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It’s time to recognize John Calipari’s coaching

by - Published April 5, 2012 in Columns

Let’s give John Calipari his due as a coach. This would be needed even if Kentucky lost on Monday night, but now that they have done what a team with that talent should do by winning the national championship, we need to give him his due and put an end to all the things that have been said about him to dismiss his coaching ability. It’s time we stopped saying the common lines that have been uttered about him that stop short of giving him credit as a coach.

Let’s stop saying he’s just a great recruiter.

… Continue Reading

Kentucky, SEC shatter statistical expectations; ACC underwhelms

by - Published April 4, 2012 in Columns

It’s good to be an SEC fan.

On Monday night, Kentucky completed its return to national supremacy by winning the program’s first championship since 1998. The title run marked the Wildcats’ second consecutive Final Four under coach John Calipari, who figures to make Kentucky a national championship contender pretty much every season that he’s on the sidelines.

Even though many people figured the Wildcats would cut down the nets in New Orleans, Kentucky exceeded expectations from a statistical perspective as soon as the Wildcats beat Baylor to reach the Final Four. Based on seed expectations, the typical No. 1 seed wins 3.32 games. So reaching the Elite Eight isn’t much to crow about for No. 1 seeds. … Continue Reading

An improbable run by Kansas? That’s what this is

by - Published April 2, 2012 in Columns

One team was supposed to be here, one team wasn’t. The latter could be said in more ways than one. But as Monday night’s national championship game beckons, Kentucky and Kansas are something of a study in contrasts from the standpoint of how they got to this point. While there will surely be a lot of talk of about recent history between these two teams and head coaches, a better subject is the contrast in the expectations many had of these teams, and how one of them has reached here in what was thought to be more of a rebuilding year than a contending one. In doing so, we find that Bill Self may have done his best coaching job yet.

“We have kind of flown under the radar, by Kansas standards of late, which I think has been very healthy for a team that’s just trying to find themselves,” said Self.

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Ohio State gets a little help and advances to the Final Four

by - Published March 25, 2012 in Columns

BOSTON – Jared Sullinger came back to college for this. He felt his team had this kind of potential, even if many others didn’t. In the end, he proves to be right, as his young Ohio State team is headed to the Final Four, and not on the backs of four players who carried them for a lot of the season.

Ohio State’s 77-70 victory had a little irony in that they won the game a little like the way their opponents often beat teams this season. Ohio State didn’t use a zone defense like Syracuse, but whereas the Orange won a lot of games with their depth, Ohio State did so on Saturday to a different degree. The man of the hour, if there truly is one, was not Sullinger, and it wasn’t surging Deshaun Thomas, feisty point guard Aaron Craft or steady senior William Buford.

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Simply put, Syracuse survives and advances

by - Published March 23, 2012 in Columns

BOSTON – It’s not just a cliché that three words are all that matter in March – survive and advance.  That’s what Syracuse did on Thursday night, surviving a game that a lot of teams might have lost against Wisconsin with a 64-63 win.  Indeed, head coach Jim Boeheim was having a hard time trying to remember a similar game that his team has won.

“They made 14 threes, and usually that’s enough,” said the Syracuse mentor.  “I don’t think anybody has ever made 14 threes against us and we beat them.”

… Continue Reading

A-10 and Big East sit pretty entering Sweet 16

by - Published March 20, 2012 in Columns

Through the first three rounds of the NCAA tournament, which conferences are off to the best start? The answer — mathematically speaking — might surprise you: the Atlantic 10 and Big East.

Yes, the Big Ten has four teams in the Sweet 16, the same number as the Big East. But the Big Ten was supposed to do well with five teams receiving a No. 4 seed or better. In comparison, the Big East had one fewer team among the protected seeds.

