Home » The Morning Dish » Currently Reading:

The Morning Dish – Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 3, 2014 The Morning Dish No Comments

Ah, it’s started already.

We’re still a couple weeks away from final exams for most schools, a time when especially it seems like highly favored schools need to pay a little extra attention in games that they should win easily. But we saw several teams have more trouble than expected in games Tuesday night that all expected to be blowouts.

Arizona needed 25 minutes to warm up against spunky Gardner-Webb, as the Runnin’ Bulldogs trailed by just one in the second half before the Wildcats pulled away to a 91-65 win. Texas wasn’t far from sending its fans into a full-blown panic in a 63-53 win over Texas-Arlington. Even Gonzaga was guilty, as the Bulldogs trailed SE Louisiana at halftime at home before making a big run to start the second half in an eventual 76-57 victory.

Is it any coincidence that Texas is facing top-ranked Kentucky on Friday, or that Arizona and Gonzaga are on a collision course to square off Saturday? Probably not.

Maybe these teams were looking ahead to upcoming biggies. Maybe it was too much Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Whatever it was, this is part of what makes the sport fun and unpredictable. Even the unthinkable can sometimes happen (see: Chaminade over Virginia in 1982, Wright State beating Michigan State in 1999), keeping teams on their toes even when one thinks they don’t need to be.

Tuesday nights’s action:

  • It wasn’t always pretty, but Michigan upended Syracuse 68-65. Spike Albrecht made a three-pointer with under a minute to play for the go-ahead bucket, and the Orange fumbled away a couple chances to take the lead before the Wolverines got two insurance free throws. Both teams will continue to improve, and this would be a terrific one to see again in March.
  • Miami (Fla.) took out Illinois 70-61 in a battle of unbeatens. The Hurricanes unveiled another scoring weapon as Deandre Burnett scored a season-high 19. He’s the fourth different player to lead Miami in scoring in a game this year.
  • Louisville ran out to a big halftime lead, then saw Ohio State climb back in before the Cardinals finally prevailed 64-55. Wayne Blackshear scored 22, while the Buckeyes may have shown more in this loss than they did in any of their first five wins against out-manned competition.
  • VCU is one of the few top-level teams out there with the guts to play at places like Illinois State, so the Rams deserve to be recognized for their 66-62 win over the Redbirds. It wasn’t a resounding win, and in fact it was very close to a loss (this was a one-point game with under a minute left). But it’s also the type of game that is very easy for a lot of teams to lose in December. A fired-up crowd was on hand in Normal and ISU shot 50%, but the Redbirds also committed 24 turnovers, which is directly the result of course of VCU’s pressure.
  • Stephen F. Austin got a signature-type win, going into Memphis and beating the Tigers 64-52. No, Memphis is not good right now, but this one still means a lot for the Lumberjacks, who have upgraded the schedule this year and played tough in a number of road games before finally pulling this one out. Really impressive is how much-shorter SFA was able to out-rebound the Tigers.
  • BYU and Utah State’s games together are always great theater, and this year’s was no exception. The Cougars scored 60 in the second half and won 91-81. With a score like that, you’d expect a scoring explosion, perhaps from Tyler Haws, and you’d be right-35 points.
  • Speaking of scoring, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State went up and down all night, with Tech hanging on for a 99-88 win. Three players scored at least 27 points in this one: the Bulldogs’ Alex Hamilton had 30, while Jalan West (28) and Zeek Woodley (27) lit it up for the Demons.
  • Purdue looks like a team on the upswing. The Boilermakers are now 6-1 after a 66-61 win over N.C. State. Have to like the frontcourt Matt Painter has put together-A.J. Hammons, Isaac Haas and Vince Edwards combined for 44 points and 21 boards in this one.
  • Wyoming is 7-0 after another dominant defensive effort in a 68-42 win over Denver. Really want to see the Cowboys in Mountain West play, because early on this team looks like it’s going places.
  • Alabama won again, beating South Florida 82-71 in a better game than most knew about. Why you should like Bama: the Crimson Tide leads the country in free throw shooting at better than 80%.
  • Indiana defeated Pittsburgh 81-69. IU is now 6-1 with another good-to-very-good win. It should be noted the Hoosiers still haven’t left home yet this year. Credit a young team for a better start than many probably expected, but let’s see some road games soon. Xavier showed this past weekend in the Wooden Legacy that impressive wins at home don’t automatically translate when away from the comforts of home.
  • Georgia hammered UT-Chattanooga 86-55. Notable is that this was at UTC, so the margin of victory is worth taking notice of as the Mocs are supposed to be one of the better teams in the Southern Conference. UGA shot 63.3%.
  • LSU controlled Massachusetts 82-60. Josh Gray scored 25 for the Tigers, while this is not a good showing by the Minutemen.
  • Finally, the buzzer beater of the night comes from Loyola (Md.), as the Greyhounds’ Eric Laster scored his only basket of the night as time expired to beat Columbia 64-62.

