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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 16, 2015

by - Published March 16, 2015 in The Morning Dish
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Selection Sunday has come and gone, and as usual, there is much to talk about. As much as ever, though, bubble teams are the center of the conversation, and understandably so.

By 7 p.m. Eastern time every year on this day, there are programs that are excited and ones that are sad, upset, even angry. Nowadays, where the bubble always seems more even and perhaps weaker than in the past, you get the feeling that there are more teams in the latter category. And one thing that is true more than ever is that any team that doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large certainly had their chances to play their way in, and not just by winning their conference tournament.

… Continue Reading

Miami continues to win without Johnson during a tough stretch

by - Published January 17, 2013 in Columns
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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Miami continued to do what they have done since Reggie Johnson fractured his left thumb in practice over three weeks ago. They had other players come up big, they survived a close call, and most of all, they won. Their 60-59 win at Boston College wasn’t very smooth or memorable, but it is a win and it is big for this team for multiple reasons.

Since Johnson went out, Kenny Kadji has taken his play to another level and Julian Gamble has been the biggest beneficiary of his minutes. Gamble has made the most of the extra minutes, although he wasn’t a big factor on Wednesday night as the Hurricanes went smaller at times to guard the Eagles’ lineup with four perimeter players. They’ve tried to get something out of both Raphael Akpejiori and freshman Tonye Jekiri as well, though neither has distinguished himself just yet as an offensive factor.

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2011-12 ACC Post-Mortem

by - Published May 19, 2012 in Conference Notes
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Kendall Marshall, Leslie McDonald, Dexter Strickland.

Those three Tar Heels were supposed to anchor the North Carolina backcourt entering the 2011-12 season. With Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston, the Tar Heels figured to have one of the deepest set of guards in the country to pair with a great front line led by Tyler Zeller and John Henson. And that’s before accounting for Harrison Barnes, projected to be one of the best wing players in the country.

But injuries decimated North Carolina’s backcourt, forcing coach Roy Williams to run with little-used freshman Stilman White and jack-of-all-trades Justin Watts in the team’s most important game of the season, an Elite Eight clash with Williams’ old squad, the Kansas Jawhawks, in St. Louis. … Continue Reading

Miami could make moves in the ACC

by - Published January 30, 2012 in Columns
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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Miami couldn’t seem to shake Boston College no matter what they did. They led often, but the game was played within a ten-point window even as the Hurricanes were doing a better job of defending the young Eagles as the game wore on. Suddenly, with the game tied at 49, all that changed, as the Hurricanes went on a 14-0 run and turned what was a close game into a 76-54 rout. It all went right with what head coach Jim Larranaga has preached to this team.

“I thought our guys stayed very poised,” said Larranaga, currently in his first season at the school. “Early in the season, we tended to go our own way and tried to do it on our own. Tonight, I thought we stuck with some things and were able to fight through it, and our defense got better as the game progressed. They were at 49 for a long time.”

… Continue Reading

Miami Hurricanes 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

Miami Hurricanes (21-15, 6-10)

 

Editor’s note: This post was corrected to update information about Julian Gamble’s injury sustained in August. 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Malcolm Grant
Jr. G Durand Scott
Jr. G Garrius Adams
So. C Kenny Kadji
Jr. C Reggie Johnson (when healthy)

Important departures:

Coach Frank Haith: 129-101 overall record, 43-69 ACC record in seven seasons at Miami.
Adrian Thomas: 9.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.8 apg

Percent returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 87.2 percent
Rebounding: 89.8 percent

Additions:

Trey McKinney Jones, junior shooting guard transferred from UMKC
Kenny Kadji, sophomore center transferred from Florida

Schedule highlights:

Best non-conference game: vs. Memphis
Toughest conference stretch: Feb. 6-11 (at Duke, vs. Virginia Tech, at Florida State)

Outlook:

Jim Larranaga is in for a rough ride. The University of Miami faces all kinds of uncertainty in the aftermath of the Nevin Shapiro investigation that uncovered dirty recruiting practices that primarily affected the Hurricanes football program but also implicated former coach Frank Haith. That might be more of Missouri’s problem in the long term. But Larranaga could be facing the prospects of leading a team on probation, depending on how everything falls out.

