Home » The Morning Dish » Currently Reading:

The Morning Dish – Monday, January 4, 2016

January 4, 2016 The Morning Dish No Comments

With Sunday’s slate featuring plenty of Pac-12 games, we almost have to revisit it after taking a look a couple of days ago. And what we come away with is a conference that will be a lot of fun to watch all the way through.

The conference has some good strength, noted by five teams in the RPI top 30, eight in the top 50 and ten in the top 60. What it doesn’t have is a clear favorite, or a team whose play thus far puts them head and shoulders above everyone else. So while at first glance it may not appear that the conference has a national title contender, it has a lot of other things going for it right now.

After the first weekend of play, Oregon, who has the best RPI, is 0-1 in Pac-12 play after Oregon State beat them 70-57 in Corvallis. The Beavers are the upstart in the conference, a team whose best basketball is to come, though they also have Gary Payton II for senior leadership. Oregon is once again proof of how good a coach Dana Altman is, as they have a new look but just keep on winning.

In keeping with the rivalry theme, Arizona won at Arizona State 94-82. The Sun Devils could also be put in the “upstart” category given that they have a new head coach (who got ejected on Sunday), but this is actually a veteran team. They played well in non-conference, but now comes the true test.

Speaking of Arizona, the Wildcats probably have the most talent in the conference, and while they have just one loss – to a very good Providence team in the Wooden Legacy – they haven’t looked like a powerhouse team as they often do. Much of their best talent is young, so as the young players get better, so will the Wildcats. Just how good remains to be seen.

The team that could top the Wildcats in the talent department is California, who beat Utah 71-58 on Sunday to go to 2-0 early on. The Golden Bears have super freshmen Ivan Rabb (19 points and 10 rebounds on Sunday) and Jaylen Brown (nine points, seven rebounds), but also all-conference-caliber players in Tyrone Wallace and Jordan Mathews, as well as Jabari Bird, who came to Berkeley with some fanfare. California’s non-conference was good, but perhaps a victim of expectations as the feeling is they could have done more. Can they do much more defensively? Opponents are shooting under 37 percent from the field against them and they’re out-rebounding teams by 9.5 per game.

Utah, on the other hand, has started out 0-2, which doesn’t mean it’s time to dismiss them. Both losses were on the road, and thus far they seem to have found a way to have life after Delon Wright work out just fine. Just where they fall in the grand scheme of things after being in contention for the regular season title last year is tough to figure. This is a good team, but at first glance, not a regular season title contender like last season’s team was.

UCLA may be the enigma of the conference. The Bruins started with a loss to Monmouth, one that now doesn’t look as bad as first thought, then soundly beat Kentucky and later beat Gonzaga. They went to Washington to start Pac-12 play, and will return 0-2 after a tough overtime loss to Washington on Friday night and an 85-78 loss at Washington State on Sunday. With Isaac Hamilton (27 points on Sunday), Tony Parker, Bryce Alford (nearly a hero on Friday), Thomas Welsh and Jonah Bolden among others, UCLA doesn’t lack talent. But the Bruins thus far have looked really good or really disappointing, depending on the day.

The surprising team in the RPI is USC, who nearly went 2-0 in Washington but dropped an 87-85 decision in Seattle. It’s a game they should have won, as they led by 22, but the Huskies stormed back and won it with clutch play by Andrew Andrews. The Huskies are one of the two teams outside the top 60 in RPI, but this team has enough young talent to beat a top team later in the season. USC is in a crucial year for Andy Enfield and his staff, and progress is apparent; it’s anyone’s guess how that will translate in Pac-12 play, which is the bigger measuring stick.

Last, but not least, Colorado went to Stanford and held off the Cardinal 56-55 after nearly blowing this one. They were seemingly in control for a lot of the second half, then Stanford mounted a furious rally. Colorado looks to be bouncing back, and the return to health of big man Josh Scott (14 points and 14 rebounds on Sunday) has a lot to do with that. The Buffaloes are one more team to watch.

In all, the Pac-12 appears to have quite a race ahead. This is one time the preseason prognostications truly mean nothing, which we had an idea of beforehand. Reality has borne out that prediction, at least, up to this point.


Side Dishes

Wake Forest once again gave Louisville all they could handle, but as was the case last year the host Cardinals held off the Demon Deacons 65-57 in the ACC opener for both teams.

Ohio State improved to 2-0 in early Big Ten play by beating Illinois 75-73 behind 27 points from Marc Loving, including two late free throws that provided the margin. Illinois is 0-2, and 8-7 overall, and you wonder if this Illini team will again be very competitive but struggle to turn that into enough wins.

Oklahoma State‘s season may be about to get a little more challenging. ESPN.com reported that guard Phil Forte may be done for the season due to an elbow injury, though head coach Travis Ford told them it is not officially decided yet. Forte, the team’s leading scorer at the time of the injury, hasn’t been back on the court in the six weeks since the injury, and would apply for a medical redshirt if he is indeed done.


Tonight’s Menu

It’s a light slate in total, but there are a few featured matchups on tap that help make it a pretty good day.

  • The heavyweight battle is Oklahoma traveling to Lawrence to play Kansas in another early Big 12 showdown. Earlier, in other Big 12 action, TCU hosts West Virginia.
  • The ACC has Florida State hosting North Carolina, then arch-rivals meeting with Virginia traveling to Virginia Tech.
  • The “Best of the Rest” category for the night might be highlighted by a Canisius team that has won four straight traveling to Monmouth as part of a busy night of MAAC action.

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.