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For Cincinnati, offense will be the key

by - Published March 14, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

NEW YORK – Cincinnati tried to play smaller and faster, which Mick Cronin felt was the way to go for this team. It worked like a charm on Wednesday, but Cronin knew it would be a tall order against Georgetown on Thursday. He was right, and while he seems to have found a way to play that works, the Bearcats will have to wait to go with it again after falling 62-43 in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

Cincinnati got off to a nice start on the season in winning their first 12 games. Since losing a tough one to New Mexico at home, they haven’t put together a winning streak longer than three in a row, although they started Big East play with a win at Pittsburgh. In February they lost five of six at one point after winning five of six. They should be in the NCAA Tournament, as they have the wins without any bad losses.

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How bright is Rutgers’ future now?

by - Published March 14, 2013 in Columns

NEW YORK – Not long after Mike Rice was named the head coach at Rutgers, there was reason to believe better times were ahead. Rice has lots of connections in New Jersey to, in theory, finally get some of the top talent in the talent-rich state. The thought was that Rutgers finally had the right guy running the program. But with his third season at the school now almost certainly in the books, the future seems more murky than one would have expected.

After losing to Notre Dame 69-61 in the second round of the Big East Tournament, Rutgers finishes the season 14-16. There is a slim chance a postseason tournament without the requirement of a .500 record will come calling, but chances are they have played their last basketball of the season. They went 5-13 in Big East play and finished 12th, which is one spot below where they were picked in the preseason poll. They were 14-18 overall last season, including a 6-12 record in Big East play. They were a young team this season, but the lack of bottom line results is just part of the story.

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2013 Big East Tournament second round quick hitters

by - Published March 14, 2013 in Columns, Conference Notes

NEW YORK – The quarterfinals are up next in the Big East Tournament. In the second round, we saw Cincinnati blitz Providence early and fend off a rally, Syracuse rally from an early deficit due to a hot shooting Seton Hall team with a very strong second half, Villanova knock off a young St. John’s team and Notre Dame pull away from Rutgers and then hold them off. The four winners take on the top four seeds on Thursday.

Some quick hitters from Wednesday:

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Providence needs to keep growing to win more in New York

by - Published March 13, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

NEW YORK – Providence head coach Ed Cooley talked a lot about his program making progress but still having work to do. Whether or not more of that work will come this season in another game will have to wait a few days, as Providence bowed out of the Big East Tournament on Wednesday with a 61-44 loss to Cincinnati in which they didn’t play well, especially at the offensive end.

At this point, it’s a given that Providence won’t be in the NCAA Tournament. The Friars needed to make a run in New York for any chance, especially since a win on Wednesday would have given them a great opportunity for a quality win as Georgetown would be next. Instead, the Friars’ difficulties winning in New York continued as Wednesday’s loss was their fifth straight in the Big East Tournament. For that matter, their last win broke another five-game losing streak in the tournament.

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2013 Big East Tournament first round quick hitters

by - Published March 13, 2013 in Columns, Conference Notes

NEW YORK – The first round of the Big East Tournament is in the books, with two quick games on Tuesday night. One came right down to the end with overtime, the second saw the winning team pull away and in a game with much more scoring. Two full days of action are ahead, Providence and Cincinnati opening up Wednesday’s action at noon.

Some quick hitters from Tuesday night’s games:

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Iona’s journey ends with no doubt about their NCAA Tournament status

by - Published March 12, 2013 in Columns

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Last year, Iona was a surprise entrant in the NCAA Tournament, reaching it as an at-large. Many prognosticators didn’t think they had the resume for it and thought any of a number of other schools had better profiles. This time around, there was quite a journey to get there, but will be no doubt about it: they are in after beating Manhattan 60-57 in the MAAC championship game on Monday night.

“I said from the beginning of the season we want to make the tournament the right way,” said junior guard Sean Armand. “We lost in the semifinals last year and got an at-large bid. I told the guys I really want to make the tournament by earning that spot.”

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Not a big surprise that the MAAC’s top seed went down early

by - Published March 11, 2013 in Columns

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – When a top seed goes down before the championship game in a conference tournament, there is often a lot of buzz. There was probably some when Iona beat Niagara 79-73 in the MAAC Tournament semifinals on Sunday. But in all reality, not only is the MAAC notoriously competitive, but this Niagara team is not one many thought would have won the regular season title, and that wasn’t lost on Joe Mihalich, who had a mix of feelings after the loss.

“I don’t know if we had any business winning 13 games in that league this year, but we did,” said Mihalich. “We got one in the playoffs, won a regular season championship.”

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Early turnaround at Canisius doesn’t mean much right this moment

by - Published March 11, 2013 in Columns

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Billy Baron was hurting. You could see it from the facial expression, then in his voice as he spoke. Usually full of life and energy, he wasn’t quite that after Canisius’ season ended with a tough 89-85 loss to Iona in the MAAC quarterfinals on Saturday. He was more than a little subdued.

“This is really painful right now,” said the junior guard.

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Turnovers hurt Siena right to the end

by - Published March 10, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – When Siena looks back on this season, one possible theme could be “if only we took better care of the ball.” Although turnovers were a season-long problem for the Saints, and far from their only one, it was particularly acute on Saturday in their season-ending 74-62 loss to Niagara in the MAAC Tournament.

Siena turned the ball over nearly 15 times a game this season, while forcing less than 11 per game. In Saturday’s loss, they gave it away 20 times to Niagara, a team that thrives on forcing turnovers, with ten each half. Niagara turned them into 32 points, but that was only half the story. The other half is what the lost possessions meant on Siena’s end.

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A look around the country – March 10, 2013

by - Published March 10, 2013 in Columns

Saturday was a big day as conference tournaments get ready to take over. Many have already started, and a few championship games are ahead on Sunday. Noteworthy among the regular season games were a few teams not finishing well down the stretch, which might make their NCAA Tournament candidacy a little more interesting than it should be.

With that in mind, here are some thoughts coming out of Saturday’s games.

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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.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by


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


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 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

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
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

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Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Suffield Academy looks to grow into Class A in NEPSAC

September 29, 2014 by


Signs of growth are present at Suffield Academy, and along the way the basketball team moves up into NEPSAC Class A this season as they try to keep the program growing.

Wilbraham and Monson has a new leader with a similar level of talent

September 29, 2014 by


A busy Sunday started with a trip to Wilbraham and Monson Academy, where there is a new head coach who has been at the school and some good talent to work with.

Williston Northampton begins a new chapter on the hardwood

September 26, 2014 by


A new era is dawning at the Williston Northampton School on the hardwood. It includes a new head coach who is changing some things up right away.

Kent School has some pieces to compete in NEPSAC Class A

September 25, 2014 by


The Kent School might not have the talent or depth of its neighboring prep school, but they have a team worth watching that could compete in Class A this season.

South Kent has a lot of pieces – and size – to compete in NEPSAC Class AAA

September 25, 2014 by


South Kent has a lot of size and lineup options this season. That will enable Kelvin Jefferson’s team to be very competitive in NEPSAC Class AAA.