Until then, though, Larranaga has a chance to deliver a special season to Coral Gables. Miami has possibly the best backcourt in the ACC with senior guard Malcolm Grant and junior guard Durand Scott leading the way. Junior Garrius Adams is a talented wing player to help Grant and Scott stretch the court for the Canes’ interior big men: Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson. Kadji will need to take the primary lead inside until January while Reggie Johnson recovers from a knee injury sustained during a pickup game. The frontcourt suffered another blow when Julian Gamble tore his ACL in August, and he will likely miss the entire season. With a relatively favorable ACC schedule, the Hurricanes should be in decent position for a run toward the top of the standings by the time Johnson returns to the lineup.

Prediction: Third

Next: North Carolina Tar Heels

Back to ACC preview

Quick Hitters – April 22, 2011

by - Published April 22, 2011 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

A few quick hitters as we head into the holiday weekend:

 

  • Miami‘s hire of Jim Larranaga is an excellent one, and an interesting move for the 61-year-old coach. Larranaga was thought to be in his final job after turning down opportunities a few years ago, at a school where he could win every year and a conference in which he was the dean of coaches. The school paid him well and he made money as a motivational speaker after leading George Mason to the Final Four. But as one person pointed out, there’s no risk here. If things don’t work out and he is let go, he can retire in 4-5 years anyway and after picking up more money. … Continue Reading

Stable Tar Heels, Seminoles Have Good Reason for Optimism

by - Published April 11, 2011 in Columns

If roster and coaching stability means anything, fans in Tallahassee and Chapel Hill should be optimistic about the 2011-12 season.

Florida State and North Carolina figure to return at least 70 percent of their scoring from this year, and they have tenured ACC coaches at the helm. However, each team has a question mark that could decide whether the Seminoles and Tar Heels become stalwarts of the top 10 or bounce around the Top 25 polls. … Continue Reading

2010-11 ACC Preview

by - Published November 11, 2010 in Conference Notes

For the second consecutive year, an ACC team will open the season as defending national champ. And Duke has a real shot at delivering back-to-back titles for the second time in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s illustrious career. At least, the Blue Devils have a far better chance than North Carolina did last season after the Tar Heels were overhyped and then overmatched en route to coach Roy Williams’ worst season in a couple of decades.

Although critics poke the ACC for lacking the quantity of elite teams that the Big East boasts, the ACC has once again proven that its best teams are legitimate title contenders every year. Duke managed to fly under the radar last season as the media fawned over veteran-laden Kansas and John Calipari’s freshmen sensations at Kentucky. But in the end, a ruthlessly balanced team stormed through the post-season and beat Cinderella, aka Butler, in a thrilling championship game. The two will reprise that battle in December when they meet in New Jersey. … Continue Reading

2010 ACC Post-Mortem

by - Published May 5, 2010 in Conference Notes

Although several ACC squads had disappointing final results, Duke emerged as the national champ to reaffirm that the conference’s best is always a title contender.

When the season started, we expected Duke to emerge as a national championship contender if the Big Three – Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith – could lead the Blue Devils night in and night out without wearing down.

In November, that seemed like a tall order because the Blue Devils just didn’t have much depth behind those perimeter players. But Scheyer, Singler and Smith fulfilled their potential by carrying Duke to its fourth national championship under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

In the past, Duke has earned its reputation as one of the most hated teams in the country because the national media dwell on every game – much like the media painfully did this season with North Carolina as the Tar Heels crumbled without Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green. But for some reason, there was no hype surrounding this Blue Devils squad. Somehow, Coach K’s team flew under the radar while Kansas, Kentucky and the entire Big East captured the majority of the national coverage.

In the end, Duke proved that its regular-season success wasn’t only the product of a down year in the ACC. The Blue Devils weren’t just the conference’s best team; they were the nation’s best team. Duke had to take down Cinderella – aka Butler – to claim that title. And in the process, the Blue Devils and Bulldogs delivered one of the most thrilling national title games of the past decade.

Few people seriously expected North Carolina to repeat as national champions. But they almost did – if you count the NIT winner as a national champion. After an utterly disastrous regular season that saw the Tar Heels fall apart because of injuries and inexperience, North Carolina pulled things together in the NIT to make a run to the championship game, which the Tar Heels lost to Dayton.

With North Carolina falling from the ACC’s elite, Maryland moved up the conference’s caste system. Fiery guard Greivis Vasquez sparked the Terrapins to a share of the regular-season title. Unfortunately, Maryland peaked about two weeks too early when the Terrapins won a thriller against the Blue Devils in College Park in early March. After that, Maryland failed to win two consecutive games, ending in a second-round defeat to No. 5-seed Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament.

