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Saturday Notes – January 31, 2015

by - Published February 1, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday was one of the busiest game days of the season, as over 150 games were on tap with Division I teams. With the many great games on the slate, many of which were at least as good as advertised, it should be a happy day. But there’s a good deal of sadness hanging over the day in light of news that came after 10 p.m. Eastern: VCU point guard Briante Weber is done for the season with a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus in his knee. His college career is over.

Suddenly, all the great games on the day seemed so insignificant. Weber was the epitome of HAVOC and was on the verge of breaking the NCAA’s record for career steals. He had six of those on the afternoon before this happened. He’s a key vocal leader for a team that’s winning big this season, though they lost on Saturday (and were already trailing when he got hurt). He’s got a great motor and is a great kid. Put another way, he represents everything that’s right with college basketball.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, January 31, 2015

by - Published January 31, 2015 in The Morning Dish

On Friday nights from here on out, Ivy League basketball will take center stage. It got started last night, and that’s what the next six weeks will be like – the 14-game tournament, as they call it, since the Ivy League doesn’t have a tournament.

By now, each team has played their travel partner twice, save for Penn and Princeton, who still have one more meeting left. While it’s early yet, we now have our first full taste and a little more of a sense of each team.

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As more players develop, Bucknell becomes a clear contender

by - Published January 27, 2015 in Columns

BOSTON – It’s rare that one man carries a team all the way to a conference title in college basketball, no matter how good that player is. Chris Hass is certainly not going to carry Bucknell to a Patriot League title, as one example of interest, despite his great shooting and overall development after a breakout season a year ago. But with a supporting cast developing around him, the Bison are clicking offensively and emerging as a dangerous team, as well as a leader in the league as we near the halfway point.

A great example of this has come during the Bison’s four-game winning streak, the last two of which have come on the road. It’s been tough for them to win on the road, in part because they played some tough non-league games away from home. The offense has really clicked lately, however, and that’s been a big difference. While Hass is leading the way, he now has a lot more help.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, January 26, 2015

by - Published January 26, 2015 in Columns

What can you say about Mike Krzyzewski that hasn’t already been said? Well, there can’t be much by now. Leading up to the possibility of a big milestone, there was a lot that we learned about him that we might not already know. As of Sunday, we can say one thing about him with certainty: he is the first Division I men’s basketball coach to win 1,000 career games.

This one didn’t come easily at all, and when you’ve won 1,000 games, surely a few have been very difficult. St. John’s led at halftime, aided by the officials allowing a three-pointer that appeared not to beat the shot clock just before the half, and then they led by as many as ten in the second half. It took an 18-2 run by the Blue Devils to pull this one out.

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Saturday Notes – January 24, 2015

by - Published January 25, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

While this Saturday didn’t have quite the same top-tier matchups of a week ago, it was still an important day of action, especially in a couple of conferences where teams are tightly bunched together in the standings and played each other. The end result, for the most part is that the conference races remain quite muddled. That’s a reminder that there’s still a lot of basketball to play, and before long some of these races will probably sort themselves out.

With that, here are some thoughts on some of the day’s most noteworthy games.

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2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

by - Published January 23, 2015 in Recruiting

The Boston Winter Invitational presented by Hoopville is on Sunday at UMass-Boston. It will consist of four prep school games, and among the participating teams are two ranked in the top ten of Next Up Recruits national post-grad program rankings and two more from Canada. There will be a little bit of local flavor early on, as the first matchup involves two teams from Massachusetts, one from close by and the other from the western part of the state but with several players from the Boston area. There will be good talent in the gym all day, and each game should be a competitive one.

Here is a look at what you can expect with all four matchups.

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2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

by - Published January 21, 2015 in Recruiting

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The last day of the Spalding Hoophall Classic may have had only five games, but it was the big one, full of TV matchups. There was plenty of star power, and the only game not nationally televised was a great game to start the day that came right down to the final buzzer.

The first three games of the day were all close, while the fourth was close until the fourth quarter. The last one wasn’t quite as close as the final score might suggest. The constant was the talent, and although each team had star performers, most also had good support players and/or younger talents that helped out and are also worth noting and watching in the future.

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2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

by - Published January 19, 2015 in Recruiting

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Prep schools took center stage on Sunday at the Spalding Hoophall Classic as eight games were on tap. It was also a day where the weather became an unexpected story, as a warm-up that was widely forecast never occurred, and as such many people had some horror stories. It also affected the event, as New Hampton arrived late due to road conditions and Brewster Academy had a five-hour drive home after their win.

It was a reminder that winter weather in New England is, as a coach once put it, basketball weather: why we play the game indoors. With that, we take a look at scores, then some notes.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, January 19, 2015

by - Published January 19, 2015 in The Morning Dish

If you have followed college basketball in recent years, it’s hard to believe that it was barely a generation ago that DePaul was a national power. The Blue Demons were once a team that were consistently in the national rankings and winning NCAA Tournament games. They produced All-Americans and NBA players.

Nowadays, DePaul is facing a constant uphill battle, especially since they joined the Big East. While the conference took off for several years when they were among a group of schools to join the conference, DePaul was not part of that. They instead mostly struggled, with a couple of high notes but mostly downers in recent times.

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2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

by - Published January 18, 2015 in Recruiting

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Spalding Hoophall Classic officially began on Thursday and continued on Friday. But the event really kicked into high gear on Saturday, as is always the case, as teams from out of the area got into the action. Seven games were on tap, and all featured good talent. While there were only two blowouts and another convincing win, the last game of the day was the best one, and perhaps not coincidentally, the only one to go to overtime.

With many college games being played on Saturday (over 140 in Division I alone), the college coach area was not exactly packed for most of the day. There were more later in the day than early on, and Sunday figures to be a little different with the college slate being much lighter.

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Your Phil of Hoops

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