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The Morning Dish – Thursday, November 26, 2015

by - Published November 26, 2015 in The Morning Dish

The news could not have been much better for Kansas on Wednesday-on the court and off.

Call it two wins in one day. On the court, the Jayhawks overcame Vanderbilt for a 70-63 victory in the Maui Invitational final. KU shot 62.5% in the second half and won the battle of two excellent frontlines. Wayne Selden scored 25 points to carry Kansas, which overcame an early deficit to win its second Maui title.

Off the court, and earlier in the day before the tourney final, KU finally found out Cheick Diallo’s fate. The freshman was ruled by the NCAA to be suspended for the first five games of this season, meaning he missed last night’s Maui final yet but can return for the Jayhawks’ next game Dec. 1 against Loyola (Md.). His return will obviously add another tool to a team that already was a national title contender even with him out, and Kansas now may be on the short list of favorites.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 25, 2015

by - Published November 25, 2015 in The Morning Dish

The championship game for the 32nd annual Maui Invitational is set, and this year’s matchup looks primed be a dandy like so many other title games in the tourney’s history.

Vanderbilt clinched its spot in the final with its second straight rout, defeating Wake Forest 88-64. The Commodores did what Indiana could not-defeat the Demon Deacons, and did so with authority. Vandy will take on Kansas in the final after the Jayhawks also won their second straight game in blowout fashion, this time steamrolling UCLA 92-73 in a game that wasn’t that close.
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The Morning Dish – Sunday, November 22, 2015

by - Published November 22, 2015 in The Morning Dish

The Missouri Valley Conference almost had a perfect day – almost. Still, it had a taste of history to lead what was a pretty good day.

Seven Valley teams were in action on Saturday, and six of them won. The seventh – Drake – led UMKC by four at the half, but UMKC opened the second half on an 8-1 run to take the lead, then Drake led again before a 17-6 run put the Kangaroos ahead to stay in a 79-73 win in Kansas City.

That would be the only blemish of any sort on the day.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 18, 2015

by - Published November 18, 2015 in The Morning Dish

You can go a long time in this college basketball season and not have a better day than Tuesday provided.

It’s true that you certainly won’t find a longer day. But beyond the novelty of the Tip-Off Marathon, Tuesday was loaded with power matchups, revivals of rivalries, All-Americans at their very best, and just plain good games that were worthy of the national platforms they were provided, even if played at times that were the furthest thing from prime time.

The Champions Classic is an event Billy Packer would love, the ultimate in TV matchmaking. The first game saw the two biggest brand names in the sport right now, and we found out Kentucky’s freshmen mixed with returnees are better than Duke’s frosh and veterans in mid-November. The Wildcats were led by the old(er)-Tyler Ulis with 18 points-and the new-Jamal Murray with 16) and simply outplayed the Blue Devils in a 74-63 win.

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

by - Published November 12, 2015 in Columns

We conclude our look at our favorite games for every day of the season from November through February, 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 to watch. Some days the picks are obvious, others they are no doubt up for debate, but we limited it to one pick and one special mention each day. We started this on Monday with November, continued with December on Tuesday, January and Wednesday, and today we finish with February:

Feb. 1: North Carolina at Louisville. Besides the obvious skill of these teams, it’s always a sweet pairing of the Tar Heels’ running and the Cardinals’ pressure defense. Honorable mention: SMU at Houston

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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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Kansas: The under-the-radar national title contender

by - Published October 22, 2015 in Columns

Amidst talk of who could be a Final Four and/or national title contender this season, one traditional powerhouse that should be in the mix isn’t getting talked about much, at least not in this vein. There’s an understandable reason, and there’s another reason that could go away and then lead to more talk of them as contenders.

Kansas isn’t being talked about enough. And when you look at their team, you see why they should be a contender, as well as why they are perhaps a bit under the radar, relatively speaking.

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2015 NCAA Tournament Final Review: A solid tourney by historical standards

by - Published April 13, 2015 in Columns

Collectively, the 2015 NCAA Tournament was a roller coaster. There was the high of the first few days before the tourney slipped into mediocrity in its middle rounds, only to rise back up again for a big finish at the end, worthy of all the history of such a splendid event.

It is the truth that three of the very best games of this year’s tourney came from the regional finals onward. Kentucky against Notre Dame, Wisconsin against Kentucky and Duke against Wisconsin were all competitive and terrific theater down to the wire. And also very high in the TV ratings, it might be noted, much as those who would prefer you to believe the sport is a steaming disaster would rather you not know that.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, April 8, 2015

by - Published April 8, 2015 in The Morning Dish

The 2014-15 college basketball season is in the books, but there was still plenty to talk about a day after Monday’s terrific 2015 NCAA Tournament finale between Duke and Wisconsin.

Unfortunately but perhaps not surprisingly, officiating became a big topic of discussion after the game and remained so on Tuesday. A big reason for that were Bo Ryan’s pointed comments on CBS immediately after the game, when unprovoked he mentioned that “there was more body contact in this game than any game we played all year” and “it’s just a shame that it had to be played that way.”
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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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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.