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Boston University gets the 40-minute effort they needed

by - Published February 10, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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BOSTON – The final box score shows Boston University beating Lafayette 88-54. Dig a little deeper and you understand how the score got to be that way. But watch Saturday’s game at Agganis Arena and you understand it better, as well as why it was so satisfying for this team, as it’s the type of effort they’ve needed.

“We had been talking about trying to put together two halves, trying to play consistently well for 40 minutes,” said head coach Joe Jones. “We’ve struggled with that at times. So tonight, it was great to see us play a complete game from start to finish.”

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St. John’s has the momentum to make a run in February

by - Published February 5, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
stjohns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Times are good for St. John’s right now. You could see it after their 86-76 win at Providence, when JaKarr Sampson and D’Angelo Harrison got to the interview room before head coach Steve Lavin and sports information director Mark Fratto and proceeded to do their best impression of Fratto introducing the press conference. The youthful exuberance got a few laughs out of those who had gathered.

When you’ve won five of six and look like you’re starting to figure it out, you feel free to do something like this. It’s happening a little later than they surely would have liked, but it may not be too late.

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Rebuilding continues for Binghamton with tough bottom line results

by - Published February 2, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
binghamton

LOWELL, Mass. – The rebuilding and learning continues for Binghamton. The second year is almost always the most challenging, and year two under Tommy Dempsey is looking that way on the bottom line. The Bearcats are mired in a season-long seven-game losing streak, the latest being Saturday’s 62-55 loss at UMass-Lowell.

“I think year two is the toughest in the rebuilding process,” said Dempsey.

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It’s time for Cincinnati to come out from under the radar

by - Published January 31, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
cincinnati

It’s time to start talking about Cincinnati. The Bearcats have flown under the radar long enough, especially after they went into Louisville and emerged with a 69-66 win over the Cardinals despite blowing a 17-point lead in the second half.

Forget that the Cardinals have a deceptive 17-4 record and a good, not great, NCAA Tournament resume. This is about the Bearcats, a team that is now 20-2 overall and 9-0 in American Athletic Conference play and emerging as the clear team to beat there. The only losses were at New Mexico and against Xavier at a neutral site. Likely few, if any, picked the Bearcats over the likes of Louisville, Connecticut or Memphis before the season.

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Defense is the big concern for Xavier entering a week-long break

by - Published January 26, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
xavier

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Chris Mack didn’t mince words. After praising Providence, who beat his Xavier team 81-72 on Saturday, he started in on his team with their defensive play, and he continued and finished with that as well. It’s clear he wasn’t happy with his team’s defense, and that it wasn’t just on Saturday that such was the case.

“I thought our defense was terrible. It was pathetic,” said the Xavier head coach. “It was not who we’ve been, but it’s who we’ve been lately, and it needs to change, because nobody is going to compete for a Big East championship, an NCAA Tournament berth, and all the things we have outlined for our program this year if we’re playing games in the 80s and 90s.”

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Saturday Notes – January 18, 2014

by - Published January 19, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Saturday was one of the busiest days of college basketball this season, with 151 games on tap. Only one other day this season will match that. There were plenty of key matchups among those games, including an early Big 12 showdown and one of the bigger matchups being one of old Big East teams now in the ACC. A few teams scored a big win of one sort or another.

Here is a look at notes from some games on the day.

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Brad Brownell comes to Steve Donahue’s defense

by - Published January 5, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Speculation about Steve Donahue’s job status has taken off, to the point where one might not be off their rocker for thinking it’s gotten out of hand. If the Boston College head coach is looking for an ally, it’s clear he has a willing one in Clemson head coach Brad Brownell, his opposite number on Saturday afternoon. The Clemson mentor added some thoughts unprompted while discussing his team’s win.

Clemson beat Boston College 62-60 on Saturday to send the reeling Eagles to 4-11 on the season. Well before this, though, there had been talk of what could happen to Donahue as the Eagles lost a few early ones. As losses have mounted, so has speculation that Donahue is on some kind of borrowed time at The Heights. Brownell sees some similarities and drew a comparison and contrast at times.

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Boston College isn’t as bad as you might think

by - Published January 2, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bostoncollege

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Boston College is done with non-conference play, and perhaps thankful for that. The Eagles are 4-10, with one of the losses being an early ACC loss, and there’s not a lot of positive press about this team. There’s been speculation about Steve Donahue feeling some heat, and that continued on Wednesday while the Eagles suffered a 73-58 loss at Harvard. All this, and they already fight to be relevant in the first place, both in their strong conference and locally in a pro sports town.

Now it’s time to look this over a little more, and be fair to this team and coach. Boston College isn’t as bad as some think.

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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

by - Published December 31, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is just about over at this point. Conference games are ready to take over the rest of the slate, with a few having an “opening day” of sorts, including the Big East with its well-publicized day of five games on Tuesday. A few have already had early conference games, with the West Coast Conference having its opening day on Saturday.

How are the conferences shaping up? Which ones look like we thought and which ones look nothing like what we thought before the season? Here is a look at all 32 conferences as conference play beckons.

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Rhode Island is experiencing the predicted growing pains

by - Published December 30, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
rhodeisland

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – As non-conference play winds down, Rhode Island is experiencing what many could have predicted they would before the season: growing pains. Their 77-64 loss to Southern Miss is perhaps a microcosm of the season, and it’s not surprising that it left head coach Dan Hurley musing about the state of his team as Atlantic 10 play approaches.

Rhode Island certainly had their moments. They responded to an early blitz by the Golden Eagles, leading for stretches in the first half and tying the game early in the second half. But once Southern Miss scored eight unanswered points to break the tie, the Rams were playing catch-up the rest of the way. They rallied to within 64-62, but the Golden Eagles then scored the next 11 points to seal it.

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Your Phil of Hoops

Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by

unlv

Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by

syracuse

Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by

brown

Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

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2014 Prep School Tour

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

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

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Recruiting Coverage

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.