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New-look Florida International shows potential and problems in season opener

by - Published November 13, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Richard Pitino said he wasn’t really surprised by anything he saw in his debut as a college head coach.  He knew what his team was capable of, and a lot of it showed up in Florida International’s 84-70 loss at Boston College on Sunday.  And in the end, he comes away like most coaches do from a season opener, knowing his team has a lot to work on but also some potential.

Florida International managed to stay with BC for a while in the first half, largely on the strength of a few early three-pointers.  After the game was tied at 18, the Panthers wouldn’t get close or tie it until they tied at 65 with less than nine minutes to play.  From that point on, it was all BC as the Panthers seemed to run out of gas as problems like rebounding and foul trouble caught up to them.

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A whole new Boston College team pulls away from Florida International

by - Published November 12, 2012 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – If you could bottle the season opener for Boston College, last season would be a distant memory.  This team looked nothing like last season’s team in several ways in an 84-70 win over Florida International.  This team will certainly be better, as expected, but now there’s something to go on for that idea.

Last year, a half like the first half was unthinkable for Boston College.  The Eagles scored 49 points, a plateau they didn’t reach in three entire games last season and just did reach in another.  They had a 29-13 rebounding edge to dominate the paint and got a number of run-outs.

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Central Connecticut has potential, but growing pains ahead

by - Published November 12, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – In giving Fairfield all it could handle and more on Saturday night, Central Connecticut showed that they will shine at times amidst some growing pains this season.  Both teams looked like they were trying to find themselves, which is often the case in the first game of the season, but for these teams that was the case even more so.  In the Blue Devils’ case, there is a good deal of change from last season.

Central Connecticut certainly doesn’t have a bare cupboard, as they return three starters from last season.  One of them is reigning Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year Kyle Vinales, who wasted no time making an impact as a freshman last season.  They also return a solid defender in point guard Malcolm McMillan and an unsung hero in senior Joe Efese, who head coach Howie Dickenman praised endlessly for his effort on Saturday and not just for what everyone could see.  But the two starters they lost were big – all-time leading scorer Ken Horton and Robby Ptacek, who is tenth in school history in that category.

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If freshmen develop to complement veterans, Fairfield could surprise in the MAAC

by - Published November 11, 2012 in Columns

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Fairfield is one of the more interesting teams in a conference that itself is always interesting.  The MAAC is known as a very competitive conference, one that often has a team that can sneak up on others, and Fairfield might be that kind of team this season.  The Stags’ season-opening 64-63 overtime win on Saturday night in the Connecticut 6 Classic was illustrative of this and possibly just the start this team needs.

Taking a glance at the roster, one can see that the stags have five upperclassmen and a lot of freshmen in the mix.  The upperclassmen are all very experienced, having played significant minutes since their freshman year save for Desmond Wade, who transferred in from Houston but has played significant minutes since he arrived.  One can easily guess that this team will largely go as their freshmen go, as having some depth is always important.

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Yale must move on following a devastating season-opening loss

by - Published November 11, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Yale can go one of two ways following Saturday’s devastating 85-82 loss in overtime to Sacred Heart. The Bulldogs led by 24 a few minutes into the second half and blew the lead, and then led again by five halfway through overtime before the Pioneers took over and won. That it happened in the season opener makes it a particularly interesting test for this team.

The challenge for this team will be to move on from the disappointment of this game. It’s never easy, and having more games ahead, including very soon, offers a chance at redemption but also a chance to let the disappointment linger.

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Quinnipiac follows formula to victory but has a concern on offense

by - Published November 11, 2012 in Columns

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Quinnipiac was supposed to win their opener at Hartford on Saturday in the Connecticut 6 Classic opener. They did that by a 65-61 margin, and they did it the way they will probably have to win much of this season.

While Hartford has 10 freshmen and sophomores, with four sophomores starting, the Bobcats start three seniors and a junior. The Bobcats have grown from being a young team into a veteran group that should contend in the Northeast Conference this season, with experience being one thing on their side.

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Young Hartford tries to nagivate through growing pains

by - Published November 11, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – John Gallagher talked a lot on Saturday about building a program. There’s a good reason, since the third-year Hartford head coach is in the process of doing that with a young team. And while there’s a lot of potential in his team, there are some things they will need to do to start reaching it, some of which he talked about right away.

“I want them to be disappointed,” Gallagher said after his team lost its season opener 65-61 to Quinnipiac in the Connecticut 6 Classic. “I don’t want a locker room that’s like, oh, we almost had them. That’s ludicrous. We’re trying to build something, we want them to feel a little pain. We want them to realize that winning and losing really matters.”

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Confident Boston University tries to take tough opening loss in stride

by - Published November 10, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

BOSTON – They almost had it. For much of the game, they looked like they would do it. Then seemingly out of nowhere, a three-pointer just before the buzzer buried it all, and Boston University was headed back across town with an 0-1 mark to start the season. And now comes the challenge: moving on to the next one.

Youth was served on Friday night at Matthews Arena, at least if you look at the final score and nothing else. The Terriers started two freshmen and brought a freshman and sophomore off the bench for the most minutes, and lost to a team that normally starts two senior guards (one is out with an injury). The Terriers are a young group, but it’s one Joe Jones feels like he can work with and get good results out of with a little work and a balancing act.

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Notes from college basketball’s opening night

by - Published November 10, 2012 in Columns

Some quick hitters coming out of college basketball’s opening day:


  • Much of the buzz about opening day came from the games played on aircraft carriers, and unfortunately, Ohio State-Marquette had to be cancelled due to condensation on the court and Georgetown-Florida was called off at halftime. This will surely raise questions about holding games outdoors in the future; Connecticut-Michigan State was played inside. … Continue Reading
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Northeastern shows areas for concern but also some real positives in opener

by - Published November 10, 2012 in Columns

BOSTON – A lot of things happen on opening night that don’t happen at any other time in the season. A team’s opener isn’t always a barometer of what is to come for a variety of reasons, but if the season-opening 65-64 win for Northeastern is one, there could be better things ahead than one might expect from a nail-biting win over a young Boston University team.

Certainly, Friday’s outcome can be a testament to how one shot can change something more than it should. Northeastern basically stole one at home and had some of its concerns exposed, and that wouldn’t have changed if Demetrius Pollard didn’t hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer from the top of the key that was followed by fans rushing the court to mob him in the corner. But there were some positive developments that could bode well for this team, and Pollard’s shot means they also have something to show for it on the bottom line.

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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.

Your Phil of Hoops

NC State is not making it easy on themselves

March 1, 2015 by


North Carolina State appears to have put themselves in a good position for the NCAA Tournament, but they aren’t making this easy on themselves.

Saturday Notes – February 28, 2015

March 1, 2015 by


We look back at a very busy Saturday, one that was full of big games that included some conferences closing out their regular season with plenty of drama.

Saturday Notes – February 21, 2015

February 22, 2015 by


A busy Saturday saw a lot of results that shook up conference standings, including a three-way tie developing in one of them, and some at-large hopes took a hit as well.

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Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by


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


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


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


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


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.

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.