ATB: Misery in Missouri

February 9, 2009

afterbuzzer1

Some News & Notes.

Your Gigantic Monday.

  • Pittsburgh 70, West Virginia 59. As soon as Pitt beast DeJuan Blair picked up his second foul with fifteen minutes remaining in the first half, we immediately went into “upset” mode at the RTC compound.  In the Panthers’ two previous games where Blair’s effectiveness was limited by the whistles, Pitt lost both games (@ Villanova; @ Louisville).  Granted, both of those losses were road games, so maybe the key to beating Pitt is to get Blair in foul trouble away from the Steel City.  Sam Young (20/7) and Levance Fields (13/7 assts) picked up the slack while Blair was on the pine, and WVU never had enough offensive firepower or rebounding of their own to make a serious push at the Panthers.  What to make of Bob Huggins’ Mountaineer squad?  They’ve lost four of six, and they’ve pretty much beaten everyone and lost to everyone they were supposed to in the conference this year.  The computers love them, but their best win of the year was the destruction of Ohio St. in December; other than that, what?  At Ole Miss?  At Georgetown?  They play teams tough, but to date, they haven’t won many of these games.
  • Missouri 62, Kansas 60. Mizzou rode its rabid home crowd and pressure defense to a 19-6 closeout run capped off by Zaire Taylor’s 10-footer + the roll to knock rival KU from the ranks of the Big 12 unbeatens.  This is a classic example of a game where you can’t believe that the same team you watched for the first 3/4 of the game is the one you’re seeing down the stretch.  Kansas looked poised and in control throughout, whereas Missouri was the team that consistently had trouble putting two good plays together (case in point – watch the end of the first half).  But the bottom line was that Kansas went cold at the wrong time and that, combined with the TOs Mizzou was forcing all game long, led to the devastating run at the end of the game that gave Missouri the program-inspiring win.  The kind of win that can turn a so-so season into a superb one.  DeMarre Carroll led Mizzou with 22/7, but Bill Self’s club should really be kicking themselves after letting this one get away.  The Jayhawks looked like the better team.  Nevertheless, Missouri got the huge win in tonight’s Border War (RTC – justified or not?), and Zaire Taylor “can’t hear nothin’ you’re sayin,” Holly Rowe.  Looked like fun.

On Tap Tuesday (all times EST).

  • Florida St. v. Virginia (ESPN FC) – 7pm.  FSU has gotten itself into a good spot (5-3) in the ACC race, but they can’t afford a letdown at home.
  • Providence @ S. Florida (ESPN360) – 7pm.   PC can’t allow another Marquette-style upset to happen here.
  • Michigan v. Michigan St. (ESPN) – 7pm.  This is a dangerous game for MSU and a necessary one for the Maize and Blue.  UM has won the last two in AA.
  • Marquette @ Villanova (ESPN2) – 7:30pm.  It’s Jerel McNeal vs. Dante Cunningham in the race between hottest players in the Big East.  Nova has won 25 in a row at home.
  • Texas v. Oklahoma St. (ESPN360) – 8pm.  UT cannot drop this one at home if the Horns expect to be playing in March Madness.
  • Florida @ Kentucky (ESPN2) – 9pm. This game used to be a battle for a #1 seed; now it’s a battle to stay off the bubble.
  • Clemson @ Boston College (ESPN FC) – 9pm. This is a key game for positioning in the top-middle of the ACC.  RTC Live will be there.

Checking in on the… Big 12

February 9, 2009

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 and Missouri Valley Conferences.

Current Records and my standings (Conference Standings) (Last Week)

  1. Oklahoma (23-1)(9-0) (1)
  2. Kansas (19-4)(8-0) (2)
  3. Missouri (20-4) (7-2) (3)
  4. Nebraska (15-7) (5-4) (7)
  5. Kansas St. (16-7) (5-4)(8)
  6. Texas (15-7) (4-4) (4)
  7. Texas A&M (17-7) (3-6) (5)
  8. Baylor (15-8) (3-6) (6)
  9. Oklahoma St. (14-8) (3-5) (9)
  10. Texas Tech (12-11) (2-6)(11)
  11. Iowa St. (12-11) (1-7) (10)
  12. Colorado (8-12) (1-7) (12)

Read the rest of this entry »


Behind the Lines – Week 8

February 9, 2009

btl-header

Obsessed With Sports will be providing coverage to RTC throughout the season.

Monday, February 9th

West Virginia at Pittsburgh(5)

Behind The Line: Pitt is 14-0 at home so far this season and have covered in their building against ‘Cuse and Notre Dame recently.

Kansas(24) at Missouri

Behind The Line: Kansas has covered 7 of their last 8 while Missouri has covered 3 straight and is also an impressive 14-0 at home.

Tuesday, February 10th

Marquette(8) at Villanova(16)

Behind The Line: Nova has covered in 7 straight games.

Oklahoma St. at Texas(17)


Behind The Line:
Both teams have only had the fortune to cover in 1 of their last 5 contests.

