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Brown’s young talent needs time to grow

by - Published November 29, 2013 in Columns
brown

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Brown reaches Thanksgiving with a 4-2 record, with both games that they lost being right there for the taking. They had Providence on the ropes before succumbing, and had early leads and chances down the stretch Wednesday before losing 70-67 at Bryant. In all, what’s clear is that this team has talent and can win games, but has a lot of room to grow that manifests itself primarily in a need to put forth a more complete and consistent effort.

The Bears have a younger team than they expected to enter the season with due to the departures of Andrew McCarthy and Tucker Halpern. They expected to have both, with the former coming back after sitting out last season, but neither has returned. That leaves them younger up front, especially on the wing, and in all they are looking for younger players to come through, notably two freshmen starters.

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Sacred Heart is getting closer, but wins are hard to come by

by - Published November 29, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
sacredheart

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Sacred Heart is progressing, although their bottom line isn’t going to show it as they are 1-5. For a lot of Tuesday’s game, Sacred Heard did what they needed to do to improve. They also did what they had to do to pull off a big win, one that would have been a program first as they have never defeated an ACC opponent.

In the end, however, they didn’t do what they need to do when it counted, and dropped a 75-67 overtime decision to Boston College. While the signs are encouraging, this team could surely use a little more reward on the bottom line to show for their efforts. And perhaps not finishing the job in regulation despite many chances was the clincher on Tuesday, because it was pretty much all Eagles in the extra session.

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Quick hitters from the past weekend of tournaments

by - Published November 27, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

The past weekend was quite a stretch with some early-season tournaments, and now we’re into another week full of them. It’s a fun time of the year as we form some early impressions of many teams and some pick up wins that can have shelf life later in the season.

Here are some quick hitters coming out of the weekend:

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Hartford finally gets a much-needed break in the action

by - Published November 27, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
hartford

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – John Gallagher doesn’t have to look far for answers. They’re all right in front of the Hartford mentor and all part of the team that is off to a 2-5 start after dropping two at Mohegan Sun Arena in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off this weekend. They’re all going to get a break, too, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

“I thought, seven games in 15 days, this is on our second back-to-back in a two-week stretch, we had no legs and we didn’t have the juice that we play with,” said Hartford’s head coach.

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Richmond rebounds and shows potential despite incomplete feeling

by - Published November 26, 2013 in Columns
richmond

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Chris Mooney still has that feeling – call it an incomplete feeling. The Richmond head coach was happy his team responded well on short notice, and can see his team’s potential, but there’s still a hard feeling. They had a chance. And they came up short.

“I do still have that feeling that I wish we had done a little bit better against North Carolina,” said Mooney after his team responded with a blowout of Fairfield that was never a ballgame.

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Could North Carolina’s big weekend change their season?

by - Published November 26, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
northcarolina

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – A week made a big difference for North Carolina.  It’s still November, but in a week North Carolina basically went from outhouse to penthouse with a weekend in Connecticut that was all they could have wanted.  It could change the direction of their season.

Even before North Carolina lost to Belmont last Sunday, the Tar Heels didn’t look good.  It wasn’t shocking that they lost to Belmont, a well-tested team, but they were supposed to win being at home.  After that, the question wasn’t even if they could beat Louisville in a potential championship matchup in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off, but rather, could they even get past Richmond first?  It was one more thing for this team to deal with after the off-season issues and unresolved eligibility concerns with P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald.

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Michigan State finds multiple ways to win

by - Published November 24, 2013 in Columns
michiganstate

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – When you have the best team, you tend to find a way to win games.  That fits Michigan State in Brooklyn on Saturday, and it wasn’t one factor but rather multiple ones that were behind the Spartans taking home the championship of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic by knocking off pesky Oklahoma.

“We were a little bit slight of people, and even though it was disappointing and we played a little sporadic, it shows a little character that you can figure out a way to win a game,” said head coach Tom Izzo.

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Seton Hall salvages a tough week and hopes the worst is behind them

by - Published November 24, 2013 in Columns
setonhall

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It hasn’t been an easy week for Seton Hall by any stretch. They may lose one of their point guards, according to a report this week. Then they lost a starting forward to a foot injury that has them concerned for the future, and dropped a tough game on Friday night to Oklahoma that they seemingly had. That wasn’t a good start.

So when the Pirates fell behind late in the second half on Saturday night after leading for most of that frame, it looked like the end result could be more of the same. Certainly, being down 61-57 with 1:44 left added to that. But they came through down the stretch and pulled out a 68-67 win over Virginia Tech to take third place in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, salvaging the week.

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George Mason has to improve key areas for a big stretch coming up

by - Published November 24, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
georgemason

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – George Mason played their toughest opponent to date on Saturday, and it showed very quickly. The Patriots took care of business in their first four games, three of which were at home, and they got away with turning the ball over 16 times on average. On Saturday, they were quickly staring at big deficits at Iona as the Gaels blitzed them 89-73. The game wasn’t even as close as the final might indicate, and it gives an idea of how much more challenging things are going to get for the Patriots.

Iona scored the game’s first 14 points and never looked back. The Patriots looked shell-shocked, and while they got untracked some later, scoring seven in a row to make it 34-12 at one point, they never got much momentum. They gave the ball away 11 times in the first half, but it must have seemed like 111 turnovers because Iona constantly turned them into points and basically ran them out of the gym. They had just four turnovers in the second half, and as a result actually ended up below average, but the damage was done. Iona had a 26-13 edge in points off turnovers.

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Iona finds their point guard and gets much more

by - Published November 24, 2013 in Columns
iona

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – It’s nice to be home if you’re Iona, a saying that holds true for more reasons than the obvious. The Gaels have won both games at home and lost both games on the road thus far, but certainly were their most impressive and balanced in Saturday’s 89-73 thumping of George Mason that was never a ballgame.

Head coach Tim Cluess thinks this team needs to be balanced offensively, and that was certainly the case on Saturday. While Sean Armand’s 30-point outing, which included breaking the school record for career three-pointers and going 10-16 from the field, will get a lot of attention, the big development was elsewhere in the lineup. If Saturday is any indication, the Gaels may know who their primary point guard is going forward.

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