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The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 6, 2014

by - Published December 6, 2014 in The Morning Dish
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Earlier this week, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was the center of attention. For the past couple of nights it’s the SEC/Big 12 Challenge that has taken over. And just like one game in particular in the former got everyone’s attention, and was about as good as billed, there was one matchup in the latter that many were eagerly awaiting. It wasn’t quite as good as billed in the second half, but it was a competitive game, for the most part.

Texas had about as good a month of November as Kentucky, as previously detailed in this space. The Longhorns also have a lot of length, so they figured to be able to match up with Kentucky. Texas led several times in the first half and had a big edge on the glass, and the teams were tied at 26 at the break. It figured to be quite a second half.

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2013-14 MAAC Post-Mortem

by - Published June 6, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
maac

The MAAC underwent a membership change in 2013-14, and one that appears to be a net positive. What hasn’t changed, and surely won’t anytime soon, is how fiercely competitive the conference is. That was demonstrated right up to the end this past season.

The conference had several teams right there in the race for the top until late in the season. Iona got hot and pulled away, but even so only three games separated first from fourth place and just two separated fifth from eighth. The real question going forward is if anyone can break into that top group, as Iona and Manhattan seem set to rule the conference for a while, with Quinnipiac having a lot of potential based on its first year in the conference. There are some who could join them, but questions abound in all.

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New-look Fairfield shows promise in season opener

by - Published November 10, 2013 in Columns
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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The box score will tell you Fairfield won their season opener by 13 points over Sacred Heart, 67-54 on Saturday. The box score will also tell you they did that despite 26 turnovers. But what the numbers won’t tell you is that the Stags have a lot of newness about them but will be a team worth watching this season and one the coaching staff is going to enjoy all the way around.

Last season’s team had an interesting personnel dynamic to it with the mix of seniors and freshmen. This season’s team is simply young, as they have just one senior and nine freshmen and sophomores. The interesting dynamic is that six players were in uniform last season and six weren’t. But that also means there’s a lot of opportunity to mold this group into something, and it’s clear that they’re already at work with that on one end of the floor.

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2013 MAAC quarterfinal notes

by - Published March 10, 2013 in Columns
maac

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The MAAC quarterfinals are in the books. The afternoon games saw the seeds hold to form, while the evening started off with an upset that was also a game for the history books, but not in a good way. The last game followed its predecessor with the lower seed pulling off the upset.

With that, some leftover thoughts from the MAAC quarterfinals played on Saturday:

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Needham, Fairfield seniors live another day

by - Published March 9, 2013 in Columns
fairfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Derek Needham didn’t want his career to end on Friday night. A classmate felt the same way and a teammate at the opposite end of the experience spectrum helped him out, and in turn they helped Fairfield move on with a 54-47 win over St. Peter’s.

Needham isn’t the only senior on Fairfield, as fellow guards Colin Nickerson and Desmond Wade are also coming up on the end of their college careers. But he’s the big name on the team, the program’s third all-time leading scorer, the guy who has been an impact player from the minute he arrived on campus and scored in double figures in all but one game of his freshman campaign. He’s the charismatic young man who is well-known around the campus and not just because he’s a basketball player. He’s the star guard who didn’t play in the conference tournament last year due to a broken foot.

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If freshmen develop to complement veterans, Fairfield could surprise in the MAAC

by - Published November 11, 2012 in Columns
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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Fairfield is one of the more interesting teams in a conference that itself is always interesting.  The MAAC is known as a very competitive conference, one that often has a team that can sneak up on others, and Fairfield might be that kind of team this season.  The Stags’ season-opening 64-63 overtime win on Saturday night in the Connecticut 6 Classic was illustrative of this and possibly just the start this team needs.

Taking a glance at the roster, one can see that the stags have five upperclassmen and a lot of freshmen in the mix.  The upperclassmen are all very experienced, having played significant minutes since their freshman year save for Desmond Wade, who transferred in from Houston but has played significant minutes since he arrived.  One can easily guess that this team will largely go as their freshmen go, as having some depth is always important.

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Quick Hitters – January 27, 2012

by - Published January 27, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

Quick hitters as we get ready for the weekend:

 

  • Boston University was not rebounding well in the early portion of their seven-game winning streak. But in the last two games, the Terriers have dominated the glass, and keeping that up will only help. Granted, it came against two of the worst teams in the conference, but one of them (UMBC) is normally a decent team on the glass. Part of that has come from an emphasis on rebounding of late, but not just at the defensive end. … Continue Reading

Fairfield fulfills missions in Springfield and gets better

by - Published December 10, 2011 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Like fellow MAAC counterpart Siena, Fairfield looks like they got better in their trip to Springfield for the Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase on Friday. The Stags have had some ups and downs in non-conference play, but one of the MAAC favorites looks to be improving as final exams near and showed it in their 59-51 win over Old Dominion on Friday.

