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2013-14 WCC Post-Mortem

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

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

Harvard’s path to the elusive NCAA Tournament bid just got tougher

by - Published February 26, 2012 in Columns, Full Court Sprints
hoopguy-orange

Harvard is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher learning. Many of the brightest young people grow up dreaming of attending the school, unless you’re like me and dreamed of going to MIT (or Cal Tech) because of engineering. The university has produced a number of high achievers in just about every field imaginable.

On the hardwood, it’s been a different story. Harvard has had seasons of 20 or more wins, and they’ve been to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and NIT the past two seasons. But they have yet to get to the holy grail of college basketball, the NCAA Tournament. That has eluded them, including last year when they went to a one-game playoff against Princeton and lost on a buzzer-beating jumper in New Haven. And after Saturday night, they might be on a path to such a game once more, as Penn came to Lavietes Pavilion and stunned Harvard 55-54 on Senior Night.

… Continue Reading

BracketBusters takes center stage once again

by - Published February 19, 2012 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

Every year, there is a lot of talk about how to make BracketBusters better, or if it should just go away entirely. While teams have undoubtedly benefited from it over the years of its existence, the feelings on it seem a bit mixed, and it’s debatable whether or not it has been good as a whole. Right now, it’s what we have, and on Saturday it was center stage.

Proponents have talked about teams getting an extra national television appearance for people to see them. They have also cited the chance to get an RPI boost. Certainly, some of the teams that have benefited can look back and argue that they would not have made the NCAA Tournament if not for a win in the BracketBusters, including Final Four teams from George Mason and VCU. … Continue Reading

Quick Hitters – January 27, 2012

by - Published January 27, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Quick hitters as we get ready for the weekend:

 

  • Boston University was not rebounding well in the early portion of their seven-game winning streak. But in the last two games, the Terriers have dominated the glass, and keeping that up will only help. Granted, it came against two of the worst teams in the conference, but one of them (UMBC) is normally a decent team on the glass. Part of that has come from an emphasis on rebounding of late, but not just at the defensive end. … Continue Reading

Bracket Breakdown: Pac-10, Mid-Majors Show the Big East the Door

by - Published March 24, 2010 in Columns

It all started with some kid from a Kentucky school not named Kentucky stunning the college basketball world with an odds-defying, game-winning jumper at the buzzer. Thanks to forward Danero Thomas, 13th-seeded Murray State shocked No. 4-seed Vanderbilt, 66-65, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last Thursday.

Racers’ fans went into a frenzy. Many people who had never even heard of the school before celebrated the feel-good upset just because of its own strange nature. Even more people, however, kicked at the ground and muttered curse words because the unexpected result shook up their brackets.

That was just the beginning. Perhaps inspired by the Racers’ Day 1 shocker, a No. 12 seed, Cornell, decided it would ride hot-shooting all the way into the Sweet 16, a similar case to that of No. 10 St. Mary’s, which unleashed its beast of a center, 6-11 Omar Samhan, in the South Region and knocked out second-seeded Villanova to also join the field of 16.

And after No. 9 Northern Iowa’s Ali Farokhmanesh made the most cold-blooded crunch-time 3-pointer in recent tournament memory to cement his team’s Sweet 16 ticket while taking down overall-top-seeded Kansas on Saturday, it was official that at least 90 percent of the country’s brackets had gone more busted than a piñata on Cinco de Mayo.

Putting aside the almighty custom of wagering on tournament predictions, however, March Madness has been splendid so far. Down-to-the-wire games have been numerous, as have been upsets. High seeds Kansas, Villanova, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Temple all got axed, but their executioners gave the competition parity and diversity. Entering the Sweet 16, 11 conferences will be represented.

Out of all surprise teams, Cornell has been the most pleasant one. The Big Red’s wins made it the first Ivy League team to make it this far in more than 30 years, and it did so with authority. Cornell smacked around No. 5 Temple in the first round and then did the same to No. 4 Wisconsin in the second while shooting a combined 58.6 percent in the games.

Even better than that, though, has been the performance of St. Mary’s Samhan, who has totaled 61 points through two games while making 24 of 32 field goal attempts. His supremacy has been the reason the Gaels are enjoying the best season in their history while Villanova is already home, lamenting its collapse.

Speaking of failure, that’s been the theme of the postseason for Nova’s conference. The Big East, widely regarded as the best league in college basketball, had a tournament-best eight entrants, but half were done by the end of the first round, and two more followed soon after in the second. Only No. 1-seed Syracuse in the West Region and No. 2-seed West Virginia in the East remain.

First-round meat: No. 6 Marquette, which blew a 15-point lead in the second half and lost to an out-to-prove-the-Pac-10-is-not-that-weak No. 11-seed Washington; No. 3-seed Georgetown, which was blasted by Ohio, a team that had a losing record in the MAC and got into the Dance only after winning its conference’s tournament; Notre Dame, which was zoned out of the tournament by No. 11-seed Old Dominion; and No. 9-seed Louisville, which also got embarrassed by the Pac-10, by Cal.

No. 3-seed Pittsburgh made the second round, but the Panthers couldn’t hang with No. 6-seed Xavier on Sunday and were ousted.

With so many high seeds gone so early, thanks in big part to the Big East, it’d clearly be silly to count any team out. In the East, No. 1-seed Kentucky will have the challenge to cool down the Big Red’s red-hot shooting, and West Virginia will have to remain impressive to get past an also-remarkable Washington. In the South, No. 1-seed Duke, which has made quick work of its rivals so far, will face a Purdue team missing Robbie Hummel, and No. 3-seed Baylor will deal with Samhan, St. Mary’s scary big man.

In the Midwest, Cinderella Northern Iowa will face No. 5-seed Michigan State, ecstatic after its buzzer-beating win over Maryland Sunday, and No. 2-seed Ohio State, the favorite to win the section now that Kansas is gone, will take on No. 6-seed Tennessee. In the West, No. 5-seed Butler, which got a scare from Murray State before advancing via a 54-52 win Saturday, will meet with Syracuse. The winner will play the winner of the Kansas State-Xavier game.

Predictions? We’re not too big on them these days, but the solid candidates to advance are Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, West Virginia and Ohio State. These teams have been imposing through their first two games. They’re as dependable picks as Kansas was before Saturday.

Avery Bradley Skills Academy

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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.

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

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

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter