Under the Radar: February 20th

Tonight’s feature conference is Conference USA as the pods and remaining season schedule has been announced.  The league has put a team in the Round of 32 for the last four years, and we discuss the chances of that happening again.  From there, we run through all 22 UTR leagues and discuss the tight race in the America East, Lipscomb’s crushing loss to FGCU that puts Liberty in first place, Radford who’s trying to lock things up in the Big South, The Ohio Valley is still really tight and we could see Belmont, Murray State or both in the NCAA Tournamnet, it was an exciting week in the Summit League with South Dakota State and Omaha locked at the top, and much more.  And as we do every week, we close with this week’s UTR Top Ten…

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an audio only version of the show…

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Under The Radar Game of the Day: Southeastern Louisiana at New Orleans

For today’s News, Notes and Highlighted Games – CLICK HERE

For Jon Teitel’s interview with Hall of Fame head coach Pete Carril – CLICK HERE

Southeastern Louisiana (13-13, 9-4 Southland) at New Orleans (14-10, 9-4 Southland) – 8:00 PM EST (UNOPrivateers.com)

Tonight’s UTR Game of the Day takes us to the Crescent City where the New Orleans Privateers will play host to in-state rival, the Southeastern Louisiana Lions. SELA has won nine of their last ten games coming into tonight’s Battle on the Lakefront, although none of their wins yet have come against the Top 4 teams in the Southland. Their best win was at home against Lamar – that was when they began to play their best ball of the season. Moses Greenwood averages 15.8 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game.

New Orleans comes into tonight’s game tied for 3rd in the Southland with SELA; both teams are trailing Sam Houston State and Abilene Christian in the conference standings. The Privateers have won five out of their last six games, but 3 out of their last five games involve a pair of games against SELA and a home game against Sam Houston State next week. Ezekiel Charles leads the Privateers with 12.9 points a game and 6.0 rebounds per game.

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Happy Tourney-versary!: HoopsHD interviews Hall of Famer Pete Carril

For today’s News, Notes, and Highlighted Games – CLICK HERE

With the 2019 NCAA tourney tipping off next month, we will spend this month taking a walk down memory lane with a choice collection of players/coaches who are celebrating an awesome anniversary this year. From a comeback win to clinch the 1954 tourney title (65th anniversary) through a last-second loss in the 2014 Final 4 (5th anniversary), these legends have all carved out a little piece of history in past Marches. We continue our series with Pete Carril, who did some incredible things during his 3 decades at Princeton. He won more than 500 games while playing in a league without athletic scholarships, won 13 Ivy League championships, made 11 NCAA tourneys, and won the 1975 NIT. In 1997 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame and in 2006 he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Coach Carrril about the 30th anniversary of his 1989 NCAA tourney near-upset of #1 seed Georgetown and the key to the “Princeton offense”.

Your nickname is “Yoda”: who gave you the name, and how do you like it? I got the name after coming out here from Geoff Petrie due to my basketball knowledge. At 1st I found it offensive because I am better looking than that!

At Liberty High School you were an all-state basketball player: how good a player were you back then, and how did you compare to fellow all-state player Bill Mlkvy? I was a good player but not as good as my friends thought I was. We played in a system where we tried to get 100 shots/game: our coach’s theory was that we would win most of our games even if we only made 25 out of 100, and he was right. I did okay: Mlkvy did not do much better than me. The best guy back then was Maurice Stokes, who was 5 times better than anyone else.  Dick Groat was also an all-state player from that era.

You played basketball at Lafayette for 4 coaches in 4 years, the last one being Coach Butch Van Breda Kolff (who you later replaced as Princeton head coach): how hard was it to play for so many different coaches, and could you tell at the time that Van Breda Kolff was going to be a star coach (he later made it to both the Final 4 and the NBA Finals)? It was hard to play for the 1st coach because I was coming from a run-and-gun high school team to a more conservative college offense. By my sophomore year I had established myself as 1 of the better players on the team. Van Breda Kolff was the most underrated coach I have ever known. I saw him play for the Knicks at MSG and he was rough-and-tough, so I was a little apprehensive at the time.

