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Offense the first problem for Cincinnati in loss at Providence

by - Published February 7, 2013 in Columns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Cincinnati has lost five games this season, and in four of them, the offense has been on a milk carton. One of those games was Wednesday night’s 54-50 loss at Providence, and it was a textbook case of a bad night offensively.

Cincinnati shot 37.5 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers in a relatively low-possession game. The score was indicative not only of the defense of the two teams, but also the slow pace and difficulty both teams had making shots. The Bearcats have more assists than turnovers on the season, but that’s not the case in Big East play and Wednesday night’s game added to that as they had just eight assists.

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Old Dominion’s firing of Taylor makes no sense at first glance

by - Published February 7, 2013 in Columns

There has to be more to the story at Old Dominion than what’s currently out there. It simply doesn’t make sense.

Why in the world would Old Dominion fire Blaine Taylor with his record of success at the school? Granted, the Monarchs are having a forgettable season at 2-20, but this season is very much an aberration for the winningest coach in school history. It would be one thing if this was the worst of a steady downward trend over several seasons, but that’s simply not the case.

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Boston University needs to grow by finishing games better

by - Published February 6, 2013 in Columns

BOSTON – As the season has gone along, Boston University’s young team has grown.  They have grown past the disappointment of losing several games in the final seconds early on and past the season-opening five-game losing streak.  Now, as the Terriers go two games above .500 in conference play after a 79-72 win over Maine on Tuesday night, it is clear that the tougher part of their growth is what lies ahead.

The Terriers have plenty of talent, and that was one reason to believe this team would start winning games at some point.  It was just a question of when that would happen.  The Terriers bounced back from the tough start to the season to win six non-conference games, and before losing at Hartford on Saturday they had won five of six and made it a game above .500 overall on the season.  They also got themselves on the other side of some tough games, as they were able to win games late or with the odds very much against them.

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Drexel has had to beat more than just opponents this season

by - Published February 3, 2013 in Columns

BOSTON – Raise your hand if you thought Drexel would be in the middle of the pack in the CAA this season.

No hands? None at all?

It’s hard to blame anyone who would keep their hand down. There was just about every reason to think Drexel was the clear team to beat in the CAA this season, and we won’t go through those now. But as we are more than halfway home, the Dragons are mired in mediocrity with a 5-5 conference record after losing 59-52 at Northeastern on Saturday night.

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For Boston College, getting a win to break the losing streak is all that matters

by - Published February 2, 2013 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Boston College could have used a win like the one they appeared headed for much of Saturday afternoon. The Eagles looked to be well on their way to a convincing win over Clemson before the Tigers mounted a big comeback and got within one. The Eagles made the stops they needed to and held on for a 75-68 win, one that might have been a little too close for comfort under normal circumstances.

A win is a win, even if it wasn’t as comfortable as it once looked like it might be.

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Clemson shows promise and room for growth in loss at Boston College

by - Published February 2, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Brad Brownell’s body language said it all. The Clemson mentor watched Boston College miss two free throws and his team not hang on to the rebound, giving BC the ball back with a fresh shot clock while already having a ten-point lead late in the game. It was that kind of afternoon for the Tigers in their 75-68 loss to the Eagles, an afternoon that masks the potential this team has.

The Tigers never looked like you would expect a Brownell-coached team to and then seemed to lose their cool at times. They finally showed some life in the final ten minutes of the game, rallying to within one late, but they dug themselves too deep a hole to rally from. Perhaps this might just be a case of growing pains, something this team has had with only two upperclassmen on the roster.

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Behind young guards, Harvard’s offense has become a big part of the story

by - Published February 2, 2013 in Columns

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Over the past few seasons, as Harvard has become an Ivy League contender and then champion, the Crimson developed an identity. They were known as a defensive team, one that would shut you down no matter the style of play. They became known as a team that lives off its defense. That’s still important, but this year’s team is making its mark on the offensive end in a big way, and that was apparent once again in their 67-64 win over Yale on Friday night.

Harvard is shooting a little under 49 percent from the field on the season, a figure that puts them in the top 15 nationally. They also shoot over 41 percent from long range, good for fifth nationally, and assist on over 60 percent of their made field goals. They average nearly 70 points per game, which won’t put them among the national leaders but is a pretty good number nonetheless. About the only knock on the stat sheet is that they have a few more turnovers than assists, though they closed the gap on that one Friday night.

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Missed opportunities make for a missed opportunity for Providence

by - Published February 1, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Thursday night was a missed opportunity for Providence.  The Friars had a lot of those on the evening, actually, but that’s what the 82-79 overtime loss to Connecticut amounted to as a result.

It was a missed opportunity to get back above .500 overall and simultaneously send Connecticut below .500 in the Big East.  It was an opportunity to stop a two-game losing streak and to do so against their rivals from one state away, at a time when they are very beatable.  And most of all, it was an opportunity to win a game where effort wasn’t the biggest issue.

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Making shots a key reason VCU is back in the win column

by - Published January 31, 2013 in Columns

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – The keys to VCU snapping a two-game losing streak were a couple of simple ones: make shots and hang in when the game gets tough.  The former is one they struggled to do in the two losses, and while an unexpected issue showed up, offensive rebounding helped overcome that as well.

VCU beat Rhode Island 70-64 on Wednesday night in large part because of 48.1 percent shooting and 17 offensive rebounds.  They had just a slight 18-15 edge in second-chance points on the evening, but that helped cover up for giving the ball away 19 times, tying a season high and a total head coach Shaka Smart described as “way too many turnovers.”  It also helped them overcome another tough night from long range, as they were just 2-11 on the evening.

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Better defense in the second half is just what North Carolina needed

by - Published January 30, 2013 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – North Carolina got a road win on Tuesday night that won’t help their NCAA Tournament profile, but could help them get there.  The Tar Heels came into the game just 2-4 on the road and hope that an 82-70 win at Boston College will help them pick up more of those later on.  To do that, they will need to improve on some things that they improved upon slightly in this game.

North Carolina hasn’t played well defensively in ACC play, and the first half of Tuesday night was no exception.  The Tar Heels force plenty of turnovers – nearly 15 a game, more than any ACC team except Duke – but when opponents don’t cough it up they tend to make shots at a good rate.  The Eagles turned the ball over nine times in the first half but shot 48 percent from the field, going 5-10 from long range.  In the second half, they shot below 42 percent and were just 2-10 from deep, and it was more important since they turned it over just once in the second half.

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College Basketball Tonight

COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, who will be joined by former Manhattan and Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on every Sunday from Selection Sunday to the Final Four. You can listen to the show here.

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.

2013 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: St. Andrew's
Sept 10: Tilton
Sept. 11: South Kent School and Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 12: Putnam Science Academy
Sept. 16: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 17: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 23: New Hampton School
Sept. 24: Brimmer and May
Sept. 25: Proctor Academy
Sept. 26: Notre Dame Prep and Cushing Academy
Sept. 29: Worcester Academy and Vermont Academy
Oct. 6: Charlestown High School and Milton Academy
Oct. 13: Tabor Academy
Oct. 15: Brooks School

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

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

Cesar Fulcar commits to Wentworth

The senior guard led Watertown to the state semifinal this past season

Travel team profile: Bay State Magic

Bay State Magic doesn’t have much size on their junior team this season, so they’ll have to win with execution and intangibles

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is already 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