Four other teams joined Duke and Maryland in the NCAA Tournament: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. Like Maryland, none of them won more than one game in the tournament.

Outside Duke, the conference lacked a second legitimate powerhouse. If that’s your definition of a down year, then yes, the ACC was down. But the bottom of the conference proved to be better than the cellar dwellers of nearly every other conference, as demonstrated by unlikely ACC Tournament runs by Miami and North Carolina State.

Here’s a recap of the 2009-10 season for ACC teams.

Final 2009-10 Standings

Team Overall ACC
Duke Blue Devils 35-5 13-3
Maryland Terrapins 24-9 13-3
Virginia Tech Hokies 25-9 10-6
Florida State Seminoles 22-10 10-6
Clemson Tigers 21-11 9-7
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 20-11 9-7
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 23-13 7-9
Boston College Eagles 15-16 6-10
North Carolina Tar Heels 20-17 5-11
North Carolina State Wolfpack 20-16 5-11
Virginia Cavaliers 20-17 5-11
Miami Hurricanes 20-13 4-12

ACC Tournament

The ACC Tournament was a harbinger of the NCAA Tournament, with five major upsets in 11 games. But at the end of the tournament, Duke was cutting down the nets.

The Blue Devils won their second-consecutive conference title and ninth since 1999 by beating No. 7-seed Georgia Tech 65-61. Duke’s difficult run against seemingly overmatched opponents – No. 9-seed Virginia, No. 12-seed Miami and the Yellow Jackets – prepared the Blue Devils for a hard-fought run to the national title in the NCAA Tournament. Georgia Tech sealed its bid to the NCAA Tournament with an impressive run that included an upset of No. 2-seed Maryland.

No. 11-seed North Carolina State and No. 12-seed Miami provided the biggest upsets of the conference tournament. The Wolfpack opened the tournament by nipping No. 6-seed Clemson 59-57 and then beating No. 3-seed Florida State 58-52. The Hurricanes overcame a bad ACC regular season by upsetting No. 5-seed Wake Forest and No. 4-seed Virginia Tech. Duke was the only team seeded No. 6 or better to win even a single conference tournament game.

Hoopville’s All-ACC Awards

Player of the Year: Jon Scheyer, Duke

Rookie of the Year: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech

Defensive Player of the Year: Solomon Alabi, Florida State

Coach of the Year: Gary Williams, Maryland

First-Team All-ACC:

Jon Scheyer, Duke

Greivis Vasquez, Maryland

Kyle Singler, Duke

Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest

Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech

Second-Team All-ACC:

Sylven Landesberg, Virginia

Nolan Smith, Duke

Tracy Smith, North Carolina State

Trevor Booker, Clemson

Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech

Third-Team All-ACC:

Joe Trapani, Boston College

Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech

Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech

Ed Davis, North Carolina

Solomon Alabi, Florida State

Season Highlights

8 Things We Saw Coming

1. Duke won a share of the regular season championship and then dominated the conference tournament.

2. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Maryland joined the Blue Devils in the NCAA Tournament.

3. But none of those four advanced far in the tournament.

4. Virginia struggled under new coach Tony Bennett, who put the brakes on the Cavaliers’ pace to one of the slowest tempos in the conference.

5. Miami dropped toward the bottom of the conference with an influx of young talent, such as Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant.

6. Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez went head-to-head with Duke’s best player, Jon Scheyer, for the conference’s Player of the Year award.

7. Virginia Tech established one of the best backcourts in the country with Malcolm Delaney and Dorenzo Hudson – and the juniors look ready to dominate next season if Delaney backs out of the NBA Draft.

8. Florida State’s defensive prowess was remarkably better than the team’s offensive prowess, and it was just enough to carry the Seminoles to an NCAA Tournament bid.

8 Things We Thought We’d See

1. North Carolina was supposed to compete for second place in the conference, but instead finished tied for second worst.

2. The Tar Heels seemed ready to compete with seniors like Marcus Ginyard in the lineup. But Ginyard couldn’t stay healthy for a second consecutive season, and injuries helped derail the Tar Heels’ season.

3. We expected Duke’s highly-touted freshman recruit Mason Plumlee to be a factor. He ended up with 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per game.

4. Likewise, Clemson’s Milton Jennings saw even less time, averaging 3.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 11.2 minutes per game.

5. Wake Forest is usually an offensive juggernaut. But the Demon Deacons struggled on offense despite the presence of a veteran point guard, Ishmael Smith, and talented post players like Al-Farouq Aminu, Chas McFarland and Tony Woods.

