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Blowout win may be just what Providence needed

by - Published November 17, 2013 in Columns
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Saturday was a little different for Providence. The final score against Marist – a 93-48 romp – would jump out at anyone all by itself, and while understandable it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Providence won their first two games by four points each. They pulled one out in overtime against Boston College in the opener, then survived against cross-town rival Brown, who beat them across town last year, a few nights later. They won the games despite shooting below 41 percent from the field and allowing opponents to shoot over 45 percent. The big stat is that they out-rebounded their two opponents by 14 per game.

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Rhode Island bounces back, though it took some time

by - Published November 16, 2013 in Columns
rhodeisland

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – The road to wins and ultimately improvement will not be a smooth one for Rhode Island this season. It won’t be a success-only journey. The first week has shown that, and Friday night’s 72-59 win over North Carolina A&T was perhaps a microcosm of the journey thus far.

Earlier in the week, the Rams were blown out at SMU 89-58. It was quite a reversal of last season, when SMU came into town with a nice record against a weak schedule and were blown out of the Ryan Center. Although the Rams were now on the road, the personnel is much better, so one would have figured that if nothing else it would at least be a competitive game, although winning on the road would be tougher. SMU is also better this season, and the Mustangs ran out to a halftime lead and ran away in the second.

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Toledo wasn’t lacking confidence and should have even more now

by - Published November 15, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
toledo

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Tod Kowalczyk told his team that they were the better team.  He wasn’t crazy for saying so, although there are those who would say he was, but his Toledo team proved it on the court Thursday night when they walked out of Conte Forum with a 95-92 win over Boston College.

“I told the guys in a timeout, we’re the better team,” said Kowalczyk, now in his fourth season at the school.  “I thought we played that way coming down the stretch.”

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No one saw this coming for Boston College

by - Published November 15, 2013 in Columns
bostoncollege

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – This wasn’t how the season was supposed to start. The best case scenario was, obviously, 3-0. Given who they had to play in the first three games, 2-1 would look good, and 1-2 might seem acceptable. But 0-3?

That’s not what anyone had in mind with Boston College. That’s what the reality is after Thursday night’s 95-92 loss to Toledo at Conte Forum. And a subdued Steve Donahue sounds like someone who is going back to the drawing board.

“I’m obviously disappointed,” said Donahue. “We’ve got to go back to work tomorrow and figure it out.”

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New to Division I, UMass-Lowell gets blitzed in Boston

by - Published November 14, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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BOSTON – Welcome to Division I, UMass-Lowell.

Wednesday night’s 91-65 loss at Boston University was not the first game in Division I for the River Hawks. It was, in fact, their second. But they’re still new to this level, and Wednesday night’s game seemed over before it started with the way the early minutes went.

“They did ambush us,” said sophomore guard D.J. Mlachnik. “We knew that was coming.”

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In New Bedford, there’s another attempt to improve the game

by - Published November 13, 2013 in Columns
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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – If you watch basketball these days at any level, you know that the game leaves something to be desired. Today’s players are more athletic but less skilled and the feel for the game is often lacking. Scoring has been down in recent years for a variety of reasons, to the point where the NCAA is now mandating that referees call the game tighter in part to increase scoring. The merits of that can and will be debated, but that’s not the only way to try to improve scoring.

Camps devote time to skill development, and plenty of players spend time with trainers. Nowadays trainers are seemingly a dime a dozen, and while most do a good job, the end product can still be improved.

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Harvard handles its personnel options just fine in opener

by - Published November 12, 2013 in Columns
harvard

BOSTON – Now that the season is here, we got our first look at a question many wondered before the season: how would Harvard deal with its embarrassment of riches in personnel?  It was a question that made sense on the surface, but anyone who has been around the program knows it’s one that should have been easily answered long before the Crimson knocked off Holy Cross on Sunday at the Boston Garden.

The starting lineup might have surprised some, with both Brandyn Curry and Kyle Casey on the floor at the opening tip.  With both having sat out last season, there is surely a rust factor of sorts, but one can figure they earned their spots.  More surprising, however, might have been the presence of junior Steve Moundou-Missi, only because he’s been so good coming off the bench and has no problem with doing so.  Head coach Tommy Amaker has said they refer to Moundou-Missi as their sixth starter.

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If Lalanne reaches his potential, UMass can as well

by - Published November 11, 2013 in Columns
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BOSTON – Make no mistake: Chaz Williams is the engine that makes UMass go. That’s been clear for his first two seasons in Amherst, and he reminded anyone who may have forgotten about that on Sunday. But if UMass is going to contend in the Atlantic 10, as many expect, they will need someone to complement him. The most likely candidate is Cady Lalanne, and that was evident in UMass’ 86-73 win over Boston College.

The Minutemen have a veteran group, and while expectations have always been high under Derek Kellogg, this year it makes sense. If you felt the team underachieved in recent years, that’s understandable to a degree since they have had talent. They have shown flashes of how good they can be, but haven’t put it all together just yet.

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Boston University shows something in win against Northeastern

by - Published November 11, 2013 in Columns
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BOSTON – A year older and wiser, and now in a new league, Boston University opened their season up by showing something on Sunday. Pulling out the 72-69 win over Northeastern was nice, especially since it’s the arch-rival from just across town. But how they won it is more meaningful than the win itself, especially if the Terriers are going to live up to their preseason billing as favorites in the Patriot League.

Sunday’s game is perhaps a prototype for the Terriers on the season. They know they’re a small team, especially on the perimeter, and they were up against a Northeastern team that went with a more traditional lineup of three frontcourt players than the three-guard lineup most college teams go with nowadays. It showed on the glass as Northeastern had a 41-30 edge, but thanks in part to the Terriers’ speed, the Huskies never took full advantage of the second chances with just a 10-6 edge in second-chance points. The Terriers also forced 17 turnovers and gave it away just ten times.

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New-look Fairfield shows promise in season opener

by - Published November 10, 2013 in Columns
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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The box score will tell you Fairfield won their season opener by 13 points over Sacred Heart, 67-54 on Saturday. The box score will also tell you they did that despite 26 turnovers. But what the numbers won’t tell you is that the Stags have a lot of newness about them but will be a team worth watching this season and one the coaching staff is going to enjoy all the way around.

Last season’s team had an interesting personnel dynamic to it with the mix of seniors and freshmen. This season’s team is simply young, as they have just one senior and nine freshmen and sophomores. The interesting dynamic is that six players were in uniform last season and six weren’t. But that also means there’s a lot of opportunity to mold this group into something, and it’s clear that they’re already at work with that on one end of the floor.

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Avery Bradley Skills Academy

August 11-13, 2014 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

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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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