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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 – 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 25, 2015

by - Published February 25, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

In the wake of Monday night’s Kansas-Kansas State game, fans rushing the court after games continued to be a big topic of discussion on Tuesday.

Nicole Auerbach of the USA Today took a thoughtful look at the topic and questioned if this was the one that crossed the line. CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish was adamant in declaring the practice needs to be stopped. Kansas State released a statement apologizing to Kansas and admitting the school’s fault in not securing the scene properly. Naturally, schools such as Richmond met on Tuesday to discuss security measures before their big rivalry game Wednesday against VCU, while the security presence was notable at the end of Maryland’s 59-53 win over Wisconsin.
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Well-balanced Villanova starts a key stretch by continuing solid play

by - Published February 12, 2015 in Columns
villanova

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Look at Villanova on paper, especially their numbers, and you might not see them as a powerhouse. Watch them play and you get a better idea of why this is the team to beat in the Big East, something they have re-asserted lately. Their 74-68 win at Providence on Wednesday night is the latest example of that.

Villanova doesn’t feature an All-America candidate or even an exceptional aggregate of talent. They aren’t a team full of seniors, though they are an experienced group. What they are is a well-coached group that knows how to play and has an edge. This team plays tough defense and has a well-balanced offense, one that takes what the defense gives them and shows great patience to break down a defense.

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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 – Thursday, February 5, 2015

by - Published February 5, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Some greeted the news with surprise, others with cynicism. Either way, when one of college basketball’s signature programs makes the decision to hold itself out of the postseason, the development most certainly qualifies as big news.

Syracuse announced on Wednesday that it is self-imposing a ban from postseason play this year, in response to an NCAA investigation and “as a further means of past mistakes,” according to a university press release. The ban, which includes the ACC Tournaments, NCAAs, NIT and all over postseason tourneys, is essentially an admission of guilt in regards to allegations against the program dating all the way back to 2007, and suggests that the rules violations are more serious than we might have thought.
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The Morning Dish – Monday, January 26, 2015

by - Published January 26, 2015 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

What can you say about Mike Krzyzewski that hasn’t already been said? Well, there can’t be much by now. Leading up to the possibility of a big milestone, there was a lot that we learned about him that we might not already know. As of Sunday, we can say one thing about him with certainty: he is the first Division I men’s basketball coach to win 1,000 career games.

This one didn’t come easily at all, and when you’ve won 1,000 games, surely a few have been very difficult. St. John’s led at halftime, aided by the officials allowing a three-pointer that appeared not to beat the shot clock just before the half, and then they led by as many as ten in the second half. It took an 18-2 run by the Blue Devils to pull this one out.

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 16, 2015

by - Published January 15, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Wednesday night had its share of storylines, but chief among them: overtime.

One overtime, two OTs, three, take your pick. The night had them all. There were a total of seven games with extra sessions on Wednesday, a night that was marked by close competition in general. Of the beefy schedule of 68 Division I games played, 40 of them were decided by single digits. Ten more fell in the 10-13 point range for margin of victory, which means there weren’t many snoozers this evening.

(One notable exception: Colorado State pummeled Nevada 98-42, leading the Wolf Pack 55-12 at halftime. Ouch)

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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, January 7, 2015

by - Published January 7, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

For a half last night in its game against Georgia, Arkansas was looking like same old Arkansas on the road.

The Razorbacks have a fairly well-earned tag by now from the past couple of years as a team that can’t win on the road, and in the first half against Georgia that’s exactly how the Hogs looked. Arkansas trailed from the start as the Bulldogs were outstanding, shooting 57.7% in taking a 44-37 lead into halftime.

The second half looked as if it was played by two entirely different teams. The Razorbacks battled back on the road and got a big 79-75 win at Georgia. Arkansas shot 51.7% for the game and Bobby Portis finally got some help after carrying the team offensively the first 20 minutes, while the Bulldogs cooled off and shot just 10 of 29 in the second half.

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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.