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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, November 18, 2014

by - Published November 18, 2014 in The Morning Dish

For all the things ESPN has messed up in recent years (and there are a lot of them), its 24-hour college hoops marathon shows where the network continues to shine.

The hoops marathon is pure, old-school ESPN at its best. Games around the clock at funky hours, similar to how the Ohio Valley Conference used to buy time on the network to play games at midnight Eastern time when one Jim Delany was its commissioner. Intriguing matchups featuring good teams regardless of conference affiliation, as opposed to force-feeding us more games involving football conference bottom feeders or powerhouses hosting guarantee games that shouldn’t see the light of day on national TV (see: Elon at Duke, Dec. 15; apologies Phoenix fans).

It’s an event that truly builds up buzz on the campuses where it takes place. When schools like Monmouth, Rider and Florida Gulf Coast get a chance to be the featured game on ESPN, it’s a big deal. Even if it is at 6 a.m. in the morning.

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2013-14 Northeast Conference Post-Mortem

by - Published June 30, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes

The Northeast Conference has had a good run in recent years, from one of its best seasons in 2011-12 to seeing a new member become a contender as they become eligible for the conference tournament. The conference always has some good basketball with its top teams, and this year was no exception. Part of that was once again evident in the conference tournament, as the regular season champion once again didn’t take home the title.

Robert Morris has been a mainstay for several years now. You could argue that the Colonials are the signature program in the conference, as they have won at least 12 conference games each of the past seven seasons. The past two seasons, they have won the regular season title by two games. Yet a conference championship remains elusive, as they captured two straight in 2009 and 2010 but have yet to do it again.

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Xavier triumphs and Robert Morris survives: Notes, numbers and quotes

by - Published February 28, 2014 in Columns

TEANECK, N.J. – Early in the week Xavier ventured into Madison Square Garden and posted a 65-53 victory over St. John’s. It was a huge win for the Musketeers coming off a thorough defeat at Georgetown a few days earlier. For the home standing Red Storm, meanwhile, it was a second straight loss with the clock ticking on NCAA possibilities.

The possession numbers:

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FDU edges St. Francis Brooklyn: Three points of emphasis

by - Published January 25, 2014 in Columns

TEANECK, N.J. – On one of those eventful nights, so typical with Northeast Conference meetings, Fairleigh Dickinson edged St. Francis Brooklyn at the Rothman Center. The Knights pulled out an 86-85 victory in a game featuring nine ties and as many lesd changes.

Three points of emphasis:

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Red hot Bryant rolls over FDU

by - Published January 19, 2014 in Columns

TEANECK, N.J. – Maintaining momentum is a fleeting proposition, especially in college basketball. Going on the road and shooting the lights out is the same. On Saturday at the Rothman Center, both forces were a factor as Bryant romped 95-68 over FDU in a Northeast Conference matchup.

The Bulldogs improved to 3-1 in the NEC while FDU is 2-2.

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Herenda providing new attitude, new direction at FDU

by - Published January 13, 2014 in Columns

TEANECK, N.J. – Moments after FDU defeated Seton Hall earlier this season, Greg Herenda repeated a story he shared at Northeast Conference media day. It was last Spring, the newly appointed FDU coach had a great press conference, and when it was all over stopped and thought about it.

“I was a little scared,” Herenda confessed. “We had seven players in the program and no assistant coaches.” So Herenda did what he does best. He got to work.

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FDU 66, St. Peter’s 61: Numbers and the coach’s concerns

by - Published December 1, 2012 in Columns

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Fairleigh Dickinson made a late run to post a come from behind 66-61 win over St. Peter’s at Yanitelli Center. In a Wednesday night matchup, the visiting Knights earned their third straight victory to even their season record at 3-3.