6. Georgia Tech point guard Iman Shumpert focused on playing under more control. But the Yellow Jackets couldn’t significantly cut down on their turnovers, committing 16.4 turnovers per game this season compared to 16.8 last season.

7. Usually tough and consistent Boston College remained tough but was anything but consistent, losing five ACC games by double digits.

8. The ACC is traditionally a showcase for electric offense. But only three teams finished in the top 40 in offensive efficiency.

8 Things We Didn’t See Coming

1. Once again, North Carolina stunk. Yes, expectations were too high. Yes, injuries always hurt. But this team looked lost and occasionally apathetic, which utterly baffled coach Roy Williams.

2. Wake Forest exceeded expectations on defense, which had been the team’s bugaboo for several years.

3. Despite the strong defense and a return to the NCAA Tournament, the Demon Deacons axed Dino Gaudio because of his lack of post-season success.

4. Clemson and Boston College also had to find new coaches after Oliver Purnell shockingly bolted for DePaul and the Eagles parted ways with Al Skinner.

5. On the court, the midseason maturation of Duke’s Brian Zoubek was the unlikely catalyst for the Blue Devils’ ascension from contender to champion.

6. Virginia Tech once again proved that you cannot discount a Seth Greenberg-coached team, which finished third in the conference.

7. Quite a few ACC teams – namely, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech – channeled their inner Big 10 spirit and devoted far more energy to defense than offense.

8. Maryland jumped from the middle of the pack to near the top of the ACC thanks to another dominating season from Vasquez and just enough support from the rest of the team to consistently beat down ACC foes.

Teams of the Rise

Virginia Tech

We should just leave the Hokies in this category each season, unless Greenberg take another job.

Virginia Tech finished third in the ACC this season and just missed the NCAA Tournament because of a weak non-conference schedule and lack of quality wins. If Greenberg lines up more worthy non-conference foes, the Hokies will build a stronger résumé for the 2011 tournament. They certainly will have the lineup to do so.

The Hokies lose only Lewis Witcher to graduation. A veteran lineup anchored by Delaney – assuming he doesn’t stay in the NBA Draft – Hudson, Jeff Allen, J.T. Thompson and Terrell Bell could become the favorite to challenge Duke for next season’s conference championship.

Florida State

The Seminoles remain here as long as Alabi decides to return to school instead of entering the NBA Draft. If he comes back to Tallahassee, the Seminoles will remain one of the best defensive teams in the country. And they have to get better on offense, right?

Florida State was just abysmal offensively for much of the season, committing nearly 17 turnovers per game. The Seminoles struggled as a team to hit shots when they didn’t turn it over. From three-point range, Florida State shot only 33.5 percent, and from the free throw line, the Seminoles were only 64.4 percent.

North Carolina

Thanks to a run to the NIT championship game, the Tar Heels salvaged a disastrous season and inspired hope for next season.

In particular, Larry Drew II finally looked capable of running the Tar Heels’ offense, which should be more powerful next season. Freshmen Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland must become better long-range shooters. If they don’t, incoming freshmen Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall will challenge them for playing time. One reason the Tar Heels struggled this season is teams didn’t need to respect their outside shooting. That shouldn’t be true next season, which will open the lane for Ed Davis (if he returns, as he declared for the NBA Draft), Tyler Zeller, the Wear twins and John Henson.

With so much talent on this roster, it’s hard to imagine that North Carolina won’t be on the rise from a 10th-place finish.

Teams on the Decline

Maryland

The Terrapins took advantage of their window of opportunity. With the implosion in Chapel Hill, there was a gaping void after Duke at the top of the standings, and Maryland stepped up to fill it.

But with the graduation of Vasquez, Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne, the Terrapins will lose three players who averaged at least 30 minutes per game and accounted for 54.7 percent of the team’s scoring and 67.3 percent of the team’s assists.

Coach Gary Williams has been reluctant to trust his bench in recent seasons. He won’t have a choice next season when those bench players become starters.

Virginia

Coach Tony Bennett will get a fresh start after his first season with the Cavaliers because seven players who began the season are leaving the program.

Although Bennett has an opportunity to shape this team as he desires, it’s hard to imagine the Cavaliers improving significantly without Sylven Landesberg, who averaged 17.3 points per game for a team that struggled to score. He accounted for more than one-quarter of the team’s points.

