As we’ve steadfastly pointed out in the past (and probably will again sometime before the season starts), the college basketball season starts too early, and the sport really has a poorly planned way to start the year, opening with a host of guarantee games in what is still the heart of college football season.
One of the good things about college hoops starting as early as it has in recent years, though, (Nov. 11 this year) is it does allow less time to hear bad news. Because, sad as it is, it seems so much of the news in the offseason with this sport is less than positive. (More unneeded NCAA Tournament and officiating tweaks, anyone?)
Unfortunately, we received more unfortunate news Thursday as it was announced Arizona forward Ray Smith has suffered an ACL injury for the third time in three years. Smith also received meniscus damage in his knee, and with those injuries he has decided to end his basketball career. … Continue Reading
Hawaii was a fortuitous-and wise-addition for the Big West Conference when the school joined in 2012, and it took just a couple years for the league to see a significant payoff.
After being a mid-pack team in its first three years in the Big West, the Rainbow Warriors exploded in 2015-16. Under first-year head coach Eran Ganot, Hawaii won a school-record 28 games, tied for the league regular season title and won the conference tournament to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament. … Continue Reading
Two NCAA Tournament bids went out on Saturday night, one expected and one not necessarily expected at the beginning of the day. And for different reasons, you can’t blame either coach if they got a little emotional.
We start with the Ohio Valley Championship game, the one certainty when the day began. UT-Martin, who has never been to the NCAA Tournament, took on Austin Peay, the school that’s been there six times and has been among the signature programs in the conference for a long time. Head coach Dave Loos, who for a long time was also the athletic directory, turned 69 on Saturday and has been doing this for a long time. He is the winningest coach in Ohio Valley Conference history, having been at Austin Peay for 26 years; the conference’s other coaches have combined to be at their schools for 33 years. He’s seen a lot, and won a lot, but this one was clearly different for him.
Not only are we in the midst of the holidays, but conference play beckons if it hasn’t already started. Non-conference play is almost complete, and teams form impressions during this time of how they will be in conference play. Even so, as is always the case this is imperfect. Conference play is a different animal, as teams are more familiar with each other from having played each other every year. That’s why we see some teams even in mid-majors get nice wins in non-conference play, but then lose games in conference play that strike the untrained eye as head-scratchers.
It is with that in mind that we take a look at how all 31 conferences shape up based on non-conference play thus far.
With opening day now just three days away, we continue our quick glance look at all 32 NCAA Division I conferences with six more today.
The Big East will again be one of the best conferences top-to-bottom in the country and certainly the best secret among the biggies. That says more about viewers still adjusting to national sports network options than the league, which if one is watching they’ll see it still retains a good share of the charm from its golden days. Villanova is the favorite for another league title, but Georgetown and Butler are capable of wresting it away. Xavier will remain good, and watch out for Marquette with a talented freshman class, including McDonald’s All-American Henry Ellenson. Unfortunately for the league, it’s still quite conceivable that there once again are a lot of very good teams and no great ones, which would lead to questions after the NCAA Tournament once again.
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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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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.
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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Normally, the Big South is not leading news items in college basketball, especially at the end of February, when never-ending talk of bubbles and No. 1 seeds dominate the discussion.
There are no teams from the Big South on the bubble-it’s automatic bid only to the NCAA’s. And the only race for a No. 1 seed is that for the league tournament in a conference that would be happy if its champion receives a 14 seed in the Big Dance.
In our latest podcast, we touch on a number of issues affecting conferences like Conference USA, as well as a big loss for Creighton, less mystery in Arizona, and more on the ACC as we look forward to the weekend.
In our latest podcast, we talk about a short stint in the top spot of the polls, some developments in the Mountain West Conference, and more of the ACC before closing with the Big East and Atlantic 10.
In our latest podcast, we talk about the great games Kentucky has been a part of lately. We go on to other ACC matters involving arch rivals, as well as some quick hits and a conference race that should be as good as expected.
In our latest podcast, we talk about a coaching legend reaching a milestone, the defending champs looking very good and continuing their winning ways close to home, and some off-court news during a light week of game action.
Early season tournaments are the focus in this episode, with a look at how strong a few Big East teams are out of the gate and how strong the ACC could be. Plus one SEC team had a big week outside the scope of tournaments.
We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.
We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.
We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.
Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout
The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.