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Saturday Notes – February 22, 2014

by - Published February 23, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

We’re getting down to crunch time as February draws to a close. Many games on Saturday had implications for NCAA Tournament bubble teams and more could also be big when it comes to seeding for conference tournaments. A few big showdowns were on tap, including ones in the American Athletic Conference and Mountain West, and also out west we saw a team we usually figure to be in the tournament lose another on the road, further throwing their status into question.

Here are notes from some of the day’s games.

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Providence misses a big opportunity

by - Published February 19, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – When Ryan Arcidiacono made the driving layup with a second left in the second overtime, you could almost hear a pin drop in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. It was the same Dunkin’ Donuts Center that had been rocking for a lot of the previous two and a half hours.

And when a last-second three-pointer by LaDontae Henton missed harmlessly, a heart-breaking loss was complete and a muted exit from the building had begun. The question now is if it’s also the beginning of an exit from something larger.

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Saturday Notes – February 15, 2014

by - Published February 16, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

In recent days, the winter weather has been in the news a lot, and that includes the context of college basketball as a number of games have been postponed due to the weather. Two more Atlantic Sun games fell victim to the weather on Saturday, as Lipscomb at Kennesaw State and Northern Kentucky at Mercer were both postponed.

Saturday started out with a few dandies, including an AAC and an ACC battle that each came down to the wire. An Atlantic 10 showdown was also on the slate, and late in the day a big SEC showdown was on tap. We also saw what is almost certainly the last in what’s become a great rivalry, and the Patriot League race got a little more interesting.

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Boston University gets the 40-minute effort they needed

by - Published February 10, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bostonuniversity

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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