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Behind Leslie, North Carolina State progresses when it comes to big games

by - Published March 12, 2012 in Columns

ATLANTA – Even before Mark Gottfried said it on Friday, you could see it: North Carolina State is now more ready to win the games it needs to. They weren’t ready early in the season, when they had some opportunities, but they showed this weekend at the ACC Tournament that they are in a better place now and at a good time. That remains the case despite a tough 69-67 loss to North Carolina in the semifinals on Saturday.

“Early in the year, we played a great schedule, but we just sometimes weren’t good enough,” said Gottfried after the Wolfpack knocked off Virginia. “I think now, this team is learning how to execute their offense in late-game, tough situations, get a defensive stop at a tough time.”

… Continue Reading

Championship Week(s) Central

by - Published March 11, 2012 in Columns

For two weeks, nearly every team in Division I will get a chance to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The road to the Big Dance starts with 30 conference tournaments — the Ivy League gives its auto bid to the regular-season champ. We preview each conference tournament as the action starts to heat up. Check back here for each day’s schedule and a rundown of the previous day’s results.

In a few hours, all conference tournament games will be over, and we’ll be anxiously waiting to see where 68 teams land in the NCAA Tournament.

We had plenty of automatic bids go out yesterday without too many shockers. The ACC Tournament featured plenty of excitement and controversy as questionable officiating enraged the fan bases of NC State and Duke. The two semifinal games were decided by a total of five points. … Continue Reading

A look back on Notre Dame advancing to the Big East Semis

by - Published March 10, 2012 in Columns

NEW YORK – Semifinal night. A Friday in New York. A  lot of pre-game talk at the Big East Tournament centered on the prior evening’s quarterfinal matchup between Notre Dame and South Florida. The Irish pulled it out with a 57-53 overtime victory.

The pace and efficiency:

 

Possessions Off. Efficiency
South Florida 58 91
Notre Dame 60 85

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Big East: UCONN-Syracuse Boxscore Breakdown and notes….

by - Published March 9, 2012 in Columns

NEW YORK – Thursday afternoon’s analytical note is a box score breakdown from the Syracuse quarterfinal victory over UCONN. The Huskies won their first two in the tournament. From that, talk circulated regarding a run like last year’s that wound up with the Big East title. It was not to be as Syracuse prevailed.

A look at the key numbers from the game:

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Boston College has reasons to be confident next year will be better

by - Published March 9, 2012 in Columns

ATLANTA – Let’s give Steve Donahue credit for what he did get out of this young Boston College team. The youth of this team has been well-chronicled. It was pretty much a given that wins were going to be hard to come by, and they were. The big question now that the season is over is just what there is to build on for next season.

Certainly the Eagles will bring back most of the team. None of the four seniors played significant minutes, although John Cahill wasn’t just a bit player and was important as someone with some Division I experience for the freshmen. But will the Eagles bring back a few guys who don’t have winning experience, or some players you can build around?

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2012 ACC Tournament – First Round Notes

by - Published March 9, 2012 in Columns

ATLANTA – The first day of the ACC Tournament is in the books. The seeds held to form in the afternoon with a pair of double-digit games, then we had the first upset right away in the evening as Virginia Tech held off Clemson after breaking a 52-52 tie with nine unanswered points.  Miami finished the night by knocking off Georgia Tech.

We’ve got more coming on a few of the teams. For now, some quick hitters on the day. … Continue Reading

Not a season to remember for Wake Forest

by - Published March 8, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

ATLANTA – Although it wasn’t quite as bad as last season, this was hardly one for the books for Wake Forest. After an 82-60 blowout loss against Maryland on Thursday, the Demon Deacons finished 13-18 overall. That doesn’t seem so bad, and a few teams had worse records, but look deeper and you see a team that, quite simply, was not good.

Wake Forest, which has now lost six straight ACC Tournament games, was one of four teams that finished 4-12 in the ACC and tied for last place. Because of tie-breakers, the Demon Deacons snagged the No. 9 seed. They beat Boston College twice and Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech once each. All three of those teams also finished 4-12, so Wake Forest didn’t manage to knock off a team ahead of them in the standings all season. They also went 3-8 in true road games and 1-3 at neutral sites, so they didn’t fare well away from Joel Coliseum.

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Ron Hunter a wonderful addition to the CAA coaching ranks

by - Published March 7, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Ron Hunter is a terrific addition to the Colonial Athletic Association coaching ranks. That could have been said before the season given his track record and the positive energy he showed talking about his Georgia State team on Media Day in October, but after the CAA Tournament it bears repeating because it was so obvious.

Hunter was already well-known for the winning he did at IUPUI, and perhaps even more for the organization he partners with and serves on the board of advisors for, Samaritan’s Feet. Hunter has coached a game barefoot every year for several years, has taken a team at IUPUI and will take a team from Georgia State overseas to see the difference receiving a pair of shoes can make in someone’s life, and he can run off the important numbers about it quite easily as it helps him keep a lot in perspective.

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Young players could take a lesson from Kent Bazemore

by - Published March 6, 2012 in Columns

Kent Bazemore is someone young basketball players could stand to learn from. The Old Dominion guard’s career is almost over, as his team has been eliminated from the CAA Tournament but postseason play should be in his team’s future. As that comes about, looking at his evolution as a player is a nice exercise, as it’s been enjoyable to watch him go from a player who needed to redshirt as a freshman to one of the conference’s best players.

Bazemore knew he needed to redshirt when he first got to Norfolk. He needed to get stronger and develop his offensive game, and it was a new world to him as he came from Kelford, N.C., a small town well to the northeast of Raleigh. As a freshman, he showed promise, and got more minutes as a sophomore. By then, he had established some versatility, as the Monarchs felt they could play him at any of the perimeter positions with some minutes at the point in a pinch. Still, on what had been veteran teams, he wasn’t putting up eye-popping numbers or being thought of as an all-CAA player, although his defense got noticed as he was selected to the conference’s All-Defensive team.

… Continue Reading

Bruiser Flint won’t be stressing out the next few days

by - Published March 6, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

RICHMOND, Va. – In theory, the next six days should be quite stressful for Drexel and head coach Bruiser Flint. After losing in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game on Monday night, the Dragons must wait to find out which tournament they will be playing in. As the regular season champions of the CAA, they are guaranteed a bid to the NIT, but naturally hope the NCAA Tournament comes calling. Flint doesn’t seem stressed at all about it, however, and his experience is a key factor in that.

Drexel was in a similar position in 2007. The big difference is in the NCAA Tournament profiles of the two teams, as the one in 2007 was better than this one. A look at the numbers doesn’t help Drexel: their strength of schedule entering Monday was 259, and their non-conference SOS is 228. Their best non-conference win is probably their win over Princeton at home, and the Tigers will finish third in the Ivy League.

… Continue Reading

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College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

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