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USC’s growth shows some of its potential as conference play beckons

by - Published December 22, 2014 in Columns
usc

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – As USC’s non-conference slate winds down, it becomes clear that this stretch has been one of growth for the young Trojans. There is much more to come, but what they have shown with one game left before Pac-12 play bodes well for this team to make a lot of progress, even if that doesn’t result in contention in the conference this season.

The word “potential” can be used a lot with this team given their composition, and their youth is one of the most salient features of the team in Andy Enfield’s second season at the helm. That’s not the worst thing in the world coming off a season where they went 2-16 in Pac-12 play. And while the Trojans had a 9-4 mark before conference play began last season and have a 7-4 mark now, they appear to be positioned for a better couple of months this time around.

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Saturday Notes – December 20, 2014

by - Published December 21, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Conference play is almost here, so the games are starting to get better. Saturday saw a number of great matchups and results every bit as noteworthy to go with them. Some were more noteworthy because of the margin than the bottom line result.

The day began inauspiciously enough with the news about Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin and his health. We extend our get well wishes to Cronin, and after hearing that hoped the day would get better. It did, though not for his team, as the day was full of good games. Included were a couple of games that took a bit long to decide – as in, three overtimes.

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We need to enjoy this Kentucky team

by - Published December 21, 2014 in Columns
kentucky

With all the attention on Kentucky and the individual talent the Wildcats have, there’s one thing we should all follow John Calipari in doing.

Just enjoy this. Enjoy that we get a chance to see it.

“The one thing I’m doing is really enjoying these guys,” Calipari said after the Wildcats drubbed UCLA 83-44 in the CBS Sports Classic in Chicago.

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Just how good is North Carolina?

by - Published December 20, 2014 in Columns
northcarolina

Last year, North Carolina was a team that no one could figure out. Lose to Belmont, beat Louisville. Lose at UAB, beat Michigan State. Beat Kentucky and Texas, lose at Wake Forest.

This year? The question is whether or not the Tar Heels can really challenge for the top of the ACC, and perhaps most of all, if they have enough to complement star guard Marcus Paige. The Tar Heels haven’t been quite so hard to figure out on a given night, but we’re still trying to figure out just how good this team is and will be.

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Rutgers, St. John’s victorious at MSG Festival: notes and quotes

by - Published December 19, 2014 in Columns
author_floriani

NEW YORK – Manhattan is not a “true” 2-6 team. Following the Jaspers’ 63-55 loss to Rutgers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, coach Steve Massiello elaborated. “When you don’t play in your building for a month, the 80s Lakers would have struggled,” Massiello said. “The mistake I made was I shouldn’t have scheduled this many games on the road. We played at Draddy Gym once.”

The Jaspers dropped a neutral site game against Florida State. They also fell short in heart breakers at UMass and George Mason. The lone Draddy date brought an easy win over conference opponent Marist.

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Scanning the Nation Notebook – Dec. 17, 2014

by - Published December 17, 2014 in Columns
glatczak

Weekly thoughts from following the goings around all of Division I college basketball in the middle of December:

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Despite a hit on the bottom line, Stony Brook’s transition continues

by - Published December 16, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
stonybrook

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It wasn’t the kind of tale of two halves that anyone would want, much less one that came in having lost two in a row. Indeed, as conference play gets closer, a coach would rather his team get more consistent. And for Stony Brook, the way the roof caved in on them in the second half of Saturday’s loss at Providence was not good no matter how you try to slice it. Still, it’s part of a growing process this team has to go through.

“For 27 minutes, we were pretty good,” said head coach Steve Pikiell.

The Seawolves were within 49-44 after leading at times in the first half. It was after that point that Providence took over and won it convincingly, going on a 10-1 run as part of a bigger 16-3 run from which they never looked back in the 79-61 triumph.

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Saturday Notes – December 13, 2014

by - Published December 14, 2014 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Saturday was not as busy as most Saturdays typically are, but there were some eagerly anticipated matchups on the day. Fortunately, several lived up to their billing, with a couple of overtime games mixed in, though the most highly-anticipated ones were not among them.

Several games needed a little more time, including a couple that went beyond one extra session. One of those games ended up being a big win for the road team.

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Amidst Maine’s rebuilding challenge, there is hope

by - Published December 12, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
maine

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The long road back for Maine has started, and it has been challenging and at times quite painful. It’s not going to be an easy road back to relevance and contention. Along the way, though, there is reason for hope, and that was evident in a few ways Thursday night when the Black Bears lost at Boston College.

The fall from relevance in America East was a steep one for Maine. In 2010-11, they started off conference play at 8-1 and looked well on their way to the top seed in the conference tournament. The bottom fell out quickly, though, as they then lost six in a row before losing to Hartford in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. They never won more than six conference games after that, and Ted Woodward was let go as head coach after last season. In his place is Bob Walsh, who had a great run at Rhode Island College.

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Rhode Island has potential amidst some difficulty

by - Published December 12, 2014 in Columns
rhodeisland

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Non-conference play has been both a time of promise and a time of difficulty for Rhode Island. The promise has shown in the wins and at times in some of the losses, while the difficulty is certainly there in losses like Wednesday’s 68-60 loss at arch-rival Providence. In that game, as much as any, you can see the potential as well as the areas of concern for this team.

In running out to a 5-3 start, Rhode Island has certainly impressed at times and looked like a team that has put most of the growing pains of last season behind them. The Rams are more talented as a whole, and holdovers pressed into more immediate duty last season than the staff probably wanted have benefited from that. E.C. Matthews looks ready to blossom into one of the Atlantic 10’s best talents, while Hassan Martin looks stronger and more confident. Freshman Jared Terrell has made an instant impact and classmate Jarvis Garrett helps off the bench.

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Saturday Notes – December 20, 2014

December 21, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

A busy Saturday is in the books, and we saw the matchups get better, the results continue to be noteworthy and tell us more, and a couple of the games needed a lot of extra time to decide.

Despite a hit on the bottom line, Stony Brook’s transition continues

December 16, 2014 by

stonybrook

Stony Brook was able to hang with Providence until the roof caved in several minutes into the second half. It’s part of a growing process this team in transition needs, and it continues despite dropping a few games along the way.

Amidst Maine’s rebuilding challenge, there is hope

December 12, 2014 by

maine

Maine has a long road ahead as they rebuild under new head coach Bob Walsh. Amidst the early struggles, the Black Bears have shown some reason for hope going forward.

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Recruiting Coverage

2014 Scholar Roundball Classic recap and notes

December 16, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look at some notes and evaluations from Sunday’s action at the Scholar Roundball Classic, where the blowouts included some noteworthy performances.

2014 Hoop Mountain Prep Classic – Sunday notes

December 9, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at Sunday’s action in the Hoop Mountain Prep Classic, which included an overtime thriller and a couple of lopsided contests, and some prospects who helped themselves out with their play.

Some notes from the National Prep Showcase

November 28, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

The busy weekend that just passed also included a few games at the National Prep Showcase. Here are a few notes from some of the action early on Friday and Saturday.

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

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.

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.