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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, January 21, 2015

by - Published January 21, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Some will call it a masterpiece; others may still think of the game more as an eye sore. Either way, what Wisconsin did Tuesday night is something extraordinary, even by its own lofty standards.

The Badgers pounded Iowa 82-50 Tuesday night in as ruthlessly efficient an offensive performance as you’ll ever see. Wisconsin committed one turnover. Uno. Un. It shot 48.3% (29 of 60), including 9 of 23 from three-point range, grabbed 11 offensive rebounds off its misses, and made 15 of 19 free throws.

It was typical Badgers: methodical, fundamental, patient, statistically good-but-not-great, yet all executed by an exceptionally skilled offensive team. Some will still call them boring to watch. Whether their style looks slow or not, though, the fact is Wisconsin scored 82 points against what many think is a pretty darn good team. If that’s slow, many teams should be falling over themselves to find the details of how they can play “slow” like the Badgers.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, January 7, 2015

by - Published January 7, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

For a half last night in its game against Georgia, Arkansas was looking like same old Arkansas on the road.

The Razorbacks have a fairly well-earned tag by now from the past couple of years as a team that can’t win on the road, and in the first half against Georgia that’s exactly how the Hogs looked. Arkansas trailed from the start as the Bulldogs were outstanding, shooting 57.7% in taking a 44-37 lead into halftime.

The second half looked as if it was played by two entirely different teams. The Razorbacks battled back on the road and got a big 79-75 win at Georgia. Arkansas shot 51.7% for the game and Bobby Portis finally got some help after carrying the team offensively the first 20 minutes, while the Bulldogs cooled off and shot just 10 of 29 in the second half.

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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 – Monday, December 22, 2014

by - Published December 22, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

In an age where flash dominates sports, where no-look passes and high-flying dunks capture fans’ attention, and where future NBA talent is talked about so much in the college game, Virginia stands out.

And on a weekend where a Kentucky team that has been much-talked about annihilated a UCLA program that has plenty of history all its own, Virginia stands out in its own way. And the Cavaliers have been doing that since the start of last year, for that matter, even if very few people have noticed.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, December 3, 2014

by - Published December 3, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Ah, it’s started already.

We’re still a couple weeks away from final exams for most schools, a time when especially it seems like highly favored schools need to pay a little extra attention in games that they should win easily. But we saw several teams have more trouble than expected in games Tuesday night that all expected to be blowouts.
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The Morning Dish – Thursday, November 13, 2014

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

It’s quiet in college hoops land. That’ll change very soon as we are now on the eve of a new season.

On our soapbox for a moment
A new college basketball season is almost here, and on the occasion we are reminded yet again just how poorly this sport brings in a new season.

While there has been slight improvement in the past few years with at least a single starting date for the college hoops season, even avid fans likely still will be surprised when those scores start showing up on the ticker Friday night.

Even acknowledging that college basketball falls somewhere between a niche sport and a national obsession, there is no prominent sport in our country that comes in with more of a whimper.

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2013-14 SEC Post-Mortem

by - Published June 12, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
sec

What does the SEC – the football juggernaut – have beyond Florida and Kentucky on the hardwood?

That’s the big question this off-season. It was already a discussion point during the season and postseason, and it’s not going to end now. The SEC had a 12-3 record in the NCAA Tournament, but Kentucky and Florida combined for 10 of those wins and thus carried them to that mark.

When it was all said and done, the SEC ended up with three teams in the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee was the only team besides Florida and Kentucky to make it. The conference had four teams in the NIT, with LSU and Arkansas each winning a game before getting bounced without a chance to go to New York.

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Legends wrapup: Indiana takes the title and a box score analysis

by - Published November 22, 2012 in Columns
author_floriani

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It’s time for a closer look at the Progressive Legends Classic final night at the Barclays Center.

CONSOLATION:

UCLA 60, Georgia 56

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Selfish NCAA Rule Betrays Mission to Student-Athletes

by - Published May 2, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

BASELINE TO BASELINE

Go coast to coast with a roundup of news from across the nation.

