Good Tuesday morning.
As the regular season is now just three days away, we continue Hoopville’s preseason rundown of all 32 NCAA Division I conferences:
The Northeast Conference in recent years is annually one of the most balanced leagues in the country. This year there is a clear favorite, though, as Fairleigh Dickinson returns almost everyone from last year’s freshmen and sophomore-dominated team that reached the NCAA Tournament. Wagner should provide FDU a stiff challenge while Bryant and Robert Morris will be intriguing to watch after both had rare off years. The Colonials in particular had a stunning fall, sinking to 10-22 after four straight 20-win seasons, so a major bounce back by Andrew Toole’s team would not be a surprise. … Continue Reading
No longer just the stomping grounds for a few elite teams, the Ohio Valley Conference unveiled a deeper version of itself in the 2015-16 campaign.
Contrary to history, the OVC was more than just longtime flagbearer Murray State or recent challengers Belmont or Eastern Kentucky, as six teams finished within two games of the top record in the conference. Belmont led the pack, but just barely, with three teams just one game behind and two more two games back.
As if that wasn’t enough, it was the OVC’s No. 8 regular season team that won its conference tournament. Austin Peay won four games in the league tourney, knocking off Belmont and then West Division co-champion Tennessee-Martin on the way to snapping an eight-year NCAA Tournament drought. … Continue Reading
Not only are we in the midst of the holidays, but conference play beckons if it hasn’t already started. Non-conference play is almost complete, and teams form impressions during this time of how they will be in conference play. Even so, as is always the case this is imperfect. Conference play is a different animal, as teams are more familiar with each other from having played each other every year. That’s why we see some teams even in mid-majors get nice wins in non-conference play, but then lose games in conference play that strike the untrained eye as head-scratchers.
It is with that in mind that we take a look at how all 31 conferences shape up based on non-conference play thus far.
Undeniably, the story of the Ohio Valley Conference in 2014-15 and for much of the past 30 years starts with the Murray State Racers. The story of OVC basketball at the moment, though, currently features equal parts of the Racers and the Belmont Bruins.
Murray State was one of the most-discussed teams in the country by the end of this season after a blazing run through the regular season. The Racers shook off a shaky start to win 25 straight games, gained a spot in the national rankings and were a hot topic for their at-large candidacy for the NCAA Tournament.
Non-conference play is basically done at this point. A handful of games remain for many teams, and we’ll see a non-conference game or two sprinkled in between conference games over the next couple of months, but conference play beckons. Several have already started, with the West Coast Conference getting jump on the rest of the country this past Saturday and Monday. For two months, we’ve had a look at teams to get an idea of who they are. They have shown us something thus far.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how the conference races shape up based on what we’ve seen in non-conference play.
Every year, there’s one or two game results that are beyond head-scratchers. They may be proof of a team being capable of an off night, or perhaps a harbinger of things to come. They can also be an example of what the winning team is capable of, even though that doesn’t tend to get as much attention.
In Miami’s case, their hope is that it’s not the first of those three.
An Eastern Kentucky team that has shown some promise during non-conference play broke through in a big way on Friday night, never trailing en route to a 72-44 thumping of Miami. The bottom line result is one thing; a 28-point margin? That raises questions.
Even though the conference is split by divisions, the Ohio Valley Conference was a distinct three-team race last year. And though just one of those three made the NCAA Tournament, it can be said that all three ended their seasons on a high note.
Eastern Kentucky won the OVC Tournament and the league’s automatic NCAA bid, as the Colonels’ veteran team knocked off the top two seeds. The season was a success for EKU, a perimeter-oriented team that was expected to be around the top of the OVC, maximized its talent and gave Kansas a serious run in the NCAAs.
Non-conference play is just about over at this point. Conference games are ready to take over the rest of the slate, with a few having an “opening day” of sorts, including the Big East with its well-publicized day of five games on Tuesday. A few have already had early conference games, with the West Coast Conference having its opening day on Saturday.
How are the conferences shaping up? Which ones look like we thought and which ones look nothing like what we thought before the season? Here is a look at all 32 conferences as conference play beckons.
The past weekend was quite a stretch with some early-season tournaments, and now we’re into another week full of them. It’s a fun time of the year as we form some early impressions of many teams and some pick up wins that can have shelf life later in the season.
Here are some quick hitters coming out of the weekend:
We touch on Player of the Year candidates, the wild ACC featuring a still-slumping Virginia team and a really hard-luck Clemson team, an SEC program where the bottom is falling out, the final weekend in the CAA and much more.
In our latest podcast, we start with coaching news in the ACC, then go to a few recent games. A surging Big East team and an amazing rally in the Big 12 lead the discussion after that.
In our latest podcast, we look at a marathon game from Tuesday night, which came just days after a wild Saturday. Then we have more on the SEC and Big 12, before one of Saturday’s big games leads us into talk about smaller conferences and television coverage.
In our latest podcast, we look at the week two national title contenders had, as well as a surprise at the top of the Big Ten and a legendary coach returning. Along the way, we also look at a couple of bigger picture items.
In our latest podcast, we look at a wild week in college basketball that was highlighted by Tuesday night. We also talk about who will likely be the top team in the polls and look ahead to the weekend, which features one last flurry of non-conference games.
We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.
We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.
We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.
Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout
The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.