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2014-15 Big West Post-Mortem

by - Published June 9, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigwest

The Big West entered 2014-15 poised for a very good year, and it eventually got there, albeit in a very roundabout way.

A number of the storylines for the league coming into the season never quite materialized, for a myriad of reasons. Among them:

-Preseason favorite UC Irvine was hammered by injuries for much of the season. Mammoth (7-foot-6) game-changer Mamadou Ndiaye played in less than half the team’s games, and four other regulars missed substantial time. After a 3-2 start that included a scare of Arizona and a tough loss at St. Mary’s, the Anteaters really were never whole again the rest of the year.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Friday, January 9, 2015

by - Published January 9, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Iowa and LSU continue to be two of the bigger teases in the country.

That much remained certain after last night, when-just when you’re ready to believe in them-both suffered losses that can only be categorized as disappointing. Iowa was outstanding for a half, but lost an 11-point lead and eventually the game going away, Michigan State putting the Hawkeyes well in their mirror for a 75-61 win. LSU, meanwhile, played what should’ve been a manageable road game, but surrendered an eight-point lead in the second half and never could shake Missouri, eventually losing 74-67 in overtime.

First off, before noting the schizophrenic nature of the losing teams, credit goes to the winners. Michigan State winning at Iowa wasn’t much of a surprise-the Spartans are a talented bunch-but rallying after a poor first half with a terrific three-point shooting performance (8 of 9 in second half). Missouri, meanwhile, has been a nuisance for many teams of late and will only become even more of a tough out as the season continues, and that’s a credit to new coach Kim Anderson.
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Scanning the Nation Notebook – Dec. 10

by - Published December 10, 2014 in Columns
glatczak

Some weekly thoughts, from watching and reading and generally spending too much time following college basketball:

  • CBS’s Jon Rothstein beat us to mentioning him today in his Observations column, but we’ll add on: Dylan Ennis has been a real difference-maker for Villanova. The junior averaged just 5.1 points per game last year but this year has stepped up his scoring, averaging nearly 13 points per game, including 18 Tuesday night in the Wildcats’ win over Illinois in the Jimmy V Classic. As if Nova’s offense needed another perimeter threat, it now has one as Ennis is shooting 46% from three (20 of 43) and has almost already matched his entire season total of 25 triples made last year. He helped keep the Wildcats going early this season in tougher-than-expected wins over Lehigh and Bucknell when the rest of the team was struggling from deep, and Ennis is now the leading scorer as Villanova has seven players averaging between 7.4 and 12.9 points per game.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 6, 2014

by - Published December 6, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Earlier this week, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was the center of attention. For the past couple of nights it’s the SEC/Big 12 Challenge that has taken over. And just like one game in particular in the former got everyone’s attention, and was about as good as billed, there was one matchup in the latter that many were eagerly awaiting. It wasn’t quite as good as billed in the second half, but it was a competitive game, for the most part.

Texas had about as good a month of November as Kentucky, as previously detailed in this space. The Longhorns also have a lot of length, so they figured to be able to match up with Kentucky. Texas led several times in the first half and had a big edge on the glass, and the teams were tied at 26 at the break. It figured to be quite a second half.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, November 28, 2014

by - Published November 28, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Here’s hoping all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Football games get all the attention, and understandably so given tradition, but on this day the college basketball action was far better than the football games. With that, we jump right into the day’s action:

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The Morning Dish – Sunday, November 23, 2014

by - Published November 23, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

The weekend has featured several instances of something we don’t see often: BCS conference (or Group of Five, or whatever term you want to use) teams taking to the road against good non-BCS teams.

In the past two days, four teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last year went on the road to face non-BCS teams. For those who have paid attention to this sort of thing over the years, the results of these games were not surprising.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 22, 2014

by - Published November 22, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Early season tournaments continue to lead the way, and will for much of the next week. Friday featured plenty of such action leading into the weekend, setting the stage for what’s to come. In one of them, a champion was crowned.

At Madison Square Garden, Texas won the 2K Classic 71-55 over California, frustrating the Golden Bears with their defense all night long, especially the 10 shots they blocked. In the consolation game, Syracuse held off Iowa 66-63 behind a career-high 20 points and nine rebounds from freshman Chris McCullough, who also got the game-sealing steal in the final seconds. More coverage on this is coming soon, so stay tuned.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 15, 2014

by - Published November 15, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

College basketball season has begun. Life is good.

Unfortunately, though, it didn’t take long for something bad to happen. In VCU’s 85-69 win over Tennessee in the first game of the Veterans Classic in Annapolis, a scary moment came almost 12 minutes into the game. VCU guard JeQuan Lewis went for a rebound and collided with Tennessee big man Dominic Woodson, who is not a little guy at 6’10” and close to 300 pounds. Lewis slammed his head onto the court, and it could be heard pretty well.

I didn’t see it live, as I was covering another game at the time, but it was all over Twitter when it happened. The sense I got from what I read was not good, and I wondered if I was going to be horrified later when I saw any footage that might be available of the incident and/or the aftermath.

… Continue Reading

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 Big West Post-Mortem

by - Published June 5, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigwest

The Big West in 2013-14 was a very nice half-a-conference through its regular season. In its postseason tourney, the conference showed glimpses of very soon being a tough top-to-bottom league.

Of course, a generalization like the former is always too simplistic and never gives enough credit for the rigors of conference play, but the truth is the Big West was a four-team race last year. And a very good one at that. UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State and Hawaii staged a spirited battle for the conference title in a league that refreshingly still decides a true champion through a double round-robin schedule.

… Continue Reading

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