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Robert Morris Defeats FDU: Why Tempo-Free is Important

by - Published February 18, 2011 in Conference Notes

TEANECK, N.J. – Andy Toole planned on Robert Morris playing their best ball beginning mid to late February and into March. The Colonials seemed to be on track as they handily defeated FDU 74-50 at The Rothman Center. The defending Northeast Conference champions were outstanding on defense, limiting FDU to 35 percent shooting from the floor and forcing 17 turnovers. On the other end sophomore center Lijah Thompson was too much for the Knights to handle. The 6-7 Thompson scored a game-high 16 points, adding seven rebounds as the Colonials enjoyed a 34-18 edge on points in the paint. … Continue Reading

Rutgers, St. John’s Get Attention in a Wild Big East Week

by - Published February 13, 2011 in Conference Notes

NEW YORK – A look back at a couple wild nights in the Big East.

Rutgers’ improbable 77-76 victory over Villanova is widely discussed in how it transpired. The Wildcats had a three-point lead with seconds left. Rutgers’ Jonathan Mitchell hit a trey with .8 second reaming and was fouled by Corey Fisher, ironically his only personal of the game, Mitchell calmly converted from the charity stripe to give the Scarlet Knights the victory. … Continue Reading

Huge Weekend Looms for ACC’s Five Bubble Teams

by - Published February 12, 2011 in Conference Notes

This weekend features several critical ACC match ups that could leave a few teams in position for a late-season run at an NCAA Tournament bid.

When it’s all said and done, the ACC likely will send four or five teams to the NCAA Tournament, especially if bubble teams in the Big 12 and Big Ten falter during the final few weeks — think Penn State, Michigan State and Kansas State. Right now, Duke and North Carolina look like locks, with Florida State in good position barring a collapse down the stretch. … Continue Reading

Oliver Injury Gives Hewitt a Lineup Dilemma

by - Published February 8, 2011 in Conference Notes

Georgia Tech won’t have the services of sophomore Brian Oliver for about three weeks as he recovers from a thumb injury.

The Yellow Jacket swingman has shown a propensity to deliver big games, as he did a couple of weeks ago when he put up 28 points against Virginia Tech. Oliver was 11-of-18 from the field and hit four three-pointers. In an early season loss to Syracuse, Oliver did all he could with a season-high 32 points and 12-of-21 shooting. … Continue Reading

Missouri Valley Notebook – February 4, 2011

by - Published February 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

Three teams fighting for the crown

Heading into the final month of the regular season, one game separates three teams in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), led by preseason favorite Wichita State. Northern Iowa and Missouri State – the only two conference losses for Wichita State – are on the Shockers’ heels. A look at the work left to do for each squad during their final six MVC contests:

Wichita State (19-4, 10-2 MVC)

MVC home games left: 3

The tough ones: Creighton (Feb. 23)

MVC road games left: 3

The tough ones: All of them – Northern Iowa (Feb. 12), Evansville (Feb. 15), Missouri State (Feb. 26)

Outlook: A brutal stretch to end the season begins on Feb. 12 at Northern Iowa. The Shockers will have three road games to end the season and a home date against Creighton. Already a game up in the race, though, the Shockers should still be the favorite. Add in the fact that Northern Iowa will be missing a significant role from its roster (Lucas O’Rear is out for the season), and Missouri State has finally shown signs of losing the close games it had been victorious in several times earlier this season. A possible slip-up out of the three road tests may come at Evansville, where the Shockers escaped with an overtime win last season. Evansville is currently riding a four-game winning streak that includes victories over Missouri State and Indiana State.

Prediction: First place, 15-3 in the MVC.

Missouri State (17-6, 9-3 MVC)

MVC home games left: 4

The tough ones: Indiana State (Feb. 5), Wichita State (Feb. 26)

MVC road games left: 2

The tough ones: Illinois State (Feb. 12), Southern Illinois (Feb. 23)

Outlook: The schedule is smiling at Missouri State during its time of need. Having lost three of five games after a 7-0 start in conference play, the Bears will finish with four home contests and two very winnable road games. MSU’s only two games against teams from the upper half of the standings are at home – against a reeling Indiana State team that has lost four straight and against Wichita State on the regular season’s final day. Saturday’s date with Indiana State is pivotal. A win will keep pace in the title race, but a loss will likely knock the Bears out of contention and fighting to stay above the middle of the pack.

Prediction: Second place, 13-5 in the MVC.

Northern Iowa (18-6, 9-3 MVC)

MVC home games left: 2

The tough ones: Wichita State (Feb. 12), Indiana State (Feb. 22)

MVC road games left: 4

The tough ones: Evansville (Feb. 8), Bradley (Feb. 15), Creighton (Feb. 26)

Outlook: Since a 25-point loss at Indiana State on Jan. 7, Northern Iowa has been the hottest team in the MVC with eight consecutive wins. Two ingredients go against the Panthers down the stretch though. First, senior Lucas O’Rear will miss the rest of the season with a fractured ankle. The forward led the team with almost six rebounds per game, and he was a large part of the stingy Panther defense. O’Rear’s absence comes at the worst time for Northern Iowa, which still has road tests at Evansville, Creighton and Bradley and home dates against Indiana State and league-leader Wichita State. Four of those teams are .500 or better in conference competition.

