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A game a day for the 2015-16 season: January

by - Published November 11, 2015 in Columns

We continue our look at our favorite games for every day of the season, our ultimate dream road trip through an entire college basketball season.

To refresh: in some cases they’re the biggest matchup of the day, in others they may be what we think will be the best game. We started on Monday with November, continued with December on Tuesday, and today we move into January:

Jan. 1: UCLA at Washington. The Pac-12 stakes its claim to New Year’s Day with several intriguing matchups. Freshmen will be playing a lot for the Huskies, making this an even trickier opener for the Bruins. Honorable mention: Utah at Stanford

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, April 2, 2015

by - Published April 2, 2015 in The Morning Dish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Reader Poll

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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.