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Michigan State finds multiple ways to win

by - Published November 24, 2013 in Columns
michiganstate

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – When you have the best team, you tend to find a way to win games.  That fits Michigan State in Brooklyn on Saturday, and it wasn’t one factor but rather multiple ones that were behind the Spartans taking home the championship of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic by knocking off pesky Oklahoma.

“We were a little bit slight of people, and even though it was disappointing and we played a little sporadic, it shows a little character that you can figure out a way to win a game,” said head coach Tom Izzo.

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Seton Hall salvages a tough week and hopes the worst is behind them

by - Published November 24, 2013 in Columns
setonhall

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It hasn’t been an easy week for Seton Hall by any stretch. They may lose one of their point guards, according to a report this week. Then they lost a starting forward to a foot injury that has them concerned for the future, and dropped a tough game on Friday night to Oklahoma that they seemingly had. That wasn’t a good start.

So when the Pirates fell behind late in the second half on Saturday night after leading for most of that frame, it looked like the end result could be more of the same. Certainly, being down 61-57 with 1:44 left added to that. But they came through down the stretch and pulled out a 68-67 win over Virginia Tech to take third place in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, salvaging the week.

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George Mason has to improve key areas for a big stretch coming up

by - Published November 24, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
georgemason

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – George Mason played their toughest opponent to date on Saturday, and it showed very quickly. The Patriots took care of business in their first four games, three of which were at home, and they got away with turning the ball over 16 times on average. On Saturday, they were quickly staring at big deficits at Iona as the Gaels blitzed them 89-73. The game wasn’t even as close as the final might indicate, and it gives an idea of how much more challenging things are going to get for the Patriots.

Iona scored the game’s first 14 points and never looked back. The Patriots looked shell-shocked, and while they got untracked some later, scoring seven in a row to make it 34-12 at one point, they never got much momentum. They gave the ball away 11 times in the first half, but it must have seemed like 111 turnovers because Iona constantly turned them into points and basically ran them out of the gym. They had just four turnovers in the second half, and as a result actually ended up below average, but the damage was done. Iona had a 26-13 edge in points off turnovers.

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Iona finds their point guard and gets much more

by - Published November 24, 2013 in Columns
iona

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – It’s nice to be home if you’re Iona, a saying that holds true for more reasons than the obvious. The Gaels have won both games at home and lost both games on the road thus far, but certainly were their most impressive and balanced in Saturday’s 89-73 thumping of George Mason that was never a ballgame.

Head coach Tim Cluess thinks this team needs to be balanced offensively, and that was certainly the case on Saturday. While Sean Armand’s 30-point outing, which included breaking the school record for career three-pointers and going 10-16 from the field, will get a lot of attention, the big development was elsewhere in the lineup. If Saturday is any indication, the Gaels may know who their primary point guard is going forward.

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Napier makes like his former teammate in New York to carry UConn

by - Published November 23, 2013 in Columns
connecticut

NEW YORK – A Boston kid did it in New York. Even if he channeled some of a New Yorker to do it, considering the two cities’ long-time rivalry with each other in so many respects, it’s quite a story. And they don’t get much more “Boston original” than Shabazz Napier, the hero in Connecticut’s championship in the 2K Sports Classic by virtue of a thrilling 59-58 win over Indiana.

One of the last times Connecticut was on this floor, they were celebrating the end of an amazing run in the 2011 Big East Tournament. Then, Kemba Walker led the Huskies to five wins in five days as the start of an 11-game winning streak that ended in the 2011 national championship. Napier was part of that team and had two years of playing together with Walker, and the resemblance is a sign of the influence Walker had on the confident senior guard.

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Young Indiana shows potential for growth in tough loss

by - Published November 23, 2013 in Columns
indiana

NEW YORK – Growing up isn’t easy for most. It’s true whether we’re talking about individuals, families, companies, teams or any other entity involving humans. There are hits and misses along the way, some question marks with success and bright spots with failure. Indiana is seeing all of that right now after a tough 59-58 loss in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Indiana is a young team and a very new team. The Hoosiers lost two high lottery picks from last season’s team in Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, both of whom departed early. Had they returned, this season might be a little easier, but instead, the Hoosiers have plenty of talent, and young talent at that as they have eight freshmen and six sophomores. They end up having to relay on a sophomore for a lot, and Yogi Ferrell almost carried them to a big win on Friday night.

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Defense and rebounding are big concerns for Washington

by - Published November 23, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
washington

NEW YORK – Coaches talk often about the importance of defense and rebounding in winning games and championships. It’s understandable since offense comes and goes. You have to figure Lorenzo Romar is spending more time in practice on that right now considering his team’s issues at that end of the floor that were illuminated quite clearly in the 2K Sports Classic, where Washington went 0-2 after losing 89-78 against Boston College on Friday.

The Huskies were basically spectators against Boston College on Friday, and maybe the best example of that came at the end of the first half. After a shot clock violation left just over five seconds on the clock, the Huskies let BC guard Olivier Hanlan drive the length of the floor almost untouched for a buzzer-beating layup that put the Eagles up 46-34 at the break.

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Harvard uses its depth to overcome injuries early on

by - Published November 22, 2013 in Columns
harvard

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – As Harvard gets ready for a big stretch, the Crimson have lived up to expectations in a couple of respects thus far. They are 4-0 after handling Bryant on Wednesday night 86-68 in a manner similar to how Bryant dispatched Vermont a few nights earlier. They are also utilizing the depth they have, albeit perhaps not in the manner or for reasons they had hoped before the season.

Come game time, Harvard doesn’t have the depth right now that they were thought to before the season. Kenyatta Smith and Brandyn Curry are both out, taking one away from both the frontcourt and backcourt. This team has absorbed those losses about as well as one would expect, and that’s where their depth has come in. They are hopeful of getting Curry back at Colorado, while Smith’s left foot remains in a boot and thus he won’t be coming back anytime soon.

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For UMass-Lowell, Division I transition hits home for the first time

by - Published November 20, 2013 in Columns
umass_lowell

LOWELL, Mass. – Tuesday night was the on-campus beginning of a new era for UMass-Lowell, at least of sorts.  The River Hawks had already played three games in their first season of Division I, but all came away from campus.  Costello Gym was home to a Division I game for the first time, and while the River Hawks walked out with an 87-76 loss, it’s only the beginning of things.

Costello Gym isn’t going to hold a lot of people, but it had a good crowd with some good energy.  There was some buzz about it on campus, although players were a little mixed on what to expect.  The crowd didn’t take off when Brown broke the game open near the midway point of the second half, and they were around when the River Hawks made it interesting with a late run.

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Rhode Island trip wasn’t the way Vermont hoped to start road stretch

by - Published November 19, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
vermont

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – This wasn’t how Vermont wanted or expected to start a long road stretch.  The Catamounts are at the beginning of a stretch where they play seven in a row and nine of ten away from Burlington, and there’s only one way to describe their two games in three nights in Rhode Island: bad.

Vermont certainly expected better than what they showed on both nights, even if they had come away 0-2.  This is a team that starts five seniors and brings another off the bench, and all of them won an America East championship on the road as sophomores.  There’s a reason they have been picked once again to win America East, and it’s not because Boston University has left for the Patriot League.  This is a team with good experience, and winning experience at that, to say nothing of having been on the road a lot.  They didn’t win conference championships with moral victories, and won’t take any despite Monday being better than Saturday night.

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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.

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Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

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

hofstra

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

cornell

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

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

Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by

bigten

The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by

sunbelt

Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

bigsky

The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

meac

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

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