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The Morning Dish – Sunday, December 14, 2014

by - Published December 14, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

We’re down to nine unbeaten teams after Saturday, though the 10th undefeated left this season did not go quietly.

Northern Iowa made the trip to VCU for the second time in four seasons, and the game between the Panthers and Rams was the best of the day Saturday. Virginia Commonwealth got a cold-blooded three-pointer from Treveon Graham in the second overtime and went on to a 93-87 win for a much-needed bounce back after the Rams’ loss at home to Virginia a week ago.
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The Morning Dish – Thursday, November 27, 2014

by - Published November 27, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Happy Thanksgiving to all. We hope you’re spending the day with family and friends, and not at the mall.

One of college basketball’s true Thanksgiving traditions got underway once again last night. Try as some may want to bury it, the Great Alaska Shootout keeps plugging away. The 37th annual shootout opened Wednesday, and, no, the field is not of the quality they once were. But it is still better than some think.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, November 14, 2014

by - Published November 14, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Today’s the day we’ve been waiting for, the college basketball season opener.

With that as a backdrop, we look at a few things we’re looking to see this weekend, and really in the first month of the season, as well as a preview of some of the top games tonight:

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2013-14 MAAC Post-Mortem

by - Published June 6, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
maac

The MAAC underwent a membership change in 2013-14, and one that appears to be a net positive. What hasn’t changed, and surely won’t anytime soon, is how fiercely competitive the conference is. That was demonstrated right up to the end this past season.

The conference had several teams right there in the race for the top until late in the season. Iona got hot and pulled away, but even so only three games separated first from fourth place and just two separated fifth from eighth. The real question going forward is if anyone can break into that top group, as Iona and Manhattan seem set to rule the conference for a while, with Quinnipiac having a lot of potential based on its first year in the conference. There are some who could join them, but questions abound in all.

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Iona finds their point guard and gets much more

by - Published November 24, 2013 in Columns
iona

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – It’s nice to be home if you’re Iona, a saying that holds true for more reasons than the obvious. The Gaels have won both games at home and lost both games on the road thus far, but certainly were their most impressive and balanced in Saturday’s 89-73 thumping of George Mason that was never a ballgame.

Head coach Tim Cluess thinks this team needs to be balanced offensively, and that was certainly the case on Saturday. While Sean Armand’s 30-point outing, which included breaking the school record for career three-pointers and going 10-16 from the field, will get a lot of attention, the big development was elsewhere in the lineup. If Saturday is any indication, the Gaels may know who their primary point guard is going forward.

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Iona’s journey ends with no doubt about their NCAA Tournament status

by - Published March 12, 2013 in Columns
iona

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Last year, Iona was a surprise entrant in the NCAA Tournament, reaching it as an at-large. Many prognosticators didn’t think they had the resume for it and thought any of a number of other schools had better profiles. This time around, there was quite a journey to get there, but will be no doubt about it: they are in after beating Manhattan 60-57 in the MAAC championship game on Monday night.

“I said from the beginning of the season we want to make the tournament the right way,” said junior guard Sean Armand. “We lost in the semifinals last year and got an at-large bid. I told the guys I really want to make the tournament by earning that spot.”

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2013 MAAC quarterfinal notes

by - Published March 10, 2013 in Columns
maac

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The MAAC quarterfinals are in the books. The afternoon games saw the seeds hold to form, while the evening started off with an upset that was also a game for the history books, but not in a good way. The last game followed its predecessor with the lower seed pulling off the upset.

With that, some leftover thoughts from the MAAC quarterfinals played on Saturday:

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St. Peter’s 64, Iona 62: The numbers and difference a week made

by - Published December 7, 2012 in Columns
author_floriani

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Iona and St. Peter‘s battled it out in a down to the wire game at Yanitelli Center. The Peacocks upset Iona 64-62 on Wednesday  in the type of contest that will be the norm in the MAAC this season. Blaise French hit a shot in the lane with the shot clock running out and under five seconds remaining.

The possessions:

Iona 70
St. Peter’s 71

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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

Notre Dame reminds us that we don’t play the games on paper

by - Published February 5, 2012 in Full Court Sprints
hoopguy-orange

We always talk about how the games aren’t played on paper when looking at teams that don’t do what we expect. It’s a cliché, and it sticks around because everyone loves to predict how things will turn out in sports, no matter how wrong we could wind up being. All the while, the teams that end up better than we project can just laugh at us all they want.

Enter the 2011-12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame lost a great deal from last season’s team that entered the month of March playing about as well as any team in the country. Gone from that team are Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough and important role players Tyrone Nash and Carleton Scott, the latter a big defensive leader for that team and a surprise early defection. Already, projections for this team were going to be that they were unlikely to contend for the top of the Big East. When they went 0-2 in Kansas City, including an 87-58 thrashing at the hands of Missouri, it looked like they would be who many thought they would be.

That wasn’t all. The Fighting Irish were not certain to have Tim Abromaitis back, as he played in two exhibition games in the 2008-09 season where he redshirted. But the NCAA granted him this year, so that helped as he was an experienced player and was second on the team in scoring last season. Then in late November, he tore the ACL in his right knee in practice, putting him out for the season.

