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Ohio State Buckeyes 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2011 in Conference Notes

Ohio State Buckeyes (32-3, 16-2)

Big Ten Champion, Sweet 16 appearance (Defeated by Kentucky 62-60).

Coach Thad Matta (190-57 at OSU) returns for his eighth season.

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. F Jared Sullinger (Averaged 17.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg)
So. F Deshaun Thomas (High point scorer in four games last season)
Sr. G William Buford (44% 3-point average, only returning senior)
So. G Aaron Craft (Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year award winner)
Fr. C Amir Williams

Important departures:

David Lighty: 12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 42.9 percent from 3-point range
Jon Diebler: 12.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.4 apg, 50.2 percent from 3-point range
Dallas Lauderdale: 4.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.5 blocks per game

Additions:

Fr. PF Trey McDonald (Rivals.com three-star player)
Jr. PF Evan Ravenel (transfer from Boston College)
Fr. SF LaQuinton Ross (Rivals.com four-star player)
Fr. PG Shannon Scott (Rivals.com four-star player)
Fr. SF Sam Thompson (Rivals.com four-star player)
Fr. C Amir Williams (Rivals.com four-star player)

Outlook:

Ohio State adds forward Evan Ravenel, a transfer from Boston College, along with guard Shannon Scott and center Amir Williams, both McDonald’s All-American team members, as part of a loaded recruiting class. They should make an immediate impact coming off of the bench. The Buckeyes will need the young players to step up quickly after losing three starting seniors: G David Lighty, G Jon Diebler and F Dallas Lauderdale, who played prominent roles in last year’s campaign. Also, assistant coach Chris Jent returned to his alma mater after a brief stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Kuwik left Matta’s staff to head to Dayton.

Schedule highlights:

Ohio State has one of the most difficult nonconference schedules in Division 1 basketball. They play Florida early and travel to Kansas right before a late season division stretch. But every Buckeye fan has circled Nov. 29. That is when the Duke Blue Devils come into Columbus in what could be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 midseason match up. Regardless of the outcome, Ohio State will have to either keep or gain momentum heading into the new year as the team faces a brutal stretch between Jan. 29 and Fed 18 that finds it playing Michigan twice, Wisconsin, Purdue and Michigan State. As long as they can keep their loss column miniscule, they should repeat as Big Ten champions.

Prediction: First

Next: Penn State Nittany Lions
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Penn State Nittany Lions 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2011 in Conference Notes

Penn State Nittany Lions (19-14, 9-9)

Earned a No. 10 seed and lost in first round (Temple won 66-64).

Coach Patrick Chambers’ first year at Penn State has some expectations to live up to.

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Cammeron Woodyard
Jr. G Tim Frazier
So. G Jermaine Marshall
So. F Billy Oliver
So. F Sasa Borovnjak

Important departures:

Talor Battle: 20.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.9 apg
Jeff Brooks: 13.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.4 blocks per game

Additions:

Fr. C Pat Ackerman (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. C Peter Alexis (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. SG Matt Glover (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. SF Ross Travis (Rivals.com three-star player)

Outlook:

Penn State hired Patrick Chambers during the offseason, and the coach will have his hands full. The Nittany Lions lost their scoring (G Battle) and rebounding (F Brooks) leaders from last year, and they don’t particularly add any impressive recruits. The seniors that remain will have to step up and carry the underclassmen if they want to get their first-year coach an NCAA Tournament berth.

Schedule highlights:

Penn State has scheduled a match with Kentucky late in November. This could be a trap game for the Wildcats, and if the Nittany Lions can sneak a win, they could end up building massive momentum heading into conference play.

Prediction: Ninth

Next: Purdue Boilermakers
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Purdue Boilermakers 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2011 in Conference Notes

Purdue Boilermakers (25-7, 14-4)

Reached Sweet 16 (lost to VCU 94-76).

Coach Matt Painter (112-56)

Projected starting five:

Sr. F Robbie Hummel (Three-time All-Big Ten selection)
Jr. G/F D.J. Byrd
Jr. G Kelsey Barlow
Sr. G Ryne Smith (85.5 percent free throw shooter)
Sr. G Lewis Jackson

Important departures:

JaJuan Johnson: 20.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg
E’Twaun Moore: 18.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.2 apg, 40 percent from 3-point range

Additions:

Fr. PF Donnie Hale (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. PF Jacob Lawson (Rivals.com three-star player)

Outlook:

The Boilermakers return only 47 percent and 62 percent of their points scored and rebounding, respectively. This is due to the loss of two starters, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore, and the early season loss of Hummel. The addition of two physical freshman, 6’ 8” Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson, and Hummel’s health will make the sky the limit for this team. Assistant coach Mike Jackson joins Painter’s staff this season and should help bring along the freshman talent.

