Tag: College Basketball

Yale University Men’s Basketball Picked To Capture The Ivy League

Yale University will enter the 2021-22 college basketball season as the favorite in the Ivy League. (Photo Courtesy: The Ivy League)

By Matt Noonan

The Yale University men’s basketball team was picked to finish first in the Ivy League, according to today’s preseason media poll that the was unveiled earlier today.

Yale garnered seven first place votes while Harvard University, which checked in second, secured four first place votes.

Also receiving first place votes were Princeton University (two), the University of Pennsylvania (two), and Brown University (two). All three teams checked-in third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

Dartmouth College, Cornell University, and Columbia University rounded out the eight-team poll by securing the sixth, seventh, and eighth positions.

Yale ended its 2019-20 campaign with a 23-7 record, which was good enough for the top spot in the Ancient Eight – their last outing, however, was an 83-69 setback to Harvard.

The Bulldogs were scheduled to compete in the opening round of the 2020 Ivy League Tournament against the Quakers of Pennsylvania, which secured the fourth seed. The game was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coach James Jones welcomes back some key pieces from the 2019-20 Bulldogs squad, including Azar Swain, who set a single-season school record of 93 three-pointers.

Swain is a Brockton, Massachusetts native and previous competed for The Rivers School where he was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior.

Jalen Gabbidon is also back for his final season with the Navy Blue and White after being named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native tied for fourth in the league with 40 steals and was one of only two Bulldogs to start all 30 games.

Yale will tip-off its 2021-22 season on Tuesday, November 9 at home against Vassar College before welcoming UMass to New Haven, Connecticut three days later (November 12).

Noontime Podcast: Michael Williams (Williams Advancement Agency)

By NoontimeSports.com

Happy Monday, everyone — we’re kicking off another busy week of content creation by sharing our latest Noontime Sports Podcast featuring Michael Williams, a coach and founder of the Williams Advancement Agency.

Williams, who has a wealth of coaching experience, shares why he started his own agency last March prior to the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, Williams and host Matt Noonan discuss how an agency can benefit coaches interested in moving up in the college basketball world.

Said Williams, “The goal was to help coaches network (and) get to know people because this business is all about who knows you, not who you know. And I think that is really important.”

Williams also discussed branding and marketing — yes, branding and marketing for his clients, which is important for prospective players (and fans) to learn more about coaches.

Enjoy the interview below from our Spotify channel — you can also listen to our show through Apple Podcasts and Anchor.

Player Perspective: Marcus Azor (UMass Dartmouth)

Marcus Azor and the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team recently captured the 2021 Little East Conference (LEC) Championship. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kyle Prudhomme)

By NoontimeSports.com

Marcus Azor says he continues to replay his team’s Little East Conference (LEC) tournament championship win in his head.

“It has been replaying since the final buzzer went off,” said Azor, a junior guard from Brockton, Massachusetts, who led the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men’s basketball team to a 108-68 win on Thursday, March 4 against Keene State.

Azor, who finished his team’s final contest with 13 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, was named the LEC’s Most Outstanding Player after leading the Corsairs to an 8-2 record this winter. The junior guard averaged 21.0 points, eight rebounds, and five assists per game in back-to-back conference tournament games this month, and is already looking ahead to next season with hopes his team will continue its recent momentum once the 2021-22 season tips-off.

“I have no doubt in my mind that my teammates and I will be motivated next year to continue this momentum,” said Azor.

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Marcus Azor to discuss his team’s first conference tournament title since 2009, as well as how the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team was able to improve from one game to the next.


Tell me about winning the LEC Championship earlier this month. Are you still replaying the game in your head? 

Yes, I am.

We were so close last season to winning the conference crown, but came up short (against Western Connecticut), so that loss provided us with extra motivation. Most of the 2019-20 team returned this winter, so we were confident that we could achieve our goal of winning the conference crown.

Cutting down the net is truly a moment I will never forget.

