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2015-16 Northeast Conference Post-Mortem

by - Published July 20, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
northeastconference

The Northeast Conference has long made its mark as a highly competitive conference whose best teams fit the little-engine-that-could mold. While all of that held up this season, there is something else to add right now: the conference has a lot of good talent that will be returning to make it better.

While Wagner won the conference by two games, a three-way tie followed, and in all seven teams were separated by three games after the Seahawks. While Bryant and Central Connecticut didn’t make the conference tournament and were further back, the Bulldogs won road games at conference champion Fairleigh Dickinson as well as Mount St. Mary’s and LIU Brooklyn, and the Blue Devils won at Robert Morris – always a tough place to win even in a down year for the Colonials – and beat Mount St. Mary’s in New Britain.

… Continue Reading

2015-16 Atlantic Sun Post-Mortem

by - Published July 20, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
atlanticsun

It would be hard to find a league that had a more suspenseful and more meaningful final day of its regular season than the Atlantic Sun Conference did this year.

Entering the final day of A-Sun play, no less than four teams had a shot at a share of the regular season title, with North Florida in first but Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville and newcomer NJIT all just one game back. The top six teams were separated by just three games, and all eight seeds were still up for grabs. Layering even more meaning to it all was the fact that all Atlantic Sun tournament games are held on the campus sites of the higher-seeded teams. … Continue Reading

2015-16 SEC Post-Mortem

by - Published July 20, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
sec

If you had any doubt that Kentucky is once more in control of the SEC, you needed to look no further than 2015-16.

This was supposed to be a season where the Wildcats would get clearly upended by some other teams. Sure, they had a shaky season a couple of years ago, and they haven’t always been the kings of the conference during the John Calipari era, but for the most part they have been there. This time, though, it wasn’t supposed to happen the way it did. There was a Vanderbilt team that was supposed to be good. There was Ben Simmons coming in to make LSU relevant and maybe more. There was Texas A&M, a team on the upswing and sure to be motivated after being left out of the NCAA Tournament a year earlier.

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2015-16 Big Ten Post-Mortem

by - Published July 8, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigten

The Big Ten had an enjoyable, entertaining, very nice 2015-16 basketball season, but enthusiasts of the conference can easily be forgiven if they were left with just a little bit of a dull taste at the end.

If one takes the larger view of the conference’s overall performance, the good should far outweigh the bad. The league had one of the very best players in all the country (Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine) and two more who were very close to that top layer (Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell and Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff). It had five teams who were legitimate top 10-level good at one time or another, from mainstay Michigan State to surprising Iowa. … Continue Reading

2015-16 Patriot League Post-Mortem

by - Published July 8, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
patriotleague

The Patriot League has been on quite a run of late, especially from a competitive standpoint. This season was no different, with a close battle for the top and a four-way tie in the middle of the pack. But the real highlight came in the form of the unexpected league champion, although a decade ago there would have been nothing unexpected about them.

Simply put, Holy Cross went on a tournament run for the ages.

… Continue Reading

2015-16 MAC Post-Mortem

by - Published July 7, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
mac

Perhaps the most interesting development in the Mid-American Conference in 2015-16 was its quietly becoming one of the best leagues in the country for…centers?

Surprisingly, yes. Three players on the all-MAC first team-Toledo’s Nathan Boothe, Ohio’s Antonio Campbell and Isaiah Johnson of Akron-were centers. Another-Kent State’s Khaliq Spicer-was voted the league’s best defensive player. Yet another-Eastern Michigan’s James Thompson-was its top freshman, as well as one of the most productive first-year players in the nation.

Those big men provided a variety of skills, whether they be scoring, rebounding, passing/facilitating (Boothe was one of the best-passing bigs in the country), defense or shot-blocking. Though maybe not of the seven-foot variety typically associated with men in the middle, the MAC was as good a spot as almost any in the country to look if one wanted to see post play. … Continue Reading

2015-16 Mountain West Post-Mortem

by - Published July 7, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
mountainwest

The Mountain West Conference had been so good for so long. Every year, it seemed to get better, deeper, and look like it might compete with the Pac-12 some years. Getting several teams into the NCAA Tournament looked like the norm; as it is, the conference went 15 straight years with at least two teams in the field.

Then came 2015-16. The conference was having such a good run, you almost wonder if it was due for a season like this, a correction of sorts. And that’s what happened.

… Continue Reading

2015-16 Atlantic 10 Post-Mortem

by - Published June 21, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
atlantic10

The Atlantic 10 celebrated 40 years in 2015-16, and it has seen a little bit of everything in the last year. In all, though, the conference looks to be in a very good place when it comes to the hardwood.

For starters, we saw Dayton and VCU remain among the conference’s elite. They were part of a three-way tie for the regular season title and were the top two seeds in the conference tournament. VCU had some growing pains in Will Wade’s first season at the helm, but they grew into a solid team that won an NCAA Tournament game.

… Continue Reading

2015-16 Big 12 Post-Mortem

by - Published June 21, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
big12

The Big 12 has been on one heck of a run over the last three years, but it is undeniable the league took its game up even another notch in 2015-16.

Three straight years now, the Big 12 has finished first in conference RPI (some RPI measures had it second in 2013-14), kept a steady presence in top 25 polls all year (it finished the season with an incredible streak of 38 consecutive weeks with at least five teams in the polls) and in all three years put 70% (seven) of its teams in the NCAA Tournament, a feat accomplished just seven times total by any conference and by none in 21 years before the Big 12 did in 2014. … Continue Reading

2015-16 West Coast Conference Post-Mortem

by - Published June 20, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
westcoast

If the first couple of months of the off-season is any indication, the feeling in much of the West Coast Conference is that it appears to be at a crossroads. What was a strong top-to-bottom mid-major conference not all that long ago has turned into a predictable, top-heavy conference dominated by three schools.

There is still plenty of good basketball in the conference, to be sure, but from a competitive standpoint, it appears as though three schools have quite clearly separated from the rest of the pack.

… Continue Reading

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