Hall of Fame Tip-Off 2014: TV Schedule, Live Stream and Updated Predictions

The 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off isn’t a March Madness-type of tournament, and it doesn’t pretend to be.

After all, there are two separate brackets, and only one of them follows the traditional winner-moves-on format of a tournament event. Play comes to an end in both the Naismith and Springfield brackets Sunday. 

Here is a look at the schedule and television information for every game. All four contests can be seen online courtesy of Watch ESPN, and both brackets are available at ESPN.com.



Naismith Bracket: Massachusetts vs. Florida State and Notre Dame vs. Providence

There is no official winner in the Naismith Bracket, as every team gets a chance to play each other as part of a nonconference showcase before league play begins. It is a golden opportunity for all four clubs to pad their resumes in the early going against potential NCAA tournament opponents.

Both Massachusetts and Florida State are coming off of poor performances in losses, with the Seminoles falling to Providence, 80-54, and the Minutemen losing to Notre Dame, 81-68.

Defense has been optional for Florida State recently, and it allowed Providence and Northeastern to shoot a red-hot 53.7 percent from the field the last two contests, including 52.9 percent from downtown. The Seminoles countered with an abysmal 4-of-22 combined shooting from three-point range on the other end.

UMass has already beaten Boston College and will be particularly motivated against the Seminoles since Florida State knocked off the Minutemen last year. UMass player Derrick Gordon commented on that motivation, via Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette,“It’s definitely personal with them because they were talking smack the whole game. They came out with the win and we definitely have to return the favor.”

The Seminoles are 1-2 on the season, including a shocking loss to Northeastern, and are struggling on the defensive end. UMass will find a way to get that revenge against a vulnerable defense.

The other game features two 4-0 squads and arguably the best player at this event in Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant. Grant scored 24 points on a blistering 10-of-13 shooting from the field against the Minutemen. He also earned some praise from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein:

Grant will have some help of his own in Zach Auguste. The big man has double-digit points every game this year and at least seven rebounds in three of four contests.

Providence has its own dynamic duo in point guard Kris Dunn and LaDontae Henton. Henton scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win over Florida State, while Dunn scored 15 points and dished out nine assists.

Despite the presence of Dunn and Henton, the inside-outside combination of Grant and Auguste will ultimately prove to be too much for Providence, just like it was against Massachusetts. 

Predicted winners: UMass and Notre Dame


Springfield Bracket: Binghamton vs. Navy and Manhattan vs. Northeastern

Northeastern is clearly the best team in the Springfield bracket. It already beat Florida State and is a perfect 3-0 on the season after crushing Navy on Saturday, 68-44. It should have no issue with a Manhattan team that lost to the same Florida State squad Northeastern beat.

The David Walker and Quincy Ford combination in the backcourt will be far too much for Manhattan to handle.

In the other game, Navy has gotten off to a nightmare start. It is 0-4 on the season and lost its last three by a combined 100 points. Interestingly, the only game Navy stayed close in was the season-opening loss to Michigan State.

Binghamton is only 1-3, but it will have more athletes on the floor than Navy. It will outlast the Midshipmen by getting out in transition and pushing the tempo all game, which will eventually wear them out by the second half.

Predicted winners: Northeastern and Binghamton


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Hall of Fame Tip-off 2014: Teams, Schedule, Live Stream, Bracket, TV Info

Even without the Hall of Fame Tip-Off crowning a champion, there will certainly be winners and losers of the exciting event.

Notre Dame, Florida State, Providence and Massachusetts will take part in two scheduled games, each of which can be extremely important going forward. Not only will they be quality nonconference victories to show the committee in March, but they could be confidence-builders for each young squad.

Meanwhile, a separate bracket that will actually crown a winner will take place between Manhattan, Binghamton, Navy and Northeastern, with each small school hoping to gain some time in the spotlight.

The coaches will also help the Basketball Hall of Fame, as the backdrop will serve to inspire each player to perform to the best of his abilities.

No matter who comes away with wins, this two-day event should be something for all college basketball fans to watch.

