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The Morning Dish – Friday, November 21, 2014

by - Published November 21, 2014 in The Morning Dish
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Holiday tournament basketball tipped off on Thursday, one of the many things we can give thanks for over the upcoming holiday. Though perhaps not too much thanks.

The proliferation of large, eight-team in-season tourneys has been a boon for teams looking to get in an extra three games each season, but it also has played a part in watering down the importance of such tournaments as a whole.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, November 14, 2014

by - Published November 14, 2014 in The Morning Dish
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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 Ten Post-Mortem

by - Published July 8, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigten

College basketball seasons always bring us teams that perform superbly in the non-conference season but fall into mediocrity in conference. Many times those teams are the product of cushy non-conference schedules, as well as being exposed by tougher conference competition.

There are exceptions to this every season, though, and the Big Ten had its share of them this year. Those teams’ later downward spirals were about the only difference between the league again being the best in the country, and the consensus that it settled in a notch lower.
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Michigan is the clear class of the NIT Season Tip-Off

by - Published November 24, 2012 in Columns
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NEW YORK – Michigan made the most of its first trip to the NIT Season Tip-Off championship game, running away from Kansas State 71-57 to take home their first title. In so doing, they did exactly what they did to get to New York and looked like the clear class of the field.

Michigan has been almost unstoppable at the offensive end thus far, and Friday was no different. The Wolverines blitzed IUPUI and Cleveland State by 37 and 30 points, respectively. They have shot over 50 percent in all but one game thus far this season, shooting a still-pretty-good 46 percent against Pittsburgh on Wednesday. From long range, they have been lights out as well. In addition, they are less turning the ball over 10 times per game thus far.

… Continue Reading

Harvard’s path to the elusive NCAA Tournament bid just got tougher

by - Published February 26, 2012 in Columns, Full Court Sprints
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Harvard is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher learning. Many of the brightest young people grow up dreaming of attending the school, unless you’re like me and dreamed of going to MIT (or Cal Tech) because of engineering. The university has produced a number of high achievers in just about every field imaginable.

On the hardwood, it’s been a different story. Harvard has had seasons of 20 or more wins, and they’ve been to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and NIT the past two seasons. But they have yet to get to the holy grail of college basketball, the NCAA Tournament. That has eluded them, including last year when they went to a one-game playoff against Princeton and lost on a buzzer-beating jumper in New Haven. And after Saturday night, they might be on a path to such a game once more, as Penn came to Lavietes Pavilion and stunned Harvard 55-54 on Senior Night.

… Continue Reading

BracketBusters takes center stage once again

by - Published February 19, 2012 in Columns
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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
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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.

Michigan State and Big Ten look for port during storm

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Columns

As college basketball officially starts its 2011-12 season, teams from the Big Ten place themselves right in the middle of the action.

As I am writing this, I am anxiously awaiting tip-off of the North Carolina vs. Michigan State game being played on the bow of the USS Carl Vinson in homage of Veterans Day. Regardless of the outcome, this is a very important game for college basketball and its relativity to America. … Continue Reading

Michigan Wolverines 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2011 in Conference Notes

Michigan Wolverines (21-14, 9-9)

Lost in second round of the NCAA Tournament (Duke won 73-71).

Going into his fifth season in Ann Arbor, John Beilein looks to improve the Wolverines’ fourth-place finish in the Big Ten.

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Tim Hardaway Jr. (Scored 10+ points in 25 games in 2010-11)
Sr. G Stu Douglass (Will be the starting point guard in 2011-12 season)
Sr. G Zack Novak
So. F Evan Smotrycz
So. C Jordan Morgan (Finished 2010-11 season with a 62.7 field goal percentage)

Important departures:

Darrius Morris: 15.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.7 apg

Additions:

Fr. PF Max Bielfeldt (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. SG Carlton Brundidge (Rivals.com four-star player)
Fr. PG Trey Burke (Rivals.com three-star player)

Outlook:

The loss of Darius Morris will have the biggest impact on Michigan this season. Morris was the pipeline that the Michigan offense’s points flowed through. It will take the full ensemble of starters working together to make up for the lack of offensive presence that Morris brought. Hardaway will take on the role, but it must be a team effort if Michigan wants to get any further in the NCAA Tournament.

Schedule highlights:

A pre-Thanksgiving Day mingling with Memphis should let Michigan fans know whether this is a season to be excited about or a bubble-bound team that is destined to break their hearts.

Prediction: Fifth

Next: Michigan State Spartans
Back to Big Ten preview

Young Wolverines Can and Must Get Better

by - Published November 28, 2010 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – John Beilein knew he had a young team, and with his system the learning curve can be steep. The realities of that were driven home by this weekend, especially Saturday’s 65-56 loss to UTEP that saw them struggle in the second half against an athletic team.

The Wolverines were out-played in the first half, but managed to go into the locker room tied at 29. They shot just 36 percent from the field, but had just five turnovers and got to the line enough to be in that position. But in the second half, UTEP had all the energy and didn’t let Michigan get many second shots, winning the rebounding battle 40-31. Leading scorer Tim Hardaway, Jr. never got untracked, scoring just six points on 1-8 shooting. … Continue Reading

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Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by

syracuse

Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by

brown

Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

New season, same challenge for New Hampshire

November 15, 2014 by

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It’s a new season at New Hampshire, and while the Wildcats look like they will defend, they also appear to have the same challenge they have had for a long time now: scoring.

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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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

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.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.