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Jeff Goodman on D&C: Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins could be good fit at Boston College

03.20.14 at 11:02 am ET
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ESPN’€™s Jeff Goodman joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to talk about coaching changes at Boston College and March Madness. To hear the full interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Boston College announced Tuesday that it has fired basketball coach Steve Donahue. The Boston Globe has reported that Harvard bench boss Tommy Amaker could take Donahue’€™s spot.

“It’€™s a double,” Goodman said. “You’€™re hitting a double with that one I think. It’€™s safe, and new AD Brade Bates, he hasn’t tipped his hand, so I’€™m not sure how much truth there is to that yet. … I will say, still with all those people that are saying, ‘Well, they should’ve never fired Al Skinner,’ I disagree with that. The program was going down still. They had gone under .500 two of the last three years under Skinner.

“The problem was they hired an Ivy League coach who recruited Ivy League players. And I love Steve Donahue – great guy, high character — but he had two guys in Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson who were ACC-caliber players, and you need to recruit. Amaker has shown he can recruit at Harvard — he’€™s done a very good job. Now honestly, it’€™s probably going to be harder for [Amaker] to recruit at BC than it’€™s been for him at Harvard because you’€™re fighting other academic institutions for players. There’€™s a small pool and you can sell Harvard, you can sell the fact that you played at Duke, you’ve been a coach at Seton Hall and Michigan.”

Goodman thinks that Mike Hopkins, the assistant coach at Syracuse, could fill the role.

“He played for [Jim] Boeheim, he’€™s going to be the next coach at Syracuse whenever [Boeheim] retires, but I think he’€™s a guy who’€™s extremely plugged in to the Northeast, to the prep school scene,” Goodman said. “He can recruit. He’€™s got a lot of support among the people who matter as far as AAU coaches, people that have juice with the players because you have got to keep the best players at home.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more college basketball news, head to collegeblog.weei.com.

On No. 1 seed Wichita State: “I’ve been the one guy who’€™s said I wouldn’t have even given them the No. 1 seed. I know it sounds nuts — they’€™re undefeated, I get it. But they’ve beaten three teams all year and played in the Missouri Valley, which is like me playing [Brian] Scalabrine one-on-one every day. He wins every game, right? He’€™ll beat me 30 straight times, but he beat me. What good is that? Do we know by beating me he is worthy of a No. 1 seed? No, and that’€™s what I feel like with Wichita. They beat a bunch of teams that weren’t even close remotely in the league of some of these other teams.”

On the most overrated and underrated teams in the tournament: “I’€™m not buying Virginia. I’€™m just not as a No. 1 seed. Part of the problem is I saw them earlier in the year, and they lost 48-38 to Wisconsin at home. I can’€™t get that out of my head. I know they’ve played well, I know they deserve being a 1 or 2 seed and Tony Bennett‘€™s a heck of a coach. I’€™m just not buying them. … I love both Michigan State and Louisville. Michigan State, they were banged up. Louisville, just it took a while to get going — you know the first half of the year they had to learn to play without Peyton Siva and Gorqui Dieng defensively. Siva was kind of the guy on the perimeter, the leader, the point guard, and Dieng was the rim protector. They kind of started to figure it out a little bit.”

Read More: Boston College, March Madness, Mike Hopkins, Steve Donahue

BC forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes named Hobey Baker finalists

03.20.14 at 10:30 am ET
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Boston College forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Kevin Hayes are two of the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given to college hockey’s top player.

Gaudreau leads the country in goals (32), points (69), points per game (1.86) and plus/minus (+34). He recently saw his Hockey East record-tying 31-game point streak come to an end. The 5-foot-8 winger is the clear favorite to win the award, which would make him the third Eagle to do so, joining David Emma (1991) and Mike Mottau (2000).

Hayes is second only to Gaudreau in points per game (1.51), racking up 24 goals and 32 assists on the season. Hayes has played on a line with Gaudreau and center Bill Arnold since Dec. 6, and the trio has combined for 45 goals and 64 assists in 23 games together.

