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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 23, 2015

by - Published March 23, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Sunday was not a great day to be a No. 2 seed. That alone was noteworthy in two games on the day, but each was also noteworthy for other reasons.

We’ll start by mentioning the lone No. 2 seed to advance, which was Gonzaga (South). The Bulldogs ran out to a 46-29 halftime lead, shooting 62 percent in the opening frame, easily handling No. 7 Iowa 87-68. It’s the first time in six years that Gonzaga has reached the Sweet 16, and No. 11 UCLA awaits.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, March 21, 2015

by - Published March 21, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

If it was possible to have a day that was the opposite of Thursday, we pretty much had it on Friday. Whereas Thursday was a wild day with historic upsets – three double-digits seeds won by a point on the same day for the first time in NCAA Tournament history – Friday was, well, ho-hum. In fact, it was almost a historic day in just about the opposite fashion.

The first 15 games of the day saw every higher seed win. Since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams, there has never been a day in the round of 64 where all 16 higher seeds won. Then we had the last game of the day. It was one that was full of ridiculousness, quite frankly, but the most important thing is that the game kept the day from being historic. No. 11 Dayton beat No. 6 Providence 66-53, providing the lone upset of the day.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, March 4, 2015

by - Published March 4, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

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 – Sunday, March 1, 2015

by - Published March 1, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

First off: welcome to March. Few sweeter words are uttered in the sports year.

In a sport where home teams win right about two-thirds of the time, road wins at any time of year in college basketball are extraordinary, no matter the competition. Road wins at the end of February mean even more (regardless of whether ‘Last 10’ is an official criteria of the selection committee, remember-the NCAA selection committee is made of humans). Road wins at the end of February against very good teams are like gold, pure treasures.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, February 25, 2015

by - Published February 25, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

In the wake of Monday night’s Kansas-Kansas State game, fans rushing the court after games continued to be a big topic of discussion on Tuesday.

Nicole Auerbach of the USA Today took a thoughtful look at the topic and questioned if this was the one that crossed the line. CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish was adamant in declaring the practice needs to be stopped. Kansas State released a statement apologizing to Kansas and admitting the school’s fault in not securing the scene properly. Naturally, schools such as Richmond met on Tuesday to discuss security measures before their big rivalry game Wednesday against VCU, while the security presence was notable at the end of Maryland’s 59-53 win over Wisconsin.
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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 – Wednesday, February 11, 2015

by - Published February 11, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

An undefeated regular season for Kentucky is becoming closer and closer to reality.

The Wildcats passed what was quite possibly their toughest test for the rest of the regular season, defeating LSU on Tuesday 71-69. Karl-Anthony Towns scored with 1:28 left to put Kentucky ahead, and the Wildcats survived a missed three-pointer by Keith Hornsby at the buzzer to stay perfect.

UK still has seven regular season games left, including three on the road (at Tennessee, Mississippi State and Georgia). The toughest test remaining certainly appears to be Arkansas, but that one will be at Rupp Arena. It’s not inconceivable at all anymore to visualize an undefeated run in the regular season.
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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, February 3, 2015

by - Published February 3, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The Monday after the Super Bowl was a quiet night for college basketball, which one can only hope gave our nation of expert armchair quarterbacks enough time to get the whining about a play call out of its collective system. (Why can’t we take a little more notice of the story of a humble rookie reserve from a Division II school making the play of his life, one of the greatest defensive plays in Super Bowl history?)

Beyond the NFL Patriots, though, the calm on the hoops front gives us a chance to look at the Patriot League, home to what is top to bottom the most competitive conference race in NCAA Division I, bar none. For those who think the college basketball regular season is meaningless…it’s a weak generalization anyways, but there’s no way it can be applied to this league.
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The Morning Dish – Sunday, January 25, 2015

by - Published January 25, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

As one of college basketball’s blueblood programs, Kansas gets all the benefits of membership in an elite club, as well as a few relative drawbacks.

This shouldn’t be mistaken as sorrow or a story of sympathy, but Kansas is sometimes held to a higher standard than others and is a program that many love to put under a microscope and pick apart. There’s some good reason for that, of course-even with its history aside, KU almost always has some of the best talent in the country. And in the case of this season, sometimes that talent has fallen in spectacular fashion-see blowout losses to Kentucky and Temple.

There also are times, though, when the Jayhawks can almost be underrated because of the level of expectation from them. That was already the feel about this year’s team before yesterday, and it’s even more so now after it went on the road and took care of Texas 75-62, ensuring once and for all that the road to the Big 12 title goes through Lawrence. Again.

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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, January 20, 2015

by - Published January 20, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

The issues of scoring and pace of play in college basketball continue to get a considerable amount of press, and that’s a very good thing.

ESPN this past weekend on College Gameday had a thoughtful, quality discussion of the state of the sport, and a good share of the conversation was about those very topics. Jay Bilas has rightly continued to be outspoken about the ridiculous levels of contact allowed in college hoops, which has no doubt affected offense for years. Basketball Times magazine has been a frontrunner in reporting on this topic for several years now (if you don’t get it, you’re missing out; what Blue Ribbon is to preseason annuals, BT is to reporting on the sport). And yesterday, USA Today looked into the issue again in depth, with comments from a number of people including Belmont coach Rick Byrd, who is the chair of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee.

Things do need to change, and we could write 10,000 words about this topic (in fact, we sort of have in the past already). From this view, it’s that important. But the one hope we have is that any changes in the near future do not come about from overreactions.
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Your Phil of Hoops

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.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen 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.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.