Home » The Morning Dish » Currently Reading:

The Morning Dish – Sunday, March 13, 2016

March 13, 2016 The Morning Dish No Comments

There will be flashier teams in the NCAA Tournament this year than Middle Tennessee State. There will be teams with more stars, and there will be hotter picks for underdogs to pull upsets, too.

Few teams have taken as much of a complete team effort on the court to get an NCAA bid this year, though, than the Blue Raiders, who defeated Old Dominion 55-53 to win the Conference USA tournament and clinch their first trip to the Big Dance since 2012. Reggie Upshaw hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds left for the winning points as the 2 seed defeated the fourth-seeded Monarchs for MTSU’s first conference tournament championship since winning the 1989 Ohio Valley Conference tourney.

Twelve players have played for Middle Tennessee this season; 11 of them have played in at least 26 games (point guard Jacob Ivory started 11 of 16 games played but has missed half of the season due to concussion symptoms and is out the rest of the year). Ten of the 12 have started at least one game, and seven have led the team in scoring in at least one game. Coach Kermit Davis is among the better coaches in the country when it comes to using his bench, and is unafraid to put any player on his roster into the game at any given time.

The Blue Raiders have had a workmanlike but successful season, improving to 24-9 overall after winning Saturday. MTSU seldom blows out opponents-15 of its 24 wins are by single digits-but also is never blown out-just one loss by more than 11 points. Few of its wins have the glitz factor-the Blue Raiders won the Great Alaska Shootout and also beat Belmont and Auburn, but just missed out on a home chance against VCU. Quietly, though, MTSU has been very solid and built on its finish a year ago, when it advanced to the C-USA tourney final before losing to homestanding UAB.

Middle Tennessee likely will be a 13 or 14 seed in the NCAAs. The last time MTSU won a conference tournament title, it went into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 13 seed…and proceeded to handle fourth-seeded Florida State 97-83. This year’s team won’t be a hot pick to duplicate anything like that, but its season says it will be around in its game, and that any number of players will be responsible for it.

Side Dishes

  • Among the many other teams to clinch automatic bids on Saturday: Buffalo (MAC), Cal State Bakersfield (WAC), Fresno State (MWC), Hampton (MEAC), Hawaii (Big West), Kansas (Big 12), North Carolina (ACC), Oregon (Pac-12), Seton Hall (Big East), Southern (SWAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Stony Brook (America East) and Weber State (Big Sky).
  • Among the title games Saturday, some of the best were the MAC, where Buffalo got a three-pointer from Blake Davenport with two seconds left to beat Akron 64-61; the WAC, where Cal State-Bakersfield clinched its first-ever NCAA Division I tourney trip on Dedrick Basile’s three-pointer at the buzzer; and the America East, where Stony Brook broke through at last and beat Vermont 80-74 thanks to Jameel Warney’s incredible 43 points-on 18 of 22 shooting-and 10 rebounds. Hoopville’s Phil Kasiecki wrote about the Seawolves’ journey here.
  • Phil also commented on LSU, which lost to Texas A&M 71-38 in the SEC tourney semifinals and may well not even deserve an NIT bid, much less the NCAA spot ESPN wishes it could mandate.
  • Also, a reminder that Phil will be a guest on College Basketball Tonight, hosted by Ted Sarandis and which will air on WOR AM 710 in New York, with links posted on Hoopville after the game. It’s a terrific show with all kinds of quality commentary from veterans in the sport about the NCAA Tournament.
  • Also, this morning we put together our thoughts on which teams should compile the field of 68.

Today’s Menu:

  • We’re down to five conference championship games. The Atlantic 10 will include VCU and Saint Joseph’s squaring off; the Big Ten (Purdue/Michigan State) and SEC (Kentucky/Texas A&M) match top 20 teams; and the AAC (Connecticut/Memphis)and Sun Belt (Arkansas-Little Rock/Louisiana-Monroe) have underdogs looking to steal a bid from teams that may or may not be on the bubble if they lose.

Have a great Sunday.

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

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.