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Chris Collins has Northwestern on the verge

by - Published November 18, 2014 in Columns
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – At Northwestern, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future. In some respects, the Wildcats will be better this season than last, although they are young. Beyond this year, there’s a lot of reason to think the program will get its first taste of NCAA Tournament action sooner rather than later.

The Wildcats are off to a 2-0 start, including an impressive 69-56 win at Brown on Monday night. There, they showed both the potential and the room for growth this team has. They have as high a ceiling as they ever have, but also a long way to go to reach it. It’s a sign of how quickly Chris Collins and his staff have made an impact in their second season in Evanston.

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Season opener a big boost for Holy Cross as they keep growing

by - Published November 17, 2014 in Columns
holycross

BOSTON – The Holy Cross players have believed in what Milan Brown and his staff are trying to do. The buy-in has been there and the team has grown in part by believing in the process and the game plan every time out. The gains have been incremental, with some good wins along the way, but there’s nothing like a big win to really drive it home and make them believe in it that much more.

The Crusaders got that with a 58-57 win over Harvard on Sunday, and in a game that showed how much they have grown up.

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Northeastern’s maturity wins out in their opener

by - Published November 17, 2014 in Columns
northeastern

BOSTON – You could see it coming for a lot of the second half. There were interruptions, as the upstarts always had an answer and at times the veteran team shot themselves in the foot. Still, the momentum was unmistakably with the veterans, and eventually they broke through and later took control.

Yes, it was a rivalry game, but in time the mature Northeastern team played like a veteran team and rode the performance of those steady veterans to a season-opening 71-65 victory over Boston University.

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The Morning Dish – Monday November 17, 2014

by - Published November 17, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

There will be plenty of chatter about Kentucky this season; in fact, there already has been. That will always be the case, as Kentucky will be relevant whether they win a national championship or have a losing record. Ever since several players decided to pass on early entry to the NBA Draft last spring, the hyperbole surrounding this team has been non-stop given the talent they have. And on Sunday, that was demonstrated even more.

Buffalo led Kentucky at halftime 38-33. The Bulls didn’t succumb to an early run, either, as Kentucky scored the first nine points of the second half only to see Buffalo rally to regain the lead. The Wildcats eventually won going away, but that’s not the big headline to take out of this game.

A lot of people are talking about how John Calipari didn’t go with a platoon in the second half. The talk is that he’s already abandoned it. The reality, of course, is a bit more complicated.

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Albany’s consistent identity appears to remain intact

by - Published November 16, 2014 in Columns
albany

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – By now, largely because he’s been at the school for a good while, Will Brown has carved out a clear identity for his teams at Albany. They are typically tough and persistent, in a fashion that reflects their coach, and especially when it matters most – late in games and in the conference tournament. They know how to hang in long enough to take over and pull out games late. When his team is experienced, these are all at another level.

While Albany lost their season opener at Providence by a 64-60 count, it looks like this edition of the Great Danes is a vintage Will Brown team at first glance. The coach is talking about them as if that’s the case, too.

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New season, same challenge for New Hampshire

by - Published November 15, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
newhampshire

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – There were some positives in New Hampshire’s season-opening 58-50 loss at Boston College on Friday night. The Wildcats made it tough on Boston College with their defense, they out-rebounded the Eagles and they had an early lead. They tried to make a game of it in the second half after BC appeared to be in control. They were in it despite being short-handed. All of those things bode well for the rest of a long season.

In the end, though, it’s a game they lost, and they’re not about to start talking about moral victories, even while taking a long view. And if they take a long view, the reality is that the new season has already seen an old problem for the Wildcats: scoring.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 15, 2014

by - Published November 15, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

College basketball season has begun. Life is good.

Unfortunately, though, it didn’t take long for something bad to happen. In VCU’s 85-69 win over Tennessee in the first game of the Veterans Classic in Annapolis, a scary moment came almost 12 minutes into the game. VCU guard JeQuan Lewis went for a rebound and collided with Tennessee big man Dominic Woodson, who is not a little guy at 6’10” and close to 300 pounds. Lewis slammed his head onto the court, and it could be heard pretty well.

I didn’t see it live, as I was covering another game at the time, but it was all over Twitter when it happened. The sense I got from what I read was not good, and I wondered if I was going to be horrified later when I saw any footage that might be available of the incident and/or the aftermath.

