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2016-17 West Coast Conference Post-Mortem

by - Published June 8, 2017 in Columns, Conference Notes

The West Coast Conference is, as a whole, a conference in some transition. There was not a surprise in who the top three teams in the standings were, as it is a continuation of a recent trend. However, this year figured to be a year that would start to shape the potential of teams outside of those three to try and crash the party one day. The verdict there is a bit mixed at first glance.

Last off-season, a few noteworthy coaching hires were made. The conference suddenly had some coaches who resembled household names, something that doesn’t happen often. While there’s no reason to think they were hired on their names alone, there’s no question the name recognition is thought to be helpful in the attempt to make them competitive with Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and Brigham Young.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Friday, January 27, 2017

by - Published January 27, 2017 in The Morning Dish

Thursday night meant one thing among all others in college hoops: Cincinnati vs. Xavier. The Crosstown Shootout. The best non-conference rivalry in college basketball, and (in this opinion) one of the top three rivalries in the sport right now.

A game that always provides plenty of that “buzz” the NCAA men’s basketball committee so badly wants was relegated to ESPN2 (a somewhat minor note, but never let someone tell you perceived issues in this sport aren’t self-inflicted), but it was still every bit the biggest and best game of the night that its history regularly suggests it will be. While ESPN’s decision to show a pretty good matchup on its mothership with North Carolina hosting Virginia Tech was a relative flop (the Tar Heels breezed to a 91-72 win), Cincinnati fought back for an 86-78 win to defeat its bitter city rival for the first time in four meetings and in what was incredibly just the third-ever meeting between the two when both were ranked. … Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Friday, December 23, 2016

by - Published December 23, 2016 in The Morning Dish

Thursday was a very good night for the West Coast Conference. It came very close to being an out-of-sight awesome night, but it was still a very productive evening for the conference.

WCC teams won five of the eight games they played Thursday, despite playing just three of those contests at home. The league’s haul included two signature wins-one on the road, one at a neutral site-and the WCC collectively was a few more points in regulation from being perfect through all eight games of the day. … Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Friday, November 25, 2016

by - Published November 25, 2016 in The Morning Dish

Hoping all had a very happy Thanksgiving yesterday.

If you’re a college basketball fan that grew up watching the sport in the 1980s or even the 1990s, when you thought of Thanksgiving in college hoops, most likely the very first thing you thought of was the Great Alaska Shootout.

The Shootout, hosted by NCAA Division II member Alaska-Anchorage, became a holiday tradition in the 80s and a lynchpin of the early season, as good a place as any in the non-conference season to find quality teams en masse. It regularly brought in top teams, top players and top coaches, and the number of memorable moments from it have been literally enough to write a book about. Before the Maui Invitational, before the ACC/Big Ten Challenge-before the ACC/Big East Challenge even-there was the Great Alaska Shootout.
… Continue Reading

2015-16 West Coast Conference Post-Mortem

by - Published June 20, 2016 in Columns, Conference Notes

If the first couple of months of the off-season is any indication, the feeling in much of the West Coast Conference is that it appears to be at a crossroads. What was a strong top-to-bottom mid-major conference not all that long ago has turned into a predictable, top-heavy conference dominated by three schools.

There is still plenty of good basketball in the conference, to be sure, but from a competitive standpoint, it appears as though three schools have quite clearly separated from the rest of the pack.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, March 29, 2016

by - Published March 29, 2016 in The Morning Dish

The fifth entrant in NCAA Division I’s college basketball postseason debuted on Monday with the first-ever Vegas 16 tournament tipping off. If you’re a history buff, you really should check it out now because…if the event is relying heavily on ticket sales, the odds of there being a second one are not very good.

The tone for first year of the tragicomedy that is the Vegas 16 was set a few weeks ago, when an event that was advertised (and named) around the idea of having sixteen teams settled for just having just eight, making the choice for quality over quantity. Making this year’s field a Vegas 8, or perhaps a Vegas 16/2.

Indeed, the Vegas 16 has been the butt of no shortage of jokes, but it also has scored points for how it has handled them. Moreover, while the field is shorter than planned and the fans in the stands on the first day were few, it must be noted that there is some upside. … Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Friday, January 1, 2016

by - Published January 1, 2016 in The Morning Dish

Good morning, and welcome to 2016!

On paper, New Year’s Eve featured what could’ve been two of the very best games of the year in the Big East. Call it 1-for-2 at the plate, as one ended up being nothing of the sort, but the other delivered in every way.

Villanova hammered Xavier 95-64 in both teams’ highly anticipated conference opener on New Year’s Eve, as the Wildcats put on one of those dominant showings they are so capable of, especially at their home Pavilion, and knocked the Musketeers from the ranks of the undefeated. In the second biggie, though, Providence rallied from a 13-point deficit late in the first half to win at Butler 81-73, laying an early claim to status as top challenger to defending champion Villanova in the conference.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Friday, November 27, 2015

by - Published November 27, 2015 in The Morning Dish

Here’s hoping all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, fellowship and football. And perhaps even some basketball.

Thanksgiving Day traditionally hasn’t been a hotbed for college basketball, but in recent years the sport has had an increasing presence on the day, with the continued proliferation of exempted tournaments. (And that’s not an all bad thing, considering the lackluster quality of the NFL games yesterday…)

Perhaps starting that trend, ESPN and Disney have staged a pair of your-name-here events over the holidays for nearly 10 years now, including the AdvoCare Invitational (nee: Old Spice Classic, Orlando Classic) in Orlando and the Wooden Legacy (formerly: Anaheim Classic, 76 Classic, DirecTV Classic) in southern California. Both have ebbed and flowed in their quality, but this year the Orlando event in particular is as good as any preseason eight-team tourney.
… Continue Reading

2013-14 WCC Post-Mortem

by - Published June 17, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

The West Coast Conference had a nice year in 2013-14, to be sure. For a time, though, it looked like it would be even more than that.