Our look at the numbers begins with the possessions:

FDU 67
St. Peter’s 69

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Fairleigh Dickinson edges St. Francis (NY) in season finale

by - Published February 25, 2012 in Columns

TEANECK, N.J. – How would you feel holding a team to under 70 efficiency and losing? In a game where both teams were under 70, FDU surprised St. Francis (NY) 45-44 at the Rothman Center. The win was FDU’s second of the Northeast Conference campaign. The Knights failed to qualify for the NEC tournament. St. Francis, meanwhile, needed the win for a third seed in the NEC tournament. The loss dropped them to fourth.

A look at the numbers for this game:

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A Tempo Free Look: FDU Stops Bryant in NEC Opener

by - Published December 5, 2010 in Columns

TEANECK, N.J. – On Thursday, Fairleigh Dickinson defeated Bryant 78-68 in the Northeast Conference opener for both clubs at the Rothman Center. We take a look at a tempo free breakdown of the game.

The efficiency:

Possessions, Offensive Efficiency
Bryant 67, 102
FDU 68, 115

The Four Factors:

Effective FG Percentage Free Throw Rate Offensive Rebound Percentage Turnover Rate
Bryant 52 14 28 19
FDU 56 44 41 22


  • About the only negative in FDU’s Four Factors was the 22 percent turnover rate. The inside game was so dominant, though, it didn’t matter as much. The Knight owned the lane with an incredible 46-18 points in the paint edge. The Knights were 25 of 42, good for 61 percent on two-point shooting. Granted not every two point field goal attempt is in the paint. But tonight virtually everyone for the Knights was.
  • FDU’s inside prowess was reflected in offensive rebound percentage and free throw rate as well, as the Knights shot 31 free throws to Bryant’s 12. As the Knights pounded it inside, Bryant settled for threes. They did shoot 12 of 27 (44%) from beyond the arc and were able to trim two double digit-deficits to a two possession game.
  • Bryant’s turnover rate was a step in the right direction. Under 20% is the target and the Bulldogs met it. Nice improvement for a club that entered with a (too high) 23 percent rate.
  • FDU coach Greg Vetrone was very pleased with the play of Kamil Svrdlik. The 6-8 junior was dominant on the blocks with a career-high 24 points to go along with rebounds. A native of the Czech Republic, Svrdlik is providing a much needed low post game with Alvin Mofunanya graduated.
  • Keeping a shot chart the last 12 minutes, you can see FDU’s inside prowess. The Knights had eight field goals, all in the paint (four in transition). Bryant had seven field goals. Among them five were three-pointers, one on the three-point line and one in the paint.
  • Cecil Gresham, Bryant’s senior forward, had a “breakout game” per coach Tim O’Shea, leading all scorers with 28 points. O’shea would like more contributions from sophomore center Vlad Kondratyev, who played very well last year but has not been contributing as well to date.
  • FDU improves to 2-3, Bryant falls to 1-6.

The Notebook

by - Published January 10, 2010 in Columns

TEANECK, N.J. – Earlier this week in a Big East matchup, Syracuse employed a 2-3 zone the entire game. No surprise as Jim Boeheim has been utilizing that signature defense with outstanding success since the days gas was under a dollar a gallon. No, this was actually the Syracuse women’s team who used in in a thorough 79-38 dismantling of Seton Hall at the Pirates’ Walsh Gym.

It seems coach Quentin Hillman, in his fourth year at the Big East school, was observing men’s practice his first year at Syracuse. “I looked up saw that (national championship) banner and thought about (Boeheim’s) years of winning and felt this was the way to go,” Hillman said. “I decided the 2-3 would be our main defense.” Hillman found early on that he has a friend and confidant in Boeheim. “Coach Boeheim has been great helping me with it. He has watched our practices, made suggestions and we both discuss it regularly.”

The women employ the zone in the same manner as then men. The guards and wings contest three-pointers and other perimeter shots. Seton Hall’s fine junior guard Ebonie Williams struggled through a two-point night on one for eight shooting. Williams was frustrated trying to get a decent look anywhere on the perimeter. Inside players like 6-2 Nicole Micheal and 6-4 Kayla Alexander clog the lane and use their length to break up passes in the paint.

