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Louisville’s struggles show they are a good, not great, team

by - Published January 11, 2012 in Columns
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – When Louisville recently ascended all the way to number 4 in the polls, there was a general feeling that the Cardinals weren’t quite that good. The feeling was that they got there by default, as they kept winning while other teams that had been ahead of them lost, and not enough teams played well enough for voters to leapfrog them over the Cardinals. If it had not already become apparent that the feeling about this team was correct, Tuesday night’s 90-59 thumping at Providence surely drove that home.

The game wasn’t an absolute indicator of how good the team is, but the Cardinals’ fourth loss in five games – granted, not exactly coming against Division III teams – is concerning, although head coach Rick Pitino summed the game itself up quite succinctly: “We had one of those nights.”

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Boston University hopes to regain confidence with losing streak over

by - Published January 9, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bostonuniversity

BOSTON – It was just a little over a month ago that Boston University looked like they were about to get untracked. The Terriers started the season with four straight losses, including a couple that were tough to take, but then won two of three in Rhode Island and knocked off local rival Boston College less than a week after that. Then they hit a wall in the form of a six-game losing streak that they snapped on Sunday, and now they are hopeful they can get back to where they were after the Boston College victory.

Not only did the Terriers start winning games over a month ago, but they looked ready to win more. They seemed to have adjusted to new head coach Joe Jones more by that time, for starters. It also looked like they had found a post scorer to complement the perimeter duo of D.J. Irving and Darryl Partin, something they desperately needed.

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Binghamton tries to stay positive amidst struggles

by - Published January 9, 2012 in Columns
binghamton

BOSTON – When you’re 0-15 on the season, you probably don’t have a lot of positives to draw upon in the name of keeping morale up. Binghamton head coach Mark Macon is trying to find them to keep his team going during what hasn’t been a memorable season that most recently saw his team drop a 68-49 decision at Boston University.

Macon found one positive to take from Sunday’s loss: his team had ten assists and just eight turnovers. It’s a small start, but the Bearcats have a long way to go from that.

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Theodore helps Seton Hall continue to top last season

by - Published January 8, 2012 in Columns
setonhall

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It’s early January, but Seton Hall has already topped its win total from last season. With their 66-57 win at Providence on Saturday night, Seton Hall is now 14-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big East, and they have quickly improved to where they are en route to being an NCAA Tournament team in Kevin Willard’s second season at the helm.

The Pirates are not going to win a contest for the most experienced team in college basketball. They have just two seniors who play and no juniors on a roster that features seven freshmen. That means five of the seven regulars are underclassmen, and that means the seniors need to be leaders more than with many teams. They have been just that, but the Pirates had to go without one of them for a lot of the first half.

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Harvard continues to live dangerously in Ivy League opener

by - Published January 8, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
harvard

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard improved to 13-2 on Saturday by winning the first Ivy League game of the season. While the bottom line is all positive, the Crimson also lived dangerously for a while, more so than the 16-point final margin of victory might lead one to believe. Saturday’s game is not an isolated event, and with the full remaining slate of Ivy League games not far away, that is a concern for this team.

 

The Crimson didn’t start slowly, but Dartmouth was able to hang around and then took a seven-point lead early in the second half as they won the first four minutes coming out of the locker room. With the Big Green still up by six, Harvard went on a 16-2 run to take over the game, and offensively-challenged Dartmouth never seriously challenged them the rest of the game.

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BCS hurts college sports, especially basketball

by - Published January 7, 2012 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Last month, Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen talked to local reporters about the BCS. Mainly, he simply unleashed a lot of feelings that many of us have, and rightly so for a lot of reasons. Many of us understand that the BCS is hurting college sports, especially college basketball.

From the outset, the BCS was a joke as far as its place in college football is concerned. There is no national championship in the Football Bowl Subdivision; the winner of the BCS Championship Game is like the winner of the NIT Season Tip-Off or the Maui Invitational in basketball, not a national champion. (The Division I national champion will be either Sam Houston State or North Dakota State, who will play on Saturday.) The system is your basic old boy network applied to college football, as it’s designed to benefit the six conferences that were in on the whole deal all along. The Big East has been a laughingstock in football for a while now, yet it still gets its champion into a BCS bowl while more deserving teams – which often have included Petersen’s Broncos – are pushed back into less prestigious bowl games (and ones without nearly the same payout).

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Robert Morris’ win at Bryant couldn’t have gone better

by - Published January 6, 2012 in Columns
robertmorris

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Although it might seem obvious from the final score, simply watching Robert Morris’ 84-53 thumping of Bryant on Thursday went about as well as the coaching staff could have drawn it up. The Colonials won with defense and getting points from it, played a disciplined game and also look like a team continuing to develop the kind of depth that will give them a chance when the Northeast Conference Tournament rolls around.

 

“I was happy with a lot of it, for sure,” said head coach Andy Toole. “I was happy that we were able to keep some guys’ minutes in check, because when you go Thursday and Saturday, having a little bit of depth definitely helps.”

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Syracuse’s offensive improvement and depth make them tough to beat

by - Published January 5, 2012 in Columns
syracuse

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Syracuse’s offense has improved by leaps and bounds since early in the season. The Orange can always hang their hat on their defense, and that was the case early on when they had a good deal of difficulty at the offensive end. But now that the offense has come around, this team is much tougher to beat, and that was evident in their 87-73 win at Providence on Wednesday night.

 

Early on this season, the offense wasn’t pretty at times. While the Orange generally shot well, they had stretches where scoring in the halfcourt was difficult. They also turned the ball over a bit much at times, winning the NIT Season Tip-Off despite 21 turnovers in the final (although they forced 24 Stanford turnovers). But now the Orange average just over 11 turnovers per game, and had just eight on Wednesday night to go with 20 assists, which now gives them an assist-to-turnover ratio of better than 1.5 on the season.

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UMBC’s non-conference struggles don’t matter with conference-opening road win

by - Published January 3, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
umbc

DURHAM, N.H. – Part of the beauty of conference play in college basketball is that teams get a fresh start. A bad non-conference run with one loss after another doesn’t matter on the bottom line, although that can weigh on a team’s psyche and affect their play in conference games. One example of that is UMBC, a team that won one game in non-conference play but is tied atop America East after an 82-76 win at New Hampshire on Monday night.

 

The young Retrievers haven’t exactly had a memorable season thus far. They entered Monday night’s game with just one win on the season, back in December against winless Towson. Only three of their 11 losses had come by single digits. Their best holdover, Chris De La Rosa, left the team in late November. They came in surrendering almost 77 points per game and turning the ball over nearly 17 times per game. And the shooting numbers on offense were nothing to brag about, either.

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Young Rhode Island may be starting to grow up

by - Published January 3, 2012 in Columns
rhodeisland

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Rhode Island’s young players have no choice but to grow up. That was already true given that this team is dominated by youth. But with conference play in front of them, the young Rams look like they may be starting to do that, the latest evidence being their 78-72 victory at Boston College in double overtime on Monday.

 

It would have been easy to have inflated expectations for transfers Billy Baron and Andre Malone, with the idea that they would make an instant impact on this team’s fortunes as they became eligible. While that has happened with Baron, who had a big game on Monday, it’s not in his stats that it can be found. That’s not to say he hasn’t played well after having to shake some rust off early. But his value has come in what he does for the lineup and two other guards.

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Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

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bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

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hofstra

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Cornell’s future can only be better

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cornell

Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

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Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

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Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by

bigten

The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by

sunbelt

Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

bigsky

The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

meac

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

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