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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 2, 2015

by - Published March 2, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Anyone who has followed the ACC the last few years might find it hard to believe that at one time, Wake Forest was among the ACC’s standard-bearers. They might never imagine that the small school in Winston-Salem was pretty good most years and produced some good NBA players, including Tim Duncan and Chris Paul. Danny Manning has a tall order in front of him, but there’s a lot to like so far, and that included on Sunday.

Wake Forest has been very competitive this year despite its 5-11 mark in ACC play. In the opener, they gave Louisville all they could handle and could easily have won that game. They were right there with Duke in the next game and took Syracuse to overtime in the Carrier Dome. They broke through against NC State and Miami, then nearly pulled off a huge upset at Virginia. On Sunday, they took on a Pittsburgh team that needs to keep winning for its NCAA at-large hopes, and the Demon Deacons pulled out a 69-66 win.

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Scanning the Nation Notebook – February 27, 2015

by - Published February 27, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

Some college basketball thoughts from the end of February, just before we turn the calendar to the most exciting month on the sporting calendar:

It’s a sad fact about the current state of college basketball that there are not a lot of teams with distinctive styles. This was lamented by Iona coach Tim Cluess in a terrific New York Times article yesterday. Cluess had great thoughts on the topic of pace of play (with the exception of his advocacy or a 24-second shot clock, which would do take a big chunk out of the exact diversity in the sport that he is in favor of), and it is clear he is a rare coach in the sport who is not afraid to think about the sport and play it in a different way.
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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 23, 2015

by - Published February 23, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Dana Altman should be the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, perhaps in a runaway now. Barring a collapse, his Oregon team will be in the NCAA Tournament, and that’s no small feat when you consider where this program has been since the end of last season.

On Sunday, Oregon got the signature win they had lacked to go with a host of other good/okay wins, knocking off Utah 69-58 in Eugene. Dillon Brooks scored 11 straight Oregon points, starting with a personal 7-0 run, to lift the Ducks, who tied for the second-highest point total allowed by the Utes on the season.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 9, 2015

by - Published February 9, 2015 in Columns
hoopguy-cyan

If you ever go to the Dean Smith Center at the University of North Carolina, a look up in the rafters will give you an idea of why the building is named after the man. It’s an amazing collection of college basketball history.

Smith passed away late Saturday night at age 83. It came late enough in the evening that word did not get out about it until yesterday morning. And so we begin to remember him, including that like so many legends, he was more than just a coach.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, January 31, 2015

by - Published January 31, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

On Friday nights from here on out, Ivy League basketball will take center stage. It got started last night, and that’s what the next six weeks will be like – the 14-game tournament, as they call it, since the Ivy League doesn’t have a tournament.

By now, each team has played their travel partner twice, save for Penn and Princeton, who still have one more meeting left. While it’s early yet, we now have our first full taste and a little more of a sense of each team.

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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, December 23, 2014

by - Published December 23, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Watching Wisconsin this season, one gets the feeling that the Badgers could shut it down right now and cancel the rest of their regular season schedule, get some rest, get a good start on second semester homework, eat some brats on State Street, and then begin playing again in March and still be a favorite to make a Final Four run.

Of course, the season is a journey and not just an end, but from the start, Wisconsin has looked like the national championship contender it has been touted as. The Badgers are experienced, skilled, tall, well-schooled, and loaded with shooters. Most important, they are consistent, making them primed for a second straight trip to the national semifinals and a chance to take care of some unfinished business from last year.
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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, November 18, 2014

by - Published November 18, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

For all the things ESPN has messed up in recent years (and there are a lot of them), its 24-hour college hoops marathon shows where the network continues to shine.

The hoops marathon is pure, old-school ESPN at its best. Games around the clock at funky hours, similar to how the Ohio Valley Conference used to buy time on the network to play games at midnight Eastern time when one Jim Delany was its commissioner. Intriguing matchups featuring good teams regardless of conference affiliation, as opposed to force-feeding us more games involving football conference bottom feeders or powerhouses hosting guarantee games that shouldn’t see the light of day on national TV (see: Elon at Duke, Dec. 15; apologies Phoenix fans).

It’s an event that truly builds up buzz on the campuses where it takes place. When schools like Monmouth, Rider and Florida Gulf Coast get a chance to be the featured game on ESPN, it’s a big deal. Even if it is at 6 a.m. in the morning.

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2013-14 Pac-12 Post-Mortem

by - Published May 7, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
pac12

For the Pac-12, the 2013-14 season was a rebound from a stretch of so-so seasons. Six teams made the NCAA Tournament, with three reaching the Sweet 16. A record eight teams won at least 20 games. As a whole, the conference was as competitive as it’s ever been, with five teams tying for third place.

And yet, if you think the Pac-12 has entered some new halcyon days, you might want to stop right there. The conference is in a bit of flux right now, especially when you look at the coaching ranks and, correspondingly, how teams are trending.

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NCAA Tournament is proving how even college basketball is

by - Published March 25, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

At any point in the season, if asked who I think would be in the Final Four I had a standard response that at first glance might sound like a cop-out: it’s so wide-open and matchups are so crucial that I can’t answer the question at that time.  In January of most years I couldn’t tell you who I think would get there at least for the latter reason, but especially this season because the former has never been more true.

