We are now on the eve of the regular season, just one day away. We conclude Hoopville’s preseason rundown of all 32 NCAA Division I conferences, starting in the Midwest, moving South and then to the West:
The Summit League had a terrific year in 2015-16, finishing 12th in the conference RPI ranking to place ahead of leagues such as the Missouri Valley, WCC and even the Mountain West. This is a solid nine-team league right now with no easy touches from top to bottom, but when all has been said and done, the league has belonged to North Dakota State and South Dakota State for the last five years, with the two hogging all of the conference’s automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament in that time. … Continue Reading
Almost every college basketball season, there is one program that comes completely out of nowhere to join the national scene with a program-defining banner year, taking its fans and even the country on one fun ride.
Naturally, part of the cool factor of such seasons is one can rarely peg where those teams are coming from. So it was with Arkansas-Little Rock of the Sun Belt Conference in 2015-16, as the Trojans rose from mediocrity or something less to a legitimate national player-and behind a new coach, no less. … Continue Reading
The postseason is upon us, and as always happens in the hours after the NCAA Tournament bracket is unveiled, there are lots of opinions going around. What is perhaps most interesting of all is that there were plenty of complaints about the Selection Show itself, and understandably so.
To begin with, the show moved up to 5:30 p.m. That left very little buffer between the final conference championships and the show, which could have been a problem in the event of overtime in either game (that did not happen this time around). It also became a two-hour show, which is not inherently problematic. But it sure proved it. CBS spent a lot of time musing about the selections, then going over the number one seeds, and when commercials came, Twitter lit up with the complaints. Basically, CBS was a tease, taking more time than anyone hoped.
Championship Week has given us so many great stories. There are plenty more still to be written today alone, as Championship Saturday is the biggest one of them all. Friday night paved the way for it beautifully.
There was the Big East Tournament, where Seton Hall advanced to continue a great story for them. A year ago, the Pirates’ season ended in discord; they were in a bad place, and there was plenty of talk about who might not return this season, from underclassmen who might leave to the coach. Kevin Willard had a fairly prohibitive contract for the school, but the talk was there all the same. A year later, the Pirates once again started out with promise, but this time they have persisted through the ups and downs that come with a season. They will take on Villanova, who beat Providence earlier in the evening. This is a more mature team, and one that we’ll see playing later in the month.
Not only are we in the midst of the holidays, but conference play beckons if it hasn’t already started. Non-conference play is almost complete, and teams form impressions during this time of how they will be in conference play. Even so, as is always the case this is imperfect. Conference play is a different animal, as teams are more familiar with each other from having played each other every year. That’s why we see some teams even in mid-majors get nice wins in non-conference play, but then lose games in conference play that strike the untrained eye as head-scratchers.
It is with that in mind that we take a look at how all 31 conferences shape up based on non-conference play thus far.
It’s been a long 7+ months-221 days since Duke edged Wisconsin in an exciting 2015 NCAA Tournament finale-but the 2015-16 college basketball season is finally here.
Today the season tips off with 156 Division I games (a number of them against non-Division I schools), starting with Vermont taking on Eastern Michigan at 11 a.m. Eastern time in Ypslanti, Mich. (It’s on ESPN3, if you’re looking to watch) Before the games start, we wrap up our alphabetical order preseason peek at all 32 NCAA Division I conferences with the last seven today.
It’s a new day at Georgia State. One of the great stories of March last year, they were among the darlings before the NCAA Tournament and then once it got going. They would have been a great story even without the dramatic win over Baylor and the family aspect involved. But that team is no more in a lot of respects, as the Panthers will have a new look this season. They will, however, not have such a new look in key respects.
Ron Hunter is still on the bench. And the Panthers should still contend in the Sun Belt Conference all the same.
Today we bring you a special NBA Draft edition of The Morning Dish:
While a number of recent college stars received their first assignments in their careers as professionals, last night’s NBA Draft also was good for taking us back a couple months and reminding us just what we had in college basketball this past season.
It wasn’t necessarily a prevailing storyline during the Final Four-and there’s nothing wrong with that, by the way-but this year’s Final Four was loaded with future NBA talent. Loaded. And it wasn’t all just at Kentucky, or even Duke, as this year’s NCAA semifinals included eight first round draft picks and a total of 11 draftees just this year, nearly 20% of the entire draft.
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Seemingly in a perpetual search for an identity due to so many membership changes, the Sun Belt Conference found one in 2014-15 as a conference that provided a little of it all.
The Sun Belt was both as predicted and unpredictable. It played games in the 90s and 100s…or the 30s and 40s. It even had some star power amidst rosters that would mostly generate a shrug on the national level. It was a unique mix, but in the end it worked out well for a now-venerable league that has faced numerous changes over the years but is nearing its 40th anniversary.
In our latest podcast, we touch on a number of issues affecting conferences like Conference USA, as well as a big loss for Creighton, less mystery in Arizona, and more on the ACC as we look forward to the weekend.
In our latest podcast, we talk about a short stint in the top spot of the polls, some developments in the Mountain West Conference, and more of the ACC before closing with the Big East and Atlantic 10.
In our latest podcast, we talk about the great games Kentucky has been a part of lately. We go on to other ACC matters involving arch rivals, as well as some quick hits and a conference race that should be as good as expected.
In our latest podcast, we talk about a coaching legend reaching a milestone, the defending champs looking very good and continuing their winning ways close to home, and some off-court news during a light week of game action.
Early season tournaments are the focus in this episode, with a look at how strong a few Big East teams are out of the gate and how strong the ACC could be. Plus one SEC team had a big week outside the scope of tournaments.
We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.
We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.
We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.
Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout
The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.