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2015-16 ACC Post-Mortem

by - Published May 13, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
acc

Atlantic Coast Conference coaches spent much of the season boasting about the league’s competitiveness and balance, but in the end, the 2015-16 race had a very familiar look at the top.

North Carolina finished with a 14-4 ACC record to win its first regular-season title since 2012 and Virginia, which finished alone at the top in the 2013 and ’14 seasons, checked in at 13-5 to share second place with Miami.

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2015-16 America East Post-Mortem

by - Published May 13, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
americaeast

If you looked at how the America East standings have been the past few years, then looked at the final standings this time around, there was a familiar look. Consistency can be a good thing in many contexts, but as it applies to America East, it is not in one respect: right now, the conference appears to be stuck in neutral from a competitive standpoint.

Over the past six seasons, the conference has been dominated by Stony Brook, Albany and Vermont. Boston University was annually a contender, too, before departing for the Patriot League, but the overall pattern doesn’t change. In particular, the past two seasons have seen the same four teams finish in the top four, and then a big drop-off as four games separated fourth from fifth place each season. The bottom of the conference is having a tough time moving up, with most of the programs in some form of transition.

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2015-16 Big West Post-Mortem

by - Published May 13, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigwest

Hawaii was a fortuitous-and wise-addition for the Big West Conference when the school joined in 2012, and it took just a couple years for the league to see a significant payoff.

After being a mid-pack team in its first three years in the Big West, the Rainbow Warriors exploded in 2015-16. Under first-year head coach Eran Ganot, Hawaii won a school-record 28 games, tied for the league regular season title and won the conference tournament to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament. … Continue Reading

Final Arch Madness Notes: Washpun adds to UNI tradition of big shots

by - Published March 9, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
ArchMadness_withStateFarm

Maurice Newby. Ben Jacobson (the player, not the coach). Ali Farokhmanesh. Wes Washpun.

A growing history of memorable buzzer-beating shots is building at Northern Iowa. Not coincidentally, so is a record of postseason success.

Washpun’s stepback 17-footer hit the back of the rim, went straight up and rattled in to give the Panthers a 56-54 win over Evansville in the 40th annual Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and the 26th edition of the event as Arch Madness. Northern Iowa won its second consecutive MVC tourney title, its fourth in the last eight years and its fifth overall, once again establishing the purple and gold as the team to beat when this conference gathers at the end of the season in St. Louis. … Continue Reading

Despite Arch Madness loss, Southern Illinois “is back” behind always-entertaining Hinson

by - Published March 8, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
southernillinois

At a time when any coach could’ve been excused for being disappointed, quiet and short with words, Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson was as true to himself as ever. He was indeed disappointed, and his voice softened to a near-whisper at times, but he was hardly reserved.

Fifth-seeded SIU had just lost a hard-fought 66-60 decision to No. 4 seed Northern Iowa in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals, a game even closer than the final score. The game was tied with less than a minute left before UNI’s Wes Washpun-as he would so often in this tournament-delivered in the clutch, driving hard for the go-ahead basket with 47 seconds left, and the Panthers finished it off by making 6 of 6 free throws in the final 28 seconds.
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Seedings reflect balance in field for ACC Tournament

by - Published March 7, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
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The Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament begins on Tuesday afternoon with a pair of games featuring the conference’s bottom four teams and will crown its 2016 champion late Saturday night.

Who will that winner be?

We’ll get into that in a moment, but first here’s the schedule for the games at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. (With Louisville’s self-imposed postseason ban, 14 teams will take part. All games will be telecast on ESPN, ESPN2, or ACC Network stations.):

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Evansville continues almost-silent consistency in Arch Madness win over Missouri State

by - Published March 5, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
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Seventh-seeded Missouri State had No. 2 seed Evansville right where it wanted in the teams’ Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinal Thursday night-tie game, 15 minutes to play, pressure squarely on the higher seed.

Then, with quiet efficiency on its next three possessions against the Bears’ matchup zone defense, the Purple Aces scored six straight points-layup, layup, two free throws. Evansville would not trail again.

The aura of the game suggested all was still within the balance yet with less than eight minutes left when the Bears’ Dequon Miller scored on a drive to reduce the Aces’ lead to 48-45. D.J. Balentine-the leading active scorer in the country-followed with two three-pointers. Boom.
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Arch Madness-tested Northern Iowa cool, collected in holding off Salukis

by - Published March 5, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
northerniowa

Wichita State has earned much of the recognition in the Missouri Valley Conference this year, and deservedly so, but let it not be forgotten that Northern Iowa is the defending champion of Arch Madness. And there are plenty of veterans still around from that team who know how to get the job done again.

The fourth-seeded Panthers issued a reminder on Friday in St. Louis of just how dangerous they are. Not in blowout fashion, mind you-there has been no such thing the first two days of Arch Madness this year-but with a composed, confident effort in a 66-60 win over Southern Illinois in the quarterfinals Friday. … Continue Reading

Wichita State latest top seed to sidestep danger in MVC quarters

by - Published March 5, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes
wichitastate

At the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, it’s the tradition unlike any other: the winner of the first round game between the eighth and ninth seeds annually goes on to be a real pest to top seeds in the quarterfinals.

Arch Madness is not designed with teams seeded eighth or ninth in mind. Every year, the winner of the tourney’s first game at 6 p.m. Central time on a Thursday gets a miniscule amount of time to recover, playing at noon the next day, and against the event’s top seed.
… Continue Reading

How the conferences shape up as 2016 approaches

by - Published December 29, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes
author_kasiecki

Not only are we in the midst of the holidays, but conference play beckons if it hasn’t already started. Non-conference play is almost complete, and teams form impressions during this time of how they will be in conference play. Even so, as is always the case this is imperfect. Conference play is a different animal, as teams are more familiar with each other from having played each other every year. That’s why we see some teams even in mid-majors get nice wins in non-conference play, but then lose games in conference play that strike the untrained eye as head-scratchers.

It is with that in mind that we take a look at how all 31 conferences shape up based on non-conference play thus far.

… Continue Reading

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