Prediction: Third place, 12-6 in the MVC.

Valley team on the rise this week: Evansville

The Aces have won four in a row, including victories over then-second place Indiana State and an impressive performance over Missouri State on Wednesday. At 7-5 in MVC play so far, Evansville has already more than doubled last season’s conference win total, and looks poised to reach double-digit wins by the end of the season.

Valley teams in trouble this week: Indiana State and Creighton (tie)

After a surprising 7-1 start to conference play, Indiana State had almost everyone on the bandwagon – especially after taking Wichita State to three overtimes during an eventual road loss. However, that defeat was followed by another heart-breaker – a 66-63 home defeat to Evansville. And since then, the Sycamores haven’t been able to get back on track and head into a crucial game at Missouri State this Saturday having dropped four consecutive games.

Creighton not only gave Bradley its first MVC win in 12 tries on Wednesday, but the Bluejays fell into sixth place during the process. With two defeats in its last three games and a 4-6 mark during the past 10 contests, Creighton isn’t quite guaranteed a first-round bye yet in the conference tournament next month.

Game of the week: Indiana State at Missouri State (Saturday, Feb. 5)

Between the two teams, they are 2-6 during the past two weeks, but this is a desperation game. Although Indiana State has likely played itself out of the MVC title race with a four-game skid, the Sycamores are still very much alive to capture the second seed for the conference tournament. Missouri State can keep pace in the Valley race with a win, but a loss could drop it into the jumbled mess with Indiana State, Evansville and Creighton.

Ranking the MVC (through Feb. 2)

  1. Wichita State (19-4, 10-2 MVC)
  2. Northern Iowa (18-6, 9-3 MVC)
  3. Missouri State (17-6, 9-3 MVC)
  4. Evansville (13-9, 7-5 MVC)
  5. Creighton (14-10, 6-6 MVC)
  6. Indiana State (12-11, 7-5 MVC)
  7. Illinois State (11-12, 3-9 MVC)
  8. Drake (9-14, 4-8 MVC)
  9. Southern Illinois (10-13, 4-8 MVC)
  10. Bradley (7-16, 1-11 MVC)

Roy Williams’ Lineup Change Reaps Immediate Rewards for UNC

by - Published February 3, 2011 in Conference Notes

Kendall Marshall might not be ready to be North Carolina’s Batman, but Larry Drew II is more than happy to be Robin.

Each of coach Roy Williams’ championship teams had an elite point guard: Raymond Felton in 2005 and Ty Lawson in 2009. Although the Tar Heels usually get a huge chunk of scoring from great post players — such as Tyler Zeller, Tyler Hansbrough and Sean May — a speedy, attacking point guard is a prerequisite for running Williams’ high-octane offense.

So after the Tar Heels lost badly, 78-58, in Atlanta to Georgia Tech Jan. 16, Williams decided to go with Marshall, a freshman, in the starting lineup instead of Drew. Since then, the Tar Heels are 4-0 and are clicking on all cylinders. However, Marshall can’t take all the credit because his play has actually dipped slightly. Ironically, Drew has improved. … Continue Reading

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Harvard’s Big News: The Re-Emergence of Kyle Casey

by - Published February 1, 2011 in Conference Notes

The big news coming out of the first full Ivy League weekend for Harvard isn’t that they advanced to 4-0 in league play. That’s certainly good, as Harvard heads on the road next weekend for a crucial trip with a perfect mark. But the big news for the Crimson is that Kyle Casey looks like himself after having his ups and downs in non-league play coming off a broken foot suffered before practice began.

… Continue Reading

Colonial Notebook – February 1, 2011

by - Published February 1, 2011 in Conference Notes

The CAA’s annual four-in-eight stretch has concluded, and as always there is plenty to look back on. It’s a challenging stretch that begins with three games in five days, and every team had to go on the road at least once in the stretch.

Here is a look at how the teams fared in this stretch and their overall CAA records:


… Continue Reading

UMass, Rhode Island Result Mirrors Teams’ Current Directions

by - Published January 31, 2011 in Columns, Conference Notes

AMHERST, Mass. – Sunday’s matchup of New England Atlantic 10 rivals was one of two teams seemingly going in opposite directions. One might not have figured as much when noticing that both entered the game with identical 4-2 records in Atlantic 10 play, but the end result – a UMass win over Rhode Island – reflected where the teams were headed at that moment.

UMass is moving forward and in a tie for third in the conference with its 5-2 mark as they enter a week with two road games. After a slip in play during December, they are playing well again with four wins in their last five outings. Opponents are shooting around 39 percent from the field against the Minutemen in Atlantic 10 play, and that’s where it has all started. … Continue Reading

Missouri Valley Notebook – January 17, 2011

by - Published January 17, 2011 in Conference Notes

A surprising new team can crash the party this week in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). The Indiana State Sycamores – off to their best conference start in 11 seasons – are riding a five-game winning streak as Missouri State visits Terre Haute, Ind., on Wednesday. It would be an understatement to call this the biggest week of the season for the Sycamores, but victories over Missouri State and Wichita State would put Indiana State in the driver’s seat to chase the conference title.

