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The Morning Dish – Thursday, April 2, 2015

by - Published April 2, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Even at the lower levels of NCAA Division I, there are programs that are sleeping giants. Liberty is one such place, a school where the resources have often outpaced the results on the court. The Flames often have been far more asleep than a giant since joining D-I almost 30 years ago, but the school’s coaching history has been…interesting? Quirky? Bizarre? Take your pick.

Liberty has its new coach to replace Dale Layer, and it’s one of the school’s former coaches. Ritchie McKay coached the Flames for two years from 2007-09 before leaving to take an assistant position at Virginia. In his second year at Liberty, McKay led the team to a 23-12 record, tying the school’s NCAA Division I record for wins.
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Sampson is getting a lot out of Houston

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns
houston

HARTFORD, Conn. – Say this about Kelvin Sampson’s first year as head coach at Houston: he’s given reason to believe he’ll make them relevant in time. The Cougars have gone through a lot, and don’t have great talent, but he’s managed to get 13 wins out of this team, including Thursday’s win over Tulane in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

The first year at a program that has struggled is tough to figure. Sometimes it’s a veteran team that can turn around some from a change, and sometimes it’s a young team that takes time to mold. Sometimes it’s a veteran team that is marginally better or gets no better because they weren’t very good to begin with. Rarely is there a wholesale change just from changing the coach in one year.

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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, February 24, 2015

by - Published February 24, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

For 39 minutes, Louisville and Georgia Tech was another ugly game this year in a season filled with ugly games. Then, in the final minute, the two teams reminded us of what fun college basketball can be when it is allowed to just be.

In a game where both teams were fortunate to shoot better than 40% from the free throw line, the Cardinals rallied from a 13-point deficit for a 52-51 win after Terry Rozier scored on driving baskets twice in the final minute. This season has turned into a grind for the Cards, so any win is a good one right now, even one in a game that was far more beast than beauty.

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, December 18, 2014

by - Published December 18, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

There may not be another game this entire college basketball season that was more predictable than last night’s interconference matchup between Cincinnati and San Diego State.

As expected, the game between the Bearcats and Aztecs was an evenly matched defensive grinder. Even with both teams trying to disrupt by picking up the pace at times with full-court pressure, the score was firmly in the 50s at the end of regulation. And, sure enough, the game did go to overtime, where Cincinnati pulled away for a 71-62 win, a quality win for Cincy and the American Athletic Conference.
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Houston is trying to find an identity early on

by - Published November 28, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
houston

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – An 84-63 loss is not usually a game you would think a lot of good will come out of. For Kelvin Sampson and Houston, Tuesday night’s loss at Harvard, a game the Crimson won going away, will serve as just that. The result didn’t surprise him at all, but he knew he wanted more out of this game than just the final score.

Houston has a new look this season all over. Sampson took over as head coach after James Dickey retired, and his first team has over a half dozen newcomers. Two of the newcomers, both junior college transfers, start for this team. With that comes an adjustment period for everyone, in stark contrast to the other bench in the gym. Sampson said he’s trying to figure his players out as much as they’re trying to figure him out.

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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 American Athletic Conference Post-Mortem

by - Published May 13, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
american

A year ago at this time, much about the American Athletic Conference was unknown. The conference had a new name for barely a month, and aside from that, what we knew it had was a bunch of schools that were breaking away from the old Big East. It did have an office – that which had long belonged to the Big East in Providence, even though Providence College would remain in the Big East.

But when the 2013-14 season was over, it was clear the conference had quite a bit going for it on the hardwood. They had the runner-up in the NIT and the national champion – not bad for a conference that barely existed a year before the season ended.

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Some numbers from the Legends Classic semifinals

by - Published November 26, 2013 in Columns
author_floriani

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Settling in for the Legends consolation and final rounds at the Barclays Center it was a opportune time to look at some numbers from the night before as the championship matchup was set between Stanford and Pittsburgh.

In the 76-53 Pitt rout of Texas Tech, the  pace was 61 possessions.  Reminiscent of the “bringing” Panthers. Pitt owned a 125-87 advantage in offensive efficiency. Credit the forcing of Texas Tech into a 28 percent turnover rate as the primary reason for the outstanding defense.

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BracketBusters takes center stage once again

by - Published February 19, 2012 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

Every year, there is a lot of talk about how to make BracketBusters better, or if it should just go away entirely. While teams have undoubtedly benefited from it over the years of its existence, the feelings on it seem a bit mixed, and it’s debatable whether or not it has been good as a whole. Right now, it’s what we have, and on Saturday it was center stage.

Proponents have talked about teams getting an extra national television appearance for people to see them. They have also cited the chance to get an RPI boost. Certainly, some of the teams that have benefited can look back and argue that they would not have made the NCAA Tournament if not for a win in the BracketBusters, including Final Four teams from George Mason and VCU. … Continue Reading

CBS’ Doyel has the guts to step back from the controversy trap

by - Published December 20, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

Good journalism isn’t easy.

