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2015 USBWA awards: one man’s vote

by - Published March 12, 2015 in Columns
author_kasiecki

About a week ago, I shared how I voted for the CAA’s postseason awards. While that was quite an exercise this season, casting my USBWA ballot was a little different challenge and not just because of the scope. There’s also timing – right as conference tournaments pick up. On the national level, we vote for ten All-Americans, five freshman All-Americans, the Oscar Robertson Trophy (a national Player of the Year), the Wayman Tisdale Award (the nation’s top freshman), and the Henry Iba Award (national Coach of the Year). More locally, we also vote for ten All-District players, a district Player of the Year and a district Coach of the Year.

With that settled, in all the votes involved for this were probably not quite as challenging as the CAA postseason honors. That is in large part a testament to how competitive the CAA was this year and that included for the postseason honors.

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So many positives, so little consolation for William & Mary

by - Published March 10, 2015 in Columns
williamandmary

BALTIMORE – You have to feel for those in the William & Mary program. Losing once in a championship game, especially in heart-breaking fashion, is hard enough. Losing twice in a row is that much harder.

Much of the country watched on Sunday as the Tribe won an instant classic in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament in double overtime. They were going to get another chance – their fourth try in eight years – to break through and get to the NCAA Tournament. That’s a string of chances few probably thought they would ever get once upon a time, before Tony Shaver took over.

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The long road to Northeastern’s first CAA championship

by - Published March 10, 2015 in Columns
northeastern

BALTIMORE – When Northeastern finished its first season in the Colonial Athletic Association, there were plenty of doubters. That might seem surprising when you consider they had the Player of the Year (Jose Juan Barea) and Defensive Player of the Year (Shawn James) and reached the semifinals of the conference tournament. They finished fifth, so they had to win two games to get there. But some were not impressed despite the challenges involved in switching conferences.

The thought from some was that if they had two award winners and finished fifth, how in the world would they ever win in the CAA? That first year, by the way, was the year George Mason made its legendary Final Four run. It was the CAA’s best year until a couple of years ago; the Patriots didn’t even win the conference tournament, losing to Hofstra in a semifinal game best remembered for a player who earned a one-game suspension.

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What happens next for Delaware?

by - Published March 9, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
delaware

BALTIMORE – What now?

That’s probably the simplest, but also the most wide-ranging, question. There are lots of questions, actually, and no answers at the moment. There is lots of speculation, some of it even of the well-reasoned variety, but no clarity for now.

What happens to Monte Ross? What will Delaware look like next year and beyond, not only on the bench, but on the court? Why has it come to this? When will we know?

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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 9, 2015

by - Published March 9, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

March is the best month of the year for a reason. College basketball has the conference tournaments and the grand-daddy of them all, the NCAA Tournament. The NIT, CBI and CIT add to it. While the last four are the big ones, especially the NCAA, the conference tournaments provide plenty of lasting memories as well. There, teams play with everything on the line, especially in conferences that will only send their champion to the NCAA Tournament.

Enter this weekend. We had the Ohio Valley Conference giving us another memorable championship game on Saturday night. Then on Sunday, a day where three automatic bids were handed out, it was a semifinal game in Baltimore that provided us with an instant classic.

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The place for improvement is clear for James Madison

by - Published March 8, 2015 in Columns
jamesmadison

BALTIMORE – Of the four teams that tied for first in the CAA, one of the more unlikely ones was James Madison. Next year, however, don’t be surprised if contention and something better than a Saturday exit from the tournament is expected from them.

The Dukes were already down several players from last season just to start, including the transfer of Charles Cooke. They were an inexperienced team, though perhaps not quite as much as last year. Things didn’t get better from there. Andre Nation, their most talented player, was dismissed from the program, robbing them of one of their most experienced players as well. Later, promising freshman Hari Hall missed the last month of the season due to injury.

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Family helped Elon get off the mat and win late games

by - Published March 8, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
elon

BALTIMORE – With Elon this weekend, you saw a mix of why they had to play on the first night of the CAA Tournament and some hope. It all went together, but didn’t translate into a big upset on Saturday to move on, as William & Mary took over the game early and scored a convincing 72-59 quarterfinal win.

The issues were clear. The Phoenix were not good defensively, and this was a bad time for that to be the case as they were up against a very good and disciplined offensive team. They had offensive issues, too, but it started on defense, particularly with the way William & Mary took the lead for good – primarily on three-pointers as they hit three in an 11-0 run to take the lead for good.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, March 7, 2015

by - Published March 7, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

The Big South Conference doesn’t get a lot of attention, but if you have been following it, you have received a treat. It has been arguably the most competitive conference in the country, and that’s saying something considering the CAA had a four-way tie for first and how bunched up the Patriot League standings were. And on Friday, the Big South reinforced this in stunning fashion in the quarterfinal round of its tournament in Conway, SC.

We start with the opener, where Longwood met the top seed, Charleston Southern. The Buccaneers gained the top seed by knocking off High Point in the regular season finale, and they won the tie-breaker. But it was the Lancers who first grabbed a 29-20 lead at halftime, then responded after Charleston Southern scored the first 12 points of the second half to take the lead with a 13-0 run of their own en route to a 68-60 win. Shaquille Johnson had a big game with 22 points and 15 rebounds to lead the way. The Buccaneers will be in the NIT.

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Gonzaga not a No. 1 seed even before BYU loss

by - Published March 6, 2015 in Columns
gonzaga

I may be in the minority, but prior to last Saturday night I was not really in the camp that thought Gonzaga should be a No. 1 seed. I was probably lukewarm to the idea, though it had been looking like a better case of late. It’s probably moot now that BYU beat them in Spokane, but should they sweep their way to a West Coast Conference championship, the subject will probably come up again.

Gonzaga has been a trendy team to speak of as a Final Four contender and a No. 1 seed as well. It’s understandable why; since the late 1990s they have ruled the West Coast Conference and annually play a loaded non-conference schedule, one where they win enough to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament whether they win the WCC or not. Last year might have been an exception, as I’m not sure they would have been in without a WCC championship, but they won, so it was moot.

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Tough loss doesn’t take away Sacred Heart’s improvement

by - Published March 6, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
sacredheart

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The other side of Wednesday night’s instant classic is Sacred Heart. The Pioneers came out on the wrong end of a game that unfortunately only one team could win. While there were no moral victories to be had, it’s undeniable that they were even in that game and nearly had it won is the end result of a big improvement from last season. It’s also an improvement that will be tough, but hardly impossible, to maintain in the immediate.

Year two for a coach is almost always more challenging than the first year, but given the challenges Anthony Latina faced with his team in his inaugural season a year ago, this might be different. The Pioneers were 5-26 as he took over for the retired Dave Bike, and they simply were not good. There was youth, there was an adjustment – though Latina was an assistant before ascending into the head coaching position, he is not Dave Bike Lite – and the Northeast Conference was very good last year.

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Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

March 15, 2015 by

temple

Temple is firmly on the bubble after losing in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to SMU. It’s the first time in head coach Fran Dunphy’s storied career that his team has been in this situation.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen to COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT, a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, joined by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis, former Fairfield head coach Terry O'Connor and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.