The victory at the Hall left Syracuse at 13-1, the lone loss an OT setback at the hands of Georgetown. Life in the Big East conference for the women, as the men, is a succession of challenges and tough teams. Syracuse, with that patented 2-3, is certainly one of them.

Other Notes

  • A little confidence goes a long way. Last week Fairleigh Dickinson rallied from 22 down with 12 minutes to play to earn an 88-85 victory over Sacred Heart. A few nights later Bryant got out to a 10-1 lead over the Knights. FDU interim coach Greg Vetrone called time out and saw a team unsure of what lie ahead. The Knights regrouped en route to a 66-50 victory over the Bulldogs.
    Three nights later FDU defeated Central Connecticut State 83-74 , behind Sean Baptiste’s 26 points, to run their conference record to 3-1. FDU ended 2009 with a 1-12 record. The Knights took advantage of a three-game conference swing at home and are very much in the thick of the NEC race.

    “We have a new coach, a new system and new point guard,” Vetrone said. “Some of the teams we played early we were not ready to face. I said it would take time but (the momentum) is definitely coming.”

    Mike Scott scored 16 against Bryant. The junior point guard has been on fire for FDU. In the Sacred Heart and Bryant games, Scott had a combined 18 assists and zero (no misprint) turnovers in 70 minutes.

  • Bryant, in their second year of Division I, is in the Northeast Conference but not eligible for post season play. Tim O’Shea’s group has had a murderous schedule. Included were Boston College, Providence, St.John’s, Indiana and an improved Army club. There were two Ivies as well which happened to be Harvard and Cornell. Following the FDU game Bryant was 0-15. To make matters worse, leading scorer (14.5 PPG) Cecil Gresham, a senior swingman, was lost for the year with an injury in late December.
  • There is an interesting doubleheader at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. Cincinnati visits St. John’s and Fordham meets Dayton at the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”  Cincinnati faces another team in dire need of a conference win. The Bearcats faced Seton Hall at the Prudential Center and the Pirates took an 83-76 decision. Seton Hall earned their first win after losses in conference to West Virginia (overtime), Syracuse and at UConn.

    St. John’s is also 0-3 and in a must-win situation after having lost a tough one at Georgetown, a home collapse down the stretch to Providence and another road game to Louisville. Highly-touted freshman Lance Stephenson will make his MSG debut in a Bearcat uniform.

    Dayton survived a tough OT victory over Duquesne on Saturday and faces Fordham under interim coach Jared Grasso. The Flyers are the Atlantic 10 Conference favorites in the view of many experts. A pair of forwards, junior Chris Wright and senior Marcus Johnson, have been key players for Brian Gregory’s club.

  • Seton Hall sharpshooter Jeremy Hazell had 33 points against Cincinnati, his fifth 30-point scoring game this season.
  • The difference, from a tempo-free approach for St. John’s thus far:
                W-L	   OFF EFF	DEF EFF
    Overall	   10-5	     100	  93
    Big East    0-3	      90	  106

    The efficiency is the points per possession multiplied by 100. Offensively, the Red Storm overall average 1.00 points per possession on offense. The defense, at .93 is sound. In the Big East those numbers are reversed. The Storm is struggling overall on offense and a bit generous on defense.

    A reason for the defensive slip, beside better talent in the Big east, is the turnover rate. Overall the Storm are forcing opponents into a 20 percent TO rate – that is, one-fifth of the opposition possessions are turnovers. In the Big East that rate on the defensive end is 16 percent. In conference, St. John’s has found it more difficult to force opponents to turn the ball over.


Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is 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.

Your Phil of Hoops

Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by


Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by


Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by


Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

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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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by


With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by


Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by


Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by


The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by


The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.