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Here’s hoping Wisconsin’s legacy lives on in sport long past this year

by - Published April 7, 2015 in Columns

On Tuesday, the day after the 2015 NCAA Tournament’s final game, the skies in Wisconsin dawned gray and sad. It was the proverbially fitting backdrop to the mood of a state after so many of its natives watched their collegiate heroes fall just short the night before in a terrific end to this year’s NCAA tourney.

Few states have as defined of a flagship university as Wisconsin, and few get behind their state school better, as was evidenced by the mind-boggling amount of red in the crowd in Indianapolis Monday night. With a team that had unprecedented success the past two years but also was made up of so much homegrown talent, there was even more of a special attachment to this year’s Wisconsin team.

The Badgers lost to Duke 68-63, and Tuesday ought to be at least a touch sad of a day for college basketball though, too. The Wisconsin basketball team of the past couple years was one that should be treasured and remembered in the sport for a long time.
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Freshmen carried Duke to the national championship

by - Published April 7, 2015 in Columns

INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday night, a freshman-dominated team won a national championship.

It wasn’t who many thought it would be back in October, though.

This seems to be a trend in the college game, given that it’s happened a couple of times lately. Now, though, it’s happened with a program that was among the last to be touched in big numbers by early defections to the NBA and later one-and-done players.

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Stanford takes the NIT in a close one

by - Published April 7, 2015 in Columns

NEW YORK – For Stanford, it was a second championship in four years. The Cardinal defeated Miami (FL) in a 66-64 overtime thriller in the National Invitation Tournament championship. The game at Madison Square Garden saw eight ties and five lead changes. It was a game worthy of championship classification.

Three points of emphasis:

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Shaka Smart now tries to take Texas to another level

by - Published April 5, 2015 in Columns

Shaka Smart finally found a job worth leaving VCU for. It was something that some thought might never happen, but was bound to – and may finally also end an annual ritual.

Ever since Smart, who will soon turn 38, took VCU on an unexpected Final Four run in his third season at the helm, his name has come up for one high-major job after another. It doesn’t matter who it was; if a high-major job opened up, his name got mentioned. When the off-season came, you knew his name would be all over the place for head coaching vacancies.

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What Kentucky gave us will be forgotten, and that’s too bad

by - Published April 5, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

INDIANAPOLIS – We need to appreciate what Kentucky did and what they gave us this season.

Hopefully, people who watch or cover college basketball have done their best to just enjoy this team, because it was worth the ride. The Wildcats did much more than just go 38-1, much as t-shirts will be sold with those two numbers and people will talk about this more than who who wins Monday night’s national championship game.

And in this time where teams are judged too harshly if they don’t go as far as some people think they should, it’s basically a foregone conclusion that a lot of people are not going to appreciate this.

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Larranaga cherishes win and Garden experience

by - Published April 2, 2015 in Columns

NEW YORK – A head coaching career that has seen the pinnacle, the Final Four. College basketball’s final weekend. There have been conference titles, rankings and the like. For Jim Larranaga, one thing was missing. The opportunity to coach at the “world’s most famous arena.”

Sure he played here for Providence. Served here as a Virginia assistant. In over three decades calling the shots, never the opportunity to walk the Garden sideline with his team on the floor. That changed on Tuesday night.

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A happy resolution comes in Delaware

by - Published April 1, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

A little over three weeks ago, Monte Ross held court with reporters for over ten minutes following a press conference. His Delaware team had just battled eventual champion Northeastern valiantly in the CAA quarterfinals, but fell short, and that meant the season was over. His contract was up sometime before next season, so there was an open question: would this be the last time?

Would it be the last time he led the Blue Hens?

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NCAA Tournament second weekend notes: Duke, Kentucky Final Four regulars, but seldom together

by - Published March 31, 2015 in Columns

With a group of regional semifinalists that was dominated by historically powerful programs, the second weekend of the 2015 NCAA Tournament was bound to leave us with a touted quartet of teams for the Final Four.

It has done just that, providing us with a mix of the recent and the historic, including two programs that have joined each other at this time of the season more than a time or two before. Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Wisconsin is not the most history-rich group of four that we’ve ever had in a Final Four-1991, 1993 and 2008 were more so, to list a few-but it is indeed a group with plenty of roots in this sport.

Kentucky and Duke. It should be no surprise at least one of them are here, though it surprisingly is a surprise that both are.
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Kentucky 78, West Virginia 39: Tempo Free Post-Mortem

by - Published March 28, 2015 in Columns

At the 16:33 mark, it was 7-2. It only got worse. Kentucky thoroughly dismantled West Virginia 78-39 in the Sweet 16.

Thursday’s night in Cleveland saw the Wildcats post an efficiency of 122. That was double the Mountaineer efficiency of 61. The win brought Kentucky’s record to 37-0, while West Virginia ends the year 25-10.

The pace of the contest was 64 possessions, a moderate tempo as full-court pressing was not an issue the final twenty minutes as Kentucky was enjoying a huge double-digit lead.

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NCAA Tournament first week review: few upsets, but history-rich programs remain

by - Published March 23, 2015 in Columns

The first week of the 2015 NCAA Tournament has brought us a little of everything, much of nothing. Like the beer commercial, you might say it is up for whatever.

We started with a boatload of close games, but the number and intensity of those games has petered out over the past three days, taking this year”s tourney from historic to almost pedestrian. The Sweet 16 will include three 1 seeds, but otherwise is a buffet of differing squads and resumes. The last 16 remaining includes teams from eight different conferences and seeded 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11.

What do we have left is a field of teams that is loaded with history, whether it be recent or distant. In fact, every single team left falls into at least one of the categories, if not both.
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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.

Hoopville Archives

Reader Poll

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 2015-11-12 10:09:26
end_date 2015-11-17 23:59:59
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Who is your pick to win the 2016 national championship?

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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.