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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November 9, 2016 The Morning Dish No Comments

Good Wednesday morning…

The regular season is near, just two days away. We continue Hoopville’s preseason rundown of all 32 NCAA Division I conferences, with a trip to the South:

Someday the SEC will shed the perception that it’s Kentucky and everyone else. There’s just way too much money in the league, and even besides UK there are too many programs with too much history (Alabama, LSU, Missouri to name a few) for the league to stay as down as it is. In the meantime, though, the Wildcats continue to be the team to beat, even as Texas A&M tied for the regular season title a year ago, and on paper this could be as low as a 2-3-bid league yet again. A&M and Florida are probably the top challengers, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if some teams from the group of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Vanderbilt surpass expectations and bring the league collectively up a notch or two.

Matt McCall had a smashing debut at Tennessee-Chattanooga, leading his team to 29 wins, victories at Dayton, Georgia and Illinois and Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles. The Mocs are the favorites again with an experienced team that also gets back forward Casey Jones and should be up to the challenge of a repeat, and maybe even doing some damage in the NCAA Tournament. East Tennessee State also is on the rise in a hurry under Steve Forbes and should be there to pounce if UTC slips at all. UNC Greensboro is a darkhorse worth watching with a sturdy front line led by R.J. White, and Furman, Mercer and Wofford all have proven in recent years that they are more than capable.

The Southland will have a different look this year, as Stephen F. Austin is expected to come back to the pack after the departure of coach Brad Underwood and star Thomas Walkup. Whether the Lumberjacks fall or not, though, they have set a new standard in the league, that league teams can set their sights on not just making the NCAA Tournament, but winning there. Sam Houston State is poised to grab the torch in the league with essentially six starters back at a program that already was a worthy challenger to SFA, winning 68 games over the last three years.

Texas Southern and Southern have been the teams to beat for years now in the SWAC, and both are the safe bets again this year. Even after losing much of its team from a year ago, TSU might be the favorite if it gets a big year from Derrick Griffin. As a freshman, Griffin was the SWAC player of the year last year, but he also was a star receiver on the Tigers’ football team as a freshman, garnering serious NFL interest before being dismissed from the football team this year in September. If he’s back and focused for Mike Davis’s team, he could dominate the SWAC like few individuals have. In addition to Southern, also watch for Jackson State, which won a game in the CIT last year and returns four starters.

Side Dishes

  • Unfortunately, injuries were a big part of the news on Tuesday. The biggest news came from Yale, where Makai Mason has been declared out for the season with a broken foot. A 6-foot-2 guard, Mason was an all-Ivy League selection last year as a sophomore and scored 31 points in the team’s NCAA tourney win over Baylor, and he was counted on to be the leader this year as the Bulldogs attempt to stay with Princeton and Harvard at the top of the league.
  • Syracuse 6-9 freshman Matthew Moyer also will miss the season due to “preseason time missed with an injury,” according to the school. Syracuse is still loaded in the frontcourt, so this may be a minor inconvenience for the team, perhaps even a bit of good fortune in being able to preserve him for the future, when he may be needed more.
  • Pittsburgh guard Crisshawn Clark also will miss the season due to a knee injury. Clark is a juco transfer who also sat out last year at Canada junior college in California with an injury to the same knee.
  • Miami (Fla.) guard Rashad Muhammad has been suspended for the first three games of the season for a violation of team rules. He’ll miss games against Western Carolina, North Florida and Pennsylvania. This is not the first time Muhammad has been suspended; he also was suspended for three games at San Jose State in the 2014-15 season.
  • In exhibition games: Syracuse defeated NCAA Division II LeMoyne (N.Y.) 97-64. LeMoyne is the city foe that stunned the Cuse in an exhibition game in 2009. Also: Arkansas-Little Rock defeated Arkansas-Monticello 81-53, Colorado State got a challenge before topping Regis (Colo.) 75-60, Appalachian State hammered Methodist (N.C.) 103-58 and Loyola Marymount handled fellow California school Sonoma State 80-50.

Tonight’s Menu

  • Exhibitions are just about done, but one game on the schedule is Cal State-Bakersfield hosting The Masters (Calif.) College of the NAIA.

Have a terrific Wednesday.

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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

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April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

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"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
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"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."
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