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Saturday Notes – February 1, 2014

by - Published February 2, 2014 in Columns
author_kasiecki

The second-busiest day of college basketball this season was Saturday, with 150 games scheduled. One, Kennesaw State at East Tennessee State, was postponed. The rest were played and included a bunch of dandies, as well as some with important results. Included was the eagerly-awaited Duke-Syracuse matchup in the Carrier Dome, and let’s just say that many will be talking about that one for a while.

As if that wasn’t enough, the number one team in the country went down later in the night.

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Princeton is already in a deep hole

by - Published February 1, 2014 in Columns
princeton

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – It’s early yet, but already Princeton needs help. After losing 82-76 at Harvard on Friday night, the Tigers are in a hole that will be very difficult to climb out of.

The final score of the game showed a six-point margin, but the game wasn’t quite that close. In a similar vein, the Tigers’ Ivy League record shows 0-2, but the Tigers are in more trouble than you might think. It might be early to talk about this, but the Tigers already don’t control their own destiny.

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It’s time for Cincinnati to come out from under the radar

by - Published January 31, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
cincinnati

It’s time to start talking about Cincinnati. The Bearcats have flown under the radar long enough, especially after they went into Louisville and emerged with a 69-66 win over the Cardinals despite blowing a 17-point lead in the second half.

Forget that the Cardinals have a deceptive 17-4 record and a good, not great, NCAA Tournament resume. This is about the Bearcats, a team that is now 20-2 overall and 9-0 in American Athletic Conference play and emerging as the clear team to beat there. The only losses were at New Mexico and against Xavier at a neutral site. Likely few, if any, picked the Bearcats over the likes of Louisville, Connecticut or Memphis before the season.

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Virginia Tech having a rough go of it lately

by - Published January 30, 2014 in Columns
virginiatech

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – James Johnson summed it all up fairly quickly and concisely to begin the press conference.

“It was a very disappointing night at both ends of the floor for us,” the Virginia Tech head coach said.

A quick look at the scoreboard would be all you need to know, as Boston College blew out the Hokies 76-52. This is just the latest setback, however, and it’s not a good time for the team right now.

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Defense is the big concern for Xavier entering a week-long break

by - Published January 26, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
xavier

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Chris Mack didn’t mince words. After praising Providence, who beat his Xavier team 81-72 on Saturday, he started in on his team with their defensive play, and he continued and finished with that as well. It’s clear he wasn’t happy with his team’s defense, and that it wasn’t just on Saturday that such was the case.

“I thought our defense was terrible. It was pathetic,” said the Xavier head coach. “It was not who we’ve been, but it’s who we’ve been lately, and it needs to change, because nobody is going to compete for a Big East championship, an NCAA Tournament berth, and all the things we have outlined for our program this year if we’re playing games in the 80s and 90s.”

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Saturday Notes – January 25, 2014

by - Published January 26, 2014 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Another 140 games are in the books from a busy Saturday of college basketball. While the day wasn’t loaded with highly-anticipated matchups, perhaps the most notable item from the day is that a few teams got big road wins.

Here is a look at notes coming from some key games on the day.

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For Holy Cross, the mentality makes a big difference

by - Published January 22, 2014 in Columns
holycross

WORCESTER, Mass. – It’s all about the mentality at Holy Cross of late. The last week has seen two good wins and the team play good basketball to get there, and with it a commensurate confidence boost. While there’s still a hill to climb, the Crusaders look to be in a good place in terms of how they are going about everything.

Holy Cross has had to deal with injuries, and while they haven’t had to as much as some teams have, they have had to adjust a good deal along the way. They had to go without Cullen Hamilton early on due to a knee injury, and just when he appeared to be coming into his own he then came back and aggravated it. They had to shut him down for a stretch so he can heal enough to play the rest of the season.

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2014 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

by - Published January 20, 2014 in Columns
author_kasiecki

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Blake Arena at Springfield College was home to six games on Sunday in the Spalding Hoophall Classic. The day featured three ten-point games in between three blowouts, but each game had some good talent and a host of college coaches since it was a lighter day on the college front. A day earlier, it was a different look with 151 Division I games on tap.

First, the scores from the day, then some notes coming out of the games.

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Cotton is the best player on the floor as Providence beats Creighton

by - Published January 20, 2014 in Columns
providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – One of the country’s best players came to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Saturday night. The best player on the court, however, was a different player, and on some nights that will happen. Bryce Cotton took home the honors in leading Providence to an 81-68 win over Creighton, and it’s a win that says as much about the winners and their leader as it does who they beat.

Providence plays plenty of games on national television, but it’s not every night one of those games involves a player like Doug McDermott. This game may have gotten a few more viewers than some of Providence’s other games for just that reason, and Cotton embraced that stage like he has every other game in his career.

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Lehigh’s next chapter has been painful of late

by - Published January 19, 2014 in Columns
lehigh

WORCESTER, Mass. – Don’t let Lehigh’s record, or their 61-42 loss at Holy Cross on Saturday, fool you. The Mountain Hawks are 8-11 overall and 1-5 in the Patriot League play, but this isn’t the beginning of the mighty falling. More likely is that it’s the beginning of their next rise, and it’s been a rough one at times.

There is plenty of talent on this team, but much of it is young. The Mountain Hawks start senior point guard Mackey McKnight and junior guard Corey Schaefer, but along with them are freshmen Austin Price and Tim Kempton (son of the former NBA big man) and sophomore Jesse Chuku, who is like a freshman since the native of England was ineligible last season. They have two more freshmen, a sophomore and a junior in the rotation.

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