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NC State is not making it easy on themselves

by - Published March 1, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – NC State is not making it easy on themselves. The Wolfpack entered Saturday in a pretty good position regarding the NCAA Tournament, but left Boston having made things a little tougher.

Give Boston College some of the credit, as the Eagles have gone toe-to-toe with pretty much every top team and played them tough before succumbing. The Wolfpack surely knew this wasn’t going to be easy. BC made it tough, especially with their interior defense as they made it hard for the Wolfpack to finish in close, and the Wolfpack made it tougher by appearing listless from the outset. The end result showed up on the bottom line, and one stat in the box score told a lot of the story: NC State shot 32.8 percent from the field, while Boston College shot 56.8 percent.

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Saturday Notes – February 28, 2015

by - Published March 1, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Amazingly, the calendar now turns over into March on Sunday. This is the last weekend before conference tournaments get going – time flies when you’re having fun. Saturday was one of the busiest days of the year with 150 Division I games on the slate, and a wild one in a couple of conferences whose regular season ended. Then later in the evening, a big showdown lived up to its billing.

The CAA finished with a four-way tie at the top, as William & Mary and UNCW – who entered the day tied for first – both lost, while James Madison and Northeastern – who entered the day a game out of first – both won. It figures to be quite a weekend in Baltimore coming up.

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Scanning the Nation Notebook – February 27, 2015

by - Published February 27, 2015 in Columns

Some college basketball thoughts from the end of February, just before we turn the calendar to the most exciting month on the sporting calendar:

It’s a sad fact about the current state of college basketball that there are not a lot of teams with distinctive styles. This was lamented by Iona coach Tim Cluess in a terrific New York Times article yesterday. Cluess had great thoughts on the topic of pace of play (with the exception of his advocacy or a 24-second shot clock, which would do take a big chunk out of the exact diversity in the sport that he is in favor of), and it is clear he is a rare coach in the sport who is not afraid to think about the sport and play it in a different way.
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Bryant digs deep to lock up a tournament home game

by - Published February 27, 2015 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Trailing by 11, with their hopes of locking in at least one home game in the Northeast Conference Tournament on the line, Bryant had to dig deep. They were up against a team that had nothing to lose and was playing like it all night long. Central Connecticut had started the second half 6-8 from the field, including two of their three attempts from deep. It was almost as if the Bulldogs were putting so much pressure on themselves, as if they knew that this was their best chance to clinch a top-four seed.

“The way they were making shots, I’ll be honest with you, I could see myself telling Howie (Dickenman, Central Connecticut’s head coach), ‘Great game’ at the end,” said Bryant head coach Tim O’Shea. “They were making some incredible shots.”

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For Harvard, its will to win makes all the difference

by - Published February 23, 2015 in Columns

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Sometimes, the numbers aren’t even worth looking at if you watched the game and want to explain the result. Sometimes, all the things that don’t show up in a box score say it all, say more than the box score could ever tell you. And sometimes, a championship can be explained from it.

Enter Harvard’s 63-55 win over Princeton on Saturday night. While Harvard has proven their mettle in close games – they are 4-1 on the season in games decided by five points or less – there’s one main way to explain this one: a will to win. Harvard had it, Princeton might have a bit of it, but not nearly as much as Harvard did and certainly not enough.

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Dynamic backcourt duo returns to lead a special season for Notre Dame

by - Published February 22, 2015 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Jerian Grant makes a big difference. The result of his return and everything else around him is exactly what the senior came back for this season. Add him to running mate Pat Connaughton, and you understand why Notre Dame is having a historic season for the program.

By now, Grant’s story from last season is well-known. Just after the Fighting Irish gave away a game to Ohio State in New York a few days before Christmas, he withdrew from the university for an academic matter. He stated all along that he would be back for this season, though plenty surely wondered if that would happen. He was certainly good enough to get NBA Draft interest had he desired to pursue that avenue.

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Saturday Notes – February 21, 2015

by - Published February 22, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday didn’t have a lot of matchups that immediately leaped out at you on paper, but a lot of results were important ones. There were some surprises, some shakeups in the conference races, and a few where all of the contenders either won or lost. From the CAA, where the two contenders who played both won, to the Sun Belt, where a leader lost to create a three-way tie, Saturday had some important results as we head into the final three weeks before Selection Sunday.

With that, here are notes on some of the day’s games.

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Scanning the Nation Notebook – February 20, 2015

by - Published February 20, 2015 in Columns

Some brief college basketball thoughts as we near the end of February and now March and tournament time is just around the corner:

One of nation’s best-kept secrets continues to be just how much of a treat it is to watch Iona offensively. The Gaels are so unselfish, so good at finding the open player, and so free to play offensively, and it’s a joy to watch. Tim Cluess has done an outstanding job at the school, which is poised for its third NCAA bid in the last four years. Despite missing defensive stopper and hustle player Isaiah Williams for the past 10 games, Iona has taken the lead in the MAAC again and at this point is the clear favorite to represent the league in the NCAA Tournament. David Laury and A.J. English are combining for 40 points per game, and freshman Schadrac Casimir is also averaging 15.4 points and is absolutely fearless. Iona has developed into a program that is annually among the nation’s leaders in scoring, three-pointers and assists, which should make it incredibly attractive to recruits.

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William & Mary tries to manage through defensive struggles

by - Published February 19, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

BOSTON – In the stretch run and vying for the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title, William & Mary has an area of concern. It’s been a very good year for the team, one that is younger than you might think, and they’re right in the thick of things. But the concern showed up again on Wednesday night in Boston.

“It’s exciting to be in this position at this time of year, but it is a little bit of uncharted waters,” said head coach Tony Shaver. “We’ve got to continue to battle, and we will. This team will be battling in the end.”

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Manhattan defeats Fairfield: ‘Playing for March’

by - Published February 17, 2015 in Columns

BRONX, N.Y. – There have been early season injuries, an arduous schedule and the normal bumps in the conference road. Following Sunday’s 79-70 victory over Fairfield, coach Steve Masiello can feel his Manhattan team is on track to “play for march.” The Jaspers had suffered a tough final possession loss to rival Iona at home on Friday. Less than 28 hours later, they were back in the confines of their Draddy Gymnasium to face a team that defeated them in December. They rose to the occasion.

Imposing their defensive will, the Jaspers forced 20 Fairfield turnovers (a 30 percent turnover rate in tempo free terms). The result: a 26-14 advantage in Manhattan’s offensive flow.

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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.

Can this be the Army team that finally wins a Patriot League title?

September 24, 2015 by


Army was on a nice rise with its core up until Patriot League play last season, when they came back to earth. Now with a core of seniors, can this team be the one that finally takes home a Patriot League title?

Romar, Washington may successfully reboot once again

August 27, 2015 by


There has been some notable downward momentum at Washington recently, but there is more hope all the time that it could be reversed, and soon.

Hoopville Archives

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

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

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.