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2014-15 CAA Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
colonial

Times continue to change in the CAA, and while there is still good basketball, it’s definitely a new era. Last season saw just two CAA teams reach postseason play. In prior years, the conference had sent more. Plenty of teams have challenging non-conference slates this year, so opportunities for quality wins will be there – but whether or not they come is another story. Another membership change comes this season as Elon joins to bring the conference to ten teams. For now, it seems stable, but conference realignment never seems to really take a break, so enjoy it while it lasts.

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College of Charleston Cougars 2014-15 Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Conference Notes
charleston

College of Charleston Cougars (14-18 overall, 6-10 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Anthony Stitt
So. G Joe Chealey
So. G Canyon Barry
Sr. F Adjehi Baru
Fr. F Donovan Gilmore

Important departures:

G Nori Johnson, F Willis Hall and F Anthony Thomas have all departed.

Returning:

55.1 percent of scoring and 43.6 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Evan Bailey
Fr. F Donovan Gilmore
Fr. F-C Nick Harris
Fr. G Cameron Johnson

Schedule Highlights:

The Cougars have five home games in a challenging non-conference slate. Notable opponents at home include Gardner-Webb and former Southern Conference rival Davidson. They will play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off against defending national champion Connecticut, then either Texas A&M or Dayton in the second game with one more to follow. Additional road games are at West Virginia, Charlotte, LSU and Miami. Early in CAA play, they have a three-game homestand, followed by a stretch with five of six on the road.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Cougars had a more eventful off-season than anyone imagined, as the saga of now former head coach Doug Wojcik dominated the headlines. The plus is that this team has really come together, which makes part of new head coach Earl Grant’s job easier. There is talent here, and some reason to believe this team can finish higher than many might project. Stitt is a talented, seasoned veteran, while Chealey and Barry both had the kinds of ups and downs freshmen usually go through but appear ready to harness some of their potential. Baru will anchor the frontcourt, a solid rebounder who they will look to for more offense. If the guards make a good jump from freshman to sophomore year, that will go a long way towards this team contending.

Next: Delaware Blue Hens

Back to CAA Preview

Delaware Blue Hens 2014-15 Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Conference Notes
delaware

Delaware Blue Hens (25-10 overall, 14-2 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Fr. G Kory Holden
Sr. G Kyle Anderson
Fr. G-F Chivarsky Corbett
Jr. F Marvin King-Davis
So. F Devonne Pinkard

Important departures:

Gone from last season’s championship team are G Devon Saddler, G Jarvis Threatt (dismissed from team), F Davon User and C Carl Baptiste.

Returning:

25 percent of scoring and 29.6 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Eric Carter
Fr. G Chivarsky Corbett
Fr. G Kory Holden
Fr. F Skye Johnson
Fr. G Anthony Mosley

Schedule Highlights:

The Blue Hens played some very tough non-conference slates the last couple of years, but this one is a bit lighter while still having some tough contests. They open with five straight on the road, including a west coast swing with games at Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield and Stanford before coming back east to play at Villanova and later going to Northeast contender Robert Morris. They have two good home games with Temple and St. Bonaventure to highlight their four home non-conference games. CAA play has a tough start, as they host Northeastern before going on the road for three straight. Fortunately, they come home for three in a row right after that.

Projected finish and outlook:

Everything came together last year for Delaware as they won the conference championship. Now it’s a whole new team, especially since they had to dismiss Jarvis Threatt after too many off-court problems. They don’t lack talent, but they are a very green team, especially on the perimeter aside from Anderson, who is a good starting point. Anderson was slowed in the preseason by an injury, and then he needed surgery that will cost him about a month. They’ll hang their hat on him when he returns, but his absence early on likely means serious growing pains. Holden looks to be the likely starter at the point, but that’s never easy for a freshman. Mosley will get minutes backing him up, and Corbett may be the most ready to join Anderson on the wing. Early on, sophomore Cazmon Hayes will have a golden opportunity to earn a significant role. King-Davis and Pinkard are the most likely players to lead the way up front, though Monte Ross says that entire unit is, like the team, a work in progress. Barnett Harris also returns, and he can be an energy guy. The Blue Hens keep things simple, so the learning curve should be manageable for the young players, but this will be a very different group than the one Ross had and greatly trusted last year. The challenging non-conference slate will prepare them well for conference play, but with the youth on this team, managing confidence may come into play as it’s possible that the losses could add up.

Next: Drexel Dragons

Back to CAA Preview

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Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by

unlv

Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by

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Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by

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Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

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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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

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

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.