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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 19, 2014

by - Published November 19, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

College basketball’s first big day of the season was really almost all we could’ve asked for.

From early morning to into the night, the day offered a number of outstanding games that might already get some people thinking March. Exciting finishes, back-and-forth games, offense, defense, big schools, little schools, fantastic inbound plays-you name it, you could find it on Tuesday.

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Northeastern’s maturity wins out in their opener

by - Published November 17, 2014 in Columns
northeastern

BOSTON – You could see it coming for a lot of the second half. There were interruptions, as the upstarts always had an answer and at times the veteran team shot themselves in the foot. Still, the momentum was unmistakably with the veterans, and eventually they broke through and later took control.

Yes, it was a rivalry game, but in time the mature Northeastern team played like a veteran team and rode the performance of those steady veterans to a season-opening 71-65 victory over Boston University.

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The Morning Dish – Monday November 17, 2014

by - Published November 17, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

There will be plenty of chatter about Kentucky this season; in fact, there already has been. That will always be the case, as Kentucky will be relevant whether they win a national championship or have a losing record. Ever since several players decided to pass on early entry to the NBA Draft last spring, the hyperbole surrounding this team has been non-stop given the talent they have. And on Sunday, that was demonstrated even more.

Buffalo led Kentucky at halftime 38-33. The Bulls didn’t succumb to an early run, either, as Kentucky scored the first nine points of the second half only to see Buffalo rally to regain the lead. The Wildcats eventually won going away, but that’s not the big headline to take out of this game.

A lot of people are talking about how John Calipari didn’t go with a platoon in the second half. The talk is that he’s already abandoned it. The reality, of course, is a bit more complicated.

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2014-15 CAA Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
colonial

Times continue to change in the CAA, and while there is still good basketball, it’s definitely a new era. Last season saw just two CAA teams reach postseason play. In prior years, the conference had sent more. Plenty of teams have challenging non-conference slates this year, so opportunities for quality wins will be there – but whether or not they come is another story. Another membership change comes this season as Elon joins to bring the conference to ten teams. For now, it seems stable, but conference realignment never seems to really take a break, so enjoy it while it lasts.

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Northeastern Huskies 2014-15 Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Conference Notes
northeastern

Northeastern Huskies (11-21 overall, 7-9 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G T.J. Williams
Jro. G David Walker
Jr. F Quincy Ford
Sr. F Reggie Spencer
Sr. F Scott Eatherton

Important departures:

Demetrius Pollard (left team) and Marco Banegas-Flores (transferred to Umass-Lowell) both left the team, with the latter having graduated.

Returning:

78.2 percent of scoring and 86.8 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Devon Begley

Schedule Highlights:

Bill Coen has been known to challenge his team in non-conference play, and this season is no exception with a team that should contend. They open once again at the Boston Garden against arch-rival Boston University, then play four games as part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off, going to Florida State and UMass while playing Navy and either at Mohegan Sun Arena. They go across town to play at Harvard and later have road dates with St. Mary’s and Richmond after they play Cal Poly and Santa Clara at the Cable Car Classic. Only three home games are on tap, including a mid-January date with Detroit as part of a four-game homestand. CAA play opens up with three of four on the road, but they have two stretches with three straight conference games at home as well.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Huskies bring back more than any other team in the conference, especially with the return of Ford from an injury that shelved him for much of last season. The sudden departure of Pollard in October hurts because they don’t have another shooter like him, but the Huskies remain favorites. Eatherton should be a double-double machine again, and he teams with Spencer in a frontcourt that should help them once again beat opponents on the glass. If Ford is what he was two seasons ago, the Huskies have another first team all-conference caliber player, while Walker is steady and just knows how to play. Williams is the key; after hitting a wall and also getting nicked up last year, he finished strong and looks like he’ll continue to run the show for the next three years. The Huskies had a lot of tough losses in non-conference play last season, but could turn some of those into wins this time around, and if that happens, there’s every reason to think they can be the top team in the conference heading into the conference tournament.

Next: Towson Tigers

Back to CAA Preview

The most important players in America – 2014-15

by - Published November 12, 2014 in Columns
hoopguy-divisionII

Every team has a player or two whose performance is a barometer for how the team does – as he goes, they go. It’s not necessarily their best player, although it can be; rather, it’s often someone either playing a key position or having to take over for a departed star at a position. In some cases, it’s a player who seems most likely to step into a larger role.

Certainly, the best players are important ones. If they fall short of what they have done in the past or are expected to do based on their past performance, other players must do more.

