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The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 6, 2014

by - Published December 6, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Earlier this week, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was the center of attention. For the past couple of nights it’s the SEC/Big 12 Challenge that has taken over. And just like one game in particular in the former got everyone’s attention, and was about as good as billed, there was one matchup in the latter that many were eagerly awaiting. It wasn’t quite as good as billed in the second half, but it was a competitive game, for the most part.

Texas had about as good a month of November as Kentucky, as previously detailed in this space. The Longhorns also have a lot of length, so they figured to be able to match up with Kentucky. Texas led several times in the first half and had a big edge on the glass, and the teams were tied at 26 at the break. It figured to be quite a second half.

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Questions abound for Boston University early on

by - Published December 2, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bostonuniversity

BOSTON – Joe Jones’ first words said it all on Sunday afternoon.

“A lot of questions for us,” said the Boston University head coach after the Terriers’ 69-59 loss to UMass-Lowell. “We’ve got a lot of questions we need to answer. We’ve got some things to figure out.”

It’s not entirely surprising that this is the case for the Terriers. Just look at their personnel and one key is clear: the Terriers lack a true point guard who can play right now. They are having to go essentially by committee with three wings, though Cedric Hankerson and John Papale have taken on the lion’s share of that duty. Both can handle and be playmakers, but they are also the team’s best scoring threats, so that hurts the offense.

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UMass-Lowell has to manage surprising success

by - Published December 2, 2014 in Columns
umass_lowell

BOSTON – Pat Duquette admits he and his staff didn’t see this coming. It’s a pleasant surprise, certainly, but UMass-Lowell’s surprising early success is something that the coaching staff will have to adjust to the implications of. Call it a pleasant problem, if you will.

“They’ve come together quicker than we imagined as a coaching staff, for sure,” Duquette said after the River Hawks beat Boston University 69-59 on Sunday.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, December 1, 2014

by - Published December 1, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

While there is much talk about Kentucky early in the season, as well as the likes of Duke and a few others, one team we must talk about is Texas. Granted, we’ve done that already here, but on Sunday it became clear that they deserve a little more pub, because quite frankly, the Longhorns had as good a month of November as anyone in the country.

Texas is more than just back to life after struggling a couple of years ago. They are playing like a national power once again, and on Sunday they went up to Connecticut and did what such a team sometimes does – not play their best and beat a good team on the road. They didn’t do it convincingly – it took a three-pointer with 2.2 seconds left by Jonathan Holmes for the final 55-54 margin – but a win is a win, and this has to do wonders for Texas.

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Gonzaga shows their talent, depth and experience in New York

by - Published November 30, 2014 in Columns
gonzaga

NEW YORK – Simply put, Gonzaga is as balanced a team as you’ll find in college basketball this season. They’re also deep, and their players know how to play off each other. And while they had to hang on to beat St. John’s 73-66 to take home the NIT Season Tip-Off on Friday, they had the kind of response needed of a veteran team that’s going to make a deep postseason run, as many think they will.

Gonzaga’s guards understandably get a lot of attention, because they comprise one of the best backcourts in the country. Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. already formed a good one, but adding freshman Josh Perkins and USC transfer Byron Wesley makes them that much better. Pangos, the heart and soul of this team, is off to an unreal start, as he’s still knocking down shots the way he normally does, but has an incredible 38 assists and just four turnovers on the young season.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 29, 2014

by - Published November 29, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

Many early season tournaments help a team set a tone for the season, including one of over-achieving in some cases. We saw the potential for that happen once earlier this week, and nearly saw it again on Friday. It will be one thing to watch going forward with some teams that come out of these tournaments as champions.

St. John’s gave it all they had against Gonzaga in the final of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Friday. They trailed for most of the game, including by 15 with 10:27 left, and later saw their big man – the nation’s top shot-blocker – foul out with 6:40 left. The odds seemed stacked against them.

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Minnesota’s big challenge is in front of them

by - Published November 28, 2014 in Columns
minnesota

NEW YORK – Minnesota made it through one challenge in their schedule, leaving Madison Square Garden with a win in two tries. At this point, though, the challenge is just beginning for them, with the hope that their 66-62 win over Georgia gives them just the boost they need to start.

Just before Wednesday’s semifinal loss to St. John’s, the school announced that guard Daquein McNeil was suspended indefinitely following a recent arrest. The sophomore was charged with two counts of assault after allegedly choking his girlfriend and whipping her with a belt. He will remain suspended until the legal process plays out, and that can take any amount of time.

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Some notes from the National Prep Showcase

by - Published November 28, 2014 in Recruiting
author_kasiecki

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In between college coverage on the busy weekend that was, I had a chance to check out some of the National Prep Showcase at Albertus Magnus College. The event brought a number of prep schools from around the country to a region full of such schools.

Here are some notes from some early games on Friday and Saturday before the college games took over.

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Houston is trying to find an identity early on

by - Published November 28, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
houston

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – An 84-63 loss is not usually a game you would think a lot of good will come out of. For Kelvin Sampson and Houston, Tuesday night’s loss at Harvard, a game the Crimson won going away, will serve as just that. The result didn’t surprise him at all, but he knew he wanted more out of this game than just the final score.

Houston has a new look this season all over. Sampson took over as head coach after James Dickey retired, and his first team has over a half dozen newcomers. Two of the newcomers, both junior college transfers, start for this team. With that comes an adjustment period for everyone, in stark contrast to the other bench in the gym. Sampson said he’s trying to figure his players out as much as they’re trying to figure him out.

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This career game was better than the last one for LaDontae Henton

by - Published November 26, 2014 in Columns
providence

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The last time LaDontae Henton scored a career high, the ending wasn’t so good, although it was dramatic. His coach had nothing good to say about him after the game. It wasn’t a good night, really.

“After that game, I went to my room, cut the lights off and went to sleep,” the senior recalled. “I was mad. I hate losing. It doesn’t matter how many points I scored, it’s about winning at the end of the day.”

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Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

March 15, 2015 by

temple

Temple is firmly on the bubble after losing in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to SMU. It’s the first time in head coach Fran Dunphy’s storied career that his team has been in this situation.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen to COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT, a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, joined by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis, former Fairfield head coach Terry O'Connor and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

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.