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Manhattan didn’t have to look far to become a champion

by - Published March 11, 2014 in Columns
manhattan

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – When a team beats a neighborhood rival for a championship, you might expect a lot of bragging rights-type of talk from the winning team. You might expect them to not have high words for the opponent in between basking in the glow of the championship. That all gets magnified by it being a championship game, with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line, as well as a rematch of the title game from a year earlier.

And yet there was nothing but respect for Iona coming from Manhattan, located less than ten miles away, after the Jaspers’ 71-68 win in the MAAC Championship game. It speaks to the character of the young men in the program and why they went from going 6-25 and a tie for the bottom of the MAAC to being champions in three years.

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Not the ending anyone imagined for Drexel

by - Published March 9, 2014 in Columns
drexel

BALTIMORE – The way Chris Fouch headed to the bench said it all. It wasn’t the way a guy who scores 30 points in a tremendous effort normally would.

This wasn’t how the season was supposed to end for Drexel. Not in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament with a senior-driven team. Not with a 90-81 loss that didn’t feel that close and where there was a good stretch the team looked out-classed. Not in a game where the opponent set a season high for points in a game, and it wasn’t an overtime game. Not in a game where the Dragons scored 60 points in the second half, but allowed the opponent to shoot 65 percent.

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Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

by - Published March 9, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
hofstra

BALTIMORE – Little was expected of Hofstra this season. The reasons for it are clear and have been talked about, and they can be rehashed more at a later time. Joe Mihalich and any underclassmen had every reason to just look ahead to next year, when some of this season’s issues go away instantly, but there was none of that. Now it’s on to getting ready for next year, but the season that ended with Saturday’s 87-76 loss to Delaware in the CAA Tournament is a necessary part of the process, difficult though it may have been.

The easy thing is to look at the Pride’s final record of 10-23 and dismiss it as the kind of year that could be expected. Perhaps along the way, they competed, they pushed better teams to the limit like they did on Saturday, but just couldn’t quite break through. While that happened, that’s only the bottom line and not the whole story for this team.

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Through new life challenges, Devon Saddler is a driven player and family person

by - Published March 8, 2014 in Columns
delaware

If you just look at some of Devon Saddler’s statistics, you might get an impression of Delaware’s all-time leading scorer. Seeing his numbers, mainly his scoring, shooting and assist numbers, might leave an impression that he’s been your classic gunner who has scored from taking a lot of shots, and you might wonder about him as a team player and a young man.

Stop right there if that’s the impression you get. It’s about as false an impression as you can get.

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At Drexel, two different guards from different places try to extend their careers

by - Published March 7, 2014 in Columns
drexel

This weekend, Drexel will attempt to prolong a season that began with a lot of promise. It hasn’t quite gone as many had hoped, but two senior guards will try to lead them to a longer season. It is those two guards, who come from different places, who have had different journeys to this point, and who have become like brothers while learning plenty about dealing with adversity, who will try to lead them one last time in the Colonial Athletic Association.

From a basketball standpoint, the backgrounds of Chris Fouch and Frantz Massenat aren’t all that similar. Their careers have been quite different as well, but as teammates they have been a big part of how Drexel has done. Through adversity, they have forged a strong bond that Massenat points out during interviews of both. It is perhaps only fitting that they will finish right next to each other on the school’s all-time scoring list.

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2014 CAA awards: How one person voted

by - Published March 7, 2014 in Columns
colonial

The Colonial Athletic Association handed out its postseason awards on Thursday night, as usual a day in advance of the conference tournament. As one of the voters in the conference, I always find it a worthwhile exercise to share how I voted and some of the thoughts behind it.

The most notable highlight is that the Player of the Year vote was a tough one. I debated that more than anything else, even finishing my ballot other than that award at first so I could ponder it more. A couple of the other awards were relatively easy this time around, and at the margins it was a tough call in a couple of cases for the last person on one of the teams.

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For Bryant, especially the seniors, there are no words right now

by - Published March 6, 2014 in Columns
bryant

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – What do you say to the players who have meant so much to your program after a heart-breaking loss likely ends their careers? What do you say to the players who gave all they had, even transformed themselves, for the betterment of your program at a crucial stage?

In truth, there are no words. Tim O’Shea, who has seen plenty in the world of basketball, had a hard time finding them after Bryant lost a 55-54 heart-breaker to Saint Francis in the Northeast Conference Tournament on Wednesday night. And you can’t blame him. His lack of words says nothing about him and everything about the situation.

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Saint Francis scores a big, unlikely win

by - Published March 6, 2014 in Columns
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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – When the final buzzer sounded, Ronnie Drinnon turned to the students and raised his arms, even though his team was on the road. His coach could barely contain himself a couple of minutes later. And if you know a little of the history of Saint Francis University, including recently, along with how much the coach knows about that history and the makeup of the team right now, you can understand why.

It might be one of the biggest quarterfinal wins in a mid-major conference tournament in some time. Drinnon had just played the game of his life, and a program that hasn’t tasted a great deal of success got a big win that can be a big momentum boost even if they get thumped in their next game on Saturday.

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Offense helps Florida State move along late in the season

by - Published March 5, 2014 in Columns
floridastate

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Florida State was very concerned about Boston College for a lot of reasons. After pulling out a 74-70 win over the Eagles, they were pretty relieved.

“I hope that people understand that they’ve got everybody back next year, and I hope we only play them once, and I hope it’s at our place,” said head coach Leonard Hamilton with a smile. “We were just very fortunate to get a stop, hit a free throw, get a turnover right at the end that gave us a chance to pull it out.”

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Brewster Academy wins a second straight title on more than talent

by - Published March 3, 2014 in Columns
author_kasiecki

BEVERLY, Mass. – Championships are not won merely by assembling talent and rolling out the basketballs. Jason Smith already understood this well, and that was driven home again on Sunday. The good thing for the Brewster Academy head coach is that the result of it was positive, a thrilling 68-63 win over New Hampton in the NEPSAC Class AAA championship.

Brewster Academy won the Class AAA championship for the second year in a row and has now won four NEPSAC titles in the past seven seasons. While in recent years the Bobcats have annually had the most talent in Class AAA, that hasn’t always translated into a title. Talent alone doesn’t do it, and it’s not just because NEPSAC is so competitive, although Smith offered plenty of words about that after the game.

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Your Phil of Hoops

Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

March 15, 2015 by

temple

Temple is firmly on the bubble after losing in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to SMU. It’s the first time in head coach Fran Dunphy’s storied career that his team has been in this situation.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen 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.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.