In addition to helping your team win the LEC title, you were also tabbed the Most Outstanding Player. What does this particular honor mean to you? 

I owe this honor to my teammates and coaches for challenging me every while giving me the confidence to play my game. Everyone played a huge role in the tournament, so the award could have gone to any member of the team.

All in all, this is truly a special honor to me.

Marcus Azor averaged 21.0 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in a pair of LEC Tournament games this month. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kyle Prudhomme)

You and the team had a successful shortened season, winning eight of 10 contests. How did you and the team improve from one game to the next? 

It always starts off with practice, we make each other work extremely hard, but also ask everyone to put forth their best effort in every drill so we can be more prepared for our next game. And after games conclude, we go over our mistakes through a film review with an emphasis on improving them in our next practice, so we will be better prepared for our next game.

What did you and the team learn from your two setbacks this winter against Eastern Connecticut and Keene State? How did those loses fuel an eventual title run?

Those losses were disappointing because we were leading throughout each contest. We learned that we shouldn’t get comfortable with any sort of lead and continue to be aggressive – we needed to attack when necessary, and I felt that we exhibited that approach in our championship game against Keene State.

With the season officially over, what will you be doing over the next few weeks and months to prepare for next season? And do you imagine you will enter next year’s campaign with additional motivation to continue your squad’s recent success as a senior? 

I’ll be resting the bumps and bruises from the season before returning to the gym to prepare for next season.

Everyone is determined to win the conference title again and make a lengthy run through in the 2022 NCAA D-III Tournament.

Noontime’s Black History Month: The 1966 Texas Western Miners

By Matt Noonan

The Texas Western Miners celebrate a 1966 NCAA Championship victory. (PHOTO COURTESY: University of Texas at El Paso Flowsheet student yearbook/blackpast.org)

Our Black History Month celebration on the men and women that have and continue to shape the world of sports returns – we’ll be posting a few times each week, including this evening where we are honoring the Texas Western Miners men’s basketball team, which captured 1966 NCAA D-I Championship.

The Miners were a team many of us learned about in the 2006 movie Glory Road – coach Don Haskins started five African American players, who led the squad to an exciting (and very impressive!) 72-65 victory over the University of Kentucky.

The Wildcats entered the final contest of the 1965-66 school year as the favorite.

Let’s learn a bit more about the Miners, who represented Texas Western College, which is now the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

Getting to know the Texas Western Miners:

  • Coached by Don Haskins, who was inducted into both the Basketball Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame, led the Miners to their first and only championship with an upset win over Kentucky.

    Texas Western started five African American players against a Kentucky program that did not integrate until the 1970-71 season. Tom Payne became the first African American to compete for coach Adolph Rupp. Payne would play just one season for the Blue and White before turning pro one year later where he spent one season with the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Prior to their 1966 NCAA Championship, the Miners made back-to-back appearances in the national postseason in 1963 and 1964. In 1964, they advanced to the the Sweet Sixteen, but lost to Kansas State. They did win, however, the Regional third place game against Creighton.
  • The Miners posted a 28-1 record during the 1965-66 season. Their only loss occurred at the end of the regular season against Seattle.

    Following their end of season setback to the Red Hawks, Texas Western rattled off five-straight wins, including a pair of overtime victories against Cincinnati and Kansas. Their win over the Jayhawks – an 81-80 victory in double-overtime – secured Texas Western a spot in the national semifinals against Utah.
  • The 1965-66 Texas Western Miners squad featured seven African American student-athletes: Bobby Joe Hill, Orsten Artis, Willie Worsley, Willie Cager, Nevil Shed, Harry Flournoy, and David Lattin.
  • As many historians and sports writers noted, the Texas Western victory over Kentucky opened the door for even more African American student-athletes to play sports at the collegiate level, not just basketball, but also football, track, baseball, and others, according to Dan Wetzel.