Here are the other eight finalists:

-Josh Archibald, F, Nebraska-Omaha
-Greg Carey, F, St. Lawrence
-Nic Dowd, F, St. Cloud State
-Ryan Dzingel, F, Ohio State
-Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Union
-CJ Motte, G, Ferris State
-Joel Rumpel, G, Wisconsin
-Adam Wilcox, G, Minnesota

Boston University begins inquiry into allegations of emotional abuse by women’s basketball coach Kelly Greenberg

03.20.14 at 9:07 am ET
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Boston University announced on Wednesday that it has formed a three-person panel to look into allegations of bullying against women’€™s basketball coach Kelly Greenberg. The decision comes after The Boston Globe reported that eight of Greenberg’€™s former players have now come forward with complaints that the coach mistreated them.

“We take these allegations very seriously, and we will look into them promptly, thoroughly and in an unbiased manner,” said Todd Klipp, the BU senior vice president, senior counsel and Board of Trustees secretary.

Elizabeth Loizeaux, an associate provost for undergraduate affairs, Sara Brown, a clincical associate professor at the university and a director of the school’€™s athletic training program, and Lawrence Elswit, BU’€™s associate general counsel, comprise the three-person panel.

“I have met with them and they have begun their work,” Klipp said. “It is my hope that they will complete their inquiry within the next few weeks.”

In a front-page story, the Globe reported on March 7 that four players left the 2013-14 women’€™s basketball team. All of those players were on athletic scholarships.

Of the four, one said that she sought mental care because of Greenberg’€™s bullying, another stated that she “felt demolished as a person” and a third said she considered suicide. The final player told the Globe that her “spirit was broken.”

Since that first article, two more players have come to the surface with allegations of emotional abuse and mistreatment. Greenberg also came up against similar allegations from two players during the 2007-08 season.

Current and former members of the women’€™s basketball team have shown support for Greenberg in the days following the allegations, as roughly 30 people gathered outside of Agganis Arena on March 8 with signs showing support for the coach. Those affiliated with the program have also created a website filled with stories showing appreciation for Greenberg.

According to the Globe, Greenberg, who just finished her 10th season with the Terriers and signed a contract extension through the 2017 season last fall,  has hired a lawyer to defend her.

Read More: Boston University, Kelly Greenberg,

Boston University bows to Illinois in NIT

03.20.14 at 6:34 am ET
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Boston University had a seven-point lead with under four minutes remaining, but Illinois closed the game on a 12-1 run to grab a 66-62 victory in an NIT opening-round game Wednesday night at Agganis Arena.

Rayvonte Rice scored 28 points for the second-seeded Illini (20-14), and he sparked the game-deciding run. After his steal and a three-point play cut the margin to one, Rice hit two free throws to give his team a 61-60 advantage — its first lead since 7-6. After a BU turnover, Rice hit a layup for a three-point cushion.

D.J. Irving, who led the seventh-seeded Terriers (24-11) with 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-6 3-pointers, hit 1-of-2 from the line to get BU within two, and when Illinois’ Nnanna Egwu missed the front end of a 1-and-1, BU had the ball with with 13 seconds left down by two. However, Dom Morris could not finish a layup under pressure. Egwu then hit two free throws to put the game out of reach.

Maurice Watson Jr. had 12 assists, breaking BU’s single-season record with 246.

Boston College confirms firing of Steve Donahue

03.18.14 at 1:59 pm ET
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Boston College basketball coach Steve Donahue was fired by first-year athletic director Brad Bates, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.

The news was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

A Sports Illustrated report last week indicated that Donahue had been told he would return for a fifth season, but BC refused to confirm that story.

The Eagles were 8-24 this season, 4-14 in the ACC, despite predictions that they would improve on last season’s 16-17 record with a veteran lineup. The season ended Wednesday with an overtime loss to Georgia Tech in the opening round of the ACC tournament.

Donahue had one more year remaining on the five-year contract he signed after being lured from Cornell in 2010.

Read More: Steve Donahue,

BU to host Illinois in NIT

03.17.14 at 8:35 am ET
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Boston University will host Illinois at Agganis Arena in the opening round of the NIT on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The seventh-seeded Terriers (24-10), who lost the Patriot League tournament championship game to American, are one of 13 automatic qualifiers in the 32-team field for winning their conference’s regular-season title.

Illinois (19-14) is a 2 seed after finishing tied for eighth in the Big Ten at 7-11.

If BU advances, it would play the winner of Thursday’s game between Clemson and Georgia State.

One other New England team made the field, as Vermont (22-10) is a 7 seed and will play at second-seeded Georgia (19-13) on Wednesday.

SMU is the tournament’s top overall seed. The other No. 1 seeds are Minnesota, Florida State and St. John’s.

