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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, March 4, 2015

by - Published March 4, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

On the scale of chic topics in basketball in general, free throws is near the bottom. Unlike “length”, “skill set” or “dribble drive,” it’s not a term that pundits love seemingly just because of how the words sound coming out of their mouths. Much like special teams in football, they are often underrated or even ignored, despite their ability to absolutely play a role in a game’s outcome.

Also like special teams in the NFL playoffs, though (anyone who saw the Seattle-Green Bay NFC playoff game can vouch for it), you better believe free throws will be important this month. We got another taste of that Tuesday night, as poor free throw shooting doomed a couple teams chasing what would’ve been massive wins.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, February 18, 2015

by - Published February 18, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

If there’s one thing that the new configuration of the Big East has taught us, it’s that memories of the old Big East are always going to be around the corner, even at times when we’re thoroughly enjoying the league in the present.

The old school Big East is cool, and will always be cool. Tuesday night featured a game that is as old school cool as any rivalry in the current Big East, as St. John’s went to Georgetown. For those looking for drama, though, they had to look elsewhere, as the Hoyas easily dumped SJU 79-57 for their 17th victory of the season.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, January 28, 2015

by - Published January 28, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Surprisingly, we haven’t heard a whole lot about Texas A&M as an NCAA Tournament candidate yet.

That should be changing very soon, because the Aggies are leaving us all no choice. A&M is playing its way into serious NCAA tourney consideration and is now 14-5 after a 71-61 win over fellow upstart Auburn Tuesday night.

A couple weeks back, it felt like just another one of those disinterested performances by Kentucky after the Wildcats needed two overtimes to beat Texas A&M. Now with the perspective of more results, we’re seeing that game for UK was indeed much tougher than thought at the time. The win at Auburn makes it five straight wins (including an impressive three of those on the road) for the Aggies, who also are 5-2 in the Southeastern Conference and really don’t have a bad loss other than a 21-point defeat at Alabama.
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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 22, 2014

by - Published November 22, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Early season tournaments continue to lead the way, and will for much of the next week. Friday featured plenty of such action leading into the weekend, setting the stage for what’s to come. In one of them, a champion was crowned.

At Madison Square Garden, Texas won the 2K Classic 71-55 over California, frustrating the Golden Bears with their defense all night long, especially the 10 shots they blocked. In the consolation game, Syracuse held off Iowa 66-63 behind a career-high 20 points and nine rebounds from freshman Chris McCullough, who also got the game-sealing steal in the final seconds. More coverage on this is coming soon, so stay tuned.

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2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

by - Published June 30, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
big12

Top to bottom, the Big 12 was the best college basketball conference in the country this year. Let’s get that out of the way right now.

In fact, 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. And as good as those seven teams were, the league’s eighth and ninth teams may have spoken most to the Big 12’s depth.
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2013-14 SEC Post-Mortem

by - Published June 12, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
sec

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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Quick Hitters – September 29, 2013

by - Published September 29, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

It’s a great time of the year. Prep school visits are winding down and college teams have started practice, signs that the season isn’t far away. Also, college schedules are finally coming out, with a few more game times to be determined due to television.

Before getting back to some of the final prep school visits, here are some quick hitters from around college basketball.

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Will Syracuse’s hot start cool off this winter?

by - Published January 10, 2012 in Full Court Sprints
hoopguy-orange

Syracuse is officially on the clock.

As of Jan. 9, the Orange look an awful lot like the best team in the country. But considering that it’s still early January, that’s not terribly surprising. The question is whether Syracuse will still look like the best team in college hoops in another two months as the NCAA Tournament approaches.

Since the Orange won the championship in 2003, Syracuse has made a habit of starting hot, building a record at least nine games better than .500 each season. In half of those seasons, the Orange have had a record as gaudy as at least 15 games better than .500.

But each season, the team has fallen apart for one reason or another. In some cases, it’s a lack of leadership to handle adversity when the team inevitably drops a tough Big East game or two. In other cases, the downfall has been rifts in team chemistry, sometimes leading to suspensions or poor play. And injuries have factored into a few of the collapses.

In sum, Syracuse has not finished a season better than three games above .500 after the Orange’s struggles creep into the picture. Why would this team be any different?

