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Tough loss doesn’t take away Sacred Heart’s improvement

by - Published March 6, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
sacredheart

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The other side of Wednesday night’s instant classic is Sacred Heart. The Pioneers came out on the wrong end of a game that unfortunately only one team could win. While there were no moral victories to be had, it’s undeniable that they were even in that game and nearly had it won is the end result of a big improvement from last season. It’s also an improvement that will be tough, but hardly impossible, to maintain in the immediate.

Year two for a coach is almost always more challenging than the first year, but given the challenges Anthony Latina faced with his team in his inaugural season a year ago, this might be different. The Pioneers were 5-26 as he took over for the retired Dave Bike, and they simply were not good. There was youth, there was an adjustment – though Latina was an assistant before ascending into the head coaching position, he is not Dave Bike Lite – and the Northeast Conference was very good last year.

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Third time is the charm for Bryant

by - Published March 5, 2015 in Columns
bryant

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – For Bryant, the third time was the charm. Not that it was as simple as that, but the end result said as much, and it could easily have not been the case for so many reasons that may or may not make sense right now.

“Honestly,” said senior guard Dyami Starks, “I looked at (Joe O’Shea’s) face, and he looked bewildered, like, ‘Did I hit that?'”

Starks was recounting the final seconds of regulation – what could have been the final seconds of Bryant’s season once again, in their home gym once again, in the quarterfinals of the Northeast Conference Tournament once again. Seconds earlier, he put up a shot from well behind the three-point line that was off-line. The ball bounced off the rim and went away from it, with precious seconds ticking off the clock, hope of keeping the game alive, keeping the season alive, fading with each tick.

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2015 CAA postseason awards – how one man voted

by - Published March 4, 2015 in Columns
colonial

On Thursday night, the CAA will hand out its postseason awards just before the conference tournament. It’s been quite a year in the conference, as was to be expected. With no clear favorite aside from perhaps Northeastern, if you go by returning talent and experience, this figured to be an interesting and highly competitive year, and it was just that. For the first time in the conference’s history, four teams finished tied for first, as evidence of it, and all four were 12-6.

As I am one of the voters for the conference’s postseason awards, I feel it is worth sharing how I voted and some of what went into each selection. It also gives some insight into how the conference looks overall as we head into the conference tournament in Baltimore this weekend.

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Boston College finally has a win to show for their efforts

by - Published March 2, 2015 in Columns
bostoncollege

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Finally. The waiting game of sorts is over for Boston College.

So many good battles against top ACC teams, so many tough losses. That was the story for Boston College, especially during a nine-game losing streak that started in late January. They would give the likes of Pittsburgh, Miami (twice each), Syracuse, Louisville and North Carolina all they could handle before succumbing late. Rarely were they never really in a game, like a week earlier against Notre Dame. Surely it had to be a matter of time before they would break through and pull one of these out. And indeed, it wasn’t even a matter of pulling it out – they were never seriously challenged on Saturday. NC State got no closer than 12 in the second half, and that only lasted for 14 seconds.

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NC State is not making it easy on themselves

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

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
author_kasiecki

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
glatczak

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
bryant

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
harvard

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
notredame

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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Your Phil of Hoops

What Kentucky gave us will be forgotten, and that’s too bad

April 5, 2015 by

kentucky

Most people are going to remember Kentucky in 2014-15 more for the one loss than the 38 wins and the journey that came with it. That’s the most unfortunate thing of all.

A happy resolution comes in Delaware

April 1, 2015 by

delaware

There has finally been a resolution to Monte Ross’ contract situation, and it’s a happy one for the Blue Hens’ head coach and his staff after the work they have done to rebuild the program.

Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

March 15, 2015 by

temple

Temple is firmly on the bubble after losing in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to SMU. It’s the first time in head coach Fran Dunphy’s storied career that his team has been in this situation.

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

Notes from the 2015 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 20, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was time for a trip to Hanover for late action in the Northeast Hoops Festival, and we have a look at some prospects who stood out on the day.

2015 EYBL Hampton – Saturday & Sunday notes

April 14, 2015 by

nikeeybl

Saturday was a full day of action at EYBL Hampton, and Sunday capped it off with a brief slate. We look at some of the talent that was on hand each day to close out the first live weekend.

2015 EYBL Hampton – Friday notes

April 11, 2015 by

nikeeybl

Friday night was the beginning at EYBL Hampton, with a relatively light night of action. We have notes on a few players from the opening games to get us started.

2015 Playaz Spring Fling – Friday notes

April 8, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

The spring travel circuit is getting started, and the Playaz Spring Fling was a good early stop as it usually is during the Final Four weekend.

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.