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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, February 3, 2015

by - Published February 3, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

The Monday after the Super Bowl was a quiet night for college basketball, which one can only hope gave our nation of expert armchair quarterbacks enough time to get the whining about a play call out of its collective system. (Why can’t we take a little more notice of the story of a humble rookie reserve from a Division II school making the play of his life, one of the greatest defensive plays in Super Bowl history?)

Beyond the NFL Patriots, though, the calm on the hoops front gives us a chance to look at the Patriot League, home to what is top to bottom the most competitive conference race in NCAA Division I, bar none. For those who think the college basketball regular season is meaningless…it’s a weak generalization anyways, but there’s no way it can be applied to this league.
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The Morning Dish – Friday, January 9, 2015

by - Published January 9, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Iowa and LSU continue to be two of the bigger teases in the country.

That much remained certain after last night, when-just when you’re ready to believe in them-both suffered losses that can only be categorized as disappointing. Iowa was outstanding for a half, but lost an 11-point lead and eventually the game going away, Michigan State putting the Hawkeyes well in their mirror for a 75-61 win. LSU, meanwhile, played what should’ve been a manageable road game, but surrendered an eight-point lead in the second half and never could shake Missouri, eventually losing 74-67 in overtime.

First off, before noting the schizophrenic nature of the losing teams, credit goes to the winners. Michigan State winning at Iowa wasn’t much of a surprise-the Spartans are a talented bunch-but rallying after a poor first half with a terrific three-point shooting performance (8 of 9 in second half). Missouri, meanwhile, has been a nuisance for many teams of late and will only become even more of a tough out as the season continues, and that’s a credit to new coach Kim Anderson.
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Scanning the Nation – January 7, 2015

by - Published January 7, 2015 in Columns
glatczak
  • Some college basketball thoughts from the first week of the new year:
    Seton Hall
    ’s resurgence has been one of the best stories of the first half of the season, and its win at Villanova was an example of a team finding a way when best-laid plans fall apart. Whatever game plan coach Kevin Willard came in with fell apart when the Pirates got in heavy foul trouble in the first half, forcing him to go deep into the bench as the Wildcats repeatedly pounded the ball inside. Haralds Karlis, Chier Ajou and Ismael Sanogo played a combined 85 seconds in SHU’s prior game against St. John’s, but all three came in during the first half and helped hold the fort. Karlis hit a three-pointer and the trio combined for four rebounds as the Pirates got to halftime with a 31-27 lead despite having seven players with two fouls each.
    While guard Sterling Gibbs is rightly getting noticed for stepping up his play in the absence of Isaiah Whitehead, freshman Khadeen Carrington also has picked it up several notches in recent weeks. Carrington had 11 against St. John’s and a career-high 17 in the win over Villanova. The 6-foot-3 lefty is fearless and constantly on the attack-a combined 18 free throws in the Pirates’ two wins last week-which makes him a whole lot of fun to watch.

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The Morning Dish – Sunday, November 30, 2014

by - Published November 30, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

As part of this weekend’s big kick off to the Christmas shopping season, yesterday was dubbed Small Business Saturday across the country. The basketball schedule for the day might have qualified under that designation, as few of the biggest names were in action, in part because the big holiday tourneys ended a few days ago. What the day may have lacked in big names, though, it did not lack for stories:

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The Morning Dish – Tuesday, November 18, 2014

by - Published November 18, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

For all the things ESPN has messed up in recent years (and there are a lot of them), its 24-hour college hoops marathon shows where the network continues to shine.

The hoops marathon is pure, old-school ESPN at its best. Games around the clock at funky hours, similar to how the Ohio Valley Conference used to buy time on the network to play games at midnight Eastern time when one Jim Delany was its commissioner. Intriguing matchups featuring good teams regardless of conference affiliation, as opposed to force-feeding us more games involving football conference bottom feeders or powerhouses hosting guarantee games that shouldn’t see the light of day on national TV (see: Elon at Duke, Dec. 15; apologies Phoenix fans).