After losing three starters from last season’s postseason squad – Indiana State’s first postseason since 2001 – the majority had the Sycamores slotted in the conference’s lower half during the preseason. Now the Sycamores are off to the same start the last time they won the Missouri Valley. Skeptics will point to a soft schedule at the beginning of the conference slate, as Indiana State’s opponents have racked up a combined 13-36 MVC record so far this winter.

It is true the final 11 Valley contests will be a tougher test (six games left against Wichita State, Missouri State, Creighton and Northern Iowa). However, the Sycamores will go into that brutal stretch having already achieved some impressive feats this month. On Jan. 7 they breezed past Northern Iowa by 25 points. If that wasn’t enough of a statement, it was the first time the Northern Iowa defense surrendered 70 points since Jan. 3, 2010 – a span of 37 games. During that stretch, not even the potent UNLV, Kansas or Syracuse offenses were able to have as much success against Northern Iowa.

Indiana State has been able to rack up five straight wins without team scoring leader Dwayne Lathan for three of them. The junior guard returned with limited playing time against Creighton on Sunday – a 61-59 comeback win for the Sycamores.

The contests this week will create some interesting matchups, as Wichita State and Missouri State are first and third in the MVC for three-pointers per game. Meanwhile, Indiana State is first in the Valley for offensive and defensive three-point percentage. Victors will probably go to the team that can gain control of the perimeter that night.

Team that helped itself the most last week: Northern Iowa

The Panthers started the week struggling to get a 46-44 home win over Valley cellar dweller Illinois State, but it was an important start to a 2-0 week for Northern Iowa. The close victory was followed by a 72-52 triumph over Southern Illinois, as the Panthers avenged a loss to SIU on New Year’s Day. Senior Lucas O’Rear pitched in one of his top performances of the season with a double-double, contributing to a 21-point effort from Kwadzo Ahelegbe. Northern Iowa will ride its three-game winning streak to Wichita State on Wednesday, where the Panthers lost 60-51 last season.

Team that has trouble brewing after last week: Creighton

A buzzer-beating loss at Indiana State on Sunday spoiled an opportunity for the Bluejays to keep pace in the conference race. Instead, Creighton sits three games back from the lead as Bradley (6-12, 0-7 MVC) visits on Wednesday. It’s a must-win game, as the Bluejays travel to Missouri State on Saturday.

Hoopville Player of the Week: Aaron Carter, Indiana State

The senior guard helped propel the Sycamores into Wednesday’s showdown by sinking 20 points, including six treys, against Creighton. Carter’s 14 points last Wednesday also helped Indiana State squeeze out a victory at Bradley.

Valley games to watch this week: A lot of the teams in the upper half of the standings will face off this week. Here are a few to keep an eye on:

Wednesday, Jan. 19: Missouri State (15-3, 7-0 MVC) at Indiana State (11-7, 6-1 MVC)

The league’s two longest winning streaks will go against each other in a battle for first. Missouri State brings in a nine-game win streak to Terre Haute and has already notched road wins at Northern Iowa, Creighton and Wichita State.

Wednesday, Jan. 19: Northern Iowa (13-6, 4-3 MVC) at Wichita State (15-3, 6-1 MVC)

The margin of error is slim to none for Northern Iowa, as it already sits three games back from the conference lead. Whether the game is a barn burner or a blowout will depend which Panther offense steps on the floor. In its past four games, Northern Iowa has been sporadic with 45, 83, 46 and 72 points.

Saturday, Jan. 22: Creighton (12-7, 4-3 MVC) at Missouri State (15-3, 7-0 MVC)

After a rough week, another team that can’t afford many more losses also has a tough road contest. The Bluejays will aim for revenge after Missouri State snatched a road victory against them two weeks ago.

Saturday, Jan. 22: Indiana State (11-6, 6-1 MVC) at Wichita State (15-3, 6-1 MVC)

Wichita State has won the past four meetings in this series, but there wouldn’t be any better time for the Sycamores to snap that. Indiana State faces its first big road test of the season, after recent solid home victories against Northern Iowa and Creighton.

College Basketball Tonight

COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, who will be joined by former Manhattan and Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on every Sunday from Selection Sunday to the Final Four. You can listen to the show here.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

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Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by


The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by


Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

2013 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: St. Andrew's
Sept 10: Tilton
Sept. 11: South Kent School and Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 12: Putnam Science Academy
Sept. 16: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 17: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 23: New Hampton School
Sept. 24: Brimmer and May
Sept. 25: Proctor Academy
Sept. 26: Notre Dame Prep and Cushing Academy
Sept. 29: Worcester Academy and Vermont Academy
Oct. 6: Charlestown High School and Milton Academy
Oct. 13: Tabor Academy
Oct. 15: Brooks School

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Cesar Fulcar commits to Wentworth

The senior guard led Watertown to the state semifinal this past season

Travel team profile: Bay State Magic

Bay State Magic doesn’t have much size on their junior team this season, so they’ll have to win with execution and intangibles

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is already 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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter