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2014-15 CAA Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
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Times continue to change in the CAA, and while there is still good basketball, it’s definitely a new era. Last season saw just two CAA teams reach postseason play. In prior years, the conference had sent more. Plenty of teams have challenging non-conference slates this year, so opportunities for quality wins will be there – but whether or not they come is another story. Another membership change comes this season as Elon joins to bring the conference to ten teams. For now, it seems stable, but conference realignment never seems to really take a break, so enjoy it while it lasts.

… Continue Reading

College of Charleston Cougars 2014-15 Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Conference Notes
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College of Charleston Cougars (14-18 overall, 6-10 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Anthony Stitt
So. G Joe Chealey
So. G Canyon Barry
Sr. F Adjehi Baru
Fr. F Donovan Gilmore

Important departures:

G Nori Johnson, F Willis Hall and F Anthony Thomas have all departed.

Returning:

55.1 percent of scoring and 43.6 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Evan Bailey
Fr. F Donovan Gilmore
Fr. F-C Nick Harris
Fr. G Cameron Johnson

Schedule Highlights:

The Cougars have five home games in a challenging non-conference slate. Notable opponents at home include Gardner-Webb and former Southern Conference rival Davidson. They will play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off against defending national champion Connecticut, then either Texas A&M or Dayton in the second game with one more to follow. Additional road games are at West Virginia, Charlotte, LSU and Miami. Early in CAA play, they have a three-game homestand, followed by a stretch with five of six on the road.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Cougars had a more eventful off-season than anyone imagined, as the saga of now former head coach Doug Wojcik dominated the headlines. The plus is that this team has really come together, which makes part of new head coach Earl Grant’s job easier. There is talent here, and some reason to believe this team can finish higher than many might project. Stitt is a talented, seasoned veteran, while Chealey and Barry both had the kinds of ups and downs freshmen usually go through but appear ready to harness some of their potential. Baru will anchor the frontcourt, a solid rebounder who they will look to for more offense. If the guards make a good jump from freshman to sophomore year, that will go a long way towards this team contending.

Next: Delaware Blue Hens

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2013-14 CAA Post-Mortem

by - Published May 9, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
colonial

The new era in the Colonial Athletic Association has begun. While there was plenty of competitiveness, as expected, the conference is in a very different time now with arguably its three signature programs having left over the past two years.

Conference champion Delaware was a study in overcoming adversity all season long. The Blue Hens certainly had enough talent and experience to compete for the title, but suspensions of multiple players, including long ones to Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt, could have scuttled this magical season. They were challenged in the conference tournament, including in the title game, but as they did all year, they found a way to win.

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CAA newcomers College of Charleston playing through challenges

by - Published January 13, 2014 in Columns
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If CAA newcomer College of Charleston contends for the top spot in their first year in the conference, it shouldn’t surprise anyone. What also shouldn’t surprise anyone is if the journey to that is not a success-only one.

The Cougars are finishing up a trip to the northeast with a visit to Northeastern on Monday night. Two days earlier, a four-game winning streak ended with a 75-71 loss at Hofstra, one where they blew a double-digit lead in part from a bad day at the free throw line as they were 14-27 from there and in part from their own foul trouble as four players fouled out.

… Continue Reading

College of Charleston Cougars 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 5, 2013 in Conference Notes
charleston

College of Charleston Cougars (24-11 overall, 14-4 Southern Conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Anthony Stitt
Fr. G Canyon Barry
Sr. F Anthony Thomas
Jr. F Adjehi Baru
Sr. F Willis Hall

Important departures:

G Andrew Lawrence (13.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.3 spg) is the only starter gone from last season’s team, and key reserve F Trent Wiedeman (8.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) is also gone.

Returning:

67.5 percent of scoring and 76.9 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Canyon Barry
Fr. G Joe Chealey
Fr. G Jonathan Cook
Fr. F Terrance O’Donohue
Fr. F-C Glen Pierre, Jr.
So. C David Wishon (transfer from Tulsa)

Schedule Highlights:

The Cougars’ non-conference slate includes eight home games, highlighted by visits from Charlotte, Miami and Kent State, with the first two coming in a four-game home stretch in November. The biggest road games are at Louisville, Davidson and three games in the Wooden Legacy starting with San Diego State and either Creighton or Arizona State. CAA play features a stretch with four of five on the road, ending at Delaware and Towson, followed by three straight at home starting with Drexel.