Schedule highlights:

An interesting match up against Miami at the end of November could leave Purdue stunned if they don’t show up ready to play. A brutal stretch of conference play has them facing Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michigan State in a span of twelve days. I see Purdue waiting until they make it to the National Tournament before really unleashing fury on their opponents and erasing a lackluster season from the minds of fans.

Prediction: Third

Next: Wisconsin Badgers
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Wisconsin Badgers 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2011 in Conference Notes

Wisconsin Badgers (23-8, 13-5)

Sweet 16 appearance (beaten by Butler 61-54).

Coach Bo Ryan (242-91 while at Wisconsin) celebrated his decennial season with the Badgers last season.

81.5 percent team free throw average led the nation, and the Badgers return 53.6 percent of their scoring and 54.7 percent of their rebounding from last year.

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Josh Gasser (30 starts last year as freshman)
Sr. G Jordan Taylor (18.1 ppg, 20.1 rpg)
Sr. G/F Rob Wilson
Jr. F Mike Bruesewitz
Jr. F/C Jared Berggren (Shot better than 49 percent from the field)

Important departures:

Jon Leuer: 18.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg
Keaton Nankivil: 9.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Tim Jarmusz: 3.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg

Additions:

Fr. SG Traevon Jackson (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. C Frank Kaminsky (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. PG George Marshall (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. PF Jarrod Uthoff (Rivals.com three-star player)

Outlook:

The Badgers lose three of their five starters from the 2010-11 season: Jon Leuer (taken 40th overall in the NBA Draft), Keaton Nankivil and Tim Jarmusz. Wisconsin would seem poised for a collapse following the third-winningest season in school history if not for the incredible coaching staff. Bo Ryan – he of five Big Ten titles – begins his 11th season coaching for Wisconsin and is the primary reason the school continues to be a preseason favorite to take the Big Ten every year. Despite the loss of both their lead shot blockers and 3-point shooter (Leuer and Nankivil) and a 91 percent free throw shooter (Jarmusz), Ryan will be able to coach this team to success. Ryan will utilize his sixth man G/F Ryan Evans and junior F Zach Bohannon, a redshirt transfer from Air Force, to plug the holes in his lineup. Like the true artist he is, Ryan will utilize Gasser and Taylor as a one-two punch to carefully sculpt another winning season and NCAA Tournament appearance for the Badgers.

Schedule highlights:

A trip to Chapel Hill, N.C., at the end of November for the ACC/Big.Ten Challenge highlights a relatively easy nonconference schedule for the Badgers. As far as normal difficulties to be expected from playing in the Big Ten – Wisconsin plays Michigan State and Ohio State twice — the Badgers should be able to handle this season with relative ease. If it weren’t for Ohio State being stacked, they would be my pick to win the Big Ten. However, Big Ten title or not, the Badgers will be playing in March.

Prediction: Second

Back to Big Ten preview

Eastern Washington Eagles 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 6, 2011 in Conference Notes

Eastern Washington Eagles (10-20, 7-9)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Cliff Colimon
Jr. G Kevin Winford
Jr. G Jeffery Forbes
Sr. F Tremayne Johnson
Sr. F Cliff Ederaine

Important departures:

Jr. G Glen Dean (transfer, 13.3 ppg, 47 3-pointers made per game, 4.2 apg)
Head coach Kirk Earlywine

Top returnees:

Colimon: 10.4 ppg, 48 3-pointers made per game, 24 steals per game
Ederaine: 8.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.1 blocks per game
Forbes: 9.8 ppg, 2.0 apg, 55 3-pointers, 0.9 steals per game

Additions:

Jr. F Colin Chiverton, transfer from City College of San Francisco (19 ppg, five rpg and 2.5 apg)
Jr. F Jordan Hickert, transfer from Neosho County Junior College (9.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 56 3-pointers made per game)

Schedule highlights:

Toughest nonconference match up: at Gonzaga, at Oregon or at UCLA.
Hardest conference stretch: first three games, at Montana State, at Montana and home against Weber State.

Outlook:

The Eagles are retooling slightly after losing sparkplug point guard Dean, who transferred to Utah. It’s an experienced roster, with four starters back, but none of them has ever been “the man” in Cheney. They’ll either keep the balanced scoring going or Colimon or Ederaine will have to take over. Hayford is hoping to find a way to improve the team’s shooting percentage, which was at 40.8 percent overall and 36.9 percent from 3-point range in the 2010-11 season. Eastern Washington hasn’t shot more than 41.6 percent from the field since the 2006-07. Depth and experience are being counted on to Hayford’s transition from Division III to low-major Division I.

