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2014 NCAA Tournament: Early thoughts

by - Published March 17, 2014 in Columns
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The NCAA Tournament selection committee has spoken. The 68 teams are set to begin the tournament on Tuesday with two of the First Four games. With that, the fun is about to begin.

Before that, here are some random thoughts on the selection, seeding and potential matchups, as well as reaction to some early chatter about the field.

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Harvard freshman big man is simply impressive

by - Published February 8, 2014 in Columns
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Zena Edosomwan has a way of impressing you. The best thing about it can probably be best summed up by a teammate who has a little in common with him, and it doesn’t just apply to this context.

“When he gets in the game, he just plays, and I think he just does it naturally,” said junior guard Wesley Saunders, who like Edosomwan hails from California.

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Harvard uses its depth to overcome injuries early on

by - Published November 22, 2013 in Columns
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – As Harvard gets ready for a big stretch, the Crimson have lived up to expectations in a couple of respects thus far. They are 4-0 after handling Bryant on Wednesday night 86-68 in a manner similar to how Bryant dispatched Vermont a few nights earlier. They are also utilizing the depth they have, albeit perhaps not in the manner or for reasons they had hoped before the season.

Come game time, Harvard doesn’t have the depth right now that they were thought to before the season. Kenyatta Smith and Brandyn Curry are both out, taking one away from both the frontcourt and backcourt. This team has absorbed those losses about as well as one would expect, and that’s where their depth has come in. They are hopeful of getting Curry back at Colorado, while Smith’s left foot remains in a boot and thus he won’t be coming back anytime soon.

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Harvard handles its personnel options just fine in opener

by - Published November 12, 2013 in Columns
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BOSTON – Now that the season is here, we got our first look at a question many wondered before the season: how would Harvard deal with its embarrassment of riches in personnel?  It was a question that made sense on the surface, but anyone who has been around the program knows it’s one that should have been easily answered long before the Crimson knocked off Holy Cross on Sunday at the Boston Garden.

The starting lineup might have surprised some, with both Brandyn Curry and Kyle Casey on the floor at the opening tip.  With both having sat out last season, there is surely a rust factor of sorts, but one can figure they earned their spots.  More surprising, however, might have been the presence of junior Steve Moundou-Missi, only because he’s been so good coming off the bench and has no problem with doing so.  Head coach Tommy Amaker has said they refer to Moundou-Missi as their sixth starter.

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Harvard Crimson 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 6, 2013 in Conference Notes
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Harvard Crimson (20-10 overall, 11-3 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Siyani Chambers
Sr. G Laurent Rivard
Jr. G Wesley Saunders
Sr. F Kyle Casey
Jr. F Kenyatta Smith

Important departures:

G Christian Webster (8.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.6 apg) is the only starter who has departed.

Returning:

87.7 percent of scoring and 90 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F-C Zena Edosomwan
Fr. G Matt Fraschilla
Fr. F Hunter Myers

Schedule Highlights:

Harvard’s non-league slate is a good one, led by five home games that include visits from Northeast contender Bryant, America East contender Vermont and Boston College. They head to Colorado, Patriot League contender Boston University and Connecticut, and early on will be the favorites in the Great Alaska Shootout. In Anchorage, they will open with Denver and play either Green Bay or Pepperdine in the second game. Early in Ivy League play, they have four straight at home before going on the road for consecutive weekends, the latter of which is the big Penn-Princeton weekend.

Projected finish and outlook:

Simply put, Harvard is a prohibitive favorite to win the league. They return almost every significant contributor from last season’s league champion and add back two former starters who missed last season as well as a player who will be too good to keep on the bench in Edosomwan. It gives head coach Tommy Amaker a lot of options for lineups and how to play, and the character of this team is such that egos shouldn’t get in the way as far as minutes and roles are concerned. Between Brandyn Curry, Chambers, Rivard and Saunders, the Crimson are terrific on the perimeter, while Casey and Smith lead a deep frontcourt after Smith’s emergence during the latter part of last season. It’s a unit that also has juniors Jonah Travis and Steve Moundou-Missi, both of whom could start for just about any other team in the league, and Edosomwan, who has been much heralded. While he’s perhaps a bit overrated from a talent standpoint, Edosomwan’s intangibles are off the charts, something that isn’t often said about a freshman. The Crimson will get some challenges in non-league play, but shouldn’t have to worry about an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They should simply be too good for everyone else in the league.

