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2013-14 WCC Post-Mortem

by - Published June 17, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
westcoast

The West Coast Conference had a nice year in 2013-14, to be sure. For a time, though, it looked like it would be even more than that.

The WCC once again put two teams in the NCAA Tournament, just like it has in four of the past five years. Gonzaga again advanced at least one round, just like it has in each of the past six years. The league went 71-41 out of conference against Division I foes and finished a very respectable ninth in the RPI, proving its No. 10 ranking from the year before was no fluke.

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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

by - Published December 31, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is just about over at this point. Conference games are ready to take over the rest of the slate, with a few having an “opening day” of sorts, including the Big East with its well-publicized day of five games on Tuesday. A few have already had early conference games, with the West Coast Conference having its opening day on Saturday.

How are the conferences shaping up? Which ones look like we thought and which ones look nothing like what we thought before the season? Here is a look at all 32 conferences as conference play beckons.

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Brigham Young is close, with fewer good opportunities remaining

by - Published December 9, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
brighamyoung

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Dave Rose thinks his ballclub isn’t that far away. They’ve been right there. They have played well and won against some good teams. But as the non-conference slate winds down, his Brigham Young team could still use a signature win. They had such an opportunity in Saturday, but UMass handled them 105-96 and basically beat them at their own game.

Brigham Young plays at a fast pace, and they have done it well all season, including turning the ball over less than 11 times per game on average. They did it well on Saturday at the offensive end, shooting 48.5 percent from the field and handing out 15 assists with 11 turnovers. But UMass did it better, shooting 55.6 percent. UMass also did something unusual: they out-scored the Cougars in the paint, as BYU came into the game on average out-scoring opponents by ten points per game in the paint. The Cougars also lost for the first time all year when they out-rebounded an opponent.

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Baylor advances to NIT title game

by - Published April 3, 2013 in Columns
author_floriani

NEW YORK - Before getting to New York, Baylor captured three NIT games on their home floor. Following the 76-70 semifinal win over BYU, Coach Scott Drew was asked about playing at a neutral site. “Back in 2009 we faced Penn State in the (NIT) finals,” drew said. “They brought about 18 busloads of fans so it didn’t appear too neutral to us,” he added with a laugh.

Now, Baylor has the following, momentum and eyes on pursuing the prize. They will battle Iowa, 71-60 winners over Maryland in the other semifinal, for the championship.

Three things we observed from the Baylor-BYU matchup:

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How the conferences shake out as 2013 approaches

by - Published December 28, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is almost over, and it has been quite a stretch. We’ve learned a good deal about a lot of teams, while some are still a mystery for various reasons – injuries, suspensions, ineligibility and a light schedule are all possible reasons. In addition, a few conferences have already seen a game or two mixed in with the non-conference schedule.

Conference play is right around the corner, and while a non-conference resume doesn’t tell the whole story, it does shed some light on teams and conferences. In conference play, there is more familiarity since teams play each other every year, although the changing landscape is starting to diminish that factor a bit. That’s one reason why we see some teams put forth a very good non-conference showing, including some good wins, then go on to have a mediocre showing in conference play.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how every conference in America shapes up.

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Updating the NBA Entry List and Honoring a Maryland Legend

by - Published May 9, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

BASELINE TO BASELINE

Go coast to coast with a roundup of news from across the nation.

Here’s a quick recap of all the major NBA decisions from the past week. The NCAA’s deadline for early entrants to remain eligible required players to decide by May 8 if they wanted to remain in the NBA Draft or return to school.

Remaining in the draft:

  • Boston College’s Reggie Jackson
  • Butler’s Shelvin Mack
  • Georgia Tech’s Iman Shumpert
  • Kentucky’s Brandon Knight
  • Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins
  • Louisville’s Terrence Jennings
  • Maryland’s Jordan Williams
  • Michigan’s Darius Morris
  • Stanford’s Jeremy Green
  • Tennessee’s Tobias Harris
  • Tennessee’s Scotty Hopson
  • Texas’ Cory Joseph
  • Texas’ Tristan Thompson

Returning to school:

  • Kentucky’s Terrence Jones
  • Miami’s Reggie Johnson
  • Missouri’s Laurence Bowers
  • Missouri’s Kim English
  • Northwestern’s John Shurna
  • Pittsburgh’s Ashton Gibbs
  • West Virginia’s Kevin Jones
  • Xavier’s Tu Holloway
  1. The biggest news of the past few days is Gary Williams’ retirement at Maryland. The Terrapins’ coach unexpectedly decided to call it a career at age 66 after working at his alma mater since 1989. Maryland moved quickly to court Arizona’s Sean Miller, who passed on the the offer by signing an extension with the Wildcats, according to John Marshall of the Associated Press. That makes Notre Dame’s Mike Brey one of the top choices right now, according to the Washington Post.
  2. In other Washington, D.C., area coaching news, George Washington picked Mike Lonergan to be the Colonials’ next coach, according to the Associated Press. Lonergan comes back to D.C. after working at Vermont for five seasons, compiling a 126-68 record. Lonergan coached Catholic University to a Division III title in 2001 and worked with Gary Williams as an assistant at Maryland for a few years.
  3. Gonzaga needs to find a new starting point guard after Demetri Goodson announced that he’s leaving the team to play football, according to the Associated Press. Goodson averaged 5.2 points and 2.6 assists per game for the Bulldogs this past season.
  4. Michigan State Tom Izzo returned the favor for Spartan fans last week. To help boost student morale during final exams week, Izzo joined other Spartan coaches in serving food at the university’s dining hall, according to Diamond Leung of ESPN.com’s ìCollege Basketball Nation.î That’s a nice way to thank the Izzone fans who help give Michigan State one of the toughest home court advantages in the nation.
  5. Speaking of Izzo, the Spartans’ coach might be getting some much-needed backcourt help in Valparaiso transfer Brandon Wood, according to the Associated Press.. The Horizon League’s No. 3 scorer is transferring to Michigan State after completing his undergraduate degree. Because of NCAA rules for graduate transfers, Wood might be eligible to play immediately for a team losing Kalin Lucas to graduation.
  6. Jeff Capel has returned to a familiar sideline. The former Oklahoma coach, who was fired after this past season, accepted an offer to become an assistant coach on coach Mike Krzyzewski’s staff at Duke, according to the Associated Press. Capel played four years in Durham and put up more than 1,600 points.
  7. The Pac-10 can’t complain about an East Coast bias for much longer. The conference soon to be known as the Pac-12 signed an agreement with ESPN and Fox Sports worth $250 million per season, tops in men’s basketball, according to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press.
  8. Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt has recruited his first big name as the Cowboys’ new coach. Larry Nance Jr., son of longtime NBA player Larry Nance, will arrive in Laramie this fall after averaging about a double double as a senior in Ohio this past season.
  9. Looking ahead to 2012, Louisville might not have the services of Rodney Purvis, a top-rated shooting guard in the class of rising high school seniors who reopened his recruitment, according to Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com’s ìCollege Basketball Nation.î Louisville had received a verbal commitment from Purvis, partially thanks to the hard work of assistant Tom Fuller, who left Pitino’s staff recently to work for Frank Haith at Missouri.
  10. Former Cyclone John Lamb, a walk-on who left Iowa State mid-season, was arrested last week and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and a violation of Drug Tax Stamp Act, according to the Associated Press.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

This section is aptly titled for a Washington, D.C., area writer looking to write a column honoring the importance of recently retired Maryland coach Gary Williams.

In his 22 years at Maryland, Williams helped craft the Terrapins into a perennial ACC contender. His continued success eased the path to the construction of the Comcast Center, which is one of the largest arenas in the conference and has one of the best home court advantages. The 20,000-plus fans who fill the Comcast Center haven’t always approved of the quality of the home team, but they consistently fill the arena with rowdy fans, giving Maryland one of the best home court advantages in the country.

After the turmoil of the late 1980s, it’s amazing that Williams was able to get this program back to the top of the ACC so quickly. Trouble started in 1986 with the death of Terrapin hero Len Bias, who seemed destined to become a national hero as a possible heir apparent to Larry Bird in Boston. However, his cocaine-induced death and the subsequent brouhaha in College Park derailed the program, leading to the ouster of coach Lefty Driesell.

Without Driesell, the team fell into mediocrity — and NCAA violations — during the tenure of Bob Wade. With the program on probation and lackluster performance on the court, Williams returned to his alma mater with a tough task at hand.

It took Williams five seasons, but once he got the Terrapins into the NCAA Tournament, they remained fixtures of March Madness until 2005. That includes a Final Four run in 2001 that ended mercilessly with the team’s fourth loss of the season to eventual national champion Duke. But Williams and Maryland vanquished those demons the next season when the Terrapins won the 2002 title.