After graduation you became a high school teacher/basketball coach, where former Princeton PG/AD Gary Walters played basketball for you: why did you decide to get into coaching, and what was Walters like as a player? My high school coach probably influenced me more than anyone else. He was such a good coach: he won 80% of his games and was 20 years ahead of his time. He got fired because he could not beat Allentown but we eventually learned that they had been using illegal players. Van Breda Kolff later said he would take anyone from my high school because we all worked so hard. Walters was probably 1 of the fastest guys that I ever coached. He was a good dribbler despite having small hands thanks to constant practice.

In 1967 you became coach at Princeton, where your 1st win was by 3 PTS over Army (who had a coach named Bobby Knight and a guard named Mike Krzyzewski): why did you decide to take the job at Princeton, and what was Knight like back in the day? I spent 1 year at Lehigh and enjoyed my time there but Van Breda Kolff said he did not see how I could turn down the Princeton job. He liked the way I had played and the way my team at Lehigh played. I knew on the basis of his recommendation that I would get the job. We beat Army but I had never heard of Bobby Knight. He was a very tough guy and we were lucky to win that 1st game. I always felt that when I had the better material I could beat Knight, but I respect him immensely and have heard him talk at several clinics. He is 1 of the most thorough guys I have ever listened to. Krzyzewski was an excellent player and you can see what he has done as a college coach.

Take me through the magical 1975 NIT:
Your team went to the NIT because Penn won the Ivy title, and  you started your postseason run by beating Holy Cross: did your team take out its frustration on the Crusaders after not making the NCAA tourney? We were actually frustrated after playing at Virginia the previous weekend. I was worried that my team would be tired because we only went down there with 8 players (2 were being interviewed for Rhodes scholarships!) and my assistant coach was out recruiting. Virginia had some future NBA players like Wally Walker/Marc Iavaroni. I went berserk after 1 of our guys got called for his 4th foul early in the 2nd half and 1 of the refs threw me out of the game. The way that our team handled the game without a coach on the sideline was the highlight of my career. To see that they knew how to play even when I was not out there was great and getting a win in that situation gave us a lot of confidence. Holy Cross used a full court press and we just made 1 layup after another.

Armond Hill had 18 PTS in the 1st half in a win over South Carolina and its star player Alex English: was Hill just “in the zone” that night, and could you tell at the time that English was going to become a star? South Carolina had beaten us earlier that year in their Christmas tourney but we won in March going away. In addition to English they had Mike Dunleavy and a couple of other guys who made the pros. Armond was not much of a scorer but he got a lot of open shots that night. I took him out because he looked tired: Coach Frank McGuire was amazed because Armond was playing so well at the time. English was very smooth: he was inducted into the Hall of Fame the same year that I was (1997).

All-American Ron Lee missed a shot at the buzzer to give you a 1-PT win over Oregon: did you think that Lee’s shot was going in, and what did you tell your team going into the title game? I did not think that Lee’s shot was going in because Armond was able to just nick it with his fingernail. We did not have much time to prepare before the title game, which was tough because Providence coach Dave Gavitt used a gimmick defense in the form of a match-up zone. I always believed that if something happened in a game that we did not cover in practice then the blame should be on me.

Mickey Steuerer scored 26 PTS (9-12 FG) to beat Providence and win the only NIT in Ivy League history: what did it mean to you to win the title, and what was the reaction like when you got back to campus? I was very happy because we had finished 2nd to Penn for the past several years. We had several guys from New York so they were very happy to get a win at Madison Square Garden. When we beat UCLA in 1996 our students came out on the streets to celebrate but the hype for postseason play in 1975 was not as great.

What are your memories of the 1976 NCAA tourney (Pete Malloy missed a FT with 4 seconds left in a 1-PT loss to undefeated Rutgers)? When Malloy missed that FT I knew that the game was over.

In the 1989 NCAA tourney vs. #1 seed Georgetown, Alonzo Mourning had 21 PTS/13 REB and blocked a pair of shots by Bobby Scrabis/Kit Mueller in the final 6 seconds: how close did you come to pulling off the legendary upset? I remember that we were ahead at halftime but the 1st 8 calls in the 2nd half all went against us. The refs could have called a foul on Mourning at the end but they did not. 1 of the main reasons we worked so hard is so that we would be responsible for the outcome (rather than the refs).