Wednesday, February 11th

Syracuse(20) at Connecticut(1)

Behind The Line: Against the spread ‘Cuse is 1-4 in their last five while on the other hand Uconn is 4-1.

Xavier(9) at Dayton

Behind The Line: After covering in 7 straight games earlier this season, in their last 3 games, Xavier has failed to do so.

North Carolina(4) at Duke(3)

Behind The Line:
Duke is undefeated in Cameron indoor this year but have failed to cover in 3 of their last 4.

Thursday, February 12th

Louisville(7) at Notre Dame

Behind The Line: Louisville has only played 4 road games this entire season but are 4-0 in those contests.

UCLA(12) at Arizona St.(23)

Behind The Line:
The Bruins have covered in 4 Pac-10 games in a row.


Weekly Bracketology – 02.09.09

February 8, 2009

A few notes:

  • As you’ll notice, I included a comment about each and every team in the bracket. I’ll be doing this in each of my final four brackets (2/16, 2/23, 3/2 and 3/7) as we head towards Selection Sunday.
  • Expect a Bubble Watch post from me on Thursday updating the current bubble picture, a feature that will run very similar to ESPN’s weekly bubble watch.
  • As always, any questions/comments/complaints about this week’s bracket, feel free to comment.

Automatic Bids: Boston University, Xavier, North Carolina, East Tennessee State, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Weber State, VMI, Michigan State, Long Beach State, Northeastern, Memphis, Butler, Princeton, Siena, Buffalo, Morgan State, Northern Iowa, San Diego State, Robert Morris, Morehead State, UCLA, Holy Cross, LSU, Davidson, Sam Houston State, Alabama State, North Dakota State, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Utah State

Last Four In: Arizona, Miami, Nebraska, Michigan
Last Four Out: Wisconsin, BYU, UNLV, Kansas State
Next Four Out: Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Providence, Penn State
Also Considered: Georgetown, Texas A&M, Baylor, Creighton, Maryland, Saint Mary’s, Northwestern, Tulsa

020809-bracketology

1 Seeds

  • Connecticut- The #1 overall seed and #1 team in the polls, Connecticut boasts 6 wins against the top 50 and still has two contests against Pittsburgh remaining on the schedule.
  • Oklahoma– The Sooners have the most wins vs. the top 100 (15) of any team, but only 1 of those victories has come vs. the top 25. They’re the #2 overall seed.
  • North Carolina– The projected ACC champion has continued to win while Duke and Wake Forest slipped up multiple times. The showdown with Duke on Wednesday is for a #1 seed.
  • Pittsburgh– Despite two conference losses, Pitt garners the final #1 seed due to their #2 RPI, 4 wins vs. the top 25 and a much stronger non-conference resume than Louisville.

2 Seeds

  • Duke– Despite the throttling by Clemson, Duke still owns the top overall RPI and have 7 wins against the RPI top 50. They can reclaim the ACC automatic bid this week.
  • Louisville– A sexy 9-1 Big East record and 4 wins vs. the RPI top 25 keep Louisville a comfortable 2. They should watch out for pesky Notre Dame this week.
  • Michigan State– The projected Big Ten champion has stayed the same all season- Michigan State. A 7 RPI, 6 SOS and comfortable lead over Ohio State and Illinois means they should stay there.
  • Marquette– The final #2 seed goes to the fourth Big East team in the field already- Marquette. They slipped in Tampa but still 9-1 and 20 wins overall is enough to grab the honor.

Read the rest of this entry »


ATB: What We Learned

February 8, 2009

afterbuzzerWeekend Wrap.  We did a pretty good job of keeping up with most of this weekend’s key games in semi-real time in our Boom Goes the Dynamite series (Saturday and Sunday), so with this weekend’s ATB we decided to test our viewing comprehension and determine what we learned over two days of high-level hoops.

