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The Morning Dish – Sunday, March 15, 2015

by - Published March 15, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Unwatchable? In a state of crisis? We challenge anyone who watched even a little bit of the college basketball action on Saturday to come to those conclusions about this sport.

While college basketball certainly has areas with room for improvement-and indeed, sometimes is not pretty-the fact is the product still provides consistent drama-and we haven’t even started the NCAA Tournament. Contrary to some of what you hear, the sport is not dying. College basketball still delivers, over and over.
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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 13, 2015

by - Published March 13, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Texas was so close. So, so close.

A chance to make a convincing argument for the Longhorns’ inclusion in the NCAA Tournament was right there. They had Iowa State down for almost literally the entire game. They led by 16 points in the first half and by 10 points for almost the entire second half. They still led by 10 with 3:35 left.

Somehow, Texas still lost. The team that has looked the part but lost to good teams time and again did it once more, falling to the second-seeded Cyclones 69-67 in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals as Iowa State scored the final 12 points of the game, capped by Monte Morris hitting a jumper at the buzzer.
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The Morning Dish – Thursday, March 12, 2015

by - Published March 12, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Lafayette and head coach Fran O’Hanlon have been together a long time. Both have been rewarded for their patience, and it will be good to see both of them again in the NCAA Tournament this year.

Fifteen years after their last appearance in the Big Dance, both are back again this year after Lafayette held off American 65-63 in the Patriot League tourney final on Wednesday. The Leopards will make their first trip to the tourney since 2001 and just their fourth in school history.

A wild year in the Patriot League was capped in appropriately unpredictable fashion, with fourth-seeded Lafayette hosting the 6 seed in the title game. Sophomore guard Nick Lindner was the difference with 25 points in the game, and the Leopards are the lowest seed to ever win the Patriot tourney, doing so after going just 9-9 in league play in the regular season.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, March 11, 2015

by - Published March 11, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Robert Morris is the type of small eastern private school that fits in so perfectly in the college basketball landscape, one that every so often comes out of nowhere and makes some noise, adding a little bit of spice and a lot of charm to the sport.

Two years ago, the school made considerable noise in the NIT when it defeated Kentucky in a first round game. Tuesday night, though, the Colonials may as well have been Kentucky, for the role of villain they took on in the Northeast Conference championship game.

Robert Morris defeated sentimental favorite St. Francis (N.Y.) 66-63 in the NEC final, yet again depriving the Terriers of their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid. By now the story has been well worn: St. Francis is one of five original Division I members to never make the tourney since that level was born in 1939. And it might feel like there is a glass ceiling on those teams after the last two days, as William & Mary also lost in the CAA final Monday night for the second straight year.

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Boston College finally has a win to show for their efforts

by - Published March 2, 2015 in Columns
bostoncollege

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Finally. The waiting game of sorts is over for Boston College.

So many good battles against top ACC teams, so many tough losses. That was the story for Boston College, especially during a nine-game losing streak that started in late January. They would give the likes of Pittsburgh, Miami (twice each), Syracuse, Louisville and North Carolina all they could handle before succumbing late. Rarely were they never really in a game, like a week earlier against Notre Dame. Surely it had to be a matter of time before they would break through and pull one of these out. And indeed, it wasn’t even a matter of pulling it out – they were never seriously challenged on Saturday. NC State got no closer than 12 in the second half, and that only lasted for 14 seconds.

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NC State is not making it easy on themselves

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

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – NC State is not making it easy on themselves. The Wolfpack entered Saturday in a pretty good position regarding the NCAA Tournament, but left Boston having made things a little tougher.

Give Boston College some of the credit, as the Eagles have gone toe-to-toe with pretty much every top team and played them tough before succumbing. The Wolfpack surely knew this wasn’t going to be easy. BC made it tough, especially with their interior defense as they made it hard for the Wolfpack to finish in close, and the Wolfpack made it tougher by appearing listless from the outset. The end result showed up on the bottom line, and one stat in the box score told a lot of the story: NC State shot 32.8 percent from the field, while Boston College shot 56.8 percent.

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Dynamic backcourt duo returns to lead a special season for Notre Dame

by - Published February 22, 2015 in Columns
notredame

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Jerian Grant makes a big difference. The result of his return and everything else around him is exactly what the senior came back for this season. Add him to running mate Pat Connaughton, and you understand why Notre Dame is having a historic season for the program.

By now, Grant’s story from last season is well-known. Just after the Fighting Irish gave away a game to Ohio State in New York a few days before Christmas, he withdrew from the university for an academic matter. He stated all along that he would be back for this season, though plenty surely wondered if that would happen. He was certainly good enough to get NBA Draft interest had he desired to pursue that avenue.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 9, 2015

by - Published February 9, 2015 in Columns
hoopguy-cyan

If you ever go to the Dean Smith Center at the University of North Carolina, a look up in the rafters will give you an idea of why the building is named after the man. It’s an amazing collection of college basketball history.

Smith passed away late Saturday night at age 83. It came late enough in the evening that word did not get out about it until yesterday morning. And so we begin to remember him, including that like so many legends, he was more than just a coach.

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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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A happy resolution comes in Delaware

April 1, 2015 by

delaware

There has finally been a resolution to Monte Ross’ contract situation, and it’s a happy one for the Blue Hens’ head coach and his staff after the work they have done to rebuild the program.

Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

March 15, 2015 by

temple

Temple is firmly on the bubble after losing in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to SMU. It’s the first time in head coach Fran Dunphy’s storied career that his team has been in this situation.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen 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.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

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

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

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.