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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 – Saturday, March 14, 2015

by - Published March 14, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

March is always a magical month, where so many things happen that seemingly defy logical explanation. The way games end falls into that category as much as anything else, and Friday showed that again.

We start in Brooklyn at the Atlantic 10 Tournament, where Davidson trailed for most of the game, but rallied. Still down by one, they had a play in the final seconds to win it, and Tyler Kalinoski put it up near the basket and got it to drop as time expired. Ray Floriani has more on this.

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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 – 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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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 – Sunday, November 9, 2014

by - Published November 9, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

More conference quick looks as we near the start of the college basketball season…

The Big Sky has typically been the domain of Weber State and Montana in recent years, and it may be again-Weber State in particular looks capable of continuing its excellence. But watch for Eastern Washington and Sacramento State. The Eagles return four starters, including high-scoring Tyler Harvey, while Sac State looks to have its best team in more than 20 years in Division I.

Coastal Carolina is a relatively big favorite in the Big South, and with good reason-the Chanticleers feature a high-quality backcourt (Josh Cameron, Warren Gillis, Elijah Wilson) that gets even better with Mount St. Mary’s transfer Shivaughn Wiggins. The Chants also have some nice size up front, but this still should be a good conference race. Radford returns everyone, Winthrop has become a tough out under Pat Kelsey, and High Point is the conference’s defending champion and has its best player in John Brown.

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2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

by - Published July 1, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigsky

The 2013-14 season saw one of the Big Sky’s signature programs, and the one that has given it arguably the biggest NCAA Tournament wins in recent memory, return to the Big Dance. It wasn’t that Weber State wasn’t good; they have been a consistent postseason team. They just couldn’t knock off one particular team in the conference tournament that had their number.

Since reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2007, Weber State lost three times – all to Montana – in the Big Sky championship game. This time around, the Wildcats didn’t have to go through the Grizzlies, who were bounced in the quarterfinals, and handily beat North Dakota in the championship game. It finished what was pretty much a dominating season for them, as they also won the regular season title and dominated the postseason awards.

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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

by - Published December 31, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is just about over at this point. Conference games are ready to take over the rest of the slate, with a few having an “opening day” of sorts, including the Big East with its well-publicized day of five games on Tuesday. A few have already had early conference games, with the West Coast Conference having its opening day on Saturday.

How are the conferences shaping up? Which ones look like we thought and which ones look nothing like what we thought before the season? Here is a look at all 32 conferences as conference play beckons.

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How the conferences shake out as 2013 approaches

by - Published December 28, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is almost over, and it has been quite a stretch. We’ve learned a good deal about a lot of teams, while some are still a mystery for various reasons – injuries, suspensions, ineligibility and a light schedule are all possible reasons. In addition, a few conferences have already seen a game or two mixed in with the non-conference schedule.

Conference play is right around the corner, and while a non-conference resume doesn’t tell the whole story, it does shed some light on teams and conferences. In conference play, there is more familiarity since teams play each other every year, although the changing landscape is starting to diminish that factor a bit. That’s one reason why we see some teams put forth a very good non-conference showing, including some good wins, then go on to have a mediocre showing in conference play.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how every conference in America shapes up.

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2012-13 Big Sky Conference Preview

by - Published November 22, 2012 in Conference Notes
bigsky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected order of finish

1. Weber State (17-3)
2. Montana (16-4)
3. Northern Colorado (13-7)
4. North Dakota (12-8)
5. Portland State (11-9)
6. Eastern Washington (10-10)
7. Sacramento State (9-11)
8. Montana State (8-12)
9. Northern Arizona (5-13)
10. Southern Utah (3-15)
11. Idaho State (2-14)

 

Preseason Player of the Year

G Will Cherry (Montana) – 15.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.3 APG, 2.6 SPG (11-12)

The senior two-time unanimous selection is the league’s newest Damian Lillard, its newest Devon Beitzel, its newest Rodney Stuckey. Except he’s not because, well, he’s been producing since his sophomore season. A summer injury (more on that later) will impact his status, but he should be back by Big Sky play. If he’s not, or if he’s hobbled, it might be a Peyton Manning-injured situation: talk of him getting MVP votes if the Griz should happen to spiral downward.

 

Preseason Coach of the Year

Wayne Tinkle, Montana

The biggest issue, aside from the Cherry situation, is what to do with everyone else not named Cherry or Kareem Jamar? Mathias Ward is the lone frontcourt player with extended experience, but you can bet Tinkle, a career Euroleague/CBA center will mold the rest of the frontcourt in his image.

