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Hartford finally gets a much-needed break in the action

by - Published November 27, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
hartford

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – John Gallagher doesn’t have to look far for answers. They’re all right in front of the Hartford mentor and all part of the team that is off to a 2-5 start after dropping two at Mohegan Sun Arena in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off this weekend. They’re all going to get a break, too, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

“I thought, seven games in 15 days, this is on our second back-to-back in a two-week stretch, we had no legs and we didn’t have the juice that we play with,” said Hartford’s head coach.

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Could North Carolina’s big weekend change their season?

by - Published November 26, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
northcarolina

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – A week made a big difference for North Carolina.  It’s still November, but in a week North Carolina basically went from outhouse to penthouse with a weekend in Connecticut that was all they could have wanted.  It could change the direction of their season.

Even before North Carolina lost to Belmont last Sunday, the Tar Heels didn’t look good.  It wasn’t shocking that they lost to Belmont, a well-tested team, but they were supposed to win being at home.  After that, the question wasn’t even if they could beat Louisville in a potential championship matchup in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off, but rather, could they even get past Richmond first?  It was one more thing for this team to deal with after the off-season issues and unresolved eligibility concerns with P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald.

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George Mason has to improve key areas for a big stretch coming up

by - Published November 24, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
georgemason

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – George Mason played their toughest opponent to date on Saturday, and it showed very quickly. The Patriots took care of business in their first four games, three of which were at home, and they got away with turning the ball over 16 times on average. On Saturday, they were quickly staring at big deficits at Iona as the Gaels blitzed them 89-73. The game wasn’t even as close as the final might indicate, and it gives an idea of how much more challenging things are going to get for the Patriots.

Iona scored the game’s first 14 points and never looked back. The Patriots looked shell-shocked, and while they got untracked some later, scoring seven in a row to make it 34-12 at one point, they never got much momentum. They gave the ball away 11 times in the first half, but it must have seemed like 111 turnovers because Iona constantly turned them into points and basically ran them out of the gym. They had just four turnovers in the second half, and as a result actually ended up below average, but the damage was done. Iona had a 26-13 edge in points off turnovers.

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Defense and rebounding are big concerns for Washington

by - Published November 23, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
washington

NEW YORK – Coaches talk often about the importance of defense and rebounding in winning games and championships. It’s understandable since offense comes and goes. You have to figure Lorenzo Romar is spending more time in practice on that right now considering his team’s issues at that end of the floor that were illuminated quite clearly in the 2K Sports Classic, where Washington went 0-2 after losing 89-78 against Boston College on Friday.

The Huskies were basically spectators against Boston College on Friday, and maybe the best example of that came at the end of the first half. After a shot clock violation left just over five seconds on the clock, the Huskies let BC guard Olivier Hanlan drive the length of the floor almost untouched for a buzzer-beating layup that put the Eagles up 46-34 at the break.

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Rhode Island trip wasn’t the way Vermont hoped to start road stretch

by - Published November 19, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
vermont

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – This wasn’t how Vermont wanted or expected to start a long road stretch.  The Catamounts are at the beginning of a stretch where they play seven in a row and nine of ten away from Burlington, and there’s only one way to describe their two games in three nights in Rhode Island: bad.

Vermont certainly expected better than what they showed on both nights, even if they had come away 0-2.  This is a team that starts five seniors and brings another off the bench, and all of them won an America East championship on the road as sophomores.  There’s a reason they have been picked once again to win America East, and it’s not because Boston University has left for the Patriot League.  This is a team with good experience, and winning experience at that, to say nothing of having been on the road a lot.  They didn’t win conference championships with moral victories, and won’t take any despite Monday being better than Saturday night.

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UMass continues good start and shows some maturity

by - Published November 18, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
umass

AMHERST, Mass. – With two good wins under their belt to start the season, UMass certainly didn’t need to nullify either of them with a bad loss. While they were never in real danger on Sunday, the Minutemen allowed Youngstown State to hang around long enough to make a few of the Mullins Center faithful sweat a little before pulling away 85-69.

By pulling away late, the story certainly changes from a slippage of momentum to how the team has shown some maturity in their first three games. Certainly, the Minutemen could be playing better, but the bottom line has Derek Kellogg happy while still looking for more out of this team.

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Toledo wasn’t lacking confidence and should have even more now

by - Published November 15, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
toledo

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Tod Kowalczyk told his team that they were the better team.  He wasn’t crazy for saying so, although there are those who would say he was, but his Toledo team proved it on the court Thursday night when they walked out of Conte Forum with a 95-92 win over Boston College.

“I told the guys in a timeout, we’re the better team,” said Kowalczyk, now in his fourth season at the school.  “I thought we played that way coming down the stretch.”

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New to Division I, UMass-Lowell gets blitzed in Boston

by - Published November 14, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
umass_lowell

BOSTON – Welcome to Division I, UMass-Lowell.

Wednesday night’s 91-65 loss at Boston University was not the first game in Division I for the River Hawks. It was, in fact, their second. But they’re still new to this level, and Wednesday night’s game seemed over before it started with the way the early minutes went.

“They did ambush us,” said sophomore guard D.J. Mlachnik. “We knew that was coming.”

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Hartford shows a mixed bag of maturity in season opener

by - Published November 10, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
hartford

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Saturday’s season-opening 82-77 loss to Quinnipiac was a tale of two halves in more ways than one for Hartford. Although they had some good minutes in the bad half, it wasn’t enough to rally from a 15-point hole they dug themselves and left them heading home trying to look at the bright side from the good half.

The first half was everything Hartford could want. They took advantage of Quinnipiac looking listless at times, moving the ball well at the offensive end to get good shots. Yolonzo Moore looked like a sure all-conference point guard with 15 points on 6-8 shooting, including 3-4 from long range, and he led the good ball movement that produced those shots. Multiple players helped, and they look like a team with a lot of scoring options.

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BC didn’t quite play like the veteran team they are in loss

by - Published November 9, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bostoncollege

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two seasons ago, the reasons behind Boston College’s 82-78 loss at Providence in overtime would have been understandable. At that time, the Eagles were one of the least experienced teams in the nation with a lot of growing pains to come. But this is a different time, as the Eagles are now a very experienced team for one with just one senior, and the Eagles’ lack of poise and lackluster execution on Friday night are more concerning.

Friday night is just one game, and it can very well be an aberration. They will have to make it so since they take on UMass on Sunday at the Boston Garden. But on Friday, it cost them a very winnable game that could have shelf life later in the season.

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Saturday Notes – January 31, 2015

February 1, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at quite a day of action, featuring a number of great matchups that mostly led to great games. Unfortunately, there was some terrible news that came later in the day.

Saturday Notes – January 24, 2015

January 25, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

This Saturday didn’t have quite the marquee matchups as a week earlier, but there were some important ones, especially with teams in the middle of a few conferences trying to separate themselves from the pack.

Saturday notes – January 17, 2015

January 18, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

High school games may have grabbed a lot of attention, but there were plenty of college games as well. Most results weren’t surprising, but were well worth looking at some notes on, and we do that here.

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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.

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.