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NCAA Tournament first week review: few upsets, but history-rich programs remain

by - Published March 23, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

The first week of the 2015 NCAA Tournament has brought us a little of everything, much of nothing. Like the beer commercial, you might say it is up for whatever.

We started with a boatload of close games, but the number and intensity of those games has petered out over the past three days, taking this year”s tourney from historic to almost pedestrian. The Sweet 16 will include three 1 seeds, but otherwise is a buffet of differing squads and resumes. The last 16 remaining includes teams from eight different conferences and seeded 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11.

What do we have left is a field of teams that is loaded with history, whether it be recent or distant. In fact, every single team left falls into at least one of the categories, if not both.
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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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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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The Morning Dish – Sunday, February 22, 2015

by - Published February 22, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

The Big West Conference no longer includes UNLV, or even New Mexico State, Utah State or Fresno State as it once did. It’s no longer playing the third game on Big Monday. Once a regular top 10-12 conference and even considered better than the Pac-10 for a brief time in the 1980s, it has slipped far, far outside the mainstream media eye, and not without good reason.

None of the above are acceptable excuses, but they help explain why one of the truly special stories of this college basketball season has been so ignored. A doormat since it joined NCAA Division I in the early 2000s with not so much as a winning season, UC Davis is putting together what could end up being the finest turnaround in Division I history.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, February 18, 2015

by - Published February 18, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

If there’s one thing that the new configuration of the Big East has taught us, it’s that memories of the old Big East are always going to be around the corner, even at times when we’re thoroughly enjoying the league in the present.

The old school Big East is cool, and will always be cool. Tuesday night featured a game that is as old school cool as any rivalry in the current Big East, as St. John’s went to Georgetown. For those looking for drama, though, they had to look elsewhere, as the Hoyas easily dumped SJU 79-57 for their 17th victory of the season.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, January 7, 2015

by - Published January 7, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

For a half last night in its game against Georgia, Arkansas was looking like same old Arkansas on the road.

The Razorbacks have a fairly well-earned tag by now from the past couple of years as a team that can’t win on the road, and in the first half against Georgia that’s exactly how the Hogs looked. Arkansas trailed from the start as the Bulldogs were outstanding, shooting 57.7% in taking a 44-37 lead into halftime.

The second half looked as if it was played by two entirely different teams. The Razorbacks battled back on the road and got a big 79-75 win at Georgia. Arkansas shot 51.7% for the game and Bobby Portis finally got some help after carrying the team offensively the first 20 minutes, while the Bulldogs cooled off and shot just 10 of 29 in the second half.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 27, 2014

by - Published December 27, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Sports fans love rivalries. They get the juices going a little more than most games, because they involve that one team we all want to beat the most. When the teams meet, you can feel it – and that’s true whether you’re at the game or talking about it with people. From Red Sox-Yankees right down to Duke-North Carolina or Ohio State-Michigan, rivalries help fuel sports at every level.

Enter Kentucky-Louisville, which is arguably the best rivalry in college basketball right now – and takes center stage.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, December 24, 2014

by - Published December 24, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

It’s not fair to say Stanford and UNLV faced must-win situations last night, but both sure came into their games against top 10 opponents in search of wins a bad way.

The Cardinal and Runnin’ Rebels had a dearth of substance in their non-conference performances heading into their games against Texas and Arizona, respectively. Ironically, Stanford’s 89-60 win over UNLV in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic was maybe the most impressive win by either team entering last night, but otherwise both had little to brag about.
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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 – Thursday, December 18, 2014

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

There may not be another game this entire college basketball season that was more predictable than last night’s interconference matchup between Cincinnati and San Diego State.

As expected, the game between the Bearcats and Aztecs was an evenly matched defensive grinder. Even with both teams trying to disrupt by picking up the pace at times with full-court pressure, the score was firmly in the 50s at the end of regulation. And, sure enough, the game did go to overtime, where Cincinnati pulled away for a 71-62 win, a quality win for Cincy and the American Athletic Conference.
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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.

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.