  • The Mess in the Middle of the ACC. The Noles’ comeback win at Clemson put them at 5-3 in the conference, tied with Wake, Clemson and Virginia Tech at the halfway point.  Throw in Miami (4-6), who lost a heartbreaker at Duke but proved itself as more than capable in its previous outing against Wake last week, and you’ve got five ACC teams (Maryland too) fighting for anywhere from 2-4 more bids to the NCAA Tournament.  All but Maryland already have a marquee win and everyone but the Terps also have a top 50 RPI rating.  BC, with only two road games remaining, and Miami, with only one game left against the top four of UNC, Duke, Wake, and Clemson, appear most well positioned to take advantage down the stretch.
  • Marquette is a good, not great, team. The Golden Eagles benefited from a fortuitous Big East slate of opponents that averages #85 in KenPom’s ratings to date, with their best wins coming against Villanova and WVU at home.   Regardless of South Florida’s upset win on Friday night, their fortunes were poised to change, as six of their final eight games are against the KenPom top 35, four of which are on the road.  We love how Jerel McNeal is playing, and Buzz Williams should be commended for their 20-3 (9-1) record, but we’re afraid that their marginally effective defense will catch up with them in the last few weeks of the season.
  • Short of a miracle run, Georgetown and Notre Dame are officially DOA. ND’s best win all season is a one-point win over Texas in Maui, and it’s second-best win?  Probably fellow Big East swooner Georgetown.  The Irish have dropped seven Big East games in a row in all shapes and sizes, its RPI is at 81, and they just got humiliated on national tv by UCLA (including a putrid 5/1 effort from their usually consistent dub-dub machine, Luke Harangody).  So what’s wrong?  Put simply, they don’t play defense: the Irish are currently ranked #276 in the nation.  At 3-7 in the Big East, ND has eight more games to turn this wreck around, and they probably need to win a minimum of six of those to just get back on the bubble.  Highly unlikely.  In our mind, the Georgetown collapse is even more confounding because of the pieces they have on that team with Wright, Summers and Monroe.  Still, the Hoyas have dropped six of seven after their OT loss vs. Cincy on Saturday, and sit barely above ND in the conference standings (4-7).  There are seven games remaining on their schedule, and JT3’s team must win all three against the bottom-dwellers and split the remainder to get to 9-9.  With a strongish RPI (36), Georgetown is in better shape than its Catholic friends to the west, but the Hoyas simply cannot afford another slip-up (and in fact, they need a couple of upsets down the stretch to feel safe).
  • UCLA is showing signs of making another run. Behind Alfred Aboya’s rise (15/8 over his last four games), the Bruins suddenly have the look of a team where things are starting to click for Ben Howland.  The upcoming road trip to the Arizona schools may tell the tale, but UCLA’s last four opponents were beaten down with highly efficient offense.  You can always count on UCLA to defend, so what might stand in the way of a fourth straight trip to the Final Four for UCLA?  Probably only the lack of a go-to scorer who they can count on for instant points.  Regardless, those who wrote off UCLA around midseason will likely regret that decision.
  • Memphis shouldn’t be forgotten.  It was easy to write off John Calipari’s Tigers after losing all the players they lost from last year’s national runner-up team, but much like Bill Self’s Kansas team, there were plenty of pieces on that bench to make another run.  We don’t expect this version of Memphis to make it back to the F4, but they could definitely play into the regional round.  Their dismantling of Gonzaga in Spokane Saturday night was nothing short of masterful.  Gonzaga hadn’t seen defense like that all year long (incl. Connecticut), and they’re getting just enough offense from the troika of Tyreke Evans, Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier to keep teams honest.  Watch out for this Memphis team next month.

Some News & Notes.

On Tap Monday (all times EST). Just a couple of Big Monday game border wars.

  • West Virginia @ Pittsburgh (ESPN) – 7pm.  In the last matchup, a 12-pt win by Pitt on 1/25, the Panthers hit 55% behind Sam Young’s 22 and Dejuan Blair’s 16/11.  As long as DB is on the floor, the Panthers should be ok in this one.
  • Kansas @ Missouri (ESPN) – 9pm.  KU brings its 8-0 Big 12 record to Columbia, where Mizzou if 14-0 and it’s clear that Mike Anderson has finally turned the corner with his style of play there.  While we know that Kansas isn’t anywhere near as good as last year’s team, they’re playing very well and Mizzou will have to bring its best tomorrow night to get this win.

Shameless Plug.

  • Keep an eye out for RTC Live returning on Tuesday night of this week, as Clemson visits Boston College at 9pm EST.  Rush the Court will be courtside live-blogging the game, and you will have a chance to submit questions so that we can ask coaches and players whatever you like.  Yes, you will even be able to ask Oliver Purnell to explain his reaction to this atrocity.

Boom Goes the Dynamite: 02.07.09 Edition

February 7, 2009

dynamite1We’re back with another thrilling edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite where we try to cover every single game on TV. Since we have only two people working on BGTD, we appreciate any reader tips on what games everyone should be watching since there are so many on TV and the Internet. For a rundown of the games today, check out today’s Set Your Tivos.

11:40 AM: ESPN GameDay is live from Spokane site of the Memphis-Gonzaga game tongiht at 9 PM. The crowd is fairly small, but I’ll give the Bulldog fans a break since it started at 8 AM local time on a Saturday morning at a school with just 4,515 undergraduates. I’m still waiting for a basketball GameDay to match a college football GameDay in terms of attendance and crazy fans. Looking at the schedule, I’m going to have go with February 21st when Oklahoma plays Texas in Austin, TX as the ESPN GameDay where the fans actually show up.

Noon: Some great work by the ESPN camera crew making Philadelphia look like something other a dump. The Syracuse-Villanova game should be one of the better ones today with both teams being in the 2nd tier in the Big East after UConn, Pittsburgh, and Louisville. The jury is still out on Marquette after last night’s debacle. Like we said watch the Jonny Flynn versus Scottie Reynolds match-up. The Arinze Onuaku injury could be big particularly with Dante Cunningham on the inside.

