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NCAA Tournament first week review: few upsets, but history-rich programs remain

by - Published March 23, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

The first week of the 2015 NCAA Tournament has brought us a little of everything, much of nothing. Like the beer commercial, you might say it is up for whatever.

We started with a boatload of close games, but the number and intensity of those games has petered out over the past three days, taking this year”s tourney from historic to almost pedestrian. The Sweet 16 will include three 1 seeds, but otherwise is a buffet of differing squads and resumes. The last 16 remaining includes teams from eight different conferences and seeded 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11.

What do we have left is a field of teams that is loaded with history, whether it be recent or distant. In fact, every single team left falls into at least one of the categories, if not both.
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The Morning Dish – Sunday, March 22, 2015

by - Published March 22, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

When it comes to the very best teams in March, the current list starts with names like Arizona. Duke. Kentucky. Michigan State.

It’s high time another school was added to that elite hierarchy in the sport.

Xavier is back in the Sweet 16-again. This time, it’s after a 75-67 win over Georgia State on Saturday, as the Musketeers shot an incredible 67.6% for the game, including 81.3% (13 of 16) in the second half. It took that kind of effort to knock out the Panthers and R.J. Hunter-who almost certainly made himself some serious money with his performance this week-but X is on to the regional semifinals and now will face Arizona.
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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 20, 2015

by - Published March 20, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The first full day of the 2015 NCAA Tournament was littered with close, down-to-the-wire games. If it felt like an extraordinary day for the consistency of the fantastic finishes, that’s because it was.

Thursday saw 11 of the 16 first round games decided by eight points or less. Eight were decided by a single possession. Five were decided by a point, a record for a single day in the tourney. Two went to overtime.

As far as drama goes, it was as about as good as it can get. But there’s also a good chance that such games aren’t going anywhere and are going to be the norm this year. And maybe for the foreseeable future.
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Bracket impressions: Committee missed it with Indiana, Texas, UCLA

by - Published March 15, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

Texas and its 3-12 record against the top 50? In.

UCLA going 2-8 against the top 50, 5-10 against the top 100 and 4-11 in road/neutral games? In, and not even needing a play-in game. (Yet Dayton goes 1-3 against the top 50, 6-6 against the top 100 and 9-8 in road/neutral games and needs to play in?)

Indiana and its 4-9 mark against the top 50? Not just in, but a comfy 10 seed.

What can one say? Apparently this year’s NCAA Tournament selection committee, more than ones the past couple years, thoroughly enjoys mediocrity.
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Selection Sunday morning: One projection of NCAA Tournament field

by - Published March 15, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

With so many years of “bracketology” and the resulting better understandings of the NCAA Tournament selection process that has come from it, there are many years where predicting the teams in the field is not that much of a mystery, sometimes almost easy even.

This year is not one of those years.

It might be because of the curveballs the selection committee has thrown out the last couple years , or maybe it’s just paralysis by analysis. But from this view, there are as many as 7-8 spots in the field that could go to any number of teams.
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The Morning Dish – Thursday, March 5, 2015

by - Published March 5, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

We’re just getting started on March, prime time for the college basketball season, but on Wednesday we couldn’t help but look back for a day.

Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Hank Gathers, a former All-American at Loyola Marymount who collapsed on the court and passed away hours later in a West Coast Conference semifinal game against Portland. There were a number of poignant articles about Gathers posted yesterday-longtime Philly hoops scribe Dick Jerardi of the Philadelphia Daily News had an outstanding one here, while ESPN’s Myron Metcalf also had an excellent story here. For those who never saw Gathers and those LMU teams play over three years from 1987-88 to 1989-90, they missed a superlative player and some all-time entertaining teams from a special time in college basketball history.
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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 2, 2015

by - Published March 2, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Anyone who has followed the ACC the last few years might find it hard to believe that at one time, Wake Forest was among the ACC’s standard-bearers. They might never imagine that the small school in Winston-Salem was pretty good most years and produced some good NBA players, including Tim Duncan and Chris Paul. Danny Manning has a tall order in front of him, but there’s a lot to like so far, and that included on Sunday.

Wake Forest has been very competitive this year despite its 5-11 mark in ACC play. In the opener, they gave Louisville all they could handle and could easily have won that game. They were right there with Duke in the next game and took Syracuse to overtime in the Carrier Dome. They broke through against NC State and Miami, then nearly pulled off a huge upset at Virginia. On Sunday, they took on a Pittsburgh team that needs to keep winning for its NCAA at-large hopes, and the Demon Deacons pulled out a 69-66 win.

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 19, 2015

by - Published February 19, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Wednesday night featured the very best of what college basketball has to offer, in so very many ways.

Passionate rivalries. Contrasts in styles. Outstanding players. Coaches with the freedom to coach teams the way they want to, and taking advantage of that in different ways. And, yes, very relevant regular season games.

The evening included what are, for our money, the two very best rivalries in the sport. Of course, the evening was mainly marked by Duke and North Carolina meeting again, but the night started with Xavier and Cincinnati squaring off once more in a series that as a whole is its equal, or awfully close to it.
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The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 12, 2015

by - Published February 12, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

We lost another of college basketball legend on Wednesday as Jerry Tarkanian passed away at the age of 84.

It’s been a tough week in college basketball, as Tarkanian’s death comes just five days after the passing of Dean Smith, another legend of the sport and a contemporary of Tarkanian’s. That the two will go down as being opposites in some ways is irrelevant, but also is a fitting representation of the diversity of coaches from their time. At their core they were both terrific coaches that leave us a whole lot of memories.

“Tark the Shark” twice built powers from next to nothing on the West Coast, first turning Long Beach State into one of the top West programs not led by John Wooden-the 49ers advanced to the Elite Eight twice, losing to UCLA by two in the 1971 West Regional Final-and then most famously building UNLV into a national power, the apex of course being the 1990 national title and the unbeaten run in 1990-91 until being shocked by Duke in the Final Four. He finished his career at his alma mater, turning Fresno State into a top 25 contender.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, February 6, 2015

by - Published February 6, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

A young UCLA team continues to grow up, and the Bruins may be hitting a growth spurt at just the right time.

Nearly written off just a couple weeks ago, UCLA has responded with three straight wins to jump back into the national conversation. First it was home victories over nationally ranked Utah and Colorado, but now the Bruins also have a significant road win after taking down Stanford 69-67 Thursday night.

Norman Powell had 20 points and Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford both added 18 in a game in which UCLA raced out to a 22-point lead and then had to hang on at the end. The Cardinal made a furious rally late and actually had a three-point attempt for the win at the buzzer, but Chasson Randle’s shot at the buzzer went off the glass and rim.

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Your Phil of Hoops

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.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen 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.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.