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History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

by - Published March 14, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

HARTFORD, Conn. – The season is over, but a challenge is in front of East Carolina – or at least, the bigger part of the challenge. The first was changing conferences, which by itself is challenging enough. The second has to do with the school and which conference they are now in, and perhaps more with the former.

The Pirates gave regular season champion SMU all they could handle before losing in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday. Along the way, they set an American Athletic Conference Tournament record with 15 three-pointers.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, March 14, 2015

by - Published March 14, 2015 in The Morning Dish

March is always a magical month, where so many things happen that seemingly defy logical explanation. The way games end falls into that category as much as anything else, and Friday showed that again.

We start in Brooklyn at the Atlantic 10 Tournament, where Davidson trailed for most of the game, but rallied. Still down by one, they had a play in the final seconds to win it, and Tyler Kalinoski put it up near the basket and got it to drop as time expired. Ray Floriani has more on this.

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Ryan Boatright and UConn live to see another day

by - Published March 14, 2015 in Columns

HARTFORD, Conn. – Ryan Boatright didn’t want to go out like this.

Not with a missed free throw leading the story. Not with another tough loss to a good team, the likes of which they have had plenty of this season. Not with a loss in front of the home crowd. Not with a loss that would almost certainly send them to the NIT.

Not when he’s worked all his life to take a shot like that, even if the shot alone seemed to take a long time.

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Texas simply wasn’t as good as we thought they were

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns

If Texas doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament, it is only fitting that their season would end the way it did. Thursday’s stunning loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament sums up their season in one game.

And while they will hold out hope for a bid amidst bracketologists saying they might still be in even after Thursday, at this point putting Texas in would be a travesty. The Longhorns simply don’t deserve to be in. Perhaps, though, theirs will not be a story of a great collapse, but rather, one of a team that wasn’t as good as we thought they were.

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USF tries to set the stage for future growth

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

HARTFORD, Conn. – Orlando Antigua’s first season as head coach of USF is in the books. Judge it by the bottom line, and it stinks: the Bulls went 9-23, including 3-15 in American Athletic Conference play. Dig deeper, though, and you see promising signs that may make this year one that set the stage.

Certainly, the way the season ended isn’t pretty. The Bulls were never really in their first round game against a hungry and confident UConn team, and being close to UConn’s campus meant it was essentially a road game. In addition, they were once again without Corey Allen Jr., whose career ended by being declared ineligible at the end of February for receiving impermissible benefits regarding tuition payments for courses he completed at another school prior to enrolling at USF. That forced this team to go without their leading scorer and grow up a little sooner. It might have been for the best in the sense that they won’t have him next year anyway, so they got an early start.

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Sampson is getting a lot out of Houston

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns

HARTFORD, Conn. – Say this about Kelvin Sampson’s first year as head coach at Houston: he’s given reason to believe he’ll make them relevant in time. The Cougars have gone through a lot, and don’t have great talent, but he’s managed to get 13 wins out of this team, including Thursday’s win over Tulane in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

The first year at a program that has struggled is tough to figure. Sometimes it’s a veteran team that can turn around some from a change, and sometimes it’s a young team that takes time to mold. Sometimes it’s a veteran team that is marginally better or gets no better because they weren’t very good to begin with. Rarely is there a wholesale change just from changing the coach in one year.

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UCF’s young perimeter needs help next year

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

HARTFORD, Conn. – UCF had a tough ending to a tough season. Now the work begins on getting better, and to that end they have a good base. They showed some reason for hope in the season-ending loss in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

UCF played from behind for much of the game, at one point trailing East Carolina by 17 in the first half. They managed to hang around, though, and that gave them a chance. Their inability to get stops for a stretch took away any real momentum they had for a lot of the second, and kept them from breaking through to eventually tie or take the lead. They didn’t quit, though, and in the final seconds a Kasey Wilson stickback sent the game into overtime.

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2015 USBWA awards: one man’s vote

by - Published March 12, 2015 in Columns

About a week ago, I shared how I voted for the CAA’s postseason awards. While that was quite an exercise this season, casting my USBWA ballot was a little different challenge and not just because of the scope. There’s also timing – right as conference tournaments pick up. On the national level, we vote for ten All-Americans, five freshman All-Americans, the Oscar Robertson Trophy (a national Player of the Year), the Wayman Tisdale Award (the nation’s top freshman), and the Henry Iba Award (national Coach of the Year). More locally, we also vote for ten All-District players, a district Player of the Year and a district Coach of the Year.

With that settled, in all the votes involved for this were probably not quite as challenging as the CAA postseason honors. That is in large part a testament to how competitive the CAA was this year and that included for the postseason honors.

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So many positives, so little consolation for William & Mary

by - Published March 10, 2015 in Columns

BALTIMORE – You have to feel for those in the William & Mary program. Losing once in a championship game, especially in heart-breaking fashion, is hard enough. Losing twice in a row is that much harder.

Much of the country watched on Sunday as the Tribe won an instant classic in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament in double overtime. They were going to get another chance – their fourth try in eight years – to break through and get to the NCAA Tournament. That’s a string of chances few probably thought they would ever get once upon a time, before Tony Shaver took over.

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The long road to Northeastern’s first CAA championship

by - Published March 10, 2015 in Columns

BALTIMORE – When Northeastern finished its first season in the Colonial Athletic Association, there were plenty of doubters. That might seem surprising when you consider they had the Player of the Year (Jose Juan Barea) and Defensive Player of the Year (Shawn James) and reached the semifinals of the conference tournament. They finished fifth, so they had to win two games to get there. But some were not impressed despite the challenges involved in switching conferences.

The thought from some was that if they had two award winners and finished fifth, how in the world would they ever win in the CAA? That first year, by the way, was the year George Mason made its legendary Final Four run. It was the CAA’s best year until a couple of years ago; the Patriots didn’t even win the conference tournament, losing to Hofstra in a semifinal game best remembered for a player who earned a one-game suspension.

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Big East looks the same in some ways and quite different in other ways

November 13, 2015 by


As year three of the new-look Big East tips off, the conference looks the same in a few ways. In other ways, though, it’s not the same, and much is to be determined.

Though a contender, Purdue will need to earn more relevance

October 15, 2015 by


Purdue has the makings of a contender in Big Ten play, but you wouldn’t know it from the conversations about the conference teams. The Boilermakers will have to earn their way to relevance despite their potential to contend.

New challenge ahead for Harvard

October 6, 2015 by


If Harvard’s great run through the Ivy League is to continue in 2015-16, the Crimson will have to get through quite a challenge this time around with a team that looks a little different.

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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.

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed listening to COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT, a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, joined by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis, former Fairfield head coach Terry O'Connor and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

Here are links to the shows:

March 15, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 22, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 29, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

April 5, 2015 - First hour | Second hour | Third hour

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by


The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.

2015 Hoopville Spring Finale Notes

June 30, 2015 by


We look back at more from the 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale, where some of the championship games were worth the price of admission.

A big championship day for a local program at the Hoopville Spring Finale

June 23, 2015 by


The 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of good championship games on Sunday to close it out, and we start our look back with a look at those games.

Player highlights from Mass Elite and Boston Warriors college showcase

June 4, 2015 by


Two big programs, Mass Elite and the Boston Warriors, got together once again on a college showcase for many of their high school players. We look at some who stood out on the evening.

2015 Massachusetts AAU Tournament notes

June 3, 2015 by


Massachusetts held its AAU championship rounds in a few age groups and its entire tournament for the oldest age group this weekend. We take a look at some of Sunday’s action in Foxboro.