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NC State wins opener but doesn’t exactly look like an ACC favorite

by - Published January 6, 2013 in Columns
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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Whether or not North Carolina State ultimately meets the expectation many have of them as ACC favorites is an open question as conference play commences.  That remains unchanged after pulling out a 78-73 win at Boston College on Saturday, a game the Wolfpack could easily have let slip away.

“We didn’t play our best basketball, but at the same time we’re fortunate enough to get the win,” said senior Scott Wood, who hit a big three-pointer and then sealed the game with free throws.

… Continue Reading

The Jimmy V: Analysis and teams headed in opposite directions

by - Published December 6, 2012 in Columns
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NEW YORK – It was a doubleheader with a little of both. The Jimmy V Classic featured one lopsided game followed by a close, down to the wire affair.

Scores:

Georgetown 64, Texas 41
NC State 69, UCONN 65

… Continue Reading

2011-12 ACC Post-Mortem

by - Published May 19, 2012 in Conference Notes
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Kendall Marshall, Leslie McDonald, Dexter Strickland.

Those three Tar Heels were supposed to anchor the North Carolina backcourt entering the 2011-12 season. With Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston, the Tar Heels figured to have one of the deepest set of guards in the country to pair with a great front line led by Tyler Zeller and John Henson. And that’s before accounting for Harrison Barnes, projected to be one of the best wing players in the country.

But injuries decimated North Carolina’s backcourt, forcing coach Roy Williams to run with little-used freshman Stilman White and jack-of-all-trades Justin Watts in the team’s most important game of the season, an Elite Eight clash with Williams’ old squad, the Kansas Jawhawks, in St. Louis. … Continue Reading

Behind Leslie, North Carolina State progresses when it comes to big games

by - Published March 12, 2012 in Columns
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ATLANTA – Even before Mark Gottfried said it on Friday, you could see it: North Carolina State is now more ready to win the games it needs to. They weren’t ready early in the season, when they had some opportunities, but they showed this weekend at the ACC Tournament that they are in a better place now and at a good time. That remains the case despite a tough 69-67 loss to North Carolina in the semifinals on Saturday.

“Early in the year, we played a great schedule, but we just sometimes weren’t good enough,” said Gottfried after the Wolfpack knocked off Virginia. “I think now, this team is learning how to execute their offense in late-game, tough situations, get a defensive stop at a tough time.”

… Continue Reading

2012 ACC Tournament – First Round Notes

by - Published March 9, 2012 in Columns
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ATLANTA – The first day of the ACC Tournament is in the books. The seeds held to form in the afternoon with a pair of double-digit games, then we had the first upset right away in the evening as Virginia Tech held off Clemson after breaking a 52-52 tie with nine unanswered points.  Miami finished the night by knocking off Georgia Tech.

We’ve got more coming on a few of the teams. For now, some quick hitters on the day. … Continue Reading

NC State could be a player in the ACC

by - Published November 22, 2011 in Columns
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The ACC looks wide open, not to mention so-so, after North Carolina and Duke, and perhaps Florida State. There’s a lot of room for anyone to finish in the first division, and similarly to slide into the second division if injuries come into play or some players just don’t develop. That, along with what they showed at the Legends Classic, means a team like North Carolina State should be seen as one of those teams that can finish in that top half.

 

… Continue Reading

NC State Wolfpack 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

North Carolina State Wolfpack (15-16, 5-11)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Lorenzo Brown
Sr. G C.J. Williams
Jr. G Scott Wood
So. F C.J. Leslie
Jr. F Richard Howell

Important departures:

Coach Sidney Lowe: 86-78 overall record, 25-55 ACC record in five seasons at NC State.
Tracy Smith: 14.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.9 apg
Ryan Harrow: 9.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg
Javier Gonzalez: 5.5 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.3 apg

Percent returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 66.4 percent
Rebounding: 80.6 percent

Additions:

Tyler Harris, No. 135 Rivals.com and ESPNU four-star small forward from Newark, N.J.

Schedule highlights:

Best non-conference game: vs. Vanderbilt in East Rutherford, N.J.
Toughest conference stretch: Feb. 16-21 (at Duke, vs. Florida State, vs. North Carolina)

Outlook:

Mark Gottfried steps in to Raleigh to take over for Sidney Lowe, who never got his talented recruits to compete with the other Triangle powerhouses at the top of the ACC standings. Lucky for Gottfriend, he takes over some excellent players who will provide some excitement at the RBC Center.

Sophomore C.J. Leslie and junior Richard Howell could emerge as two of the best players in the paint in the conference. Howell was extraordinarily efficient last season even though he was primarily a reserve player. On the other hand, Leslie had high expectations from the start, and the slashing forward backed up the hype with 11.0 ppg and 7.2 rpg. He could be a double-double machine this season if he takes some strides between his freshman and sophomore years.