To start, this team has fantastic depth. Ten players average at least 12 minutes per game. Seven players contribute at least seven ppg, but no one scores more than 14.1 ppg, and that’s senior swingman Kris Joseph. In addition, the Orange have superior height than nearly any other team in Division I, with nine players who stand 6’4” or taller.

Coach Jim Boeheim has helped this team navigate through the tumultuous Bernie Fine affair without any semblance of a disturbance on the court. Compared to the off court drama, Boeheim must be happy dealing with any complaints about playing time that come from his talented players — if there have been any at all. Only two players are averaging more than 25 minutes per game, but as far as we can tell, everyone has embraced his role on the team. And that is leading to win after win.

At some point, the Orange will likely drop a game or two in Big East play. Road games against Cincinnati, St. John’s, Louisville, Rutgers and Connecticut are potential land mines. But unlike in recent years, this team seems built to overcome the struggles of one night. Boeheim has the Orange playing their best basketball in eight years, according to Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency stats. If Syracuse can maintain its 1.202 points per possession on offense and 0.883 points per possession on defense, both those numbers will be the best marks for offensive and defensive efficiency for the years that Pomeroy has data available (since 2003).

In a season filled with talented teams, Syracuse has earned its No. 1 ranking, and the Orange should remain near the top from wire to wire. And for Syracuse fans, a strong finish to bookend a strong start would be a refreshing change of pace.

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

Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman is in the thick of serious allegations after several people at the Bears’ game at South Carolina State said the coach punched Morgan State senior Larry Bastfield during the game, according to ESPN.com news services. The school has indefinitely suspended Bozeman while looking into the accusations. Bozeman and Bastfield say the news is much ado about nothing — with that nothing being an accidental bump during the game, as Bastfield described it.

Xavier coach Chris Mack made his point, then paid the price. Mack missed the past couple of days after tearing a tendon in his left knee while dunking to re-energize the struggling Musketeers, who are 2-5 in the past few weeks, writes USA Today’s Marlen Garcia.

Arizona State coach Herb Sendek has accepted the departure of leading scorer Keala King, who left a few days after Sendek suspended him for unacceptable conduct, according to a CBS Sports.com wire report. King’s departure is a massive loss for a pretty bad Sun Devils team. King averaged 13.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 3.3 apg.

St. John’s scored a talented point guard when former Texas A&M sophomore Jamal Branch decided to transfer to the Red Storm, writes the New York Daily News’ Roger Rubin. Branch averaged 4.2 ppg and 2.5 apg for the Aggies, and he chose St. John’s over several other suitors.

Michael Jordan’s son Jeff has decided to leave Central Florida, according to an Associated Press report. His brother, Marcus, remains with the Golden Knights, as Jeff cited personal reasons for his decision.

Coaches vs. Cancer: A final look

by - Published November 20, 2011 in Columns

NEW YORK – A brief note on the four teams in the recently completed Coaches vs. Cancer classic. The scores:

Semifinals:

Mississippi State 69, Texas A&M 60

Arizona 81, St. John’s 72

 

Consolation:   Texas A&M 58, St. John’s 57

Championship:  Mississippi State 67, Arizona 57

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Coach K closes in on D-I record, passing his mentor en route

by - Published November 15, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

From the hallowed hardwood in Madison Square Garden, a pupil could surpass the master tonight.

When Duke takes on Michigan State in the Champions Classic in New York City, coach Mike Krzyzewski will have an opportunity to pass his mentor, Bob Knight, for the most Division I wins in NCAA history. The Blue Devils beat Presbyterian Saturday to give Coach K win No. 902. A third consecutive victory to open the season would be the record-setter.

In a press conference Monday, Coach K said that “somebody asked me this morning about where would this be in a list of things that you feel really good about, and I said, ‘It’s behind every championship. And not just national championships but league championships.'”

That doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal. Krzyzewski, who turns 65 in February, has been one of the top coaches in the game for several decades after a slow start to his career in Durham. His perseverance and determination are a model of leadership that extends far beyond a basketball arena. In a sport filled with unsavory characters and frequent recruiting violations, Coach K keeps Duke on the up and up. He takes pride in his players’ high graduation rate, and he cares more about the accomplishments of specific Blue Devil teams than his own accolades.

