Home » The Morning Dish » Currently Reading:

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 7, 2017 The Morning Dish No Comments

If you’re looking for one night that epitomized just why conference tournaments-and league tournament title games in particular-are such fun, Monday was it.

Three tournament finals, all played in front of raucous crowds (even if one of them will forever be debated as to whether it should’ve been played there), all presumably pairing up two teams that needed to win to make the NCAA Tournament or else. It was ultimate desperation, ultimate drama, and reminded us why March tournament basketball is the best basketball there is, without comparison.

The Southern Conference and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference finals were everything one could’ve asked, too. Both games went down to the final seconds, and could’ve gone even longer. In the end, East Tennessee State outlasted UNC Greensboro 79-74 to win the SoCon title, while Iona held off Siena 87-86 in overtime to win the MAAC.

East Tennessee State has made a quick rise under coach Steve Forbes, who needed just two years to get the school back to the NCAA Tournament. The Buccaneers got through a tough Southern Conference and defeated a UNCG team they had just lost to a week earlier. ETSU has been a perfect fit returning to the SoCon, and the league was rewarded by its return and by a good year for the league with a crowd of more than 6,000 at the tourney final in Asheville.

Iona, meanwhile, did what top seed Monmouth could not, defeating Siena in the MAAC final in a road game. The Gaels and Saints went back and forth all night and were tied 16 different times, including eight times in the last three minutes of regulation and overtime. On a veteran team, it was freshman E.J. Crawford who had maybe the biggest basket, scoring inside with 28 seconds left in OT to put the Gaels ahead for good. This one will go in the instant classic category, among a long history of terrific finals in the Metro Atlantic.

Both ETSU and Iona have another thing in common, with head coaches who spent time as head coaches in the small college ranks. Forbes was an NCAA Division I assistant for 15 years before getting the job at East Tennessee State, but Forbes also has spent time as a head coach at the junior college level, most recently at Northwest Florida State, where he was a two-time NJCAA Division I national runner-up. Iona’s Tim Cluess also was a Juco coach for one year and then spent four years at NCAA D-II C.W. Post before being hired to coach the Gaels, where he has been a smashing success and will make his fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in six years.

Side Dishes:

  • The third tournament final game was in the CAA, where No. 1 seed UNC Wilmington was outstanding in a 78-69 win over No. 2 College of Charleston, shooting 52.8% to clinch its second straight NCAA berth. The Seahawks are very capable of causing more than one team trouble in the NCAAs if they shoot like that next week.
  • The night also was marked by four other conferences playing their semifinals. Most prominently, the West Coast Conference will get a third helping of Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s after the Bulldogs defeated Santa Clara 77-68 and the Gaels rocked BYU 81-50. The Zags are looking a bit vulnerable and just might be ripe for the picking this time.
  • The Horizon League tournament has been beyond bizarre. The championship game is set: it will be fourth-seeded Northern Kentucky against No. 10 Wisconsin-Milwaukee. UNK defeated 9 seed Youngstown State 84-74 in one semi, and then Milwaukee topped No. 6 Illinois-Chicago 74-68 in the second to move to 11-23 this year.
  • The America East final is set, and it should be fun. Top seed Vermont dominated New Hampshire 74-41 and will host the title game, but it faces a formidable opponent. Albany is back in the title game after a one-year absence, having knocked out defending champion and 2 seed Stony Brook 63-56. The Great Danes will go for their fourth A-East tourney crown in five years.
  • The Summit League is yet another tourney where the top seed is gone, after No. 1 South Dakota was stung by No. 4 South Dakota State 74-71. The Jackrabbits will face 3 seed Nebraska-Omaha, which romped past No. 7 IUPUI 90-62.
  • The MAC tourney opened with four first round games at home sites, and all four hosts won. As so often has been the case this year, the most notable game involved Central Michigan, the 11 seed which lost at No. 6 Kent State 116-106 in overtime despite 41 points from Marcus Keene.
  • The MEAC tourney tipped off with Maryland-Eastern Shore defeating North Carolina A&T 74-67 and Howard over Coppin State 79-73.

Today’s Menu:

  • In addition to the Horizon, Summit and WCC finals, the Northeast Conference also decides its champion, with No. 1 seed Mount St. Mary’s hosting upstart St. Francis (Pa.), the upstart No. 4 seed (7 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2). The Red Flash is looking for its first NCAA bid in 26 years. Also, these two in most tourneys would’ve faced off in a semifinal, but the NEC reseeds teams after the first round, which resulted in the Mountaineers taking on No. 7 Robert Morris and St. Francis facing 3 seed Wagner in the semis.
  • The day starts with the opening games of the ACC Tournament, which has become virtually a weeklong affair. Most notably, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech can’t afford losses, with the Demon Deacons taking on Boston College (2 p.m., ESPN2) and Tech against Pittsburgh (7 p.m., ESPNU).
  • The SWAC Tournament starts with in Houston with quarterfinal play. Top seed Texas Southern meets No. 8 Alabama State, while a good 3/6 game has Southern against Jackson State.
  • The Big Sky Tournament opens in Reno, Nev., with three games, including Tyler Hall and sixth-seeded Montana State against Southern Utah.
  • The MEAC continues with Bethune-Cookman against Delaware State and South Carolina State facing Florida A&M.

Have a great Tuesday.

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 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

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.

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.