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2013-14 Patriot League Post-Mortem

by - Published May 15, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
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Times are good in the Patriot League right now. The league just completed its first season with ten schools, and not only was it a success overall but there is plenty of reason to like what is ahead. The early verdict on the league’s expansion is that it is definitely a net plus.

Three teams saw postseason play, and all three had at least 20 wins. That marked the third time in league history that happened, with the previous instance being two years earlier. This season didn’t top that one overall, as that year two teams topped Boston University’s 24-win mark this season and both of those teams won a game in their postseason tournament, but there is reason to believe that the best is yet to come.

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Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

by - Published April 11, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bostonuniversity

While there have surely been worse days in the program’s history, last Wednesday will not go down among the best ones for Boston University. Three players, including star guard Maurice Watson Jr., will all transfer. All of a sudden, the Terriers will have a drastically different look next year and don’t project to be nearly as good. One of them is a bigger loss than the others.

The school announced the transfers of James Kennedy, Malik Thomas and Watson last week. Kennedy, who is one of the nicest young men you could ever meet, has rarely played in his career, having battled injuries. Thomas has had his moments, and his departure will hurt, but it’s Watson’s departure that is both a little mind-boggling and will really hurt.

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With a new coach and new players, American takes home the Patriot League title

by - Published March 15, 2014 in Columns
american

BOSTON – Maybe it’s a good thing that American had a lot of newness to their personnel this season. Last season’s team wasn’t very good, but besides that, a coaching change always brings a requisite adjustment period unless it’s someone who’s just like the departed coach. The transition wasn’t always smooth, but the end result is what the Eagles want as their 55-36 win at Boston University will send them to the NCAA Tournament.

Jeff Jones, who took the school to the NCAA Tournament two years in a row, left for Old Dominion after last season. Mike Brennan, a former Georgetown assistant, replaced him and brought in a whole new staff. The Eagles went 10-20 last year and returned just two starters, with the departures hitting the perimeter hard. They were going to need newcomers to play a key role, especially at the crucial point guard spot. That and the coaching change were all reasons no one had this team winning it all back in October.

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Bucknell improves and still has a higher ceiling

by - Published February 24, 2014 in Columns
bucknell

BOSTON – As the long season moves along, every team hopes to play their best basketball around the end of the season. In Bucknell’s case, that has meant going through a challenging transition to start. That transition seems more towards completion now, as the Bison have a season-best four-game winning streak going and appear to have plenty of upside.

This isn’t the Bison of a year ago, when they had three seniors key an experienced, very cohesive unit that carried the team to a Patriot League title. This team has needed many players to step into new roles, from Cameron Ayers needing to become the go-to guy after being a complementary player to three new starters needing to do more. The Bison knew this day would come and the transition would be a challenge, but until they went through it the extent was an unknown.

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American hopes to regroup and get back on track

by - Published February 20, 2014 in Columns
american

BOSTON – For American, it looked like a storybook run through the Patriot League. They had ten straight wins, including a blowout of the team picked to win it all, with a well-oiled machine offensively. They found a way to keep winning with a bunch of new guys and a new coaching staff. Pardon the expression, because it’s too easy, but the Eagles were flying high.

And now they are coming back to earth – quickly.

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Boston University gets the 40-minute effort they needed

by - Published February 10, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bostonuniversity

BOSTON – The final box score shows Boston University beating Lafayette 88-54. Dig a little deeper and you understand how the score got to be that way. But watch Saturday’s game at Agganis Arena and you understand it better, as well as why it was so satisfying for this team, as it’s the type of effort they’ve needed.

“We had been talking about trying to put together two halves, trying to play consistently well for 40 minutes,” said head coach Joe Jones. “We’ve struggled with that at times. So tonight, it was great to see us play a complete game from start to finish.”

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Lafayette’s tough season continues in blowout loss in Boston

by - Published February 9, 2014 in Columns
lafayette

BOSTON – Fran O’Hanlon must have thought it was January all over again. It was that kind of day for his team on Saturday at Agganis Arena, where his team was right there in the first couple of minutes and then never really in it as the Leopards were blown out 88-54 in a game that didn’t even seem that close.

“It was just a total domination by them,” said O’Hanlon.

That pretty much sums it up in a nutshell. Lafayette tied the game at 4 less than two minutes in, then it was never a ballgame after that. The Leopards had their second-worst shooting game of the season both from the field and from long range.

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For Holy Cross, the mentality makes a big difference

by - Published January 22, 2014 in Columns
holycross

WORCESTER, Mass. – It’s all about the mentality at Holy Cross of late. The last week has seen two good wins and the team play good basketball to get there, and with it a commensurate confidence boost. While there’s still a hill to climb, the Crusaders look to be in a good place in terms of how they are going about everything.

Holy Cross has had to deal with injuries, and while they haven’t had to as much as some teams have, they have had to adjust a good deal along the way. They had to go without Cullen Hamilton early on due to a knee injury, and just when he appeared to be coming into his own he then came back and aggravated it. They had to shut him down for a stretch so he can heal enough to play the rest of the season.

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Lehigh’s next chapter has been painful of late

by - Published January 19, 2014 in Columns
lehigh

WORCESTER, Mass. – Don’t let Lehigh’s record, or their 61-42 loss at Holy Cross on Saturday, fool you. The Mountain Hawks are 8-11 overall and 1-5 in the Patriot League play, but this isn’t the beginning of the mighty falling. More likely is that it’s the beginning of their next rise, and it’s been a rough one at times.

There is plenty of talent on this team, but much of it is young. The Mountain Hawks start senior point guard Mackey McKnight and junior guard Corey Schaefer, but along with them are freshmen Austin Price and Tim Kempton (son of the former NBA big man) and sophomore Jesse Chuku, who is like a freshman since the native of England was ineligible last season. They have two more freshmen, a sophomore and a junior in the rotation.

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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

by - Published December 31, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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Non-conference play is just about over at this point. Conference games are ready to take over the rest of the slate, with a few having an “opening day” of sorts, including the Big East with its well-publicized day of five games on Tuesday. A few have already had early conference games, with the West Coast Conference having its opening day on Saturday.

How are the conferences shaping up? Which ones look like we thought and which ones look nothing like what we thought before the season? Here is a look at all 32 conferences as conference play beckons.

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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

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

Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by

bigten

The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by

sunbelt

Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

bigsky

The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

meac

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

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