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Big East first round: Efficiency is the key

by - Published March 12, 2015 in Columns

NEW YORK – Slower pace and efficient offense was the key in first round Big East Tournament action on Wednesday. In the opener at Madison Square Garden, Marquette defeated Seton Hall 78-56. Using a strong second half, Creighton defeated DePaul in the night cap, 78-63.

Marquette earned their second consecutive victory following a six-game losing streak. Coach Steve Wojciechowski feels injuries set his team back and a return to health has them playing better of late. “Tonight we might have played as well as we can,” he said.

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Why Murray State belongs in the NCAA Tournament

by - Published March 12, 2015 in Columns

As expected following its loss in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament final, Murray State has become this year’s “Great Taste, Less Filling” debate of Championship Week, the most hotly discussed team in the lead-up to this year’s NCAA Tournament.

We made a preliminary call already for Murray State’s inclusion in the tourney, and Gary Parrish summed up its case well on CBSSports.com on Wednesday, but the Racers are a complex case that deserves examination.

To some, they’re the team with a mediocre RPI in the 60s, no top 50 wins, two top 100 wins and a low strength of schedule in a weak conference. To others, they’re the 27-5 team that won 25 straight games prior to a heartbreaking one-point loss to Belmont in the OVC final, a game played in Belmont’s home city of Nashville and decided on an off-balance three-pointer going in with two seconds left in the game. They play an exciting, up-tempo style, have one of the best players in the country in sophomore guard Cameron Payne, and anyone who has watched them before and after knows this was not the same team the last 26 games that it was early in the season.
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2015 USBWA awards: one man’s vote

by - Published March 12, 2015 in Columns

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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Final Arch Madness Notes: MVC still in good hands in St. Louis

by - Published March 11, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes

When Creighton departed the Missouri Valley Conference for the Big East, the levels of worry from some on the outside ranked from concern to spooked alarm that both the MVC and its signature Arch Madness men’s basketball event were in danger of a fall.

If there was one overall takeaway message from this year’s MVC Tournament, though, it is this: despite the doomsday predictions of some, the league and the event continues to roll with the punches and comes out strong at the end.
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So many positives, so little consolation for William & Mary

by - Published March 10, 2015 in Columns

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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Final Big East tempo free numbers, on to The Garden

by - Published March 10, 2015 in Columns

NEW YORK – The Big East’s annual get-together tips off at the “world’s most famous arena” on Wednesday. That makes this a perfect time to get a tempo free look at the conference. It will give us a little idea of what we can expect over the next few days.

Only Big East games are figured in for these listings, with all numbers courtesy of bbstate.com

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The long road to Northeastern’s first CAA championship

by - Published March 10, 2015 in Columns

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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Semifinal loss at Arch Madness does not diminish Loyola’s improvement

by - Published March 10, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes
Loyola Chicago Logo

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (March 7) – Sometimes, in order to fully appreciate a team’s season, one has to take a look at what was expected of them before it.

In the case of Loyola (Ill.), if one would’ve told Rambler fans before the season that their team would win 19 games and advance to the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, they would’ve been tickled pink. Hopefully they’re able to take that to heart after the sixth-seeded Ramblers fell to No. 11-ranked and second-seeded Northern Iowa 63-49 in the semifinals at Arch Madness on Saturday.
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What happens next for Delaware?

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

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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Northern Iowa shows another side in winning MVC title

by - Published March 9, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (March 8) – The book on Northern Iowa, or at least the popular one anyway, is that the Panthers this year are a really good team because of their defense and Seth Tuttle. The second layer of analysis might mention their depth. Little is said of its offense, but let it be known: UNI is pretty darn good on that end, too.

The 11th-ranked Panthers proved as much in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament final, rallying from a huge deficit to defeat Illinois State 69-60 and clinch the Valley’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. UNI won its 30th game this season, clinched its third MVC title in seven years and now should be set for a very nice seed (three? four?) in the NCAAs.

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Big East looks the same in some ways and quite different in other ways

November 13, 2015 by


As year three of the new-look Big East tips off, the conference looks the same in a few ways. In other ways, though, it’s not the same, and much is to be determined.

Though a contender, Purdue will need to earn more relevance

October 15, 2015 by


Purdue has the makings of a contender in Big Ten play, but you wouldn’t know it from the conversations about the conference teams. The Boilermakers will have to earn their way to relevance despite their potential to contend.

New challenge ahead for Harvard

October 6, 2015 by


If Harvard’s great run through the Ivy League is to continue in 2015-16, the Crimson will have to get through quite a challenge this time around with a team that looks a little different.

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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.

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed listening 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.

Here are links to the shows:

March 15, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 22, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 29, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

April 5, 2015 - First hour | Second hour | Third hour

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by


The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.

2015 Hoopville Spring Finale Notes

June 30, 2015 by


We look back at more from the 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale, where some of the championship games were worth the price of admission.

A big championship day for a local program at the Hoopville Spring Finale

June 23, 2015 by


The 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of good championship games on Sunday to close it out, and we start our look back with a look at those games.

Player highlights from Mass Elite and Boston Warriors college showcase

June 4, 2015 by


Two big programs, Mass Elite and the Boston Warriors, got together once again on a college showcase for many of their high school players. We look at some who stood out on the evening.

2015 Massachusetts AAU Tournament notes

June 3, 2015 by


Massachusetts held its AAU championship rounds in a few age groups and its entire tournament for the oldest age group this weekend. We take a look at some of Sunday’s action in Foxboro.