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2013-14 CAA Post-Mortem

by - Published May 9, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
colonial

The new era in the Colonial Athletic Association has begun. While there was plenty of competitiveness, as expected, the conference is in a very different time now with arguably its three signature programs having left over the past two years.

Conference champion Delaware was a study in overcoming adversity all season long. The Blue Hens certainly had enough talent and experience to compete for the title, but suspensions of multiple players, including long ones to Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt, could have scuttled this magical season. They were challenged in the conference tournament, including in the title game, but as they did all year, they found a way to win.

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Northeastern having a tough time for a few reasons

by - Published December 10, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
northeastern

BOSTON – Northeastern wants better results than they have had thus far.  Their 2-7 record isn’t a result of not trying or wanting to win.  Part of it is from playing a very difficult schedule, but part of it is also the reality of trying to find the right personnel with a young team at a challenging time.  It has Bill Coen having to manage the confidence the team as they reach the break for final exams.

Anyone who knew Northeastern’s personnel heading into the season knew that the Huskies were going to be different this season.  Departed guards Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith were more than just the heart and soul of last season’s Huskies, so that was a big void to fill.  Who would emerge was far from a given since depth was a concern behind those two last season.  So it’s not a surprise that part of the challenge has been personnel-related.

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Northeastern Huskies 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 5, 2013 in Conference Notes
northeastern

Northeastern Huskies (20-13 overall, 14-4 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Demetrius Pollard
So. G David Walker
Jr. F Quincy Ford
Jr. F Reggie Spencer
Jr. F Scott Eatherton

Important departures:

The Huskies lose two starters from last season’s team, and they are big ones: G Jonathan Lee (13.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.8 spg) and G Joel Smith (16.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.8 apg).

Returning:

60 percent of scoring and 73.8 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Kwesi Abakah (redshirted)
Jr. F Scott Eatherton (transfer from St. Francis (Pa.))
Fr. G C.J. Hill
Fr. G-F Jimmy Marshall
Fr. G T.J. Williams

Schedule Highlights:

The Huskies will play another challenging non-conference slate that features four home games.  They open with cross-town rival Boston University at the Boston Garden, then head to Stony Brook, VCU and Vanderbilt, while also opening with Georgetown in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and playing two games in the Tulane Classic.  Home games are against Central Connecticut, Ivy League favorite Harvard, UAB and Richmond.  They open CAA play with their stretch of four games in eight days.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Huskies are a tough team to project this season, but one thing is certain: they will be hard-pressed to match last season’s success given how much Lee and Smith meant to them from a production and (more importantly) leadership standpoint.  Who emerges behind them will make all the difference, and while Pollard and fellow junior Marco Banegas-Flores have had their moments, neither will make anyone forget Lee or Smith right now.  Walker will be fine after a solid freshman year, and the perimeter will be in better shape if sophomore Zach Stahl plays like he’s capable of after an up-and-down freshman year where he tried to do a little too much at times.  Head coach Bill Coen thinks Stahl may have had the best preseason of any Husky, and in another bright spot, he said sophomore guard Derrico Peck may have been their most improved player over the summer.  The frontcourt is in much better shape, as Ford should be one of the conference’s best and Spencer made a nice leap from his freshman year.  It’s now time for Ford to become an elite player in the conference, and he’s shown in the past that he can be a go-to guy when the chances have been there.  They are high on Eatherton and think he will make an impact right away, especially on the glass where they were deficient last season as they had the worst rebounding margin in the conference.  The Huskies won a lot of games with a good team concept offensively, and they’ll need to do that again this season while improving on the glass.  The former will be tough to do unless a couple of players can make up for the losses of Lee and Smith.

Next: Towson Tigers

Back to CAA Preview

New-look CAA trying to find its place in the changing landscape

by - Published October 23, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
colonial

BALTIMORE – As the Colonial Athletic Association goes through more changes, it’s natural to wonder where its place is in college basketball now.  The conference has had major membership changes over the last year and a half, and locations for major events like Media Day and the conference tournament are also changing.  While there is certainly a feeling of newness, one wonders what lies ahead for a conference that had a great run from 2006 to 2012 before things changed drastically.

The CAA is just one conference that is changing in an ever-changing landscape.  In the short term, the conference can be labeled one of the losers in the conference maneuvering.  In the last 18 months, George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU – the conference’s signature programs historically – have all departed, along with a Georgia State program that wasn’t in the conference long but looks like it might be on the rise under Ron Hunter.  What remains starts with five former America East schools and then includes newcomer College of Charleston and three charter members in James Madison, UNCW and William & Mary.  Next year, Elon joins the conference.

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Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by

unlv

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

syracuse

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

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

nepsac

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

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.