Note: Each bracket is available at ESPN.com.


Springfield Bracket

This is the portion of the event that actually follows the rules of a tournament with the two winners advancing to the finals, while the losers battle in a consolation game.

Without question, the most intriguing team of the group is Northeastern, which already started the year on a high note with a road win over Florida State. Patrick Stevens of Syracuse.com discussed the difference in this matchup:

The Huskies went 9-of-15 from beyond the arc, an incredible number, but well-earned through great passing and patiently waiting for an open shot. David Walker and Quincy Ford can cause problems for any defense this season with their ability to make things happen with the ball in their hands.

Northeastern should cruise to victory over Navy in the semifinals before being favorites in the finals.

The only other squad that can challenge for a title in this tournament is Manhattan, which is much better than its 0-2 record would indicate.

With an overtime loss to UMass, the Jaspers showed their toughness with a frontcourt that can compete with many major-conference opponents. Ashton Pankey, Emmy Andujar and Shane Richards know how to battle inside and should make things difficult for Binghamton in the first round.

Although the battle between Northeastern and Manhattan will be a good one in the finals, the Huskies should be able to pull out a close win and start their run as favorites in the CAA.


Naismith Bracket

All four games can be seen online courtesy of Watch ESPN.

Florida State kicked off the year with a disappointing loss to Northeastern. It represents the only one of the four teams involved in this event to have a loss. The one constant through the years with Leonard Hamilton at the helm has been defense, and so far the Seminoles have not proven to be up to the task on that end of the court.

Still, this team has the size and length necessary to make things difficult for opposing players. According to KenPom.com (subscription required), this is the fourth-tallest team in the nation, so this group has the potential to be a force once it rounds into shape.

It will be interesting to see how the team does respond to three of the better offensive teams in the nation. 

UMass is a team that likes to play fast and has the ability with Derrick Gordon leading the charge, finding Maxie Esho, Cady Lalanne and Trey Davis. The Minutemen will live by their name as they can change the game in 60 seconds, going on a quick 10-0 run against any opponent.

Providence does not have as deep of a lineup, but LaDontae Henton and Kris Dunn can make up for the loss of Bryce Cotton.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame features one of the best point guards in the nation in Jerian Grant, although he was mostly forgotten about after missing the second half of last season. Still, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports believes he is one of the best around:

He is already averaging 7.7 assists per game and simply makes everyone around him better. He has the chance to help the Irish get back to the NCAA tournament despite a tough road ahead.

If it were necessary to rank these teams before the weekend, it would likely be Notre Dame, UMass, Florida State and Providence. However, these squads are so close that any results in these four games would not be surprising.


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4 Hall of Fame coaches now battling for ACC title (Yahoo Sports)

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, NOV. 1-2 - FILE - In this April 7, 2003, file photo, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim accepts the national championship trophy after the Orangemen beat Kansas 81-78 at the Final Four in New Orleans. The Atlantic Coast Conference had an impressive enough roster of Naismith Hall of Fame coaches before expansion with Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina's Roy Williams. Then it added Syracuse's Jim Boeheim last year, and now is bringing in Louisville's Rick Pitino. It's a group with nine NCAA championships combined and now they're going to be fighting each other for an ACC title. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim once hired Louisville’s Rick Pitino as an assistant, coached against North Carolina’s Roy Williams in a national championship game and served as an assistant to Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski for two gold medal-winning Olympic teams. The four coaches have crossed paths for decades, racking up a few thousand wins and nine NCAA titles between them on the way to the Naismith Hall of Fame. ”It’s not head-to-head (among coaches) in the sense that everybody else thinks it is.

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Will 5-Star Freshman Isaiah Whitehead Put Seton Hall Basketball Back on the Map?

NEW YORK — There was a time, not too long ago, when Seton Hall was a contender.

With P.J. Carlesimo at the helm in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Pirates made six consecutive NCAA tournaments from 1987 to 1994. In the season of 1988-89, Seton Hall made it all way to the National Championship but fell by a point to a Michigan team led by future NBA star Glen Rice.

