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Providence is hitting their stride in February

by - Published February 17, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey wasted no time heaping praise on the team that beat his Fighting Irish convincingly on Saturday. He had barely sat down when he started.

“I think they are the most underrated team in our league, quite frankly,” said Brey. “They are really hard to guard. I think Ed’s done a fabulous job with them.”

Providence is clearly hitting its stride at long last, and Saturday was the best exhibition of that. After battling personnel issues through the early part of Big East play, this team finally seems to have settled into what they are. The Friars are healthy, have found their roles, they know what’s expected and they have found a rotation that is working. And it probably doesn’t hurt from an intangible standpoint that one of the players they were eager to get eligible is not with them now.

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Young Harvard takes the first Ivy League showdown

by - Published February 17, 2013 in Columns

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Round one of the Ivy League battle for the top went to the home team, as tends to happen. Harvard, a young team that has grown up a lot during the season, used a big second half to knock off Princeton 69-57 and go up by a game in the all-important loss column. While they played like a championship-caliber team, Harvard knows a lot of basketball is still left to be played. With that, as well as the past as a guide, Harvard will take nothing for granted right now.

Ivy League play is just past the halfway point, but already is looks like it will once again be a two-team race between the teams that battled in Lavietes Pavilion on Saturday night. Both entered the night two games up in the loss column over everyone else in the league. That’s not the case now and not just because of this game’s result, as Cornell also won to go to 5-3, a game behind Princeton in the loss column for second place. Cornell has come to life in Ivy League play after some struggles in non-league play, but there’s every reason to think this will come down to Harvard and Princeton.

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A look around the country – February 17, 2013

by - Published February 17, 2013 in Columns

Another Saturday full of college basketball games – over 140 of them in Division I – is in the books. We’re at the time of the year where unexpected results seem to multiply, as younger teams start to grow more and the sense of urgency is either there or it’s not and makes more of a difference. While a few conference races appear to be shaping up, some others are only looking more jumbled.

With all of that in mind, here are some thoughts coming from Saturday’s games.

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Loss at Providence an aberration for Notre Dame

by - Published February 16, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Throw out Saturday’s 71-54 loss at Providence for Notre Dame. It’s an aberration, and maybe it was something they were due for given what they’ve had to do lately. The Fighting Irish have now lost their last two games decided in regulation, but they have come a couple of games apart. And while they didn’t play well, head coach Mike Brey very accurately assessed that this outcome is more about the home team.

“It’s been a long week, but I’d say 95 percent of tonight was Providence’s performance, and they were fabulous,” said Brey.

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Allen tries to guide Penn through a lot of growing pains

by - Published February 16, 2013 in Columns

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Ivy League has two standard-bearing programs that have dominated the league for much of its existence. Penn and Princeton have combined to win 51 of the league’s 65 titles to date in men’s basketball, with Penn claiming 25 of them. The Quakers have often been right there with Princeton in the years the Tigers were champions as well, and they have done it with veteran and young teams alike. They seemed immune to having to rebuild like so many programs must.

So it would surely surprise someone to look up at the Ivy League standings and see Penn with a 5-18 overall record, not to mention 2-4 in the Ivy League. That’s where they stand after Friday night’s 73-54 loss at Harvard. The records have an explanation, but they would surely still surprise many.

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Delaware could finish this season like they did last season

by - Published February 14, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

BOSTON – Last season, Delaware lost a heart-breaker at Northeastern, a game that they had in their grasp.  The Blue Hens were not deflated, however, although they lost their next game at Drexel, because then they didn’t lose again until the CAA Tournament.  This time around, the Blue Hens pulled out a dramatic 76-74 overtime win at Matthews Arena and hope a different game result is part of the same result after the game.

“I don’t know if that was exactly what I drew up in the huddle, but all’s well that ends well,” head coach Monte Ross said of the game-winning shot, a deep three-pointer by Jarvis Threatt with the shot clock running down.

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Holy Cross hopes end to losing streak is the start of something better

by - Published February 13, 2013 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross needed a win, simply put.  They came into Tuesday night having lost five in a row.  But more than that, they could have used a good, convincing win, especially since they at one point looked like they might have a chance at just that.  They’ll be content with their 66-57 win over Navy, but not content with how they had to hang on at the end.

“You definitely would rather win ugly than lose pretty,” said sophomore guard Justin Burrell.  “We’re definitely not content with the way we played in the second half.  We talked about some of the mistakes that we made.  We’re not satisfied with our play, so we’re going to continue to build off of that with these couple of days that we have in practice, and hopefully we can get better.”

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A look around the country – February 10, 2013

by - Published February 10, 2013 in Columns

Saturday was quite a day of basketball all across the country. A blizzard that hit much of New England a day earlier into Saturday morning did more than just dump 31.5 inches of snow on my home area – it also affected a few games. St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island played at 7 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled 2 p.m. tip, and with no television coverage. In addition, Sacred Heart will play at Bryant, Harvard will play at Columbia and Dartmouth will play at Cornell on Sunday and Manhattan will play at Fairfield on Monday instead of Saturday as originally scheduled.

That aside, there were a lot of noteworthy games on Saturday, and not just the one many will be talking about for a while that was near the end of the day. Here are some thoughts coming from those games.

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Lehigh continues to overcome adversity

by - Published February 10, 2013 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – A blizzard that hit much of New England was an added challenge for Lehigh as they came to play Holy Cross. But for this team, it wasn’t as much to overcome as some of what they have faced this year, or in what became a back-and-forth game in which they pulled out a 68-61 win.

The biggest impact the storm had on the team was that they had to leave Bethlehem a little earlier than they planned. Instead of leaving early in the afternoon on Friday, they left first thing in the morning and headed straight to Holy Cross to practice. With a statewide travel ban in effect in Massachusetts, they couldn’t go anywhere for about 24 hours and weren’t sure for a while when the game would be played.

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Bryant continues to win with offense

by - Published February 8, 2013 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – If you like offense, Bryant is a team you would like to see this season. That’s not something many would have figured prior to the season given their struggles in Division I, but an unexpected cast has become a team that can score with a lot of teams. Shootouts have been the norm with this team, and on Thursday night they won another one against St. Francis Brooklyn on account of their offense, this time by an 84-77 margin.

Scoring is the key to how this team wins games. After Thursday night, the Bulldogs are 13-2 when they score at least 70 points, which puts them at 3-4 when scoring less than 70 points. In past years, they weren’t built to win games like this, but a lot has changed and that includes the results.

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Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

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Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday Notes – February 21, 2015

February 22, 2015 by


A busy Saturday saw a lot of results that shook up conference standings, including a three-way tie developing in one of them, and some at-large hopes took a hit as well.

William & Mary tries to manage through defensive struggles

February 19, 2015 by


William & Mary has had to overcome some things to be in contention in the CAA. The latest is some defensive struggles while adjusting to life without a key player for a stretch.

Saturday Notes – February 14, 2015

February 15, 2015 by


NBA All-Star Weekend is grabbing headlines, but there were key games on Saturday as several conference races remained tight and a few teams re-asserted themselves as favorites in their conference.

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Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by


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


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


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


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


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.

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.