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Young Rhode Island may be starting to grow up

by - Published January 3, 2012 in Columns

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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Saint Joseph’s shows promise but can be better

by - Published January 1, 2012 in Columns

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Saint Joseph’s has largely completed non-conference play, with only a Big 5 game against Penn remaining in less than three weeks. The Hawks are 10-4, with a few good wins, so considering where this team was the past two years it looks good. But in some sense, Saturday’s tough 74-69 loss at Harvard is indicative of the team: good, but still needing a good deal of work.


“We’re not good enough. Plain and simple,” said head coach Phil Martelli. “What we did wasn’t good enough. 9-16 from the foul line, two guys in double figures, it’s not good enough. I’ve been honest with this team, we’re inching up on being good, but we’re not there yet, and this is another indication that we’re not there yet.”

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Eagles’ outing a mixed bag against Harvard

by - Published December 30, 2011 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The first game after Christmas was decidedly a mixed bag for Boston College, more so than one might expect from simply looking at the scoreboard and seeing a 21-point loss. Now the underdog in the matchup with Harvard, the Eagles came in with three straight wins before the break and weren’t expected to win the game by virtually anyone outside of their locker room.


At times, the offense looked excellent. There were crisp passes to cutters, great movement without the ball, and some great reads of the defense that led to some easy baskets. There was a nice 14-3 lead early on, before reality set in and Harvard started getting stops. Even after that, there were times, particularly when Dennis Clifford was in the game and they were able to get him the ball, where the offense was a thing of beauty.

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Has Rhode Island hit rock bottom?

by - Published December 29, 2011 in Columns

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – The Rhode Island Rams are not in a good place right now. That might be obvious if you see their record, but that doesn’t tell the entire story. Watching their 80-61 loss to Providence last Friday gives an illustration of how far this team has to go with three non-conference games left. And as if that’s not enough, things went from bad to worse right after Christmas.

“It’s not easy. It’s challenging right now,” said a subdued head coach Jim Baron after the loss.

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Boston College gains confidence before the break

by - Published December 28, 2011 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Boston College has come back from the Christmas break in a better place than they were before it. In fact, it’s better than where they were over a week before their last game, as their 83-73 win over Sacred Heart last Wednesday was their third straight.


With a young team, confidence is big, and head coach Steve Donahue has been talking about that all along. He knew the wins would be hard to come by and keeping up confidence would be a battle. There was no question the players would get better, and Donahue has constantly said that the players are doing what he has asked of them and then some. There hasn’t been a complaint about the effort and work ethic, and that’s not to be underestimated.

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Florida Atlantic isn’t far away as Sun Belt play approaches

by - Published December 27, 2011 in Columns

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – There was a consistent theme sounded after Florida Atlantic’s 63-51 loss at Harvard on Thursday night. The message: this team is not there yet, and mental toughness is the big key to getting there.


“We’re close, but we’re not there,” said head coach Mike Jarvis. “We were in a position win, like we’ve been many, many nights this year, but we just haven’t had the mental toughness to finish off. We’re not finishing what we start.”

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Stony Brook hopes more practice time helps

by - Published December 27, 2011 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Stony Brook probably welcomed the relative break in the action they are coming up on the end of. Their loss at Rutgers in the MSG Holiday Festival is their only game in a 17-day stretch surrounding final exams and the holidays, giving them a time with a lot of practice and few games that will allow players to get better physically and the team to iron some things out. After their 66-51 loss at Boston College almost a week earlier, it was clear that this comes at a good time.


The lowlight of that day was in the final 12 minutes of the first half. After the Seawolves went up 11-6, they went the final 11:50 of the half without scoring as Boston College scored 22 unanswered points. While the second half was more of a normal frame, the Seawolves dug themselves too deep a hole to get out of.

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Sacred Heart coach tries to send a message in visit to Boston College

by - Published December 23, 2011 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – With just one non-conference game left after Wednesday night’s game at Boston College, Dave Bike wanted to get a point across to his team and his best player. The long-time Sacred Heart mentor has a team with some offensive ability, and a few players in particular, but in the losing effort, they made a big rally without their best player on the floor.


In the first half of the Pioneers’ 83-73 loss, Gibson could hardly miss. He was 6-7 from the field, including 3-4 from long range, en route to 17 points. There was some buzz among those on press row about his shooting, especially since a couple of his three-pointers were not just barely behind the arc.

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Providence quietly develops in non-conference play

by - Published December 22, 2011 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – With their 67-52 win on Tuesday night, Providence improved to 10-2 on the season. The record is nice, but it doesn’t tell the whole story in more ways than one. This team is showing improvement, while the record is also a little deceptive.


Providence started the game with a 14-5 run, but New Hampshire stayed at least within striking distance the entire half. The Wildcats took a two-point lead early in the second half, but Providence regained the lead and New Hampshire stayed right with Providence for a while. As the half went on it looked like the Wildcats wore down and Providence eventually built the lead up to 19 at one point.

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Harvard has gone from hunter to hunted

by - Published December 22, 2011 in Columns

Coming off their first loss of the season, Harvard responded the way a ranked team would be expected to the last time out. They headed across town and had a complete effort in blowing out Boston University 76-52, with a balanced attack and a showing of why they should win the Ivy League this year. With that, they look more and more like a team that has made a transition.


The Crimson first did the job defensively, limiting the Terriers to just below 31 percent shooting. Brandyn Curry was the first key to that, as he so often is, as the junior point guard never let BU point guard D.J. Irving get going. He didn’t let Irving get driving opportunities, and also read the offense well to steal and deflect passes while off the ball.

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Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by


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

March 9, 2014 by


The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by


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.

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Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by


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


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


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


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


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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