Side Dishes

  • It was a quiet news day, but Phil Kasiecki reports on struggling Boston University and the Massachusetts-Lowell team in the midst of a transition to Division I
  • UAB announced yesterday that it is dropping its football program, sadly pulling the plug after one of the program’s better seasons in Division I. Since Conference USA at this time requires its members to sponsor football, it means the Blazers may be forced to find a new conference soon.

Today’s Menu
Duke at Wisconsin
(9:30 p.m. EST, ESPN) If one is looking for a Game of the Year, this could be a worthy candidate. Talented youth vs. not-quite-as-athletic (but very talented in its very own way) experience.
Wichita State at Utah (11 p.m. EST, ESPN2) Caution is always advised when evaluating the importance of one game, but it’s not stretching the truth to say this game is huge for Utah. The Utes will be eager to prove their worth as a top 25-caliber team. The Shockers are already there, but a win here would validate their early top 10 ranking.
Virginia at Maryland (9:15 p.m. EST, ESPN2) Both are 7-0, though it’s not always been pretty offensively for the Cavaliers. Interested to find out if the Terps are for real, or if they may have just caught Iowa State on a bad shooting night. Dez Wells is out, but this is at home, so it’s a fair starting point.
Michigan State at Notre Dame (7:15 p.m. EST, ESPN2) MSU has looked good early, we’re not too concerned about the loss to Kansas in Orlando. Still don’t know much about the Irish, who have played a lot of cream puffs, but as some have said, this is starting to look like the Mike Brey ND teams we know, and a narrow miss against Providence says this should be close.
Iowa at North Carolina (7:30 p.m. EST, ESPN) Expect this one to go up and down. The Tar Heels responded well after getting bounced by Butler in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
UTEP at Colorado State 
It’s almost painful, all of these old WAC/Mountain West meetings, teasing and reminding us of just how many good conference rivalries we are now missing. These two had a bunch of them in the Boyd Grant/Don Haskins days, and this is an important resume game for both teams.
Villanova at La Salle
(8:30 p.m. EST, CBSSN) Just can’t resist putting a Big 5 game on this list. The Philadelphia city championship games are one of the true gems of college basketball.

Have a fantastic Wednesday.

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

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!

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.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about several big pieces of news away from game play, one of which puts a lot in perspective. We also talk about the lack of dominant teams and how this has shown up in the results, especially this past weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 4, 2018

January 4, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we start with a big game in the Big East, then move on to the sudden lack of undefeated teams, a big injury in the ACC, and a powerhouse that looks vulnerable in a stacked conference they have long ruled.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a bizarre finish to an early-season tournament game, the Pac-12’s early struggles, Florida teams going in different directions and two northeast teams trending less relevant even as they excite fans at a famous arena.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017 by

In our pre-Thanksgiving podcast, we look at a key injury that is likely to be devastating for his team and an under-the-radar 4-0 week, then move on to some early SEC impressions and a couple of teams that just continue to win.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 9, 2017

November 10, 2017 by

The season is almost here, and we take a look at some of what to expect this coming season. We have preseason polls, conference changes, a look at some conferences and some matchups to start the season.

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.