Besides Landesberg, Bennett will need to replace the production of Calvin Baker, Jerome Meyinsse, Soloman Tat, Jeff Jones and Tristan Spurlock.

Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons shocked everyone by firing Dino Gaudio and replacing him with Jeff Bzdelik. Yes, Gaudio had failed to win an NCAA Tournament game despite having three NBA first-round draft picks pass through Winston-Salem, assuming Aminu goes early in this year’s draft.

But Gaudio was attracting great high school players and winning many of the in-state recruiting battles. His teams peaked too early in the season twice. But at least they found a way to the top.

Bzdelik prefers a slower pace than Wake Forest is accustomed to playing. And the Demon Deacons will need to find a new point guard to learn that offense because Ishmael Smith is graduating. He’s taking several key teammates with him, as Chas McFarland, David Weaver and L.D. Willams have also finished their playing careers as Demon Deacons, while Aminu is bolting the team for NBA money.

Despite some talented young players, this team figures to go through at least one season of growing pains under a new coach.

Next Season

Entering this season, many experts figured that Duke and North Carolina would contend for the conference title, but they were likely a year away from challenging for a national championship. Duke proved the experts wrong by taking the national title this year. And they might be the front-runner to do it again next season.

The Blue Devils return Singler and Smith, in addition to talented young big men like Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee and Ryan Kelly. Sharpshooter Seth Curry will be eligible after transferring from Liberty, and Andre Dawkins will step into the point guard role. If he struggles, Krzyzewski can turn to freshman Kyrie Irving, who is an electric recruit out of New Jersey. The Blue Devils also are adding Joshua Hairston and Tyler Thornton to a solid recruiting class.

Besides Duke, Virginia Tech and Florida State should build on their success from this past season to fill out the conference’s elite. Wake Forest and North Carolina will have plenty of talent on their roster to possibly join those three, but both teams have plenty of issues to overcome.

In Raleigh, coach Sidney Lowe must elevate the Wolfpack to the top half of the conference or he almost certainly will be looking for a new job after next season. Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt might also be on the hot seat if the Yellow Jackets significantly regress – a likely scenario with the losses of Favors and Lawal to the NBA.

If you want a very early sleeper pick to reach the NCAA Tournament, assuming its only 65 teams and not 96, look south to Miami. Coach Frank Haith has reloaded that roster with talented young guards who figure to make their mark next season.

And if the NCAA Tournament expands to 96 teams, look for the ACC to place every single team in the tournament unless expansion includes a rule that teams must have at least a .400 winning percentage in your conference – or something like that.

Miami (FL): Hurricanes Suspend Rios Again

by - Published January 13, 2009 in Newswire

Miami coach Frank Haith indefinitely suspended sophomore guard Eddie Rios for the second time this season because of a lack of communication and a violation of team rules. Haith suspended Rios Dec. 2 for another team rules violation and reinstated him two games later. Rios averages 4.7 points per game and shoots better than 43 percent from three-point range.

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Your Phil of Hoops

What Kentucky gave us will be forgotten, and that’s too bad

April 5, 2015 by

kentucky

Most people are going to remember Kentucky in 2014-15 more for the one loss than the 38 wins and the journey that came with it. That’s the most unfortunate thing of all.

A happy resolution comes in Delaware

April 1, 2015 by

delaware

There has finally been a resolution to Monte Ross’ contract situation, and it’s a happy one for the Blue Hens’ head coach and his staff after the work they have done to rebuild the program.

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.

Hoopville Archives

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

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis – Sunday notes

April 29, 2015 by

adidasuprising

Sunday was the conclusion of the adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis, and we take a look at some of the players who shined on a day that saw a few games that weren’t very competitive.

adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis – Saturday notes

April 28, 2015 by

adidasuprising

Saturday was a full day of action in the adidas Gauntlet near Indianapolis, and here’s a look at some of the talent that stood out on the day as college coaches checked out the action.

adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis – Friday notes

April 25, 2015 by

hoopguy-yellow

Friday night got the adidas Gauntlet in Indianapolis going, and we take a look at a few players who stood out before a full day of action comes to us on Saturday.

Notes from the 2015 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 20, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was time for a trip to Hanover for late action in the Northeast Hoops Festival, and we have a look at some prospects who stood out on the day.

2015 EYBL Hampton – Saturday & Sunday notes

April 14, 2015 by

nikeeybl

Saturday was a full day of action at EYBL Hampton, and Sunday capped it off with a brief slate. We look at some of the talent that was on hand each day to close out the first live weekend.