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Needham, Fairfield seniors live another day

by - Published March 9, 2013 in Columns
fairfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Derek Needham didn’t want his career to end on Friday night. A classmate felt the same way and a teammate at the opposite end of the experience spectrum helped him out, and in turn they helped Fairfield move on with a 54-47 win over St. Peter’s.

Needham isn’t the only senior on Fairfield, as fellow guards Colin Nickerson and Desmond Wade are also coming up on the end of their college careers. But he’s the big name on the team, the program’s third all-time leading scorer, the guy who has been an impact player from the minute he arrived on campus and scored in double figures in all but one game of his freshman campaign. He’s the charismatic young man who is well-known around the campus and not just because he’s a basketball player. He’s the star guard who didn’t play in the conference tournament last year due to a broken foot.

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Siena shows some toughness in advancing to the MAAC quarterfinals

by - Published March 9, 2013 in Columns
siena

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Oftentimes, when a team has the lead for much of the game and loses it without much time left, it’s a big psychological blow. For a team like Siena, where wins have been hard to come by and especially of late, that is the case even more so. That makes Siena’s 70-64 win over Marist in the first round of the MAAC Tournament a positive development, and one they’ll need heading into Saturday’s quarterfinal matchup with regular season champion Niagara.

In a back-and-forth first half, Siena held the lead throughout largely from inside play as O.D. Anosike was determined not to end his career on Friday night and Davis Martens gave them a nice boost off the bench. That opened up the outside game for Rob Poole, and the Saints were shooting 52 percent in the first half to overcome nine turnovers.

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Butler bounces back from blowout loss, look more like themselves

by - Published March 8, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
butler

AMHERST, Mass. – Butler was much more like themselves on Thursday night, a game after a decidedly un-Butler-like performance at VCU. In between, there was some reflection and focused practices, and the end result was a 73-62 win at UMass where the Bulldogs were solid all around and for most of the game.

The 84-52 loss at VCU caught everyone by surprise. Butler may lose games, and they have been blown out before, but it is very rare. Games like that just don’t happen. So it’s not surprising that after the game, it was a little unusual.

“You question yourself a little bit when you get beat in the way we got beat on Saturday, and these guys deserve to enjoy this one,” said head coach Brad Stevens.

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2013 CAA Awards: How one person voted

by - Published March 7, 2013 in Columns, Conference Notes
colonial

The Colonial Athletic Association will hand out postseason awards on Friday night, the eve of the conference tournament as is tradition. The awards are voted on by the conference’s head coaches, SIDs and select media members. As I am one of the voters, sharing how I voted provides a worthwhile look back on the regular season.

This time around, it was a tough call for one major award and an easy call for two of them. For the all-conference teams, it wasn’t as difficult, and easier than that was the All-Rookie team as it wasn’t a big year for instant impact freshmen in the conference. With the All-Defensive team, it was difficult simply because defense is so often a team operation and with no real statistics or metrics for individual players it’s very difficult to evaluate without seeing everyone play more than once or twice. (Steals and blocked shots only tell us so much because it’s easy for players to get into foul trouble attempting both.)

With that in mind, here is a look at how I voted and what went into each vote. On each of the teams, the players are listed alphabetically.

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Mount St. Mary’s resets again to stay hot and advance

by - Published March 7, 2013 in Columns
mountsaintmarys

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The magic carpet ride continues for the hottest team in the Northeast Conference.  A Mount St. Mary’s team that few had going far this season, a season with a coaching change, is now in the NEC Tournament semifinals after a big 75-69 road victory at Bryant on Wednesday night, their eighth straight win.  It’s a team that won by doing something they’ve had to do a lot of over the last year – hit the reset button.

