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The Morning Dish – Monday, November 10, 2014

by - Published November 10, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Picking up where we left off with conferences, we start today with the best academic league of them all, the Ivy League.

The Ivy League is in the midst of a great up cycle, and league favorite Harvard has a lot to do with that. The Crimson will again be favored, though not to the same degree as last year when they were prohibitive favorites. They have the league’s best backcourt and plenty of options up front. They will be pushed, however, by the likes of Yale (whose own star, Justin Sears, will be in the running for Player of the Year), Princeton and Brown, for starters. Columbia figured to be right there, but the loss of Alex Rosenberg is a big blow and has to knock them back some.

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A new uphill battle for Providence lies ahead

by - Published November 9, 2014 in Columns
providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Since Ed Cooley came home, Providence has largely fought an uphill battle. The Friars weren’t the most talented team in the Big East to begin with, but injuries, suspensions and NCAA issues have constantly left them having to dig deep into their bench. It left them basically never resting Bryce Cotton, the departed guard who was the picture of the program’s toughness, battling injuries and becoming the best player not named Doug McDermott in the Big East last year – far more than anyone would have imagined when he first arrived on campus as a complete unknown.

They completed the great story with a Big East championship last year, one no one saw coming except the people in the locker room. Providence likely needed the Big East championship to get into the NCAA Tournament, as the Friars’ seed was right near that of the last at-large team in the field after they beat a ranked team in Creighton to take home the title.

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Holy Cross is trying to take the next step

by - Published November 8, 2014 in Columns
holycross

WORCESTER, Mass. – Milan Brown says the mantra for Holy Cross is “Take the next step.” Since he arrived on campus, the program has taken many steps to get to where they are now, entering the season as Patriot League contenders once again.

It’s been a long road back to this point.

When Brown took over in 2010 following a one-year stint for Sean Kearney, the program was a far cry from what it was at the beginning of the century. At that time, Holy Cross and Bucknell ruled the Patriot League, with the Crusaders going on a roll first. But as Ralph Willard’s tenure came to a conclusion, the rest of the league was getting better and made up a lot of ground.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 8, 2014

by - Published November 8, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

With the start of the regular season now less than a week away, we’ll now look at a few conferences on some of these upcoming days.

America East has a familiar look among its favorites, as Stony Brook should once again be the team to beat. The Seawolves have had a great run in recent years, but haven’t been able to get over the hump in the conference tournament. They’ll have good competition from a senior-laden Hartford team, as well as defending champion Albany.

Defending national champion Connecticut was chosen as the favorite in the American Athletic Conference coaches poll, but the thinking here is that SMU is more deserving of the nod. The Mustangs bring back plenty from last season, while most of the other top teams in the conference – the Huskies, Cincinnati and Memphis – all lose a lot. Newcomer Tulsa might be the sleeper.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, November 7, 2014

by - Published November 7, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Today, Hoopville begins its 14th year of covering college basketball and everything connected to it. As we celebrate 13 years and get ready for more, times are decidedly different than when we began, both on and off the court.

Back in 2001, there was no opening night for college basketball like there is now. There were games here and there in early season tournaments, and because it was only a handful of teams there was no feeling of a season beginning like there is in other sports. Now, there is anticipation and a feeling of beginning – plus some consistency to the start of the season.

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A lot is unknown about Boston College

by - Published November 7, 2014 in Columns
bostoncollege

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Things are very different at Boston College than a year ago, and that’s about the only thing that is known right now. Quite a bit is not known.

There’s a new coaching staff, as Steve Donahue was let go after a disaster of a season. The Eagles played the fifth-toughest schedule in the country according to Ken Pomeroy, a slate that included ten teams in the RPI top 50. They weren’t ready for it, even though it was a veteran team. Having just four non-conference home games didn’t help.

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New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

by - Published November 3, 2014 in Recruiting
nepsac

In the five-plus weeks starting with September 9, I had the chance to visit over 20 prep schools across New England. It started with Putnam Science Academy on the first day that was live for Division I college coaches and ended with Vermont Academy. There was a wide range of talent and depth to be seen in that time, and the open gym workouts varied in terms of how good the action was on each day.

It’s clear that the action on the hardwood will be as competitive as we’ve come to expect this season. Class AAA will be hotly contested, and Class AA is well-known for its relative evenness from top to bottom. There is plenty to watch in all of the enrollment divisions as well. While a few teams repeated as champions last year, that doesn’t seem likely this season at first glance, but nothing is a given in September and October.

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Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

by - Published October 20, 2014 in Recruiting
marianapolis

THOMPSON, Conn. – Let’s put one thing out there right away: Marianapolis Prep appeared to be in a state of flux regarding basketball when this fall rolled around. That’s the big reason this profile has come out well after the visit to the school for an open gym. Marianapolis debated a move out of Class AA of NEPSAC, and as is always the case when a transition is considered, there is much more than just basketball involved. But they will remain a Class AA school and field a competitive team this season.

Andrew Vitale’s teams in recent years have done well to reach the Class AA Tournament several times since NEPSAC realigned, and the school has a history of postseason success. They were the seventh seed last year and fifth seed a couple of years ago. During the last days of the old alignment, they lost in the Class B final two years in a row during Tilton’s great run, and lost to them again in the first year of the new alignment.

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New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

by - Published October 17, 2014 in Recruiting
vermontacademy

SAXTONS RIVER, Vt. – Alex Popp is in a good place these days, and Vermont Academy is the beneficiary. A basketball guy, he’s moved around a bit, but it’s all because he’s a go-getter, and this is the most recent chance that presented itself. He took the job in June and has been on the go with it ever since.

His first team at the school looks like a pretty good one, the product of jumping right in and getting players that fit the school well. Vermont Academy has been on the rise in recent years, and this year could be the year for a bigger breakthrough if an early look at the personnel is any indication.

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The Master’s School has good students and talent

by - Published October 15, 2014 in Recruiting
mastersschool

WEST SIMSBURY, Conn. – Ralph Auriantal is clear about what his primary mission is: to send his players off to college. Entering his seventh season at the Master’s School, he is more happy about sending all of his graduates to college last year than he is upset about the lack of wins on the hardwood. It’s a mission he reiterates while looking at this year’s team.

Auriantal is a guy with clear basketball chops. The Montreal native played at St. Thomas More for legendary coach Jere Quinn, who is not a bad guy to learn the game from. After that, he played Division I college ball at St. Francis Brooklyn when current head coach Glenn Braica was an assistant at the school. Now he coaches in the most competitive league in the country.

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Saturday Notes – January 24, 2015

January 25, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

This Saturday didn’t have quite the marquee matchups as a week earlier, but there were some important ones, especially with teams in the middle of a few conferences trying to separate themselves from the pack.

Saturday notes – January 17, 2015

January 18, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

High school games may have grabbed a lot of attention, but there were plenty of college games as well. Most results weren’t surprising, but were well worth looking at some notes on, and we do that here.

Rhode Island keeping perspective after tough loss

January 15, 2015 by

rhodeisland

Rhode Island controlled Tuesday night’s game against VCU, but couldn’t finish it and took a tough loss. Their improvement is evident, though, and they are keeping perspective on that in trying to keep improving.

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Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.

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.