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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 9, 2015

by - Published February 9, 2015 in Columns
hoopguy-cyan

If you ever go to the Dean Smith Center at the University of North Carolina, a look up in the rafters will give you an idea of why the building is named after the man. It’s an amazing collection of college basketball history.

Smith passed away late Saturday night at age 83. It came late enough in the evening that word did not get out about it until yesterday morning. And so we begin to remember him, including that like so many legends, he was more than just a coach.

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Mount St. Mary’s is full of positives

by - Published February 8, 2015 in Columns
mountsaintmarys

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – If Mount St. Mary’s seems like a program full of positive energy these days, there are a lot of sources for it. The simplest part of it is the reality that this is a young team, including their head coach, one of the youngest in Division I. While the team tries to grow, keeping those positive vibes will be important, especially as Northeast Conference play rolls on with its two-day turnaround on most weekends.

After Mount St. Mary’s lost a tough game at Bryant on Thursday – the latest dramatic game between these two in Smithfield – naturally the team and the staff knew it was there for the taking. But Jamion Christian, the alum who heads up the program, had lots of energy and can only beam with pride about his team right now.

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Saturday Notes – February 7, 2015

by - Published February 8, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Saturday was another busy day of basketball, and it featured many big matchups that had the top of a conference on the line. There’s still a month to play, but it’s always better to be on top than playing from behind, and some of these matchups are only the first meeting between two teams.

Saturday also included the first time in ACC history that there were two matchups of teams ranked in the AP top 10 on the same day. Fans got a split out of the deal, as the first one was a dud and the second was a dandy.

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Defense helps Towson as they gain experience

by - Published February 7, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
towson

BOSTON – Pat Skerry’s reaction told it all.

After Northeastern forward Scott Eatherton backed down a Towson defender for a basket and made it look easy, Skerry’s reaction was as if no defensive effort was made. The Tigers are normally a good defensive team, but they struggled there in a loss at Northeastern on Wednesday night, and that put too much pressure on an offense that still has a lot of room to grow right now.

All night long, Northeastern basically got what they wanted at the offensive end against the Tigers. They shot 60 percent from the field, including a 6-8 mark on three-pointers. That also included shooting at a 72.2 percent clip in the first half, when the Tigers dug themselves a hole that left a late rally as being too little, too late.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, February 7, 2015

by - Published February 7, 2015 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

Friday night in February is usually a relatively idle night in college basketball. This one was a bit different, as it was full of big matchups and games that delivered on their promise. A few stand out enough to warrant a little further look.

Leading the way is the Atlantic 10, where Dayton visited George Washington. The two teams were picked to finish right behind VCU before the season, and have been right there for much of the way. In particular, we’re going to learn something about the Colonials, who are in the midst of a challenging stretch. After two road losses, they came home and nearly lost it in overtime, but Joe McDonald was the hero as put back a blocked shot before the buzzer to give the Colonials a 65-64 win. McDonald finished with a game-high 19 points.

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We’re going to learn more about George Washington

by - Published February 6, 2015 in Columns
georgewashington

We’re about to find out something about the 2014-15 George Washington team. They have thus far played well, and were projected to be Atlantic 10 contenders, but now we’re going to see if they can truly live up to that.

Last Saturday’s loss at Rhode Island was the second game in a six-game stretch where the Colonials will take on much of the other mettle of the conference. They already lost at VCU a few nights earlier, a game where if you blinked in the second half, you missed it going from a relatively close one a blowout. Granted, these two games were on the road, but going 0-2 isn’t a good way to start this tough stretch. Next up is Dayton at home, then after going to Duquesne they host VCU and Davidson.

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Scanning the Nation Notebook – February 5, 2015

by - Published February 5, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

Some college basketball thoughts from the first week of February, as “bubble” talk becomes increasingly a part of every day of the rest of the regular season:

  • Mentioned Butler’s Roosevelt Jones last week, and just how valuable he is for all he does for his team. Another guy you can put in that category: Seth Tuttle of Northern Iowa. Tuttle has been a low post load in the MVC for a couple years now, and he still is. The big guy is far more than that though, and can score, rebound, pass, and even step out and shoot the three. He touches ball in the high post on almost every possession; clearly, UNI’s offense runs through him. In some ways, he is reminiscent of Halil Kanacevic, who had the ball in his hands all the time for St. Joseph’s last year. Tuttle isn’t going to run the point like Kanacevic did, but he can do just about everything else. His outstanding senior year (15.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists per game) has him as a deserving frontrunner for Valley player of the year honors.

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Rhode Island continues to grow up

by - Published February 4, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
rhodeisland

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Barely three weeks ago, Dan Hurley and E.C. Matthews sat in the interview room at the Ryan Center after a tough loss. Hurley and Matthews were low-key, but still upbeat despite dropping a game that they controlled, something that you know doesn’t come easily for the ultra-competitive Hurley. Among other things, Hurley talked about how the Rams would get better from that game, including when it comes to making big plays down the stretch as they go from being a young team to a veteran team.

On Saturday, you could see exactly that. Rhode Island had another test from within the conference, and the result was different. This time, they played like a team that did exactly what Hurley talked about after the loss to VCU. They played with confidence down the stretch, made plays and sealed the game.

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Saturday Notes – January 31, 2015

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

Saturday was one of the busiest game days of the season, as over 150 games were on tap with Division I teams. With the many great games on the slate, many of which were at least as good as advertised, it should be a happy day. But there’s a good deal of sadness hanging over the day in light of news that came after 10 p.m. Eastern: VCU point guard Briante Weber is done for the season with a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus in his knee. His college career is over.

Suddenly, all the great games on the day seemed so insignificant. Weber was the epitome of HAVOC and was on the verge of breaking the NCAA’s record for career steals. He had six of those on the afternoon before this happened. He’s a key vocal leader for a team that’s winning big this season, though they lost on Saturday (and were already trailing when he got hurt). He’s got a great motor and is a great kid. Put another way, he represents everything that’s right with college basketball.

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Scanning the Nation Notebook – January 29, 2015

by - Published January 29, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

Some college basketball thoughts as we near the end of January and full-time talk about the “bubble” is just around the corner:

  • He’s not going to be talked about as much as guys like Kelly Oubre, Cliff Alexander or even Devonte Graham, but Brannen Greene is someone who has been coming up big in big games for Kansas. The 6-7 sophomore has four of his five double-figure scoring games this year against top competition: 19 points at Georgetown (including 5-of-5 three-point shooting), 14 points last weekend against Texas, plus 12 points each against Baylor and Oklahoma. It’s strange that he’s averaging just under six points per game, but it’s also awful nice to have a clutch player like him in your back pocket.

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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.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen 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.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

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.

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Recruiting Coverage

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.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.