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It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

by - Published March 15, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

HARTFORD, Conn. – SMU probably won’t have Larry Brown as their head coach for long. He’s 74 years old, and the school knew his time was limited when they hired him with a head coach-in-waiting in Tim Jankovich. However, his hire has had the impact they wanted: the program has a winning product in three years.

Now, people know about SMU. It’s a destination for players.

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Groundhog Day for Stony Brook

by - Published March 14, 2015 in Columns

ALBANY, N.Y. – Steve Pikiell probably answered the same questions on Saturday he’s answered seemingly thousands of times before. Too many times, really, and not because of anything he’s done.

When will Stony Brook win the big game? What’s the feeling after another one of these close calls? Did you get concerned down the stretch?

You know those questions and variations of each were undoubtedly fired away at the Stony Brook mentor on Saturday.

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History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

by - Published March 14, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

HARTFORD, Conn. – The season is over, but a challenge is in front of East Carolina – or at least, the bigger part of the challenge. The first was changing conferences, which by itself is challenging enough. The second has to do with the school and which conference they are now in, and perhaps more with the former.

The Pirates gave regular season champion SMU all they could handle before losing in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday. Along the way, they set an American Athletic Conference Tournament record with 15 three-pointers.

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Ryan Boatright and UConn live to see another day

by - Published March 14, 2015 in Columns

HARTFORD, Conn. – Ryan Boatright didn’t want to go out like this.

Not with a missed free throw leading the story. Not with another tough loss to a good team, the likes of which they have had plenty of this season. Not with a loss in front of the home crowd. Not with a loss that would almost certainly send them to the NIT.

Not when he’s worked all his life to take a shot like that, even if the shot alone seemed to take a long time.

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Davidson at the buzzer

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – La Salle led virtually the entire contest. The Explorers enjoyed as much an 18-point lead late in the first half. The near-game domination was erased as LaSalle went scoreless the final 4:45 of the contest. Davidson advanced 67-66 on a Tyler Kalinoski’s drive to the basket rimmed and dropped as the buzzer sounded.

A look at the numbers gets us going:

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Texas simply wasn’t as good as we thought they were

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns

If Texas doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament, it is only fitting that their season would end the way it did. Thursday’s stunning loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament sums up their season in one game.

And while they will hold out hope for a bid amidst bracketologists saying they might still be in even after Thursday, at this point putting Texas in would be a travesty. The Longhorns simply don’t deserve to be in. Perhaps, though, theirs will not be a story of a great collapse, but rather, one of a team that wasn’t as good as we thought they were.

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USF tries to set the stage for future growth

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

HARTFORD, Conn. – Orlando Antigua’s first season as head coach of USF is in the books. Judge it by the bottom line, and it stinks: the Bulls went 9-23, including 3-15 in American Athletic Conference play. Dig deeper, though, and you see promising signs that may make this year one that set the stage.

Certainly, the way the season ended isn’t pretty. The Bulls were never really in their first round game against a hungry and confident UConn team, and being close to UConn’s campus meant it was essentially a road game. In addition, they were once again without Corey Allen Jr., whose career ended by being declared ineligible at the end of February for receiving impermissible benefits regarding tuition payments for courses he completed at another school prior to enrolling at USF. That forced this team to go without their leading scorer and grow up a little sooner. It might have been for the best in the sense that they won’t have him next year anyway, so they got an early start.

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Strong second half propels Bonnies

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – In a classic case of “survive and advance” St. Bonaventure defeated Saint Joseph’s 60-49 in Atlantic 10 first round action. The age-old axiom tells us it is difficult to defeat a team three times in one season. It is beyond difficult, more like impossible, to do it if your offensive efficiency is 77. The Barclays Center game came after the Bonnies swept the two regular season meetings. The first twenty minutes would leave casual followers wondering how St. Bonaventure managed to pull off a sweep.

In a slow to pedestrian 30 possessions, Saint Joseph’s, a 28-23 leader at the half, registered a 90 efficiency. Not great, but good enough for a lead when you allow a 77. The first half saw the teams combine for 15 field goals. St. Joseph’s with nine of those, had a 39 percent eFG mark while St. Bonaventure shot just 35 percent.

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Sampson is getting a lot out of Houston

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns

HARTFORD, Conn. – Say this about Kelvin Sampson’s first year as head coach at Houston: he’s given reason to believe he’ll make them relevant in time. The Cougars have gone through a lot, and don’t have great talent, but he’s managed to get 13 wins out of this team, including Thursday’s win over Tulane in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

The first year at a program that has struggled is tough to figure. Sometimes it’s a veteran team that can turn around some from a change, and sometimes it’s a young team that takes time to mold. Sometimes it’s a veteran team that is marginally better or gets no better because they weren’t very good to begin with. Rarely is there a wholesale change just from changing the coach in one year.

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UCF’s young perimeter needs help next year

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

HARTFORD, Conn. – UCF had a tough ending to a tough season. Now the work begins on getting better, and to that end they have a good base. They showed some reason for hope in the season-ending loss in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

UCF played from behind for much of the game, at one point trailing East Carolina by 17 in the first half. They managed to hang around, though, and that gave them a chance. Their inability to get stops for a stretch took away any real momentum they had for a lot of the second, and kept them from breaking through to eventually tie or take the lead. They didn’t quit, though, and in the final seconds a Kasey Wilson stickback sent the game into overtime.

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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.

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

April 5, 2015 by


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.

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.