Notre Dame knocks off BC in Hockey East quarterfinals; Lowell, UNH also advance

03.16.14 at 6:56 pm ET
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After running away with the Hockey East regular-season title, Boston College saw its conference tournament run end in the quarterfinals on Sunday, as the Eagles suffered a 4-2 loss to Notre Dame in a decisive Game 3.

This is the first time the Eagles have not made it to TD Garden for the conference semifinals since 2004, and it’s the first time in league history that no Boston team has reached the semis. The Fighting Irish, meanwhile, will head to the Garden in their first season in the league. They will take on UMass-Lowell Friday night.

“It’s certainly a very difficult loss for us based on the winner goes to the Garden to play for the Lamoriello Trophy,” said BC coach Jerry York. “It’s something that’s been one of our major goals. The locker room is just crushed. We’re very, very disappointed in the outcome.”

York and the Eagles still have plenty to play for, though. They will be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, which gets started in two weeks. York was quick to point out that plenty of teams have reached the national championship game after not playing for their conference championship.

Yale won the national title last year after losing in the ECAC semifinals. In the 2012 national title game, BC met a Ferris State team that had lost in the CCHA quarterfinals. And in 2007, the Eagles lost to a Michigan State team that had gotten bounced in the CCHA semis.

“The most major goal we all have is the national championship,” York said. “You don’t necessarily have to win your league title to win a national championship. It probably happens more often the other way. That’s where our mindset is now. … We have two weeks to prepare for a national championship.”

BC opened the scoring 4:43 into the game when Adam Gilmour picked off a pass in the offensive zone and fed Kevin Hayes for an easy finish. Notre Dame tied it seven minutes later when Stephen Johns threw a backhander on goal that sneaked between Thatcher Demko and the post. The play was originally ruled no-goal, but replay showed the puck clearly crossed the line.

The Irish went up 2-1 a little more than four minutes into the second when Bryan Rust collected a loose puck in the slot and fired it past Demko before the freshman goalie could get set. The Eagles answered four minutes later when Patrick Brown bunted in a rebound for a 5-on-3 goal. Read the rest of this entry »

NCAA tournament: UMass seeded 6th in Midwest, Harvard 12th in East

03.16.14 at 6:48 pm ET
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The good news for UMass is the Minutemen received a 6 seed in the NCAA tournament, higher than expected. The bad news? UMass is one win from a date with perennial powerhouse Duke — in the Blue Devils‘ backyard.

UMass was placed in the Midwest Region will open play Friday in Raleigh, N.C., against the winner of a first-round game between Iowa and Tennessee. If the Minutemen advance, they will play the winner of Friday’s game between third-seeded Duke and 14th-seeded Mercer on Sunday.

Undefeated Wichita State is the top seed in the Midwest Region. Michigan is second. Louisville is a 4 seed, despite coach Rick Pitino‘s expectations of a 1 seed.

Harvard, champion of the Ivy League, is seeded 12th in the East Region and will play fifth-seeded Cincinnati on Thursday in Spokane, Wash. If the Crimson advance, they would play the winner of fourth-seeded Michigan State and 13th-seeded Delaware on Saturday.

Two other New England teams landed in the East Region. Providence is seeded 11th and will play sixth-seeded North Carolina on Friday in San Antonio. The survivor meets the Iowa State-N.C. Central winner on Sunday. UConn is seeded seventh and will play 10th-seeded St. Joseph’s on Thursday in Buffalo, with the victor playing the winner of Villanova-Milwaukee.

Virginia, which won the ACC regular-season title and beat Duke in Sunday’s conference championship game, is the top seed in the East Region. Villanova is seeded second, Iowa State third and Michigan State fourth.

Florida is the top seed in the South and the tournament’s top overall seed, while Arizona is the top seed in the West.

Vermont, Northeastern force Game 3s; Providence completes sweep of Maine

03.15.14 at 11:02 pm ET
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LOWELL — Mario Puskarich buried a rebound 5:36 into overtime to give Vermont a 3-2 win over UMass-Lowell and force a Game 3 in their quarterfinal series. The win not only extended the Catamounts’ Hockey East season, but it also kept their NCAA tournament hopes alive, as they likely would have been on the wrong side of the bubble had they lost.

Vermont opened the scoring with 1:07 left in the first when Jonathan Turk threw a pass to the front that deflected off Lowell defenseman Jake Suter‘s skate and into the net. The River Hawks answered midway through the second when Joseph Pendenza scored on a rebound.