What are your memories of the 1996 Ivy 1-game playoff (freshman Gabe Lewullis scored 15 PTS while playing all 45 minutes of a 7-PT OT win over Penn in your hometown of Bethlehem to get into the NCAA tourney after losing your previous 8 games against the Quakers)? We were not very confident going into that game: I was actually upset at the way we were warming up. After the game I announced my retirement, and then we went out to have steak sandwiches at a tavern on New Street in Bethlehem that had been around for a long time. They closed the tavern during WWII and put up a sign that said, “Closed for the duration: off to fight Hitler and Tojo!”

In the 1996 NCAA tourney you got your final collegiate win with a 2-PT upset of defending champion UCLA on a backdoor pass from Steve Goodrich to Lewullis for a lay-up with 4 seconds left (which is still considered 1 of the greatest upsets in tourney history): why did you think that the backdoor play would work if everyone knew that was your signature play, and where does that win rank among the best of your career? The backdoor play had worked for us in the 1st half. Assistant coach Joe Scott said that he knew they would stop the 1st one so we just ran it twice. It is right up there among my best wins: we also had some great games against North Carolina and Notre Dame.

Your teams led the nation in scoring defense during 14 of your final 21 seasons: what was your secret for playing great defense, and did it rely more on strategy/effort/teamwork/other? Every time I gave a lecture on defense some wise guy in the audience would say that we would just hold the ball too long on offense to let anyone score a lot of points against us, but I knew that we were also defending/playing hard. We tried to simplify things by just contesting shots and keeping our bodies in front of our opponents. When you have to guard a guy like Derrick Rose 1-on-1 it just cannot be done. We only had 1 stopper during my entire time at Sacramento (Ron Artest) so we just had to outscore everyone. When we got Artest it helped us a lot: he was so good on defense. The only guy he could not guard consistently was Kobe Bryant. He would guard guys like Paul Pierce/Manu Ginobili and they would just walk around like they were in a fog! We introduced the cerebral sense of how to defend, based on what they could see regarding what the other team was trying to do.

Another part of your legacy is the “Princeton offense” (a low-scoring method consisting of passes, movement without the ball, and back-door cuts): who actually invented it, and what made it so successful? I got so much of my strategy from my old coach Van Breda Kolff. I have said it 5000 times but it never seems to register. We got 1 part of our offense from the old Celtics teams of Bill Russell. He did all the little things that did not appear on a stat sheet. Even though he is in his mid-80s, if you spent 2 weeks getting him in shape he would be better than half the centers who are currently in the NBA! We copied another play from the Knicks that was very effective. Van Breda Kolff was 1 of the most underrated coaches in the history of basketball. He was not an Xs and Os guy but could explain everything without having to write it all down. I am surprised that he is not in the Hall of Fame.

You wrote a book about your basketball philosophy called “The Smart Take from the Strong”: why did you write the book, and why is it better to be smart rather than strong? I did not write the book: I just dictated it to the writer (Dan White), who was having a hard time coming up with a title. My dad worked in a steel mill for 40 years and always stressed education. He told me that the strong take from the weak and the smart take from the strong. It is better to be smart because you can act wisely, which is the best definition of discipline that I have ever heard. If you are wise enough then you can get a strong guy to do stuff for you!

In 1997 you were inducted into the Hall of Fame: what did it mean to you to receive such an outstanding honor? You always wonder whether you deserve it when you see all of the other guys who are already in there. George Yardley was inducted the year before me: he was always 1 of my favorite players. It was an honor to say the least but you cannot live in the past. Every time I go to breakfast I still have to pay for it!