When Carlesimo left to pursue a coaching career in the NBA, things went south in South Orange.

The Pirates have taken part in the Madness just three times since Carlesimo’s departure about 20 years ago. They’ve also earned seven sporadic appearances in the NIT.

Current coach Kevin Willard took over the program back in 2010, and has led the team to a .500 record of 66-66.

Last season, Seton Hall finished 17-17. More importantly, the team was 6-12 in the Big East. Somehow, though, the eighth-seeded Pirates won two thrillers in the conference tournament before getting bounced by the eventual champion, Providence, in the semis.

Despite being located in the heart of one of basketball’s best breeding grounds—the New York/New Jersey area—the Pirates have failed to create any sort of substantial buzz in recent memory.

But change is coming.

And his name is Isaiah Whitehead.

The incoming freshman was one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation before he decided to come to the Hall last summer.

ESPN ranked the 6’4”, 195-pound Whitehead as the No. 2 shooting guard in the nation, and the 14th overall prospect out of the Top 100.

Whitehead, a native of Brooklyn, is not alone in his quest to put Seton Hall back into contention. Angel Delgado (No. 48 in the Top 100), Desi Rodriguez (Whitehead’s high school co-star), Khadeen Carrington and Ismael Sanogo will also don the Blue and White in 2014-15.

This is Seton Hall’s best freshmen class since landing the No. 1 recruit, Eddie Griffin, back in 2000.

But in the end, it’ll be Whitehead who ultimately controls how things turn out in New Jersey.


The New Face of Seton Hall

When asked where Seton Hall’s recruiting class ranks—in both the conference and the nation—at Big East Media Day, the soft-spoken Whitehead didn’t even blink.

“I think we have the best one,” he told B/R.

By the end of the year, the freshman’s claim may ring true. But for now, scouting service Rivals.com has the Pirates’ class ranked at 13, with Duke and Kentucky filling the top spots.

“We’re all complete players in our group,” the McDonald’s All-American said. “We all had the attitude that everyone came in and worked so hard over the summer, and now we’re in shape and ready for the season.”

Whitehead was named as New York’s Mr. Basketball, an award for the state’s top senior player, last season. During his four years at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn—yes, the same one that Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson attended—Whitehead shined.

“It’s great,” Whitehead said of playing so close to home. “That’s one of the reasons I picked Seton Hall, so all my family and friends could watch me play.”

In his senior year, Whitehead put up 23.5 points, 6.7 boards and 5.4 assists on a nightly basis. When it came time for Lincoln to start chasing a state title, his points stayed constant at 23, but his rebounds and assists climbed to 9.8 and 6.2, respectively.

The kid is big-time.

Whitehead can get to the rim at will. The Brooklyn native has the ability to dish with either hand if the defense collapses on him, or, if he’s left in isolation, can use his Kyrie Irving-like touch around the rim. Whitehead also has great range and can knock down shots from all over the floor.

While he’ll probably start in a three-guard set alongside returning players Sterling Gibbs and Jaren Sina, the freshman star is likely to become Seton Hall’s offensive focal point, especially now that Fuquan Edwin has graduated.

The Pirates do have some talent coming back, including 6’9″ forward Brandon Mobley, who noted that the star-studded newcomers have been humble and hard-working so far.

Whitehead is going to be a star for Seton Hall this year. But what if he’s too good—as in, you know, one-and-done? Would an early exit diminish the impact he could have on the program?



How Whitehead Affects SHU‘s Future

Here’s a plot twist: Willard wants Whitehead to leave for the NBA.

Generally, coaches who want what’s best for their players—and have a proven track record of it—are better recruiters.

“The window is this year and I’m focused on this year, I’m not worried about next year,” the coach told Adam Zagoria of SNY.

“If he does as well as I think he can and if he’s going to be drafted next year, then we’re going to have a very good year. It’s going to go hand-in-hand. You look at all the guys who get drafted, very rarely do they get drafted and their teams don’t have a good year. If he’s going to have that year, which I think he has the ability to, then we’re going to have a good year.”