If the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament doesn’t bear this reality out, I don’t know that anything will.

Just look at the highlights of the rounds that led us up to the Sweet 16:

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CBS’ Doyel has the guts to step back from the controversy trap

by - Published December 20, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

Good journalism isn’t easy.

That’s especially true when a juicy story comes along that’s sure to rile up the masses, generating lots of readers and charged opinions. Those stories force editors and reporters to make critical decisions about the validity of sources and effort required to seek comment from an opposing side.

In the emerging brouhaha about the transfer of Todd O’Brien from Saint Joseph’s to UAB, we have an awful lot of information spewing from the O’Brien side and almost nothing from the Hawks’ side.

If you missed the background, Sports Illustrated’s website ran a lengthy column by O’Brien, who outlined his journey through college basketball, which has landed him at UAB as a graduated senior with one remaining year of eligibility. However, before O’Brien can play for the Blazers, Saint Joseph’s must grant him a full release from his scholarship. And supposedly coach Phil Martelli refuses to do so. Without that release, O’Brien won’t play college hoops again.

Frankly, it’s hard to imagine a legitimate reason for not letting a guy play, especially for a team in a different conference and not on the Hawks’ schedule. But that’s not the point.

As the media outcry has sided with O’Brien — who is seeking legal recourse to force his way onto the court — only a handful of commentators have taken a measured approach to this story. So I tip my hat to CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel, a man with plenty of strong opinions, for leaping into the fray waiving a gigantic caution flag.

While everyone is crying foul, Doyel cried, “Wait!” He rightfully observed that Saint Joseph’s is remaining mum because they are respecting student-athletes’ privacy. The bottom line is we don’t know the Saint Joseph’s side of the story, and we might not for some time. So it’s presumptuous at best and flat-out wrong at worst to side with the supposed victim in this story.

Of course, it’s far less engaging to remain on the fence when others are going all in and calling for Martelli’s ouster. That bloodlust is unhealthy and not reflective of this country’s innocent-until-PROVEN-guilty judicial system. If mob rule dictated justice, we’d have a lot of major mistakes to apologize for whenever we learned the truth — if we ever learned the truth.

A good journalist’s duty is to present clear, accurate and precise information. Commentators who espouse opinions based on incomplete information aren’t doing anyone any good. As unsexy as it may be, we all need to follow Doyel’s lead and wait and see. Let the established rules play out in the NCAA, and if the courts get involved, let the state and local laws as interpreted by the courts decide the matter.

But there’s no need to call for Martelli’s head on a platter until there’s substantiated evidence that he acted like a callous, vindictive control freak.

We go coast to coast with news from around the college basketball nation.

Kentucky had no problems getting past Samford, 82-50, even without Terrence Jones, who missed the game to recuperate from a dislocated pinky, writes the Associated Press’ Colin Fly.

California will be without one its big men this week as sophomore Richard Solomon recovers from a left foot injury, writes Diamond Leung for ESPN.com’s “College Basketball Nation” blog. The sophomore forward is one of the team’s best rebounders, averaging 6.9 rpg, and he’ll miss at least the team’s games against UNLV Dec. 23.

Miami will get back DeQuan Jones, who figured to play a bigger role for the Hurricanes this season — if for no other reason than he’s one of the bigger players on the teams. Jones missed the first month and a half of the season because the school suspended him for the season while the NCAA investigated his possible involvement in the recruiting scandal that has rocked the university. However, according to an Associated Press report, the Hurricanes have reversed that decision, and Jones could be back in the lineup as early as this week.

Some tech-savvy pranksters punked Oregon’s website Sunday night and Monday morning, writes the Washington Post’s Steve Yanda, and the hackers posted some disparaging comments about Virginia that were attributed to Oregon coach Dana Altman. The Ducks lost to the Cavaliers 67-54, and the hacker made up comments ranging from Mike Scott’s hair to the Ducks’ pregame meal. Oregon apologized to the Cavaliers for the malfeasance.

New Mexico State is bringing suspended guard Christian Kabongo back into the fold after the sophomore had been suspended for two games for making obscene gestures in a game against UTEP, writes ESPN.com’s Diamond Leung for the “College Basketball Nation” blog.

NCAA Division I programs couldn’t get enough support to overturn a rule that bans universities from hosting high school prep tournaments, according to an Associated Press report.

Houston boosters might have lost as much as 40 percent of their investments in the David Salinas Ponzi scheme affair, according to the Associated Press. Salinas committed suicide last year, a few weeks before the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit that detailed the deceptive investments and behavior that swindled a bunch of Division I programs and coaches.

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NC State is not making it easy on themselves

March 1, 2015 by

ncstate

North Carolina State appears to have put themselves in a good position for the NCAA Tournament, but they aren’t making this easy on themselves.

Saturday Notes – February 28, 2015

March 1, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at a very busy Saturday, one that was full of big games that included some conferences closing out their regular season with plenty of drama.

Saturday Notes – February 21, 2015

February 22, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

A busy Saturday saw a lot of results that shook up conference standings, including a three-way tie developing in one of them, and some at-large hopes took a hit as well.

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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.

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.