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Atlantic 10 Championship numbers and a few thoughts

by - Published March 18, 2014 in Columns

A year ago big things were expected of Saint Joseph’s and they did not deliver. This year, the expectations were tempered a bit and the Hawks responded in a memorable manner.

Saint Joseph’s defeated VCU 65-61 to capture the Atlantic 10 Title at the Barclays Center on Sunday. For the second straight year, VCU is the tournament runner-up. Last March the Rams were defeated by Saint Louis in the conference championship.

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Providence ends all bubble talk in New York

by - Published March 16, 2014 in Columns

NEW YORK – There will be plenty of good stories with teams that are in the NCAA Tournament, as usual. Few will be as good as that of Providence, who won the Big East Tournament on Saturday night by knocking off Creighton 65-58 in the championship game.

There’s the well-documented story of how Providence has had to make do with very little. Injuries and suspensions have gutted this team’s roster to the point where the Friars basically play six players, with the only thing resembling a backup guard being walk-on Ted Bancroft. They won Saturday’s game with six players getting on the court. It’s something they have had to do seemingly since Ed Cooley took over the program, as they have been snakebit with injuries often.

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In saying few words, Dave Coley said a lot

by - Published March 16, 2014 in Columns

STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Dave Coley didn’t say much, but he said it all.

“It’s hard,” the Stony Brook senior guard said before a noticeable pause. “With the environment, with the game, with the anxiety going on, the emotion, the will to win… (another pause) I gotta get out of here.”

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Hooley and Albany overcame a lot to win the America East championship

by - Published March 16, 2014 in Columns

STONY BROOK, N.Y. – A poke in the eye? No problem for Peter Hooley and Albany. To be honest, they’ve had to overcome a little more than that. In fact, Hooley himself has had something worse happen recently.

So when the sophomore guard hit a tough runner with less than two minutes to go, then buried a big three-pointer a minute later to help Albany pull out a 69-60 win in the America East championship game, it was perhaps not a surprise. It also went with how he played in the tournament, although he wasn’t as big a factor on Saturday as he was last weekend.

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Final eight minutes of havoc secures a VCU win

by - Published March 16, 2014 in Columns

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It’s Rams and Hawks in the Atlantic 10 championship.

VCU was set to appear in its second consecutive A-10 title game after defeating George Washington 74-55 in the semifinals at Barclays Center. For the Rams, a 21-8 spurt over the final eight minutes transformed a two-possession lead into a rout.

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Saint Joseph’s 67, St. Bonaventure 48: Box score analysis

by - Published March 15, 2014 in Columns

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli spoke of being here for “rings and nets.” His Hawks are a game closer to the goal after defeating St. Bonaventure 67-48 in the first semifinal at the Barclays Center on Saturday.

The numbers:

Possessions: St. Bonaventure 67, Saint Joseph’s 66
Offensive Efficiency: St. Bonaventure 72, Saint Joseph’s 102

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With a new coach and new players, American takes home the Patriot League title

by - Published March 15, 2014 in Columns

BOSTON – Maybe it’s a good thing that American had a lot of newness to their personnel this season. Last season’s team wasn’t very good, but besides that, a coaching change always brings a requisite adjustment period unless it’s someone who’s just like the departed coach. The transition wasn’t always smooth, but the end result is what the Eagles want as their 55-36 win at Boston University will send them to the NCAA Tournament.

Jeff Jones, who took the school to the NCAA Tournament two years in a row, left for Old Dominion after last season. Mike Brennan, a former Georgetown assistant, replaced him and brought in a whole new staff. The Eagles went 10-20 last year and returned just two starters, with the departures hitting the perimeter hard. They were going to need newcomers to play a key role, especially at the crucial point guard spot. That and the coaching change were all reasons no one had this team winning it all back in October.

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Creighton in the finals

by - Published March 15, 2014 in Columns

NEW YORK – They led by as much as 19. In the second half they saw it reduced to a one-possession game with just under two minutes left. Creighton showed their poise and determination by closing out a 86-78 victory at Madison Square Garden. The semifinal victory puts Creighton in the final against Providence.

A look at some of the numbers on the evening:

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Providence 80, Seton Hall 74: Box score breakdown

by - Published March 15, 2014 in Columns

NEW YORK – Providence is headed to the Big East title game for the first time since 1994. Back then, the Friars captured the championship under the tutelage of Rick Barnes. The Friars held off Seton Hall in the semifinal opener at Madison Square Garden on Friday evening.

A look at the numbers for some insights:

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For Mount St. Mary’s, the vision of the program is the difference

by - Published March 14, 2014 in Columns

Jamion Christian has a vision of what the Mount St. Mary’s program should be and has stuck to it fervently. He has resisted to giving into any temptation to stray from it even for very talented players. With his alma mater headed back to the NCAA Tournament, he is showing that it works while also showing that he’s one of the bright young coaches in the country.

When Christian took over less than two years ago, you might say the program was down but not out. Mount St. Mary’s has a long tradition that features legendary coach Jim Phelan, but had fallen upon a couple of difficult years after Milan Brown left to become the head coach at Holy Cross. He felt he could get the program back in the NCAA Tournament, much like his coaches, Phelan and Brown, did. The Mountaineers won the Northeast Conference championship on Tuesday night, but that should only be the beginning.

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We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

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