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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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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 – 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 12, 2015

by - Published February 12, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

We lost another of college basketball legend on Wednesday as Jerry Tarkanian passed away at the age of 84.

It’s been a tough week in college basketball, as Tarkanian’s death comes just five days after the passing of Dean Smith, another legend of the sport and a contemporary of Tarkanian’s. That the two will go down as being opposites in some ways is irrelevant, but also is a fitting representation of the diversity of coaches from their time. At their core they were both terrific coaches that leave us a whole lot of memories.

“Tark the Shark” twice built powers from next to nothing on the West Coast, first turning Long Beach State into one of the top West programs not led by John Wooden-the 49ers advanced to the Elite Eight twice, losing to UCLA by two in the 1971 West Regional Final-and then most famously building UNLV into a national power, the apex of course being the 1990 national title and the unbeaten run in 1990-91 until being shocked by Duke in the Final Four. He finished his career at his alma mater, turning Fresno State into a top 25 contender.

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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, February 3, 2015

by - Published February 3, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The Monday after the Super Bowl was a quiet night for college basketball, which one can only hope gave our nation of expert armchair quarterbacks enough time to get the whining about a play call out of its collective system. (Why can’t we take a little more notice of the story of a humble rookie reserve from a Division II school making the play of his life, one of the greatest defensive plays in Super Bowl history?)

Beyond the NFL Patriots, though, the calm on the hoops front gives us a chance to look at the Patriot League, home to what is top to bottom the most competitive conference race in NCAA Division I, bar none. For those who think the college basketball regular season is meaningless…it’s a weak generalization anyways, but there’s no way it can be applied to this league.
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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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Your Phil of Hoops

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April 5, 2015 by

kentucky

Most people are going to remember Kentucky in 2014-15 more for the one loss than the 38 wins and the journey that came with it. That’s the most unfortunate thing of all.

A happy resolution comes in Delaware

April 1, 2015 by

delaware

There has finally been a resolution to Monte Ross’ contract situation, and it’s a happy one for the Blue Hens’ head coach and his staff after the work they have done to rebuild the program.

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.

Hoopville Archives

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.

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed listening 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.

Here are links to the shows:

March 15, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 22, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 29, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

April 5, 2015 - First hour | Second hour | Third hour

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis – Sunday notes

April 29, 2015 by

adidasuprising

Sunday was the conclusion of the adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis, and we take a look at some of the players who shined on a day that saw a few games that weren’t very competitive.

adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis – Saturday notes

April 28, 2015 by

adidasuprising

Saturday was a full day of action in the adidas Gauntlet near Indianapolis, and here’s a look at some of the talent that stood out on the day as college coaches checked out the action.

adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis – Friday notes

April 25, 2015 by

hoopguy-yellow

Friday night got the adidas Gauntlet in Indianapolis going, and we take a look at a few players who stood out before a full day of action comes to us on Saturday.

Notes from the 2015 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 20, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was time for a trip to Hanover for late action in the Northeast Hoops Festival, and we have a look at some prospects who stood out on the day.

2015 EYBL Hampton – Saturday & Sunday notes

April 14, 2015 by

nikeeybl

Saturday was a full day of action at EYBL Hampton, and Sunday capped it off with a brief slate. We look at some of the talent that was on hand each day to close out the first live weekend.