Articles and Links on the 1966 Texas Western Miners:

Noontime’s Small College Basketball Team of the Week (Feb. 1, 2021)

By NoontimeSports.com

Another week of small college basketball in the northeast is in the books, which means it is time to share this week’s Noontime Sports Team of the Week for Monday, February 1, 2021.

Similar to last week, our team is made-up of NCAA D-III student-athletes from the northeast, including one student the Liberty League (LL) in New York.

As noted last week, our teams will highlight student-athletes from our region that have either returned to the court or been playing for the past few weeks. Submissions for each team can be sent to our general email: NoontimeSports@gmail.com.


In case you missed it, here is our first Noontime Sports Small College Basketball Team of the Week from Monday, January 25, 2021.


Noontime’s Men’s Basketball Team of the Week (Feb. 1, 2021)

Shion Darby (Rhode Island College): Darby secured his initial Little East Conference (LEC) co-player of the week honor with Cory Muckle on Monday after leading the Anchormen to a 79-75 win over Eastern Connecticut this past weekend. The second-year guard tallied 23 points with eight assists, three rebounds, two blocks, and two steals in 39 of 40 minutes.

Dante Law (Rhode Island College): Law secured his second-straight LEC Rookie of the Week honor after scoring a game-high 26 points last Saturday in his team’s four-point win over Eastern Connecticut. The first-year guard from Taunton, Massachusetts connected on 10 of 15 field goals while tallying six boards and two steals.

Cory Muckle (Eastern Conn.): In his team’s lone contest of the week against Rhode Island College, Muckle led the Warriors with a double-double of 22 points and 16 rebounds to go with one steal. Muckle was tabbed a co-player of the week with RIC’s Shion Darby.

Jason Phelps (Clarkson): Phelps averaged 22 points, five assists, four rebounds, and one steal in a 1-1 week for the Golden Knights. Against Villa Maria last Wednesday, the senior from Tully, New York netted 26 points to go with two boards, five assists, and two steals before posting 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, and one block on Saturday against Bryant & Stratton.

Tyreice Woods (Eastern Conn.): Against Rhode Island College this past weekend, Woods produced 13 points on five of nine shooting to go with four assists, three rebounds, and one block.

Noontime’s Women’s Basketball Team of the Week (Feb. 1, 2021)

Jalen Cook (Plymouth State): Cook led the Panthers this past Saturday against Rhode Island College by scoring a game-high 25 points on 9 of 16 shooting to go with four rebounds. She connected on both free throw attempts and finished the game five of seven from beyond the arc.

Sophia Guerrier (Rhode Island College): Named this week’s Little East Conference (LEC) Player of the Week, Guerrier averaged 13 points, 9.5 rebounds and four assists in back-to-back games against Plymouth State and UMass Dartmouth. Against UMass Dartmouth, Guerrier posted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds along with three assists and one steal before tallying 14 points, nine caroms, two steals, and two blocks against Plymouth State.

Jordan Moretti (UMass Dartmouth): The Johnston, Rhode Island native came close to tallying a triple-double last Wednesday when the Corsairs hosted Rhode Island College in their first contest of the 2020-21 school year. Moretti stuffed the stat sheet with 10 rebounds, nine points, and five steals in 40 minutes. She connected on three of four freebies.

Kelly Walsh (Babson College): In a pair of games this past weekend against Fisher College, Walsh averaged 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. In her team’s initial game of the 2020-21 school year, Walsh scored a game-high 20 points on seven of nine shooting to go with seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals before stuffing the stat sheet on Sunday with 11 points, four assists, and three rebounds.

Brooke Young (Rhode Island College): In a pair of games last week, Young averaged 12.5 points and three rebounds as the Anchorwomen scored back-to-back wins against Plymouth State and UMass Dartmouth. Against the Corsairs last Wednesday, Young tallied 13 points on 5 of 15 shooting to go with five rebounds, three assists, and one steal before posting 13 points, two steals, one carom, and one assist on Saturday against the Panthers.