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It’s time for Cincinnati to come out from under the radar

by - Published January 31, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

It’s time to start talking about Cincinnati. The Bearcats have flown under the radar long enough, especially after they went into Louisville and emerged with a 69-66 win over the Cardinals despite blowing a 17-point lead in the second half.

Forget that the Cardinals have a deceptive 17-4 record and a good, not great, NCAA Tournament resume. This is about the Bearcats, a team that is now 20-2 overall and 9-0 in American Athletic Conference play and emerging as the clear team to beat there. The only losses were at New Mexico and against Xavier at a neutral site. Likely few, if any, picked the Bearcats over the likes of Louisville, Connecticut or Memphis before the season.

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Virginia Tech having a rough go of it lately

by - Published January 30, 2014 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – James Johnson summed it all up fairly quickly and concisely to begin the press conference.

“It was a very disappointing night at both ends of the floor for us,” the Virginia Tech head coach said.

A quick look at the scoreboard would be all you need to know, as Boston College blew out the Hokies 76-52. This is just the latest setback, however, and it’s not a good time for the team right now.

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Defense is the big concern for Xavier entering a week-long break

by - Published January 26, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Chris Mack didn’t mince words. After praising Providence, who beat his Xavier team 81-72 on Saturday, he started in on his team with their defensive play, and he continued and finished with that as well. It’s clear he wasn’t happy with his team’s defense, and that it wasn’t just on Saturday that such was the case.

“I thought our defense was terrible. It was pathetic,” said the Xavier head coach. “It was not who we’ve been, but it’s who we’ve been lately, and it needs to change, because nobody is going to compete for a Big East championship, an NCAA Tournament berth, and all the things we have outlined for our program this year if we’re playing games in the 80s and 90s.”

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Saturday Notes – January 25, 2014

by - Published January 26, 2014 in Columns

Another 140 games are in the books from a busy Saturday of college basketball. While the day wasn’t loaded with highly-anticipated matchups, perhaps the most notable item from the day is that a few teams got big road wins.

Here is a look at notes coming from some key games on the day.

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For Holy Cross, the mentality makes a big difference

by - Published January 22, 2014 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – It’s all about the mentality at Holy Cross of late. The last week has seen two good wins and the team play good basketball to get there, and with it a commensurate confidence boost. While there’s still a hill to climb, the Crusaders look to be in a good place in terms of how they are going about everything.

Holy Cross has had to deal with injuries, and while they haven’t had to as much as some teams have, they have had to adjust a good deal along the way. They had to go without Cullen Hamilton early on due to a knee injury, and just when he appeared to be coming into his own he then came back and aggravated it. They had to shut him down for a stretch so he can heal enough to play the rest of the season.

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2014 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

by - Published January 20, 2014 in Columns

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Blake Arena at Springfield College was home to six games on Sunday in the Spalding Hoophall Classic. The day featured three ten-point games in between three blowouts, but each game had some good talent and a host of college coaches since it was a lighter day on the college front. A day earlier, it was a different look with 151 Division I games on tap.

First, the scores from the day, then some notes coming out of the games.

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Cotton is the best player on the floor as Providence beats Creighton

by - Published January 20, 2014 in Columns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – One of the country’s best players came to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Saturday night. The best player on the court, however, was a different player, and on some nights that will happen. Bryce Cotton took home the honors in leading Providence to an 81-68 win over Creighton, and it’s a win that says as much about the winners and their leader as it does who they beat.

Providence plays plenty of games on national television, but it’s not every night one of those games involves a player like Doug McDermott. This game may have gotten a few more viewers than some of Providence’s other games for just that reason, and Cotton embraced that stage like he has every other game in his career.

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Lehigh’s next chapter has been painful of late

by - Published January 19, 2014 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – Don’t let Lehigh’s record, or their 61-42 loss at Holy Cross on Saturday, fool you. The Mountain Hawks are 8-11 overall and 1-5 in the Patriot League play, but this isn’t the beginning of the mighty falling. More likely is that it’s the beginning of their next rise, and it’s been a rough one at times.

There is plenty of talent on this team, but much of it is young. The Mountain Hawks start senior point guard Mackey McKnight and junior guard Corey Schaefer, but along with them are freshmen Austin Price and Tim Kempton (son of the former NBA big man) and sophomore Jesse Chuku, who is like a freshman since the native of England was ineligible last season. They have two more freshmen, a sophomore and a junior in the rotation.

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Saturday Notes – January 18, 2014

by - Published January 19, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday was one of the busiest days of college basketball this season, with 151 games on tap. Only one other day this season will match that. There were plenty of key matchups among those games, including an early Big 12 showdown and one of the bigger matchups being one of old Big East teams now in the ACC. A few teams scored a big win of one sort or another.

Here is a look at notes from some games on the day.

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Battled-tested Delaware is on top of the CAA for good reason

by - Published January 19, 2014 in Columns

BOSTON – Monte Ross has his most complete team at Delaware, and it’s showing up in CAA play more than any other time this season. The Blue Hens have turned a corner the last few years, and as they leave Boston with a 74-70 win at Northeastern and a 4-0 mark early CAA play, they leave looking like as good a contender as anyone.

It’s easy to start by looking at personnel, and the Blue Hens are good there. They have a veteran perimeter unit with a post-graduate, a senior and two juniors leading the way, and they’re anchored up front by a senior who’s been through plenty. But that’s only the beginning.

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College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

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Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

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-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

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