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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

by - Published December 31, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

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.

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A look around the country – February 24, 2013

by - Published February 24, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Among the 140 games played on Saturday were the last BracketBusters games, as the event is going away after this season. The event was a mixed bag in its time; great for many of the teams that got TV games, just okay for those who didn’t. It also meant a change to many teams’ conference schedules over the years since it meant one weekend off from conference play, but many teams were already mixing in a conference game or two in December before it starts in earnest in January.

Saturday had more than that, though. What stands out the most is that the SEC had four overtime games, including one that took three overtimes to settle and another that took four. The SEC may not be very good this year, but it’s certainly been competitive, and Saturday was indicative of that.

Some thoughts coming out of the games played on Saturday:

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Trip to Yale leads to just the non-conference finish Florida needed

by - Published January 7, 2013 in Columns
florida

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Florida had just the ending to their non-conference slate they needed on Sunday. They took care of business with a 79-58 blowout of Yale on Sunday in a rare visit to a mid-major school. The score tells the story for the game but doesn’t tell why it looks good for Florida going forward.

No one expected this game to turn into an upset. This isn’t one of James Jones’ best teams at Yale, and the last few minutes of the first half and the opening minutes of the second half, where the Gators scored the first 12 points and gave Yale fits with their press, ensured that the outcome of this one would not be in doubt. Yale didn’t mount much of a rally after that, although they were able to score a little more.

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How the conferences shake out as 2013 approaches

by - Published December 28, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is almost over, and it has been quite a stretch. We’ve learned a good deal about a lot of teams, while some are still a mystery for various reasons – injuries, suspensions, ineligibility and a light schedule are all possible reasons. In addition, a few conferences have already seen a game or two mixed in with the non-conference schedule.

Conference play is right around the corner, and while a non-conference resume doesn’t tell the whole story, it does shed some light on teams and conferences. In conference play, there is more familiarity since teams play each other every year, although the changing landscape is starting to diminish that factor a bit. That’s one reason why we see some teams put forth a very good non-conference showing, including some good wins, then go on to have a mediocre showing in conference play.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how every conference in America shapes up.

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What is good for football is not necessarily good for basketball

by - Published December 17, 2012 in Columns
ncaa

No one is surprised that the game of musical chairs in college sport is about money, or that the big money is in football. (In this writer’s now less frequent articles in this space, the NCAA has often been called the National Collegiate Allocation Association).  Those of us from New York and the northeast may not realize it, and the growth and ratings of the NCAA Tournament has closed the gap a bit, but the really big money is still in football.  There are many more men’s basketball games than football games, you might say, but the ratings are a fraction of football ratings.  College football – with SEC, Notre Dame and many other games on major networks – dominates fall Saturdays and BCS week, with probably 10-20 times as many watchers per telecast than college basketball.  Ok, fine.

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Mississippi State trying to manage through youth and injuries in Ray’s first season

by - Published December 1, 2012 in Columns
mississippistate

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – At times, one must wonder if Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray has asked himself, “What have I gotten myself into?” In fact, he may have had one of those moments about five minutes into the second half of Saturday’s 73-63 loss at Providence, when his team had a 3-on-1 break and ended up with a blocked shot and turnover out of it.

To be fair to the first-year head coach, this isn’t the first time a new head coach has come into an obvious rebuilding situation, and one where the first year isn’t pretty. He will have time to get the program rolling again. But the young season thus far would appear to be more than a little taxing on the soul, although Ray says otherwise.

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Kentucky, SEC shatter statistical expectations; ACC underwhelms

by - Published April 4, 2012 in Columns
author_protos

It’s good to be an SEC fan.

On Monday night, Kentucky completed its return to national supremacy by winning the program’s first championship since 1998. The title run marked the Wildcats’ second consecutive Final Four under coach John Calipari, who figures to make Kentucky a national championship contender pretty much every season that he’s on the sidelines.

Even though many people figured the Wildcats would cut down the nets in New Orleans, Kentucky exceeded expectations from a statistical perspective as soon as the Wildcats beat Baylor to reach the Final Four. Based on seed expectations, the typical No. 1 seed wins 3.32 games. So reaching the Elite Eight isn’t much to crow about for No. 1 seeds. … Continue Reading

Plenty of teams prepare to jockey for seeding, selection tonight

by - Published February 21, 2012 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

In the immortal words of the Black Eyed peas, tonight’s gonna be a good night.

There are 40 teams in action tonight, and more than half of them are likely to appear in the NCAA Tournament or seriously challenge for their conference’s automatic bid. We’ve got elite powers like Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio State in addition to upstarts that could make life miserable for those powerhouses, such as Vermont, Valparaiso and Cleveland State.

Here’s some of the top games to track tonight. … Continue Reading

The countdown to Selection Sunday starts — less than a month to go

by - Published February 14, 2012 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

It’s hard to believe, but Selection Sunday is officially less than a month away — 26 days to be precise.

That means it’s separation time. The best teams throughout the nation need to raise the bar to claim a regular-season conference championship and jockey for NCAA Tournament seeding.