The championship title was a turning point for Williams’ tenure at Maryland. Until then, the critics liked to talk about Williams as one of the greatest coaches to have never won a title — a fraternity no coach enjoys being part of. With that monkey off his back, Williams then had to deal with detractors who bemoaned that Williams failed to use the program’s success to attract the top recruits to College Park.

Recruiting is a touchy subject for Maryland fans. On the plus side, no one has even sniffed an NCAA violation during Williams’ years. But on the other hand, Williams drew the ire of many fans because he couldn’t keep a lot of the talented kids in Prince George’s County, Md., and Baltimore in-state. Highly touted recruits like Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Ty Lawson, Rudy Gay, Nolan Smith and seemingly half of Georgetown’s starting lineup each season are all locals. That would be acceptable if Williams had a slew of talented recruits on a conveyor belt to College Park from across the country.

But after three NIT appearances in four seasons, the natives became restless. Williams had the misfortune of dealing with a few disastrous recruits, including the much-maligned post-championship class of Chris McCray, John Gilchrist, Travis Garrison and Nik Caner-Medley. That core failed to meet lofty expectations, and the fans nearly revolted at the perceived inability of Williams to coach a great class. But the players just didn’t work out. It happens.

Williams got Maryland back on track with Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes. He helped Vasquez mature from a sloppy point guard and nearly out of control hothead to a dominant ACC player who was a threat to post a triple double nearly any night. The Terrapins returned to the NCAA Tournament three out of four seasons but never advanced further than the second round.

Heading into this off-seaosn, Maryland was at a cross-roads as another disappointing recruiting class — Adrian Bowie, Cliff Tucker and Dino Gregory — finished their collegiate careers. Jordan Williams, one of the top recruits in recent years to come to Maryland, figured to be the linchpin of next season’s team, but he is heading to the NBA instead.

At age 66, Williams was staring at a complete rebuilding project in an era that makes it increasingly difficult to run a clean and successful program. Williams refused to sacrifice one for the other. That makes now a great time for Williams to step down. To rebuild the Terrapins, Williams would need at least a couple of years to get the right guys around solid building blocks like Pe’Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin. Williams might be pushing 70 before the Terrapins have another legitimate shot at a deep run.

When I’m pushing 70, I hope have the energy to work more than 60 hours a week recruiting, strategizing and representing a major college program. After such a remarkable, program-defining coaching career, Williams has earned this respite.

Globetrotters’ Basketball Soul Outshines Rash of Rough News

by - Published April 15, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

BASELINE TO BASELINE

Go coast to coast with a round up of the nation’s top stories.

1. Although Phil Jackson seems pretty convinced that there won’t be a next season for the NBA next season, several college players are gambling that they’ll still be making NBA money within a few months. Here are a few of the players who announced during the past few days that they’ll be entering the NBA Draft.

2. ESPN.com’s Andy Katz breaks down the NCAA Legislative Committee’s proposal to move up the deadline for declaring for the draft. If the Board of Directors approves the measure, players will need to decide by April 10 whether they intend to declare for the draft — and they can’t turn back. It essentially ends the test-the-waters approach, which isn’t good for the kids, Katz writes.

3. One player who won’t be testing the waters this season is Baylor’s Perry Jones, ESPN.com’s Andy Katz writes. Somewhat surprisingly, Jones will return to the Bears, who had a disappointing season but will return a start-studded team, anchored by Jones.

4. Despite the uproar about the early entry deadline, that’s small change compared to the fiasco in San Diego. The Associated Press reported this week that the FBI is investigating former members of the Toreros program for running a sports betting business, and 10 people have been charged in the case, including the team’s all-time leading scorer, Brandon Johnson. In addition to Johnson, former player Brandon Dowdy is accused of fixing games.

5. Jorts-mania could be coming to a town near you. Kentucky’s Josh Harrellson will be launching a Jorts Tour — after his now-famous nickname — to sign autographs and hawk his clothing line, according to Diamond Leung of ESPN.com’s “College Basketball Nation” blog.

6. As Nebraska prepares to move to the Big 10 next season, the Huskers have reworked coach Doc Sadler’s deal to pay him an extra $100,000 per year, making his salary $900,000 per year through 2015-16, according to a CBS Sports.com wire report.

7. One of Nebraska’s former Big 12 rivals, Iowa State, is dealing with some drama after police arrested freshman center Jordan Railey for punching a man late Wednesday night along a hot spot for Ames restaurants and bars, according to the Associated Press. Coach Fred Hoiberg has suspended Railey while gathering more information about the incident.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

Man, what a rough week for news in the world of college basketball.