There have been a lot of moments where this team has had to his the reset button and pull things together.  There was the coaching change, for one, coming at the end of a long season.  There were some rough games early on this season.  There was the 1-4 start in NEC play.  There have been many times where the defense has had to do it as they allow opponents to shoot an unseemly 51 percent from the field on the season.  And on Wednesday night, there was the first half, where the Mountaineers shot 28 percent from the field and allowed the Bulldogs to shoot over 48 percent.

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An unexpected end to Bryant’s season

by - Published March 7, 2013 in Columns
bryant

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – It wasn’t supposed to end this way.  The storybook season was supposed to include a magical run in March, completing the amazing turnaround from last year with an NCAA Tournament bid.  Perhaps a couple of things would fall right and they would even get to do it at home.

Instead, Bryant’s season came to an end on Wednesday night, the latest victims of the hottest team in the Northeast Conference after a 75-69 loss to Mount St. Mary’s.  And while there can be a look ahead to a brighter future, that’s for a later time.

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Providence could work their way onto the bubble

by - Published March 6, 2013 in Columns
providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Could Providence become a bubble team?  The answer to that might not be as easy as you think, or may have thought not so long ago.  Providence’s 76-66 win over Seton Hall on Tuesday night is certainly not a resume builder, but it puts them above .500 in Big East play, something that likewise seemed unthinkable once upon a time.

It wasn’t all that long ago that some might have written this team off as far as postseason play was concerned.  The Friars started Big East play 2-7 with a pair of three-game losing streaks, and they simply didn’t look good.  The two wins came at Seton Hall and at home against Villanova, neither of which seemed very impressive at the time and still don’t now.  A 5-1 month of February changed all of that, and now they are 2-0 in March to stay on a roll.

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BC’s Dick Kelley an unsung hero in our line of work

by - Published March 5, 2013 in Columns
bostoncollege

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – In our work, we deal with many people. Anyone who reads our stories knows we deal with players and coaches, and at times game officials. There are also athletic directors, commissioners, other school and conference administrators, players’ parents and other family members at times as well. But they are far from alone.

Tying it all together are those who work in media relations, the people that you very rarely hear about. But they are hugely important to our line of work. Known to many as “SIDs” (Sports Information Directors, as titles tend to vary but the work is the same), they rarely get any pub – and Boston College’s Dick Kelley was fine with that. On Sunday, however, he got just that in a ceremony that had so many dimensions to it before Eagles’ game against Virginia. And it was clear he was overwhelmed by it all.

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Virginia can’t turn win over Duke into a momentum builder

by - Published March 4, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
virginia

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Like Maryland before them, Virginia scored a big win over Duke at home. Then they had to go on the road at Boston College, a team near the bottom of the ACC but one that isn’t far from being in the middle of the pack. Maryland couldn’t avoid a letdown and lost at The Heights, and Virginia came close to a better result but couldn’t put away the Eagles, who took home an emotional 53-52 win to likewise put the Cavaliers in a tight spot for the NCAA Tournament.

Like Maryland, Virginia also has some youth, although they have three upperclassmen who start. The Cavaliers have been a tough team to fully figure out on the bottom line, as they went 0-3 against CAA schools in non-conference but won every other game. They should be able to run the table at home in ACC play with one game still left, but have only knocked off Virginia Tech and Maryland away from Charlottesville. That ability to win on the road is a big one, and it was something head coach Tony Bennett was talking about after the game with regard to how it got away.

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St. John’s not too different without Harrison at first

by - Published March 3, 2013 in Columns
stjohns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – St. John’s didn’t look all that different in their first game without the suspended D’Angelo Harrison on Saturday night.  Playing against a team that has a lot of similarities to them, the Red Storm had some similar results in their 62-59 loss at Providence, a game where they certainly had their chances.

Lavin announced the suspension of Harrison on Friday.  That didn’t leave much time before Saturday’s game to adjust, and he said there wasn’t much talk with his team about what this meant as far as adjustments from an offensive standpoint.

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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.

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Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

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

hofstra

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

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

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by

bigten

The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by

sunbelt

Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

bigsky

The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

meac

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

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