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As more players develop, Bucknell becomes a clear contender

by - Published January 27, 2015 in Columns
bucknell

BOSTON – It’s rare that one man carries a team all the way to a conference title in college basketball, no matter how good that player is. Chris Hass is certainly not going to carry Bucknell to a Patriot League title, as one example of interest, despite his great shooting and overall development after a breakout season a year ago. But with a supporting cast developing around him, the Bison are clicking offensively and emerging as a dangerous team, as well as a leader in the league as we near the halfway point.

A great example of this has come during the Bison’s four-game winning streak, the last two of which have come on the road. It’s been tough for them to win on the road, in part because they played some tough non-league games away from home. The offense has really clicked lately, however, and that’s been a big difference. While Hass is leading the way, he now has a lot more help.

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The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 8, 2015

by - Published January 8, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

At only a slight risk of hyperbole, the 9 p.m. EST block of games Wednesday night-many of them on TV-might go down as one of the ugliest two-hour stretches of offensive basketball in NCAA Division I college basketball history.

Some halftime scores from those games:
Baylor 22, Kansas 18.
Utah 31, Colorado 21.
Kansas State 22, TCU 19.
Maryland 28, Illinois 26.
Clemson 22, Louisville 18.
Duke 32, Wake Forest 27.
Wyoming 31, Colorado State 26.
Tennessee 26, Mississippi State 23.
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Streaky Lehigh has hit a rough patch

by - Published January 7, 2015 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
lehigh

BOSTON – Saturday’s 75-56 loss at Boston University wasn’t that close for Lehigh. In fact, they scored the game’s last 17 points, so the final score is a little more respectable and quite deceptively so. But more important than the score is where this team is trending, and while it looks to be downward to the untrained eye, that may not be the case. Make no mistake: the Mountain Hawks have areas of real concern, as you might imagine.

“We definitely need to improve,” said head coach Brett Reed. “We have to defend the three-point line, it’s a basic element of today’s game in college basketball.”

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Boston University gets better but still has challenges

by - Published January 7, 2015 in Columns
bostonuniversity

BOSTON – About a month ago, it was hard to imagine Boston University being 2-0 in Patriot League play and with the wins they have – at Holy Cross and a convincing win over Lehigh – to get there. But that’s where the Terriers stand now, and more importantly, they appear to be in a better place.

Even so, there isn’t going to be any rest. This team still has plenty of flaws and plenty of room to improve.

“It’s so early, you really have to keep trying to get better,” said head coach Joe Jones.

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How the conferences shape up as we hit 2015

by - Published January 1, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes
author_kasiecki

Non-conference play is basically done at this point. A handful of games remain for many teams, and we’ll see a non-conference game or two sprinkled in between conference games over the next couple of months, but conference play beckons. Several have already started, with the West Coast Conference getting jump on the rest of the country this past Saturday and Monday. For two months, we’ve had a look at teams to get an idea of who they are. They have shown us something thus far.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how the conference races shape up based on what we’ve seen in non-conference play.

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Questions abound for Boston University early on

by - Published December 2, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
bostonuniversity

BOSTON – Joe Jones’ first words said it all on Sunday afternoon.

“A lot of questions for us,” said the Boston University head coach after the Terriers’ 69-59 loss to UMass-Lowell. “We’ve got a lot of questions we need to answer. We’ve got some things to figure out.”

It’s not entirely surprising that this is the case for the Terriers. Just look at their personnel and one key is clear: the Terriers lack a true point guard who can play right now. They are having to go essentially by committee with three wings, though Cedric Hankerson and John Papale have taken on the lion’s share of that duty. Both can handle and be playmakers, but they are also the team’s best scoring threats, so that hurts the offense.

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Season opener a big boost for Holy Cross as they keep growing

by - Published November 17, 2014 in Columns
holycross

BOSTON – The Holy Cross players have believed in what Milan Brown and his staff are trying to do. The buy-in has been there and the team has grown in part by believing in the process and the game plan every time out. The gains have been incremental, with some good wins along the way, but there’s nothing like a big win to really drive it home and make them believe in it that much more.

The Crusaders got that with a 58-57 win over Harvard on Sunday, and in a game that showed how much they have grown up.

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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, November 11, 2014

by - Published November 11, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

On this Veteran’s Day, looking ahead at a couple more conferences as the season is now just three days away:

The Northeast Conference is wide open, with a number of teams sustaining significant player losses. When in doubt, go with Robert Morris, the most consistent program over the last five years. The Colonials have built some toughness, as evidenced by NIT wins over Kentucky and St. John’s the last two years.

Murray State featured maybe the best-kept freshman secret in the country last year in Cameron Payne, a brilliant talent helped Murray State get back near the top of the Ohio Valley. The Racers return Payne and three other starters and are the league favorites, though Steve Prohm’s club will be challenged by fast-improving Morehead State and always tough Belmont.

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Holy Cross is trying to take the next step

by - Published November 8, 2014 in Columns
holycross

WORCESTER, Mass. – Milan Brown says the mantra for Holy Cross is “Take the next step.” Since he arrived on campus, the program has taken many steps to get to where they are now, entering the season as Patriot League contenders once again.

It’s been a long road back to this point.

When Brown took over in 2010 following a one-year stint for Sean Kearney, the program was a far cry from what it was at the beginning of the century. At that time, Holy Cross and Bucknell ruled the Patriot League, with the Crusaders going on a roll first. But as Ralph Willard’s tenure came to a conclusion, the rest of the league was getting better and made up a lot of ground.

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2013-14 Patriot League Post-Mortem

by - Published May 15, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
patriotleague

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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Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday Notes – January 24, 2015

January 25, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

This Saturday didn’t have quite the marquee matchups as a week earlier, but there were some important ones, especially with teams in the middle of a few conferences trying to separate themselves from the pack.

Saturday notes – January 17, 2015

January 18, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

High school games may have grabbed a lot of attention, but there were plenty of college games as well. Most results weren’t surprising, but were well worth looking at some notes on, and we do that here.

Rhode Island keeping perspective after tough loss

January 15, 2015 by

rhodeisland

Rhode Island controlled Tuesday night’s game against VCU, but couldn’t finish it and took a tough loss. Their improvement is evident, though, and they are keeping perspective on that in trying to keep improving.

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2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.

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.