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Rhode Island finally broke through and should do so again

by - Published October 9, 2017 in Columns

When the subject of Atlantic 10 favorites comes up, discussion should start with Rhode Island. Dan Hurley has built them up that well, and they may ultimately see an unfortunate earlier event become a blessing in disguise.

When Hurley took over, the program wasn’t in a great state. Jim Baron had ably run the show for 11 years, with six postseason appearances, but none were in the tournament most wanted – the NCAA – and the bottom had fallen out with a 7-24 season in 2011-12, a year after they appeared in the CBI. Hurley had succeeded quite well at Wagner, and was ready to try the same in South Kingston. The first two years were tough ones, with the Rams battling gamely to a combined 22-39 mark, but it set the stage for what was to come.

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Providence-Rhode Island game will be even more memorable later

by - Published December 6, 2015 in Columns

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – While it’s always been one to watch if you’re a New Englander, the annual meeting between Providence and Rhode Island is one that has ebbed and flowed a bit. For a few years when the Rams struggled over a decade ago, it wasn’t as big a game. But as both teams have been better of late, especially this season, the game has been bigger and better. And with apologies to Providence head coach Ed Cooley, it’s a rivalry game, one that on Saturday night delivered everything you could want unless you were a Rhode Island fan.

And it’s a game that will be a little more memorable when we see these teams later in the season.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 14, 2015

by - Published November 14, 2015 in The Morning Dish

It’s here at last. The college basketball season began on Friday. Amidst the excitement, however, we were reminded that as much as we love the game, there are many other things of paramount concern. A series of terrorist attacks in Paris captured everyone’s attention, with well over 100 people killed. As we take a look at college basketball on the day, we extend our thoughts and prayers to those who lost loved ones.

As usual, there were plenty of mismatches, along with some very good matchups, and with the latter came surprises. There was also an unfortunate early end to one of two games played outside the country.

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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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Rhode Island continues to grow up

by - Published February 4, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Barely three weeks ago, Dan Hurley and E.C. Matthews sat in the interview room at the Ryan Center after a tough loss. Hurley and Matthews were low-key, but still upbeat despite dropping a game that they controlled, something that you know doesn’t come easily for the ultra-competitive Hurley. Among other things, Hurley talked about how the Rams would get better from that game, including when it comes to making big plays down the stretch as they go from being a young team to a veteran team.

On Saturday, you could see exactly that. Rhode Island had another test from within the conference, and the result was different. This time, they played like a team that did exactly what Hurley talked about after the loss to VCU. They played with confidence down the stretch, made plays and sealed the game.

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Rhode Island has potential amidst some difficulty

by - Published December 12, 2014 in Columns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Non-conference play has been both a time of promise and a time of difficulty for Rhode Island. The promise has shown in the wins and at times in some of the losses, while the difficulty is certainly there in losses like Wednesday’s 68-60 loss at arch-rival Providence. In that game, as much as any, you can see the potential as well as the areas of concern for this team.

In running out to a 5-3 start, Rhode Island has certainly impressed at times and looked like a team that has put most of the growing pains of last season behind them. The Rams are more talented as a whole, and holdovers pressed into more immediate duty last season than the staff probably wanted have benefited from that. E.C. Matthews looks ready to blossom into one of the Atlantic 10’s best talents, while Hassan Martin looks stronger and more confident. Freshman Jared Terrell has made an instant impact and classmate Jarvis Garrett helps off the bench.

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Rhode Island is experiencing the predicted growing pains

by - Published December 30, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – As non-conference play winds down, Rhode Island is experiencing what many could have predicted they would before the season: growing pains. Their 77-64 loss to Southern Miss is perhaps a microcosm of the season, and it’s not surprising that it left head coach Dan Hurley musing about the state of his team as Atlantic 10 play approaches.

Rhode Island certainly had their moments. They responded to an early blitz by the Golden Eagles, leading for stretches in the first half and tying the game early in the second half. But once Southern Miss scored eight unanswered points to break the tie, the Rams were playing catch-up the rest of the way. They rallied to within 64-62, but the Golden Eagles then scored the next 11 points to seal it.

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Providence and Rhode Island show what we can expect from each

by - Published December 6, 2013 in Columns

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Thursday night was everything you could want in a rivalry game. The atmosphere was what you would expect with a packed Ryan Center. The game was close throughout, with some swings for both teams although one had the lead more often than the other. It was a slug fest, and at one point things got heated, including between the coaches. It came right down to the buzzer.

And in some ways, Providence’s 50-49 win over Rhode Island, their fourth straight in this rivalry, will define the two teams going forward as well.

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Rhode Island bounces back, though it took some time

by - Published November 16, 2013 in Columns

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – The road to wins and ultimately improvement will not be a smooth one for Rhode Island this season. It won’t be a success-only journey. The first week has shown that, and Friday night’s 72-59 win over North Carolina A&T was perhaps a microcosm of the journey thus far.

Earlier in the week, the Rams were blown out at SMU 89-58. It was quite a reversal of last season, when SMU came into town with a nice record against a weak schedule and were blown out of the Ryan Center. Although the Rams were now on the road, the personnel is much better, so one would have figured that if nothing else it would at least be a competitive game, although winning on the road would be tougher. SMU is also better this season, and the Mustangs ran out to a halftime lead and ran away in the second.

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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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