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Saturday Notes – January 16, 2016

by - Published January 17, 2016 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Saturdays are busy days at this time of the year, and this one was no different. In looking over the entire landscape, the ACC seems to stand out this time around as it had several important games. One team stayed hot, another got a big road win, and still another got a road win to boost their surprising start.

But that was only part of it. A number of road wins stood out on the day, and one mid-major has a six-way tie at the top one third of the way through their schedule.

With that, here are some thoughts coming out of many of the day’s games.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, January 16, 2016

by - Published January 16, 2016 in Columns

Friday night was a light night in college basketball in terms of the number of games, as is typical in the months of January through March. But this one had a lot packed into the evening, and the story that stood out is an unfortunate one.

At first glance, Monmouth visiting Iona would seem like a mid-major dandy. Monmouth is one of the standard bearers thus far this season, scoring wins over UCLA, Notre Dame, USC and Georgetown. Iona is down a bit this season, with injuries playing a role, but the Gaels are dangerous with their ability to score, and especially dangerous at home, where they entered the evening having won 26 straight. They were also 6-0 in MAAC play to start the night, a sign that their non-conference struggles were firmly in the past and they had developed from them, which is what you hope for if you’re a coach.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, January 11, 2016

by - Published January 11, 2016 in The Morning Dish

At UNLV, expectations are very high. They might not be “Final Four or bust,” but this is a program that has a national championship in its history and a lot of things going for it. The expectation is that the Runnin’ Rebels are a consistent postseason, if not NCAA Tournament, team. When that’s not met, the end can come, even for someone who is a cherished part of the program’s history.

Dave Rice, line one.

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Saturday Notes – January 9, 2016

by - Published January 10, 2016 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday gave us a number of games with results of note. We had close calls for a few top teams and a few teams get much-needed signature wins, while others are still seeking such a win. Conference races are taking shape early, and one major conference continues to show that fans should strap themselves in for a wild ride.

There is more than that, though. A mid-major that had a great non-conference run is already looking like at least as good a race as expected, though we’re only four games in.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, January 9, 2016

by - Published January 9, 2016 in The Morning Dish

We all love a late-season matchup of two top teams, meaning so much is on the line. It adds to the drama that’s already present and in theory adds to the game’s draw as far as fans are concerned. Oftentimes, schedules are done with this in mind, especially since by that point, there are probably many meaningless games on tap as far as the postseason is concerned since many have been eliminated depending on the conference.

That all makes sense. But how about early matchups of such teams? We already saw how that works this past week, with Oklahoma first beating Iowa State and then traveling to Kansas, where they lost but were part of an instant classic. Many people were glued to their television late Monday night checking out the latter, with some on Twitter openly routing for more overtime periods (even before the third one came).

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Remembering George Rodecker

by - Published January 8, 2016 in Columns

The holidays with all the running about and festivities are in the rear view mirror. In basketball circles, the conference play is upon us as non-league action is in the books. With the excitement of this part of the season comes a sadness and emptiness. George Rodecker, a good friend of ours and many, is no longer with us.

George passed away on Christmas Eve following an illness culminating with several weeks in the hospital. He was two days shy of his 65th birthday.

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Which teams have the most work to do in conference play?

by - Published January 7, 2016 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

January means conference play gets going, leaving non-conference play in the past. Nothing happens in a vacuum, however, and the ways teams played before conference opponents shapes them now. It also has a big role in their NCAA Tournament hopes, for some teams more than others.

Scheduling is certainly an art form and not a science, because one never knows just how good many teams will be. Still, many go into the season with some clear signature win opportunities, where a win would have shelf life all season. Others have very few and need to make the most of them, or might not have any. Quality wins not only help a team reach the NCAA Tournament, but more of them leaves room for error to cover up a bad loss or two.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, January 4, 2016

by - Published January 4, 2016 in The Morning Dish

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.

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Saturday Notes – January 2, 2016

by - Published January 3, 2016 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Conference play is in full swing now all across the country, and Saturday gave us a big taste. It was a slate with mostly conference games, and some dandies among them. It’s too early to make much of the first conference game for anyone, but it can go with or against the impression the non-conference showing of many teams left on us.

There’s a lot of basketball left to play, obviously, but we’ve gotten off to a good start. Here are some notes from many of the day’s games.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, January 2, 2016

by - Published January 2, 2016 in Columns

As conference play starts to get into full swing, the Pac-12 got a good jump on things on Friday night before most of the others pick up the pace. Four games were on tap, all after a big day for one of them in the Rose Bowl earlier in the day.

We start with the school whose football team won the Rose Bowl, and in convincing fashion. Stanford was never really challenged in that game, scoring on the first play from scrimmage to set the tone. On the hardwood against Utah at Maples Pavilion, it was a little different story. In fact, the Cardinal by rights should have lost this game, as it was mainly a poor finish by Utah that led to the Utes blowing a late four-point lead and sending the game into overtime.

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