12:40 PM: Sorry for the delay in posting, but we’re having some problems with WordPress. Anyways, Villanova is absolutely destroying Syracuse right now. A basket by Cunningham stretches the lead to 21 at 36-15. It might be a while before we have another update on this game unless the Orange make a run. If the game continues like this, Jim Boeheim‘s squad will fall out of the top 25 leaving just 5 Big East teams in the rankings.

1:00 PM: The ESPN announcers just said that Donovan McNabb played some basketball when he was at Syracuse. Either he had some ridiculous intramural basketball career that I’m not aware of or they just assume that every mobile black QB was a two-sports star. I’m guessing it is the latter.

Read the rest of this entry »


Checking in on the… Big 12

February 2, 2009

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 and Missouri Valley Conferences.

Current Records and my standings (Conference Standings) (Last Week)

  1. Oklahoma (21-1)(7-0) (1)
  2. Kansas (17-4)(6-0) (3)
  3. Missouri (18-4) (5-2) (4)
  4. Texas (15-5) (4-2) (2)
  5. Texas A&M (17-5) (3-4) (7)
  6. Baylor (15-6) (3-4) (5)
  7. Nebraska (13-7) (3-4) (9)
  8. Kansas St. (14-7) (3-4)(11)
  9. Oklahoma St. (13-7) (2-4) (6)
  10. Iowa St. (12-9) (1-5) (10)
  11. Texas Tech (11-10) (1-5)(8)
  12. Colorado (8-10) (1-5) (12)

Read the rest of this entry »


Weekly Bracketology – 02.02.09

February 1, 2009

A few notes for this week’s edition:

Louisville is a 1-seed because they’re the projected Big East champions. This could change in less than 24 hours should they fall to Connecticut at home, a very plausible scenario. Both Louisville and Marquette are undefeated in the conference, but I gave the edge to the Cardinals because I feel they’re the slightly better team. It’s my bracket and I’ll do what I want.

– As much as some will be screaming for Wake to garner the final #1 seed over Duke because of the win on Wednesday, the RPI advantage (Duke: 1, Wake: 13) and 1.5 game advantage in the ACC standings stand taller. Wake and North Carolina grab 2 seeds.

– One thing I anticipated that came to fruition when doing this bracket is the amount of muddled mediocre teams in the 4 seed to 7 seed range of the bracket. It seems as if just a couple outcomes could change vault a team like Kansas from a 4 to a 7/8 or California the other direction. Kansas and Villanova made huge progress this week in the seeding because so many teams in that very range faltered.

– The two conferences that seem to always shift projected winners from week to week are the SEC and Pac-10. It was difficult to deny South Carolina the SEC automatic bid and subsequent leap to a 7-seed after they beat Kentucky in Rupp (5 seed slide for the Wildcats this week). In the Pac-10, UCLA had an impressive couple of games while Arizona State collapsed, California slid and Washington lost to Arizona. The Bruins re-claim the Pac-10 auto bid and a 3-seed, jumping 3 seeds from a week ago.

Penn State makes their first appearance in the field as a 10-seed. Their 71 RPI and 128 SOS stand out as lacking, but a 6-3 Big Ten record and win at Michigan State and home vs. climbing Purdue help greatly.

– The highest rated RPI team to miss the field? You probably guessed correctly with Georgetown at 17. Oklahoma State missed with a 27 RPI and the highest team to not even be remotely considered was UAB at 44. Disappointing season for Mike Davis.

Michigan and Wisconsin finally fell out of the bracket. Both still have a chance to make a run, though. Michigan has the wins over Duke and UCLA to boast, while Wisconsin has the #37 RPI and #3 SOS. The Badgers have a crucial week ahead.

Notre Dame has a long way to go to get back into the bracket. 12-8 (3-6) with a  77 RPI and just 2 wins over the RPI top 100 is a very porous resume at this point. They look like an NIT team.

Tennessee desperately needed that win over Florida at home and pulled it out. A 19 RPI and 2 SOS with a victory over Marquette will help them. Improved guard play and defensive effort and they’re not out of the picture for the SEC championship.

– Just when you think Arizona is dead, they sweep the Washington schools at home and are lurking.

Saint Mary’s still remained solidly in the field after their loss to Gonzaga, but fell out following the blowout loss to Portland on Saturday. They have the 179 SOS and zero wins vs.. the top 50. With Patrick Mills out for 4 weeks, they may miss the madness.

– As always, the results/predictions for winners of each game are just for fun.

Last Four In: Providence, San Diego State, Utah, Virginia Tech
Last Four Out: Georgetown, Saint Mary’s, Northwestern, Miami (FL)
Next Four Out: Oklahoma State, Michigan, BYU, Arizona

bracketology-020209

Read the rest of this entry »


Checking in on the… Big 12

January 26, 2009

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 and Missouri Valley Conferences.

