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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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

Monson’s 49ers reap the rewards of a tough schedule

by - Published January 24, 2012 in Full Court Sprints
hoopguy-orange

If any team could claim to be battle-tested heading into conference play, it had to be Long Beach State.

The 49ers loaded up their nonconference slate with the likes of Kansas, North Carolina, San Diego State, Louisville and Xavier. The team struggled through many of those games, ending up with a 7-6 record heading into Big West play.

But don’t be fooled. The 49ers were more than competitive against the big boys, with single-digit losses on the road at San Diego State, Kansas and North Carolina. Plus, the 49ers beat Pittsburgh, Xavier and Auburn. None of those are particularly outstanding — the Xavier win came during the Musketeers’ tailspin following the brawl against Cincinnati. But in short, Dan Monson’s team learned how to win and how to believe in itself.

This team has taken that lesson and applied it well through the first seven games of Big West play. Long Beach State sits atop the conference standings with a 7-0 record, and only Cal Poly stayed within 10 points of the 49ers.

If Long Beach State can continue to plow through the Big West and claim an automatic to the NCAA Tournament, the 49ers should be a popular first-round upset pick. Their lack of hefty wins will prevent the team from earning a seed much higher than a No. 12 or 13 spot. But that just makes this team a sound pick to upset any No. 4 or 5 seed from a major conference on a neutral court.

The benefits of such a tough schedule might not show up in the win-loss columns immediately. But if Long Beach State goes 1-1 or 2-0 during the first weekend of March, that tournament success will be partially due to the team’s preparation early in the season.

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

Murray State will get back leading rebounder Ivan Aska, who grabs 6.0 rpg and scores 12.6 ppg, for the team’s game against Eastern Illinois Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

Michigan could have big Jon Horford back for the Wolverines’ game against Purdue Tuesday, coach John Beilein told Wolverine Nation’s Chantel Jennings for ESPN.com. Horford has been out with a stress fracture since early December.

Arguably the most intense and spite-filled rivalry in the ACC, Maryland and Duke will clash for the first time this season Wednesday night in College Park. And the Terrapins will likely have freshman 7-footer Alex Len, even though he twisted his ankle during the Terps’ loss at Temple last weekend, according to the Washington Post’s Liz Clarke.

Of course, that’s no disrespect to the North Carolina vs. Duke rivalry. And this year, coach Roy Williams won’t have his best defender, Dexter Strickland, who tore his ACL in the team’s win against Virginia Tech Thursday, according ESPN.com’s Robbi Pickeral.

Arkansas coach Mike Anderson is considering adding a hometown hero to the Razorbacks squad, according to the Associated Press. Former Oklahoma State guard Fred Gulley has enrolled at Arkansas and plans to play for Anderson as a walk-on or scholarship player. He was a star high school basketball player in Arkansas before leaving the state to play for the Cowboys.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan railed against the rule that allows graduated players to transfer and play immediately during a news conference Monday, writes Benjamin Worgull for Badger Nation.com.

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Your Phil of Hoops

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.

Saturday Notes – December 6, 2014

December 7, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at quite a day of basketball, highlighted by early upsets and then some good matchups, plus a few sneaky-good wins for some teams on a busy day.

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Reader Poll

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Ten teams are still undefeated as of December 12. Which team will be the last one to lose their first game of the season?

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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.