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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 11, 2015

by - Published November 11, 2015 in The Morning Dish

We’re now just two days from opening day, and  Hoopville continues our preseason look at all 32 NCAA Division I conferences.

Only two single-bid leagues won an NCAA Tournament game last year in the round of 64, and Conference USA was one of them. UAB stunned Iowa State as a 14 seed, and that game could be a precursor to big things for the Blazers this year. UAB is the favorite and is led by guard Robert Brown and sophomore forward William Lee, who should get better and better. Old Dominion has C-USA’s best player, though, in Trey Freeman, and the Monarchs could be right on the NCAA doorstep again if they can find some interior scoring. Also watch Middle Tennessee State if it can improve on its 41.4% shooting last year.
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2014-15 Horizon League Post-Mortem

by - Published July 31, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes

Given his status as an all-time NCAA Tournament hero at Valparaiso, one would think Bryce Drew could not do much of anything quietly at his alma mater.

So cozy are the surroundings at a small school like Valpo, though, that a former NBA first round draft pick who hit one of the great shots in NCAA history and followed his father as the program’s head coach can build a formidable program and few would know about it.

Almost silently, Valparaiso had a terrific 2014-15 season, posting a 28-6 record and winning the Horizon League regular season and tournament championships. The Crusaders also just missed posting a huge upset in the NCAAs, losing to Maryland by three points.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, March 11, 2015

by - Published March 11, 2015 in The Morning Dish

Robert Morris is the type of small eastern private school that fits in so perfectly in the college basketball landscape, one that every so often comes out of nowhere and makes some noise, adding a little bit of spice and a lot of charm to the sport.

Two years ago, the school made considerable noise in the NIT when it defeated Kentucky in a first round game. Tuesday night, though, the Colonials may as well have been Kentucky, for the role of villain they took on in the Northeast Conference championship game.

Robert Morris defeated sentimental favorite St. Francis (N.Y.) 66-63 in the NEC final, yet again depriving the Terriers of their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid. By now the story has been well worn: St. Francis is one of five original Division I members to never make the tourney since that level was born in 1939. And it might feel like there is a glass ceiling on those teams after the last two days, as William & Mary also lost in the CAA final Monday night for the second straight year.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, March 4, 2015

by - Published March 4, 2015 in The Morning Dish

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 – Tuesday, March 3, 2015

by - Published March 3, 2015 in The Morning Dish

While hustle is always appreciated and encouraged in basketball, increasingly there are times it gets out of control and safety becomes an issue.

Monday night’s Baylor-Texas game saw an ugly incident with just under two minutes left in overtime that saw a total of seven players ejected for leaving the bench. The players were reacting to a fight for a loose ball between Texas’s Isaiah Taylor and Baylor’s Royce O’Neale, in which O’Neale ended up on Taylor and the Longhorn guard reacted angrily and pushed him off.
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The Morning Dish – Saturday, February 28, 2015

by - Published February 28, 2015 in The Morning Dish

The Ivy League race is even better now, and on a pretty good night for several players, too. At least one player posted a double-double in all but one game on the evening, but that’s not the biggest news coming out of Friday night.

The New York schools are playing spoiler. Less than a week after Columbia went into New Haven and beat Yale to knock the Bulldogs a game back of first place, Cornell hosted Harvard and snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Crimson. Neither team put on a clinic at the offensive end in Ithaca, but Harvard finished just over 25 percent in a 57-49 loss. Cornell was led by Shonn Miller, who missed all of last season due to injury and is reminding people how good he was two seasons ago, as he had 24 points and 15 rebounds to get the better of Wesley Saunders, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Harvard.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 23, 2015

by - Published February 23, 2015 in The Morning Dish

Dana Altman should be the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, perhaps in a runaway now. Barring a collapse, his Oregon team will be in the NCAA Tournament, and that’s no small feat when you consider where this program has been since the end of last season.

