Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Touring Around New England

March 11, 2003 Columns No Comments


Touring Around New England

by Phil Kasiecki

Eagles Complete Comeback Despite Ending Ugly

Boston College will be the top seed from the East Division in this week’s Big East Tournament, completing an amazing comeback after being 1-4 and looking like they might not even make the Big East Tournament. But the Eagles didn’t end the regular season on a great note, as Connecticut crushed them, 91-54, at the Conte Forum on Senior Day.

After a great second half propelled them to a big win against a struggling Villanova team, the Eagles looked like they never wanted to be on the court Saturday. Connecticut scored the first 12 points of the game, and it was never in doubt from there. Every loose ball went to the Huskies, who also had their way on the offensive glass, and the Eagles never adjusted to Connecticut’s defense that was clearly designed to stop star guard Troy Bell. Instead, they at times tried to force the ball to Bell, leading to turnovers and easy baskets for the Huskies.

With the loss, the Eagles (17-10) need to win Thursday to have any hope of feeling safe for the NCAA Tournament. They will play the winner of St. John’s/Notre Dame on Wednesday, and a loss would have them sweating it out on Selection Sunday. Their RPI is currently 46, which is the sixth-best among Big East teams.

Friars Enter Big East Tournament on a Strong Note

Tim Welsh’s Providence Friars are peaking at the right time, as they enter the Big East Tournament having won five of six after Saturday’s overtime win against a Seton Hall team that was red-hot.

The Friars previously came up with a huge road win last Wednesday night, knocking off Connecticut 76-70. They were out-rebounded 49-34, but committed just 9 turnovers while the Huskies committed 17. Ryan Gomes had another big game, scoring a game-high 26 points to lead the way and handing out 5 assists. Marcus Douthit has continued to be a defensive enforcer, blocking a career-high 9 shots in that game and four more against Seton Hall.

If there is a concern, it’s that freshman point guard Donnie McGrath may have hit the wall. He still finishes the regular season with the fifth-best assist/turnover ratio in the Big East, but struggled shooting the ball down in the last month and had twice as many turnovers as assists in the final five games. The Friars aren’t as dependent on him as they were at times earlier in the season, as Kareem Hayletts is part of the primary seven-man rotation and will give McGrath some rest on the bench. He played well in 22 minutes on Saturday.

At the very least, the Friars should wind up in the NIT. They finish the regular season 15-13 overall and 8-8 in the Big East, and winning at least a game in the Big East Tournament is not out of the realm of possibilities, as they draw West Virginia on Wednesday.

Another Ivy League Season in the Books

Just one game remains in the Ivy League’s slate for the 2002-03 season, as league champion Pennsylvania visits Princeton on Tuesday night. Harvard finished a disappointing season in dropping the final two games at home, while Brown may be looking at the NIT after winning both of their games to finish 12-2 in the Ivy League and 17-11 overall. The 17 wins matches the Bears’ total from last season, a school record.

The NIT may take a team from the Ivy League. While Brown is the logical choice, their RPI is 144, shaky for a postseason team. The Bears picked it up after a slow start, sweeping Princeton for the first time ever along the way and finishing the season with three straight wins.

“We’ll just hold out hope,” head coach Glen Miller said about getting into the NIT.

Earl Hunt became the fourth Ivy League player to surpass 2,000 career points on Friday night, and sophomore guard Jason Forte capped a strong season with 26 points and 8 rebounds against Harvard. Alai Nuualiitia will finish as Brown’s third all-time leading scorer, moving into that spot with 10 points in the regular season finale.

In the Crimson’s final game, senior Brady Merchant went out with a bang, scoring a school-record 45 points on 17-29 shooting including a school record 9 three-pointers. Merchant already had a career-high 28 points at halftime, and kept it going in the second half. His 45 points are the most by an Ivy League player since Buck Jenkins had 47 points for Columbia at Harvard in 1990.