It’s an event that truly builds up buzz on the campuses where it takes place. When schools like Monmouth, Rider and Florida Gulf Coast get a chance to be the featured game on ESPN, it’s a big deal. Even if it is at 6 a.m. in the morning.

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2013-14 MAAC Post-Mortem

by - Published June 6, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
maac

The MAAC underwent a membership change in 2013-14, and one that appears to be a net positive. What hasn’t changed, and surely won’t anytime soon, is how fiercely competitive the conference is. That was demonstrated right up to the end this past season.

The conference had several teams right there in the race for the top until late in the season. Iona got hot and pulled away, but even so only three games separated first from fourth place and just two separated fifth from eighth. The real question going forward is if anyone can break into that top group, as Iona and Manhattan seem set to rule the conference for a while, with Quinnipiac having a lot of potential based on its first year in the conference. There are some who could join them, but questions abound in all.

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Turnovers hurt Siena right to the end

by - Published March 10, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
siena

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – When Siena looks back on this season, one possible theme could be “if only we took better care of the ball.” Although turnovers were a season-long problem for the Saints, and far from their only one, it was particularly acute on Saturday in their season-ending 74-62 loss to Niagara in the MAAC Tournament.

Siena turned the ball over nearly 15 times a game this season, while forcing less than 11 per game. In Saturday’s loss, they gave it away 20 times to Niagara, a team that thrives on forcing turnovers, with ten each half. Niagara turned them into 32 points, but that was only half the story. The other half is what the lost possessions meant on Siena’s end.

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Siena shows some toughness in advancing to the MAAC quarterfinals

by - Published March 9, 2013 in Columns
siena

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Oftentimes, when a team has the lead for much of the game and loses it without much time left, it’s a big psychological blow. For a team like Siena, where wins have been hard to come by and especially of late, that is the case even more so. That makes Siena’s 70-64 win over Marist in the first round of the MAAC Tournament a positive development, and one they’ll need heading into Saturday’s quarterfinal matchup with regular season champion Niagara.

In a back-and-forth first half, Siena held the lead throughout largely from inside play as O.D. Anosike was determined not to end his career on Friday night and Davis Martens gave them a nice boost off the bench. That opened up the outside game for Rob Poole, and the Saints were shooting 52 percent in the first half to overcome nine turnovers.

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Siena keeps battling but could use a win

by - Published December 10, 2011 in Columns
siena

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Siena could have used a win on Friday night for clear reasons. It’s been a rough go for the Saints thus far, both on and off the court, and while they continue to battle, they’re 3-6 after dropping a tough 82-78 decision to UMass on Friday in the Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase.

 

It was another close loss for the Saints, who have suffered a few of those to this point. In a five-game losing streak they snapped in their prior game, four were by seven points or less. Friday’s loss was by four, and one where they had the lead on several occasions and showed the kind of fight they have shown through a lot of adversity thus far this season.

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Willard Speaks on Siena-Holy Cross Game

by - Published January 7, 2009 in Columns

Holy Cross head coach Ralph Willard was hoping to hear from Siena head coach Fran McCaffery to talk about what happened last week when the two teams met and had an ending that surprised just about everyone there. His preference was, understandably, to keep things in-house on the matter.

Since that has not happened, and McCaffery continued to hammer the Crusaders last week in published reports, Willard reluctantly took things to a public forum on his blog. You can read it in its entirety at the link, but here’s one noteworthy excerpt:

“(Fran McCaffery’s) reaction after the game this year shocked me. I have coached over 500 games at the college level, and many more at the high school level, and have never had a coach not have his student athletes shake the hands of an opponent after a game. I knew he had to play Fairfield in less than 48 hrs and had St Peters and Kansas, right after that, and just assumed he was upset about the two injuries happening in a game he probably thought would be a blowout. I saw the game as hard fought, by both teams. I assume, as my mother said, he has a different perspective. That’s fine, and if he wanted to convey that to me that’s fine also. What is not fine is his pronouncements to the media that he knew the intentions of our players, and the characterization of the way we play as being “dirty”, without ever having the professionalism of discussing it with me. The fact that it went on for three days after the game is incredulous to me. I’m not sure what he was trying to accomplish, other than justifying his actions.”