On Sunday, Oregon got the signature win they had lacked to go with a host of other good/okay wins, knocking off Utah 69-58 in Eugene. Dillon Brooks scored 11 straight Oregon points, starting with a personal 7-0 run, to lift the Ducks, who tied for the second-highest point total allowed by the Utes on the season.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, February 14, 2015

by - Published February 14, 2015 in The Morning Dish

Iona and Manhattan have basically ruled the MAAC the last two years and carried the story. The last two championship games have been close ones between the two, they are nearby rivals, and there is immense respect for one another. In fact, last year, after Manhattan won the championship game, head coach Steve Masiello said he and his staff have tried to model their program after Iona.

Friday night was the latest installment of this rivalry. The two teams are a contrast in styles, with Iona being the team that can light up the scoreboard while Manhattan can slow down and stop a lot of offenses. While Iona shot over 52 percent from the field, including 11-18 from long range, Manhattan was able to hang in by forcing 21 turnovers. The game came down to the end, but it was Iona that escaped with a 70-67 win to remain two games up in the MAAC standings.

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Milwaukee nearly flawless against Oakland, showing character through challenging season

by - Published February 11, 2015 in Columns

The 2013-14 season was barely over and the next season still months away, but already in April it was a sure thing that few teams in 2014-15 were going to be dealt a tougher hand than the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

This year’s campaign should’ve been one of heavy optimism for the Milwaukee Panthers, with most of the key players returning from a team that made a surprising trip to the NCAA Tournament. Instead, the light the Panthers may have been rightfully basking in was darkened just a month later when it was announced the 2014-15 team would miss the postseason due to NCAA Academic Performance Rate (APR) penalties.

How Milwaukee has handled that tough hand, though, is an admirable story from this college basketball season. It got off to a tough start and was even just 5-12 a couple weeks ago, but the team has continued to play hard and has become a thorn in the side of Horizon League foes. No better was that shown than Tuesday night, when the Panthers pulled away from Horizon contender Oakland University for an 84-67 win at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

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How the conferences shape up as we hit 2015

by - Published January 1, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes

Non-conference play is basically done at this point. A handful of games remain for many teams, and we’ll see a non-conference game or two sprinkled in between conference games over the next couple of months, but conference play beckons. Several have already started, with the West Coast Conference getting jump on the rest of the country this past Saturday and Monday. For two months, we’ve had a look at teams to get an idea of who they are. They have shown us something thus far.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how the conference races shape up based on what we’ve seen in non-conference play.

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Your Phil of Hoops

Big East looks the same in some ways and quite different in other ways

November 13, 2015 by


As year three of the new-look Big East tips off, the conference looks the same in a few ways. In other ways, though, it’s not the same, and much is to be determined.

Though a contender, Purdue will need to earn more relevance

October 15, 2015 by


Purdue has the makings of a contender in Big Ten play, but you wouldn’t know it from the conversations about the conference teams. The Boilermakers will have to earn their way to relevance despite their potential to contend.

New challenge ahead for Harvard

October 6, 2015 by


If Harvard’s great run through the Ivy League is to continue in 2015-16, the Crimson will have to get through quite a challenge this time around with a team that looks a little different.

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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.

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

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by


The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.

2015 Hoopville Spring Finale Notes

June 30, 2015 by


We look back at more from the 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale, where some of the championship games were worth the price of admission.

A big championship day for a local program at the Hoopville Spring Finale

June 23, 2015 by


The 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of good championship games on Sunday to close it out, and we start our look back with a look at those games.

Player highlights from Mass Elite and Boston Warriors college showcase

June 4, 2015 by


Two big programs, Mass Elite and the Boston Warriors, got together once again on a college showcase for many of their high school players. We look at some who stood out on the evening.

2015 Massachusetts AAU Tournament notes

June 3, 2015 by


Massachusetts held its AAU championship rounds in a few age groups and its entire tournament for the oldest age group this weekend. We take a look at some of Sunday’s action in Foxboro.