You were an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings for 10 years before retiring in 2006, then returned to the team as an assistant in 2009: why did you get back into the NBA, and what is the biggest difference between coaching pros vs. coaching college kids? I came back here because I just missed basketball. I do not play golf or fish or gamble, which all take up a lot of time. I like to read and listen to music and take long walks. I used to be able to go out on the court and show a guy how to do a spin dribble, or make enough shots to prove to a guy that I know the correct way to shoot, but I cannot do it myself anymore. You have to convince the pros that what you are telling them is going to work. The biggest difference between the NBA and college is that the players get paid: when you put money into the game it becomes a business. I worked with guys like Kevin Martin/Corliss Williamson: they were just good guys who listened to what I told them and then saw that it worked. I teach my players to imitate the best.

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News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Wednesday, Feb 20th

NEWS AND NOTES

-On January 3rd, Indiana knocked off Illinois to improve to 12-2 on the year.  They have gone 1-11 since then.  Their loss to Purdue last night, while close, was one of the more poorly played games that we’ve seen at the div1 level all season long.  Early on in the game, commentator Dan Dakich was interviewing a cameraman.  Why? I don’t know, but it was far more entertaining than the game itself.  Purdue picked up another conference road win and swept the series against their rival.  I think they are on pace for a protected seed.  Indiana is interesting, and our Hoops HD committee has been arguing about them for a while.  On one hand they’ve lost 11 out of 12, but on the other they have some incredible wins on their resume that are better than what anyone else in the bottom half of the bracket is likely to have.   So..what do you do with them?  I know what I want to do with them, but I’m not sure everyone shares my opinion.

-Florida State continues to roll.  They won their 8th straight yesterday by knocking off Clemson on the road in a game where they really didn’t sweat.  Clemson is squarely on the bubble and sure could have used that win.  They’ll have some other opportunities, but their chances are starting to run out.

-Baylor picked up a VERY impressive road win at Iowa State.  This followed up a very impressive road win by the Cyclones over the weekend.  It also starts to jam up the top of the standings.  A week or so ago we were just assuming Kansas wouldn’t do it this year.  But, with five games to go in the conference schedule just one game separates the top three teams, and one of those teams is Kansas.  One of those teams is now NOT Iowa State.  So, the Jayhawks may finish in at least a tie for first for about the gazillionth year in a row.

-Maryland picked up what I think is their biggest win of the year by knocking off a very good Iowa team on the road.  Maryland had what seemed to be a controlling lead, but Iowa came storming back and had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but the shot and the put back did not go down. (Amazingly, this was the first time in 28 tries that Maryland beat a ranked team on the road. – JS)

-South Carolina blasted Ole Miss.  They have a very weak overall profile still, but they are now 9-4 in SEC play, and if you look at their remaining five games they are all winnable given how well they’ve been playing.  If South Carolina wins out, and I realize that is assuming a lot, I think they are in the field.  At the very least they are a VERY interesting discussion.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-NORTH CAROLINA AT DUKE (ACC) (***Spotlight Game***).  It’s a huge rivalry.  It’s for a share (if UNC wins) or outright (if Duke wins) first place in the conference.  It’s for helping cement a #1 seed.  They are eight miles apart.  And if history repeats itself you better enjoy this game because you won’t see them play in the NCAA Tournament.

-RUTGERS AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten).  Michigan State still has a path to a #1 seed, but they pretty much need to win out in order to get it.  Rutgers is a long way from the NCAA Tournament, but they are teetering around .500, which is certainly a step in the right direction, especially when you consider some of the close games they’ve lost.

-VILLANOVA AT GEORGETOWN (Big East).  Nova is looking to bounce back after a loss at Saint John’s where they blew a 19 point lead and appeared to be cruising.  Georgetown is hovering around outside the bubble and needs a strong finish to the season in order to make the field.

-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT GEORGIA (SEC). Mississippi State is relatively safe and can win their third game in a row tonight, as well as pick up another road win.

-FLORIDA AT LSU (SEC).  LSU is one of the hottest teams in the country right now, and has another very winnable game tonight which can keep them at the top of the SEC standings and on a path to end up as a protected seed.

-LOUISVILLE AT SYRACUSE (ACC).  Louisville has been fantastic for the first 35 minutes of nearly all the games they’ve played in this year, and despite two recent meltdowns that was followed up by a very near meltdown, they’re still in really good shape as a team.  A road win should stabilize both their resume and mental health.  Syracuse has been schizophrenic all year.  You don’t know if they’re going to win at Duke or lose a buy game at home.