Brendan Bradley gave Vermont a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal 5:53 into the third, but Scott Wilson tied it back up on a breakaway goal less than two minutes later. Lowell outshot Vermont 6-3 in overtime, but Brody Hoffman (36 saves) came up with some key stops. Puskarich ended it when he followed up an H.T. Lenz slapper that led to a juicy rebound.

“It’s a good sign for this hockey club to keep coming back. However, that’s not a recipe for success,” said Lowell coach Norm Bazin. “We know we have to work on playing with a lead and not chasing the game.

“I thought tonight we were better than we were last night. We had plenty of chances to score. Hey, it’s hockey. It’s exciting. It’s a game of bounces at times. We’re looking forward to playing a Game 3.”

For Puskarich, the winning goal was a new highlight in a season full of them. The freshman from Florida leads Hockey East rookies — as well as his team — with 19 goals this season, and he is likely the frontrunner for the conference’s Rookie of the Year award.

“I think we saw things early in practices that told us he was very gifted offensively,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said of Puskarich. “We’ve been very impressed with his attention to detail and learning the defensive side of the game to go along with his offense. He’s become a very complete player in a very short period of time.”

- Northeastern also staved off elimination in overtime, beating New Hampshire 5-4 on a Mike Szmatula goal 3:39 into the extra session. UNH led 4-2 late in the second, but Colton Saucerman cut it to 4-3 with 3:31 left in the period, and Kevin Roy tied it a couple minutes later with his second goal of the game. The game remained tied through the third. Grayson Downing had a goal and an assist for UNH.

- Providence became the first team to punch its ticket to TD Garden for next week’s semifinals, as the Friars beat Maine 4-2 to complete the series sweep. Nick Saracino scored twice and Jon Gillies stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced. Maine’s season is over, while Providence is almost certainly heading to NCAAs for the first time since 2001.

- Earlier in the day, Johnny Gaudreau put up four points as Boston College beat Notre Dame 4-2 to force a Game 3.

- As of 11 p.m., here is how Hockey East looks in the Pairwise:

2. BC
7. Lowell
8. Notre Dame
9. Providence
11. Vermont
12. Northeastern
20. UNH
23. Maine

BC is locked into a one-seed. Lowell, Notre Dame and Providence are all virtual locks to make NCAAs. A win over Lowell on Sunday would just about clinch a spot for Vermont, while a loss would put the Catamounts square on the bubble and have them scoreboard watching next weekend.

Northeastern most likely needs to beat UNH on Sunday. If the Huskies lose, they would still have a chance, but it would probably be less than 50 percent. UNH definitely needs to beat Northeastern on Sunday to have a chance, and it would most likely need to win its semifinal game as well. Maine has no chance.

Johnny Gaudreau leads BC past Notre Dame to force decisive Game 3

03.15.14 at 6:43 pm ET
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They say you need your best players to play their best in big games, and Boston College‘s best players certainly did that Saturday afternoon. Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes and Bill Arnold combined for three goals and six assists to lead the Eagles to a 4-2 win over Notre Dame, forcing a decisive Game 3 in the rivals’ Hockey East quarterfinal series.

After turning Game 1 into a 7-2 blowout, the Fighting Irish got off to a fast start Saturday, as Bryan Rust scored just 39 seconds into the game. BC answered midway through the period when Gaudreau set up Patrick Brown, and then took the lead with 2:21 left in the first when Hayes set up Gaudreau for a 5-on-3 goal.

The Eagles held onto the one-goal lead through the second, and then put the game out of reach with goals from Hayes and Gaudreau early in the third. Vince Hinostroza cut the lead to 4-2 with just under four minutes to go, but it was too little too late. Game 3 will be Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. (call on 850 AM).

With his first assist of the game, Gaudreau tied Paul Kariya‘s Hockey East record 31-game point streak. And with four points on the day, he now has 32 goals and 37 assists in 36 games this season. The Flames draft pick should be just about a lock to win the Hobey Baker Award.

Score aside, the most encouraging sign for the Eagles Saturday was that they were effective in transition and were able to sustain offensive pressure — two things that had been areas of concern in their last two games against Notre Dame.

Regardless of what happens Sunday, the Eagles are locked into a one-seed for the NCAA tournament. The Irish aren’t 100-percent locks to make NCAAs if they lose, but they should be pretty safe.

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