Other Notes

As the Patriot League heads into league play this weekend, the Rookie of the Year race looks to be R.J. Evans’ to lose. The Holy Cross guard has been named Rookie of the Week five times, including four of the last five weeks, and leads all freshmen in the league in scoring and steals and is second in rebounding. He figures to continue playing a significant role for the Crusaders the rest of the way.

Santa Clara came to New England for two games and came away with two losses. Both games highlighted issues Kerry Keating has seen with his team all season long: turnovers and defense. The Broncos turned the ball over 39 times in the two games, forced just six Harvard turnovers. They were better at New Hampshire defensively, but the Wildcats were 5-9 from behind the arc in the second half to pull out the win. Their 19 turnovers in the game hurt even more.

“If we don’t turn the ball over, we usually win, and if we do turn the ball over, it makes it very difficult,” said Keating. “That’s indicative of a young team, an inexperienced team that we have right now that needs to understand that little bit better.”

The Broncos are inexperienced in the backcourt, and that’s showing up at both ends of the floor. Perry Petty was a non-factor Sunday, while Kevin Foster continued to show some promise offensively but also some defensive struggles.

The Broncos begin West Coast Conference play with a bang: at Saint Mary’s, home against Gonzaga and at San Diego for their first three games.

Hofstra head coach Tom Pecora didn’t seem overly concerned about his team following Monday night’s 73-50 blowout loss at Northeastern. He gave the sense that his team gets it, understanding that there are plenty of games left and this can be seen as just an aberration.

“The good thing about college basketball, it’s not college football,” said Pecora. “If you lose one game, your season’s not over. You’ve just got to get yourselves right at the right time. I’ve been down this road before, we’ll keep grinding it out, and we’ll fix things.

“I have no doubt that they’ll be able to do it.”

The struggles have been largely with the guards, who still comprise most of the team’s scoring. Charles Jenkins hasn’t been making shots of late, which is also the case with Cornelius Vines. Tony Dennison has seen his minutes take a dip in the last two games after starting the first 11. The bright spot Monday night came from a promising place, as senior point guard Greg Johnson – their only true point guard – showed some good signs.

“I think he did a pretty good job of getting us into our offense tonight and making some plays,” said Pecora.

Who would have imagined that Arkansas would be in the position it’s in right now? When Patrick Beverly left after being declared academically ineligible, the Razorbacks certainly didn’t look like an NCAA Tournament team. But after Tuesday night’s win over a solid Texas team, they’re well-positioned to be just that as SEC play beckons.

And how many thought California would sweep the Arizona schools, albeit at home? Getting back Theo Robertson after he missed all of last season has been a big addition, but Jerome Randle’s play suggests he should be in the discussion for the conference Player of the Year honors when we get to late February and March. He flat-out knows how to play, and not only has he jumped up his scoring, assists and shooting percentages, but he’s also cut down on his turnovers.

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NC State is not making it easy on themselves

March 1, 2015 by

ncstate

North Carolina State appears to have put themselves in a good position for the NCAA Tournament, but they aren’t making this easy on themselves.

Saturday Notes – February 28, 2015

March 1, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at a very busy Saturday, one that was full of big games that included some conferences closing out their regular season with plenty of drama.

Saturday Notes – February 21, 2015

February 22, 2015 by

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A busy Saturday saw a lot of results that shook up conference standings, including a three-way tie developing in one of them, and some at-large hopes took a hit as well.

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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.