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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

by - Published December 31, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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Non-conference play is just about over at this point. Conference games are ready to take over the rest of the slate, with a few having an “opening day” of sorts, including the Big East with its well-publicized day of five games on Tuesday. A few have already had early conference games, with the West Coast Conference having its opening day on Saturday.

How are the conferences shaping up? Which ones look like we thought and which ones look nothing like what we thought before the season? Here is a look at all 32 conferences as conference play beckons.

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Opportunity awaits Southern Miss as conference play approaches

by - Published December 28, 2013 in Columns
southernmiss

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Southern Miss has done a lot of good things in non-conference play. The latest is their 77-64 win at Rhode Island on Saturday, one that is in sum a good statement of where this team is. With just one game left before Conference USA play, there is an added challenge for this team, but there is also opportunity.

The Golden Eagles are an experienced and balanced bunch, as the five starters all average between nine and 12 points per game. Nine players average double-digit minutes, with only point guard Neil Watson averaging more than 28 per game. They have four seniors who play a lot of minutes and several juniors right behind them.

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Veteran UAB team is playing like one right now

by - Published December 9, 2013 in Columns
uab

BOSTON – Jerod Haase said he was glad his team had a week before their next game after they scored a big win over North Carolina. It was to be a real test of how his team could respond without a letdown, given that there was time for the win to set in. And while UAB had some tough stretches against Northeastern, they came away with a hard-fought 74-69 win over the Huskies that shows this team to be in a good place right now.

Haase noted the experience level of his team as a big key. His team has just five holdovers from last season, but all five are seniors. His newcomers include a number of junior college players from elite schools. While Division I is a little different, and they are all getting acclimated to a new group of teammates, the experience does manifest itself in some ways. In part, it showed in between the win over North Carolina and Saturday’s win.

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Quick hitters from the past weekend of tournaments

by - Published November 27, 2013 in Columns
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The past weekend was quite a stretch with some early-season tournaments, and now we’re into another week full of them. It’s a fun time of the year as we form some early impressions of many teams and some pick up wins that can have shelf life later in the season.

Here are some quick hitters coming out of the weekend:

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Charlotte wanted more but feels like they accomplished something

by - Published March 23, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
charlotte

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Just minutes after a season ends, it’s not easy to sum up a season in an instant analysis style. Ask Alan Major about this season right now, however, and there’s a clear theme from the Charlotte head coach: pride in how his team handled so much that was thrown at them in the 2012-13 season and a feeling the program is on its way to where he hopes it will be.

Charlotte’s final record this season is 21-12. It’s a good record, although plenty of teams will sport better ones come April 9. They also started off 9-0, so one might wonder what’s impressive about going 12-12 to end the season. Let’s just say that none of it came easily, and along the way this team developed an identity as a team with the chemistry and belief in one another that they can get through anything.

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Old Dominion’s firing of Taylor makes no sense at first glance

by - Published February 7, 2013 in Columns
olddominion

There has to be more to the story at Old Dominion than what’s currently out there. It simply doesn’t make sense.

Why in the world would Old Dominion fire Blaine Taylor with his record of success at the school? Granted, the Monarchs are having a forgettable season at 2-20, but this season is very much an aberration for the winningest coach in school history. It would be one thing if this was the worst of a steady downward trend over several seasons, but that’s simply not the case.

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How the conferences shake out as 2013 approaches

by - Published December 28, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is almost over, and it has been quite a stretch. We’ve learned a good deal about a lot of teams, while some are still a mystery for various reasons – injuries, suspensions, ineligibility and a light schedule are all possible reasons. In addition, a few conferences have already seen a game or two mixed in with the non-conference schedule.

Conference play is right around the corner, and while a non-conference resume doesn’t tell the whole story, it does shed some light on teams and conferences. In conference play, there is more familiarity since teams play each other every year, although the changing landscape is starting to diminish that factor a bit. That’s one reason why we see some teams put forth a very good non-conference showing, including some good wins, then go on to have a mediocre showing in conference play.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how every conference in America shapes up.

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Rhode Island’s win over SMU not all that shocking

by - Published December 16, 2012 in Columns
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SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Saturday’s 72-50 Rhode Island win over SMU might surprise some who saw only the score and knew only the records of the respective teams coming into the game. SMU was 8-1, an early pleasant surprise to be sure, while URI was expected to have a rebuilding season and came in at 2-7. Look beneath the surface, and Saturday’s result might be a little surprising but certainly shouldn’t be a shocker save perhaps for the margin of victory.

“I didn’t look at them as a 2-7 team,” SMU head coach Larry Brown said of the Rams. “They made threes, but they were open, most of them. I thought they executed so much better than we did, they defended better than we did. They looked like the team with the winning record. They out-coached us, out-played us, out-executed us.”

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The countdown to Selection Sunday starts — less than a month to go

by - Published February 14, 2012 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

It’s hard to believe, but Selection Sunday is officially less than a month away — 26 days to be precise.

That means it’s separation time. The best teams throughout the nation need to raise the bar to claim a regular-season conference championship and jockey for NCAA Tournament seeding.

