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Scanning the Nation Notebook – Dec. 10

by - Published December 10, 2014 in Columns
glatczak

Some weekly thoughts, from watching and reading and generally spending too much time following college basketball:

  • CBS’s Jon Rothstein beat us to mentioning him today in his Observations column, but we’ll add on: Dylan Ennis has been a real difference-maker for Villanova. The junior averaged just 5.1 points per game last year but this year has stepped up his scoring, averaging nearly 13 points per game, including 18 Tuesday night in the Wildcats’ win over Illinois in the Jimmy V Classic. As if Nova’s offense needed another perimeter threat, it now has one as Ennis is shooting 46% from three (20 of 43) and has almost already matched his entire season total of 25 triples made last year. He helped keep the Wildcats going early this season in tougher-than-expected wins over Lehigh and Bucknell when the rest of the team was struggling from deep, and Ennis is now the leading scorer as Villanova has seven players averaging between 7.4 and 12.9 points per game.

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, December 11, 2014

by - Published December 10, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Doubleheaders at Madison Square Garden are as much a part of the fabric of college basketball as the ball itself or Bill Raftery. There is nothing better, and only a few things that even compare.

If the Jimmy V Classic isn’t going to take place at North Carolina State, then MSG is a terrific place for it (especially since one Jimmy V’s signature wins of his college coaching career came when his Iona team routed eventual national champion Louisville at the Garden in Feb. 1980).
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The Morning Dish – Thursday, December 4, 2014

by - Published December 4, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

This introduction was going to be about one of the most anticipated games of the year so far, as Duke and Wisconsin squared off in a battle between top 5 teams, Final Four contenders and legendary coaches. That changed after midnight here in the Central time zone after watching Wichita State face Utah in what was maybe the second-most anticipated game-of at least the night, anyway.

The Utes picked up a signature non-conference win, edging the Shockers 69-68 in overtime. It’s a huge win for Utah, but if someone happened to turn this off late in the second half, they should know the win came far tougher for Utah than it may have looked late in regulation.
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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 26, 2014

by - Published November 26, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

The Big East is getting by just fine.

Here is how good the Big East has been so far this year: nine of its 10 teams are thus far undefeated. Villanova is 5-0. So are Providence and Creighton. Xavier and Seton Hall are 4-0. Georgetown, St. John’s and Butler are 3-0. Shoot, even DePaul is 2-0. And while some of those wins are filler (which makes the conference no different than any other top 10 league), there also are quality wins already over the likes of Michigan, VCU, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Long Beach State and Stephen F. Austin.

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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, November 25, 2014

by - Published November 25, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

By its extremely lofty standards, this year’s Maui Invitational is rather light fare, though still one of the kings of the in-season tournaments.

Maui is always a highlight of November and Thanksgiving week, dating back to its emergence in the late 1980s, and the tourney opened yesterday with quarterfinals. The best game of the four was the last one, as old WAC and Mountain West rivals San Diego State and BYU went at it good deep into the night for us on the mainland.
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The Morning Dish – Friday, November 21, 2014

by - Published November 21, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Holiday tournament basketball tipped off on Thursday, one of the many things we can give thanks for over the upcoming holiday. Though perhaps not too much thanks.

The proliferation of large, eight-team in-season tourneys has been a boon for teams looking to get in an extra three games each season, but it also has played a part in watering down the importance of such tournaments as a whole.

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2013-14 Big East Post-Mortem

by - Published May 6, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigeast

A new era in the Big East began in 2013-14, and it was not hard to tell this was not your father’s Big East. The name was there, some familiar teams were as well, and the conference tournament was once again at Madison Square Garden. For that matter, the campaigning by coaches on behalf of the conference was the same.

But no matter how much it might look like the Big East we all knew, this was different.

For starters, three new teams joined the seven that split from the old Big East. Butler, Creighton and Xavier all left other conferences, and Creighton was a contender right away with a veteran team led by Doug McDermott. Xavier had its ups and downs but managed to reach the NCAA Tournament, while Butler had a depleted roster for new head coach Brandon Miller, in part from an injury to key guard Roosevelt Jones that cost him the season, and struggled.

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Villanova continues to be tough and resilient

by - Published February 19, 2014 in Columns
villanova

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Villanova is nothing if not resilient. That is in some ways the story of the season on a macro level, certainly, but on a micro level that has been true as well. When they won a heart-stopping 82-79 double overtime thriller at Providence, they gave a great exhibition of that and why they are a team that can make a run in March.

With this win, Villanova has avoided a losing streak once again. But they have had to show an extra measure of toughness after each loss, because all three wins following a loss involved overtime. While the Wildcats have pulled out a lot of close games and are now 4-0 in overtime, doing so to avoid a losing streak is big, and on Tuesday night they had this toughness in spades.

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Eighth-ranked Villanova too much for Seton Hall

by - Published January 10, 2014 in Columns
author_floriani

NEWARK, N.J. – They competed and battled, as they have all season long. Once again, they came up short.

In the end, eighth-ranked Villanova had too much as Seton Hall went down on the short end of  83-66 defeat at the Prudential Center on Wednesday.

The numbers of note:

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Villanova hopes the next growth comes in the NCAA Tournament

by - Published March 15, 2013 in Columns
villanova

NEW YORK – Villanova has had to deal with the ups and downs of a relatively young team all season long. Doing that in the Big East is difficult unless you have special young players, and while the Wildcats have good ones they’re not quite at that level. After a tough stretch through some of January, the Wildcats started to play better, and despite losing 74-55 to Louisville in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, they appear to be generally playing better as they hope to hear their name called for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

In mid-January, Villanova didn’t look good. A poor showing at Providence was a bad loss at the time, as Providence was struggling even more en route to a 2-7 start in Big East play. It was their third straight loss, although there was no shame in losing at Syracuse and to Pittsburgh, though the latter was within their grasp at one point. Villanova’s guards were, Wright said, playing like they were inexperienced. Turnovers were a major problem, much like they were on Thursday night when they gave the ball away 25 times, including 18 in the first half.

… Continue Reading

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Despite a hit on the bottom line, Stony Brook’s transition continues

December 16, 2014 by

stonybrook

Stony Brook was able to hang with Providence until the roof caved in several minutes into the second half. It’s part of a growing process this team in transition needs, and it continues despite dropping a few games along the way.

Amidst Maine’s rebuilding challenge, there is hope

December 12, 2014 by

maine

Maine has a long road ahead as they rebuild under new head coach Bob Walsh. Amidst the early struggles, the Black Bears have shown some reason for hope going forward.

Saturday Notes – December 6, 2014

December 7, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at quite a day of basketball, highlighted by early upsets and then some good matchups, plus a few sneaky-good wins for some teams on a busy day.

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Ten teams are still undefeated as of December 12. Which team will be the last one to lose their first game of the season?

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Recruiting Coverage

2014 Scholar Roundball Classic recap and notes

December 16, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look at some notes and evaluations from Sunday’s action at the Scholar Roundball Classic, where the blowouts included some noteworthy performances.

2014 Hoop Mountain Prep Classic – Sunday notes

December 9, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at Sunday’s action in the Hoop Mountain Prep Classic, which included an overtime thriller and a couple of lopsided contests, and some prospects who helped themselves out with their play.

Some notes from the National Prep Showcase

November 28, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

The busy weekend that just passed also included a few games at the National Prep Showcase. Here are a few notes from some of the action early on Friday and Saturday.

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.