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Vin Parise’s 30-second timeout: Five questions with Glenn Braica

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Vin Parise from CollegeBasketballTalk caught up with St. Francis Brooklyn head coach Glenn Braica. The Terriers are 2-2 with wins against Miami and Florida Atlantic.

CBT: Preseason you were picked 7th out of 10 in the NEC Coaches Poll. How big of a concern was your early non-conference slate?

Braica: I was definitely worried about our schedule early – I still am. 8 out of our first 9 are on the road and we’re obviously playing good competition. At this level, you have to teach through tough losses sometimes and still remain upbeat and positive. I’m happy with the way our kids have fought to be 2-2 overall.

CBT: You received a lot of attention early because you won at Miami 66-62 in OT and then took Syracuse down to the final minute at the Carrier Dome. What’s been going right?

Braica: Miami was without question a huge win for our team and a great night for our school. At Syracuse I actually feel we didn’t really get going until midway through the ballgame. We looked up at one point in the 2nd half and realized we had a shot at winning the game. I liked the way we made C.J. Fair work for everything and how we made some big shots. We have veterans that have been through it, and we have some talented guys who are learning on the fly.

CBT: What are the Terriers going to be known for this season?

Braica: We play extremely hard….really hard….and we really defend. We’re holding teams to 37% from the field – and 18% from 3 pointt land. Those are really good numbers and that’s what we’ll be all about. Our shooting and execution could be better; but we can be really good if your offense catches up to our defense.

CBT: Your thoughts on the Northeast Conference this year?

Braica: You have to show up every single night in this league. You can’t coast yourself to a win. The coaches in our league work extremely hard and they’re hungry which is great. Wagner is terrific, LIU is much better than people realize, Andy Toole is a great coach at Robert Morris and look at the talent at Bryant! I know I’m leaving teams out, but the point is that every league game this season is literally up for grabs.

CBT: You worked for Norm Roberts for six years. How often do you guys stay in touch?

Braica: I talk to Norm multiple times each week and we’ll always be close. He is a terrific coach and great man with integrity. I will never forget how he handled the adversity at St. John’s with such a great demeanor and positive attitude. While recruiting recently, I actually stopped by a Kansas practice and caught up with Norm, Bill Self and the rest of the staff. A lot of what we do here at St. Francis that has been successful, I learned from Norm Roberts.

Vin Parise is the College Basketball Insider for NBC Sports Network and SportsNet New York. He is also a contributor & analyst for ESPN3, MSG Network, Cox Sports New England, Fox Sports 1, The Providence Coaches Show, St. John’s Radio & Iona College Radio. He coached 8 seasons at FDU, Rutgers & Iona. Follow Vin on Twitter: @VinParise

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.