Current Records and my standings (Conference Standings) (Last Week)

  1. Oklahoma (19-1)(5-0) (1)
  2. Texas (14-4) (3-1) (2)
  3. Kansas (15-4)(4-0) (4)
  4. Missouri (17-3) (4-1) (6) 
  5. Baylor (15-4) (3-2) (3)
  6. Oklahoma St. (13-5) (2-2) (8)
  7. Texas A&M (15-5) (1-4) (5)
  8. Texas Tech (11-8) (1-3)(11)
  9. Nebraska (12-6) (2-3) (7)
  10. Iowa St. (12-7) (1-3) (9)
  11. Kansas St. (12-7) (1-4)(10)
  12. Colorado (8-10) (0-4) (12)

As expected, the top of the Big 12 was going to be dominant in conference play this season with a Missouri team really starting to look good.  Baylor and Texas A&M have struggled as of late and they need to get things turned around quickly. 

GAME OF THE WEEK

Oklahoma 72, Nebraska 61—This game had all the drama and the wakeup call needed for Oklahoma.  Nebraska came out with a stifling defense to start the game and double and triple-teamed Blake Griffin and basically took him out of the game.  The Huskers were up 6 at halftime and in the 2nd half, they were not able to play Griffin as well as they did in the first half.  Griffin went 7-8 in the 2nd half from the field and Nebraska was not able to score for  about 5 minutes down the stretch.  By the time they were able to start scoring again, it was too late. 

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Blake Griffin, Oklahoma—Though I considered DeMarre Carroll (Missouri), Sherron Collins (Kansas) and Craig Brackens (Iowa St.), I have to go with Griffin as he continues to dominate the games he is in and averaged 23 points and almost 18 rebounds a game this week.    He didn’t even play that much the 2nd half against Baylor.  He is well on his way to Player of the Year.

Read the rest of this entry »


Boom Goes the Dynamite: 01.24.09

January 24, 2009

dynamite1After my trip to Chapel Hill last weekend where rtmsf handled all of the duties for Boom Goes the Dynamite while I mingled with ESPN personalities and college basketball stars, I will be in charge of today’s edition while rtmsf does relationship stuff with his significant other. Pretty weak if you ask me. . .

11:00 AM: Although we are a men’s college basketball site, we feel that it’s appropriate to mention the passing of Kay Yow, the former NC State coach, to breast cancer (or more precisely complications related to breast cancer). We can’t really do justice to her impact on the women’s game so it’s probably better just to refer you to a chronology of her life.

11:10 AM: The Notre Dame GameDay crowd looks a lot larger than what I saw last weekend at UNC. I am not sure if it is just a bunch of camera tricks by the GameDay crew, but they definitely have more signs. It may be that UConn is much, much better than Miami was last week or that the UNC crowd may be a bit jaded, but the Chapel Hill crowd was not as into the GameDay experience as I expected them to be.

11:45 AM: Digger Phelps has been doing a good job of working the crowd, which he also did last week at Chapel Hill (even off camera), taking the homer pick of Luke Harangody as his choice of tough player after the other analysts picked Blake Griffin, Tyler Hansbrough, and Stephen Curry to boos. As expected the crowd went wild with Digger’s pick. A little later in the show, the crowd gave the stereotypical college crowd response to a Duke segment by chanting “overrated”. Not surprisingly, the analysts all defend Duke. Appropriately enough, Bobby Knight calls out the Notre Dame students by questioning their education. It looks like he is getting more comfortable with his role on ESPN.

11:50 AM: Another awful half-court shot. Where does ESPN find these guys? He deserved to be embarrassed like that on national TV for popping his collar. Someone should tell him that hasn’t been cool since. . .actually it has never been cool. Congrats on the airball.

Noon: Wow. All of the GameDay guys except Knight picked LSU to beat #13 Xavier. I guess it’s in Baton Rouge, but Xavier is definitely the better team. Least surprising pick of the day: Digger picks Notre Dame. Knight abstains from picking a team.

12:15 PM: Duke is off to a good start against Maryland after Jon Scheyer opens the game with two 3s. What’s going on with Brian Zoubek? He actually looks like a legitimate center today. I have seen him play several times this year and he certainly has improved from last year, but he has never played like this. If he can do this even for spurts this year, Duke might have a legitimate chance to win the title this year instead of their usual great regular season and flop in March.

12:20 PM: Villanova is tied at 10 with USF 6 minutes into the game. Dante Cunningham has 8 of Villanova’s 10 points. I don’t have much else to say about this game since I don’t have ESPN360 available since I am out of town. If anybody has this game on TV, let me know if anything interesting happens.

1:00 PM: Duke goes into halftime with a 25-point lead despite having one of the ugliest possessions I have ever seen to end the half. Do you remember when the Duke-Maryland games used to be the best games of the season? I still remember trying to figure out where I could go to watch the game on TV my freshman year of college. (My school didn’t believe in providing cable to dorm rooms.) Meanwhile in Tampa, Villanova is struggling against USF (tied at 32 at halftime).

Read the rest of this entry »


01.21.09 Fast Breaks

January 21, 2009

We have a pretty nice set of links for you today.

