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2013-14 Big East Post-Mortem

by - Published May 6, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
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A new era in the Big East began in 2013-14, and it was not hard to tell this was not your father’s Big East. The name was there, some familiar teams were as well, and the conference tournament was once again at Madison Square Garden. For that matter, the campaigning by coaches on behalf of the conference was the same.

But no matter how much it might look like the Big East we all knew, this was different.

For starters, three new teams joined the seven that split from the old Big East. Butler, Creighton and Xavier all left other conferences, and Creighton was a contender right away with a veteran team led by Doug McDermott. Xavier had its ups and downs but managed to reach the NCAA Tournament, while Butler had a depleted roster for new head coach Brandon Miller, in part from an injury to key guard Roosevelt Jones that cost him the season, and struggled.

… Continue Reading

2014 NCAA Tournament: Early thoughts

by - Published March 17, 2014 in Columns
ncaa

The NCAA Tournament selection committee has spoken. The 68 teams are set to begin the tournament on Tuesday with two of the First Four games. With that, the fun is about to begin.

Before that, here are some random thoughts on the selection, seeding and potential matchups, as well as reaction to some early chatter about the field.

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Survive and advance: Seton Hall edges Butler in first round of the Big East Tournament

by - Published March 12, 2014 in Columns
author_floriani

NEW YORK – On many occasions this season, Seton Hall has seen its fate decided in the last few possessions. Wednesday night, it was on the final one.

The pirates edged Butler 51-50 in the first round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. With just over three seconds remaining, Butler inbounded under its own basket. A long pass allowed for a shot just inside half court. The shot was off, and the Hall survived to face Villanova at noon in the quarterfinals.

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Willard has concerns following Seton Hall loss to Butler

by - Published February 1, 2014 in Columns
author_floriani

NEWARK, N.J. – It is one thing to get good looks and not have them fall. It is another to have your team not playing to its ability. The latter point is a concern of Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard. Butler edged the Hall 64-57 at the Prudential Center on Wednesday. It was the second (2-7) Big East win for the visiting Bulldogs. Seton Hall fell to 3-4.

“This group has ability but they are just not using it,” Willard said following the defeat. “It is something that has me perplexed.” Willard pointed out two late transition opportunities and a few open jumpers in the stretch saw the Hall come up empty.” Those are shots we hit but give Butler credit for their defense.”

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New Big East not off to the most auspicious start

by - Published July 6, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bigeast

Monday morning tipped off another round of conference changes, as often happens on that date, and this year the changes were quite seismic. The Great West Conference is now defunct, the Patriot League has ten members, and most of all, the American Athletic Conference officially opened for business and the Big East has a whole new look. And for the new Big East, the start has not been particularly auspicious.

The conference’s new start has been slowed largely by the drawn-out process of hiring a commissioner. Val Ackerman is a solid selection, but the lateness of the hire left her little time to start assembling a staff before the change occurred on Monday. A trip to the conference Web site reflects that: as of Saturday morning, there was only the main page and links to the school sites and the conference’s social media accounts.

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Stevens’ departure a shocker, but Butler and college basketball will be fine

by - Published July 3, 2013 in Columns
butler

Put me down as one of many who was shocked upon hearing the news.

I admit, I never saw Brad Stevens leaving Butler, at least not for a long time. And for an NBA job? That was an even further possibility from my mind.

If anything, I thought those who had him pegged as Mike Krzyzewksi’s successor at Duke might be on to something, although I wondered about that, too. It would make sense from one standpoint, but at the same time, the head coaching job at Duke is one of those jobs that it’s hard to imagine going to someone outside the program’s family even if there may seem to be a lack of obvious candidates.

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Barclays to MSG: A long (and enjoyable) day’s journey

by - Published March 15, 2013 in Columns
author_floriani

Two main venues, two great tournaments, just miles apart. A day filled with some very good basketball and interesting stories. Why not ? It is March Madness….

11:30 AM – Riding the subway to Brooklyn. The  preceding train ride from New Jersey to Penn Station was spent talking with a Cincinnati fan. The train has fans wearing gear from Pitt, Syracuse (most prominent) and of course, Cincinnati. The Bearcats, our new found basketball friend admits, have a tough assignment facing Georgetown at noon. Overall he is satisfied with the way things are going with Cincinatti but would like to see a little more inside play on offense. For now the Big East can wait. It’s onto the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the Atlantic 10. It is difficult typing on a moving train.

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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
butler

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.

