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NCAA Tournament first week review: few upsets, but history-rich programs remain

by - Published March 23, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

The first week of the 2015 NCAA Tournament has brought us a little of everything, much of nothing. Like the beer commercial, you might say it is up for whatever.

We started with a boatload of close games, but the number and intensity of those games has petered out over the past three days, taking this year”s tourney from historic to almost pedestrian. The Sweet 16 will include three 1 seeds, but otherwise is a buffet of differing squads and resumes. The last 16 remaining includes teams from eight different conferences and seeded 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11.

What do we have left is a field of teams that is loaded with history, whether it be recent or distant. In fact, every single team left falls into at least one of the categories, if not both.
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Atlantic 10 to Big East: On the conference road (and rails)

by - Published March 17, 2015 in Columns
author_floriani

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – In actuality, the day begins in New York at Penn Station. The first stop is the Atlantic 10 Tournament at the Barclays Center. The evening finishes at MSG for the Big East. A basketball odyssey of one day, two venues, two conferences, two boroughs, eight teams. Countless enjoyment for a basketball connoisseur.

10:45 a.m. – On the 2 train Brooklyn-bound out of Penn Station. No one in La Salle or Davidson gear spotted. Train is filled with later morning commuters and those entrenched in their 9 to 5 routine.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, March 4, 2015

by - Published March 4, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

On the scale of chic topics in basketball in general, free throws is near the bottom. Unlike “length”, “skill set” or “dribble drive,” it’s not a term that pundits love seemingly just because of how the words sound coming out of their mouths. Much like special teams in football, they are often underrated or even ignored, despite their ability to absolutely play a role in a game’s outcome.

Also like special teams in the NFL playoffs, though (anyone who saw the Seattle-Green Bay NFC playoff game can vouch for it), you better believe free throws will be important this month. We got another taste of that Tuesday night, as poor free throw shooting doomed a couple teams chasing what would’ve been massive wins.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, February 18, 2015

by - Published February 18, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

If there’s one thing that the new configuration of the Big East has taught us, it’s that memories of the old Big East are always going to be around the corner, even at times when we’re thoroughly enjoying the league in the present.

The old school Big East is cool, and will always be cool. Tuesday night featured a game that is as old school cool as any rivalry in the current Big East, as St. John’s went to Georgetown. For those looking for drama, though, they had to look elsewhere, as the Hoyas easily dumped SJU 79-57 for their 17th victory of the season.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, February 11, 2015

by - Published February 11, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

An undefeated regular season for Kentucky is becoming closer and closer to reality.

The Wildcats passed what was quite possibly their toughest test for the rest of the regular season, defeating LSU on Tuesday 71-69. Karl-Anthony Towns scored with 1:28 left to put Kentucky ahead, and the Wildcats survived a missed three-pointer by Keith Hornsby at the buzzer to stay perfect.

UK still has seven regular season games left, including three on the road (at Tennessee, Mississippi State and Georgia). The toughest test remaining certainly appears to be Arkansas, but that one will be at Rupp Arena. It’s not inconceivable at all anymore to visualize an undefeated run in the regular season.
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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, January 20, 2015

by - Published January 20, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

The issues of scoring and pace of play in college basketball continue to get a considerable amount of press, and that’s a very good thing.

ESPN this past weekend on College Gameday had a thoughtful, quality discussion of the state of the sport, and a good share of the conversation was about those very topics. Jay Bilas has rightly continued to be outspoken about the ridiculous levels of contact allowed in college hoops, which has no doubt affected offense for years. Basketball Times magazine has been a frontrunner in reporting on this topic for several years now (if you don’t get it, you’re missing out; what Blue Ribbon is to preseason annuals, BT is to reporting on the sport). And yesterday, USA Today looked into the issue again in depth, with comments from a number of people including Belmont coach Rick Byrd, who is the chair of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee.

Things do need to change, and we could write 10,000 words about this topic (in fact, we sort of have in the past already). From this view, it’s that important. But the one hope we have is that any changes in the near future do not come about from overreactions.
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The Morning Dish – Sunday, December 29, 2014

by - Published December 28, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The Kentucky hype wagon, already rolling along at NASCAR-like speeds, will only gain even more momentum after yesterday.

Whereas that wagon was humming at, say, Bristol Motor Speedway speeds before, though, it now is flying along at a Daytona-like pace after the Wildcats’ 58-50 win over Louisville Saturday afternoon.

And truthfully, why wouldn’t it be? Kentucky has beaten all comers this year, frequently in impressive fashion. In this one, UK held the Cardinals to 25.9% shooting and was so good that Louisville finished with one assist. One. In a road game against a bitter rival and top five team that has blown out almost everyone it faced.

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, November 27, 2014

by - Published November 27, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Happy Thanksgiving to all. We hope you’re spending the day with family and friends, and not at the mall.

One of college basketball’s true Thanksgiving traditions got underway once again last night. Try as some may want to bury it, the Great Alaska Shootout keeps plugging away. The 37th annual shootout opened Wednesday, and, no, the field is not of the quality they once were. But it is still better than some think.

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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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The most important players in America – 2014-15

by - Published November 12, 2014 in Columns
hoopguy-divisionII

Every team has a player or two whose performance is a barometer for how the team does – as he goes, they go. It’s not necessarily their best player, although it can be; rather, it’s often someone either playing a key position or having to take over for a departed star at a position. In some cases, it’s a player who seems most likely to step into a larger role.

Certainly, the best players are important ones. If they fall short of what they have done in the past or are expected to do based on their past performance, other players must do more.

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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.