Several players landed in trouble with the law (Nebraska, Florida). An NBA-minded freshman skipped his team’s season-closing banquet to work out in Vegas (Kansas). And speaking of Sin City, the gambling bug apparently migrated south to San Diego, where the very integrity of the game is in question after the FBI unearthed a supposed sports business ring that included former Torero players who are accused of fixing games.

And just to pile on, the NCAA looks pretty selfish and uninterested in the welfare of student-athletes after moving forward with a proposal to give players until about a week after the championship game to decide whether they want to return to school or enter the NBA Draft. Needing only an affirmative vote by the NCAA’s Board of Directors to become official, the proposal applies tortured logic that benefits schools and coaches but not players. And the players already are limited because the NCAA won’t let them profit from their name or likeness in commercial products, such as video games. However, the NCAA is happy to take its cut from those sales.

That’s enough to get you pretty down about the game.

Thankfully, I watched the Harlem Globetrotters play tonight on ESPN. And that evaporated my creeping cynicism. The figure-eight weaves, between-the-legs passes and crowd-pleasing interludes don’t look like traditional basketball. All those fancy moves make for great entertainment, and everyone in the arena is having fun — even the tough-luck Generals.

Basketball is supposed to be fun. Yes, the game can be a means to a career — and a small fortune — for the most talented players. But for the 99 percent of players who don’t come within sniffing distance of an NBA pay check, the game needs to be fun. If it’s not, why play? The Globetrotters take fun to an extreme, but they embody the soul of the game.

Despite the spate of bad news, the game goes on. By November, optimism will be the mood du jour as nearly 350 Division I teams embark on the journey toward a 2012 championship. And with any luck, most of them will have plenty of fun along the way.

Giving Thanks to Hoops!

by - Published November 19, 2010 in Full Court Sprints

FULL COURT SPRINTS

BASELINE TO BASELINE

LAST SHOT

Go coast to coast with our roundup of the nation’s top stories.

  1. Gonzaga avoids disaster with super soph Elias Harris narrowly dodging a torn Achilles tendon, ESPN.com reports.
  2. It won’t be pretty, but Oregon State’s turquoise uniforms are part of the team’s participation in the Nike N7 Game against Texas Southern Nov. 21, according to NikeBlog.com. The game is part of the Native American Heritage Month, and Nike uses the N7 fund to support American Indian kids who want to pursue sports.
  3. Rough week for Tulsa’s Glenn Andrews — reinjures a knee and gets dismissed from the team, according to InsideTulsaSports.com
  4. Chuck will be part of TNT’s March Madness coverage team, according to the Associated Press. Think he’ll have an opinion about which teams didn’t deserve a bid?
  5. Former Kansas Jayhawk employees made $3 million to $5 million through a ticket scam that now has five people facing serious charges for conspiring to steal the tickets, according to a CBSSports.com news report.
  6. A.J. Moye, who helped guide the Hoosiers to the national championship game in 2002, is in a hospital in Germany for intensive examinations after Moye and a teammate collided in practice, ESPN.com reports.
  7. SI.com’s Luke Winn crunches numbers regarding freshmen and comes up with some interesting results. Bottom line: Don’t overhype your young guns.
Here is a roundup of some of the biggest and most surprising results of the past week.

Nov. 17

Mississippi 77, Murray State 61BYU 78, Utah State 72
Colorado College 60, Air Force 57 OT

Nov. 16

Kansas State 73, Virginia Tech 57

Ohio State 93, Florida 75

San Diego State 79, Gonzaga 76

VCU 90, Wake Forest 69

Nov. 15

Kennesaw St. 80, Georgia Tech 63

Oklahoma 71, NC Central 63 OT

Nov. 14

South Dakota St. 79, Iowa 69

STUDY SESSION

OPENING TIP

Phil Kasiecki reports that the young Bulldogs at Yale nearly pulled off a huge upset against Providence.

Michael Protos writes that the ACC needs some big wins — and soon — to keep pace with conferences such as the Big Ten. Though as Phil Kasiecki points out, Maryland’s close call against the College of Charleston shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

And we have a few season previews for you:

ACC

Colonial Athletic Association

Missouri Valley Conference

Here are some of the best games coming up in the near future.

