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2014-15 Atlantic 10 Post-Mortem

by - Published July 17, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes

The Atlantic 10 was bound to have a hard time duplicating the success of the 2013-14 season, and that is exactly what happened. That reality is much less an indictment of the conference in 2014-15 than it is a reminder of how historically good the preceding season was. In the end, the results show a mixed bag of promise and concern for the conference heading into next season.

Davidson joined the conference and showed they have much more going for them than being the school that produced NBA MVP Stephen Curry. The Wildcats came seemingly out of nowhere to win the regular season title outright. Besides the fact that they were coming from the Southern Conference, they played a very soft non-conference schedule, so they weren’t exactly projected to make a grand entrance into the conference. But they kept on winning, having gained confidence with their non-conference wins. They were one of three teams to reach the NCAA Tournament, but the conference’s streak of seven straight years with at least one team in the Sweet 16 was snapped.

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Strong second half propels Bonnies

by - Published March 13, 2015 in Columns

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.

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2013-14 Atlantic 10 Post-Mortem

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

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.

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Atlantic 10 Championship numbers and a few thoughts

by - Published March 18, 2014 in Columns

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.

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

by - Published March 15, 2014 in Columns

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

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

by - Published March 15, 2013 in Columns

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.

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Veteran Hawks needed to give more late against Florida State

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

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.

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

by - Published February 16, 2012 in Columns

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.

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Saint Joseph’s shows promise but can be better

by - Published January 1, 2012 in Columns

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.”

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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.

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Your Phil of Hoops

Can this be the Army team that finally wins a Patriot League title?

September 24, 2015 by


Army was on a nice rise with its core up until Patriot League play last season, when they came back to earth. Now with a core of seniors, can this team be the one that finally takes home a Patriot League title?

Romar, Washington may successfully reboot once again

August 27, 2015 by


There has been some notable downward momentum at Washington recently, but there is more hope all the time that it could be reversed, and soon.

What Kentucky gave us will be forgotten, and that’s too bad

April 5, 2015 by


Most people are going to remember Kentucky in 2014-15 more for the one loss than the 38 wins and the journey that came with it. That’s the most unfortunate thing of all.

Hoopville Archives

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.

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed listening 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.

Here are links to the shows:

March 15, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 22, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 29, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

April 5, 2015 - First hour | Second hour | Third hour

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by


The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.

2015 Hoopville Spring Finale Notes

June 30, 2015 by


We look back at more from the 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale, where some of the championship games were worth the price of admission.

A big championship day for a local program at the Hoopville Spring Finale

June 23, 2015 by


The 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of good championship games on Sunday to close it out, and we start our look back with a look at those games.

Player highlights from Mass Elite and Boston Warriors college showcase

June 4, 2015 by


Two big programs, Mass Elite and the Boston Warriors, got together once again on a college showcase for many of their high school players. We look at some who stood out on the evening.

2015 Massachusetts AAU Tournament notes

June 3, 2015 by


Massachusetts held its AAU championship rounds in a few age groups and its entire tournament for the oldest age group this weekend. We take a look at some of Sunday’s action in Foxboro.