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2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

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

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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2014 NIT Notebook

by - Published April 6, 2014 in Columns

NEW YORK – A final word of notes, quotes, observations from the 2014 NIT.

The first is a simple one. The term “classic” often gets overused, but how else to describe the tournament, especially the championship, a game that saw 14 ties and 17 lead changes?

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Minnesota edges SMU for NIT Title

by - Published April 5, 2014 in Columns

NEW YORK – In a championship game of thrills and all-out intensity, Minnesota defeated SMU 65-63 on Thursday night. The victory gave the Gophers the NIT championship and proved to be both a memorable game and a contest ever worthy of the Madison Square Garden location.

The three keys:

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Strong second half sends SMU to NIT final

by - Published April 3, 2014 in Columns

NEW YORK – Throughout an illustrious coaching career spanning several decades through the colleges and NBA, Larry Brown has diagrammed many a play and defense. He’s also very active on the clinic circuit. When his SMU team trailed Clemson at the half by 12 in the NIT semis, Brown’s message was simple. No grease board was necessary.

“I just told them,” Brown said, “we were not matching the intensity and energy of Clemson. We had to do that to get back in it.”

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NIT: Sights and sounds

by - Published March 30, 2012 in Columns

NEW YORK – Part of the lure and attraction of this great tournament, the NIT, is what happens behind the scenes. It’s New York and never dull.

Here is a look at this year from train to Garden floor. Granted, it’s a plug for NJ Transit, but they were on time round trip and got me safely to and from both days.

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Stanford routs Minnesota for NIT title

by - Published March 30, 2012 in Columns

NEW YORK –  It is probably safe to assume neither team expected a game of this type. On paper it seemed to be an even matchup, but that is the reason they play them and settle it on the court. In the NIT championship, Stanford routed Minnesota 75-51. The title, in this 75th NIT, was Stanford’s second. The Cardinal also won the crown in 1991. The points of emphasis:

1. Defense. Exhibit a had to be the D. Good old man-to-man with denial and a physical presence in the paint. The Cardinal limited Minnesota to a 37 percent shooting night. Of greater importance was the forcing of the opposition into 22 turnovers. Those errors on the part of Minnesota led Stanford to an excellent 28-7 advantage in points off turnovers. “We saved the best for last,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “We have had runs like this before but never in a game like this on this stage.” … Continue Reading

The countdown to Selection Sunday starts — less than a month to go

by - Published February 14, 2012 in Columns

It’s hard to believe, but Selection Sunday is officially less than a month away — 26 days to be precise.

That means it’s separation time. The best teams throughout the nation need to raise the bar to claim a regular-season conference championship and jockey for NCAA Tournament seeding.

For the vast majority of the 31 conferences that receive automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, winning a regular-season conference title is about more than bragging rights. In many conference tournament formats, the regular-season winner gets a bye or home court advantage — sometimes both — at some point in the upcoming conference tourneys. Teams like the America East’s Stony Brook, Big Sky’s Weber State, and SWAC’s Mississippi Valley State won’t be getting at-large bids to the Big Dance if they don’t capture a conference championship in the tournaments. So they’ll take any advantage they can get. … Continue Reading

Minnesota Golden Gophers 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2011 in Conference Notes

Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-14, 6-12)

Coach Tubby Smith (90-61) enters his fourth season at Minnesota.




Project starting five:

Sr. F Trevor Mbakwe
Fr. F Andre Ingram
Jr. G Julian Welch
So. G Austin Hollins
Sr. F Ralph Sampson III

Important departures:

Blake Hoffarber: 13.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.1 apg, 38.9 percent from 3-point range
Al Nolen: 8.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.7 apg
Colton Iverson: 5.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg


Fr. SG Joe Coleman (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. SG Andre Hollins (Rivals.com three-star player)


Minnesota looks solid with their two returning starters in Mbakwe and Sampson, both of whom entertained notions of leaving for the NBA. The Gophers surprised people last year with a late run in the Big Ten tournament, but unfortunately that fluke will not play out again. A lot of Minnesota’s players are good, but few are great and teams will exploit their weakened bench.

Schedule highlights:

A very weak nonconference schedule will help inflate the Gophers’ final record, but after being cannibalized in their conference, Minnesota will sink to somewhere at or below .500 overall.

Prediction: 12th

Next: Nebraska Huskers
Back to Big Ten preview

Game On!

by - Published November 12, 2010 in Full Court Sprints




Go coast to coast with our roundup of the nation’s top stories.

