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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 30, 2015

by - Published March 30, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Two more teams advanced to the Final Four on Sunday. Their stories are a contrast, even as similar as the programs may be in recent times.

Most expected that Duke would be a Final Four team this season. Take a team that was good last year, though flawed, subtract good but not irreplaceable players, and add the likes of Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow, and that was a natural expectation. Many years, that’s what they expect in Durham. When the Blue Devils ran out to a big start, the idea that they would be a Final Four team only grew, as did the talk that Okafor could be National Player of the Year.

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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 – Saturday, March 28, 2015

by - Published March 28, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

It’s been a long time coming for Gonzaga. The question now is if they have one more in them to go even further.

Since the late 1990s, Gonzaga has been the clear best team in the West Coast Conference and then some. They made a big splash by running to the Elite Eight in 1999, but weren’t just a flash in the pan. They became more than just the alma mater of John Stockton, as they started beating good teams in non-conference every year as well. They would be a lock to reach the NCAA Tournament, helping the WCC become a two-bid league in many recent years as other programs had to get better to compete with them.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, March 21, 2015

by - Published March 21, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

If it was possible to have a day that was the opposite of Thursday, we pretty much had it on Friday. Whereas Thursday was a wild day with historic upsets – three double-digits seeds won by a point on the same day for the first time in NCAA Tournament history – Friday was, well, ho-hum. In fact, it was almost a historic day in just about the opposite fashion.

The first 15 games of the day saw every higher seed win. Since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams, there has never been a day in the round of 64 where all 16 higher seeds won. Then we had the last game of the day. It was one that was full of ridiculousness, quite frankly, but the most important thing is that the game kept the day from being historic. No. 11 Dayton beat No. 6 Providence 66-53, providing the lone upset of the day.

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 26, 2015

by - Published February 26, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Coming off one of its best seasons ever, the Atlantic 10 has flown under the radar this year. The league won’t be getting six teams in the NCAA Tournament again, and it’s fair to say it: 2014-15 has not been as good for the conference as 2013-14 was.

It was always going to be hard to top last year anyway, though, so what the league is doing this year is no slouch. Hitting the stretch run, no conference is more intriguing at the top than the A-10, and that was proven in spades Wednesday night.
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The Morning Dish – Sunday, February 22, 2015

by - Published February 22, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

The Big West Conference no longer includes UNLV, or even New Mexico State, Utah State or Fresno State as it once did. It’s no longer playing the third game on Big Monday. Once a regular top 10-12 conference and even considered better than the Pac-10 for a brief time in the 1980s, it has slipped far, far outside the mainstream media eye, and not without good reason.

None of the above are acceptable excuses, but they help explain why one of the truly special stories of this college basketball season has been so ignored. A doormat since it joined NCAA Division I in the early 2000s with not so much as a winning season, UC Davis is putting together what could end up being the finest turnaround in Division I history.

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 19, 2015

by - Published February 19, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Wednesday night featured the very best of what college basketball has to offer, in so very many ways.

Passionate rivalries. Contrasts in styles. Outstanding players. Coaches with the freedom to coach teams the way they want to, and taking advantage of that in different ways. And, yes, very relevant regular season games.

The evening included what are, for our money, the two very best rivalries in the sport. Of course, the evening was mainly marked by Duke and North Carolina meeting again, but the night started with Xavier and Cincinnati squaring off once more in a series that as a whole is its equal, or awfully close to it.
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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, February 10, 2015

by - Published February 10, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Barely over two weeks ago, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma both were on the brink of seeing promising seasons go far downhill, both on the kind of negative roll that has paralyzed the campaigns of teams like Minnesota and California this year.

There are no such concerns anymore. Both the Cowboys and Sooners have warmed back up over the last couple weeks, no better symbolized than their back-to-back wins Monday night when OSU first won at Baylor 74-65 and then Oklahoma outran Iowa State 94-83 later on.
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The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 5, 2015

by - Published February 5, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Some greeted the news with surprise, others with cynicism. Either way, when one of college basketball’s signature programs makes the decision to hold itself out of the postseason, the development most certainly qualifies as big news.

Syracuse announced on Wednesday that it is self-imposing a ban from postseason play this year, in response to an NCAA investigation and “as a further means of past mistakes,” according to a university press release. The ban, which includes the ACC Tournaments, NCAAs, NIT and all over postseason tourneys, is essentially an admission of guilt in regards to allegations against the program dating all the way back to 2007, and suggests that the rules violations are more serious than we might have thought.
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The Morning Dish – Friday, January 30, 2015

by - Published January 30, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

It’s rare when we see TV networks do something even remotely outside the box when it comes to scheduling (sorry, pairing powerhouses against each other doesn’t count). Given this, yesterday’s announcement of the Big 12 and SEC moving their Challenge event to late January certainly qualifies as big news.

All 10 games in the event in the 2015-16 season will take place on Saturday, Jan. 30. The idea is to maximize exposure and separate the event from the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, as well as the glut of other tournaments and one-day events around late November. Of course, it also will keep it separated from football season, which with the way-too-long college football docket now results in games regularly played into December.
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Your Phil of Hoops

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.