Projected finish and outlook:

The CAA’s new kids on the block should contend right away, as they return a lot from last season’s team although the two key contributors they lose were hardly bit players. The Cougars have a lot of continuity in their personnel and good class balance, and they have bought into what head coach Doug Wojcik is trying to do. They became a much better team defensively and on the glass last season, something he tried to improve immediately, and remained a good offensive team. While Lawrence will be missed, Stitt will basically slide right into that role, including from a leadership standpoint, and Wojcik likes what he’s seen from the newcomers, in particular Barry and Chealey, so both could press veterans like Nori Johnson for the second starting guard spot. Baru looks ready to break out after progressing well last year, and Anthony Thomas could see time at both forward spots although there is good depth up front. The Cougars have a good homecourt advantage and will get eight home games in a tough non-conference slate, so they will be ready to contend when conference play gets under way.

Next: Delaware Blue Hens

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New-look CAA trying to find its place in the changing landscape

by - Published October 23, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
colonial

BALTIMORE – As the Colonial Athletic Association goes through more changes, it’s natural to wonder where its place is in college basketball now.  The conference has had major membership changes over the last year and a half, and locations for major events like Media Day and the conference tournament are also changing.  While there is certainly a feeling of newness, one wonders what lies ahead for a conference that had a great run from 2006 to 2012 before things changed drastically.

The CAA is just one conference that is changing in an ever-changing landscape.  In the short term, the conference can be labeled one of the losers in the conference maneuvering.  In the last 18 months, George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU – the conference’s signature programs historically – have all departed, along with a Georgia State program that wasn’t in the conference long but looks like it might be on the rise under Ron Hunter.  What remains starts with five former America East schools and then includes newcomer College of Charleston and three charter members in James Madison, UNCW and William & Mary.  Next year, Elon joins the conference.

… Continue Reading

Offense is the big area of concern for College of Charleston

by - Published November 17, 2012 in Columns
charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The offensive end is where the College of Charleston’s struggles are right now, and that became more acute on Friday night. The Cougars had to go without a key player, and that hurt the offense even more in a 55-51 loss to Auburn in the Charleston Classic.

College of Charleston shot 37.5 percent from the field in a loss to St. John’s on Thursday. That was a big drop from shooting over 56 percent in the season opener. The Cougars also turned the ball over 31 times in their first two games, but they held their opponents to 41 percent from the field and out-rebounded them by 2.5. So before Friday’s loss, it was clear offense might be more of a concern than defense in the early going.

… Continue Reading

North Carolina-Kentucky lives up to the hype

by - Published December 4, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

The matchup between North Carolina and Kentucky lived up to its billing. It was a well-played game that came right down to the wire, and was close throughout. The eighth-largest crowd in Rupp Arena history saw it, and even more watched on television. And it’s possible that the game will mirror the teams’ seasons.

Kentucky probably has the most talent of any team in the country, but the Wildcats’ youth hasn’t been hard to see. Their freshmen have had their share of growing pains, from Marquis Teague’s early struggles taking care of the ball to Anthony Davis learning how physical the college game can be. It’s for exactly that reason that senior Darius Miller has never been more valuable than much of the early going this time around.

North Carolina is right up there with the Wildcats, but this is an older and more mature team. Whereas the Wildcats start three freshmen, the Tar Heels only played two freshmen yesterday and both came off the bench. But they start a senior, two juniors and two sophomores, and on the whole this is a team quite a ways from its ceiling just like Kentucky.

In the first half, North Carolina led by as many as nine and was the better team. They were hot from long range, going 6-9 from behind the arc in the opening frame. But Kentucky scored seven in a row at the end of the first and start of the second half, momentarily grabbing the lead and then staying right with the Tar Heels until they took the lead for good on a Davis jumper with less than eight minutes to play.

The Tar Heels had one more chance after Teague missed the front end of a one-and-one with 21 seconds left. They got the ball to John Henson, known more for his shot-blocking than scoring, and in a length-versus-length matchup, Davis got a hand on his short jumper and the Wildcats were able to run out the final seconds for a 73-72 victory.

It’s a game that many would love to see a rematch of, and considering that both teams are a ways from their respective ceilings, no one would be surprised if it materialized in the month of March.

While that was the best matchup of the day, there were a few other teams, conferences and player of note.

 

Marquette

Winning at the Kohl Center is hard for visiting teams to do, but Marquette pulled it off on Saturday and did so without their starting point guard. Before the game, the Golden Eagles announced that Junior Cadougan was suspended for the game due to a violation of team rules. Wisconsin has lost two straight, but neither is a bad loss as they lost to North Carolina earlier in the week. The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, are 7-0 with a blowout win over Ole Miss and Saturday’s win at Wisconsin.

