Home » The Morning Dish » Currently Reading:

The Morning Dish – Thursday, March 10, 2016

March 10, 2016 The Morning Dish No Comments

In an ultra-competitive league where four teams finished tied for fourth place, third through eighth were separated by three games and no less than six teams had winning streaks of at least five games in conference play, it’s the team that went 0-9 on the road in conference play and finished ninth overall that is the tournament champion.

Sounds like college basketball 2015-16 in a nutshell.

At no point this season was Holy Cross considered an NCAA Tournament threat. The Crusaders finished 10-19 in the regular season, 5-13 in the Patriot League and were a decisive ninth-place finisher, three games out of eighth place.

And yet, the Crusaders figured it out when it mattered. Somehow a team that came into the postseason on a five-game losing streak, whose longest winning streak all season was three and that won two road games all year-has won four straight road games in the Patriot tourney, culminating with a 59-56 wire-to-wire win at Lehigh to clinch an NCAA bid for the first time in nine years.

Holy Cross knocked off the 1, 2, 4 and 8 seeds in the tourney, teams that it was a combined 1-7 against in the conference loop and lost those seven games by an average of 17.7 points per game. As far as improbable NCAA qualifiers go of all-time, the Crusaders are instantly near the top of the list.

All that said, Bill Carmody’s team is not to be ignored. Holy Cross gave Patriot tourney opponents fits with a 1-3-1 zone defense anchored by some serious length and better athleticism than many might think. The Crusaders also executed Carmody’s Princeton offense to a T, with 11 of their 21 field goals coming from three-point range, led by Malachi Alexander scoring 26 points and hitting 6 of 7 from deep to outduel Patriot player of the year Tim Kempton (20 points). Every time Lehigh made a run, it seemed like another big man for Holy Cross would step out to drain a timely triple.

Given that any Patriot champion likely was going to struggle to get a seed better than a 16, there’s no reason to look at this as anything other than another tourney champion adding a little more color to March. The league chose to award its champion this way, and Holy Cross earned it in a tourney that awards higher seeds home court in every single game. The Crusaders took about as difficult of a path to the title as could’ve been cooked up and earned their spot in the Big Dance.

Side Dishes

  • Wednesday was otherwise dominated mostly by conference tournaments in their early rounds. Among the most notable results was No. 8 Pittsburgh tipping 9 seed Syracuse 72-71 in the second round of the ACC tourney. The Panthers stay alive for an NCAA bid-even while holding a very weak 2-6 mark vs. the RPI top 50-while the Orange, frankly, should very likely be out. Certainly, the team will not be “punished” for Jim Boeheim’s absence if it doesn’t make the tourney-in fact, if the committee somehow does give them a pass for performing poorer when he was out, then it will be essentially rewarding the school for NCAA sanctions.
  • TCU pulled a surprise in the Big 12 tourney, as the 10th-seeded Horned Frogs upended 7 seed Texas Tech 67-62. Love Tubby Smith’s turnaround at Tech and his team absolutely deserves an NCAA bid. In a way, though, the Red Raiders are the epitome of the middling major, and it’s hard to see any possibility of a deep run in the tourney.
  • A big surprise in the SWAC, where 7 seed Mississippi Valley State pulled off a 64-61 win over second-seeded Alcorn State. The Braves were ineligible for the NCAA Tournament anyway due to APR sanctions, but there are still few who would’ve expected a loss to the 8-26 Delta Devils.
  • Southern Illinois announced on Wednesday that it will not be playing in any postseason tournaments despite posting a 22-10 record while playing in the tough Missouri Valley. According to coach Barry Hinson in the school’s press release, reasons include “the health and welfare of our players, as well as the budgetary implications of hosting games on our campus during spring break.” Hinson also was very candid after SIU’s loss to Northern Iowa in the MVC tourney that the school would not play in the postseason if it cost significant money, indicating he was sensitive to possible upcoming budget and job cuts at the school. Indeed, the school announced on Wednesday 180 potential layoffs, as well as cuts to programs. The Salukis had an excellent season, posting a winning record for the first time since 2007-08 and the most wins since the 2006-07 team won 26 games and advanced to the NCAA tourney Sweet 16.
  • Coaching news: Rex Walters has been let go as coach at San Francisco after eight years and compiling a career 126-125 record. His teams at USF were always competitive but never made the NCAA Tournament, peaking in 2013-14 with a 21-win season and an NIT berth.  (Hoopville is keeping track of all the coaching changes here)

Today’s Menu:

  • The second wave of conference championship waves really kicks into high gear. Significant games take place in the ACC, Atlantic 10, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Big West, Conference USA, MAC, MEAC, Mountain West, Pac-12, SEC, Southland, SWAC and WAC. Breathe. If looking for a good, quality under-the-radar tourney, the Big West has fit the bill splendidly in recent years and should be again.

Have a good Thursday.

Twitter: @HoopvilleAdam
E-mail: hoopvilleadam@yahoo.com

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


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 – January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we touch on a number of issues affecting conferences like Conference USA, as well as a big loss for Creighton, less mystery in Arizona, and more on the ACC as we look forward to the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 12, 2017

January 12, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a short stint in the top spot of the polls, some developments in the Mountain West Conference, and more of the ACC before closing with the Big East and Atlantic 10.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 24, 2016

December 24, 2016 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the great games Kentucky has been a part of lately. We go on to other ACC matters involving arch rivals, as well as some quick hits and a conference race that should be as good as expected.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a coaching legend reaching a milestone, the defending champs looking very good and continuing their winning ways close to home, and some off-court news during a light week of game action.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 29, 2016

November 29, 2016 by

Early season tournaments are the focus in this episode, with a look at how strong a few Big East teams are out of the gate and how strong the ACC could be. Plus one SEC team had a big week outside the scope of tournaments.

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.