 

Preseason All-Conference

Sr. G Will Cherry (Montana) – The best defender in the Big Sky hands down, Cherry has developed a mid-range game to go with it. Plus he can get to the basket like few others in the conference.

Jr. G Kareem Jamar (Montana) – 13.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.7 APG, 44% 3FG – Jamar can hurt you many, many ways. Jamar is listed as a G/F, and has a game which lends itself to both mid-range and the near low-post.

Sr. G Scott Bamforth (Weber State) – 14.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.4 APG – One of the best pure shooters in the league, Bamforth has to step up his mid-range game and free throws (a still-solid 87.5 percent, 105-of-120) as Weber looks to replace NBA point guard Damian Lillard.

Sr. F Collin Chiverton (Eastern Washington) – 13.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 41% 3FG – Chiverton netted close to 14 points a game while wrestling with a foot injury all of last year. He’s healthy now, which could be lethal for the Eagles as Jim Hayford probably will let Chiverton shoot the lights out every night.

Jr. C Kyle Tresnak (Weber State) – 10.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 54% FG – Tresnak is the best post scorer in the conference, hands down, and can play with his back to the basket like traditional centers should. His weakness is rebounding – a 6-foot-10 body, even by marginal standards, should average more than 3.8 rebounds per game. (Tresnak, a 32-game starter, averaged less than power forward Byron Fulton, who came off the bench.)
Coaching changes

Out: Joe O’Brien, Deane Martin (Idaho State); Mike Adras, Dave Brown (Northern Arizona); Roger Reid (Southern Utah)

In: Bill Evans (Idaho State); Jack Murphy (Northern Arizona); Nick Robinson (Southern Utah)

 

What was and what will be

Montana was the Big Sky’s NCAA Tournament entry last season after going 15-1 in conference play and winning the conference tournament. UM’s regular-season title was 20 years after its last outright title was secured, and the Grizzlies went 25-7 overall as head coach Wayne Tinkle won Coach of the Year honors and its backcourt duo of Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar were named to the Big Sky All-Conference First Team.

Damian Lillard was the talk of the conference, and rightly so: he’s playing in the NBA now. Though league runner-up Weber State lost him – and a couple other key cogs – the Wildcats have continually been a Big Sky tournament/title game mainstay. The program has a league-best 455 wins and has played in the tournament championship four times in the last half-dozen seasons.

As the season unfolds, the Big Sky expands to 11 teams; it will expand to a full-fledged 12 in 2014-2015. For now, the tournament gets an extra team and just the No. 1 seed (instead of Nos. 1 and 2) will receive a bye. Newcomer North Dakota comes in from the Great West with a balanced and experienced team and has a chance at the expanded tournament field, and several people were bullish on Sacramento State at a recent coaches conference call.

 

Eastern Washington Eagles (15-17, 8-8)

Projected starting 5: F Jordan Hickert, F Collin Chiverton, F Jaylen Henry, G Jeffery Forbes, G Justin Crosgile

Dearly departed: G Cliff Colimon (16.5 ppg, 66 3-pointers, 160 assists, 52 steals); F Cliff Ederaine (10.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 96 assists, 41 blocks, 43 steals); F Laron Griffin (8.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 23 blocks, 26 steals)

We’re back, baby: G Chiverton (13.9 ppg, 88 3-pointers, 36.7% FG), G Forbes (6.9 ppg, 31 steals, 48 assists, 62% FG)

Welcome to your new home: G Justin Crosgile (St. Joseph’s; 5-11, 170 pounds), the junior is expected to slide into starting point guard role after sitting out last season; Hayford also has collected a quartet of Europeans (transfer Martin Seiferth and true freshmen Fredrik Jorg, Venky Jois and Thomas Reuter) for his roster.

Games to watch: Non-conference, at Washington State (Nov. 10). Conference stretch, Jan. 17-26 (at North Dakota, at Northern Colorado, at Southern Utah)

Predicted finish: 10-10, Big Sky quarterfinalist. Eastern lost three very good starters and have a very young roster this season with a lot of new faces and interchangeable parts save for Chiverton, who should be the go-to scorer/leader.

