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

by - Published February 22, 2015 in Columns
notredame

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
author_kasiecki

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
hoopguy-cyan

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
williammary

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
hoopguy-orange

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
holycross

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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Saturday Notes – February 14, 2015

by - Published February 15, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

NBA All-Star weekend may have grabbed a lot of attention in the basketball world, but there was plenty going on in the college game. Saturday featured a few conference showdowns of note, either with first place on the line or between two contending teams. What stood out overall, though, were teams either coming back to life with a big win or teams re-asserting themselves as teams to beat.

A few races, like the Atlantic 10, Big South and Patriot League, remain tight. Saturday didn’t change much there.

With that, here’s a look at notes from some of the day’s games.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, February 14, 2015

by - Published February 14, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Iona and Manhattan have basically ruled the MAAC the last two years and carried the story. The last two championship games have been close ones between the two, they are nearby rivals, and there is immense respect for one another. In fact, last year, after Manhattan won the championship game, head coach Steve Masiello said he and his staff have tried to model their program after Iona.

Friday night was the latest installment of this rivalry. The two teams are a contrast in styles, with Iona being the team that can light up the scoreboard while Manhattan can slow down and stop a lot of offenses. While Iona shot over 52 percent from the field, including 11-18 from long range, Manhattan was able to hang in by forcing 21 turnovers. The game came down to the end, but it was Iona that escaped with a 70-67 win to remain two games up in the MAAC standings.

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What to make of the Atlantic 10 in the final month?

by - Published February 13, 2015 in Columns
atlantic10

The Atlantic 10 has taken quite a turn in just a couple of weeks. What once looked like it could go comfortably to one team has now become a must-watch race in the final month of the regular season. Additionally, the NCAA Tournament case for each team only gets more difficult to figure all the time.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that Dayton came to Amherst and lost to UMass, at that time a team that was a little tough to figure out. That gave VCU a two-game lead in the standings, and with the way the Rams had been playing, you could be forgiven for thinking that the regular season championship going to them was a foregone conclusion.

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Well-balanced Villanova starts a key stretch by continuing solid play

by - Published February 12, 2015 in Columns
villanova

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Look at Villanova on paper, especially their numbers, and you might not see them as a powerhouse. Watch them play and you get a better idea of why this is the team to beat in the Big East, something they have re-asserted lately. Their 74-68 win at Providence on Wednesday night is the latest example of that.

Villanova doesn’t feature an All-America candidate or even an exceptional aggregate of talent. They aren’t a team full of seniors, though they are an experienced group. What they are is a well-coached group that knows how to play and has an edge. This team plays tough defense and has a well-balanced offense, one that takes what the defense gives them and shows great patience to break down a defense.

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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.

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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.