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Cooley carries Notre Dame until perimeter players get untracked

by - Published November 18, 2012 in Columns

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Notre Dame bounced back from a tough loss on Friday night to leave the Barclays Center with a win. The formula was simple: let the big man lead the way and even carry the team on his back, then get others going to put the game away. Jack Cooley certainly led them with another solid performance, and the Fighting Irish rallied in the second half for a 78-68 win over Brigham Young.

Cooley has been a double-double machine early this season, as he posted his third in the team’s four games on Saturday night with 19 points (7-12 shooting) and 13 rebounds. In fact, he already had one in the first half as he had 12 points and 10 boards at the break, controlling the paint often while BYU’s best big man, Brandon Davies, sat with foul trouble. He was also the one player they were able to get going for a while; the other four starters were a combined 3-10 from the field for nine points in the first half as BYU lead by one at the break.

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Offense is the big area of concern for College of Charleston

by - Published November 17, 2012 in Columns

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The offensive end is where the College of Charleston’s struggles are right now, and that became more acute on Friday night. The Cougars had to go without a key player, and that hurt the offense even more in a 55-51 loss to Auburn in the Charleston Classic.

College of Charleston shot 37.5 percent from the field in a loss to St. John’s on Thursday. That was a big drop from shooting over 56 percent in the season opener. The Cougars also turned the ball over 31 times in their first two games, but they held their opponents to 41 percent from the field and out-rebounded them by 2.5. So before Friday’s loss, it was clear offense might be more of a concern than defense in the early going.

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2012 Charleston Classic – Friday Notes

by - Published November 17, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The second day of the 2012 Charleston Classic is in the books. It started and ended with two very competitive games, and the two in between were good as well albeit for different reasons. Only one game was decided by double digits. Now the final matchups are set for Sunday, featuring the championship game between Murray State and Colorado.

Here are some quick hitters from the four games on the day.

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Experienced Murray State shows they can overcome adversity

by - Published November 17, 2012 in Columns

CHARLESTON, S.C. – You can choose to look at Murray State’s 72-67 semifinal win over St. John’s as an instance of youth being served, experience winning out, or some other cliché. While those things apply to a degree, the big story should probably be something Murray State head coach Steve Prohm talked about after the game: resilience.

Murray State has been nothing if not resilient thus far this season. Before the games even started, they had to suspend projected starting guard Zay Jackson for the season after he was arrested and charged with striking two people with his car in a store parking lot following an altercation. That was sure to leave even more on the shoulders of Isaiah Canaan, the All-American guard who bypassed the NBA Draft for another season of college. But it also meant that other players needed to improve to take advantage of the attention opponents will give to Canaan, and thus far that seems to be happening.

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Dayton shows great trust with newcomers helping

by - Published November 17, 2012 in Columns

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Dayton certainly didn’t look like a team with seven newcomers on Friday afternoon. If you didn’t know better, you would think this team was more experienced together, seeing how they out-executed Boston College in a big way en route to an 87-71 win.

Four of the Flyers’ newcomers are freshmen. Save for Jalen Robinson, none of them start, playing behind an experienced starting lineup that features two seniors and two juniors. Head coach Archie Miller changed that up on Friday, moving Robinson out and Dyshawn Pierre into the lineup, and it worked very well.

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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

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

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

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

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

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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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.

Your Phil of Hoops

Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by


Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by


Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by


Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

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2014 Prep School Tour

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

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by


With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by


Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by


Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by


The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by


The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.