Prediction: Fourth, 9-7 Big Sky record

Next: Idaho State Bengals

Back to Big Sky preview

Idaho State Bengals 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 6, 2011 in Conference Notes

Idaho State Bengals (9-20, 3-13)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Chase Grabau
Sr. G Kenny McGowan
Jr. G Melvin Morgan
Sr. F Abner Moreira
Jr. C Jakub Kusmieruk

Important departures:

Broderick Gilchrest (15.0 ppg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 steals per game, 52 3-pointers made per game)
Deividas Busma (11.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.9 blocks per game)

Top returnees:

McGowan: 9.3 ppg, 0.9 steals per game, 34 3-pointers made per game
Grabau: 6.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.4 steals per game
Moreira: 5.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg

Additions:

Jr. C Jakub Kusmieruk, transfer from Central Florida
Jr. G Melvin Morgan, transfer from Itawamba Community College (15.9 points. 3.4 assists per game)

Schedule highlights:

Toughest nonconference match up: at Oklahoma, at New Mexico or at Utah.

Hardest conference stretch: First four games at Weber State, at Northern Colorado, home against Montana State, home against Montana.

Outlook:

Head coach Joe O’Brien said transfer Morgan “gives us our best true point guard we’ve recruited since we’ve been here.” That’s both good and bad: O’Brien’s ISU record is 54-97, 33-47 in the Big Sky, but the past two years are the first in his tenure that the team hasn’t played at least .500 ball. The Bengals also welcome 7’4’’ 285-pound Kusmieruk, who left sunny Orlando after two seasons to move to snowy Pocatello, the biggest man in the conference. He’ll be challenged by Montana’s Derek Selvig (7-foot, 220 pounds) and maybe just a handful of others in the post, which should help continual growth and development. The Bengals’ growth hinges on the production of Morgan, Kusmieruk and a so-so four-man senior class.

Prediction: Eighth, 3-13 Big Sky record

Next: Montana Grizzlies

Back to Big Sky preview

Montana Grizzlies 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 6, 2011 in Conference Notes

Montana Grizzlies (21-11, 12-4)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Will Cherry
Sr. G Jordan Wood
So. G/F Kareem Jamar
Sr. F Art Steward
Sr. F/C Derek Selvig

Important departures:

Brian Qvale: 14.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.0 blocks per game

Top returnees:

Cherry: 14.1 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.7 steals per game
Selvig: 10.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 39 3-pointers made per game
Steward: 8.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg

Additions:

Fr. G/F Kevin Henderson (22.5 ppg, nine rpg, 2.4 steals per game, ranks top three in school history in points, rebounds, steals, field goals and 3-pointers)
Fr. G Jordan Gregory (27 ppg, 5 apg, 4.5 steals per game)

Schedule highlights:

Toughest nonconference match up: Long Beach State.

Hardest conference stretch: home against Northern Arizona, Montana State and Weber State in six-day span to end regular season.

Outlook:

Wayne Tinkle’s team rode Anthony Johnson’s shooting to a Big Sky championship and NCAA berth two years ago and reached the title game again with a balanced frontcourt-loaded attack in 2011. Gone is the key cog in that attack – Brian Qvale – but Derek Selvig, a 7-foot, 230-pound center who led the team in 3-pointers (39) returns. You read that right: a 7-footer that can shoot the three. Sophomore Will Cherry took over the point guard role and played masterfully, finishing with nearly a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (128 assists, 68 turnovers). Four different guards started between 15 and 18 games alongside Cherry in a two-guard, one-wing, two-post rotation, so if Tinkle decides to put out a traditional 1-2-2 lineup, there are plenty of capable takers at shooting guard. Selvig’s penchant for the 3 (39 percent of total shots were from beyond the arc) will also work wonders, especially in drawing out bigger defenders.

Prediction: Second, 13-3 Big Sky record

Next: Montana State Bobcats

Back to Big Sky preview

Montana State Bobcats 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 6, 2011 in Conference Notes

Montana State Bobcats (13-18, 7-9)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Rod Singleton
Jr. G avier Johnson-Blount
Jr. G Jamie Stewart
Sr. F Jordain Allou
Jr. C Mohammed Fall

Important departures:

Erik Rush: 15.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.4 steals per game, 38 3-pointers made per game
Bobby Howard: 14.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.9 steals per game, 47 3-pointers made per game
Danny Piepoli: 7.5 ppg, 45 3-pointers made per game
Cody Anderson: 4.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg

Top returnees:

Singleton: 7.9 ppg, 3.5 apg, 1.1 steals per game

Additions:

Johnson-Blount: transfer from Cochise College (21.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.4 steals per game)
Fall: transfer from Cloud County Community College (55 percent field goal percentage, 73 percent free throw percentage, 8.9 rpg, 2.5 blocks per game)
Christian Moon: transfer from Henry Ford Community College (13.9 ppg, 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 apg, 1.8 steals per game)
Stewart: transfer from Henry Ford Community College (15.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.9 steals per game)

Schedule highlights:

Toughest nonconference match up: at Utah or at New Mexico.