Next: Penn Quakers

Back to Ivy League Preview

Quick Hitters – September 29, 2013

by - Published September 29, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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It’s a great time of the year. Prep school visits are winding down and college teams have started practice, signs that the season isn’t far away. Also, college schedules are finally coming out, with a few more game times to be determined due to television.

Before getting back to some of the final prep school visits, here are some quick hitters from around college basketball.

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NCAA Tournament is proving how even college basketball is

by - Published March 25, 2013 in Columns
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At any point in the season, if asked who I think would be in the Final Four I had a standard response that at first glance might sound like a cop-out: it’s so wide-open and matchups are so crucial that I can’t answer the question at that time.  In January of most years I couldn’t tell you who I think would get there at least for the latter reason, but especially this season because the former has never been more true.

If the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament doesn’t bear this reality out, I don’t know that anything will.

Just look at the highlights of the rounds that led us up to the Sweet 16:

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Another Ivy League showdown is on the way

by - Published February 24, 2013 in Columns
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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The stage is set for another showdown on Friday night. Two familiar foes in recent years will meet in Jadwin Gym with first place in the Ivy League on the line, and that’s pretty much what was expected all along. The only question was the teams’ records coming in, and they will remain separated by a game in the loss column after Harvard pulled out a 72-66 win at Yale on Saturday night.

Princeton took care of their end of the bargain by blasting Cornell a night after they took care of Columbia. With the late start in New Haven, this was known well before the game was over. It was just a question of whether or not Harvard would hold up its end and head to Princeton with one league loss or two.

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Young Harvard takes the first Ivy League showdown

by - Published February 17, 2013 in Columns
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Round one of the Ivy League battle for the top went to the home team, as tends to happen. Harvard, a young team that has grown up a lot during the season, used a big second half to knock off Princeton 69-57 and go up by a game in the all-important loss column. While they played like a championship-caliber team, Harvard knows a lot of basketball is still left to be played. With that, as well as the past as a guide, Harvard will take nothing for granted right now.

Ivy League play is just past the halfway point, but already is looks like it will once again be a two-team race between the teams that battled in Lavietes Pavilion on Saturday night. Both entered the night two games up in the loss column over everyone else in the league. That’s not the case now and not just because of this game’s result, as Cornell also won to go to 5-3, a game behind Princeton in the loss column for second place. Cornell has come to life in Ivy League play after some struggles in non-league play, but there’s every reason to think this will come down to Harvard and Princeton.

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Behind young guards, Harvard’s offense has become a big part of the story

by - Published February 2, 2013 in Columns
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Over the past few seasons, as Harvard has become an Ivy League contender and then champion, the Crimson developed an identity. They were known as a defensive team, one that would shut you down no matter the style of play. They became known as a team that lives off its defense. That’s still important, but this year’s team is making its mark on the offensive end in a big way, and that was apparent once again in their 67-64 win over Yale on Friday night.

Harvard is shooting a little under 49 percent from the field on the season, a figure that puts them in the top 15 nationally. They also shoot over 41 percent from long range, good for fifth nationally, and assist on over 60 percent of their made field goals. They average nearly 70 points per game, which won’t put them among the national leaders but is a pretty good number nonetheless. About the only knock on the stat sheet is that they have a few more turnovers than assists, though they closed the gap on that one Friday night.

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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

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Cesar Fulcar commits to Wentworth

The senior guard led Watertown to the state semifinal this past season

Travel team profile: Bay State Magic

Bay State Magic doesn’t have much size on their junior team this season, so they’ll have to win with execution and intangibles

Travel team profile: Mass Elite

Mass Elite is one of the largest travel teams in the state despite being relatively new

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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter