston College 72: The Tar Heels had just enough to hold off the Eagles in a battle for first place in the ACC.

Virginia 73, Florida State 70: Another tough loss for the Seminoles, while the Cavaliers stay right in the race for the top of the ACC.

Pittsburgh 65, Washington 61: This would have been a much-needed quality non-conference win for the Huskies.

Stanford 88, Oregon 69: Don’t bury the Cardinal just yet. They might be a bit of a long shot for an at-large, but this win gives them more life.

Kansas 92, Nebraska 39: Just look at the score, and you know why this is a notable game.

Georgetown 58, Villanova 55: Nine straight wins for Georgetown, with this coming on the road.

Louisville 61, Marquette 59: Two big wins on the road this week for Louisville put the Cardinals alone in third place in the Big East.

Southern Illinois 68, Butler 64: The Salukis remain one of the nation’s hottest teams as they snap Butler’s 22-game home wining streak.

Memphis 78, Gonzaga 77 (OT): The Bulldogs gave a valiant effort in a game they had to have for any remaining at-large hopes.

Appalachian State 60, Wichita State 58: This big road win will get people talking about the Mountaineers, who deserve it. They are 21-6 overall and have won eight of nine.

Missouri 75, Oklahoma State 64: This was bound to happen sooner or later. Mike Anderson has done too good a job and has had the Tigers so close often this season, and this time they break through for a nice road win.

Alabama 72, Kentucky 61: Can anyone figure out the Crimson Tide? This is a good win, and we’re not knocking it, but they remain frustratingly inconsistent.

Arkansas 83, Mississippi 66: A good win for the Razorbacks over the surging Rebels.

South Carolina 81, Tennessee 64: It’s been a struggle for the Gamecocks, but this is a good home win.

Nevada 79, Northern Iowa 64: An impressive win for the Wolfpack, as they took over this game in the second half.

Drexel 64, Creighton 58: The Dragons needed this road win, another impressive one for them, to keep alive any at-large hopes they had.

Old Dominion 73, Toledo 70: The Monarchs remain hot as they win their ninth straight game.

Utah State 71, Oral Roberts 65: The Aggies take one of the more intriguing matchups of the day in BracketBusters, though this didn’t get a lot of pub.

Bradley 73, VCU 64: This pretty much kills any remote chance the Rams had of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament if they don’t win the CAA Tournament.

Rhode Island 86, Charlotte 69: The Rams improve to 10-3 in Atlantic 10 play and hang on to first place.

Akron 74, Austin Peay 57: This might have been the best BracketBusters win that won’t get talked about much.

Santa Clara 80, San Diego 72: The Broncos stay hot with their sixth straight win and go a game and a half up on Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference.

Penn 85, Cornell 73: With first place on the line, the Quakers take this one at home.

Yale 86, Harvard 71: The Bulldogs stay right on the heels of Penn in the race for the top of the Ivy League.

     

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2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

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New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

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Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

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