  1. Starting next season, players will no longer be able to test the NBA Draft waters. According to the Associated Press, the NCAA approved a rules change that forces players to decide whether they wish to remain eligible for the NBA Draft by the first day of the spring signing period for recruits. This move helps college coaches replace departing players. But it kills players’ opportunity to gauge their draft stock as few NBA teams are prepared to provide full predictions by mid-April.
  2. George Mason wasted no time in finding a new coach. According to the Associated Press, the Colonials picked former Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt, who was fired at Georgia Tech this past season after 11 years and a 190-162 record. In more than a decade with the Yellow Jackets, Hewitt established a reputation for recruiting top-notch talent, but he only made one deep run in the NCAA Tournament, losing to Connecticut in the 2004 championship game. He replaces Jim Larranaga, who left the school to coach Miami.
  3. Nearby, in Washington, D.C., George Washington will be in search of a new coach after firing Karl Hobbs, according to the Associated Press. Hobbs led the Colonials for 10 years, including a great 2005-06 season in which George Washington finished 27-3 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
  4. And in Atlanta, Georgia Tech replaced Paul Hewitt with Brian Gregory, choosing Dayton’s coach over several other candidates, including a 15-year-old from Connecticut. Wha?! According to the Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy, Ethan Peikes sent Georgia Tech Athletic Director Dan Radakovich a letter containing a cogent argument for why Peikes should become the Yellow Jackets’ next coach.
  5. Colgate presumably didn’t get any applications from 15-year-olds, but the school did find its coach from a relatively young member of the coaching ranks. According to the Associated Press, Colgate hired 33-year-old Temple assistant Matt Langel to replace Emmett Davis, who was dismissed after 13 seasons and a 165-212 record.
  6. Wisconsin extended the contract of coach Bo Ryan through 2015-16, ensuring stability for one of the best programs in the Big Ten, according to the Associated Press. Ryan has a 242-91 record in 10 seasons in Madison, and his teams regularly excel in the NCAA Tournament and enjoy one of the toughest home court advantages in basketball.
  7. Likewise, in Athens, Ga., coach Mark Fox received an extension with Georgia. The Bulldogs will keep Fox through 2015-16 and increase his pay to $1.7 million per year, according to the Associated Press.
  8. Amid coaching changes, some players decide it’s time for a fresh start, especially if a new coach has a significantly different system. That looks to be the case at North Carolina State, according to Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com’s “College Basketball Nation” blog. Freshman point guard Ryan Harrow will leave the Wolfpack to look for a fresh start rather than play for new coach Mark Gottfried.
  9. Give coach Bill Self credit. Even though Kansas is losing plenty of firepower this off-season, the Jayhawks will face a brutal schedule next season, with Kentucky and Ohio State definitely on the horizon, according to the Associated Press. Kansas also will be in the Maui Invitational with Duke, UCLA, Georgetown, Memphis, Tennessee and Michigan.
  10. And Kansas might find some tougher competition out of Oklahoma in the Big 12 than originally expected. New Sooners coach Lon Kruger has added two Juco players recently to help hasten the rebuilding of the Oklahoma program, according to Sports Illustrated’s “Fan Nation” blog.
  11. Louisville coach Rick Pitino has completed a major overhaul of his staff, according to the Associated Press. Pitino added Kevin Keatts as an assistant coach. Keatts arrives at Louisville after coaching Hargrave Military Academy for 10 seasons and winning two national prep championships. Keatts joins Wyking Jones and Pitino’s son Richard on the staff.
  12. Quick hits from the NCAA’s attendance report, via ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan for the “College Basketball Nation” blog: total number of people attending games is up compared with 2009-10, average per Division I game is down a tad (because of more Division I schools), and average NCAA Tournament attendance is down slightly.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

The general consensus is that the NCAA is being selfish in its decision to change the rules on players testing the NBA Draft as early entrants. It’s hard to argue with that sentiment, though the NCAA has an opportunity to do right by student-athletes.

The NCAA is responsible for guiding student-athletes through the collegiate educational experience. That’s not my take; it’s theirs. From the NCAA’s website:

The NCAA’s core purpose is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.

By shifting the deadline for players to decide whether they will remain in the NBA Draft or return to school to mid-April, the NCAA is robbing student-athletes of a chance to maximize their educational experience. To borrow a Texas Hold ‘Em poker analogy, the NCAA will be forcing players to go all-in or fold before the flop while letting them see only one card.

In recent years, players have been able to figure out the strength of their draft hand — to see that other card — by receiving evaluations from NBA scouts during late April and May. A few years ago, players had until June to decide whether they’d remain in the draft or return to school. NCAA coaches hated that because they didn’t know what their roster would like and how they should adjust their recruiting strategy in the spring.

The first step in this anti-player direction was a change to the players’ decision deadline to early May. That prevents players from receiving much information, but they can at least make an educated decision about the likelihood that a team will pick them in the first round.

To clarify what’s at stake, the NBA only guarantees contracts to first-round picks. If you’re No. 31, you have to compete with every other unrestricted free agent, NBA Developmental League player and international walk-on who wants a shot at an NBA contract. Good luck. Oh, and you can’t go back to your college team. When early entrants remain in the draft, they’re no longer eligible. You don’t hear of too many players who pay to earn a degree without a scholarship from a school if they fall out of the first round and don’t receive a contract.

For NCAA early entrants, the NBA Draft can be a life-altering decision. Because the NCAA will restrict the relevant information that student-athletes can gather by the mid-April deadline, the NCAA has the responsibility to fulfill its core purpose: ensure that the educational experience is paramount. And that experience is paramount to the self-centered interests of coaches who fear they’ll lose their jobs without NBA-caliber players on their roster instead of leftover recruits.

For the NCAA to fulfill that purpose, it needs to create a method for student-athletes to receive NBA evaluations throughout the season. Perhaps the NCAA should form a consortium of current or former NBA scouts who provide monthly ratings or reviews, citing comments from NBA executives. If the NCAA wants to follow the money, it would need to wade into the world of sports agents, who are perhaps most motivated to gauge players’ value and translate that into NBA dollars. An objective sports agent might not exist, but that’s for the NCAA to figure out.

As the rules stand now, the NCAA is failing its student-athletes. A failed system is bound too fall apart as soon as a better alternative presents itself. And that could quickly emerge from the heavily financed underworld of unscrupulous sports agencies and self-employed talent consultants, who might take an even more aggressive stance and try to fill a need in this evaluation process — if the NCAA doesn’t step up to fully educate its players.

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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.

Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday Notes – January 24, 2015

January 25, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

This Saturday didn’t have quite the marquee matchups as a week earlier, but there were some important ones, especially with teams in the middle of a few conferences trying to separate themselves from the pack.

Saturday notes – January 17, 2015

January 18, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

High school games may have grabbed a lot of attention, but there were plenty of college games as well. Most results weren’t surprising, but were well worth looking at some notes on, and we do that here.

Rhode Island keeping perspective after tough loss

January 15, 2015 by

rhodeisland

Rhode Island controlled Tuesday night’s game against VCU, but couldn’t finish it and took a tough loss. Their improvement is evident, though, and they are keeping perspective on that in trying to keep improving.

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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.

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.