Willard knows that 2014-15 could be a make-or-break campaign for him. That’s why he gave Whitehead’s high school coach, Dwayne “Tiny” Morton, a spot on the Pirates’ bench as an assistant before landing the standout guard.

Let’s say that Seton Hall doesn’t win the Big East, finishes with a mediocre record and watches Whitehead bolt. All are far-from-unlikely scenarios.

Sounds like a nightmare, right? Not exactly.

If the Pirates are able to make some serious noise this year, they’ll have succeeded—regardless of what Whitehead decides to do after the season.

And making the NCAA tournament is an immensely important part of that.

“This is the year, man,” senior forward Haralds Karlis said of making the tourney. “It has to be. It’s very important for us, for the program, for the fans, for everyone right now.”

For far too long, the school has failed to capitalize on its location. Whitehead said it himself: He chose Seton Hall in part because it’s close to his home.

But why haven’t others done the same?

Look at Kentucky—the team has different players every year, but is always in national contention. High-profile HS prospects want to win and, more importantly, they want to move on the pros.

Therein lies the problem. Seton Hall’s last player to be drafted was Samuel Dalembert 13 years ago, one of two SHU players to have been drafted in the past two decades.

If other New York/New Jersey prospects—and there are tons of them—watch Whitehead rise to stardom, Seton Hall suddenly becomes a desired destination.

That’s why Whitehead could realistically turn the Pirates’ tide for years to come, even if he leaves after this season.

Or rather, especially if he leaves after this season.

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Following ‘Zo: Which Other Miami Heat Players Will Be in NBA Hall of Fame?

In 2006, Alonzo Mourning lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy just two-and-a-half years after he received a kidney transplant from a cousin he hadn’t seen for a quarter-century.

It’s a remarkable story. If there were a film made about Zo’s life, this would almost certainly be the climax. The teary-eyed moment of triumph over adversity.

As sports writers have meditated on Mourning in the days surrounding his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, it’s a moment that they’ve rightly devoted special attention to. It’s how we’ll remember him.

It’s not what I’ll remember, though. What I’ll remember is what happened before the transplant.

Mourning was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis before the 2000-01 season. According to The Associated Press’ report at that time (via ESPN.com), the degenerative kidney condition was associated with end-stage renal failure that came within five to 20 years of the disease’s onset.

In the face of this grim prognosis, which came on the heels of arguably his best year as a pro, Zo missed all but 13 games the following season. But he then came back and played 75 games in 2001-02. He averaged 15.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks that year, with a kidney that was in the process of ceasing to work.

According to an interview Mourning gave with his former Georgetown coach John Thompson, he didn’t temporarily retire until doctors told him his potassium levels were so elevated he was at risk of a heart attack. At which point he got a kidney transplant, took a break and then proceeded to play in parts of five more seasons.

He was never the same, but he was still a fierce, effective player. During the Miami Heat‘s 2005-06 title run, he led the NBA in postseason true shooting percentage and effective field-goal percentage.

“When you talk about Alonzo…what it comes down to is he’s the absolute, ultimate warrior,” Heat president Pat Riley said of his former player, according to ESPN.com’s Michael Wallace. “Nobody I’ve been around has more blood and sweat equity in this game than this man, Alonzo. He gave everything he had to the game, but, as a competitor, never gave an inch.”


Bringing the Heat to Springfield

Mourning was a singular figure in Heat history, but he’ll soon have plenty of company in Springfield, Massachusetts. With the number of Miami greats set to gain eligibility in the coming years, the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame might have to devote a wing to South Beach.

At present, Zo and Gary Payton are the only Miami players who have been inducted. (Pat Riley was inducted as an executive.) But that’s going to change soon, as the members of Miami’s mini-dynasty from 2010-2014 trickle out of the league and into history.

There are a handful of current and former Heat players who are stone locks to make the Hall at some point. Shaquille O’Neal, who won a title with Mourning in 2005-06, becomes eligible in 2017 and will absolutely be a first-ballot selection. Likewise, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will be obvious picks for the voters.

