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The jury is still out on how good Pittsburgh is

by - Published February 28, 2014 in Columns
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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – As crunch time is upon us, one of many questions out there is what to make of Pittsburgh. The Panthers are clearly a good team, though certainly beatable, but just how good they are is up for debate. As they entered a season-ending stretch that sees them playing three of four on the road with a three-game losing streak, winning on Wednesday night at Boston College would seem a good way to move forward. They did it with a 66-59 win, but it’s also one that leaves the jury out on how good the Panthers are.

At the same time, the opportunity to change that is there.

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Bucknell improves and still has a higher ceiling

by - Published February 24, 2014 in Columns
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BOSTON – As the long season moves along, every team hopes to play their best basketball around the end of the season. In Bucknell’s case, that has meant going through a challenging transition to start. That transition seems more towards completion now, as the Bison have a season-best four-game winning streak going and appear to have plenty of upside.

This isn’t the Bison of a year ago, when they had three seniors key an experienced, very cohesive unit that carried the team to a Patriot League title. This team has needed many players to step into new roles, from Cameron Ayers needing to become the go-to guy after being a complementary player to three new starters needing to do more. The Bison knew this day would come and the transition would be a challenge, but until they went through it the extent was an unknown.

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Saturday Notes – February 22, 2014

by - Published February 23, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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We’re getting down to crunch time as February draws to a close. Many games on Saturday had implications for NCAA Tournament bubble teams and more could also be big when it comes to seeding for conference tournaments. A few big showdowns were on tap, including ones in the American Athletic Conference and Mountain West, and also out west we saw a team we usually figure to be in the tournament lose another on the road, further throwing their status into question.

Here are notes from some of the day’s games.

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American hopes to regroup and get back on track

by - Published February 20, 2014 in Columns
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BOSTON – For American, it looked like a storybook run through the Patriot League. They had ten straight wins, including a blowout of the team picked to win it all, with a well-oiled machine offensively. They found a way to keep winning with a bunch of new guys and a new coaching staff. Pardon the expression, because it’s too easy, but the Eagles were flying high.

And now they are coming back to earth – quickly.

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Providence misses a big opportunity

by - Published February 19, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – When Ryan Arcidiacono made the driving layup with a second left in the second overtime, you could almost hear a pin drop in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. It was the same Dunkin’ Donuts Center that had been rocking for a lot of the previous two and a half hours.

And when a last-second three-pointer by LaDontae Henton missed harmlessly, a heart-breaking loss was complete and a muted exit from the building had begun. The question now is if it’s also the beginning of an exit from something larger.

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Villanova continues to be tough and resilient

by - Published February 19, 2014 in Columns
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Villanova is nothing if not resilient. That is in some ways the story of the season on a macro level, certainly, but on a micro level that has been true as well. When they won a heart-stopping 82-79 double overtime thriller at Providence, they gave a great exhibition of that and why they are a team that can make a run in March.

With this win, Villanova has avoided a losing streak once again. But they have had to show an extra measure of toughness after each loss, because all three wins following a loss involved overtime. While the Wildcats have pulled out a lot of close games and are now 4-0 in overtime, doing so to avoid a losing streak is big, and on Tuesday night they had this toughness in spades.

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Atkins, Notre Dame continue to dig deep

by - Published February 17, 2014 in Columns
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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Eric Atkins and Notre Dame have had to dig deep this season. They have had some real adversity come their way, and haven’t handled it very well on the bottom line. With a stretch of three straight road games having just started, though, the Fighting Irish just might be getting to a point where wins won’t be so hard to come by.

“We’ve got a tough stretch here,” Atkins said after Notre Dame’s 73-69 win at Boston College on Sunday night. “It’s going to be tough, but I think things are coming together a little bit for us. I think everyone has really fallen into their roles, and everyone is stepping up.”

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Saturday Notes – February 15, 2014

by - Published February 16, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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In recent days, the winter weather has been in the news a lot, and that includes the context of college basketball as a number of games have been postponed due to the weather. Two more Atlantic Sun games fell victim to the weather on Saturday, as Lipscomb at Kennesaw State and Northern Kentucky at Mercer were both postponed.

Saturday started out with a few dandies, including an AAC and an ACC battle that each came down to the wire. An Atlantic 10 showdown was also on the slate, and late in the day a big SEC showdown was on tap. We also saw what is almost certainly the last in what’s become a great rivalry, and the Patriot League race got a little more interesting.

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Oliver Purnell may be running out of time at DePaul

by - Published February 15, 2014 in Columns
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PROVIDENCE, R.I.- You have to think Oliver Purnell is starting to run out of time at DePaul. Simply put, the program isn’t in a good place right now, and the Blue Demons’ 84-61 loss at Providence is only part of it.

Purnell is nearing the end of his fourth year at the school, and it’s tough to say the program is better off than before he came to Chicago. In those nearly four seasons, the Blue Demons are 40-80. The picture doesn’t look much brighter for next season, either, given the current personnel, as they start three freshmen right now and don’t really have an upperclassman who looks like a go-to guy for next season.

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Boston University gets the 40-minute effort they needed

by - Published February 10, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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BOSTON – The final box score shows Boston University beating Lafayette 88-54. Dig a little deeper and you understand how the score got to be that way. But watch Saturday’s game at Agganis Arena and you understand it better, as well as why it was so satisfying for this team, as it’s the type of effort they’ve needed.

“We had been talking about trying to put together two halves, trying to play consistently well for 40 minutes,” said head coach Joe Jones. “We’ve struggled with that at times. So tonight, it was great to see us play a complete game from start to finish.”

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Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

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Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

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The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

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Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

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Recruiting Coverage

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

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Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.

Tabor Academy looks to have more depth this time around

October 13, 2014 by

taboracademy

Tabor Academy will once again be headlined by a frontcourt player. This time around, though, the Seawolves appear to have a deeper support cast than in recent years.