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Strong second half propels Bonnies

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns
atlantic10

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – In a classic case of “survive and advance” St. Bonaventure defeated Saint Joseph’s 60-49 in Atlantic 10 first round action. The age-old axiom tells us it is difficult to defeat a team three times in one season. It is beyond difficult, more like impossible, to do it if your offensive efficiency is 77. The Barclays Center game came after the Bonnies swept the two regular season meetings. The first twenty minutes would leave casual followers wondering how St. Bonaventure managed to pull off a sweep.

In a slow to pedestrian 30 possessions, Saint Joseph’s, a 28-23 leader at the half, registered a 90 efficiency. Not great, but good enough for a lead when you allow a 77. The first half saw the teams combine for 15 field goals. St. Joseph’s with nine of those, had a 39 percent eFG mark while St. Bonaventure shot just 35 percent.

… Continue Reading

2013-14 Atlantic 10 Post-Mortem

by - Published May 22, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
atlantic10

Admit it: you thought the Atlantic 10 was never going to match the success it had in 2012-13, especially with one of its signature programs (Xavier) and a newcomer that gave it a big boost in that historic year (Butler), plus another one on the rise (Charlotte), off to another conference.

Don’t worry. You were hardly alone. And now that the Atlantic 10 has outdone itself, you can give the conference credit and now look at it in a different light going forward.

… Continue Reading

Atlantic 10 Championship numbers and a few thoughts

by - Published March 18, 2014 in Columns
author_floriani

A year ago big things were expected of Saint Joseph’s and they did not deliver. This year, the expectations were tempered a bit and the Hawks responded in a memorable manner.

Saint Joseph’s defeated VCU 65-61 to capture the Atlantic 10 Title at the Barclays Center on Sunday. For the second straight year, VCU is the tournament runner-up. Last March the Rams were defeated by Saint Louis in the conference championship.

… Continue Reading

Saint Joseph’s 67, St. Bonaventure 48: Box score analysis

by - Published March 15, 2014 in Columns
author_floriani

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli spoke of being here for “rings and nets.” His Hawks are a game closer to the goal after defeating St. Bonaventure 67-48 in the first semifinal at the Barclays Center on Saturday.

The numbers:

Possessions: St. Bonaventure 67, Saint Joseph’s 66
Offensive Efficiency: St. Bonaventure 72, Saint Joseph’s 102

… Continue Reading

Barclays to MSG: A long (and enjoyable) day’s journey

by - Published March 15, 2013 in Columns
author_floriani

Two main venues, two great tournaments, just miles apart. A day filled with some very good basketball and interesting stories. Why not ? It is March Madness….

11:30 AM – Riding the subway to Brooklyn. The  preceding train ride from New Jersey to Penn Station was spent talking with a Cincinnati fan. The train has fans wearing gear from Pitt, Syracuse (most prominent) and of course, Cincinnati. The Bearcats, our new found basketball friend admits, have a tough assignment facing Georgetown at noon. Overall he is satisfied with the way things are going with Cincinatti but would like to see a little more inside play on offense. For now the Big East can wait. It’s onto the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the Atlantic 10. It is difficult typing on a moving train.

… Continue Reading

Veteran Hawks needed to give more late against Florida State

by - Published November 18, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
stjosephs

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Phil Martelli didn’t want to play around. He opened by saying that one option was for him to “give you the nonsense” with predictable cliches about the game, but that wasn’t his preferred route. There was a simple thing he and his team wanted on Saturday night, and there was no getting around the fact that they didn’t get it: a win over Florida State in the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Martelli has never been one to look for moral victories, and he wasn’t about to start doing it Saturday night. When asked about Ronald Roberts’ performance, mainly his seven offensive boards, he made even clearer how he felt about the result.

