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Theodore helps Seton Hall continue to top last season

by - Published January 8, 2012 in Columns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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

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.

Hoopville Archives

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.

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.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

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

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by


Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by


Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by


The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by


The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.

Tabor Academy looks to have more depth this time around

October 13, 2014 by


Tabor Academy will once again be headlined by a frontcourt player. This time around, though, the Seawolves appear to have a deeper support cast than in recent years.