 

Idaho State Bengals (9-21, 7-9)

Projected starting 5: G Andre’ Hatchett, G Melvin Morgan, G/F Chris Hansen, F Dejan Kostur, F Nnamdi Ezenwa

Dearly departed: F Chase Grabau (12.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 93 assists, 52 steals, 50.6% FG, 37.3% 3-point); G Kenny McGowen (14.7 ppg, 66 assists, 67 3-pointers, 32.5% 3pt, 37.9% FG); G Abner Moreira (7.2 rpg, 6.2 ppg, 14 blocks, 45.8% FG)

We’re back, baby: G Hatchett (7.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 13 blocks), G Morgan (12.2 points, 57 3pointers, 39.6% 3pt, 83 assists, 55 steals)

Welcome to your new home: Hansen (19 ppg, four rpg) is one of five transfers for new head coach Bill Evans. He is the only sophomore; there is one senior (Neveij Walters) and three juniors. Freshman Clint Thomas, an Idaho native, is the sole non-transfer.

Games to watch: Non-conference, at Oregon (Dec. 8). Conference stretch, Jan. 24-Feb. 2 (at Montana, at Montana State, at Northern Colorado, at North Dakota)

Predicted finish: 2-14, miss the Big Sky tournament. The Bengals lost four of their top five players from last season, which isn’t very helpful. Don’t know if Morgan can do it on his own; they just lost Sherrod Baldwin for the first semester due to academic ineligibility. It might be a long season, but they were predicted to be horrible last year, too.

 

Montana Grizzlies (25-7, 15-1)

Projected starting 5: G Will Cherry, G/F Kareem Jamar, F Mathias Ward, F Eric Hutchison, F Spencer Coleman

Dearly departed: F/C Derek Selvig (9.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 38 pointers, 43.7% 3pt, 87 assists, 35 blocks); F Art Steward 9.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 33 steals, 52.8% FG 113 FGs)

We’re back, baby: Cherry (15.8 ppg, 105 assists, 83 steals, team leader FG, 3pt, FT makes); Jamar (13.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 20 blocks, 36 steals, 49 3ptrs, 147 FGs, 92 FTs); Ward (10.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg53.8% FG, 129 FG)

Welcome to your new home: F Spencer Coleman (15.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 56 3ptrs,75% FT 66-88) is one of five newcomers to the Griz; transfer C Marko Kovavevic (JuCo, 6-11, 230) should be another key contributor. UM also has two redshirt Montanans (Morgan Young and Nick Emerson) who can contribute the way Shawn Stockton and Jordan Wood did – by doing the little things, like being a defensive specialist or harasser. Emerson has ability to put up points, too.

Games to watch: Non-conference, vs. BYU in Salt Lake (Nov. 28) or Feb. 23 at BracketBuster. Conference stretch, Feb. 14-March 4 (five road games, including BracketBuster)

Predicted finish: 16-4, Big Sky Tournament champions. OK, so how won’t they win the Big Sky regular season title? For one, Cherry is out indefinitely with a broken foot and Mathias Ward has no rebounding pedigree through his career so far. Why they’ll turn it around and win the Big Sky tournament – head coach Wayne Tinkle has an overall record of 116-71 (.620) and has guided the team to two NCAA tournaments in his seven-year tenure. The Griz have been to the postseason three seasons in a row, no reason to stop now.

 

Montana State Bobcats (12-17, 7-9)

Projected starting 5: G Antonio Biglow, G Xavier Blount, G Christian Moon, F Eric Norman, C Paul Egwuonwu

Dearly departed: G Rod Singleton (7.3 ppg, 105 assists, 61 FT, 75.3% FT, 40% FG); F Shawn Reid (10.6 ppg, 73.8% FT, 62 FTs, 101 FG); F Tre Johnson (8.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 29 blocks, 96 FG, 45% FG); C Mohamed Fall (7.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 51.7% FG, 78 FG)

Welcome to your new home: Biglow (6-0, 165) redshirted last season after going through NCAA issues and has been considered MSU’s best player since he was signed back in February of 2010. Averaged 22.4 points per game as a JuCo sophomore; he’s one of seven new people Brad Huse has on his roster.

Games to watch: Non-conference, at Oregon State (Nov. 25) or Feb. 24 at BracketBuster. Conference stretch, Feb. 14-28 (four road games, including BracketBuster)

Predicted finish: 8-12, miss the Big Sky Tournament. Where to begin? For the second straight year, Brad Huse brings in seven new players (variety of reasons, from graduation to NCAA to extra scholarships). That is a big issue, unless you ask Huse. The Missoula native is going into the final year of his contract, but that doesn’t seem to bother him: Eighteen of the 22 seasons he’s been a head coach, he had one year to prove himself.

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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.