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A final look: The NIT was a Colonial uprising

by - Published April 6, 2016 in Columns
nit

NEW YORK – In the first round, they faced elimination. George Washington barely got by a good Hofstra team 82-80, in the friendly confines of home no less, to advance to the second round. As the tournament advanced, they played better each time out, gained confidence and subsequently handled all opposition. Monmouth on the road, Florida at home.

Next up was the NIT “Final Four” at Madison Square Garden. In the semis the Colonials sent San Diego State back home. In the finals, following a nearly even first half, George Washington opened it up the second half going on to went defeat Valparaiso 76-60.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Friday, April 1, 2016

by - Published April 1, 2016 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Years from now, perhaps the best compliment one will be able to give one of the most talented senior classes in the history of George Washington basketball is that not only did they go out as champions, but they also went out playing their very best.

After a two-point escape against Hofstra in their National Invitation Tournament opener, there was no stopping the Colonials the rest of the way on their postseason run. Not even a top-seeded Valparaiso could get in the way as GW won the 79th annual NIT 76-60 Thursday night for its first postseason tournament championship in school history. … Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Wednesday, March 30, 2016

by - Published March 30, 2016 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

The championship game for the 79th annual National Invitation Tournament is set, and it’s a worthy one with two very good teams.

How good? Well, one way to look at it is this: if Oklahoma and Syracuse end up playing in the NCAA Tournament final on Monday, their combined win total this season will be less than that of the two playing in the NIT title game.

Valparaiso and George Washington are the final two left in the nation’s oldest Division I event after the Crusaders edged Brigham Young 72-70 and the Colonials dominated San Diego State 65-46 on Tuesday. The result is a final game on Thursday that will feature two teams with a combined 57 wins this year, with Valpo entering with a sparkling 30-6 mark and GW a fine 27-10.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Thursday, March 24, 2016

by - Published March 24, 2016 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

George Washington’s experienced core of seniors Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald has accomplished a lot in four years together, so adding another milestone to their careers and to the school’s history books is a fitting ending for the three.

From 13-17 as freshmen to the NCAA Tournament the next year to a small step backwards to the NIT second round a year ago, the trio now has led the Colonials to the NIT Final Four for the first time in school history. GW defeated stubborn Florida 82-77 on Wednesday, holding on to win in a game that featured 14 ties and 19 lead changes. … Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, March 22, 2016

by - Published March 22, 2016 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

With the NCAA Tournament now on recess for a few days, the coaching merry-go-round is starting to spin again.

Monday saw several vacancies filled, more created and rumors of still more to possibly come. The biggest moves both came in the Big 12, where TCU hired former Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon and Oklahoma State landed Stephen F. Austin’s Brad Underwood.

Dixon’s move to Fort Worth makes perfect sense. He was a starter on TCU’s greatest team going back almost a half a century now, the 1987 Horned Frogs who won the Southwest Conference regular season title, earned a 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round before dropping a gut-wrenching one-point game to Notre Dame. (Sound familiar, Stephen F. Austin fans?) … Continue Reading

Saint Joseph’s comeback stops George Washington

by - Published March 12, 2016 in Columns
atlantic10

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – In the opening half they chose to shoot the three. And shoot it they did. George Washington shot 11 of 16 (68.8 percent) the first twenty minutes. The Colonials enjoyed a 14-point halftime lead, but could not sustain. Saint Joseph’s put together a strong second half to edge the colonials 86-80 in an Atlantic 10 quarterfinal at the Barclays Center. The Hawks will face Dayton, an easy winner over Richmond, in the Atlantic Ten Conference semifinals on Saturday.

George Washington shot an impressive 15 of 31 for 48 percent from three on the game. In the second half, the Colonials misfired shooting 4 of 15 for 27%. It was a combination of things. Percentages caught up the the Colonials? Yes, but beyond that it was a tighter Saint Joseph’s defense making it a point to locate and close out on perimeter threats.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 25, 2016

by - Published February 25, 2016 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

There is no way around saying it anymore: Greg Gard should be the next head coach at Wisconsin.

Even acknowledging that it took some time for the Badgers to find their way under him (remember, the team was 2-4 in his first six games), what Gard has done righting a previously middling team deserves serious notice, to the point where it’s hard to imagine many others could’ve done it better this year. Considering that, plus his understanding of the program and the natural transition he provides from the very highly successful Bo Ryan, from the outside view he is the best candidate to be the full-time coach of this program.

Wisconsin won again Wednesday night for the ninth time in 10 games, defeating Iowa 67-59 on the road for another big win, and one that pretty much put the team in the NCAA Tournament barring a collapse the rest of the way. The Badgers held the Hawkeyes to 14 points in the game’s final 15 minutes and limited them a highly ranked team to 32.7% shooting in its own gym, a sensational defensive performance that backs up everything UW has accomplished in the last month.
… Continue Reading

Scanning the Nation Notebook: Atlantic 10, Wisconsin, Siena, Notre Dame & more

by - Published February 11, 2016 in Columns
glatczak

The Atlantic 10 is a more-than solid conference this year, comfortably in seventh in the conference RPI and with at least four NCAA Tournament-quality teams-and maybe five, depending on if St. Bonaventure can finish strong. That said, we fear the league is cannibalizing its own too much, and it’s conceivable that the A-10 could finish with as few as two or (gasp) one NCAA bid, should Dayton win the conference tournament.

George Washington, Saint Joseph’s, VCU and St. Bonaventure all are far from sure things for bids, and it’s certainly possible the selection committee will regard results such as GW winning at VCU and then losing at home (by 18 points) to Saint Joseph’s as signs of mediocrity more than strength. Should the numbers hold at or near their currents, we sure hope the committee seriously considers VCU’s improvement since late December (12 straight wins before the loss to the Colonials), St. Joe’s road record (9-0) and the Bonnies’ lack of bad losses (the worst are at RPI No. 106 Duquesne and 107 Siena, hardly a complete embarrassment), but we’re not optimistic. The committee likes to talk about road wins-and these four are a combined 26-8 away from home-yet regularly (and wrongly, from this view) ignores consistent road winners in favor of those who make one or two splashes away from home out of conference…
… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Friday, January 29, 2016

by - Published January 29, 2016 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

It was just another Thursday night in the college basketball season. And so much more.

North and south, east and west, there were high-level games and fantastic finishes last night. We’ve still got more than a month yet until we get to March-including a Leap Year day-but it felt like a snapshot from the greatest basketball month of the year.

Among the many cliffhangers and dandies:

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Saturday, January 23, 2016

by - Published January 23, 2016 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Over the years, I have attended many press conferences, and along the way heard a few memorable quotes. One I won’t soon forget, especially at this time of the year, came from Robert McCollum, who at the time was head coach at South Florida. The Bulls came to Providence for a December game, and although it there wasn’t any snow, it was very cold out. Asked about the weather difference from their home, he simply said, “This is basketball weather. It’s why we play indoors.”

I’ve uttered that same phrase many times over the years. Back when I used to cover about 100 games a year, I often marveled at how lucky I was along the way as far as weather goes. All it would take is one snowstorm to screw up a game or two, either via postponement to a less convenient time (other games scheduled at the same time) or where it would be impractical to even try to cover the game.

… Continue Reading

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