  • Friday: Wisconsin at UNLV
  • Sunday: LSU at Memphis
  • Monday:
    Gonzaga vs. Kansas State
  • Wednesday: VCU vs. Tennessee
  • Wednesday: UCLA vs. Villanova
  • Thursday: Temple vs. Cal
  • Thursday: Georgia vs. Notre Dame

Best possible match up in a holiday tournament:

Duke vs. Kansas State in CBE Classic final.

Yeah, he said it. Portland guard Jared Stohl boldly predicts a win against Kentucky tonight.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

During the past week or so, I’ve heard several analysts bemoan college basketball’s lack of a massive blowout to start the season.

People take days off from work to attend opening day for Major League Baseball. The NFL has moved the first game of the season to an entirely different day to create a grand spectacle. There’s no reason college basketball can’t have a captivating celebration that generates a week’s worth of anticipation.

In one sense, Midnight Madness actually hurts the hype of college basketball. The expensive and expansive celebrations that coincide with the first official practice occur several weeks before any teams tip off. Fans attend in person or watch on TV, get geeked up for their team…and wait another month for any meaningful results.

In past years, pre-season tournaments attempted to inject early season enthusiasm with exciting match ups. But they occurred on neutral courts, away from packed gymnasiums.

ESPN probably has the right idea with its 24 hours of coverage on campuses from the Northeast to Hawaii. But that should occur on the first day of the season, and no games should occur before that day. In addition, the first official day should be a Thursday or Saturday — not Friday when most people other than myself have better things to do than watch basketball all day.

I’m pretty sure that an infusion of sponsorships to drive competition among the TV networks would be all it takes to inspire a massive blowout befitting the return of college hoops.

Scary Good

by - Published October 29, 2010 in Full Court Sprints

FULL COURT SPRINTS

BASELINE TO BASELINE

LAST SHOT

Go coast to coast with our roundup of the nation’s top stories.

  1. Is the Grim Reaper pointing toward Iowa City and the Hawkeyes? Leading scorer Matt Gatens is out indefinitely after tearing a tendon in his left hand, according to an Iowa news release.
  2. No zombie recruit in Louisville —the NCAA cleared freshman center Gorgui Dieng to play after the NCAA looked into his eligibility, according to a Louisville news release.
  3. Yes, recruiting can get messy with the involvement of third parties. But the NCAA isn’t ready to introduce an all-out ban on summer recruiting yet, which could have all kinds of consequences, according to a CBSSports.com report.
  4. Nasir Robinson needs about a month to recover from surgery on his right knee, writes Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Robinson started every Panther game last season, averaging 6.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
  5. Binghamton will pay former coach Kevin Broadus $1.2 million to just leave and stop haunting university officials, writes John Kekis of the Associated Press. Broadus took Binghamton to the NCAA Tournament, and the team promptly imploded with criminal mischief, recruiting violations and academic shenanigans.
Here’s a collection of coolness from the YouTube circuit.

Don’t get sick at Long Beach State. You might be a bubble boy, but you’re still gonna be practicing your butt off.

This is how they get down in Hong Kong. One-handed three-pointers like it’s not a big deal.

Throwback special! Maybe the best combo of Halloween and hoops in a movie.

STUDY SESSION

OPENING TIP

In the next few weeks, Hoopville will release its annual conference previews. We cover a ton of teams so you know what to expect this season. The arrival of Halloween gives our favorite teams a chance to entertain fans and students — and it gives us a chance to point to some cool stuff. Enjoy!

Wright State opens practice for a night of tricks and treats, including a costume contest. Here’s a contender.

Some ballers are just evil.

Get your undead game on.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

The end of October might be one of the most underrated times of the year in sports.

March Madness, which extends to April, is like Christmas (or Hannukah, etc.) in spring. June brings the NBA and NHL finals, plus the NBA Draft and an occasional World Cup. January has college and pro football playoffs with college basketball conference action getting started.

But October is great across the American sports landscape. College basketball practices get started, and the hype machine gets rolling into high gear as the first polls come out. NBA action returns, and this year couldn’t be more dramatic with the Miami LeBrons drawing more attention than election season races. In the NFL and college football, we’re starting to figure out the contenders and pretenders.

And if that weren’t enough, we have the World Series to demand our attention for almost two weeks. San Francisco and Texas offer a change of pace from the recent East Coast domination, but both teams are worthy contenders.

So sit back and enjoy the moment.