At that point, the outlook was decidedly not good. But no one told head coach Mike Brey and his team that, and after Saturday’s convincing 76-59 win over Marquette, the Fighting Irish are alone in fourth place in the Big East.

“From the start of the season, no one thought we would be here,” said sophomore point guard Eric Atkins.

Notre Dame hasn’t compiled its record by beating up on the bottom feeders of the conference. Along the way, they have knocked off Louisville, Seton Hall and Connecticut on the road, and now Syracuse and Marquette at home.

“I am very proud of my group,” said Brey, who at this point looks like the runaway Coach of the Year in the Big East, if not nationally. “I told them in one of the final media timeouts that I felt like I was coaching men today. Last year’s team was men. That had a look of more than one fifth year senior on the court. I am thrilled where we are.”

Notre Dame can only get better given that this is a young team with a lot of players who are just finding themselves. Scott Martin is the only other senior besides Abromaitis on the team, while the emerging perimeter unit of Atkins, Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton are sophomore, sophomore and freshman respectively. Connaughton wasn’t expected to play much, but he scored 21 points on Saturday and now starts on the hardwood as well as the mound (the San Diego Padres drafted him last year).

“Right now, we’re really confident that we can beat any team – we can play with any team,” said Grant. “Our team confidence is really high right now, and I’d like to keep it that way because we are playing really well.”

That’s one thing no one can doubt at this point. The Irish have proven that to this point, and as a more confident team they will be even tougher to beat.

 

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

Arizona had a big weekend, sweeping their trip to northern California after a 56-43 win at Stanford on Saturday. The Wildcats may be starting to come alive at a good time.

Syracuse got Fab Melo back for Saturday’s game, and they rolled to a 95-70 blowout win at St. John’s. The win was the 879th in Jim Boeheim’s career, tying him with Dean Smith for third on the all-time list.

Seton Hall’s struggles continued as Connecticut annihilated them 69-46 in Hartford.

Kentucky had an easy time at South Carolina, committing just three turnovers in their blowout win.

The Big 12 gets a little more interesting at Missouri rallied to knock off Kansas in a big rivalry showdown. Both teams are now 8-2 in conference play.

Who’s on top of the ACC? No, not Duke, although the Blue Devils will be tied if they beat Miami on Sunday. North Carolina is in a tie after a big 83-74 win at Maryland to move into a tie for that spot. The team they are tied with is Florida State, as the Seminoles are 7-1 after a 58-55 win over Virginia.

Temple is now alone in first place in the Atlantic 10 after a 73-56 win at Rhode Island, combined with Saint Joseph’s knocking off La Salle earlier in the day. Temple’s perimeter trio continues to be the driving force for this team.

Wyoming knocked off road-weary UNLV in a close one after the Runnin’ Rebels ran into snow-related travel delays en route to Laramie.

Northern Iowa beat Creighton on a buzzer-beater, right after Creighton had tied it on a big shot.

Iona won a big showdown against Manhattan for the lead in the MAAC.

George Mason grabbed a share of the lead in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 54-50 win over Old Dominion in a first-place showdown. The Patriots are joined by VCU, 59-56 winners over Northeastern, and Drexel, 65-57 winners at Towson, at 11-2 in the conference.

Mississippi Valley State is now 10-0 in the SWAC and two games ahead in the standings, after knocking off Alabama State.

 

Sunday’s key matchups:

  • Michigan at Michigan State
  • Miami at Duke
  • Northwestern at Illinois
  • Stephen F. Austin at McNeese State
  • The biggest one of all: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI

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Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday Notes – December 20, 2014

December 21, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

A busy Saturday is in the books, and we saw the matchups get better, the results continue to be noteworthy and tell us more, and a couple of the games needed a lot of extra time to decide.

Despite a hit on the bottom line, Stony Brook’s transition continues

December 16, 2014 by

stonybrook

Stony Brook was able to hang with Providence until the roof caved in several minutes into the second half. It’s part of a growing process this team in transition needs, and it continues despite dropping a few games along the way.

Amidst Maine’s rebuilding challenge, there is hope

December 12, 2014 by

maine

Maine has a long road ahead as they rebuild under new head coach Bob Walsh. Amidst the early struggles, the Black Bears have shown some reason for hope going forward.

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Recruiting Coverage

2014 Scholar Roundball Classic recap and notes

December 16, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look at some notes and evaluations from Sunday’s action at the Scholar Roundball Classic, where the blowouts included some noteworthy performances.

2014 Hoop Mountain Prep Classic – Sunday notes

December 9, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at Sunday’s action in the Hoop Mountain Prep Classic, which included an overtime thriller and a couple of lopsided contests, and some prospects who helped themselves out with their play.

Some notes from the National Prep Showcase

November 28, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

The busy weekend that just passed also included a few games at the National Prep Showcase. Here are a few notes from some of the action early on Friday and Saturday.

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

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.