Projection: Eighth

Next: Virginia Cavaliers

Back to ACC preview

Back in Action, With Championship-Level Appreciation

by - Published April 11, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

Editor’s Note: We’ve trimmed down the Full Court Sprints because Hoopville’s new design has made some elements redundant. In particular, our new design highlights some of Hoopville’s great coverage in the middle column. In addition, we’ve got recent tweets from Phil Kasiecki and Michael Protos in the right column. There’s no games on tap anytime soon — sadly — so the upcoming games and recent results are irrelevant until November. We do have plenty of news to round up and some quick commentary on recent trends and news.

BASELINE TO BASELINE

Go coast to coast with a round up of the nation’s top stories.

If it’s April, three of the top stories in basketball relate to which coaches are changing jobs, which players are going pro, and which players are transferring. Fox Sports’ Jeff Goodman has a list for the latter category. In case you’ve missed some of the player movement of the past few weeks, Goodman lists all the players who have announced that they will play elsewhere.

At ESPN.com, you can track all the coaching movement in Division I in a chart that lists schools, former coach and new coach. As of today, 13 teams are still in the hunt for a new coach.

And if you want to find out whether your team’s best underclassmen will be playing in the NBA or NCAA next season, check out CBS Sports.com’s set of charts.

The most recent team to fill its open coaching position is UNLV, according to the Associated Press. BYU associate coach Dave Rice is moving on from the Mormons’ home base of Utah to Sin City. Rice’s now former boss, BYU coach Dave Rose, said Rice is an excellent teacher and has a history of success, which he’ll be taking to the desert and a Rebels team that has emerged as a perennial Mountain West contender.

St. John’s coach Steve Lavin will begin treatment for prostate cancer after announcing that he was diagnosed with the disease in fall 2010, according to SI.com’s “Fan Nation” blog.

BYU is extending coach Dave Rose’s contract, a rare reward for excellence at the university, according to Fan Nation. Just don’t ask about the financial details.

We already have some drama heading into next season’s North Carolina State vs. Maryland rivalry in the ACC. Granted, in recent years, there’s not much of a rivalry to speak of between those teams. However, Wolfpack Athletic Director Debbie Yow, former boss of Maryland coach Gary Williams, accused Williams of trying to sabotage her search for a new coach. She eventually hired former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried to replace Sidney Lowe, drawing the ire of State fans who wanted Shaka Smart or another hot name. There’s plenty of bad blood between Yow and Williams, according to the “Lost Lettermen” blog.

UCLA finally knows where the Bruins will be playing home games next season while Pauley Pavilion gets a facelift. Eamonn Brennan, of ESPN.com’s “College Basketball Nation” blog, reports that the Los Angeles Sports Arena will host 14 Bruins home games, with the team playing four others at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

Fresh off his third national championship, Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun said he will take some to decide whether he wants to retire, according to a CBS Sports.com wire report. But don’t think that means he’s taking any time off from the recruiting trail.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

I watched every second of Connecticut’s championship game victory against Butler. And that might officially make me a basketball geek — as if there were any doubt about that.

I’ll be the first to admit that the Huskies’ 53-41 win wasn’t the prettiest game I’ve ever watched. But there’s been far too much talk about how terrible the game was, and some commentators have even hinted that the NCAA Tournament has a flawed format in which the best team doesn’t win the title.

To that, I say: horse manure.

The NCAA Tournament has one of the most difficult post-season formats of any sport at any level because a champion must win six — at least — games in a row against opponents that play a variety of styles. A championship run is a testament of a coach’s ability to strategize a game plan and adjust it during the heat of the action. It’s a testament of great players performing at a consistently high level for three weeks.

Even the most talented teams in the country will likely face at least one opponent that plays a style that makes the favorite somewhat uncomfortable. For underdogs, the ability to get a team outside its comfort zone, force mistakes and capitalize on opportunities forms the recipe for an upset. VCU took that recipe and repeated it from the First Four to the Final Four.

The Rams got past USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas with a pressure defense that preyed on inconsistent backcourt play. On offense, VCU rode hot three-point shooting to cover up for a size disadvantage in the post. If the Rams met the Jayhawks in an NBA-style seven-game series, there’s no way I could see VCU winning the series. I’d pick VCU to win one, maybe two games in seven against Kansas. But the more talented team — as NBA analysts Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley frequently pointed out during their stint as NCAA Tournament analysts — would likely advance, barring injuries or a major internal meltdown.

And that’s what makes the NCAA Tournament wonderful. To be champion, you must come to play every game for three weeks. Anything short of your best effort could send you home. And even your effort might not be enough if you’re running the wrong game plan.

So don’t tell me Butler’s 18 percent shooting in the championship ruined the tournament or somehow devalues Connecticut’s achievement. In the game I watched, I saw an outstanding defensive effort in which the Huskies limited the Bulldogs to a tiny number of clean looks at the hoop. However, Butler also failed to make in-game adjustments. The team took 51.6 percent of its shots from three-point range, making only 9-of-33 attempts. After Chase Stigall hit a three to open the second half and give Butler a six-point lead, the team didn’t make another shot from the field for seven minutes and only one shot in 13 minutes. During that stretch, the Bulldogs missed 11 three-pointers.

Brad Stevens realized his teams was overmatched in the post, but the Bulldogs just weren’t getting it done from the perimeter. The team’s stubborn insistence on jacking up bombs — and bricks — led to the dismal shooting percentage and put Connecticut on track to the championship.

