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The Morning Dish – Saturday, February 28, 2015

by - Published February 28, 2015 in The Morning Dish

The Ivy League race is even better now, and on a pretty good night for several players, too. At least one player posted a double-double in all but one game on the evening, but that’s not the biggest news coming out of Friday night.

The New York schools are playing spoiler. Less than a week after Columbia went into New Haven and beat Yale to knock the Bulldogs a game back of first place, Cornell hosted Harvard and snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Crimson. Neither team put on a clinic at the offensive end in Ithaca, but Harvard finished just over 25 percent in a 57-49 loss. Cornell was led by Shonn Miller, who missed all of last season due to injury and is reminding people how good he was two seasons ago, as he had 24 points and 15 rebounds to get the better of Wesley Saunders, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Harvard.

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Bryant digs deep to lock up a tournament home game

by - Published February 27, 2015 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Trailing by 11, with their hopes of locking in at least one home game in the Northeast Conference Tournament on the line, Bryant had to dig deep. They were up against a team that had nothing to lose and was playing like it all night long. Central Connecticut had started the second half 6-8 from the field, including two of their three attempts from deep. It was almost as if the Bulldogs were putting so much pressure on themselves, as if they knew that this was their best chance to clinch a top-four seed.

“The way they were making shots, I’ll be honest with you, I could see myself telling Howie (Dickenman, Central Connecticut’s head coach), ‘Great game’ at the end,” said Bryant head coach Tim O’Shea. “They were making some incredible shots.”

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For Harvard, its will to win makes all the difference

by - Published February 23, 2015 in Columns

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Sometimes, the numbers aren’t even worth looking at if you watched the game and want to explain the result. Sometimes, all the things that don’t show up in a box score say it all, say more than the box score could ever tell you. And sometimes, a championship can be explained from it.

Enter Harvard’s 63-55 win over Princeton on Saturday night. While Harvard has proven their mettle in close games – they are 4-1 on the season in games decided by five points or less – there’s one main way to explain this one: a will to win. Harvard had it, Princeton might have a bit of it, but not nearly as much as Harvard did and certainly not enough.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 23, 2015

by - Published February 23, 2015 in The Morning Dish

Dana Altman should be the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, perhaps in a runaway now. Barring a collapse, his Oregon team will be in the NCAA Tournament, and that’s no small feat when you consider where this program has been since the end of last season.

On Sunday, Oregon got the signature win they had lacked to go with a host of other good/okay wins, knocking off Utah 69-58 in Eugene. Dillon Brooks scored 11 straight Oregon points, starting with a personal 7-0 run, to lift the Ducks, who tied for the second-highest point total allowed by the Utes on the season.

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Dynamic backcourt duo returns to lead a special season for Notre Dame

by - Published February 22, 2015 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Jerian Grant makes a big difference. The result of his return and everything else around him is exactly what the senior came back for this season. Add him to running mate Pat Connaughton, and you understand why Notre Dame is having a historic season for the program.

By now, Grant’s story from last season is well-known. Just after the Fighting Irish gave away a game to Ohio State in New York a few days before Christmas, he withdrew from the university for an academic matter. He stated all along that he would be back for this season, though plenty surely wondered if that would happen. He was certainly good enough to get NBA Draft interest had he desired to pursue that avenue.

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Saturday Notes – February 21, 2015

by - Published February 22, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday didn’t have a lot of matchups that immediately leaped out at you on paper, but a lot of results were important ones. There were some surprises, some shakeups in the conference races, and a few where all of the contenders either won or lost. From the CAA, where the two contenders who played both won, to the Sun Belt, where a leader lost to create a three-way tie, Saturday had some important results as we head into the final three weeks before Selection Sunday.

With that, here are notes on some of the day’s games.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, February 21, 2015

by - Published February 21, 2015 in The Morning Dish

In the SEC, one thing is a given: Kentucky is on top. The Wildcats are also the top team in the country, although the NCAA RPI interestingly has Kansas in front of them as of Monday (likely a reflection of the Big 12 being much stronger than the SEC). Beyond that, however, there is much still to be determined about the SEC, although that picture could get a little clearer soon.

A few of Saturday’s matchups involve teams that are stuck in the middle of the pack. After the Wildcats, you have Arkansas at 10-3; the Razorbacks beat Ole Miss last Saturday, with the Rebels being right behind them at 9-4 along with Texas A&M. Then you have five teams that are a game apart from one another and Mississippi State another game back.

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William & Mary tries to manage through defensive struggles

by - Published February 19, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

BOSTON – In the stretch run and vying for the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title, William & Mary has an area of concern. It’s been a very good year for the team, one that is younger than you might think, and they’re right in the thick of things. But the concern showed up again on Wednesday night in Boston.

“It’s exciting to be in this position at this time of year, but it is a little bit of uncharted waters,” said head coach Tony Shaver. “We’ve got to continue to battle, and we will. This team will be battling in the end.”

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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 16, 2015

by - Published February 16, 2015 in Columns

The Pac-12 looks more and more like it will come down to a game at the end of the month. And it looks like that game will be well worth watching, with Sunday not changing any of this.

Arizona and Utah have set the pace in the Pac-12 this season, and appear to be on a collision course for when they meet on February 28 in Salt Lake City. Both are tied atop the conference, with Arizona taking round one between these two in Tucson, and both won convincingly on Sunday to keep it that way. No one else will challenge them at this point.

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Holy Cross perseveres and tries to make a late run

by - Published February 15, 2015 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – Milan Brown was fired up. He was as fired up as he’s ever been, really. As the Holy Cross mentor headed to his post-game radio interview, there was more than just a pep in his step. It’s because in beating Lehigh 58-52 on Sunday, his team showed him something he knew they had in them, but haven’t always shown.

“When adversity hits, it starts to show a little bit of your character,” said Brown. “This is who I thought we were, but we’re starting to understand and know who’s in the foxhole with us.”

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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.

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