Hardest conference stretch: at Weber State and at Northern Arizona or a road contest at Montana then home against Northern Arizona to end the regular season.

Outlook:

The Bobcats, on paper, have a lot of retooling to do after losing four starters — three to graduation, one to retirement — especially since the starters accounted for 63 percent of their points, 50 percent of the rebounds, 55 percent of 3-pointers made and 61 percent of the field goals made.

Montana State also will miss its top offseason signing, Juco transfer Antonio Biglow (Mount San Antonio College) for the first semester as his transfer was hung up by paperwork or academics. Four other Juco transfers are coming in, with at least two or three poised to start, which is Huse’s biggest advantage and the slight advantage over Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado.

Prediction: Fifth, 8-8 Big Sky record

Next: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks

Back to Big Sky preview

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 6, 2011 in Conference Notes

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (19-13, 9-7)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Gabe Rogers
Jr. G Stallon Saldivar
Sr. G Durell Norman
Jr. F Austin Smith
So. F Ryan Schaefer

Important departures:

Cameron Jones: 20 ppg, 3.2 apg, 4.6 rpg
Shane Johannsen: 9.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.3 blocks per game
Eric Platt: 10.1 ppg, 69 3-pointers made per game

Top returnees:

Rogers: 13 ppg, 81 3-pointers made per game
Saldivar: 5.4 apg, 3.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Norman: 3.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg

Additions:

Fr. Danny Cheek: 15.3 ppg, ranked No. 18 recruit in California and No. 52 shooting guard overall in the nation in ESPN Recruiting Rankings
Ephraim Ekanem: transfer from Irvine Valley College (8.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
Jywrell Wilson: transfer from Cuyamaca College (18.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 4.5 apg)

Schedule highlights:

Toughest nonconference match up: vs. Brigham Young in Prescott, Ariz. or at Arizona.

Hardest conference stretch: first weekend of January at Portland State and Eastern Washington or last weekend of February at Montana and Montana State

Outlook:

The Lumberjacks will miss Rogers for the first two months of the season with a torn labrum, but it shouldn’t have a major impact on their conference play – unless he’s out for longer. Then it could be a longer year for Mike Adras, the Big Sky’s longest tenured coach (13 years, 99-83 BSC record). But when Rogers comes back, it could be a boon. Saldivar is as pure a point guard as one might find, and his leadership at the position will help make everyone better as the team gets used to playing without Rogers and finds out who will step up in the wake of Jones and Johannsen leaving. The team might be the smallest in the Big Sky – rivaling only Montana State in shortness – and has an overabundance of guards on the roster. With only one senior and no experience in the frontcourt, Northern Arizona will contend because of Adras’ coaching, potential and major player losses to every team in the conference.

Prediction: Sixth, 7-9 Big Sky record

Next: Northern Colorado Bears

Back to Big Sky preview

Northern Colorado Bears 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 6, 2011 in Conference Notes

Northern Colorado Bears (21-11, 13-3)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Elliot Lloyd
Jr. G Aaron Hawk-Harris
So. G Paul Garnica
So. F/C Emmanuel Addo
Sr. F/C Mike Proctor

Important departures:

Devon Beitzel: 21.5 ppg, 1.4 steals per game, 87 3-pointers made per game
Neal Kingman: 10.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Chris Kaba: 9.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Taylor Montgomery: 5.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg

Top returnees:

Lloyd: 7.5 ppg, 3.3 apg
Proctor: 5.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg
Garnica: 4.2 ppg, 1.1 steals per game

Additions:

Hawk-Harris: transfer from College of Eastern Utah (6.5 ppg, 2.2 apg, 2.9 rpg)
Fr. Bryce Douvier: 20.5 ppg, 14.6 rpg, 4.1 blocks per game, 2.2 apg

Schedule highlights:

Toughest nonconference match up: at Marquette.

Hardest conference stretch: final two weekends of January, at Montana, at Montana State and at Idaho State, at Northern Arizona.

Outlook:

The media and coaches polls have Northern Colorado in the top four, but the Bears lost four starters, including all-everything swingman Beitzel. Lloyd is a very capable point guard, and Proctor went for 8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in the Big Sky Tournament, but the roster is very young and inexperienced.

Head coach B.J. Hill struck gold moving into the top spot when Tad Boyle went to Colorado, and he’s a very good coach who has mentored under Boyle for a long time. However, Proctor is the only senior, Lloyd and Hawk-Harris are the only juniors, and the rest of the team is redshirts (sophomores and freshmen) and true underclassmen. It’s not that there’s no talent, but Hill will have to do an exceptional coaching job to get this team back to the Big Sky title game. Like the other Northern, the Bears will win a few here and there because the league is so top-heavy.

Prediction: Seventh, 6-10 Big Sky record

Next: Portland State Vikings

Back to Big Sky preview

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