Home » The Morning Dish » Currently Reading:

The Morning Dish – Thursday, November 13, 2014

November 13, 2014 The Morning Dish No Comments

It’s quiet in college hoops land. That’ll change very soon as we are now on the eve of a new season.

On our soapbox for a moment
A new college basketball season is almost here, and on the occasion we are reminded yet again just how poorly this sport brings in a new season.

While there has been slight improvement in the past few years with at least a single starting date for the college hoops season, even avid fans likely still will be surprised when those scores start showing up on the ticker Friday night.

Even acknowledging that college basketball falls somewhere between a niche sport and a national obsession, there is no prominent sport in our country that comes in with more of a whimper.

Football has Labor Day weekend. Baseball has the start of April. The NBA has right around Halloween. College basketball has…mid-November? This year’s open is Nov. 14, which is connected to…what? Jack Sikma’s birthday?

(No disrespect, the big man with the curly hair and sweet jumper was a Division III All-American and an excellent pro with the Supersonics and Bucks. But still…)

With every one of these sports and so many others there is a defined open, and in many cases a natural transition to the sport from other sport seasons. Good luck finding the same for college basketball.

There is no identifiable starting point, and no season-opening “buzz event” for the sport. (ESPN’s 24-hour marathon, while a lot of fun, doesn’t count when it takes place several days into the season, and on a random Monday or Tuesday in mid-November.)

This wasn’t the case even that long ago, and it’s an easy fix now. The sport used to have an unmistakable opening weekend, as Thanksgiving weekend was the open of the college season for a number of years, which was as close to perfect as could be.

In the past, by the time Turkey Day passed, college football had pretty much finished up its regular season. The weekend also allowed the natural opportunity for holiday “classics” to open the basketball season, events to generate some interest. The Great Alaska Shootout and Maui Classic (now Invitational) were the two biggies for a long time and became holiday traditions where you could routinely find the best teams.

In the mid-1980’s, the preseason NIT was formed, giving the sport a singular showcase event to start the year. A standalone tournament with some juicy matchups to whet the appetite, satisfying the fanatics while also reminding the casual, NCAA Tournament-centric fan that “hey, we’re just around the corner.” Solid.

No reason why the preseason NIT can’t be the opening event again. You can feature top teams as well a number of conferences. The NIT can end the day after Thanksgiving when everyone else is starting up, on the holiday weekend. Boom-you have your lead-in event.

It makes plenty of sense. Surely it would be a much more intriguing open than we have now, more exciting than leading with…Presbyterian playing Duke? (This was the best game ESPN could come up with to open its TV schedule??)

Some will claim the season needs the extra week or two it has now before Thanksgiving due to longer schedules. Nonsense.

At worst, it may require a few more of those ol’ four-team tournaments that it seemed almost every team used to host. Some seemed to host as many as they could. (Indiana had the IU Classic and the Hoosier Classic in the same season; UAB once hosted the UAB Classic and UAB Invitational just one week apart)

Football will still stage its unnecessary “championship” games between the winners of a pair of six- or seven-team divisions in December, but the meat of the college football season is finished by Thanksgiving weekend. It makes for easy transition from college football to basketball.

There is not just potential for college basketball to do better with its opening-there is a proven blueprint. The solution is right there, and it isn’t that hard to access.

Side Dishes

  • Various outlets reported last night that SMU forward Markus Kennedy will be ineligible for the first semester. That’s a blow to the Mustangs, who face a tough non-conference schedule.
  • Oklahoma State‘s Michael Cobbins will miss the Pokes’ first three regular season games as a result of playing in a couple games several years ago before redshirting. The usual carping about this NCAA rule has followed, but again, and whether the punishment is too harsh or not, this is a rule the schools agreed on, so there’s really nothing to complain about.
  • Yesterday was a signing day for college basketball, one that once was a major event but now is pretty low key. But in one bit of notable recruiting news, South Carolina received a verbal commitment from Perry (P.J.) Dozier. The news was something of a surprise, but his father Perry and uncle Terry both played for the Gamecocks.
  • There still are a few exhibition games being played, and one of those shockers took place as Christian Brothers (Tenn.) defeated Memphis 74-70 in overtime last night. Take that one however you want, as just a mostly meaningless exhibition, or as a reason to label the Tigers a bust already this year. We’ll find out soon enough where Memphis stands; it faces Wichita State next week.

Tomorrow we’ll look at a couple of the biggest games on opening night, but in anticipation, here is a prelude of five more good ones on tomorrow’s schedule:

  • Houston at Murray State Nice home game for the Racers. This one has entertainment written all over it, think 96-91 or so.
  • Boise State vs. San Diego Game being played at Loyola Marymount’s Gersten Pavilion. Interesting opener for a Boise team some have as one of the final at-large teams in preseason bracket projections. San Diego also could challenge for a top 3-4 finish in the WCC with Johnny Dee. Two excellent backcourts.
  • Georgia-Georgia Tech Neither is expected to be especially good this year, but always good to start the season with a real rivalry game.
  • Cal State-Northridge at San Diego State The Aztecs aren’t expected to drop off much this year, even without the terrific Xavier Thames, but they should get a good challenge in the opener from the improving Matadors.
  • Morehead State at UNLV Upset possibility here, Morehead State is experienced and has some D-I transfers coming aboard while the Runnin’ Rebels will likely need time to jell.

Have a great Thursday.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

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

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we spend a lot of time looking at what the Commission on College Basketball came up with, as their report was just produced. We also look at the NBA Draft and transfers, which have many rosters potentially in flux for next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we break d own the national semifinals, where one game went back and forth while the other was never really a ballgame thanks to an impressive performance for the ages by the winning team.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.