 

Friday’s game was far from a thing of beauty, especially in the second half as it was tightly called and neither team shot well. Fairfield won despite shooting just 37.3 percent for the game, but the bright side along with the win was that they won the rebounding battle 41-40 and got just about every loose ball.

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ACC’s hot start could be a harbinger of better times ahead

by - Published November 17, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

After six full days into the regular season, the ACC is the only undefeated conference remaining. And that pretty much guarantees that Maryland will lose to Alabama Thursday night or Georgia Tech will fall against Saint Joseph’s.

No one really keeps track of which conferences go the longest without a loss, but hoops pundits love to banter about which conference is tops in the game. The ACC hasn’t been part of that conversation for a few years now, despite claiming two of the past three champions and a contender or two for this year’s title.

As of this week, the ACC has North Carolina, Duke and Florida State in the top 25. No other team even received a vote from the pollsters. As Rodney Dangerfield often lamented, this conference doesn’t get any respect these days, with everyone focusing on Tobacco Road and ignoring most of the rest of the conference. That would be a mistake this season.

Already, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Virginia have flashed plenty of promise. They’ll need to bring down some of the big boys from conferences like the Big East, Big 12 and Big Ten before they rise into the public spotlight. That’s probably going to start happening in the next couple of weeks as the early season tournaments gain steam and more power conference squads go head to head.

When it’s all said and done this season, don’t be surprised if at least five different ACC teams spend some quality time in the top 25, and the conference once again joins the discussion as tops in the land.

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

  • New Providence coach Ed Cooley and the Friars returned to his former employers at Fairfield Monday, and Providence escaped with a hard-fought 80-72 win, according to a CBS Sports.com report. The Friars’ head honcho had plenty of reason to feel emotionally torn after enjoying success in the MAAC in his first coaching gig and building strong relationships with players such as Rakim Sanders, writes Matt Norlander.
  • UCLA suspended Reeves Nelson for bad behavior after the junior forward blew off a practice Monday and looked selfishly frustrated in the Bruins’ opening loss to Loyola Marymount, writes Peter Yoon for ESPN Los Angeles. The Bruins dropped their second consecutive game Tuesday when Middle Tennessee State handled the Nelson-less squad.
  • After an 0-2 start, UCLA fans must be yearning for the golden age led by the legendary John Wooden. Those days are long gone, but Wooden — or at least a statue bearing his resemblance — will greet every player and fan entering the renovated Pauley Pavilion, Peter Yoon writes on ESPN.com.
  • St. Bonaventure will play the rest of the season without forward Marquise Simmons, who tore his Achilles tendon against Cornell, according to a CBS Sports.com wire report. The junior provided solid depth for St. Bonaventure, averaging about four points and rebounds per game last season.
  • If “best” refers to most talented, CBS Sports.com’s Jeff Goodman explains why Kentucky, not North Carolina, is the best team in the country this season.
  • No sleep till Brooklyn! The Beastie Boys can lend that motto to Kentucky and Maryland next year when the Wildcats and Terrapins meet in the first-ever Barclays Center Classic, to be held at the new arena under construction in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to the Associated Press.

It’s All Coming Together For Fairfield

by - Published January 4, 2011 in Columns

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – It all seems to be coming together for Fairfield. Yes, it’s still early, and head coach Ed Cooley says they’re still figuring things out, but one has to think the Stags have made their way to a good place.

Fairfield’s 70-48 win over Niagara was their ninth in a row and improves them to 3-0 in MAAC play. More than just the win, in what Cooley described as “kind of a strange game” as there wasn’t much flow, the Stags did it largely playing the kind of basketball they will need to in order to win the conference, as many projected before the season. They shut down the Purple Eagles, ran the offense well when they weren’t turning the ball over, and have a number of players improving. … Continue Reading

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Saturday Notes – January 24, 2015

January 25, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

This Saturday didn’t have quite the marquee matchups as a week earlier, but there were some important ones, especially with teams in the middle of a few conferences trying to separate themselves from the pack.

Saturday notes – January 17, 2015

January 18, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

High school games may have grabbed a lot of attention, but there were plenty of college games as well. Most results weren’t surprising, but were well worth looking at some notes on, and we do that here.

Rhode Island keeping perspective after tough loss

January 15, 2015 by

rhodeisland

Rhode Island controlled Tuesday night’s game against VCU, but couldn’t finish it and took a tough loss. Their improvement is evident, though, and they are keeping perspective on that in trying to keep improving.

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2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.

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.