  • Thayer Evans and Pete Thamel of the New York Times with a great piece about the influence of Skip Prosser on the current Wake Forest team. Many people don’t realize that Prosser was actually the architect of this team as he recruited all of the current players. However, a great deal of credit has to go to Dino Gaudio for keeping the team together after Prosser’s death in 2007. I’m guessing this will become a bigger story if Wake Forest can stay near the top of the polls late into the season.
  • We have touched on the APR issue before, but now it looks like the NCAA is looking at extending APR ratings to include coaches. I am not sure if this is necessary since coaches rarely switch schools over short periods of time and I have a feeling the methodology will be questioned on how a student-athlete’s academic performance at a school will affect a coach’s APR after the coach has left that school.
  • Arkansas freshman forward Brandon Moore has been suspended indefinitely on DUI charges. I’m not naive enough to believe that underage college students won’t drink, but getting a DUI while being underage. . .
  • Another story out of the SEC as Alabama’s Ronald Steele has decided to forgo the remainder of his senior season citing ongoing injury issues. It is a sad end to what was a promising career. I still remember some of the hype coming out of the South about this explosive guard. We wish Ronald the best and hope he at least got a good education at Alabama.
  • Pete Thamel with an interesting piece on Arinze Onuaku, who will likely be the key to Syracuse’s chances of making a run deep into the tournament in March.
  • An interesting account of Bill Self‘s recent interaction with John Wall, the #1 recruit in the nation. I’m amazed that Self could be this reckless, but to be honest this seems like a rather minor infraction compared to other stuff that goes on.
  • Seth Davis with his take on NCAA’s policy regarding the length of time a player has to enter the NBA Draft and come back to college.
  • A depressing article about former West Virginia star Kevin Pittsnoggle. I’m sure there are several NBA teams who could use a big man who can shoot.
  • Vegas Watch with a mid-season look at the best odds for his top 10 title contenders and the odds he would take them at. Although it is not as exact (calculating the likelihood they would win each round based on their expected seed) as some of his other work, it is still an interesting read.

ATB: Pitt Reasserts Itself and a Look Back to Saturday

January 19, 2009

afterbuzzerBig Monday. After a weekend (well, Saturday) of good games, it was probably to be expected that tonight’s games were a couple of dogs.  Does anyone know what happened to the late game that used to be on Big Mondays?  A long time ago it was a Big West game, but in recent years it was the WCC (mostly Gonzaga).  Why did that go away?

  • Pittsburgh 78, Syracuse 60. This game nearly put us and everyone in the arena to sleep – it was vaguely reminiscent of the bad Big East of the 90s.  We guess this sometimes happens, especially considering both of these teams had intense games on Saturday (Pitt losing its #1 ranking to Louisville; Syracuse outshooting ND).  This was a bruiser of a game, and the Syracuse players made sure to spend a good chunk of each possession complaining to the refs.  DeJuan Blair had another dub-dub (20/12) with four offensive rebounds, and Sam Young dropped 19 of his 22 in the 2d half as Pitt pulled away.  Want further proof that this was an ugly game?  Syracuse’s Arinze Onuaku and Pitt’s Levance Fields combined to go 0-9 from the line tonight.
  • Kansas 73, Texas A&M 53. This game was over early and often.  Perhaps we were a little presumptuous in our talk last week about keeping an eye on Texas A&M.  In their last two games, the Aggies have looked spotty and inconsistent.  Granted they were playing Oklahoma and Kansas, but they’re definitely not in the top tier of the Big 12 this year – tonight, not a single Aggie player reached double figures.  KU ran out to a 16-4 lead behind Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, and never looked back.  Kansas isn’t being discussed very much this year, but Bill Self’s Jayhawks are still playing their trademark defense as they wait on their many freshmen and sophomores to come along.  They have a very good shot at starting the Big 12 slate at 12-0 (avoiding OU and Texas until their last four games), and they could become a trendy pick to make a sleeper run in March as the young players continue to improve.  Great sign, btw….

barack-chalk-jayhawk

Game of the Night. Boston U. 99, Stony Brook 97 (4OT). In a wild America East game tonight, BU and Stony Brook played an extra half of basketball before BU was finally able to get the win behind Corey Lowe’s seven points in the fourth overtime period.  John Holland of BU wins the Ironman award by playing all sixty minutes of the game.

bu-sb

Weekend Review. Here are some of our other thoughts from the weekend games.

