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Despite semifinal loss, Notre Dame feels better leaving New York than when they entered

by - Published March 16, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
notredame

NEW YORK – Let the debate about the value of conference tournaments rage on. You’ll find a few willing supporters of them in New York, including Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, even after his team was eliminated by Louisville 69-57 in the semifinal on Friday night. There was plenty of value for him and his team here, and it wasn’t just sentimental, although there was a little of that.

“I can’t say enough about the Big East, man,” said Brey. “I don’t think it’s really hit me yet saying bye to (associate commissioner Tom Odjakjian) and John (Paquette) and some of the other people, and the Big East has kind of made me.”

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John Dunne sad the season is over for St. Peter’s

by - Published March 15, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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John Dunne is sad that his team’s season is over. You might wonder if that would be the case for a team like his, a St. Peter’s team that went 9-21 on the season. But you can believe Dunne when he says it, much as you can believe he would like the results to be a little different.

This year was not a memorable one for the Peacocks on the bottom line, although it started with promise as they won their first three games. Friday night’s 54-47 loss to Fairfield finished a season where they were 3-15 in the MAAC in as competitive a year as the conference has seen. They were 6-6 when MAAC play began in earnest, but started 2013 with eight straight losses in January and never recovered. After the season-opening three-game winning streak, they never won consecutive games again.

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For Cincinnati, offense will be the key

by - Published March 14, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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NEW YORK – Cincinnati tried to play smaller and faster, which Mick Cronin felt was the way to go for this team. It worked like a charm on Wednesday, but Cronin knew it would be a tall order against Georgetown on Thursday. He was right, and while he seems to have found a way to play that works, the Bearcats will have to wait to go with it again after falling 62-43 in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

Cincinnati got off to a nice start on the season in winning their first 12 games. Since losing a tough one to New Mexico at home, they haven’t put together a winning streak longer than three in a row, although they started Big East play with a win at Pittsburgh. In February they lost five of six at one point after winning five of six. They should be in the NCAA Tournament, as they have the wins without any bad losses.

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Providence needs to keep growing to win more in New York

by - Published March 13, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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NEW YORK – Providence head coach Ed Cooley talked a lot about his program making progress but still having work to do. Whether or not more of that work will come this season in another game will have to wait a few days, as Providence bowed out of the Big East Tournament on Wednesday with a 61-44 loss to Cincinnati in which they didn’t play well, especially at the offensive end.

At this point, it’s a given that Providence won’t be in the NCAA Tournament. The Friars needed to make a run in New York for any chance, especially since a win on Wednesday would have given them a great opportunity for a quality win as Georgetown would be next. Instead, the Friars’ difficulties winning in New York continued as Wednesday’s loss was their fifth straight in the Big East Tournament. For that matter, their last win broke another five-game losing streak in the tournament.

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Turnovers hurt Siena right to the end

by - Published March 10, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – When Siena looks back on this season, one possible theme could be “if only we took better care of the ball.” Although turnovers were a season-long problem for the Saints, and far from their only one, it was particularly acute on Saturday in their season-ending 74-62 loss to Niagara in the MAAC Tournament.

Siena turned the ball over nearly 15 times a game this season, while forcing less than 11 per game. In Saturday’s loss, they gave it away 20 times to Niagara, a team that thrives on forcing turnovers, with ten each half. Niagara turned them into 32 points, but that was only half the story. The other half is what the lost possessions meant on Siena’s end.

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Butler bounces back from blowout loss, look more like themselves

by - Published March 8, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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AMHERST, Mass. – Butler was much more like themselves on Thursday night, a game after a decidedly un-Butler-like performance at VCU. In between, there was some reflection and focused practices, and the end result was a 73-62 win at UMass where the Bulldogs were solid all around and for most of the game.

The 84-52 loss at VCU caught everyone by surprise. Butler may lose games, and they have been blown out before, but it is very rare. Games like that just don’t happen. So it’s not surprising that after the game, it was a little unusual.

“You question yourself a little bit when you get beat in the way we got beat on Saturday, and these guys deserve to enjoy this one,” said head coach Brad Stevens.

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Virginia can’t turn win over Duke into a momentum builder

by - Published March 4, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Like Maryland before them, Virginia scored a big win over Duke at home. Then they had to go on the road at Boston College, a team near the bottom of the ACC but one that isn’t far from being in the middle of the pack. Maryland couldn’t avoid a letdown and lost at The Heights, and Virginia came close to a better result but couldn’t put away the Eagles, who took home an emotional 53-52 win to likewise put the Cavaliers in a tight spot for the NCAA Tournament.

Like Maryland, Virginia also has some youth, although they have three upperclassmen who start. The Cavaliers have been a tough team to fully figure out on the bottom line, as they went 0-3 against CAA schools in non-conference but won every other game. They should be able to run the table at home in ACC play with one game still left, but have only knocked off Virginia Tech and Maryland away from Charlottesville. That ability to win on the road is a big one, and it was something head coach Tony Bennett was talking about after the game with regard to how it got away.

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In a tough loss, Connecticut shows tremendous heart

by - Published February 28, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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STORRS, Conn. – Kevin Ollie wanted to make sure those covering Wednesday night’s game do at least one thing above all else.

“I hope y’all write that we’ve got heart – at the end of your articles, this team has got heart,” said the UConn head coach.

He’s right.  This team has heart.  It was fully on display Wednesday night in a game they had no business even getting to overtime, let alone a second overtime where they led 78-71 with just over two minutes left.

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Lalanne could be the missing piece for UMass

by - Published February 25, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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AMHERST, Mass. – Cady Lalanne just might be the missing link for UMass.  His play of late seems to indicate as much, and on Saturday, he was a difference-maker in the Minutemen’s 76-66 win over Dayton.  He showed what they’ve needed from him all year in a season that has been hampered by things outside of performance on the court.

Lalanne scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds on Saturday to help the Minuteman out-rebound a Dayton team that is pretty good on the glass.  The Flyers entered the day with the fourth-best rebounding margin in the Atlantic 10, while the Minutemen held the slightest of edges on the season.  But the Minutemen had a 36-27 edge on the glass on the afternoon, including 13 rebounds, and that made a big difference.

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Defense has been a struggle for Central Connecticut

by - Published February 22, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Every team has at least one team that is a bad matchup for one reason or another. For Central Connecticut, one of them would seem to be Bryant, a relentless offensive team that is tough enough to beat as it is and even tougher if they get some defensive stops. That was in evidence in the Blue Devils’ 88-67 loss to the Bulldogs on Thursday night, especially in the second half as Bryant broke open what was a close game for some of the first half and showed the growing pains this Central Connecticut team has had.

Central Connecticut has just one senior to go with four freshmen and a junior college transfer. Last season’s team had three seniors, all very experienced, along with a junior, so while last year’s team also had some youth they had more veterans to carry them. Head coach Howie Dickenmann is now starting three underclassmen and is bringing the one senior, Joe Efese, off the bench. How long he will stick with that lineup remains to be seen, but to a degree Tuesday night is an aberration because they struggled against a hot offensive team. The Bulldogs shot over 53 percent from the field on the evening.

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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

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

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

hofstra

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

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