-XAVIER AT SETON HALL (Big East).  Seton Hall has strung together several wins and should be able to pick up their fourth straight tonight against a Xavier team that’s been playing better, but still seems to be a long way away from the field.

-BOSTON COLLEGE AT NC STATE (ACC).  NC State appears to be hovering around the bubble and a loss at home to a team that’s nowhere near the field would really crash an anvil into their resume.

-NORTHWESTERN AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten).  Ohio State is probably safely in the bracket for now, but is also probably not safely in the top half of it.  They need to hold serve at home against a non-tournament caliber team.

-SAINT JOHN’S AT PROVIDENCE (Big East).  The Johnnies have played great in some games and below average in others this year.  In their last game against Villanova they played both great and below average in the same game.  They are in relatively good shape and can better themselves even more if they can pick up this road win.

-ARKANSAS AT AUBURN (SEC).  Auburn has not done anything spectacular other than avoid losses that are disastrous, and that should end up being enough.  They’re at home against a team that will likely miss the field, and they need to win this one.

-BUTLER AT MARQUETTE (Big East).  Marquette has a path to a protected seed and should get it if they are able to hold serve the rest of the way.  Some say that Butler is on the bubble, and while the bubble is weak, I think they need to string together several wins to get close to the NCAA Tournament.

-STANFORD AT ARIZONA STATE (Pac Twelve).  Arizona State may blow Stanford out.  Or, they may get blown out.  They may win out, or they may lose all the rest of their remaining games.  They are one of the hardest teams to predict from night to night.  They’re also right on the bubble and really need to win.

-NEVADA AT SAN DIEGO STATE (Mountain West).  Nevada keeps rolling and should end up with a protected seed if they win out, which they are certainly good enough to do.

-NEW MEXICO AT UTAH STATE (Mountain West).  I still think Utah State will get some serious attention from the committee if they are able to hold serve the rest of the way.  If they’re able to knock off Nevada later this year then I think they’re in.

UNDER THE RADAR

-LIPSCOMB AT FGCU (Atlantic Sun).  Lipscomb is in a tie for first place and will get serious consideration from the committee if they win out, but lose in the conference tournament

-EVANSVILLE AT LOYOLA CHICAGO (Missouri Valley).  Loyola is in a race with Drake for a first place finish and the #1 seed in the conference tournament (which I guess doesn’t matter since it’s at a predetermined site).

-WESTERN ILLINOIS AT OMAHA (Summit League).  Omaha is just a half game back of South Dakota State in the Summit Standings.  The tournament is at a predetermined site, though, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

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News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Tuesday, Feb 19th

CLICK HERE to watch and/or listen to the latest Hoops HD Report 

For John Stalica’s UTR Game of the Day out of the Patriot League – CLICK HERE

-Virginia picked up another win against a ranked team away from home when they knocked off Virginia Tech last night.  The Hoos have yet to lose to anyone other than Duke, and that may be good enough for a solid #1 seed.

-Illinois is worth paying attention to.  They have a lousy resume due to being lousy for most of the season, but they’re not playing lousy now.  They went into Wisconsin and actually had themselves in position to win the game with less than a minute to go.  They’ll need to win the Big Ten Tournament to make the field, but they appear to be good enough to break quite a bit of stuff and ruin some peoples’ days between now and the end of the year.

-TCU lost to Oklahoma State, which has me scratching my head even more about how the hell they won at Iowa State.  I think they’ll make the field, and there have been nights where they’ve definitely looked like an NCAA Tournament caliber team, but there have seemingly been more nights where they haven’t.

-DAYTON AT DAVIDSON (Atlantic Ten).  Most likely not a game that impacts the NCAA tournament, but Davidson is tied for first place and will be looked at by the committee (albeit for maybe just a few seconds) if they end up there.

-VANDERBILT AT TENNESSEE (SEC).  Vandy is still looking for their first conference win, and Tennessee is looking to bounce back from a rather decisive loss at Kentucky.  I’d say Tennessee should blow them out, but this was a struggle for them the first time they met.