For the vast majority of the 31 conferences that receive automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, winning a regular-season conference title is about more than bragging rights. In many conference tournament formats, the regular-season winner gets a bye or home court advantage — sometimes both — at some point in the upcoming conference tourneys. Teams like the America East’s Stony Brook, Big Sky’s Weber State, and SWAC’s Mississippi Valley State won’t be getting at-large bids to the Big Dance if they don’t capture a conference championship in the tournaments. So they’ll take any advantage they can get. … Continue Reading

Round 233: UNC vs. Duke tips off with more than pride at stake

by - Published February 8, 2012 in Full Court Sprints
hoopguy-orange

The first of two regular-season meetings between two of the most hate-filled rivals in American sports goes down tonight when Duke makes the short trip to the Dean Dome to visit North Carolina.

As is usually the case in recent years, this game has significant importance in the standings, with both teams jockeying with Florida State for the top spot in the ACC. North Carolina enters the game at 7-1 in conference action, while Duke slipped to 6-2 after losing to Miami. Duke can ill-afford another loss, especially because the Seminoles and Tar Heels will not meet again this regular season.

Besides the usual hostility generated by one of the most intense rivalries in the game, the 233rd match up between these teams — UNC leads the all-time series 131-101 — is critical for both teams. Duke is facing more than its fair share of critics after a lackluster performance against the Hurricanes. Meanwhile, North Carolina needs to prove it can beat an elite team, sometime the Heels haven’t done in a few months.

For the Blue Devils, coach Mike Krzyzewski will be looking for renewed passion from his team after calling them out for lacking the energy to compete with the Hurricanes in the overtime loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Expect his team to rally around his battle cry, especially on the road surrounded by the Enemy in Powder Blue. To win, Duke will need to play smart defense, something the Blue Devils haven’t done consistently this season.

On the other hand, North Carolina seems to be on the rise, especially after a gutsy win in College Park last weekend in which Maryland tried to beat up the Tar Heels. Unlike the game in Tallahassee in which Florida State annihilated UNC, the Tar Heels responded after getting hit in the mouth and clamped down in the second half to erase a nine-point deficit to win by nine. However, the Tar Heels haven’t beaten a team guaranteed to be in the NCAA Tournament since they knocked off Wisconsin in Chapel Hill Nov. 30. North Carolina needs a win at home against the team’s arch rival to validate the argument that this team should be in the conversation for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

That adds a lot of pressure to both teams, and that might favor North Carolina. The Tar Heels have a roster full of players who have been through this rivalry at least three times after last season. Duke has struggled with leadership on the court, and the Blue Devils must get someone to step up or else things could ugly for Duke pretty quickly.

Let the battle begin.

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

Louisville coach Rick Pitino got his wish with Memphis, as the Tigers will be joining the Big East starting in 2013-14, according an ESPN.com news services report. Pitino had lobbied for the Conference USA’s Tigers to join the Big East to help replace the power that will be departing with West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh in coming years.

Florida coach Billy Donovan tried to preach that Kentucky faced all the pressure entering the Gators/Wildcats clash Tuesday night, with the home team trying to extend a 15-game winning streak and 48-game undefeated streak at Rupp Arena, according to the Associated Press. That psyche-out didn’t seem to work as the Wildcats clobbered Florida 78-58.

If Connecticut can rally around the toughness of coach Jim Calhoun, the Huskies won’t be out of the picture despite a bleak couple of weeks, including a horrid loss Monday night at Louisville. Calhoun told ESPN’s Andy Katz that he doesn’t plan to let spinal stenosis to force him into retirement, and the coach could return to the sidelines sometime this season if the pain in his legs and back subsides.

There’s also health concerns for another coach: College of Charleston’s Bobby Cremins. The 64-year-old Cougar coach took a leave of absence Jan. 27, and he told people that he’s just taking a break to recuperate from a lack of energy, according to a CBS Sports.com wire report.

Alabama’s tournament chances could be in some jeopardy after the team indefinitely suspended junior Tony Mitchell for misconduct, writes TideNation’s Alex Scarborough. The junior forward averages 13.1 ppg and 7.0 rpg in more than 30 minutes per game for the Crimson Tide.

College Basketball Tonight

COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, who will be joined by former Manhattan and Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on every Sunday from Selection Sunday to the Final Four. You can listen to the show here.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

hofstra

The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

cornell

Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

2013 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: St. Andrew's
Sept 10: Tilton
Sept. 11: South Kent School and Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 12: Putnam Science Academy
Sept. 16: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 17: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 23: New Hampton School
Sept. 24: Brimmer and May
Sept. 25: Proctor Academy
Sept. 26: Notre Dame Prep and Cushing Academy
Sept. 29: Worcester Academy and Vermont Academy
Oct. 6: Charlestown High School and Milton Academy
Oct. 13: Tabor Academy
Oct. 15: Brooks School

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Cesar Fulcar commits to Wentworth

The senior guard led Watertown to the state semifinal this past season

Travel team profile: Bay State Magic

Bay State Magic doesn’t have much size on their junior team this season, so they’ll have to win with execution and intangibles

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is already 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