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Clemson looks like they’re starting to grow up as ACC play opens

by - Published January 5, 2014 in Columns
clemson

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – If you’re looking for a sleeper in the ACC, Clemson could be one possibility. The Tigers look like a growing team as conference play begins, picking up their first road win of the season in their ACC opener on Saturday by holding off Boston College 62-60. Along the way, it’s clear there’s a lot to like about this team and where they are trending.

Brad Brownell’s teams have always been able to defend, and this team is certainly doing that. They allow opponents to shoot just over 35 percent from the field on the season, including under 25 percent from long range. They are athletic enough to turn teams over, and while the 13 turnovers BC committed isn’t very high, it’s still above average for Clemson opponents on the season and it happened in a game played with a low number of possessions.

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Boston College isn’t as bad as you might think

by - Published January 2, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bostoncollege

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Boston College is done with non-conference play, and perhaps thankful for that. The Eagles are 4-10, with one of the losses being an early ACC loss, and there’s not a lot of positive press about this team. There’s been speculation about Steve Donahue feeling some heat, and that continued on Wednesday while the Eagles suffered a 73-58 loss at Harvard. All this, and they already fight to be relevant in the first place, both in their strong conference and locally in a pro sports town.

Now it’s time to look this over a little more, and be fair to this team and coach. Boston College isn’t as bad as some think.

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Richmond closing out a promising non-conference slate

by - Published January 1, 2014 in Columns
richmond

BOSTON – Richmond is closing out a promising non-conference run, with their 70-66 win at Northeastern on Tuesday being the latest part of that. What is most promising of all is a couple of things in how they won, especially since they didn’t play their best in the category they have been the strongest all year.

The Spiders have been a defense-driven team all season long, and that’s never a bad thing. The defense is good enough to potentially carry this team far in the Atlantic 10 as they are the top defensive team in the conference. Opponents shoot below 40 percent from the field against them, and they force well over 15 turnovers a night.

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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

by - Published December 31, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is just about over at this point. Conference games are ready to take over the rest of the slate, with a few having an “opening day” of sorts, including the Big East with its well-publicized day of five games on Tuesday. A few have already had early conference games, with the West Coast Conference having its opening day on Saturday.

How are the conferences shaping up? Which ones look like we thought and which ones look nothing like what we thought before the season? Here is a look at all 32 conferences as conference play beckons.

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2013 BABC Holiday Classic – Sunday notes

by - Published December 30, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

ROXBURY, Mass. – Two more games were on tap Sunday to close out the 2013 BABC Holiday Classic. Both involved Boston City League teams we saw on Friday, but with new opponents, and it was a split for the city schools with the loss being an impressive display by the winning team.

Sunday Scoreboard

Dorchester (MA) High 75, Nashua (NH) Bishop Guertin 63
Springfield (MA) Putnam 69, Hyde Park (MA) New Mission School 52

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Rhode Island is experiencing the predicted growing pains

by - Published December 30, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
rhodeisland

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – As non-conference play winds down, Rhode Island is experiencing what many could have predicted they would before the season: growing pains. Their 77-64 loss to Southern Miss is perhaps a microcosm of the season, and it’s not surprising that it left head coach Dan Hurley musing about the state of his team as Atlantic 10 play approaches.

Rhode Island certainly had their moments. They responded to an early blitz by the Golden Eagles, leading for stretches in the first half and tying the game early in the second half. But once Southern Miss scored eight unanswered points to break the tie, the Rams were playing catch-up the rest of the way. They rallied to within 64-62, but the Golden Eagles then scored the next 11 points to seal it.

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Opportunity awaits Southern Miss as conference play approaches

by - Published December 28, 2013 in Columns
southernmiss

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Southern Miss has done a lot of good things in non-conference play. The latest is their 77-64 win at Rhode Island on Saturday, one that is in sum a good statement of where this team is. With just one game left before Conference USA play, there is an added challenge for this team, but there is also opportunity.

The Golden Eagles are an experienced and balanced bunch, as the five starters all average between nine and 12 points per game. Nine players average double-digit minutes, with only point guard Neil Watson averaging more than 28 per game. They have four seniors who play a lot of minutes and several juniors right behind them.

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2013 BABC Holiday Classic – Friday notes

by - Published December 28, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

ROXBURY, Mass. – The first day of games at the 2013 BABC Holiday Classic is in the books. Now an event with three days of games, after starting life as a tournament, the 18th incarnation of it featured three teams from outside of Massachusetts and a homecoming for a coach returning to the high school landscape this year. With four games done, there was some good action to see and some good stories to take note of on the day.

Friday scoreboard

Hyde Park (MA) New Mission School 67, Nashua (NH) Bishop Guertin 48
Cambridge (MA) Rindge & Latin School 78, Springfield (MA) Central HS 46
Windsor (CT) School 65, East Boston (MA) High 64
Warwick (RI) Bishop Hendricken 58, Dorchester (MA) High 51

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UMass-Lowell’s potential more visible after first game at the Tsongas Center

by - Published December 23, 2013 in Columns
umass_lowell

LOWELL, Mass. – The hope is that Saturday is part of a turning point for UMass-Lowell. That holds for more than just the overall future of the basketball program, although it is most noteworthy from a long-term vantage point. While Pat Duquette emerges with mixed feelings, there appears to be more positive than negative, as well as some thoughts for the immediate future.

“I didn’t think we played well enough to deserve to win today, which is too bad because it was certainly a historic day for the UMass-Lowell men’s basketball program and an exciting day for everybody involved,” said the River Hawk mentor after a 95-77 loss at the Tsongas Center.

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Young Duquesne is trying to get better as Atlantic 10 play looms

by - Published December 23, 2013 in Columns
duquesne

LOWELL, Mass. – Perhaps it’s fitting that Duquesne’s opponent on Saturday was UMass-Lowell, a new entrant to Division I this season. Even though Duquesne’s first season was 100 years ago, in some ways Jim Ferry had to start over when he took the job over a year ago. And while their 95-77 win at UMass-Lowell doesn’t contain signs that they’re about to become a contender in the Atlantic 10, it was a step in the right direction nonetheless.

Ferry isn’t talking like this is a team that has its eye on a conference title and nothing less. The Dukes will come into every game wanting to win and thinking they can win the game if they play the right way, but this is a team that has a little to go before they can contend.

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stonybrook

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