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2015 USBWA awards: one man’s vote

by - Published March 12, 2015 in Columns

About a week ago, I shared how I voted for the CAA’s postseason awards. While that was quite an exercise this season, casting my USBWA ballot was a little different challenge and not just because of the scope. There’s also timing – right as conference tournaments pick up. On the national level, we vote for ten All-Americans, five freshman All-Americans, the Oscar Robertson Trophy (a national Player of the Year), the Wayman Tisdale Award (the nation’s top freshman), and the Henry Iba Award (national Coach of the Year). More locally, we also vote for ten All-District players, a district Player of the Year and a district Coach of the Year.

With that settled, in all the votes involved for this were probably not quite as challenging as the CAA postseason honors. That is in large part a testament to how competitive the CAA was this year and that included for the postseason honors.

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Third time is the charm for Bryant

by - Published March 5, 2015 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – For Bryant, the third time was the charm. Not that it was as simple as that, but the end result said as much, and it could easily have not been the case for so many reasons that may or may not make sense right now.

“Honestly,” said senior guard Dyami Starks, “I looked at (Joe O’Shea’s) face, and he looked bewildered, like, ‘Did I hit that?'”

Starks was recounting the final seconds of regulation – what could have been the final seconds of Bryant’s season once again, in their home gym once again, in the quarterfinals of the Northeast Conference Tournament once again. Seconds earlier, he put up a shot from well behind the three-point line that was off-line. The ball bounced off the rim and went away from it, with precious seconds ticking off the clock, hope of keeping the game alive, keeping the season alive, fading with each tick.

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Bryant digs deep to lock up a tournament home game

by - Published February 27, 2015 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Trailing by 11, with their hopes of locking in at least one home game in the Northeast Conference Tournament on the line, Bryant had to dig deep. They were up against a team that had nothing to lose and was playing like it all night long. Central Connecticut had started the second half 6-8 from the field, including two of their three attempts from deep. It was almost as if the Bulldogs were putting so much pressure on themselves, as if they knew that this was their best chance to clinch a top-four seed.

“The way they were making shots, I’ll be honest with you, I could see myself telling Howie (Dickenman, Central Connecticut’s head coach), ‘Great game’ at the end,” said Bryant head coach Tim O’Shea. “They were making some incredible shots.”

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Bryant needs a second scorer alongside Starks

by - Published January 3, 2015 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – This isn’t the Bryant of the past couple of seasons. While that may be obvious, and even expected given that everyone knew they would be losing key players after last season, the reality of it is starting to become clearer as Northeast Conference play approaches. The most glaring issue is at the point of strength in recent years: the offense.

Head coach Tim O’Shea rightly notes that a team’s overall shooting number might be deceptive, especially for a team like his. The Bulldogs, after all, play against some high-major teams that are much more physically gifted than they are, and a game or two with a low percentage can skew statistics a little deceptively for either team. Still, that the Bulldogs are shooting over 38 percent from the field on the season is a bit surprising and troubling.

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Bryant has talent to contend and room to grow

by - Published November 21, 2014 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The first two years that Bryant was eligible for the Northeast Conference Tournament (and ultimately, any postseason play) were good times. The Bulldogs fielded experienced teams and finished in the top four each of the past two seasons, earning a home game in the conference tournament each time. The Bears aren’t exactly a young team now, but they’re a lot less experienced, and Thursday’s 72-63 win over New Hampshire will give them some lessons for the future.

Bryant had about as good a first half as you could ask for on Thursday night, shooting 56.3 percent from the field, giving the ball away just twice and putting 50 points on the board for a 24-point lead. It looked like they would cruise, put a bunch of players in double figures and even their record. Then the second half came, and the Wildcats gradually cut into the lead before finally going up 61-60 with 6:21 left to play. That capped off a run of 17 unanswered points.

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Bryant gets a signature home win

by - Published November 17, 2013 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – It’s sure to get missed by many for a lot of reasons, but Bryant’s 87-64 win over Vermont on Saturday is a very impressive and noteworthy one for the program. While the Bulldogs didn’t exactly knock off a perennial Final Four team, they didn’t have to. They scored a significant home win for the first time in their Division I history.

In their Division I history, Bryant has scored some nice wins, with many of them coming in the breakthrough season they had last year. They beat the likes of Boston College, Lehigh and Robert Morris, but all of those wins came on the road. They had chances at home – in past years against Harvard and Lehigh most notably, as well as some of the Northeast Conference’s best – but had come up empty. They had an NEC Tournament game at home and hosted Richmond in the CBI, but lost. And while they beat Mount St. Mary’s, who got to the NEC title game, during the regular season, that came before the Mountaineers became the conference’s hottest team entering the tournament.

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Bryant continues to win with offense

by - Published February 8, 2013 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – If you like offense, Bryant is a team you would like to see this season. That’s not something many would have figured prior to the season given their struggles in Division I, but an unexpected cast has become a team that can score with a lot of teams. Shootouts have been the norm with this team, and on Thursday night they won another one against St. Francis Brooklyn on account of their offense, this time by an 84-77 margin.

Scoring is the key to how this team wins games. After Thursday night, the Bulldogs are 13-2 when they score at least 70 points, which puts them at 3-4 when scoring less than 70 points. In past years, they weren’t built to win games like this, but a lot has changed and that includes the results.

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Bryant beats Army and a virus in front of a big crowd

by - Published December 3, 2012 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Tim O’Shea described it quite simply after his team scored their fourth straight win on Saturday.  They didn’t just beat Army 70-59; they beat another opponent for the first time, and did so in a home gym that looked nothing like it had before in the program’s Division I history.

“It builds,” said the Bryant mentor.  “We won today with a bunch of guys sick.”

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College Basketball Tonight

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.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

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March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

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Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

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