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2013-14 OVC Post-Mortem

by - Published May 21, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

Even though the conference is split by divisions, the Ohio Valley Conference was a distinct three-team race last year. And though just one of those three made the NCAA Tournament, it can be said that all three ended their seasons on a high note.

Eastern Kentucky won the OVC Tournament and the league’s automatic NCAA bid, as the Colonels’ veteran team knocked off the top two seeds. The season was a success for EKU, a perimeter-oriented team that was expected to be around the top of the OVC, maximized its talent and gave Kansas a serious run in the NCAAs.

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Quick hitters from the past weekend of tournaments

by - Published November 27, 2013 in Columns

The past weekend was quite a stretch with some early-season tournaments, and now we’re into another week full of them. It’s a fun time of the year as we form some early impressions of many teams and some pick up wins that can have shelf life later in the season.

Here are some quick hitters coming out of the weekend:

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Memphis Tigers’ Big 3 put in work against Belmont

by - Published November 15, 2011 in Conference Notes

Memphis topped a Belmont team that lost to Duke at Cameron Indoor by one point four days earlier. The final seconds were not as tense for Memphis, as they won 97-81. The victory was due in large part to three players: Will Barton, Wesley Witherspoon and Joe Jackson. The three combined for 65 points.

Barton was the leading scorer for Memphis with 23 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists. He did force the issue at times, going 7-of-12 from the field and 0-of-4 from behind the 3-point line. Still, it’s hard to deny his talent. Barton can make shots that seem to have no chance of going in.

Witherspoon put his versatility on display against Belmont. He was the second-leading scorer with 22 points, tied for most rebounds with five and had two steals. His shot selection was superb. Witherspoon made 8-of-8 field goals, including 3-of-3 3-pointers. The only thing he did poorly was shoot free throws and a grab a poorly timed flagrant foul.

Jackson looked much better than he did most of last season. He had 20 points, four rebounds, seven assists and only two turnovers. He can blow by defenders at will, and he seems to have figured out what to do once he gets past them.

Barton has always been a good player, albeit a bit too flashy at times. If Witherspoon and Jackson can continue to play like they did against Belmont, Memphis will stay in the Top 10 all year.

Mid-April Rundown of the Latest NBA Decisions and Coaching Changes

by - Published April 22, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

1. Stetson is hoping that Casey Alexander can duplicate the run of success he helped establish at Belmont as the Hatters’ new coach, according to a press release from Belmont that announces the associate coach’s departure. In 20 years with the Bruins’ program, Alexander helped the team transition from NAIA to the NCAA and worked to position the Bruins as a mid-major powerhouse in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

2. As the deadline for early entrants to the NBA Draft passes, here’s a rundown of some of the recent announcements:

  • Colorado’s Alec Burks: In draft, with agent.
  • Kentucky’s Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins: All in draft, none with agent.
  • Michigan’s Darius Morris: In draft, without agent.
  • Northwestern’s John Shurna: In draft, without agent.
  • Vanderbilt’s Festus Ezeli, John Jenkins and Jeffrey Taylor: All returning to school.

3. Among the coaching ranks, here’s some more recent movement:

  • Penn State assistant coach Lewis Preston is leaving to coach Kennesaw State.
  • Former Princeton player Mitch Henderson returns to his alma mater as head coach.
  • Syracuse assistant Rob Murphy will move to Eastern Michigan as head coach.

4. And from the rumor mill, Miami’s coaching search continues, with George Mason’s Jim Larranaga as a new target.

Quick Hitters – February 15, 2010

by - Published February 15, 2010 in Columns

Some quick hitters from the weekend:

  • Brown split its two games this weekend, and the biggest development is that Peter Sullivan appears to be fully healthy.  The junior wing was injured early in Ivy League play and had struggled playing through it, but had two solid games in a row this weekend.  He had a double-double against Dartmouth with 23 points and 11 rebounds, going 14-16 from the foul line, then had 21 points and six boards against Harvard the next night.
  • Harvard had its first Ivy League road sweep in 10 years with an 82-79 overtime win at Yale followed by an 81-67 win at Brown on Saturday.  Freshmen came up big in both wins, with Christian Webster reaching double figures in both and steadily improving guard Brandyn Curry scoring 15 against Yale.  Topping both was Kyle Casey, who had 20 points and seven boards against Yale and then had a terrific night against Brown, scoring 27 points on 8-9 shooting from the field, including 3-3 from long range.  That earned him not only the Ivy League Rookie of the Week, his fourth such honor, but also Player of the Week.”I thought Kyle Casey was just spectacular,” said head coach Tommy Amaker.  “For a freshman to have the kind of weekend he’s had is pretty darn special for us, and without him I’m not sure that we’re in the position we’re in right now.”
    Added teammate Jeremy Lin: “He’s just playing out of his mind right now.”
  • Another Ivy note: it’s often said that winning on the road in the league is very difficult, but thus far this season road teams are 16-14.
  • Northeastern suffered another heart-breaking loss at William & Mary on Saturday, which makes twice in three trips to Williamsburg that they had such an ending.  This time, the Huskies were the ones battling back from a deficit, as they trailed by 16 with over nine minutes left and rallied to take a one-point lead with 23 seconds left before falling 53-52.
  • Speaking of road wins, one team that had an adventure on the road this weekend was Belmont, which moved to 16-10 overall and 11-5 in the Atlantic Sun with a 70-57 win at USC Upstate on Saturday.  The Bruins spent 20 consecutive hours on the team bus, from 2:30 p.m. Central on Friday until 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, as Interstate 85 in northeast Georgia was closed due to poor road conditions from the storm that hit the area.  The game was slated to tip off at 2 p.m. but was pushed back to 7 p.m. to accommodate the team, and they did not get a shootaround – only a 30-minute pregame warm-up.
  • UMass scored a 70-62 win over Saint Joseph’s on Sunday, a good follow-up to their comeback win at Duquesne on Thursday night.  Ricky Harris continued his hot play, scoring 27 points, 17 in the second half.  In the last six games, he is averaging 26.7 points per game and looks nothing like the player he was nearly two months ago, when shots just weren’t falling.”In the first part of the season, I felt like I was forcing a lot of stuff instead of letting the game come to me,” said the senior guard.  “Now I feel more relaxed out there, I feel like the game is coming to me.  I’m not having to go do stuff that I’m not capable of doing.  It’s just coming to me and I’m feeding off my teammates.”


Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

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Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by


Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by


The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by


Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

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Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by


The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by


Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by


The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by


The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by


When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

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