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A high point after a year full of lows for Tucker Halpern

by - Published December 29, 2012 in Columns
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Those who saw Brown score a dramatic win over Providence on Friday night will remember that Tucker Halpern made the two biggest shots in the final minute as part of a game-closing 9-1 run. They will probably remember that they were the last two of eight three-pointers he made on the evening en route to scoring 28 points. They might also come away with thoughts on several other things that will bury this story – things like the idea that Providence was crazy to even play at Brown in the first place, that they blew a seven-point lead in the final 45 seconds or that Vincent Council returned from injury.

What they should know is that Tucker Halpern’s story goes beyond merely Friday night’s game and is worth knowing for anyone who is a fan of the game. It’s the kind of game he probably expected of himself once upon a time. At the same time, a year ago a night like this was but a pipe dream.

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Concerns for Providence illuminated in loss at Brown

by - Published December 29, 2012 in Columns
providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Even before Friday night’s 69-68 loss at cross-town rival Brown, there were reasons to be concerned about Providence. There were reasons to believe that the team’s record was more a reflection of a team over-achieving and playing a light, home-heavy non-conference schedule than that of a team primed to contend in the Big East. And as Big East play beckons, those reasons for concern are right there for all to see and were reflected in the post-game press conference, where an often upbeat and spirited Ed Cooley was nowhere to be found. Instead, a clearly frustrated and subdued Cooley addressed reporters.

“We found a way to lose again on the road,” said the Providence mentor.

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How the conferences shake out as 2013 approaches

by - Published December 28, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is almost over, and it has been quite a stretch. We’ve learned a good deal about a lot of teams, while some are still a mystery for various reasons – injuries, suspensions, ineligibility and a light schedule are all possible reasons. In addition, a few conferences have already seen a game or two mixed in with the non-conference schedule.

Conference play is right around the corner, and while a non-conference resume doesn’t tell the whole story, it does shed some light on teams and conferences. In conference play, there is more familiarity since teams play each other every year, although the changing landscape is starting to diminish that factor a bit. That’s one reason why we see some teams put forth a very good non-conference showing, including some good wins, then go on to have a mediocre showing in conference play.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how every conference in America shapes up.

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Cornell is trying to find consistency before Ivy League play

by - Published December 23, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
cornell

BOSTON – Cornell is trying to find some consistency with non-league play winding down. That’s not a good place to be, and after a 70-57 loss at Boston University on Saturday the issues the Big Red face seem just a little more noticeable.

One look at the box score tells much of the story. The Big Red had a nice 48-24 bench scoring advantage, but undoing that is the fact that their starters scored just nine points and had 12 rebounds. The starters also didn’t hand out a single assist on the afternoon. Eight different Big Red players have started at least one game this season, and only two have started all 12 games. Clearly, head coach Bill Courtney and his staff are trying to find the right combination.

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Now would be a good time for Northeastern to turn a corner

by - Published December 22, 2012 in Columns
northeastern

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Northeastern may be in a position to turn a corner at a good time. That might seem like an odd proclamation about a team that just snapped a five-game losing streak on Friday night, but take the way they won and add the recent return of their leader, and things could be looking up for the Huskies with CAA play right around the corner.

Friday night was Jonathan Lee’s second game back from a broken foot that shelved him for nearly two months. An All-CAA candidate, the senior leader doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat, and given how competitive he is that isn’t entirely surprising. With 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, Lee was the catalyst in Friday’s 82-63 win at Central Connecticut, and figures to be the rest of the season.

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If Ohio shores up their defense, watch out in March

by - Published December 20, 2012 in Columns
ohio

AMHERST, Mass. – Ohio University at first glance would seem like an obvious pick to win the Mid-American Conference this season. Their personnel, their experience that includes a run to the Sweet 16 last year, and their coach are all reasons to feel that they are the team to beat. But if their 85-76 loss at UMass on Wednesday night is any indication, there are things that could derail a championship and an attempt to make another run in the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio is unquestionably a veteran team. The Bobcats have no freshmen and are dominated by upperclassmen, with three senior starters, five seniors overall and seven juniors. They have used the same starting lineup in every game thus far, and nine Bobcats average double-digit minutes and another averages 9.3. But those numbers are a bit deceptive, as from a production standpoint there is a pretty good drop-off after the top six players in the rotation.

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Providence gets reinforcements at a good time

by - Published December 19, 2012 in Columns
providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – This was just what Providence needed.  Not just the game, although the Friars will gladly take the easy 79-45 win over Colgate on Tuesday night.  But much more than that, for once the Friars were not a team badly in need of more bodies, and they hope it’s the beginning of a trend.

“This may be the first time since I’ve coached here that we’ve had some balanced minutes,” said head coach Ed Cooley.

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Quinnipiac’s non-conference time is running out

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

BOSTON – Time is running out for Quinnipiac in non-conference play.  After Sunday’s 69-62 overtime loss at Boston University, the Bobcats are now 3-6 and have struggled offensively to the point where the confidence seems shaken.  The Bobcats have a simple mission for their final two games before Northeast Conference play starts.

“We’ve got to win,” said head coach Tom Moore.  “The biggest thing that helps confidence is winning games.”

But getting there is the hard part, from the looks of things.

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Rhode Island’s win over SMU not all that shocking

by - Published December 16, 2012 in Columns
smu

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Saturday’s 72-50 Rhode Island win over SMU might surprise some who saw only the score and knew only the records of the respective teams coming into the game. SMU was 8-1, an early pleasant surprise to be sure, while URI was expected to have a rebuilding season and came in at 2-7. Look beneath the surface, and Saturday’s result might be a little surprising but certainly shouldn’t be a shocker save perhaps for the margin of victory.

“I didn’t look at them as a 2-7 team,” SMU head coach Larry Brown said of the Rams. “They made threes, but they were open, most of them. I thought they executed so much better than we did, they defended better than we did. They looked like the team with the winning record. They out-coached us, out-played us, out-executed us.”

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Boston University isn’t the defensive team they have been for years

by - Published December 12, 2012 in Columns
bostonuniversity

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For years, you could bank on one thing about Boston University: they would be a defensive-oriented team. That was the identity of this team from Dennis Wolff’s days, continuing on with Pat Chambers and last year as Joe Jones took over. This season, that doesn’t appear to be the case at first glance, although for a while on Tuesday the Terriers looked like they were ready to turn a corner before the second half of their 65-64 loss at Harvard. In the end, though, a familiar item came back to haunt them: an inability to get a stop when they need it most.

“We’ve lost three games now at the buzzer,” said Jones after a short jumper by Harvard’s Siyani Chambers with four seconds left gave Harvard the victory. “We just haven’t been able to get the last stop of the game. It’s been unfortunate.”

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A happy resolution comes in Delaware

April 1, 2015 by

delaware

There has finally been a resolution to Monte Ross’ contract situation, and it’s a happy one for the Blue Hens’ head coach and his staff after the work they have done to rebuild the program.

Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

March 15, 2015 by

temple

Temple is firmly on the bubble after losing in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to SMU. It’s the first time in head coach Fran Dunphy’s storied career that his team has been in this situation.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

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College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen to COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT, a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, joined by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis, former Fairfield head coach Terry O'Connor and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Here are links to the shows:

March 15, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 22, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 29, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

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.

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2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

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

hoophall

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

hoophall

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

hoophall

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

author_kasiecki

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.