  • No Way, Coach K. Coach K made some noise over the weekend in reference to how he believes the ACC is the toughest conference in America (over the Big East).  If you’re talking about the top three teams in each conference, sure, the ACC is probably slightly better.  Top four?  Nope.  Five?  Nope.  Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve?  Nope.  Of course, where the Big East falters is at its much-maligned bottom (which is why the Big East’s computer rankings aren’t as high as you might think).  Its bottom four teams are absolute garbage, but the bottom line for us is that there are nine teams that are Sweet 16-quality in the Big East, whereas there are four (maybe five) in the ACC.  The Big East is better.  Period.
  • Louisville is Either Really Good or Really Lucky. For the fifth time in the last six games, Louisville was in an all-out war until the very end of a game.  In all but the UNLV game, the Cards managed to hold on and get the win.  Is this a sign of a gritty team that knows how to make winning plays down the stretch; or is it more indicative of a team that plays hard but isn’t good enough to run away from all but the worst teams?  We’re not sure yet, but with upcoming road games at Rutgers and Syracuse this week, we think we’ll have a better idea as to if they’re truly legit or not.
  • We Can’t Wait Until Jan. 28. Wake and Duke are the two teams playing the best basketball in America right now.  Duke is working on all cylinders right now, with their extremely efficient defense conspiring with their multifaceted offensive attack to regularly put down opponents.  Case in point: Georgetown shot 51% in CIS on Saturday, and still never really had a chance to win that game.  We’re still not sure just how well a team of guards and swingmen will translate in March, but for now, it’s working.  Wake’s defense is even stronger than Duke’s, and when you watch their games, there are at least 2-3 times a game where your jaw hits the floor based on their athleticism and size.  The game next Wednesday will probably be #1 vs. #2, and we can’t wait for it.
  • Carolina Got its Mojo Back. If Carolina goes on a run over the next few weeks (and their schedule is favorable for the Heels to do so), everyone will point to the late first half/early second half run that Carolina made (behind Wayne Ellington’s ridiculous eight threes) as the turning point.  Ellington has been maddeningly inconsistent this season, but if the Heels have any plans to play in Detroit this April, he’s going to have to continue with the hot shooting to keep the middle open for Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson.   When he’s shooting well, Carolina is a much different team, one that few, if any, defenses in America can cover.
  • Mike Montgomery Still Welcome at Stanford (so long as he loses). Cal certainly isn’t as good as its record indicated, but the fast start that the Bears had made under Monty was a nice story through the first half of the season, which is why it was compelling when he returned to Maples Pavilion at Stanford as head man at the Cardinals’ archrival.  Stanford seemed to play a little harder, wanted it a little more, and was able to get the win, knocking Cal from the ranks of the Pac-10 unbeatens.  It’s notable that Stanford fans gave Montgomery a nice reception upon his introduction – that wouldn’t happen in the Big 10 or SEC.  No way, no how.

Checking in on the… Big 12

January 19, 2009

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley and Big 12 Conferences.

Current Records and my standings (Conference Standings) (Last Week)

  1. Oklahoma (17-1)(3-0) (2)
  2. Texas (13-4) (2-1) (3)
  3. Baylor (14-3) (2-1) (1)
  4. Kansas (13-4)(2-0) (5)
  5. Texas A&M (15-3) (1-2) (4)
  6. Missouri (15-3) (2-1) (8)
  7. Nebraska (12-4) (2-1) (7)
  8. Oklahoma State (12-4) (1-1) (6)
  9. Iowa State (12-6) (1-2) (11)
  10. Kansas State (11-6) (0-3)(9)
  11. Texas Tech (10-8) (0-3)(10)
  12. Colorado (8-8) (0-2) (12)

GAME OF THE WEEK
Baylor 98, Oklahoma State 92 (OT): Baylor was down by as many as 17 points in the 1st half, but made a run and was quite the deal to get the game into overtime, but Tweety Carter came up huge for Baylor hitting two three-pointers at the start of overtime. Then he finished off the Cowboys with a third basket and a key steal to seal the game for the Bears.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sherron Collins, Kansas: Collins was the leader that the Jayhawks expected to have as he helped lead Kansas to wins in their first two conference games this week averaging 21 points (12/12 FT) and 5.5 assists per game. His leadership will determine the wins for Kansas in the conference season and how successful they want to be.

Read the rest of this entry »


ATB: Orange Crushed

January 14, 2009

afterbuzzer

Some mid-week news and notes

  • One of the nation’s top prospects, 6’9 Derrick Favors, decided on his hometown school Georgia Tech today.  He’ll join a long line of 1-and-dones at Ga Tech under Paul Hewitt.  Speaking of recruits, Gary Parrish spoke with Sonny Vaccaro about the Brandon Jennings Experiment, and it appears more players are interested in testing the waters in Europe next season.  What’s left unsaid in this article is how BJ’s year in Europe (where he’s not playing all that well) will impact his draft status.
  • Kansas guard Mario Little will play out the remainder of the season rather than apply for a medical hardship due to his stress fracture (leg) and hand injuries.
  • The MVC and Mountain West will start an ACC/Big 10-style Challenge next season.   Great idea.  Kyle Whelliston should be happy about this.
  • Vegas Watch breaks down his Futures Watch with eight teams in Part 1 and another seven in Part 2.
  • Seth Davis breaks down the non-conference strength of schedule RPIs to see who is in good shape and who is in trouble come Selection Sunday.