For the vast majority of the 31 conferences that receive automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, winning a regular-season conference title is about more than bragging rights. In many conference tournament formats, the regular-season winner gets a bye or home court advantage — sometimes both — at some point in the upcoming conference tourneys. Teams like the America East’s Stony Brook, Big Sky’s Weber State, and SWAC’s Mississippi Valley State won’t be getting at-large bids to the Big Dance if they don’t capture a conference championship in the tournaments. So they’ll take any advantage they can get. … Continue Reading

Round 233: UNC vs. Duke tips off with more than pride at stake

by - Published February 8, 2012 in Full Court Sprints
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The first of two regular-season meetings between two of the most hate-filled rivals in American sports goes down tonight when Duke makes the short trip to the Dean Dome to visit North Carolina.

As is usually the case in recent years, this game has significant importance in the standings, with both teams jockeying with Florida State for the top spot in the ACC. North Carolina enters the game at 7-1 in conference action, while Duke slipped to 6-2 after losing to Miami. Duke can ill-afford another loss, especially because the Seminoles and Tar Heels will not meet again this regular season.

Besides the usual hostility generated by one of the most intense rivalries in the game, the 233rd match up between these teams — UNC leads the all-time series 131-101 — is critical for both teams. Duke is facing more than its fair share of critics after a lackluster performance against the Hurricanes. Meanwhile, North Carolina needs to prove it can beat an elite team, sometime the Heels haven’t done in a few months.

For the Blue Devils, coach Mike Krzyzewski will be looking for renewed passion from his team after calling them out for lacking the energy to compete with the Hurricanes in the overtime loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Expect his team to rally around his battle cry, especially on the road surrounded by the Enemy in Powder Blue. To win, Duke will need to play smart defense, something the Blue Devils haven’t done consistently this season.

On the other hand, North Carolina seems to be on the rise, especially after a gutsy win in College Park last weekend in which Maryland tried to beat up the Tar Heels. Unlike the game in Tallahassee in which Florida State annihilated UNC, the Tar Heels responded after getting hit in the mouth and clamped down in the second half to erase a nine-point deficit to win by nine. However, the Tar Heels haven’t beaten a team guaranteed to be in the NCAA Tournament since they knocked off Wisconsin in Chapel Hill Nov. 30. North Carolina needs a win at home against the team’s arch rival to validate the argument that this team should be in the conversation for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

That adds a lot of pressure to both teams, and that might favor North Carolina. The Tar Heels have a roster full of players who have been through this rivalry at least three times after last season. Duke has struggled with leadership on the court, and the Blue Devils must get someone to step up or else things could ugly for Duke pretty quickly.

Let the battle begin.

We take you coast to coast with news from around the college basketball nation.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino got his wish with Memphis, as the Tigers will be joining the Big East starting in 2013-14, according an ESPN.com news services report. Pitino had lobbied for the Conference USA’s Tigers to join the Big East to help replace the power that will be departing with West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh in coming years.

Florida coach Billy Donovan tried to preach that Kentucky faced all the pressure entering the Gators/Wildcats clash Tuesday night, with the home team trying to extend a 15-game winning streak and 48-game undefeated streak at Rupp Arena, according to the Associated Press. That psyche-out didn’t seem to work as the Wildcats clobbered Florida 78-58.

If Connecticut can rally around the toughness of coach Jim Calhoun, the Huskies won’t be out of the picture despite a bleak couple of weeks, including a horrid loss Monday night at Louisville. Calhoun told ESPN’s Andy Katz that he doesn’t plan to let spinal stenosis to force him into retirement, and the coach could return to the sidelines sometime this season if the pain in his legs and back subsides.

There’s also health concerns for another coach: College of Charleston’s Bobby Cremins. The 64-year-old Cougar coach took a leave of absence Jan. 27, and he told people that he’s just taking a break to recuperate from a lack of energy, according to a CBS Sports.com wire report.

Alabama’s tournament chances could be in some jeopardy after the team indefinitely suspended junior Tony Mitchell for misconduct, writes TideNation’s Alex Scarborough. The junior forward averages 13.1 ppg and 7.0 rpg in more than 30 minutes per game for the Crimson Tide.

College Basketball Tonight

COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, who will be joined by former Manhattan and Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on every Sunday from Selection Sunday to the Final Four. You can listen to the show here.

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.

2013 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: St. Andrew's
Sept 10: Tilton
Sept. 11: South Kent School and Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 12: Putnam Science Academy
Sept. 16: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 17: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 23: New Hampton School
Sept. 24: Brimmer and May
Sept. 25: Proctor Academy
Sept. 26: Notre Dame Prep and Cushing Academy
Sept. 29: Worcester Academy and Vermont Academy
Oct. 6: Charlestown High School and Milton Academy
Oct. 13: Tabor Academy
Oct. 15: Brooks School

Hoopville Archives

City Hoops Recruiting

Make sure you check out City Hoops Recruiting for more coverage of recruiting in the Boston area and all over Massachusetts, including our travel team profiles for the 2014 spring and summer.

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is already 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.

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