-PURDUE AT INDIANA (Big Ten).  This is a rivalry game that Purdue needs to win to help cement their spot as a protected seed, and that Indiana needs to win in order to stop sucking and help get them into the NCAA Tournament at all.

-OHIO AT BUFFALO (MAC).  Buffalo should land in the top half of the bracket if they win out through the regular season, which they are good enough to do.

-AKRON AT BOWLING GREEN (MAC).  This game won’t impact the NCAA at-large pool, but Bowling Green is in a tie for first place with Buffalo.

-OLE MISS AT SOUTH CAROLINA (SEC).  Both teams are 8-4 in conference play, but South Carolina started running once they were so far behind the pack that they’re still not caught up to the at-large caliber teams.  Still, if they keep winning, they can put themselves in a unique situation.  Ole Miss is one of the biggest surprise teams of the year, and they should land safely in the NCAA Tournament barring a collapse.

-MARYLAND AT IOWA (Big Ten).  Both teams will probably land in the top half of the bracket, and if Iowa keeps winning at the clip they have been they could end up as a protected seed.

-RHODE ISLAND AT VCU (Atlantic Ten).  If VCU wins out through the regular season, which they should, I believe they will be inside the bubble and in the field even if they don’t win the A10 Tournament.  As weak as that league has been this year, it still looks as though they’ll put a team inside the bubble.

-KENTUCKY AT MISSOURI (SEC).  Kentucky is coming off a huge home win against Tennessee and should be able to get this one so long as they don’t fall asleep during the game.  Well, I guess a little nap wouldn’t hurt, but anything beyond that and they may be in trouble.

-FLORIDA STATE AT CLEMSON (ACC).  Florida State has won seven straight and can add another nice win to their resume if they pull this off.  Clemson is back to losing multiple games in spectacular ways that only Clemson can seem to do.  They’ve lost their last two games by just one point, and need a win like this (along with a few others) to put them on the right side of the bubble, so there is a huge sense of urgency tonight.

-BAYLOR AT IOWA STATE (Big 12).  Baylor is still looking like a tournament team, but they have hit a bit of a skid.  Iowa State is looking more and more like a protected seeded caliber team, especially after what they did over the weekend, and should be able to pick this one up at home.

-ALABAMA AT TEXAS A&M (SEC).  Alabama is right on the bubble, and they need to win.  They don’t have many true road wins, and they have to demonstrate that they’re able to beat teams as bad as TAMU on the road.

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Under The Radar Game of the Day: Bucknell at Colgate

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For Jon Teitel’s interview with Hall of Famer Pamela McGee – CLICK HERE

Bucknell (17-9, 11-3 Patriot) at Colgate (17-10, 9-5 Patriot) – 7:00 PM EST (WatchStadium.com)

Tonight’s UTR Game of the Day presents a potential matchup previewing the upcoming Patriot League championship – the Bucknell Bison hit the road to upstate New York tonight to take on the hometown Colgate Raiders. Bucknell had a surprising loss at Holy Cross over the weekend – it has left the door open for either Lehigh or Colgate to potentially climb up to the #1 spot in the league. However, a win by the Bison tonight would give them season sweeps of both 2nd place Lehigh (one game back of Bucknell as of today) and 3rd place Colgate (two games back of Bucknell as of today). Nate Sestina averages 16.4 PPG and 8.1 RPG for Bucknell; Kimbal McKenzie leads the Bison with 17.2 PPG.

On the other hand, Colgate can things more interesting should they manage a win tonight and come within a game of first place themselves. They would win any potential tiebreaker with Lehigh for seeding given a season sweep over the Mountain Hawks, and if American finishes 4th in the league standings, Colgate would own a tiebreaker edge over Bucknell should the Bison end up tied with Colgate in the standings (although Bucknell wins the tiebreaker if Army finishes in 4th, however). Colgate does have a current four-game winning streak in progress following a tough road win at American over the weekend. Jordan Burns had 20 points in the Raiders’ overtime win.

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