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Saturday Notes – December 20, 2014

by - Published December 21, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Conference play is almost here, so the games are starting to get better. Saturday saw a number of great matchups and results every bit as noteworthy to go with them. Some were more noteworthy because of the margin than the bottom line result.

The day began inauspiciously enough with the news about Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin and his health. We extend our get well wishes to Cronin, and after hearing that hoped the day would get better. It did, though not for his team, as the day was full of good games. Included were a couple of games that took a bit long to decide – as in, three overtimes.

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We need to enjoy this Kentucky team

by - Published December 21, 2014 in Columns

With all the attention on Kentucky and the individual talent the Wildcats have, there’s one thing we should all follow John Calipari in doing.

Just enjoy this. Enjoy that we get a chance to see it.

“The one thing I’m doing is really enjoying these guys,” Calipari said after the Wildcats drubbed UCLA 83-44 in the CBS Sports Classic in Chicago.

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Just how good is North Carolina?

by - Published December 20, 2014 in Columns

Last year, North Carolina was a team that no one could figure out. Lose to Belmont, beat Louisville. Lose at UAB, beat Michigan State. Beat Kentucky and Texas, lose at Wake Forest.

This year? The question is whether or not the Tar Heels can really challenge for the top of the ACC, and perhaps most of all, if they have enough to complement star guard Marcus Paige. The Tar Heels haven’t been quite so hard to figure out on a given night, but we’re still trying to figure out just how good this team is and will be.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 20, 2014

by - Published December 20, 2014 in The Morning Dish

Every year, there’s one or two game results that are beyond head-scratchers. They may be proof of a team being capable of an off night, or perhaps a harbinger of things to come. They can also be an example of what the winning team is capable of, even though that doesn’t tend to get as much attention.

In Miami’s case, their hope is that it’s not the first of those three.

An Eastern Kentucky team that has shown some promise during non-conference play broke through in a big way on Friday night, never trailing en route to a 72-44 thumping of Miami. The bottom line result is one thing; a 28-point margin? That raises questions.

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2014 Scholar Roundball Classic recap and notes

by - Published December 16, 2014 in Recruiting

WELLESLEY, Mass. – The second straight weekend with a prep school event in New England had a little different focus than the prior one. Namely, the Scholar Roundball Classic featured some of the best academic schools in the region taking the court against one another. Some of the schools don’t usually get a stage like this, so it also offered us a look at some schools that may not get easily seen otherwise.

Sunday’s action had a couple of close games mixed in, though most of the day had blowouts. With that, we go to the scores and then the player notes.

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Despite a hit on the bottom line, Stony Brook’s transition continues

by - Published December 16, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It wasn’t the kind of tale of two halves that anyone would want, much less one that came in having lost two in a row. Indeed, as conference play gets closer, a coach would rather his team get more consistent. And for Stony Brook, the way the roof caved in on them in the second half of Saturday’s loss at Providence was not good no matter how you try to slice it. Still, it’s part of a growing process this team has to go through.

“For 27 minutes, we were pretty good,” said head coach Steve Pikiell.

The Seawolves were within 49-44 after leading at times in the first half. It was after that point that Providence took over and won it convincingly, going on a 10-1 run as part of a bigger 16-3 run from which they never looked back in the 79-61 triumph.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, December 15, 2014

by - Published December 15, 2014 in The Morning Dish

We know what Penn State went through a couple of years ago with their football program. It’s been through a lot, and they are now back in a bowl game this year. While the basketball program never had to go through a criminal and then NCAA investigation, it has had its own demons. Life inside the program is not easy.

Penn State is a classic example of a “football school.” Football is sport 1, 1-A, 1-B and more there, especially for the fan base. The basketball team plays a distant second fiddle, if that. I won’t go much into detail – a respected colleague who attended the school did a great job of that right here.

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Saturday Notes – December 13, 2014

by - Published December 14, 2014 in Columns

Saturday was not as busy as most Saturdays typically are, but there were some eagerly anticipated matchups on the day. Fortunately, several lived up to their billing, with a couple of overtime games mixed in, though the most highly-anticipated ones were not among them.

Several games needed a little more time, including a couple that went beyond one extra session. One of those games ended up being a big win for the road team.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 13, 2014

by - Published December 13, 2014 in The Morning Dish

Friday was a busy day with off-court matters, but in was a particularly bad day for a couple of teams with. It was a quiet night on the court, but this didn’t have to happen. One team can absorb the blow a lot better than the other, and the reasons are different.

In the morning, we learned that Kentucky will be without junior forward Alex Poythress for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL in his left knee suffered in practice on Thursday. This is not a small loss, and his story has been one of a player with plenty of talent who has not had it easy during his college career but has become a key piece. His motor was inconsistent, but he’s improved that to give this team more of what they need. They will miss him, but they have more than enough talent and depth to absorb this loss from a production standpoint. Intangibles are another story, although even there the Wildcats appear to have enough to absorb his loss at first glance.

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Amidst Maine’s rebuilding challenge, there is hope

by - Published December 12, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The long road back for Maine has started, and it has been challenging and at times quite painful. It’s not going to be an easy road back to relevance and contention. Along the way, though, there is reason for hope, and that was evident in a few ways Thursday night when the Black Bears lost at Boston College.

The fall from relevance in America East was a steep one for Maine. In 2010-11, they started off conference play at 8-1 and looked well on their way to the top seed in the conference tournament. The bottom fell out quickly, though, as they then lost six in a row before losing to Hartford in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. They never won more than six conference games after that, and Ted Woodward was let go as head coach after last season. In his place is Bob Walsh, who had a great run at Rhode Island College.

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Big East looks the same in some ways and quite different in other ways

November 13, 2015 by


As year three of the new-look Big East tips off, the conference looks the same in a few ways. In other ways, though, it’s not the same, and much is to be determined.

Though a contender, Purdue will need to earn more relevance

October 15, 2015 by


Purdue has the makings of a contender in Big Ten play, but you wouldn’t know it from the conversations about the conference teams. The Boilermakers will have to earn their way to relevance despite their potential to contend.

New challenge ahead for Harvard

October 6, 2015 by


If Harvard’s great run through the Ivy League is to continue in 2015-16, the Crimson will have to get through quite a challenge this time around with a team that looks a little different.

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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.

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed listening 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.

Here are links to the shows:

March 15, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 22, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 29, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

April 5, 2015 - First hour | Second hour | Third hour

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by


The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.

2015 Hoopville Spring Finale Notes

June 30, 2015 by


We look back at more from the 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale, where some of the championship games were worth the price of admission.

A big championship day for a local program at the Hoopville Spring Finale

June 23, 2015 by


The 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of good championship games on Sunday to close it out, and we start our look back with a look at those games.

Player highlights from Mass Elite and Boston Warriors college showcase

June 4, 2015 by


Two big programs, Mass Elite and the Boston Warriors, got together once again on a college showcase for many of their high school players. We look at some who stood out on the evening.

2015 Massachusetts AAU Tournament notes

June 3, 2015 by


Massachusetts held its AAU championship rounds in a few age groups and its entire tournament for the oldest age group this weekend. We take a look at some of Sunday’s action in Foxboro.