“You want to win a championship with the team that you coach that year, and those are the things that you remember are championship moments — whether they be league championship moments, regular season, ACC,” Krzyzewski said. “Obviously the biggest thing that you can remember easily is national championships. But championships are things that I look back on because that’s a real accomplishment.”

Another coaching legend, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, won’t make it easy for Coach K to celebrate his record-breaking victory. But whenever Krzyzewski gets No. 903, it will be one of the major highlights of the entire 2011-12 season.

We go coast to coast with other news from the college basketball nation.

  • Louisville junior guard Mike Marra will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL against Lamar Sunday, according to an Associated Press report. Marra’s loss is significant as he was an important member of coach Rick Pitino’s backcourt rotation, averaging 6.4 points per game last season.
  • The good news for Louisville is that freshman guard Kevin Ware has his academics in order now and will be eligible to play for the Cardinals starting in mid-December, after the university’s fall semesters concludes, according to a Lexington Herald-Leader report.
  • Arizona had to dig deep to rally past Ball State, which held a nine-point halftime lead against the Wildcats Sunday. With junior swingman Kevin Parrom back in the lineup just seven weeks after being shot in the leg and hand while visiting family in New York City and four weeks after his mother died, according to the Associated Press, the Wildcats found the will to lock down the Cardinals in the second half for a 73-63 win. Parrom contributed six points and four rebounds in 18 minutes to help get the Wildcats the victory.
  • Instant replay might slow down the game in the NFL, but at least the officials get the calls right more often than not. Vermont probably wishes more stadiums had replay capabilities after falling victim to a lack of technology in a 61-59 loss to South Florida played at Division II University of Tampa. After calling a timeout, the clock ran for an extra second or two, but the referees couldn’t review the time on the clock because there were no available video feeds, writes ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan. The Catamounts hit a would-be game-tying tip-in on their final possession — just after the buzzer.
  • Texas A&M will be without one of the best players in the Big 12, Khris Middleton, while the junior forward recovers from a knee injury suffered during the Aggies’ 81-59 win against Liberty, according to an Associated Press report.
  • According to a CBS Sports.com wire report, Marquette will play its first three games without freshman Juan Anderson for a rules violation. The oftense? Accepting a free ticket to see the Milwaukee Brewers in the Major League Baseball playoffs.

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Your Phil of Hoops

What Kentucky gave us will be forgotten, and that’s too bad

April 5, 2015 by

kentucky

Most people are going to remember Kentucky in 2014-15 more for the one loss than the 38 wins and the journey that came with it. That’s the most unfortunate thing of all.

A happy resolution comes in Delaware

April 1, 2015 by

delaware

There has finally been a resolution to Monte Ross’ contract situation, and it’s a happy one for the Blue Hens’ head coach and his staff after the work they have done to rebuild the program.

Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

March 15, 2015 by

temple

Temple is firmly on the bubble after losing in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to SMU. It’s the first time in head coach Fran Dunphy’s storied career that his team has been in this situation.

Hoopville Archives

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.

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed listening to COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT, a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, joined by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis, former Fairfield head coach Terry O'Connor and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

Here are links to the shows:

March 15, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 22, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 29, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

April 5, 2015 - First hour | Second hour | Third hour

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

A big championship day for a local program at the Hoopville Spring Finale

June 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-yellow

The 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of good championship games on Sunday to close it out, and we start our look back with a look at those games.

Player highlights from Mass Elite and Boston Warriors college showcase

June 4, 2015 by

hoopguy-cyan

Two big programs, Mass Elite and the Boston Warriors, got together once again on a college showcase for many of their high school players. We look at some who stood out on the evening.

2015 Massachusetts AAU Tournament notes

June 3, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Massachusetts held its AAU championship rounds in a few age groups and its entire tournament for the oldest age group this weekend. We take a look at some of Sunday’s action in Foxboro.

adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis – Sunday notes

April 29, 2015 by

adidasuprising

Sunday was the conclusion of the adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis, and we take a look at some of the players who shined on a day that saw a few games that weren’t very competitive.

adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis – Saturday notes

April 28, 2015 by

adidasuprising

Saturday was a full day of action in the adidas Gauntlet near Indianapolis, and here’s a look at some of the talent that stood out on the day as college coaches checked out the action.