More simply put, the Huskies executed their game plan more efficiently and effectively than Butler could, and the Bulldogs couldn’t adjust to do anything about that. In a championship game performance, that’s all you can ask from the winning team, regardless of the score.

It’s Time For North Carolina State to Live Up to Buzz

by - Published January 12, 2011 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – ACC play has started, and that means it’s time for North Carolina State. It’s time for the Wolfpack to live up to their preseason buzz. It’s time for Tracy Smith to show how much the team missed him in non-conference play, when they couldn’t break through against their toughest opponents. It’s time for the young players to live up to their billing and grow up quickly.

“This is it now, this is how it’s going to be for us,” head coach Sidney Lowe said after the Wolfpack’s 75-66 loss at Boston College. “All of our games are going to be this way. We need to make the right plays, we need to make the right decisions. The young guys are starting to see what we mean now, this is ACC play.” … Continue Reading

After Shaky Start, ACC Needs Holiday Tourney Joy

by - Published November 18, 2010 in Conference Notes

It might be early in the season, but the ACC is already entering a critical week.

After a bumpy start to the season, conference teams enter the holiday tournament season needing to win some statement games. And the outlook isn’t great.

In the first week and a half, Wake Forest has dropped two home games, and Georgia Tech got obliterated by Kennesaw State. The Yellow Jackets gave up 80 points to the Owls, who mostly played only five guys. Georgia Tech’s eight-man rotation floundered, shooting only 35 percent while committing 19 turnovers.

In Winston-Salem, the Demon Deacons figure to have a long season ahead in coach Jeff Bzdelik’s first year at the helm. Stetson shot 46.4 percent against Wake Forest and, more revealing, out-rebounded Wake Forest 42-31. ACC teams shouldn’t get outworked in their own building to open the season, unless they’re facing a top 10 opponent. That’s just embarrassing.

But there’s plenty of time to change course. Although the conference ranks fifth in winning percentage of the six power conferences, there’s no shame in Virginia Tech losing at Kansas State or Miami losing at Memphis. Road victories for either team would have been a major upset for the conference.

The early season emergence of the ACC must start tonight, when Maryland plays Pittsburgh in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Terrapins are one of seven ACC teams playing in tournaments during the next 10 days. However, Maryland is one of the few teams with an opportunity to pick up crucial statement victories.

Against Pittsburgh, Maryland will be decided underdogs, and a strong showing, even in a loss, would give the Terrapins plenty to crow about. If the team can beat Pitt or their next opponent — either Illinois or Texas in the championship or consolation game — the trip to Madison Square Garden would be a success. The worst-case scenario for the ACC and Maryland is a two-game sweep in which the Terrapins don’t look competitive against some of the strongest teams from the Big East, Big Ten and Big 12.

In San Juan, North Carolina is the highest rank team in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. That means the young, unproven Tar Heels are supposed to win the tournament, and anything short of a three-game sweep against a field that includes West Virginia and Minnesota would be a disappointment. We’ll quickly find out how this year’s Tar Heels handle the pressure of lofty expectations after last season’s squad fell apart.

Back on the shores of South Carolina, North Carolina State is one of the favorites in the Charleston Classic. The only way for the Wolfpack to pick up a quality win is to reach the championship game and beat Georgetown. A loss to anyone besides the Hoyas would be detrimental to North Carolina State’s résumé and the ACC’s credibility.

Georgia Tech and Boston College have the best opportunity to grab unexpected quality wins in the Legends Classic in Atlantic City and the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, respectively. Georgia Tech will face either Syracuse or Michigan in the championship or consolation game of the Legends Classic. However, the Yellow Jackets must first get past a tough UTEP team, which is perfectly capable of knocking off a shaky ACC team. The Eagles face a bunch of tough, unranked teams, with the exception of a possible match up with Temple. Boston College needs to represent the ACC well in potential games against Cal, Georgia, Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

On the West Coast, Virginia Tech finds itself in the same situation that North Carolina does in Puerto Rico: tournament favorite. The Hokies’ toughest opponents in the 76 Classic are Oklahoma State, UNLV, Stanford and Murray State. Unfortunately for Virginia Tech’s résumé, the Hokies won’t garner much more clout by doing anything less than stomping those teams, which won’t be easy, especially 3,000-plus miles away from Blacksburg, Va.

And then there’s Duke. The reigning national champs are No. 1, so they’re supposed to beat anyone, anytime. Despite those ridiculous expectations, the Blue Devils would have a great opportunity to assert themselves as the unquestioned favorites to win this season’s national title if they draw Kansas State and beat the Wildcats in the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo. It’s practically a home game for the Wildcats, so a Duke victory would be huge for the ACC’s elite.

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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

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.

Hoopville Archives

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.

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

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

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

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

vermontacademy

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

mastersschool

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

riversschool

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.

Tabor Academy looks to have more depth this time around

October 13, 2014 by

taboracademy

Tabor Academy will once again be headlined by a frontcourt player. This time around, though, the Seawolves appear to have a deeper support cast than in recent years.