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Impressions from first week of college hoops season

by - Published November 24, 2015 in Columns

A number of stories in the college basketball preseason talked about teams and their goal to “play faster” this year. They wanted to pick up the pace. Run run run.

San Diego State was one of those teams, and while we hear teams talk of this every year, at first it looked promising that in this case it was real. The Aztecs scored 86 in an exhibition. They got up and down the court against Illinois State, scoring 71 against a good defensive team. They scored 76 in a fast-paced game that wound up a loss at Utah.

Then, SDSU scored 71 in a closer-than-expected win over San Diego Christian, an NAIA school that lost to Pepperdine 91-46 two nights earlier.

Three days later, the Aztecs lost to Arkansas-Little Rock 49-43.
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Duke 84 Georgetown 84 box score breakdown

by - Published November 23, 2015 in Columns

NEW YORK – In a game Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski deemed “worthy of a championship game,” Duke outlasted Georgetown 86-84 to capture the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden. The numbers of note….

Possessions: Duke 66, Georgetown 68
Offensive efficiency: Duke 130, Georgetown 124
eFG pct: Duke 56, Georgetown 64
FT rate: Duke 69, Georgetown 47
TO rate: Duke 14, Georgetown 18

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Observations on Seton Hall’s 2-0 start

by - Published November 18, 2015 in Columns

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The season started with a weekend homestand, consisting of one game at the Rock and one on campus adding up to a 2-0 sweep for Seton Hall. A few observations from it are in order.

1. Not your easy “cupcake” competition. On Friday Seton Hall defeated Dartmouth 84-67 at the Prudential Center. Sunday the friendly confines of on-campus Walsh Gymnasium hosted the Pirates’ 69-59 decision over Wagner. In the estimation of Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, neither game was a sure “easy out.” “Dartmouth had a seven-game win streak and defeated Yale last season,” Willard said. “Wagner poses problems as their pressure did in the second half. Honestly, we do not have an easy one on our schedule. The way college basketball is these days you need you ‘A’ game every night.”

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2015-16 CAA Preview

by - Published November 15, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes

In a conference that has seen lots of changes recently, the CAA got news of one more big one this past off-season. Tom Yeager, the only commissioner the conference has known, will retire at the end of the academic year. There is a time and place for reflection on what he has built, along with his place as a well-respected influencer in college basketball, and that will come. A more pressing question is: what kind of conference will he leave behind?

An unfortunate part of his legacy will be that the CAA was hit hard by conference realignment more than once, and that can’t be pinned on him. The first time, just after the new century, put the conference in danger, but it survived and subsequently thrived after adding strong members from another conference. More recently, however, the conference was among the hardest hit, watching signature programs George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU leave along with Georgia State, who had just turned a corner after an otherwise uninspiring tenure in the conference. Two of those four left to play Division I-A football.

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

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

The Big East still has its name and logo. It has several brand-name programs from its history, like Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s and Villanova. It has a Thompson coaching at Georgetown, and a legend from St. John’s is now coaching them. The tournament is still at Madison Square Garden, as if it could ever be anywhere else.

It sounds like little has changed. But something is missing as the third year of the current alignment tips off.

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Still pining for a real college basketball opening day

by - Published November 13, 2015 in Columns

This could easily become a yearly plea.

We played this song last year, and we’ll do it again.

There has been slight improvement in recent years with at least a single starting date, but the truth remains: even many of the more avid (if not completely hard core) fans don’t know when the college basketball season starts, and will be surprised when they start seeing games showing up on TV and scores like “Shenandoah 58 Bucknell 85” running on the bottom of their screen.

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The Most Important Players in America in 2015-16

by - Published November 12, 2015 in Columns

Many teams have players who might not be their best player, or even one of their best players, but their season will hinge largely on what that player does. Oftentimes, it is a player who is in a new role, but complementary players or backups at a key position can also be among the most important players. Considering how important a point guard is to a team, it’s not a surprise that point guards lead the way on this list.

Here is a look at ten players around the country who figure to have an outsize impact on their teams’ success, or lack thereof, this season.

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A game a day for the 2015-16 season: February

by - Published November 12, 2015 in Columns

We conclude our look at our favorite games for every day of the season from November through February, our ultimate dream road trip through an entire college basketball season.

To refresh: in some cases they’re the biggest matchup of the day, in others they may be what we think will be the best game to watch. Some days the picks are obvious, others they are no doubt up for debate, but we limited it to one pick and one special mention each day. We started this on Monday with November, continued with December on Tuesday, January and Wednesday, and today we finish with February:

Feb. 1: North Carolina at Louisville. Besides the obvious skill of these teams, it’s always a sweet pairing of the Tar Heels’ running and the Cardinals’ pressure defense. Honorable mention: SMU at Houston

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New season, new challenge for Fordham’s Jeff Neubauer

by - Published November 12, 2015 in Columns

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Media day seems far removed. The season is upon us, with the opening tip reduced to hours as opposed to weeks or days. There is a significant task ahead in this new season. Jeff Neubauer knows this and accepts the challenge. The new Fordham coach realizes the road ahead and admits, among all that is facing him and the staff, job one for his team is defense. The Rams were subpar on offense last season posting a 96 offensive efficiency in Atlantic 10 play. On defense, the efficiency was 103, a figure over the norm of acceptability to moving up in this competitive conference.

“We are challenge our team to take it up and become an Atlantic 10-level defensive team,” Neubauer said back at the conference media day. “We want our defense to be a man to man and become a aggressive in half court.”

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Best Players No One Knows About

by - Published November 11, 2015 in Columns

Hassan Martin isn’t one of those players who was always on the radar of college coaches. Rather, he’s more like your classic late bloomer. In an age where many players repeat a year of high school at some point, or even repeat in junior high, and come into college at least at the age of 19, Martin was 17 years old at the beginning of his freshman season in college. This year, the junior forward will be a key cog on a team that will contend in the Atlantic 10.

While E.C. Matthews gets a lot of attention, and understandably so, Rhode Island doesn’t win solely from him. Martin is long, very athletic and has developed the way teams often hope a player with his body and skill set would. He was first a defensive star, blocking a lot of shots, and his offense has come along. This season, he will at least move into second all-time in blocked shots in program history, with an outside shot at surpassing all-time leader Kenny Green (Martin comes into the season with 183, while Green had 328; Martin had 103 last season).

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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.

Hoopville Archives

Reader Poll

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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.