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Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

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

HARTFORD, Conn. – This isn’t the kind of uncharted waters you want to be in. Uncertainty is something humans hate more than anything else. For now, though, all Temple can do is wait and hope that they will be part of the field of 68. It’s something Fran Dunphy hasn’t had to do before.

Dunphy has had seasons where his team hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament. He’s a great coach, but he hasn’t been perfect. To this point in his career, he’s always known whether his team is in or out, though. While at Penn, his team was only going with a league championship, so he knew before Selection Sunday if he was in or out. At Temple, he’s won three conference championships, had other teams that were locks regardless and others that were definitely not making the Big Dance.

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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
smu

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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History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

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

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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USF tries to set the stage for future growth

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

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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UCF’s young perimeter needs help next year

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

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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What happens next for Delaware?

by - Published March 9, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
delaware

BALTIMORE – What now?

That’s probably the simplest, but also the most wide-ranging, question. There are lots of questions, actually, and no answers at the moment. There is lots of speculation, some of it even of the well-reasoned variety, but no clarity for now.

What happens to Monte Ross? What will Delaware look like next year and beyond, not only on the bench, but on the court? Why has it come to this? When will we know?

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Family helped Elon get off the mat and win late games

by - Published March 8, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
elon

BALTIMORE – With Elon this weekend, you saw a mix of why they had to play on the first night of the CAA Tournament and some hope. It all went together, but didn’t translate into a big upset on Saturday to move on, as William & Mary took over the game early and scored a convincing 72-59 quarterfinal win.

The issues were clear. The Phoenix were not good defensively, and this was a bad time for that to be the case as they were up against a very good and disciplined offensive team. They had offensive issues, too, but it started on defense, particularly with the way William & Mary took the lead for good – primarily on three-pointers as they hit three in an 11-0 run to take the lead for good.

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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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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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Your Phil of Hoops

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

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.