… Continue Reading

Around the Horizon League: Weeks 2 and 3

by - Published November 29, 2011 in Conference Notes
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Butler Bulldogs (4-3): Butler’s 3-3 start to the season is a bit deceiving, as two of their losses have been to teams from major conferences. The Bulldogs lost to the Louisville Cardinals by a score of 69-53 in a game in which the Bulldogs actually led in the second half. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, a very poor shooting night led to their downfall. The Bulldogs rebounded with a 57-42 victory over Savannah State and a 68-66 victory over Gardner-Webb. On Sunday, the Bulldogs dropped a 75-59 decision to the Indiana Hoosiers in which bad shooting yet again led to their downfall. The Bulldogs continued their up-and-down season with a 98-53 victory over Oakland City at home. On Saturday, the Bulldogs will take the court in their first Horizon League conference matchup at home against Valparaiso.

Cleveland State Vikings (6-1): The Vikings used a last-second shot by senior guard Trevon Harmon to defeat the St. Bonaventure Bonnies by a score of 67-64 in a very physical and hard-fought game. After this game, the Vikings headed off on a long series of road match ups. The Vikings began with a contest against the Kent State Golden Flashes, an in-state foe. The Vikings defeated the Golden Flashes, one of the best teams in the MAC, by a score of 57-53. The Vikings then headed east to Rhode Island to play three games in the Ticket City Legends Classic. Cleveland State began by defeating Boston University by a score of 63-62 in a game in which the Vikings came back from a 10-point deficit in the second half. The next day, the Vikings lost their first game of the season against the Hofstra Pride by a score of 63-53. On Sunday, the Vikings rebounded to defeat the Rhode Island Rams by a score of 67-45. The Vikings will have three days off before their first Horizon League match up on the road against the Wright State Raiders on Thursday.

Detroit Titans (3-4): This season is quickly becoming a nightmare season for the Titans, who began the season with hopes of knocking the Butler Bulldogs from their perch atop the Horizon League. At this point, the Titans do not have enough active scholarship players to conduct a 5-on-5 scrimmage during practice. Eli Holman remains on a leave of absence as he deals with an assault charge incurred at a fraternity house, and no updates have been given on his status. Senior forward Nick Minnerath recently suffered a season-ending ACL injury. John Hoskins left the team and guards Chris Blake and Brandon Romain are academically ineligible for the fall semester. Although the Titans were able to wallop Concordia (Mich.) by a score of 113-68, the Titans proceeded to lose two of their next three games in the CBE Classic in Bowling Green, Ohio. The Titans lost to the George Washington Colonials in the first game. In the second game, the Titans lost 67-61 to the Bowling Green Falcons. The Titans eked out a narrow overtime victory against Austin Peay in the final game by a score of 94-93. Playing their fourth straight game in Ohio this past Friday, the Titans lost 81-63 to a talented Akron Zips team. The Titans will return to action Thursday night in their first Horizon League match up against the Youngstown State Penguins.

Green Bay Phoenix (2-4): The Phoenix won a home game against Wyoming by the score of 52-44. The Phoenix then took their talents to Indiana to play Indiana State. Despite the offensive struggles of standout center Alec Brown, the bench helped the Phoenix stay in the game. However, the Phoenix eventually lost in the final seconds to the Sycamores by the score of 57-56 on a late 3-pointer. The Phoenix suffered another loss two days later on the road to the Virginia Cavaliers by a score of 68-42. On Thursday, the Phoenix will begin Horizon League play with a match up at home against the UIC Flames.

Loyola Ramblers (1-4): Despite having three players score in double figures, the Ramblers lost 63-51 on the road at Furman. Rookie head coach Porter Moser finally secured his first win as Loyola’s head coach with a 64-50 victory over Fordham in the Ramblers’ first game in renovated Gentile Arena. The Ramblers begin Horizon League play on Thursday with a road match up against the Milwaukee Panthers.

Milwaukee Panthers (5-1): The Panthers continued their strong start to the reason, which is impressive in light of the fact that star player Tony Meier has not played at all this season as a result of a lingering calf injury. After two impressive home victories over IUPUI and Texas Southern, the Panthers traveled to Michigan State for a road match up against the Spartans. Although the game was close at halftime, the Spartans pulled away in the second half for a 68-55 victory. The Panthers rebounded by defeating Arkansas-Little Rock by a score of 59-54. Kaylon Williams currently leads the Horizon League with an average of 6.0 assists per game. On Thursday, the Panthers will begin Horizon League play with a home match up against the Loyola Ramblers.