… Continue Reading

There’s reason for concern and optimism with Saint Joseph’s

by - Published February 16, 2012 in Columns
stjosephs

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Saint Joseph’s appears to be playing more like they did during a lot of non-conference play, which is a positive since they played well often. After Wednesday night’s 80-69 win at Rhode Island, the Hawks have won four out of five after losing four out of five. It’s a stretch that has been driven in part by their best player, and it has head coach Phil Martelli knowing they have work to do but in a better place with this team.

Wednesday’s game had enough concerns, with Martelli starting off the post-game press conference by saying that if they game went 20 more minutes, it would probably be more of the Hawks getting a lead followed by the Rams rallying. The Hawks had an eight-point lead in the first half, only to see the Rams grab a 38-36 lead at the break. They scored 14 unanswered points early in the second half to break a 43-43 tie, and Rhode Island went on a 14-3 run and later got within two. At that point, the Hawks ran off 12 unanswered points to seal the game.

… Continue Reading

Saint Joseph’s shows promise but can be better

by - Published January 1, 2012 in Columns
stjosephs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Saint Joseph’s has largely completed non-conference play, with only a Big 5 game against Penn remaining in less than three weeks. The Hawks are 10-4, with a few good wins, so considering where this team was the past two years it looks good. But in some sense, Saturday’s tough 74-69 loss at Harvard is indicative of the team: good, but still needing a good deal of work.

 

“We’re not good enough. Plain and simple,” said head coach Phil Martelli. “What we did wasn’t good enough. 9-16 from the foul line, two guys in double figures, it’s not good enough. I’ve been honest with this team, we’re inching up on being good, but we’re not there yet, and this is another indication that we’re not there yet.”

… Continue Reading

CBS’ Doyel has the guts to step back from the controversy trap

by - Published December 20, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

Good journalism isn’t easy.

That’s especially true when a juicy story comes along that’s sure to rile up the masses, generating lots of readers and charged opinions. Those stories force editors and reporters to make critical decisions about the validity of sources and effort required to seek comment from an opposing side.

In the emerging brouhaha about the transfer of Todd O’Brien from Saint Joseph’s to UAB, we have an awful lot of information spewing from the O’Brien side and almost nothing from the Hawks’ side.

If you missed the background, Sports Illustrated’s website ran a lengthy column by O’Brien, who outlined his journey through college basketball, which has landed him at UAB as a graduated senior with one remaining year of eligibility. However, before O’Brien can play for the Blazers, Saint Joseph’s must grant him a full release from his scholarship. And supposedly coach Phil Martelli refuses to do so. Without that release, O’Brien won’t play college hoops again.

Frankly, it’s hard to imagine a legitimate reason for not letting a guy play, especially for a team in a different conference and not on the Hawks’ schedule. But that’s not the point.

As the media outcry has sided with O’Brien — who is seeking legal recourse to force his way onto the court — only a handful of commentators have taken a measured approach to this story. So I tip my hat to CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel, a man with plenty of strong opinions, for leaping into the fray waiving a gigantic caution flag.

While everyone is crying foul, Doyel cried, “Wait!” He rightfully observed that Saint Joseph’s is remaining mum because they are respecting student-athletes’ privacy. The bottom line is we don’t know the Saint Joseph’s side of the story, and we might not for some time. So it’s presumptuous at best and flat-out wrong at worst to side with the supposed victim in this story.

Of course, it’s far less engaging to remain on the fence when others are going all in and calling for Martelli’s ouster. That bloodlust is unhealthy and not reflective of this country’s innocent-until-PROVEN-guilty judicial system. If mob rule dictated justice, we’d have a lot of major mistakes to apologize for whenever we learned the truth — if we ever learned the truth.

A good journalist’s duty is to present clear, accurate and precise information. Commentators who espouse opinions based on incomplete information aren’t doing anyone any good. As unsexy as it may be, we all need to follow Doyel’s lead and wait and see. Let the established rules play out in the NCAA, and if the courts get involved, let the state and local laws as interpreted by the courts decide the matter.

