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Colorado continues to reach for new heights in run to the Charleston Classic final

by - Published November 16, 2012 in Columns
colorado

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Colorado doesn’t look like a football school anymore. The football program hasn’t been at the elite level it once was, but there’s a bigger reason: Tad Boyle’s work as the men’s basketball head coach. Included in that is the Buffaloes reaching the championship game at the Charleston Classic after a hard-fought 60-58 win over Baylor on Friday afternoon.

While the football team was a powerhouse for a stretch in the late 1980s into the 1990s, the Buffaloes haven’t posted double-digit wins since 2001. In fact, they’ve lost 10 games as many times as they’ve won that many since the Big 8 became the Big 12, and they haven’t had a winning season since 2005, which was Gary Barnett’s last season as head coach. As those struggles continue, the basketball program seems to have new life.

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Maine’s early offensive struggles shouldn’t persist

by - Published November 15, 2012 in Columns
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WORCESTER, Mass. – Like most teams at this time of the year, Maine is very much a work in progress. In the Black Bears’ case, their early 0-2 mark, which could easily be 1-1, isn’t necessarily a sign of things to come with this team. Though young, this team also hasn’t really had their full squad together very much, and that’s one reason to think this team has some better basketball ahead.

Maine lost a close one at Holy Cross on Wednesday night, a 57-54 decision. The Black Bears went 2-19 from long range, including one by Xavier Pollard that was right on line but back-rimmed out at the buzzer, allowing the Crusaders to hang on. If a couple of those shots drop, it’s possible we’re talking about a 1-1 team with both games having been on the road.

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Bryant’s better non-conference schedule helps them this season

by - Published November 14, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Bryant was humbled in each of its first two outings of the season, which isn’t altogether shocking. They opened at No. 1 Indiana and then played nearby rival Providence, who might have been vulnerable but blitzed them with length and athleticism. This has happened before, but this time around it may be different – and better.

Head coach Tim O’Shea has always had a sense of perspective with his team, and now is no different. He looked at these games as opportunities, knowing his team isn’t as physically gifted but can still win if they play right. When they don’t come out on top, it’s a learning experience. At some point, getting pounded on the road often can add up, but that won’t happen this time because the Bulldogs have a better schedule.

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What to make of the decimated Providence team?

by - Published November 14, 2012 in Columns
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Was this really the same team that played two days earlier in the same arena? The same Providence team that was life-and-death with NJIT before eking out a 64-63 win? The same Providence team that didn’t practice the day in between games, in part because only seven players were available? The same Providence team whose bench might have had more suits than uniforms?

Early in the season, strange things can happen, and this is right up there. Providence seemed quite vulnerable entering Monday night – if there was a time for nearby rival Bryant to beat the Friars, this seemed like as good a chance as they could have. Instead, Providence went from barely knocking off NJIT to annihilating Bryant on Monday night by an 81-49 margin in a game that was never really competitive.

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New-look Florida International shows potential and problems in season opener

by - Published November 13, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
floridainternational

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Richard Pitino said he wasn’t really surprised by anything he saw in his debut as a college head coach.  He knew what his team was capable of, and a lot of it showed up in Florida International’s 84-70 loss at Boston College on Sunday.  And in the end, he comes away like most coaches do from a season opener, knowing his team has a lot to work on but also some potential.

Florida International managed to stay with BC for a while in the first half, largely on the strength of a few early three-pointers.  After the game was tied at 18, the Panthers wouldn’t get close or tie it until they tied at 65 with less than nine minutes to play.  From that point on, it was all BC as the Panthers seemed to run out of gas as problems like rebounding and foul trouble caught up to them.

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A whole new Boston College team pulls away from Florida International

by - Published November 12, 2012 in Columns
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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – If you could bottle the season opener for Boston College, last season would be a distant memory.  This team looked nothing like last season’s team in several ways in an 84-70 win over Florida International.  This team will certainly be better, as expected, but now there’s something to go on for that idea.

Last year, a half like the first half was unthinkable for Boston College.  The Eagles scored 49 points, a plateau they didn’t reach in three entire games last season and just did reach in another.  They had a 29-13 rebounding edge to dominate the paint and got a number of run-outs.

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Central Connecticut has potential, but growing pains ahead

by - Published November 12, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – In giving Fairfield all it could handle and more on Saturday night, Central Connecticut showed that they will shine at times amidst some growing pains this season.  Both teams looked like they were trying to find themselves, which is often the case in the first game of the season, but for these teams that was the case even more so.  In the Blue Devils’ case, there is a good deal of change from last season.

Central Connecticut certainly doesn’t have a bare cupboard, as they return three starters from last season.  One of them is reigning Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year Kyle Vinales, who wasted no time making an impact as a freshman last season.  They also return a solid defender in point guard Malcolm McMillan and an unsung hero in senior Joe Efese, who head coach Howie Dickenman praised endlessly for his effort on Saturday and not just for what everyone could see.  But the two starters they lost were big – all-time leading scorer Ken Horton and Robby Ptacek, who is tenth in school history in that category.

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If freshmen develop to complement veterans, Fairfield could surprise in the MAAC

by - Published November 11, 2012 in Columns
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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Fairfield is one of the more interesting teams in a conference that itself is always interesting.  The MAAC is known as a very competitive conference, one that often has a team that can sneak up on others, and Fairfield might be that kind of team this season.  The Stags’ season-opening 64-63 overtime win on Saturday night in the Connecticut 6 Classic was illustrative of this and possibly just the start this team needs.

Taking a glance at the roster, one can see that the stags have five upperclassmen and a lot of freshmen in the mix.  The upperclassmen are all very experienced, having played significant minutes since their freshman year save for Desmond Wade, who transferred in from Houston but has played significant minutes since he arrived.  One can easily guess that this team will largely go as their freshmen go, as having some depth is always important.

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Yale must move on following a devastating season-opening loss

by - Published November 11, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Yale can go one of two ways following Saturday’s devastating 85-82 loss in overtime to Sacred Heart. The Bulldogs led by 24 a few minutes into the second half and blew the lead, and then led again by five halfway through overtime before the Pioneers took over and won. That it happened in the season opener makes it a particularly interesting test for this team.

The challenge for this team will be to move on from the disappointment of this game. It’s never easy, and having more games ahead, including very soon, offers a chance at redemption but also a chance to let the disappointment linger.

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Quinnipiac follows formula to victory but has a concern on offense

by - Published November 11, 2012 in Columns
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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Quinnipiac was supposed to win their opener at Hartford on Saturday in the Connecticut 6 Classic opener. They did that by a 65-61 margin, and they did it the way they will probably have to win much of this season.

While Hartford has 10 freshmen and sophomores, with four sophomores starting, the Bobcats start three seniors and a junior. The Bobcats have grown from being a young team into a veteran group that should contend in the Northeast Conference this season, with experience being one thing on their side.

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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

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.

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: 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

Travel team profile: Mass Elite

Mass Elite is one of the largest travel teams in the state despite being relatively new

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