These are no-brainers. LeBron, Wade and Shaq have had such rich, consistently excellent careers, the Hall of Fame will feel almost like insufficient acknowledgement of their greatness when the honor comes. To crib a Bill Simmons’ argument, these guys deserve their own lofty perch on the “pyramid.”

Ray Allen, though not on the level of the above-mentioned Heat players, is also a surefire Hall of Famer. Allen has made more three-point shots than anyone in league history, ranks 24th all time in win shares, per Basketball-Reference.com, has won two championships and has appeared in 10 All-Star Games and one great Spike Lee movie. He’ll get in, and he’ll be deserving.

This is where the exercise gets interesting. Chris Bosh seems a long way away from immortality, but he may be able to build a credible case with a strong statistical finish to his career. The Boshtrich has strong individual accolades—nine All-Star appearances, two NBA titles, two more Finals appearances, a fun nickname—and, if coupled with better numbers, has a fine chance of making it.

Though Bosh hasn’t necessarily been otherworldly by measure of the boxscore these last few seasons, he’s already racked up 96 win shares on .161 win shares per 48 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference.com. For point of reference, that is more win shares than Alonzo Mourning posted in his career and a higher WS/48 mark than Gary Payton managed over the course of his.

There are extenuating circumstances here, sure. Payton played for so long that his dismal late-30s production pulled down his career averages, while Mourning missed a lot of chances to accumulate win shares while coping with kidney disease. And both of these players were better defensively than Bosh.

But bear this in mind: Bosh has averaged 8.55 win shares a season in his four years in South Beach. If he can maintain the same average in the next five seasons of his new deal—which, given his age and the increased responsibilities he’ll assume, seems reasonably—he’ll be at 138.75 for his career.

This would be good for 27th place all time, just ahead of Jason Kidd. Coupled with the rings and the All-Star games, that’s a distinctly HOF-y resume. I doubt I’ll ever tell my grandchildren about Bosh, but I think he makes it.

Onto the bench. Erik Spoelstra has shown himself to be a bright, inventive coach, but it’s difficult to project how his career will end up. Two titles and four Finals appearances is impressive, but he’s not there yet.

And given that coaching success is so contingent on factors outside of the coach-in-question’s control—for instance, the players who end up on the roster—it’s impossible to say whether he’ll get another opportunity to coach a juggernaut and further pad his ring totals and burnish his reputation. This is in no way an indictment of Spoelstra, but I don’t think the Hall is in his future.

That brings us to the final potential Heat HOFer from this era: Shawn Marion.

Marion’s inclusion in the argument will surely be controversial here because 1.) He only played 58 games as a member of the Heat and 2.) Most people don’t think Marion is anywhere near a Hall of Fame-level player. To which I say: I don’t care and you’re wrong.

Marion has been a capital “G” great player throughout his very long career. For instance, according to Basketball-Reference.com, Marion is 36th all time in win shares. One slot below Scottie Pippen and two ahead of Elvin Hayes. He’s an excellent rebounder, an efficient scorer (despite a shot that looks like it was designed to make high school coaches dyspeptic) and a lockdown defender.

But, despite his gaudy numbers, there’s a resistance to Marion’s candidacy. According to ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (subscription required), Marion has 142.9 wins above replacement player for his career. No one who’s finished above 150 has ever failed to make the Hall.

And yet Pelton himself is bearish on the veteran’s chances. After acknowledging that Basketball-Reference.com’s Hall of Fame probability calculator gave Marion just a 26.5 percent shot of making it to Springfield, he wrote:

Marion’s four All-Star appearances are on the low side for a Hall of Famer. That he was seen as the third option on Phoenix Suns teams that weren’t good enough to reach the NBA Finals doesn’t help his case, either. He’s probably going to have to keep playing long enough to reach 20,000 career points to have a real shot at the Hall.

That’s fair enough. My instinct is that blunt measures of player value like total points scored will, over time, have less and less sway over public thought as the analytics movement deepens its influence and sharpens its insights, but I doubt this transformation will happen quickly enough to save Marion from the “Hall of Very Good.”

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