But there’s no need to call for Martelli’s head on a platter until there’s substantiated evidence that he acted like a callous, vindictive control freak.

We go coast to coast with news from around the college basketball nation.

Kentucky had no problems getting past Samford, 82-50, even without Terrence Jones, who missed the game to recuperate from a dislocated pinky, writes the Associated Press’ Colin Fly.

California will be without one its big men this week as sophomore Richard Solomon recovers from a left foot injury, writes Diamond Leung for ESPN.com’s “College Basketball Nation” blog. The sophomore forward is one of the team’s best rebounders, averaging 6.9 rpg, and he’ll miss at least the team’s games against UNLV Dec. 23.

Miami will get back DeQuan Jones, who figured to play a bigger role for the Hurricanes this season — if for no other reason than he’s one of the bigger players on the teams. Jones missed the first month and a half of the season because the school suspended him for the season while the NCAA investigated his possible involvement in the recruiting scandal that has rocked the university. However, according to an Associated Press report, the Hurricanes have reversed that decision, and Jones could be back in the lineup as early as this week.

Some tech-savvy pranksters punked Oregon’s website Sunday night and Monday morning, writes the Washington Post’s Steve Yanda, and the hackers posted some disparaging comments about Virginia that were attributed to Oregon coach Dana Altman. The Ducks lost to the Cavaliers 67-54, and the hacker made up comments ranging from Mike Scott’s hair to the Ducks’ pregame meal. Oregon apologized to the Cavaliers for the malfeasance.

New Mexico State is bringing suspended guard Christian Kabongo back into the fold after the sophomore had been suspended for two games for making obscene gestures in a game against UTEP, writes ESPN.com’s Diamond Leung for the “College Basketball Nation” blog.

NCAA Division I programs couldn’t get enough support to overturn a rule that bans universities from hosting high school prep tournaments, according to an Associated Press report.

Houston boosters might have lost as much as 40 percent of their investments in the David Salinas Ponzi scheme affair, according to the Associated Press. Salinas committed suicide last year, a few weeks before the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit that detailed the deceptive investments and behavior that swindled a bunch of Division I programs and coaches.

Another Youth Movement For Saint Joseph’s

by - Published December 29, 2010 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – There’s a full-fledged youth movement at Saint Joseph’s for the second year in a row. If last season is any indication, as well as some of what the Hawks have gone through this season, one could be forgiven if they think it’s been a little taxing on the soul for the coaching staff. But despite the Hawks’ 4-8 record and a recent six-game losing streak that they ended on Tuesday night, that hasn’t quite been the case.

What was difficult for them was going a month without a win, as the Hawks last won on November 26 against Rutgers at the Palestra. At that time, the Hawks were 3-2 and had a three-game winning streak. Then a 12-point loss at Drexel started the six-game slide. While only one loss was at home and all six came against teams with postseason potential, that’s little consolation. … Continue Reading

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Fran Dunphy deals with bubble uncertainty for the first time

March 15, 2015 by

temple

Temple is firmly on the bubble after losing in the American Athletic Conference Tournament to SMU. It’s the first time in head coach Fran Dunphy’s storied career that his team has been in this situation.

It didn’t take Larry Brown long to change SMU

March 15, 2015 by

smu

Larry Brown won’t be the head coach at SMU forever. As such, it’s a good thing he has already turned the program into one that can get better players and possibly win championships.

History shows the challenge ahead of East Carolina

March 14, 2015 by

eastcarolina

East Carolina’s first season in the American Athletic Conference is complete. With that, the challenge they face as shown by their history looks clear, and they may have just the right coach to navigate it.

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College Basketball Tonight

Be sure to listen 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.

The show will air on WNYM AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on Selection Sunday, then from 5-7 p.m. each Sunday up to the Final Four. Check here every Sunday evening starting with Selection Sunday, March 15, for a link to the live stream.

Coming up soon: archives of this year's shows.

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.

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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.