 

Xavier

Xavier is becoming quite the second-half team. On Monday, they trailed by ten in the second half before rallying to beat Vanderbilt in overtime in Nashville. But yesterday they did themselves one better, as they trailed Purdue by 11 at the half and 19 in the second half before coming back to edge the Boilermakers 66-63. In the last 10:44, Xavier outscored Purdue 30-8.

 

Illinois

It seems like Bruce Weber has been on the hot seat forever in Champaign, but let’s acknowledge not only the job he has done thus far but especially what he is doing this season. After an 82-75 win over Gonzaga on Saturday, the Illini are 8-0 with wins over Richmond and at Maryland as well. Neither of those two is a big NCAA Tournament resume win, but they are worth noting because the Illini haven’t beaten up on a slew of terrible teams and could be 12-0 when they take on Missouri on Dec. 22, though they will have to get by UNLV at home before then. Saturday was the first time all season Gonzaga did not have at least four players score in double figures.

 

Brigham Young

No Jimmer, no problem for Brigham Young. After Saturday’s 79-65 win over Oregon in Salt Lake City, BYU is 6-2 with a win over Nevada included and the only losses being at Utah State and against Wisconsin. Granted, this isn’t the Oregon team we all thought we would see before the season with the departures of Jabari Brown and Bruce Barron, but the Ducks aren’t pushovers.

 

Head-scratching in the CAA

A number of conferences have their opening games this weekend before teams resume non-conference play for a little while longer. Perhaps none has had results that might leave one scratching their head as much as the Colonial Athletic Association, where three teams won on the road and preseason favorite Drexel lost to Delaware by 11 (albeit on the road). The Dragons have had a rough go of it thus far, but Chris Fouch is back so they’re closer to having their full team together. Still, Fouch was 0-9 yesterday and the Blue Hens won the battle on the glass by a 40-32 margin over a Drexel team that routinely beats up opponents on the boards.

The one other score that jumps out is Georgia State thumping William & Mary 66-34 in Atlanta. The Tribe didn’t look to be far from being a good team last season, but they’re struggling mightily out of the gates and Saturday may be the low point thus far.

 

We go coast to coast with other news from the college basketball nation

  • Ohio State didn’t miss a beat despite Jared Sullinger being out with back spasms.
  • College of Charleston lost a wealth of talent and experience from last season’s team, but the Cougars are 7-1 overall and are one of four teams that went 2-0 in early Southern Conference games this weekend. Chattanooga, who the Cougars beat last night and was picked to win the North Division, is 0-2.
  • Connecticut got a big lift from Ryan Boatright with 23 points and six assists in his home debut.
  • UCLA is now 2-5 after a home loss to Texas that saw them blow an 11-point lead.

 

Some of Sunday’s Key Matchups

Sunday is a day full of interesting matchups of teams that we’re trying to find out something about. None of these are like North Carolina-Kentucky, but they will be worth keeping an eye on.

  • Baylor at Northwestern
  • UNLV at Wichita State
  • California at San Diego State
  • Dayton at Murray State
  • North Carolina State at Stanford
  • Notre Dame at Maryland
  • VCU vs. George Washington (BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center)
  • Kansas State at Virginia Tech

College of Charleston Has Personnel, Intangibles For Success

by - Published November 14, 2010 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – Bobby Cremins has been coaching long enough to have a good feel for a team. He’s had enough success to know what a good team looks like. So when he tells you he has a good team, you can believe him, especially if his team’s offensive showing in Saturday’ 93-84 win at Holy Cross isn’t convincing enough.

While Cremins and senior leader Andrew Goudeluck both talked about the team’s need to improve defensively – and indeed, they didn’t exactly put on a clinic there as Holy Cross shot 51.5 percent from the field – there was no concern about the offense. The Cougars shot 63.6 percent for the game, going 9-16 from long range (7-8 in the first half) and had five players score in double figures. They had 20 assists on 35 made field goals. … Continue Reading

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Houston is trying to find an identity early on

November 28, 2014 by

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Houston went on the road and was soundly defeated by Harvard on Tuesday. It’s a game that Kelvin Sampson hopes to take a lot from early in his tenure with a new-look team as they try to find out who they are.

Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by

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Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by

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Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

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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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

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With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

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Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

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Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

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The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

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The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.