UIC Flames (2-3): The Flames dropped a 65-61 decision to Division II Quincy University but followed up with a 79-75 victory over Evansville. The Flames then lost to the Toledo Rockets by a score of 82-67 in a game in which a furious second-half comeback attempt could not overcome a large first-half deficit. The Flames will return to action on Thursday in their Horizon League opener on the road against the Green Bay Phoenix.

Valparaiso Crusaders (5-2): The Crusaders continued their impressive start to the season with three wins in the 2K Sports Classic. Their first victory was a 62-59 triumph over the talented Akron Zips. The next day, the Crusaders pounded IU Kokomo by a score of 79-48. Playing their third game in three days, the Crusaders defeated the Duquesne Dukes by a score of 84-68. After a four-day layoff, the Crusaders traveled to Columbus to play the nationally ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Although the Crusaders were only down by four points at halftime, the Buckeyes’ impressive shooting and the Crusaders’ abysmal shooting combined to produce a lopsided second half that resulted in an 80-47 victory for the Buckeyes. Ryan Broekhoff is currently tied for the Horizon League lead in rebounding with 9.3 points per game. The Crusaders will open Horizon League play with a match up against Butler on Saturday.

Wright State Raiders (2-4): The Raiders’ inexperience caught up to them during the second week of the season, as the Raiders dropped three straight games. The Raiders dropped a 78-65 decision to the Florida Gators. Two days later, the Raiders lost to North Florida by a score of 69-52. The friendly confines of the Nutter Center did not help the Raiders as they lost a close game to the Charlotte 49ers by a score of 70-66. The Raiders’ schedule will not get any easier as they begin Horizon League play on Thursday with a tough home matchup against the Cleveland State Vikings.

Youngstown State Penguins (4-1): The Penguins have continued their turnaround from last season’s disappointing campaign. Sophomore Kendrick Perry currently leads the Horizon League in scoring with 18.2 points per game and the team as a whole is dramatically improved. After a hard-fought defensive struggle against UC Riverside that ended in a 53-49 overtime victory, the Penguins headed to State College to face the Penn State Nittany Lions. Despite once again making a school-record 14 3-pointers, the Penguins fell behind early and lost to the Nittany Lions by a score of 82-71. The Penguins battled yet another Pennsylvania foe three days later when they battled the St. Francis Red Storm on the road. This time, the Penguins came away victorious by a score of 60-59 when senior DuShawn Brooks blocked a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer. The Penguins will travel to Detroit in their Horizon League opener to battle the Titans on Thursday.

Around the Horizon League: Week 1

by - Published November 17, 2011 in Conference Notes

Butler Bulldogs (1-1): The Bulldogs lost their regular-season opener in overtime against Evansville by a score of 80-77. Andrew Smith missed two free throws that could have won the game at the end of regulation. Butler rebounded Tuesday night to defeat Chattanooga by a score of 57-46. This Saturday, the Bulldogs will battle the Louisville Cardinals at home in a highly anticipated nonconference matchup.

Cleveland State Vikings (2-0): The Vikings shocked the nationally ranked Vanderbilt Commodores on Sunday by a score of 71-58. On Tuesday, the Vikings knocked off the Rio Grande Red Storm, an NAIA school, by a score of 86-57. Cleveland State will face another test on Friday evening at home when they square off against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Senior center Aaron Pogue missed Tuesday night’s match up with an undisclosed illness, and his availability for this important game is unknown. … Continue Reading

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Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is 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.

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.

Hoopville Archives

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
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

You can also find them all right here.

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

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

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Recruiting Coverage

New Hampton has a lot of size and personnel options

October 1, 2014 by

newhampton

New Hampton has a lot of size and versatility, giving them a lot of personnel options. That should add up to contention in NEPSAC Class AAA once again this season.

Suffield Academy looks to grow into Class A in NEPSAC

September 29, 2014 by

suffieldacademy

Signs of growth are present at Suffield Academy, and along the way the basketball team moves up into NEPSAC Class A this season as they try to keep the program growing.

Wilbraham and Monson has a new leader with a similar level of talent

September 29, 2014 by

wilbrahamandmonson

A busy Sunday started with a trip to Wilbraham and Monson Academy, where there is a new head coach who has been at the school and some good talent to work with.

Williston Northampton begins a new chapter on the hardwood

September 26, 2014 by

willistonnorthampton

A new era is dawning at the Williston Northampton School on the hardwood. It includes a new head coach who is changing some things up right away.

Kent School has some pieces to compete in NEPSAC Class A

September 25, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

The Kent School might not have the talent or depth of its neighboring prep school, but they have a team worth watching that could compete in Class A this season.