Bracket Breakdown: Pac-10, Mid-Majors Show the Big East the Door

by - Published March 24, 2010 in Columns

It all started with some kid from a Kentucky school not named Kentucky stunning the college basketball world with an odds-defying, game-winning jumper at the buzzer. Thanks to forward Danero Thomas, 13th-seeded Murray State shocked No. 4-seed Vanderbilt, 66-65, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last Thursday.

Racers’ fans went into a frenzy. Many people who had never even heard of the school before celebrated the feel-good upset just because of its own strange nature. Even more people, however, kicked at the ground and muttered curse words because the unexpected result shook up their brackets.

That was just the beginning. Perhaps inspired by the Racers’ Day 1 shocker, a No. 12 seed, Cornell, decided it would ride hot-shooting all the way into the Sweet 16, a similar case to that of No. 10 St. Mary’s, which unleashed its beast of a center, 6-11 Omar Samhan, in the South Region and knocked out second-seeded Villanova to also join the field of 16.

And after No. 9 Northern Iowa’s Ali Farokhmanesh made the most cold-blooded crunch-time 3-pointer in recent tournament memory to cement his team’s Sweet 16 ticket while taking down overall-top-seeded Kansas on Saturday, it was official that at least 90 percent of the country’s brackets had gone more busted than a piñata on Cinco de Mayo.

Putting aside the almighty custom of wagering on tournament predictions, however, March Madness has been splendid so far. Down-to-the-wire games have been numerous, as have been upsets. High seeds Kansas, Villanova, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Temple all got axed, but their executioners gave the competition parity and diversity. Entering the Sweet 16, 11 conferences will be represented.

Out of all surprise teams, Cornell has been the most pleasant one. The Big Red’s wins made it the first Ivy League team to make it this far in more than 30 years, and it did so with authority. Cornell smacked around No. 5 Temple in the first round and then did the same to No. 4 Wisconsin in the second while shooting a combined 58.6 percent in the games.

Even better than that, though, has been the performance of St. Mary’s Samhan, who has totaled 61 points through two games while making 24 of 32 field goal attempts. His supremacy has been the reason the Gaels are enjoying the best season in their history while Villanova is already home, lamenting its collapse.

Speaking of failure, that’s been the theme of the postseason for Nova’s conference. The Big East, widely regarded as the best league in college basketball, had a tournament-best eight entrants, but half were done by the end of the first round, and two more followed soon after in the second. Only No. 1-seed Syracuse in the West Region and No. 2-seed West Virginia in the East remain.

First-round meat: No. 6 Marquette, which blew a 15-point lead in the second half and lost to an out-to-prove-the-Pac-10-is-not-that-weak No. 11-seed Washington; No. 3-seed Georgetown, which was blasted by Ohio, a team that had a losing record in the MAC and got into the Dance only after winning its conference’s tournament; Notre Dame, which was zoned out of the tournament by No. 11-seed Old Dominion; and No. 9-seed Louisville, which also got embarrassed by the Pac-10, by Cal.

No. 3-seed Pittsburgh made the second round, but the Panthers couldn’t hang with No. 6-seed Xavier on Sunday and were ousted.

With so many high seeds gone so early, thanks in big part to the Big East, it’d clearly be silly to count any team out. In the East, No. 1-seed Kentucky will have the challenge to cool down the Big Red’s red-hot shooting, and West Virginia will have to remain impressive to get past an also-remarkable Washington. In the South, No. 1-seed Duke, which has made quick work of its rivals so far, will face a Purdue team missing Robbie Hummel, and No. 3-seed Baylor will deal with Samhan, St. Mary’s scary big man.

In the Midwest, Cinderella Northern Iowa will face No. 5-seed Michigan State, ecstatic after its buzzer-beating win over Maryland Sunday, and No. 2-seed Ohio State, the favorite to win the section now that Kansas is gone, will take on No. 6-seed Tennessee. In the West, No. 5-seed Butler, which got a scare from Murray State before advancing via a 54-52 win Saturday, will meet with Syracuse. The winner will play the winner of the Kansas State-Xavier game.

Predictions? We’re not too big on them these days, but the solid candidates to advance are Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, West Virginia and Ohio State. These teams have been imposing through their first two games. They’re as dependable picks as Kansas was before Saturday.

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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.

Your Phil of Hoops

Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by

unlv

Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by

syracuse

Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by

brown

Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

Hoopville Archives

Reader Poll

Best win November 2014-15
Which team has the best win thus far on the young season?

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

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.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.