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2013-14 SEC Post-Mortem

by - Published June 12, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
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What does the SEC – the football juggernaut – have beyond Florida and Kentucky on the hardwood?

That’s the big question this off-season. It was already a discussion point during the season and postseason, and it’s not going to end now. The SEC had a 12-3 record in the NCAA Tournament, but Kentucky and Florida combined for 10 of those wins and thus carried them to that mark.

When it was all said and done, the SEC ended up with three teams in the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee was the only team besides Florida and Kentucky to make it. The conference had four teams in the NIT, with LSU and Arkansas each winning a game before getting bounced without a chance to go to New York.

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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

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

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Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by

bigten

The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by

sunbelt

Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

bigsky

The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

meac

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

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