Home » The Morning Dish » Currently Reading:

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April 7, 2015 The Morning Dish No Comments

One of the greatest beauties of sports is that it really doesn’t matter how intricate or how detailed the analysis, evaluations and breakdowns are coming into a game. When the games are played, so much of that analysis goes out the window, and the outcome comes down to players making plays, which human beings seize the moment the most.

Coming into Monday night’s national championship game between Duke and Wisconsin, every dissection one could’ve wanted was available over the previous 46 hours. In fact, one didn’t even need to watch the analysis, for they could’ve broken down everything they could ever want from the multiple replays across several ESPN networks of this season’s earlier game between the two in December. (A prudent idea once or twice, but the repeated repeats… perhaps there is no greater example that we have too many cable channels than this one.)

With a previous meeting between those two teams as well as nearly a 40-game season sample to work with, in no analysis for Monday was Duke reserve guard Grayson Allen identified as a swing player in this game. Yet that’s exactly what happened, as Allen scored 16 points off the bench to help rescue the Blue Devils from a nine-point second half deficit. Along with incredible freshman guard Tyus Jones (23 points), it was a pair of first-year backcourt men who led Duke to a 68-63 win and a national championship.

Allen was absolutely fearless, almost by himself pulling the Blue Devils up when they looked ready to be buried. Three-pointers, three-point plays, nearly impossible finishes at the rim, steals, free throws-none was too big for the freshman from Florida who came in averaging less than nine minutes per game and didn’t even play in four games this year.

When Duke trailed 48-39 with over 13 minutes to play, it was Allen who hit a three-pointer. Then he came up with a steal. Then it was a three-point play, as he somehow scored over Sam Dekker. Then after a Nigel Hayes three-pointer it was two more free throws. Allen served as the bridge, keeping the Blue Devils in the game until Jones and eventually fellow star freshman Jahlil Okafor (at last) could take over at the end.

The title is the fifth for Duke under coach Mike Krzyzewski, and showed us again why Coach K is on the short list of the greatest coaches in the sport. This year’s Duke team was talented but also flawed. Depth in particular was a problem, and when star Okafor spent a good portion of Monday night in foul trouble, the Blue Devils were one-dimensional offensively. The Blue Devils came back and won this game with virtually no frontcourt to speak of in the second half until the final minutes.

With Okafor and Justise Winslow in foul trouble/unproductive, with senior Quinn Cook having a quiet game, with so little reliable depth all season and with Duke going against an experienced opponent that does not surrender leads, realistically there was little reason to expect a comeback when the Badgers had all the momentum nearing the middle of the second half. Instead, Krzyzewski’s team dug deep and found a way to make it all work despite all of its seeming flaws. Allen and Jones stepped up, the Blue Devils dug in on defense-perhaps too much so for Bo Ryan’s liking-and it helps to have nine McDonald’s All-Americans, but this was still an ultimate test of championship character, and once again Duke passed it.

For Wisconsin, this one will hurt for a long time, but this is a team that should not be forgotten any time soon. Ending Kentucky’s unbeaten run should ensure that, but the Badgers’ influence hopefully will go far further than that. Their style in getting this far also warmed a lot of hearts. Relaxed off the court, skilled and grounded in fundamentals on it, it’s a team all should appreciate even more as the years go on. With so many veterans, fans and followers of the sport got to know this Wisconsin team and players very well, and reminded us once again why the sport needs so many more teams like them.

Side Dishes:

  • Monday saw several players declare for the NBA Draft. UCLA freshman forward Kevon Looney is turning pro after one year where he averaged 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Looney is expected to be a first-round pick in the draft. Also in the Pac-12, Arizona junior forward Brandon Ashley announced he will depart for the pros after averaging 12.2 ppg and 5.2 rpg this year. Murray State sophomore Cameron Payne also is turning pro after two years. Payne’s pro stock has been rising of late, but the 6-2 guard will need to beef up considerably in the pros.
  • Originally thought to be done at St. John’s, Chris Obekpa now is planning to return for his senior year after meeting with new coach Chris Mullin. Obekpa is one of the best defensive centers in the country and will provide a cornerstone for Mullin to build around in his first year.
  • Finally, longtime coach Dave Bliss is returning to the sport at the NAIA level, where he will take over at Southwestern Christian University in Oklahoma. Bliss coached at Oklahoma, New Mexico, SMU and Baylor and had a successful career but is best known for presiding over a scandal at Baylor in which he made improper payments to players and then was involved in a cover-up after former player Patrick Dennehy was murdered.

Tonight’s Menu:

  • The 2014-15 men’s college basketball season has reached its conclusion, but the women’s college hoops season has one more game as Connecticut and Notre Dame meet again in the national title game Tuesday night. The two teams are meeting in the final for the second straight year, and the Huskies are going for their third consecutive championship.

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

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!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 22, 2017

February 22, 2017 by

We touch on Player of the Year candidates, the wild ACC featuring a still-slumping Virginia team and a really hard-luck Clemson team, an SEC program where the bottom is falling out, the final weekend in the CAA and much more.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 17, 2017

February 17, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we start with coaching news in the ACC, then go to a few recent games. A surging Big East team and an amazing rally in the Big 12 lead the discussion after that.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 8, 2017

February 8, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look at a marathon game from Tuesday night, which came just days after a wild Saturday. Then we have more on the SEC and Big 12, before one of Saturday’s big games leads us into talk about smaller conferences and television coverage.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 3, 2017

February 3, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look at the week two national title contenders had, as well as a surprise at the top of the Big Ten and a legendary coach returning. Along the way, we also look at a couple of bigger picture items.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 26, 2017

January 26, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look at a wild week in college basketball that was highlighted by Tuesday night. We also talk about who will likely be the top team in the polls and look ahead to the weekend, which features one last flurry of non-conference games.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

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.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.