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The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 29, 2015

by - Published January 29, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

While Notre Dame and Duke were putting on a terrific game, one that should confirm both as deserving top 10 teams right now, Wednesday was not a good night for a couple Atlantic Coast Conference teams at home, and it could be one that comes back to haunt those teams on Selection Sunday in just under 6 1/2 weeks.

First: the good. Notre Dame rallied to defeat Duke 77-73 in South Bend, outscoring the Blue Devils 22-8 over the final 10:37. No 54-50 slugfest here; this was what a high-level game should look like (and note to NCAA rule makers: it didn’t need a 30-second shot clock to achieve it). Jerian Grant scored 23 points, while Jahlil Okafor ensured the Player of the Year hype won’t die down anytime soon with 22 points and 17 rebounds.

Outside of that dandy, North Carolina State and Miami (Fla.) both looked like they had a chance for confidence-building wins against teams at the bottom of the conference. It didn’t work out that way. The Wolfpack fell way behind early and couldn’t catch up in a 68-57 loss to Clemson. In south Florida, Georgia Tech blew out Miami (Fla.) 70-50, adding another ugly loss to the Hurricanes’ Dow Jones-like resume.
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Finding a way to win at BC may be just what Pittsburgh needs

by - Published January 8, 2015 in Columns
pittsburgh

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Sometimes you need to win a game you seemingly have no business winning based on how you play. When that happens, it can be a big boost, and for Pittsburgh, that boost may come at the right time from Tuesday’s 61-60 overtime win at Boston College.

Normally, eking out a win over a so-so Boston College team, even on the road, isn’t a big one for a team. That’s especially true for a team like Pittsburgh, which has been a fixture in the NCAA Tournament for over a decade. When you’re coming off a game where the offense was as bad as it’s been all year, though, and struggle again for most of the night and don’t play well enough to win all along, the story changes.

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The Morning Dish – Sunday, January 4, 2015

by - Published January 4, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

The unbeaten toppled over one-by-one on Saturday.

We started the day with six, but ended it with three, and nearly less than that. Villanova went down at 2:30 p.m. TCU was gone by 6 p.m. Colorado State dropped at 10 p.m. Two hours before that, Virginia looked for the world like it was going to join the list until some heroics by Justin Anderson and some poor clock management by Miami.

Welcome to conference play.
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The Morning Dish – Saturday, January 3, 2015

by - Published January 3, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Being a college basketball coach is not the easiest job these days. Yes, many coaches make a lot of money, but the demands of the job can be a bit unforgiving at times. There is much more to it than simply running practice, drawing up a game plan and then coaching the game. While we have seen numerous instances of this over the years, and they always give us a reason to pause for perspective, Friday provided us with three more of them all at once.

A couple of them have been developing stories, thus they didn’t come out of left field. The third did, though, and it is one that really shouldn’t be part of the news cycle, but gets out there in the open and thus gets discussed.

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How the conferences shape up as we hit 2015

by - Published January 1, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is basically done at this point. A handful of games remain for many teams, and we’ll see a non-conference game or two sprinkled in between conference games over the next couple of months, but conference play beckons. Several have already started, with the West Coast Conference getting jump on the rest of the country this past Saturday and Monday. For two months, we’ve had a look at teams to get an idea of who they are. They have shown us something thus far.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how the conference races shape up based on what we’ve seen in non-conference play.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, December 22, 2014

by - Published December 22, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

In an age where flash dominates sports, where no-look passes and high-flying dunks capture fans’ attention, and where future NBA talent is talked about so much in the college game, Virginia stands out.

And on a weekend where a Kentucky team that has been much-talked about annihilated a UCLA program that has plenty of history all its own, Virginia stands out in its own way. And the Cavaliers have been doing that since the start of last year, for that matter, even if very few people have noticed.

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Just how good is North Carolina?

by - Published December 20, 2014 in Columns
northcarolina

Last year, North Carolina was a team that no one could figure out. Lose to Belmont, beat Louisville. Lose at UAB, beat Michigan State. Beat Kentucky and Texas, lose at Wake Forest.

This year? The question is whether or not the Tar Heels can really challenge for the top of the ACC, and perhaps most of all, if they have enough to complement star guard Marcus Paige. The Tar Heels haven’t been quite so hard to figure out on a given night, but we’re still trying to figure out just how good this team is and will be.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 20, 2014

by - Published December 20, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Every year, there’s one or two game results that are beyond head-scratchers. They may be proof of a team being capable of an off night, or perhaps a harbinger of things to come. They can also be an example of what the winning team is capable of, even though that doesn’t tend to get as much attention.

In Miami’s case, their hope is that it’s not the first of those three.

An Eastern Kentucky team that has shown some promise during non-conference play broke through in a big way on Friday night, never trailing en route to a 72-44 thumping of Miami. The bottom line result is one thing; a 28-point margin? That raises questions.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, December 15, 2014

by - Published December 15, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

We know what Penn State went through a couple of years ago with their football program. It’s been through a lot, and they are now back in a bowl game this year. While the basketball program never had to go through a criminal and then NCAA investigation, it has had its own demons. Life inside the program is not easy.

Penn State is a classic example of a “football school.” Football is sport 1, 1-A, 1-B and more there, especially for the fan base. The basketball team plays a distant second fiddle, if that. I won’t go much into detail – a respected colleague who attended the school did a great job of that right here.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 13, 2014

by - Published December 13, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Friday was a busy day with off-court matters, but in was a particularly bad day for a couple of teams with. It was a quiet night on the court, but this didn’t have to happen. One team can absorb the blow a lot better than the other, and the reasons are different.

In the morning, we learned that Kentucky will be without junior forward Alex Poythress for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL in his left knee suffered in practice on Thursday. This is not a small loss, and his story has been one of a player with plenty of talent who has not had it easy during his college career but has become a key piece. His motor was inconsistent, but he’s improved that to give this team more of what they need. They will miss him, but they have more than enough talent and depth to absorb this loss from a production standpoint. Intangibles are another story, although even there the Wildcats appear to have enough to absorb his loss at first glance.

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Saturday Notes – January 24, 2015

January 25, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

This Saturday didn’t have quite the marquee matchups as a week earlier, but there were some important ones, especially with teams in the middle of a few conferences trying to separate themselves from the pack.

Saturday notes – January 17, 2015

January 18, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

High school games may have grabbed a lot of attention, but there were plenty of college games as well. Most results weren’t surprising, but were well worth looking at some notes on, and we do that here.

Rhode Island keeping perspective after tough loss

January 15, 2015 by

rhodeisland

Rhode Island controlled Tuesday night’s game against VCU, but couldn’t finish it and took a tough loss. Their improvement is evident, though, and they are keeping perspective on that in trying to keep improving.

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2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.