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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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Ennis lends a steady hand to Syracuse

by - Published January 15, 2014 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – There’s a lot that one can take note of in looking at how Syracuse has won their first 17 games of the year. There are sophomores who waited their turn and have become key players. There’s the senior in C.J. Fair who has been a steady contributor leading up to this year. And there’s always the 2-3 zone that teams still haven’t figured out. But there’s also the steady hand, the newcomer, and that is perhaps what ties this all together.

At times on Monday night, the sophomores who had a limited role last year grabbed the spotlight. Trevor Cooney was the first one, a lights-out shooter in high school who looked nothing like that last year in limited minutes. While he hit jumpers like he did as a high schooler, he also put on a dunk fest off steals to keep Syracuse ahead in the first half. Jerami Grant also played well with 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds, and he also had the highlight of the night on a dunk off a missed shot as he was going away from the basket.

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Sunday notes from the 2014 BallasTV Invite

by - Published January 14, 2014 in Columns

DORCHESTER, Mass. – Sunday was the second day of the BallasTV Invite, featuring prep schools from the northeast region. Only one game had much drama with the outcome, as four of the five were double-digit games. We take a look at the scores, then some player notes.

Sunday scoreboard

Springfield (MA) Commonwealth Academy 66, Marlborough (MA) Hillside School 36
Worcester (MA) Academy 55, Saltsburg (PA) Kiski School 34
Hoosick (NY) Hoosac School 66, Chestnut Hill (MA) Brimmer and May 52
Putnam (CT) Science Academy 62, Northfield (MA) Mount Hermon 55
Barrington (RI) St. Andrew’s School 73, Woodstock (CT) Hyde School 40

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CAA newcomers College of Charleston playing through challenges

by - Published January 13, 2014 in Columns

If CAA newcomer College of Charleston contends for the top spot in their first year in the conference, it shouldn’t surprise anyone. What also shouldn’t surprise anyone is if the journey to that is not a success-only one.

The Cougars are finishing up a trip to the northeast with a visit to Northeastern on Monday night. Two days earlier, a four-game winning streak ended with a 75-71 loss at Hofstra, one where they blew a double-digit lead in part from a bad day at the free throw line as they were 14-27 from there and in part from their own foul trouble as four players fouled out.

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Saturday notes – January 11, 2014

by - Published January 12, 2014 in Columns

Conference play is in full swing across the country now, and there have been some early surprises as usual. Saturday brought more of them in a busy slate.

A big note of the day comes in the form of a question: who thought North Carolina would be the only winless team in the ACC three games in? For good measure, though, Duke is now 1-2 for the first time in seven years.

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Anderson and Robert Morris are trying to benefit from a tough schedule

by - Published January 12, 2014 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Andy Toole said he felt better right before the post-game press conference than he did earlier. That’s the kind of thing that happens after winning a ballgame, and perhaps even more so when wins have been a little harder to come by than usual. They have been for Robert Morris, but the Colonials are 2-0 in Northeast Conference play and thinking about winning and something else.

“Just wanting to redeem ourselves in this league is a big thing,” said junior Karvel Anderson, who had a big trip to lead this team.

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Georgetown is missing an intangible

by - Published January 11, 2014 in Columns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Don’t let the nice record fool you. The good wins, don’t let them fool you, either. This is not last year’s Georgetown team. While that’s obvious since it’s a new season with new personnel, this team hasn’t taken that personality with it. That was one thing evident in the Hoyas’ 70-52 loss at Providence on Wednesday night, and it could be a big thing down the road.

Make no mistake: Georgetown has some things going for it. Depth is one thing this team has, and it gave the Hoyas a decided edge on Wednesday night. They had already played nine players just over halfway through the first half, and they were well on their way to rallying from being down ten early. Providence doesn’t have that depth with all the personnel issues they have had. But that wasn’t enough. Something was missing.

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Providence does what they know and continue to fight through adversity

by - Published January 9, 2014 in Columns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Ed Cooley wasn’t kidding when he said Wednesday night’s 70-52 win over Georgetown was a character win. The Providence head coach knows it in more ways than one.

Simply put, Providence has had to hang in there and keep fighting with the deck seemingly stacked against them. This team is battle-hardened on and off the court, and while it’s been tough at times, this team is showing its toughness and benefiting from it more than ever. There has been adversity left and right for this team.

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Brad Brownell comes to Steve Donahue’s defense

by - Published January 5, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Speculation about Steve Donahue’s job status has taken off, to the point where one might not be off their rocker for thinking it’s gotten out of hand. If the Boston College head coach is looking for an ally, it’s clear he has a willing one in Clemson head coach Brad Brownell, his opposite number on Saturday afternoon. The Clemson mentor added some thoughts unprompted while discussing his team’s win.

Clemson beat Boston College 62-60 on Saturday to send the reeling Eagles to 4-11 on the season. Well before this, though, there had been talk of what could happen to Donahue as the Eagles lost a few early ones. As losses have mounted, so has speculation that Donahue is on some kind of borrowed time at The Heights. Brownell sees some similarities and drew a comparison and contrast at times.

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