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The long road to Northeastern’s first CAA championship

by - Published March 10, 2015 in Columns
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BALTIMORE – When Northeastern finished its first season in the Colonial Athletic Association, there were plenty of doubters. That might seem surprising when you consider they had the Player of the Year (Jose Juan Barea) and Defensive Player of the Year (Shawn James) and reached the semifinals of the conference tournament. They finished fifth, so they had to win two games to get there. But some were not impressed despite the challenges involved in switching conferences.

The thought from some was that if they had two award winners and finished fifth, how in the world would they ever win in the CAA? That first year, by the way, was the year George Mason made its legendary Final Four run. It was the CAA’s best year until a couple of years ago; the Patriots didn’t even win the conference tournament, losing to Hofstra in a semifinal game best remembered for a player who earned a one-game suspension.

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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, March 10, 2015

by - Published March 10, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Championship Week leading up to the NCAA Tournament provides us all sorts of memorable moments, but almost every year we are reminded that sometimes it is at a cost.

While the upsets are undoubtedly a lot of fun and a big part of what makes March special, the fact of the matter is they also sometimes result in leagues not sending their best representatives to the NCAA Tournament. We have already seen at least two glaring instances of that this year with Murray State falling in the last seconds of the Ohio Valley Conference title game and now Iona losing to Manhattan 79-69 last night in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference final.
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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 9, 2015

by - Published March 9, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

March is the best month of the year for a reason. College basketball has the conference tournaments and the grand-daddy of them all, the NCAA Tournament. The NIT, CBI and CIT add to it. While the last four are the big ones, especially the NCAA, the conference tournaments provide plenty of lasting memories as well. There, teams play with everything on the line, especially in conferences that will only send their champion to the NCAA Tournament.

Enter this weekend. We had the Ohio Valley Conference giving us another memorable championship game on Saturday night. Then on Sunday, a day where three automatic bids were handed out, it was a semifinal game in Baltimore that provided us with an instant classic.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, February 13, 2015

by - Published February 13, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

If anyone needs more ammo for declaring that college basketball too frequently is not an easy sport on the eyes, they received all they needed last night.

The subject is coaches micromanaging the ends of halves of college basketball games. It is leaving us frustrated, begging for change, ready to organize a celebrity panel of athletes, sportscasters and mascots to write and sing a song about it, the way “Fans Against Traveling” once pleaded “Don’t Walk” to the NBA in a memorable “This is SportsCenter” commercial years ago.

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A big win for Northeastern for a not-so-obvious reason

by - Published January 16, 2015 in Columns
northeastern

BOSTON – It goes without saying that Northeastern’s 91-83 win over Hofstra was a big one just from the fact that with it the Huskies knocked off a fellow contender, as well as the last team in the CAA that had not lost a conference game. But this was bigger than just that, and from it you can see this as the Huskies re-asserting themselves as conference favorites.

The game was your classic contrast of styles, so one could certainly figure that controlling tempo is paramount. The Huskies didn’t exactly do that, but they won anyway. How they did it tells you something about how this team can play, because it’s already a given that they can win grind-it-out games.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, December 12, 2014

by - Published December 12, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

It bears repeating over and over: college basketball teams are not static entities. They change and hopefully continue to grow and improve over the course of a season. What a team is in November is not what it will be in March.

It’s still early in the season, but already George Washington is a team that has shown noticeable growth since its opener. The Colonials struggled with offensive consistency in their first five games but now have won three straight, the most recent an impressive 81-68 win over DePaul Thursday night.
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The Morning Dish – Sunday, December 7, 2014

by - Published December 7, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The independents are dead. Long live the independents.

Whereas once independents were far more than an exception in college basketball, the ranks have dwindled in recent years to near extinction, as well documented for some time.

The lone independent the last couple years has been New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Jersey Tech, NJIT. By any name, it has one of those perfectly obscure independent names, carrying on the tradition of indies of the past like Brooklyn College, Utica and U.S. International. As the lone independent left, though, it’s sometimes hard for the Highlanders to get so much as a mention in preseason annuals, much less a real chance at postseason glory.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 19, 2014

by - Published November 19, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

College basketball’s first big day of the season was really almost all we could’ve asked for.

From early morning to into the night, the day offered a number of outstanding games that might already get some people thinking March. Exciting finishes, back-and-forth games, offense, defense, big schools, little schools, fantastic inbound plays-you name it, you could find it on Tuesday.

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Northeastern’s maturity wins out in their opener

by - Published November 17, 2014 in Columns
northeastern

BOSTON – You could see it coming for a lot of the second half. There were interruptions, as the upstarts always had an answer and at times the veteran team shot themselves in the foot. Still, the momentum was unmistakably with the veterans, and eventually they broke through and later took control.

Yes, it was a rivalry game, but in time the mature Northeastern team played like a veteran team and rode the performance of those steady veterans to a season-opening 71-65 victory over Boston University.

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The Morning Dish – Monday November 17, 2014

by - Published November 17, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

There will be plenty of chatter about Kentucky this season; in fact, there already has been. That will always be the case, as Kentucky will be relevant whether they win a national championship or have a losing record. Ever since several players decided to pass on early entry to the NBA Draft last spring, the hyperbole surrounding this team has been non-stop given the talent they have. And on Sunday, that was demonstrated even more.

Buffalo led Kentucky at halftime 38-33. The Bulls didn’t succumb to an early run, either, as Kentucky scored the first nine points of the second half only to see Buffalo rally to regain the lead. The Wildcats eventually won going away, but that’s not the big headline to take out of this game.

A lot of people are talking about how John Calipari didn’t go with a platoon in the second half. The talk is that he’s already abandoned it. The reality, of course, is a bit more complicated.

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Your Phil of Hoops

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.

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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.