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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 most important players in America – 2014-15

by - Published November 12, 2014 in Columns
hoopguy-divisionII

Every team has a player or two whose performance is a barometer for how the team does – as he goes, they go. It’s not necessarily their best player, although it can be; rather, it’s often someone either playing a key position or having to take over for a departed star at a position. In some cases, it’s a player who seems most likely to step into a larger role.

Certainly, the best players are important ones. If they fall short of what they have done in the past or are expected to do based on their past performance, other players must do more.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, November 10, 2014

by - Published November 10, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Picking up where we left off with conferences, we start today with the best academic league of them all, the Ivy League.

The Ivy League is in the midst of a great up cycle, and league favorite Harvard has a lot to do with that. The Crimson will again be favored, though not to the same degree as last year when they were prohibitive favorites. They have the league’s best backcourt and plenty of options up front. They will be pushed, however, by the likes of Yale (whose own star, Justin Sears, will be in the running for Player of the Year), Princeton and Brown, for starters. Columbia figured to be right there, but the loss of Alex Rosenberg is a big blow and has to knock them back some.

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2013-14 ACC Post-Mortem

by - Published May 27, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
acc

With Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse entering, much was expected of the ACC this year. The end result? Well, the ACC was still pretty good, but it wasn’t exactly the super conference some expected it to be. In fact, even before the NCAA Tournament came and went with just one team making the Sweet 16 and going no further, it seemed clear that the conference underachieved relative to expectations this season.

The truth, as is often the case, is a bit more complicated than that. That’s especially true when you realize that ACC teams won five in-season tournaments in non-conference play. It was also a nice year for the conference in terms of individual talents.

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Saturday notes – January 11, 2014

by - Published January 12, 2014 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Conference play is in full swing across the country now, and there have been some early surprises as usual. Saturday brought more of them in a busy slate.

A big note of the day comes in the form of a question: who thought North Carolina would be the only winless team in the ACC three games in? For good measure, though, Duke is now 1-2 for the first time in seven years.

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Could North Carolina’s big weekend change their season?

by - Published November 26, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
northcarolina

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – A week made a big difference for North Carolina.  It’s still November, but in a week North Carolina basically went from outhouse to penthouse with a weekend in Connecticut that was all they could have wanted.  It could change the direction of their season.

Even before North Carolina lost to Belmont last Sunday, the Tar Heels didn’t look good.  It wasn’t shocking that they lost to Belmont, a well-tested team, but they were supposed to win being at home.  After that, the question wasn’t even if they could beat Louisville in a potential championship matchup in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off, but rather, could they even get past Richmond first?  It was one more thing for this team to deal with after the off-season issues and unresolved eligibility concerns with P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald.

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How UNC plays without Hairston will shape their season

by - Published August 24, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
northcarolina

One story that has seemingly been a constant this off-season is the life and times of P.J. Hairston. There’s good reason for it: the North Carolina rising junior led one of the nation’s most visible programs in scoring last season and bypassed a weak NBA Draft to return to school. Usually, that would mean a lot of talk about him as a potential All-American the following season and about how high he could go in the next draft with an additional year of development. Instead, he has had an off-season to forget. While his fate is still to be determined, what hasn’t been talked about much is that if he does eventually return to the court, the Tar Heels could be one of those teams that has some early adversity but is much more dangerous later in the season.

Every season, some teams have early personnel adversity they must overcome that is temporary in nature. Often, this takes the form of injuries, but disciplinary issues can come into play as well. The team usually loses a game or two they might not lose with a full squad, but at some point they will have that squad together. When that team is finally whole, they end up much more formidable.

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Better defense in the second half is just what North Carolina needed

by - Published January 30, 2013 in Columns
northcarolina

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – North Carolina got a road win on Tuesday night that won’t help their NCAA Tournament profile, but could help them get there.  The Tar Heels came into the game just 2-4 on the road and hope that an 82-70 win at Boston College will help them pick up more of those later on.  To do that, they will need to improve on some things that they improved upon slightly in this game.

North Carolina hasn’t played well defensively in ACC play, and the first half of Tuesday night was no exception.  The Tar Heels force plenty of turnovers – nearly 15 a game, more than any ACC team except Duke – but when opponents don’t cough it up they tend to make shots at a good rate.  The Eagles turned the ball over nine times in the first half but shot 48 percent from the field, going 5-10 from long range.  In the second half, they shot below 42 percent and were just 2-10 from deep, and it was more important since they turned it over just once in the second half.

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2011-12 ACC Post-Mortem

by - Published May 19, 2012 in Conference Notes
acc

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

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

by - Published February 14, 2012 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

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

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Houston is trying to find an identity early on

November 28, 2014 by

houston

Houston went on the road and was soundly defeated by Harvard on Tuesday. It’s a game that Kelvin Sampson hopes to take a lot from early in his tenure with a new-look team as they try to find out who they are.

Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by

unlv

Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

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.

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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

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.

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.