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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 30, 2015

by - Published March 30, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Two more teams advanced to the Final Four on Sunday. Their stories are a contrast, even as similar as the programs may be in recent times.

Most expected that Duke would be a Final Four team this season. Take a team that was good last year, though flawed, subtract good but not irreplaceable players, and add the likes of Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow, and that was a natural expectation. Many years, that’s what they expect in Durham. When the Blue Devils ran out to a big start, the idea that they would be a Final Four team only grew, as did the talk that Okafor could be National Player of the Year.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, March 28, 2015

by - Published March 28, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

It’s been a long time coming for Gonzaga. The question now is if they have one more in them to go even further.

Since the late 1990s, Gonzaga has been the clear best team in the West Coast Conference and then some. They made a big splash by running to the Elite Eight in 1999, but weren’t just a flash in the pan. They became more than just the alma mater of John Stockton, as they started beating good teams in non-conference every year as well. They would be a lock to reach the NCAA Tournament, helping the WCC become a two-bid league in many recent years as other programs had to get better to compete with them.

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Kentucky 78, West Virginia 39: Tempo Free Post-Mortem

by - Published March 28, 2015 in Columns
kentucky

At the 16:33 mark, it was 7-2. It only got worse. Kentucky thoroughly dismantled West Virginia 78-39 in the Sweet 16.

Thursday’s night in Cleveland saw the Wildcats post an efficiency of 122. That was double the Mountaineer efficiency of 61. The win brought Kentucky’s record to 37-0, while West Virginia ends the year 25-10.

The pace of the contest was 64 possessions, a moderate tempo as full-court pressing was not an issue the final twenty minutes as Kentucky was enjoying a huge double-digit lead.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 27, 2015

by - Published March 27, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

A West Region final rematch is what many have been looking forward to this year, even if they didn’t know it. And a West Region final rematch is what they are getting, and it’s one that will be a historical rarity.

It’s an isolated occurrence for teams to meet in the NCAA Tournament two years in a row at all, and it is flat-out scarce that they square off in the same regional in the same round two years straight. It hasn’t happened since UCLA and San Francisco played in the 1973 and 1974 West regional finals, when the tourney was just 25 teams and placing teams in their home region was a priority and also easy to accommodate with so few teams. It took 41 years, but it will finally happen again on Saturday in the West Region (again) as Wisconsin and Arizona will meet again with a trip to the Final Four on the line after the Badgers defeated North Carolina 79-72 and the Wildcats held off Xavier 68-60 on Thursday.
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The Morning Dish – Saturday, March 21, 2015

by - Published March 21, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

If it was possible to have a day that was the opposite of Thursday, we pretty much had it on Friday. Whereas Thursday was a wild day with historic upsets – three double-digits seeds won by a point on the same day for the first time in NCAA Tournament history – Friday was, well, ho-hum. In fact, it was almost a historic day in just about the opposite fashion.

The first 15 games of the day saw every higher seed win. Since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams, there has never been a day in the round of 64 where all 16 higher seeds won. Then we had the last game of the day. It was one that was full of ridiculousness, quite frankly, but the most important thing is that the game kept the day from being historic. No. 11 Dayton beat No. 6 Providence 66-53, providing the lone upset of the day.

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2015 NCAA Tournament Players to Watch – Part 2

by - Published March 17, 2015 in Columns
ncaa

March has a way of bringing people out of the shadows. Whether it’s the causal sports fan who suddenly tunes in to college basketball in time for the NCAA Tournament or the unknown player who becomes a household name even for a day, March is the best month of basketball in part because of this.

Every year in the NCAA Tournament, players who have been outside the spotlight make a name for themselves under the bright lights of March. This year will surely be no different, especially considering how competitive the landscape is. With that, here’s a look at some players you may not have heard about yet, but will as the NCAA Tournament goes on.

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2015 NCAA Tournament Players to Watch – Part 1

by - Published March 16, 2015 in Columns
ncaa

March has a way of bringing people out of the shadows. Whether it’s the causal sports fan who suddenly tunes in to college basketball in time for the NCAA Tournament or the unknown player who becomes a household name even for a day, March is the best month of basketball in part because of this.

Every year in the NCAA Tournament, players who have been outside the spotlight make a name for themselves under the bright lights of March. This year will surely be no different, especially considering how competitive the landscape is. Stars are important, and are part of what draws fans, but hidden stars and complementary players make a big difference as well.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 16, 2015

by - Published March 16, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

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.

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Texas simply wasn’t as good as we thought they were

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns
texas

If Texas doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament, it is only fitting that their season would end the way it did. Thursday’s stunning loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament sums up their season in one game.

And while they will hold out hope for a bid amidst bracketologists saying they might still be in even after Thursday, at this point putting Texas in would be a travesty. The Longhorns simply don’t deserve to be in. Perhaps, though, theirs will not be a story of a great collapse, but rather, one of a team that wasn’t as good as we thought they were.

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Why Murray State belongs in the NCAA Tournament

by - Published March 12, 2015 in Columns
murraystate

As expected following its loss in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament final, Murray State has become this year’s “Great Taste, Less Filling” debate of Championship Week, the most hotly discussed team in the lead-up to this year’s NCAA Tournament.

We made a preliminary call already for Murray State’s inclusion in the tourney, and Gary Parrish summed up its case well on CBSSports.com on Wednesday, but the Racers are a complex case that deserves examination.

To some, they’re the team with a mediocre RPI in the 60s, no top 50 wins, two top 100 wins and a low strength of schedule in a weak conference. To others, they’re the 27-5 team that won 25 straight games prior to a heartbreaking one-point loss to Belmont in the OVC final, a game played in Belmont’s home city of Nashville and decided on an off-balance three-pointer going in with two seconds left in the game. They play an exciting, up-tempo style, have one of the best players in the country in sophomore guard Cameron Payne, and anyone who has watched them before and after knows this was not the same team the last 26 games that it was early in the season.
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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.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen 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.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.