Home » The Morning Dish » Currently Reading:

The Morning Dish – Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015 The Morning Dish No Comments

It was quite a week for North Carolina. The Tar Heels really appear to be locked in right now, and after two big wins, why not? First, the Tar Heels took out Maryland in impressive fashion on Tuesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, taking control early on and holding them off later. Then on Sunday, they handed Davidson their first loss of the season with a 98-65 thumping of the Wildcats.

So much of it has to do with someone who has only played in the past two games, one whose prior level of play has been easy to forget. North Carolina is undoubtedly ecstatic to have Marcus Paige back.

Two years ago, Paige was terrific in carrying the Tar Heels for a lot of the season. In recent years, the Tar Heels haven’t quite had the same caliber of talent that they had earlier in Roy Williams’ tenure, at times where no one could beat him to get an elite recruit. Two years ago, they had eligibility issues with a couple of players, including star P.J. Hairston, and the Tar Heels were the toughest team in America to figure out with their play. Paige, then a sophomore, emerged as an elite player, then was hampered by injuries last season and missed the first six games of this season with a broken bone in his right (non-shooting) hand. Included was a trip back to his home state, where Northern Iowa handed the Tar Heels their only loss of the season thus far.

It’s been easy to forget just how good Paige, who is also a very bright and thoughtful young man, was two years ago as a result. Since returning, however, he has reminded those who are paying attention. He had 20 points and five assists against the Terrapins, then on Sunday he had 13 points and four assists as one of five Tar Heels in double figures.

With Paige back, the game should come easier for guards like Nate Britt, who scored 17 points on Sunday, and Joel Berry II. Together, they will make life easier for the frontcourt of sophomore Justin Jackson, who’s always had a world of upside and is starting to emerge, and the inside tandem of Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks, two players with very different bodies but combine for great results.

North Carolina shot nearly 51 percent from the field on Sunday and held a very good offensive team to 34.3 percent. They out-rebounded the Wildcats 52-31. Mind you, this is a veteran Davidson team, one well-coached by one of the best in the business in Bob McKillop.

The non-conference challenges aren’t over yet for the Tar Heels. They still have to go to Texas on Saturday and host UCLA a week later. But this is a team with experience, talent and now a leader back on the floor. They look very much locked in right now.

Side Dishes

The best matchup of the day lived up to its billing in Waco, as Baylor and Vanderbilt staged a great duel. Behind 30 points from Taurean Prince and a decisive 17-0 run to take the lead for good in the second half, Baylor edged Vanderbilt 69-67.

VCU got a career game from Melvin Johnson, but it wasn’t enough as Florida State built an 11-point halftime lead and then held on to beat the Rams 76-71 in Tallahassee. Johnson had 36 points on 14-24 shooting, including 8-14 from long range.

Chris Mullin may endure a long first season as head coach at St. John’s given the Red Storm’s depleted roster. But he is 1-0 as head coach at Madison Square Garden after the Red Storm beat St. Francis Brooklyn 63-56 on Sunday in part of the MSG Holiday Festival. In the other game, Hofstra beat Appalachian State 86-80.

A team to watch on the negative has been San Diego State, who fell to 5-4 after losing to cross-town rival San Diego 53-48 at Petco Park. Simply put, Steve Fisher’s team isn’t having a good go of it thus far and has now lost to UALR at home and this one. Another part of the story of this game is the many management issues that were documented in this story at CBSSports.com.

Purdue has started the season on a roll, and the last three games, they have done so without leader Rapheal Davis. The reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year has been out due to a sprained MCL suffered in practice on November 25, but ESPN reported on Sunday that he is on the verge of returning this week. Davis is also averaging 11.6 points per game, but his value goes well beyond numbers. The Boilermakers play on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday this week.

Tonight’s Menu

It’s a light slate as we move closer to where many teams will be off for final exams.

  • The highlight is in the Pearl Harbor Classic, where Oklahoma meets Villanova in the best game of the day, with Oregon taking on Navy in the nightcap.
  • Western Illinois travels to Iowa seeking another win over a Big Ten team, having already knocked off Wisconsin back on opening night.
  • The 138th Battle of the Boulevard is on tap as Belmont heads down the road to take on Lipscomb.

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 – May 30, 2018

May 30, 2018 by

The NBA Draft and its deadline to withdraw to return to school leads the way in our latest podcast. We also look at one conference’s new scheduling plans, a number of quick hitters, and pay tribute to a fallen conference leader.

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.

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.