Tonight’s Big East Blockbuster (there’s seemingly one every night)Georgetown 88, Syracuse 74. Looks like nvr1983 may have been onto something earlier today in his SYT piece previewing this game when he ripped Syracuse’s schedule thus far.  The bottom line about this game is this.  When Georgetown shoots the ball from deep as well as they were today (12-21 from three), the Hoyas are nearly impossible to beat due to their system.  The discipline they show on the offensive end limits their turnovers and their players are drilled to always move the ball to find the open man.  The reason Georgetown isn’t the top national title contender, though, is because they don’t usually shoot it that well.  They’re currently ranked #205 in 3fg% at 33%, which is below the national average of 34%.  Tonight was a bit of an anomaly, but Syracuse looked significantly off its game tonight – the Orange shot the ball ok (48%) and outrebounded the Hoyas by seven (who doesn’t?), but their defense seemed a couple steps slow on their rotations and losing Andy Rautins to injury early in the game seemed to remove most of the wind from their sails (word is that Rautins will be ok).  The thing about this conference that Syracuse must remember is that any one game is simply that – one game.  Georgetown just finished a five-game stretch where they played four Top 10 teams and came out of it 3-2 – they’ll take that in spades.  Cuse, on the other hand, played four bottom-dwellers (starting 4-0), and is about to play Notre Dame, Pitt and Louisville in succession – they’ll be lucky to get a split in this four-game stretch.  Everyone in the Big East is going to lose games.  The strongest teams in March will have learned from these wars and made the necessary adjustments – that’s what Syracuse needs to take away from tonight’s loss.  Oh one final note – that Dajuan Summers and-one was unreal.

Peter Lockley/Washington Times)

(Photo Credit: Peter Lockley/Washington Times)

Upset of the Night. Colorado St. 71, UNLV 69. Ouch.  CSU came into this game 5-11 overall.  UNLV had better be careful, as they’ve now lost two in row in the Mountain West to teams they shouldn’t be losing to (TCU was the other).  The Rebs had built a solid non-conference resume with wins over Arizona and Louisville, but all of that good will has disappeared with these last two losses.

Other Games Inducing General Malaise.

  • Michigan St. 78, Penn St. 73. PSU used a furious second-half comeback to shave 16 pts off of a 17-pt lead and give MSU a huge scare, but the Spartans held on for their tenth in a row.  Penn St. is becoming a place nobody in the Big Ten wants to play.
  • Duke 70, Georgia Tech 56. Duke only hit 39% from the field but was able to completely shut down Tech’s scorers, holding Gani Lawal, Lewis Clinch and Alade Aminu well below their averages.  Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson had 19 each.
  • Pittsburgh 75, South Florida 62. The nation’s #1 team started slowly, but they pulled away in the second half – perhaps they were looking ahead to their battle with Louisville on Saturday night.  DeJuan Blair singlehandedly outrebounded USF on the offensive end (9-8).
  • Davidson 83, Elon 68. Stephen Curry dropped 6 threes en route to a 39-pt night.  He must have seen that Jodie Meeks added 2 pts/game to his average in one night and needed to secure his national lead in scoring.
  • Florida 68, Auburn 65. We caught a little of this one, and as usual, UF failed to impress.
  • LSU 85, South Carolina 68.  LSU is now 13-0 at home, 0-3 on the road.  Tasmin Mitchell blew up for 30/14 tonight.
  • Mississippi 74, Arkansas 65. Speaking of which, Arkansas has beaten Oklahoma and Texas at home, but is 1-2 on the road.
  • Creighton 73, S. Illinois 72 (OT). P’Allen Stinnett dropped 29 pts in the late comeback win for Creighton at home, which SIU apparently was trying to give away (and they did).
  • Illinois 66, Michigan 51. The Illini held Michigan to 32% shooting, including an ugly 3-14 night from DeShawn Sims.
  • Wake Forest 83, Boston College 73. Wake improves to 15-0 behind Jeff Teague’s 29 pts, setting up a huge matchup of unbeatens at Clemson on Saturday.  Check RTC’s liveblog of this game here.
  • Miami (FL) 62, Maryland 60. Another gutpunch loss for the Terps, who led 52-35 with 12+ minutes to go in the game.  Miami, behind five late threes from Jack McClinton and James Dews, roared back to take their first lead with 24 seconds remaining.
  • Texas A&M 84, Baylor 73. A&M is quietly putting together an NCAA resume, and by watching the Aggies tonight, they have sufficient talent to get there this year and do some damage.  All five starters for Texas A&M reached double figures, and they showed an array of ways to score.  Baylor has to improve on the road in the Big 12 to ever make the leap to serious contender (4 wins in the last 33 trips).

Checking in on the… Big Ten

January 13, 2009

Josh & Mike from Big Ten Geeks are the RTC correspondents for the Big Ten Conference.

Looking Back
We are only a couple weeks into Big Ten play this season and already it is shaping up to be an exciting season. Michigan State has shaken off the slow non-conference start and is looking dominant so far including a big win over defending national champion Kansas. Likewise for Wisconsin, who lulled everyone into doubting them again before turning it on before slipping up this weekend at Purdue. Indeed, it’s been the Boilermakers, the odds-on favorite to win the conference league, that has struggled a bit out of the gate.

Read the rest of this entry »