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The Morning Dish – Sunday, March 29, 2015

by - Published March 29, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The 2015 NCAA Tournament now has its signature game. Just like last year, that game involves Kentucky.

Last year, Kentucky’s second round game against Wichita State was the best of the tourney and maybe one of the best in years, an up-and-down, back-and-forth, 78-76 UK win. Last night, in a tourney that started out strong but has almost bordered on dull the last couple rounds, Kentucky’s Midwest regional final against Notre Dame was a welcome return to the NCAA Tournament that we’ve been spoiled to expect. The Wildcats pulled it out, but not without more than a few nervous moments, as Notre Dame gave a heroic effort before missing a shot at the buzzer in falling 68-66.
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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 27, 2015

by - Published March 27, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

A West Region final rematch is what many have been looking forward to this year, even if they didn’t know it. And a West Region final rematch is what they are getting, and it’s one that will be a historical rarity.

It’s an isolated occurrence for teams to meet in the NCAA Tournament two years in a row at all, and it is flat-out scarce that they square off in the same regional in the same round two years straight. It hasn’t happened since UCLA and San Francisco played in the 1973 and 1974 West regional finals, when the tourney was just 25 teams and placing teams in their home region was a priority and also easy to accommodate with so few teams. It took 41 years, but it will finally happen again on Saturday in the West Region (again) as Wisconsin and Arizona will meet again with a trip to the Final Four on the line after the Badgers defeated North Carolina 79-72 and the Wildcats held off Xavier 68-60 on Thursday.
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The Morning Dish – Sunday, March 22, 2015

by - Published March 22, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

When it comes to the very best teams in March, the current list starts with names like Arizona. Duke. Kentucky. Michigan State.

It’s high time another school was added to that elite hierarchy in the sport.

Xavier is back in the Sweet 16-again. This time, it’s after a 75-67 win over Georgia State on Saturday, as the Musketeers shot an incredible 67.6% for the game, including 81.3% (13 of 16) in the second half. It took that kind of effort to knock out the Panthers and R.J. Hunter-who almost certainly made himself some serious money with his performance this week-but X is on to the regional semifinals and now will face Arizona.
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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 20, 2015

by - Published March 20, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The first full day of the 2015 NCAA Tournament was littered with close, down-to-the-wire games. If it felt like an extraordinary day for the consistency of the fantastic finishes, that’s because it was.

Thursday saw 11 of the 16 first round games decided by eight points or less. Eight were decided by a single possession. Five were decided by a point, a record for a single day in the tourney. Two went to overtime.

As far as drama goes, it was as about as good as it can get. But there’s also a good chance that such games aren’t going anywhere and are going to be the norm this year. And maybe for the foreseeable future.
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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 6, 2015

by - Published March 6, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

The nickname will live on, but as far as the team that earned the label for Florida Gulf Coast, it turns out the first we saw of “Dunk City” in the NCAA tournament in 2013 was also the last.

FGCU was knocked out of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament on Thursday by South Carolina Upstate. In a game that lived up to expectations, the Spartans won 63-62 only after the Eagles’ Bernard Thompson missed the final of three free throws after being fouled attempting a three-pointer with less than two seconds left.

The smooth-shooting Thompson and entertaining point guard Brett Comer were the last links to that FGCU team that shot up from a 15 seed in the 2013 tourney, running and dunking freely past heavily favored Georgetown and San Diego State to make the Sweet 16. As much as the Dunk City tag has endured since then, that team will always be the genuine article, the first and the best.
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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 16, 2015

by - Published February 16, 2015 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

The Pac-12 looks more and more like it will come down to a game at the end of the month. And it looks like that game will be well worth watching, with Sunday not changing any of this.

Arizona and Utah have set the pace in the Pac-12 this season, and appear to be on a collision course for when they meet on February 28 in Salt Lake City. Both are tied atop the conference, with Arizona taking round one between these two in Tucson, and both won convincingly on Sunday to keep it that way. No one else will challenge them at this point.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, February 14, 2015

by - Published February 14, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Iona and Manhattan have basically ruled the MAAC the last two years and carried the story. The last two championship games have been close ones between the two, they are nearby rivals, and there is immense respect for one another. In fact, last year, after Manhattan won the championship game, head coach Steve Masiello said he and his staff have tried to model their program after Iona.

Friday night was the latest installment of this rivalry. The two teams are a contrast in styles, with Iona being the team that can light up the scoreboard while Manhattan can slow down and stop a lot of offenses. While Iona shot over 52 percent from the field, including 11-18 from long range, Manhattan was able to hang in by forcing 21 turnovers. The game came down to the end, but it was Iona that escaped with a 70-67 win to remain two games up in the MAAC standings.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, January 31, 2015

by - Published January 31, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

On Friday nights from here on out, Ivy League basketball will take center stage. It got started last night, and that’s what the next six weeks will be like – the 14-game tournament, as they call it, since the Ivy League doesn’t have a tournament.

By now, each team has played their travel partner twice, save for Penn and Princeton, who still have one more meeting left. While it’s early yet, we now have our first full taste and a little more of a sense of each team.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, January 23, 2015

by - Published January 23, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Thursday night’s college basketball schedule was stacked, as good of a weeknight schedule as we may see all season.

From the top of Division I to the bottom, from the East Coast to far into the Pacific, games of significance took place everywhere. Fantastic finishes, overtime games (sometimes both in one-see: Arkansas’s exciting 93-91 OT win over Alabama), rivalry games, offense, defense, you name it, you were able to find it.

But more than anything, the night featured a number of important battles for the top in conference standings. Among the biggies:

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The Morning Dish – Friday, January 16, 2015

by - Published January 16, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

We are still barely past the halfway mark of this college basketball season, but there’s a question that probably should start getting pondered a little bit: Is Utah a Final Four contender?

The Runnin’ Utes have been a great story. From 6-25 three years ago, to just missing the NCAA Tournament last year, to the top 10 this year, Larry Krystkowiak has had tremendous success. (He’s a former Montana coach: that’s what former Montana coaches do.) More than just a great story, though, Utah of late is looking like not just a real national contender, but even a bully.

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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.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

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.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

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.