In looking at teams’ actual performance vs. expected performance based on seeds, the Atlantic 10 and Big East are shining stars among conferences that sent at least three teams to the Big Dance. … Continue Reading

Oliver McNally a consistent leader in Harvard’s rise

by - Published March 16, 2012 in Columns

Will Wade remembers the first time he saw Oliver McNally play. In particular, he remembers the impression the young guard left on him as he drove and dunked on a defender, and as the defender hit the floor McNally looked right down at him before getting back on defense. Wade, who is now an assistant at VCU, knew Harvard needed a guy like him in the program, and as McNally’s career comes to a close, that first impression wasn’t a false one. That’s fitting, because McNally has been nothing if not consistent as a winner.

McNally was the first recruit for Tommy Amaker after he took the job at Harvard. Amaker had coached at great academic schools before, having played and been an assistant at Duke and more recently at Michigan before coming to Cambridge, so he wasn’t in unfamiliar territory. But this was a little different job for him, as Seton Hall and Michigan had been to the NCAA Tournament before – indeed, each had been to Final Fours, with Michigan winning a national championship. Harvard, on the other hand, had never been to the NCAA Tournament since it was the major postseason tournament. The last time Harvard made it was 1946, back when the NIT was the postseason tournament teams wanted to be in. And as academics go, no school stands above Harvard.

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Leonard Hamilton has made Florida State an elite program

by - Published March 15, 2012 in Columns

During the ACC Tournament, Leonard Hamilton spoke of trying to become a program of significance in the ACC, and by extension, nationally. When the Florida State mentor was asked if his program had reached that point, he deferred to those in the media.

“We don’t determine that,” said Hamilton with a smile. “You guys do.”

In that vein, I offer you this: Florida State has become a program of significance both in the ACC and nationally. That was the case even before they won the ACC Tournament on Sunday, but that certainly doesn’t hurt.

… Continue Reading

March to Madness: Breaking down the East and Midwest

by - Published March 13, 2012 in Columns

In our first look at the brackets, we checked out the South and West, with lots of love for Kentucky and Missouri.

In this edition, we’re looking at the East Region in Boston and Midwest Region in St. Louis. There’s plenty of excitement ahead in both regions, and we take a look at the top players, potential spoilers and bracket favorites. … Continue Reading

March to Madness: Dissecting the South and West

by - Published March 12, 2012 in Columns

During the next couple of days, we’ll profile each region of the NCAA Tournament bracket, breaking down the favorites and potential Cinderellas. We’ll also spotlight a few of the players you should keep an eye on.

The VCU Index searches to find a team that can fit the glass slipper. This is a team with a No. 10 seed or worse that has the chops to make a run to the Final Four.

And of course, we have to pick a team to reach New Orleans. … Continue Reading

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Your Phil of Hoops

New challenge ahead for Harvard

October 6, 2015 by


If Harvard’s great run through the Ivy League is to continue in 2015-16, the Crimson will have to get through quite a challenge this time around with a team that looks a little different.

Can this be the Army team that finally wins a Patriot League title?

September 24, 2015 by


Army was on a nice rise with its core up until Patriot League play last season, when they came back to earth. Now with a core of seniors, can this team be the one that finally takes home a Patriot League title?

Romar, Washington may successfully reboot once again

August 27, 2015 by


There has been some notable downward momentum at Washington recently, but there is more hope all the time that it could be reversed, and soon.

Hoopville Archives

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.

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed listening to COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT, a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, joined by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis, former Fairfield head coach Terry O'Connor and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

Here are links to the shows:

March 15, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 22, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 29, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

April 5, 2015 - First hour | Second hour | Third hour

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by


The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.

2015 Hoopville Spring Finale Notes

June 30, 2015 by


We look back at more from the 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale, where some of the championship games were worth the price of admission.

A big championship day for a local program at the Hoopville Spring Finale

June 23, 2015 by


The 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of good championship games on Sunday to close it out, and we start our look back with a look at those games.

Player highlights from Mass Elite and Boston Warriors college showcase

June 4, 2015 by


Two big programs, Mass Elite and the Boston Warriors, got together once again on a college showcase for many of their high school players. We look at some who stood out on the evening.

2015 Massachusetts AAU Tournament notes

June 3, 2015 by


Massachusetts held its AAU championship rounds in a few age groups and its entire tournament for the oldest age group this weekend. We take a look at some of Sunday’s action in Foxboro.