“To see him have that kind of game is just a fitting exclamation point to just a strong year of leadership, four years of work, enthusiasm, and dedication,” head coach Frank Sullivan said. “So for a guy to step up and have a game like that, especially Brady, was great to see.”

Also of note among Crimson seniors, Sam Winter finished the season hauling down 8.1 rebounds per game, which will lead the Ivy League, and Elliott Prasse-Freeman’s 9 assists gave him 207 for the season, tying the school record for assists in a season.

Saturday’s game between Brown and Harvard was one of the Ivy League’s best games all season, especially in the second half as there were several momentum changes and teams traded runs. Merchant kept Harvard in it, while Forte and several teammates made plays for Brown in their runs.

The signs for Harvard are good heading into next season. Sophomore Jason Norman started the last nine games and looks ready to break out, including a career-high 20 points on Friday against Yale. Freshman center Brian Cusworth had a good weekend and showed many flashes of potential during the season. His challenge now will be to get stronger and more consistent.

Sullivan likes what he sees right now among the eleven letterwinners that will return next season.

“A lot of positions are open,” he said. “The team will be a work in progress for a while, so I think the guys that are back are certainly excited.

“It’ll be exciting, I think, to look ahead. We’ve got a stable of good young players.”

He especially had words of praise for his developing big man.

“Cusworth got some good time. I think he’s shown that he’s one of the better young centers in the Ivy League right now, if not one of the best young players. He’s shown that he can do something that we haven’t had for a while, and that’s his ability to generate a shot when guys play behind him.”

On Friday night Yale senior guard Chris Leanza topped 1,000 career points with a season-high 30 points in Yale’s 95-82 win over the Crimson. It was a good way to finish off his career, especially after he struggled with a shoulder injury for most of his junior year.

“Chris knows that this is his last weekend to play college basketball, and it means something to him that he came out and played like that,” Yale head coach James Jones said. “He hasn’t played like that since he was a sophomore.”

Other Notes From Around The Nation

• Saturday was not a good day to be a senior for a home team. Several home teams that may be in the NCAA Tournament lost on their Senior Day Saturday, including Boston College, Oklahoma, Florida, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Michigan, Miami and Georgetown.

• As we head into the final week before the postseason, two number one seeds are still very much up for grabs. Arizona and Kentucky are locks, and Kansas looks to be in the driver’s seat for a third one. But Texas, Wake Forest and Florida could all have good cases for a number one seed if they win their conference tournaments, so the matter is far from decided. Marquette is a long shot if they win the Conference USA Tournament, but they would have to be looked at if some other things go right for them this week.

• The vote for Coach of the Year in the Pac Ten should be an interesting race between Stanford’s Mike Montgomery and California’s Ben Braun. The schools finished second and third, respectively, in the conference despite depleted rosters. Montgomery should have a slight edge since his already depleted roster was also beset by numerous injuries during the season.

• If there was ever any doubt about the future of LeBron James, the postseason high school games tell the entire story. A player attending college may play in no more than two postseason games, but James is already slated to play in the McDonald’s All-American game, EA Sports Roundball Classic, and Jordan Capital Classics.

     

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

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.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a bizarre finish to an early-season tournament game, the Pac-12’s early struggles, Florida teams going in different directions and two northeast teams trending less relevant even as they excite fans at a famous arena.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017 by

In our pre-Thanksgiving podcast, we look at a key injury that is likely to be devastating for his team and an under-the-radar 4-0 week, then move on to some early SEC impressions and a couple of teams that just continue to win.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 9, 2017

November 10, 2017 by

The season is almost here, and we take a look at some of what to expect this coming season. We have preseason polls, conference changes, a look at some conferences and some matchups to start the season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017 by

The FBI has zeroed in on college basketball in a big way, and what has happened may be the beginning of a massive hit to the sport. We discuss what we know thus far in our latest podcast.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – August 17, 2017

August 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we check in with some good news from a few teams overseas after a big scare, plus a big addition for a championship contender, a conference on the rise, and a great coach thinking about a return to the bench.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.