The WCC once again put two teams in the NCAA Tournament, just like it has in four of the past five years. Gonzaga again advanced at least one round, just like it has in each of the past six years. The league went 71-41 out of conference against Division I foes and finished a very respectable ninth in the RPI, proving its No. 10 ranking from the year before was no fluke.

… Continue Reading

Willard Speaks on Siena-Holy Cross Game

by - Published January 7, 2009 in Columns

Holy Cross head coach Ralph Willard was hoping to hear from Siena head coach Fran McCaffery to talk about what happened last week when the two teams met and had an ending that surprised just about everyone there. His preference was, understandably, to keep things in-house on the matter.

Since that has not happened, and McCaffery continued to hammer the Crusaders last week in published reports, Willard reluctantly took things to a public forum on his blog. You can read it in its entirety at the link, but here’s one noteworthy excerpt:

“(Fran McCaffery’s) reaction after the game this year shocked me. I have coached over 500 games at the college level, and many more at the high school level, and have never had a coach not have his student athletes shake the hands of an opponent after a game. I knew he had to play Fairfield in less than 48 hrs and had St Peters and Kansas, right after that, and just assumed he was upset about the two injuries happening in a game he probably thought would be a blowout. I saw the game as hard fought, by both teams. I assume, as my mother said, he has a different perspective. That’s fine, and if he wanted to convey that to me that’s fine also. What is not fine is his pronouncements to the media that he knew the intentions of our players, and the characterization of the way we play as being “dirty”, without ever having the professionalism of discussing it with me. The fact that it went on for three days after the game is incredulous to me. I’m not sure what he was trying to accomplish, other than justifying his actions.”

Other Notes

As the Patriot League heads into league play this weekend, the Rookie of the Year race looks to be R.J. Evans’ to lose. The Holy Cross guard has been named Rookie of the Week five times, including four of the last five weeks, and leads all freshmen in the league in scoring and steals and is second in rebounding. He figures to continue playing a significant role for the Crusaders the rest of the way.

Santa Clara came to New England for two games and came away with two losses. Both games highlighted issues Kerry Keating has seen with his team all season long: turnovers and defense. The Broncos turned the ball over 39 times in the two games, forced just six Harvard turnovers. They were better at New Hampshire defensively, but the Wildcats were 5-9 from behind the arc in the second half to pull out the win. Their 19 turnovers in the game hurt even more.

“If we don’t turn the ball over, we usually win, and if we do turn the ball over, it makes it very difficult,” said Keating. “That’s indicative of a young team, an inexperienced team that we have right now that needs to understand that little bit better.”

The Broncos are inexperienced in the backcourt, and that’s showing up at both ends of the floor. Perry Petty was a non-factor Sunday, while Kevin Foster continued to show some promise offensively but also some defensive struggles.

The Broncos begin West Coast Conference play with a bang: at Saint Mary’s, home against Gonzaga and at San Diego for their first three games.

Hofstra head coach Tom Pecora didn’t seem overly concerned about his team following Monday night’s 73-50 blowout loss at Northeastern. He gave the sense that his team gets it, understanding that there are plenty of games left and this can be seen as just an aberration.

“The good thing about college basketball, it’s not college football,” said Pecora. “If you lose one game, your season’s not over. You’ve just got to get yourselves right at the right time. I’ve been down this road before, we’ll keep grinding it out, and we’ll fix things.

“I have no doubt that they’ll be able to do it.”

The struggles have been largely with the guards, who still comprise most of the team’s scoring. Charles Jenkins hasn’t been making shots of late, which is also the case with Cornelius Vines. Tony Dennison has seen his minutes take a dip in the last two games after starting the first 11. The bright spot Monday night came from a promising place, as senior point guard Greg Johnson – their only true point guard – showed some good signs.

“I think he did a pretty good job of getting us into our offense tonight and making some plays,” said Pecora.

Who would have imagined that Arkansas would be in the position it’s in right now? When Patrick Beverly left after being declared academically ineligible, the Razorbacks certainly didn’t look like an NCAA Tournament team. But after Tuesday night’s win over a solid Texas team, they’re well-positioned to be just that as SEC play beckons.

And how many thought California would sweep the Arizona schools, albeit at home? Getting back Theo Robertson after he missed all of last season has been a big addition, but Jerome Randle’s play suggests he should be in the discussion for the conference Player of the Year honors when we get to late February and March. He flat-out knows how to play, and not only has he jumped up his scoring, assists and shooting percentages, but he’s also cut down on his turnovers.

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College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

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.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – June 21, 2017

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In our latest podcast, the business of college sports, as well as that of sports media, takes center stage. We talk about the layoffs at ESPN, college basketball’s opening night, and Wichita State’s departure from the Missouri Valley Conference. We close with thoughts on a departed friend of the media business as well.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 11, 2017

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In our first off-season edition, we look back on the season that just ended, including redemption for one team and a big development for a conference that has had more questions than success on the hardwood. We also look at players coming and going, as well as big coaching news on a day where there was a lot of it.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2017

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We look back at Monday’s national championship game, which was not a thing of beauty but had plenty of drama. Along the way we share some post-game quotes from both coaches.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

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Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

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Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

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The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

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2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

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We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.