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2015 Good Sports Invitational notes

by - Published January 14, 2015 in Recruiting
author_kasiecki

BOSTON – A busy weekend of basketball gave fans a nice choice of events to check out in between the Patriots playoff game. Two prep school events were going on in the city, while the stop for Saturday was the Good Sports Invitational at the Boston Garden.

The event consisted of eight high school games, with all but one school coming from Massachusetts (Bishop Hendricken traveled up from Warwick, Rhode Island). While it had some of the top schools in the state, it also had a couple of rivalry games, and as much as anything it gives the kids an experience of a lifetime. They played in the arena where 17 NBA championship banners hang from the rafters, as well as six Stanley Cup banners.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, January 12, 2015

by - Published January 12, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Sunday was not a good day to be a top ten team, much as the polls in college basketball are ultimately meaningless. Three teams ranked there played on Sunday, all on the road, and none of them won. It capped off quite a weekend in college basketball with the top teams.

First, Duke went over to Raleigh to take on an NC State team that has played well thus far, though under the radar. Trevor Lacey, an Alabama transfer, has had a solid season for the Wolfpack, and he came up big on Sunday with 21 points on 8-13 shooting, leading a 55 percent shooting effort in an 87-75 win over the Blue Devils. Jahlil Okafor had 23 points on 8-11 shooting and 12 rebounds for Duke, but the Blue Devils shot below 37 percent. Take out Okafor and Quinn Cook, who had 18 points on 6-1 shooting (4-7 on three-pointers), and Duke’s other three starters shot a combined 5-27 from the field, and Rasheed Sulaimon was 4-12 off the bench.

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Saturday Notes – January 10, 2015

by - Published January 11, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

As conference play is now in full swing, Saturday offered an early referendum on a number of teams. While the day wasn’t full of shockers, there were plenty of noteworthy games. 11 games went to overtime, with three needing a second extra set of five minutes to decide. And if there’s one conference that stood out, it was the Big 12.

Simply put, the Big 12 is reinforcing the idea that it is the strongest conference from top to bottom this season. There’s no one that appears poised to run away with the conference, and the regular season champion might well have at least four or five losses. Kansas and Iowa State are 2-0, four other teams are 2-1, and Baylor and Texas are hardly stiffs even with their early 1-2 marks, though Texas ended a rough week on Saturday. The only two teams you might rule out of the race are Texas Tech and TCU.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, January 10, 2015

by - Published January 10, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

On a Friday that had limited game action – just four games were on tap – there were a few possible stories to lead us off. We’ll take the one that should be the most positive, although the news itself was not, in a sense anyway. Utah State head coach Stew Morrill will retire at the end of the season, ending a terrific career, especially with his great run at the school. College basketball will be a bit poorer without him running a program.

There aren’t many coaches who have done a better job under the radar than Morrill did. He will be very tough to replace, and it helps that he’s been a great fit. There have been opportunities to take other jobs, but Morrill, a native Utahan, has stayed put.

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Finding a way to win at BC may be just what Pittsburgh needs

by - Published January 8, 2015 in Columns
pittsburgh

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Sometimes you need to win a game you seemingly have no business winning based on how you play. When that happens, it can be a big boost, and for Pittsburgh, that boost may come at the right time from Tuesday’s 61-60 overtime win at Boston College.

Normally, eking out a win over a so-so Boston College team, even on the road, isn’t a big one for a team. That’s especially true for a team like Pittsburgh, which has been a fixture in the NCAA Tournament for over a decade. When you’re coming off a game where the offense was as bad as it’s been all year, though, and struggle again for most of the night and don’t play well enough to win all along, the story changes.

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Keatts tries to get UNCW to play to their strength

by - Published January 8, 2015 in Columns
uncwilmington

BOSTON – Talent and depth are great things to have at any time. No coach will say otherwise, and certainly not Kevin Keatts, considering the talent he has had at his disposal at times in his career. No matter how much of each you have, however, it helps to know what you are good at. For Keatts and UNCW, that can make a big difference.

“I felt like we just had to play to our strength,” said the first-year head coach after the Seahawks beat Northeastern 75-68 on Monday night. “I just thought tonight, our guys were able to get into the paint and finish.”

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Streaky Lehigh has hit a rough patch

by - Published January 7, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
lehigh

BOSTON – Saturday’s 75-56 loss at Boston University wasn’t that close for Lehigh. In fact, they scored the game’s last 17 points, so the final score is a little more respectable and quite deceptively so. But more important than the score is where this team is trending, and while it looks to be downward to the untrained eye, that may not be the case. Make no mistake: the Mountain Hawks have areas of real concern, as you might imagine.

“We definitely need to improve,” said head coach Brett Reed. “We have to defend the three-point line, it’s a basic element of today’s game in college basketball.”

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Boston University gets better but still has challenges

by - Published January 7, 2015 in Columns
bostonuniversity

BOSTON – About a month ago, it was hard to imagine Boston University being 2-0 in Patriot League play and with the wins they have – at Holy Cross and a convincing win over Lehigh – to get there. But that’s where the Terriers stand now, and more importantly, they appear to be in a better place.

Even so, there isn’t going to be any rest. This team still has plenty of flaws and plenty of room to improve.

“It’s so early, you really have to keep trying to get better,” said head coach Joe Jones.

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Improving Dartmouth tries to keep building as Ivy play approaches

by - Published January 6, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
dartmouth

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Naturally, expectations in recent years for Dartmouth have been raised. That happens when you put together a couple of good recruiting classes like the Big Green has done in recent years. And when you consider that the program struggled for a while before Paul Cormier took over for a second stint, part of expectations rising comes from them having nowhere to go but up. All the while, Cormier is taking a measured approach to what he and his staff are doing in Hanover these days.

“It’s basically developing a program,” Cormier said when asked if this is an important year for the program’s core group. “The two (seniors) that are remaining, John (Golden) and Gabas (Maldunas), have gone through some tough times, and it’s nice to see them now being able to be in a competitive situation every game, game in and game out.”

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The Morning Dish – Monday, January 5, 2014

by - Published January 5, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

On Sunday morning, basketball didn’t feel so important. Deep down, I knew this could come any day, as he had fought a courageous battle with cancer for several years, but waking up to find out that Stuart Scott had passed away still stunk. It was still hard to take. And watching the nearly 15-minute video that ESPN put together about his life – with Robin Roberts narrating – as well as his speech at the ESPYs last year didn’t make it any better.

It all just drove home how he touched so many of us and how much he’ll be missed. Even my wife, who is not nearly as sports-oriented as yours truly, was touched by it all.

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College Basketball Tonight

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