That’s especially true when a juicy story comes along that’s sure to rile up the masses, generating lots of readers and charged opinions. Those stories force editors and reporters to make critical decisions about the validity of sources and effort required to seek comment from an opposing side.

In the emerging brouhaha about the transfer of Todd O’Brien from Saint Joseph’s to UAB, we have an awful lot of information spewing from the O’Brien side and almost nothing from the Hawks’ side.

If you missed the background, Sports Illustrated’s website ran a lengthy column by O’Brien, who outlined his journey through college basketball, which has landed him at UAB as a graduated senior with one remaining year of eligibility. However, before O’Brien can play for the Blazers, Saint Joseph’s must grant him a full release from his scholarship. And supposedly coach Phil Martelli refuses to do so. Without that release, O’Brien won’t play college hoops again.

Frankly, it’s hard to imagine a legitimate reason for not letting a guy play, especially for a team in a different conference and not on the Hawks’ schedule. But that’s not the point.

As the media outcry has sided with O’Brien — who is seeking legal recourse to force his way onto the court — only a handful of commentators have taken a measured approach to this story. So I tip my hat to CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel, a man with plenty of strong opinions, for leaping into the fray waiving a gigantic caution flag.

While everyone is crying foul, Doyel cried, “Wait!” He rightfully observed that Saint Joseph’s is remaining mum because they are respecting student-athletes’ privacy. The bottom line is we don’t know the Saint Joseph’s side of the story, and we might not for some time. So it’s presumptuous at best and flat-out wrong at worst to side with the supposed victim in this story.

Of course, it’s far less engaging to remain on the fence when others are going all in and calling for Martelli’s ouster. That bloodlust is unhealthy and not reflective of this country’s innocent-until-PROVEN-guilty judicial system. If mob rule dictated justice, we’d have a lot of major mistakes to apologize for whenever we learned the truth — if we ever learned the truth.

A good journalist’s duty is to present clear, accurate and precise information. Commentators who espouse opinions based on incomplete information aren’t doing anyone any good. As unsexy as it may be, we all need to follow Doyel’s lead and wait and see. Let the established rules play out in the NCAA, and if the courts get involved, let the state and local laws as interpreted by the courts decide the matter.

But there’s no need to call for Martelli’s head on a platter until there’s substantiated evidence that he acted like a callous, vindictive control freak.

We go coast to coast with news from around the college basketball nation.

Kentucky had no problems getting past Samford, 82-50, even without Terrence Jones, who missed the game to recuperate from a dislocated pinky, writes the Associated Press’ Colin Fly.

California will be without one its big men this week as sophomore Richard Solomon recovers from a left foot injury, writes Diamond Leung for ESPN.com’s “College Basketball Nation” blog. The sophomore forward is one of the team’s best rebounders, averaging 6.9 rpg, and he’ll miss at least the team’s games against UNLV Dec. 23.

Miami will get back DeQuan Jones, who figured to play a bigger role for the Hurricanes this season — if for no other reason than he’s one of the bigger players on the teams. Jones missed the first month and a half of the season because the school suspended him for the season while the NCAA investigated his possible involvement in the recruiting scandal that has rocked the university. However, according to an Associated Press report, the Hurricanes have reversed that decision, and Jones could be back in the lineup as early as this week.

Some tech-savvy pranksters punked Oregon’s website Sunday night and Monday morning, writes the Washington Post’s Steve Yanda, and the hackers posted some disparaging comments about Virginia that were attributed to Oregon coach Dana Altman. The Ducks lost to the Cavaliers 67-54, and the hacker made up comments ranging from Mike Scott’s hair to the Ducks’ pregame meal. Oregon apologized to the Cavaliers for the malfeasance.

New Mexico State is bringing suspended guard Christian Kabongo back into the fold after the sophomore had been suspended for two games for making obscene gestures in a game against UTEP, writes ESPN.com’s Diamond Leung for the “College Basketball Nation” blog.

NCAA Division I programs couldn’t get enough support to overturn a rule that bans universities from hosting high school prep tournaments, according to an Associated Press report.

Houston boosters might have lost as much as 40 percent of their investments in the David Salinas Ponzi scheme affair, according to the Associated Press. Salinas committed suicide last year, a few weeks before the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit that detailed the deceptive investments and behavior that swindled a bunch of Division I programs and coaches.

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Your Phil of Hoops

What Kentucky gave us will be forgotten, and that’s too bad

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

2015 Hoopville Spring Finale Notes

June 30, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

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

hoopguy-yellow

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

hoopguy-cyan

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

author_kasiecki

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.

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.