  1. The top big man in this year’s freshman class, Kentucky’s Enes Kanter, is ineligible because he received extra benefits while tagging along with a club basketball team in Turkey, according to the Associated Press.
  2. ESPN.com’s Andy Katz observes that Kanter’s decision to (try to) go to college bucked a trend among top international players.
  3. There’s plenty of angst at Rocky Top as Tennessee opens the season against Chattanooga because the Vols dropped an exhibition game to Division II Indianapolis earlier in the week, writes Rob Lewis of VolQuest.com.
  4. Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine gives you a player’s perspective on the best guards in the Big East on ESPN.com.
  5. Minnesota’s second-leading returning scorer, Devoe Joseph, is out indefinitely after violating team rules, writes the Associated Press’ Jon Krawczynski. That means Joseph won’t get to go to Puerto Rico, where the Gophers could face North Carolina and West Virginia.
  6. Villanova McDonald’s All-American JayVaughn Pinkston will have to wait to make his debut after an assault and harassment charge, according to the Associated Press.
  7. Pressure? What pressure? Sidney Lowe’s job is on the line this season at North Carolina State, but the coach is only focusing on turning the Wolfpack into an elite ACC team, writes the Associated Press’ Aaron Beard.
  8. Doug Gottlieb of ESPN.com gives you a cheat sheet of other coaches that face must-win situations on a daily basis this season.
  9. Ho-hum, just another No. 1 recruiting class for Kentucky’s John Calipari, writes Steve Jones of CatsPause.com.
  10. It’s never too early for some Bracketology from ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi.
Although the regular season doesn’t really get under way until today, the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic kicked off action this past week. Pittsburgh, Maryland, Illinois and Texas won their two games this week, though Maryland barely squeaked past College of Charleston at home. The Cougars led nearly the entire game, until Cliff Tucker hit a jumper with 4 seconds to go, giving the Terrapins a 75-74 win and denying Charleston a second win against ACC teams in two years. Bobby Cremins’ squad took down North Carolina last season, which was an omen of impending doom for the Tar Heels.

The other three 2K participants mostly breezed past their opponents, winning by an average of 28 points, though Rhode Island gave Pitt a scare in the opener Nov. 8.

Meanwhile in Manhattan (Kansas), the Wildcats are hype for this season as a favorite to contend for the national championship.



This week, Hoopville introduced its Total Impact Quotient for players from the six power conferences. This metric tallies the total impact a player has on the game per 40 minutes. Check out the ratings from the 2009-10 season for your favorite team and players.

In addition to breaking into the player ratings business, Hoopville gets back into its regular-season mode with a preview of Rhode Island by Phil Kasiecki, who got an inside look at the Rams’ upcoming season from coach Jim Baron.

Welcome to the official start of the regular season! We’ve got 134 games with Division I teams on the slate for Nov. 12, including 16 of the top 25 teams in action. Here are the games you’ll want to pay attention to.

Georgetown at Old Dominion: Monarchs took out the Hoyas in DC last season.

Seton Hall at Temple: Owls won a thriller, 71-65, in Jersey last season.

East Tennessee State at Kentucky: Rematch of the first-round NCAA Tournament game in which the Wildcats embarrassed the Bucs. East Tennessee State returns almost every major contributor. Kentucky doesn’t and occasionally starts the season slow. If you’re looking for a top 10 upset on Day One, this is your pick.

Other potentially surprising results could come from these match ups:

  • William & Mary at Virginia
  • Charleston Southern at Georgia Tech
  • Western Kentucky at Saint Joseph’s
  • Austin Peay at Saint Louis


If you’re deep into college basketball, you probably need a prescription for Ritalin.

We’re hours away from tipping off the first games for a couple hundred Division I teams, and we’re already a day into the early signing period for 2011-12. Fans are getting amped up for this season — and the next one. It’s enough to give you a case of attention deficit disorder.

Duke is the No. 1 team in the country and begins its defense of the national title, which the Blue Devils won just seven months ago. But Duke fans are almost equally giddy about the upcoming arrival of No. 1 recruit Austin Rivers in another 10 months.

In Lexington, Kentucky coach John Calipari has the top-rated recruiting class entering this season — though that ranking probably drops with Enes Kantes ineligible. Calipari also likely has the top-rated recruiting class for next season with three top 10 players heading to Kentucky. Let’s just go ahead and assume Calipari will deliver the top class to whatever school he’s coaching and start the rankings after that class.

The recruiting rankings are undoubtedly a big deal. Athletic directors and university boosters love to hear that their highly paid coach delivers highly regarded kids to campus. But let’s not forget to celebrate the moment, too.

There’s plenty to love about college basketball, from celebrating recent successes and basking in preseason hype to anticipating future success and lamenting the impending loss of top-tier talent to the NBA. But we should make sure that we don’t diminish the value of the thrilling action on the court.

Minnesota: White Departs for Good

by - Published February 1, 2010 in Newswire

Minnesota freshman Royce White announced that he will withdraw from the university.

A highly regarded recruit, White has not played a minute for the Golden Gophers after a run-in with the law in the fall. He was under investigation for theft of a laptop from a campus dorm room. After that incident, he announced in a YouTube video that he quit the team — without informing anyone in the athletics department first. Upon further consideration, he decided to remain with the team, albeit suspended.

White recently returned to practice before making his announcement to withdraw.


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.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by


Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by


The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by


Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

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.

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Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by


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


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


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


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.

Tabor Academy looks to have more depth this time around

October 13, 2014 by


Tabor Academy will once again be headlined by a frontcourt player. This time around, though, the Seawolves appear to have a deeper support cast than in recent years.