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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 2, 2015

by - Published February 2, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Back on September 30, 2014, no one would have thought it was possible. Well, no one outside of a few people about 25 miles south of Boston.

The New England Patriots had just been thrashed on Monday Night Football, out-classed by Kansas City. The Patriots didn’t even look like a good college football team that night. Every team has off nights, but this didn’t seem like just that. They were 2-2 at the time and nothing leaped out at you as championship-worthy about this team. There was talk about whether the Tom Brady era was over. There were questions of whether or not it was time for them to start getting ready for the next generation of Patriots football.

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 1, 2015

by - Published January 1, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Happy New Year to all! Welcome to 2015.

It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty. It was maybe the furthest thing from pretty. But Temple picked up another non-conference win on New Year’s Eve that could go a long way towards getting it back to the NCAA Tournament.

The Owls opened their American Athletic Conference schedule with a 57-53 win at defending national champion Connecticut. Temple led much of the way, only to see the Huskies tie it in the final seconds of regulation. UConn also had a chance to take the lead with 2.8 seconds left in OT when Daniel Hamilton was fouled while attempting a three-pointer, but-in the irony of ironies, given how well the Huskies shot free throws in last year’s NCAA Tournament-Hamilton missed all three freebies.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, December 31, 2014

by - Published December 31, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

One of the great things about conference play is watching just how teams and players react to playing quality competition and/or on the road after having not been challenged much in the season’s first six weeks.

The Big Ten began its conference schedule on Tuesday with several notable games of that ilk. No game displayed the switch to the rigors of conference play like Iowa’s 71-65 win at Ohio State.

The Hawkeyes did an excellent job of moving the ball and finding the sweet spots in the Buckeyes’ 2-3 zone defense that was frankly way too soft. Iowa also hit shots, something it hasn’t always done this year (the Hawks’ 46% shooting was the team’s best mark in over a month), and controlled the boards for a big win to start off the conference schedule, one that should have lasting impact for quite a while.
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The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 13, 2014

by - Published December 13, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Friday was a busy day with off-court matters, but in was a particularly bad day for a couple of teams with. It was a quiet night on the court, but this didn’t have to happen. One team can absorb the blow a lot better than the other, and the reasons are different.

In the morning, we learned that Kentucky will be without junior forward Alex Poythress for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL in his left knee suffered in practice on Thursday. This is not a small loss, and his story has been one of a player with plenty of talent who has not had it easy during his college career but has become a key piece. His motor was inconsistent, but he’s improved that to give this team more of what they need. They will miss him, but they have more than enough talent and depth to absorb this loss from a production standpoint. Intangibles are another story, although even there the Wildcats appear to have enough to absorb his loss at first glance.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 29, 2014

by - Published November 29, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Many early season tournaments help a team set a tone for the season, including one of over-achieving in some cases. We saw the potential for that happen once earlier this week, and nearly saw it again on Friday. It will be one thing to watch going forward with some teams that come out of these tournaments as champions.

St. John’s gave it all they had against Gonzaga in the final of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Friday. They trailed for most of the game, including by 15 with 10:27 left, and later saw their big man – the nation’s top shot-blocker – foul out with 6:40 left. The odds seemed stacked against them.

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Florida State’s early record isn’t the most important thing

by - Published November 25, 2014 in Columns
floridastate

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The 1-3 start is certainly not good, but that wasn’t troubling Leonard Hamilton much. That was the case for good reasons, and it’s not necessarily cause for alarm, either.

“I’m more concerned about getting my team back healthy,” said the Florida State mentor. “It’s not the first time I’ve started 1-3. I’m not overly concerned about that.”

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The Morning Dish – Monday, November 24, 2014

by - Published November 24, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Sunday was the big day in several early season tournaments, so they lead the way once again. This time, though, three of them crowned champions.

We start with the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, which was an old Big East matchup. West Virginia made a strong start stand up, leading by 15 points at the half en route to a 78-68 win behind 21 points from tournament MVP Juwan Staten. Connecticut suspended four players before the game for a violation of team rules, two of whom are walk-ons and only one of whom has seen the court for the Huskies this season.

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The Morning Dish – Sunday, November 16, 2014

by - Published November 16, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The second day of the college basketball season was generally a quiet one. Before getting to Saturday’s games, though, a quick look back at a one that went very late and under the radar from Friday that may well end up being the longest game all season:

Deep into the night in the Rainbow Classic hosted by Hawaii, High Point defeated Cal State-Bakersfield 100-99 in FOUR overtimes. Two nearly anonymous teams playing far, far from home, but what a game.

The teams were tied for five straight periods-including halftime-and neither led by more than six points all night. High Point played without star forward John Brown, who did not play because of a “coach’s decision,” according to HPU. Devante Wallace picked up the slack with a career-high 32 points including seven three-pointers, while Aly Ahmed (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Kevin Mays (13 pts, 17 reb.) both had emphatic double-doubles for Bakersfield.

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2013-14 ACC Post-Mortem

by - Published May 27, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
acc

With Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse entering, much was expected of the ACC this year. The end result? Well, the ACC was still pretty good, but it wasn’t exactly the super conference some expected it to be. In fact, even before the NCAA Tournament came and went with just one team making the Sweet 16 and going no further, it seemed clear that the conference underachieved relative to expectations this season.

The truth, as is often the case, is a bit more complicated than that. That’s especially true when you realize that ACC teams won five in-season tournaments in non-conference play. It was also a nice year for the conference in terms of individual talents.

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Offense helps Florida State move along late in the season

by - Published March 5, 2014 in Columns
floridastate

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Florida State was very concerned about Boston College for a lot of reasons. After pulling out a 74-70 win over the Eagles, they were pretty relieved.

“I hope that people understand that they’ve got everybody back next year, and I hope we only play them once, and I hope it’s at our place,” said head coach Leonard Hamilton with a smile. “We were just very fortunate to get a stop, hit a free throw, get a turnover right at the end that gave us a chance to pull it out.”

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