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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 27, 2015

by - Published March 27, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

A West Region final rematch is what many have been looking forward to this year, even if they didn’t know it. And a West Region final rematch is what they are getting, and it’s one that will be a historical rarity.

It’s an isolated occurrence for teams to meet in the NCAA Tournament two years in a row at all, and it is flat-out scarce that they square off in the same regional in the same round two years straight. It hasn’t happened since UCLA and San Francisco played in the 1973 and 1974 West regional finals, when the tourney was just 25 teams and placing teams in their home region was a priority and also easy to accommodate with so few teams. It took 41 years, but it will finally happen again on Saturday in the West Region (again) as Wisconsin and Arizona will meet again with a trip to the Final Four on the line after the Badgers defeated North Carolina 79-72 and the Wildcats held off Xavier 68-60 on Thursday.
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The Morning Dish – Sunday, March 22, 2015

by - Published March 22, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

When it comes to the very best teams in March, the current list starts with names like Arizona. Duke. Kentucky. Michigan State.

It’s high time another school was added to that elite hierarchy in the sport.

Xavier is back in the Sweet 16-again. This time, it’s after a 75-67 win over Georgia State on Saturday, as the Musketeers shot an incredible 67.6% for the game, including 81.3% (13 of 16) in the second half. It took that kind of effort to knock out the Panthers and R.J. Hunter-who almost certainly made himself some serious money with his performance this week-but X is on to the regional semifinals and now will face Arizona.
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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 20, 2015

by - Published March 20, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The first full day of the 2015 NCAA Tournament was littered with close, down-to-the-wire games. If it felt like an extraordinary day for the consistency of the fantastic finishes, that’s because it was.

Thursday saw 11 of the 16 first round games decided by eight points or less. Eight were decided by a single possession. Five were decided by a point, a record for a single day in the tourney. Two went to overtime.

As far as drama goes, it was as about as good as it can get. But there’s also a good chance that such games aren’t going anywhere and are going to be the norm this year. And maybe for the foreseeable future.
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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 – Thursday, February 26, 2015

by - Published February 26, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Coming off one of its best seasons ever, the Atlantic 10 has flown under the radar this year. The league won’t be getting six teams in the NCAA Tournament again, and it’s fair to say it: 2014-15 has not been as good for the conference as 2013-14 was.

It was always going to be hard to top last year anyway, though, so what the league is doing this year is no slouch. Hitting the stretch run, no conference is more intriguing at the top than the A-10, and that was proven in spades Wednesday night.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, February 18, 2015

by - Published February 18, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

If there’s one thing that the new configuration of the Big East has taught us, it’s that memories of the old Big East are always going to be around the corner, even at times when we’re thoroughly enjoying the league in the present.

The old school Big East is cool, and will always be cool. Tuesday night featured a game that is as old school cool as any rivalry in the current Big East, as St. John’s went to Georgetown. For those looking for drama, though, they had to look elsewhere, as the Hoyas easily dumped SJU 79-57 for their 17th victory of the season.
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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 – Wednesday, February 4, 2015

by - Published February 4, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Tuesday featured a quality slate of games in college basketball, a deserved honor for a longtime television voice, and a near miss in the first attempt at a major milestone for another basketball lifer.

Early in the day, CBS Sports and Turner Sports announced that Bill Raftery and Grant Hill will join Jim Nantz on this year’s TV broadcasts for the Final Four. The pick of Raftery should be overwhelmingly popular and is a wise one after CBS suspended Greg Anthony from its Final Four coverage following his arrest and charges on solicitation.

There are a few who don’t enjoy Raftery’s colorful, phrase-filled style (see: “Onions!” of course) but not many. For the vast majority, he’s a guy who is impossible not to like because he so clearly enjoys the games he works and the people and “kids” (as he so often calls them) involved in them.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 2, 2015

by - Published February 2, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Back on September 30, 2014, no one would have thought it was possible. Well, no one outside of a few people about 25 miles south of Boston.

The New England Patriots had just been thrashed on Monday Night Football, out-classed by Kansas City. The Patriots didn’t even look like a good college football team that night. Every team has off nights, but this didn’t seem like just that. They were 2-2 at the time and nothing leaped out at you as championship-worthy about this team. There was talk about whether the Tom Brady era was over. There were questions of whether or not it was time for them to start getting ready for the next generation of Patriots football.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, January 21, 2015

by - Published January 21, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Some will call it a masterpiece; others may still think of the game more as an eye sore. Either way, what Wisconsin did Tuesday night is something extraordinary, even by its own lofty standards.

The Badgers pounded Iowa 82-50 Tuesday night in as ruthlessly efficient an offensive performance as you’ll ever see. Wisconsin committed one turnover. Uno. Un. It shot 48.3% (29 of 60), including 9 of 23 from three-point range, grabbed 11 offensive rebounds off its misses, and made 15 of 19 free throws.

It was typical Badgers: methodical, fundamental, patient, statistically good-but-not-great, yet all executed by an exceptionally skilled offensive team. Some will still call them boring to watch. Whether their style looks slow or not, though, the fact is Wisconsin scored 82 points against what many think is a pretty darn good team. If that’s slow, many teams should be falling over themselves to find the details of how they can play “slow” like the Badgers.

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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.