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The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 26, 2015

by - Published February 26, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

Coming off one of its best seasons ever, the Atlantic 10 has flown under the radar this year. The league won’t be getting six teams in the NCAA Tournament again, and it’s fair to say it: 2014-15 has not been as good for the conference as 2013-14 was.

It was always going to be hard to top last year anyway, though, so what the league is doing this year is no slouch. Hitting the stretch run, no conference is more intriguing at the top than the A-10, and that was proven in spades Wednesday night.
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What to make of the Atlantic 10 in the final month?

by - Published February 13, 2015 in Columns
atlantic10

The Atlantic 10 has taken quite a turn in just a couple of weeks. What once looked like it could go comfortably to one team has now become a must-watch race in the final month of the regular season. Additionally, the NCAA Tournament case for each team only gets more difficult to figure all the time.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that Dayton came to Amherst and lost to UMass, at that time a team that was a little tough to figure out. That gave VCU a two-game lead in the standings, and with the way the Rams had been playing, you could be forgiven for thinking that the regular season championship going to them was a foregone conclusion.

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 12, 2015

by - Published February 12, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

We lost another of college basketball legend on Wednesday as Jerry Tarkanian passed away at the age of 84.

It’s been a tough week in college basketball, as Tarkanian’s death comes just five days after the passing of Dean Smith, another legend of the sport and a contemporary of Tarkanian’s. That the two will go down as being opposites in some ways is irrelevant, but also is a fitting representation of the diversity of coaches from their time. At their core they were both terrific coaches that leave us a whole lot of memories.

“Tark the Shark” twice built powers from next to nothing on the West Coast, first turning Long Beach State into one of the top West programs not led by John Wooden-the 49ers advanced to the Elite Eight twice, losing to UCLA by two in the 1971 West Regional Final-and then most famously building UNLV into a national power, the apex of course being the 1990 national title and the unbeaten run in 1990-91 until being shocked by Duke in the Final Four. He finished his career at his alma mater, turning Fresno State into a top 25 contender.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 9, 2015

by - Published February 9, 2015 in Columns
hoopguy-cyan

If you ever go to the Dean Smith Center at the University of North Carolina, a look up in the rafters will give you an idea of why the building is named after the man. It’s an amazing collection of college basketball history.

Smith passed away late Saturday night at age 83. It came late enough in the evening that word did not get out about it until yesterday morning. And so we begin to remember him, including that like so many legends, he was more than just a coach.

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We’re going to learn more about George Washington

by - Published February 6, 2015 in Columns
georgewashington

We’re about to find out something about the 2014-15 George Washington team. They have thus far played well, and were projected to be Atlantic 10 contenders, but now we’re going to see if they can truly live up to that.

Last Saturday’s loss at Rhode Island was the second game in a six-game stretch where the Colonials will take on much of the other mettle of the conference. They already lost at VCU a few nights earlier, a game where if you blinked in the second half, you missed it going from a relatively close one a blowout. Granted, these two games were on the road, but going 0-2 isn’t a good way to start this tough stretch. Next up is Dayton at home, then after going to Duquesne they host VCU and Davidson.

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Rhode Island continues to grow up

by - Published February 4, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
rhodeisland

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Barely three weeks ago, Dan Hurley and E.C. Matthews sat in the interview room at the Ryan Center after a tough loss. Hurley and Matthews were low-key, but still upbeat despite dropping a game that they controlled, something that you know doesn’t come easily for the ultra-competitive Hurley. Among other things, Hurley talked about how the Rams would get better from that game, including when it comes to making big plays down the stretch as they go from being a young team to a veteran team.

On Saturday, you could see exactly that. Rhode Island had another test from within the conference, and the result was different. This time, they played like a team that did exactly what Hurley talked about after the loss to VCU. They played with confidence down the stretch, made plays and sealed the game.

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Rhode Island keeping perspective after tough loss

by - Published January 15, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
rhodeisland

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – You can’t blame Dan Hurley if he felt frustrated and maybe in a bad place. He’s hyper-competitive and his team just lost a game that they controlled, and one where correspondingly they led most of the way. It’s a game they should have had in many respects. On Tuesday night, however, the Rhode Island mentor kept perspective, and he didn’t have to look far for an example of what he’s striving for.

“That’s a top team, obviously the class of our conference,” said Hurley after URI dropped a tough one to VCU on Tuesday. “It felt like we deserved a better result.”

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Led by seniors, VCU shows the toughness of a champion

by - Published January 15, 2015 in Columns
vcu

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – If VCU wins the Atlantic 10, as most prognosticators felt they would before the season, one game they will surely be able to look back on is Tuesday night’s 65-60 win at Rhode Island. It’s still early – just four games in – but given the winning Shaka Smart has done at the school, including with the core of this team, he has some perspective on it.

“This was not our best game overall, as a team, but I think it was our best resolve that we’ve shown,” Smart said after VCU rallied to beat Rhode Island on Tuesday. “These are the type of games you need to win on the road if you want to compete for a championship in your league, and that’s a goal of ours. It’s really, really early in the year, but this is a game hopefully we’ll look back at and say, that’s one we needed to get, and we found a way to get it.”

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How the conferences shape up as we hit 2015

by - Published January 1, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is basically done at this point. A handful of games remain for many teams, and we’ll see a non-conference game or two sprinkled in between conference games over the next couple of months, but conference play beckons. Several have already started, with the West Coast Conference getting jump on the rest of the country this past Saturday and Monday. For two months, we’ve had a look at teams to get an idea of who they are. They have shown us something thus far.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how the conference races shape up based on what we’ve seen in non-conference play.

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Rhode Island has potential amidst some difficulty

by - Published December 12, 2014 in Columns
rhodeisland

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Non-conference play has been both a time of promise and a time of difficulty for Rhode Island. The promise has shown in the wins and at times in some of the losses, while the difficulty is certainly there in losses like Wednesday’s 68-60 loss at arch-rival Providence. In that game, as much as any, you can see the potential as well as the areas of concern for this team.

In running out to a 5-3 start, Rhode Island has certainly impressed at times and looked like a team that has put most of the growing pains of last season behind them. The Rams are more talented as a whole, and holdovers pressed into more immediate duty last season than the staff probably wanted have benefited from that. E.C. Matthews looks ready to blossom into one of the Atlantic 10’s best talents, while Hassan Martin looks stronger and more confident. Freshman Jared Terrell has made an instant impact and classmate Jarvis Garrett helps off the bench.

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NC State is not making it easy on themselves

March 1, 2015 by

ncstate

North Carolina State appears to have put themselves in a good position for the NCAA Tournament, but they aren’t making this easy on themselves.

Saturday Notes – February 28, 2015

March 1, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at a very busy Saturday, one that was full of big games that included some conferences closing out their regular season with plenty of drama.

Saturday Notes – February 21, 2015

February 22, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

A busy Saturday saw a lot of results that shook up conference standings, including a three-way tie developing in one of them, and some at-large hopes took a hit as well.

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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.

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.