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

by - Published March 12, 2013 in Columns
iona

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
niagara

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
canisius

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
siena

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
author_kasiecki

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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2013 MAAC quarterfinal notes

by - Published March 10, 2013 in Columns
maac

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The MAAC quarterfinals are in the books. The afternoon games saw the seeds hold to form, while the evening started off with an upset that was also a game for the history books, but not in a good way. The last game followed its predecessor with the lower seed pulling off the upset.

With that, some leftover thoughts from the MAAC quarterfinals played on Saturday:

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Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith have grown and shared a lot together

by - Published March 9, 2013 in Columns
northeastern

Northeastern’s first CAA regular season title has been driven by an unlikely senior backcourt. Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith come from different parts of the country and different worlds, and they have decidedly different games and personalities. But teams that win do so with togetherness even with differences, and when you look at the success of the Huskies, one place to start is with what Lee and Smith share together.

They share more than meets the eye, especially since they came to Huntington Ave. They have shared playing time, roles and work ethic, and have done much of it together with a bond they forged almost as soon as they arrived in a different world than the one they grew up in.

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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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Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

March 15, 2015 by

temple

Temple is firmly on the bubble after losing in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to SMU. It’s the first time in head coach Fran Dunphy’s storied career that his team has been in this situation.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen to COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT, a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, joined by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis, former Fairfield head coach Terry O'Connor and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.