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2015 NCAA Tournament Final Review: A solid tourney by historical standards

by - Published April 13, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

Collectively, the 2015 NCAA Tournament was a roller coaster. There was the high of the first few days before the tourney slipped into mediocrity in its middle rounds, only to rise back up again for a big finish at the end, worthy of all the history of such a splendid event.

It is the truth that three of the very best games of this year’s tourney came from the regional finals onward. Kentucky against Notre Dame, Wisconsin against Kentucky and Duke against Wisconsin were all competitive and terrific theater down to the wire. And also very high in the TV ratings, it might be noted, much as those who would prefer you to believe the sport is a steaming disaster would rather you not know that.

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, April 2, 2015

by - Published April 2, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Even at the lower levels of NCAA Division I, there are programs that are sleeping giants. Liberty is one such place, a school where the resources have often outpaced the results on the court. The Flames often have been far more asleep than a giant since joining D-I almost 30 years ago, but the school’s coaching history has been…interesting? Quirky? Bizarre? Take your pick.

Liberty has its new coach to replace Dale Layer, and it’s one of the school’s former coaches. Ritchie McKay coached the Flames for two years from 2007-09 before leaving to take an assistant position at Virginia. In his second year at Liberty, McKay led the team to a 23-12 record, tying the school’s NCAA Division I record for wins.
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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 27, 2015

by - Published March 27, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

A West Region final rematch is what many have been looking forward to this year, even if they didn’t know it. And a West Region final rematch is what they are getting, and it’s one that will be a historical rarity.

It’s an isolated occurrence for teams to meet in the NCAA Tournament two years in a row at all, and it is flat-out scarce that they square off in the same regional in the same round two years straight. It hasn’t happened since UCLA and San Francisco played in the 1973 and 1974 West regional finals, when the tourney was just 25 teams and placing teams in their home region was a priority and also easy to accommodate with so few teams. It took 41 years, but it will finally happen again on Saturday in the West Region (again) as Wisconsin and Arizona will meet again with a trip to the Final Four on the line after the Badgers defeated North Carolina 79-72 and the Wildcats held off Xavier 68-60 on Thursday.
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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 – Monday, March 23, 2015

by - Published March 23, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Sunday was not a great day to be a No. 2 seed. That alone was noteworthy in two games on the day, but each was also noteworthy for other reasons.

We’ll start by mentioning the lone No. 2 seed to advance, which was Gonzaga (South). The Bulldogs ran out to a 46-29 halftime lead, shooting 62 percent in the opening frame, easily handling No. 7 Iowa 87-68. It’s the first time in six years that Gonzaga has reached the Sweet 16, and No. 11 UCLA awaits.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, March 21, 2015

by - Published March 21, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

If it was possible to have a day that was the opposite of Thursday, we pretty much had it on Friday. Whereas Thursday was a wild day with historic upsets – three double-digits seeds won by a point on the same day for the first time in NCAA Tournament history – Friday was, well, ho-hum. In fact, it was almost a historic day in just about the opposite fashion.

The first 15 games of the day saw every higher seed win. Since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams, there has never been a day in the round of 64 where all 16 higher seeds won. Then we had the last game of the day. It was one that was full of ridiculousness, quite frankly, but the most important thing is that the game kept the day from being historic. No. 11 Dayton beat No. 6 Providence 66-53, providing the lone upset of the day.

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Illinois State surprises Wichita State, on cusp of something special in MVC

by - Published March 8, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes
illinoisstate

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (March 7) – One of the beauties of college sports is watching seniors stepping up their game in their final seasons. The motivation to keep one’s career going can frequently spur players to new heights, taking their teams on a ride with them.

Illinois State coach Dan Muller said it was going to take a player having a special day to defeat top seed and No. 8-ranked nationally Wichita State in his team’s semifinal Saturday at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. It was senior guard Daishon Knight who delivered, scoring 25 points in a masterful performance as the Redbirds shocked the Shockers 65-62.
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The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 26, 2015

by - Published February 26, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Coming off one of its best seasons ever, the Atlantic 10 has flown under the radar this year. The league won’t be getting six teams in the NCAA Tournament again, and it’s fair to say it: 2014-15 has not been as good for the conference as 2013-14 was.

It was always going to be hard to top last year anyway, though, so what the league is doing this year is no slouch. Hitting the stretch run, no conference is more intriguing at the top than the A-10, and that was proven in spades Wednesday night.
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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 – Thursday, January 29, 2015

by - Published January 29, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

While Notre Dame and Duke were putting on a terrific game, one that should confirm both as deserving top 10 teams right now, Wednesday was not a good night for a couple Atlantic Coast Conference teams at home, and it could be one that comes back to haunt those teams on Selection Sunday in just under 6 1/2 weeks.

First: the good. Notre Dame rallied to defeat Duke 77-73 in South Bend, outscoring the Blue Devils 22-8 over the final 10:37. No 54-50 slugfest here; this was what a high-level game should look like (and note to NCAA rule makers: it didn’t need a 30-second shot clock to achieve it). Jerian Grant scored 23 points, while Jahlil Okafor ensured the Player of the Year hype won’t die down anytime soon with 22 points and 17 rebounds.

Outside of that dandy, North Carolina State and Miami (Fla.) both looked like they had a chance for confidence-building wins against teams at the bottom of the conference. It didn’t work out that way. The Wolfpack fell way behind early and couldn’t catch up in a 68-57 loss to Clemson. In south Florida, Georgia Tech blew out Miami (Fla.) 70-50, adding another ugly loss to the Hurricanes’ Dow Jones-like resume.
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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

Notes from the 2015 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 20, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was time for a trip to Hanover for late action in the Northeast Hoops Festival, and we have a look at some prospects who stood out on the day.

2015 EYBL Hampton – Saturday & Sunday notes

April 14, 2015 by

nikeeybl

Saturday was a full day of action at EYBL Hampton, and Sunday capped it off with a brief slate. We look at some of the talent that was on hand each day to close out the first live weekend.

2015 EYBL Hampton – Friday notes

April 11, 2015 by

nikeeybl

Friday night was the beginning at EYBL Hampton, with a relatively light night of action. We have notes on a few players from the opening games to get us started.

2015 Playaz Spring Fling – Friday notes

April 8, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

The spring travel circuit is getting started, and the Playaz Spring Fling was a good early stop as it usually is during the Final Four weekend.

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.