NBA Playoffs – Varsity Conference

Posted by rtmsf on April 20th, 2007

 NBA Western Conf Logo

(1) Dallas vs. (8) Golden State

Nellie’s baaaack.  This is probably the most interesting 1 vs. 8 matchup in many years.  Why?  For one, the Warriors have simply owned the Mavs over the last two seasons, winning five in a row between the clubs – and no other team beat Dallas twice this year.  Secondly, they’re hot, winning nine of their last ten, and finishing the season on a 16-5 run, no doubt sparked by the midseason trades of the Bonehead Brother and Troy Murphy, allowing the Warriors to play Nellie’s preferred smallball style.   Still, the Mavs have great players up and down their lineup, and didn’t win 67 games as a fluke.   Due to both teams looking to push the ball, this should be a tremendously entertaining series, but the Mavs’ experience will be the ultimate difference.  Make no mistake, though, they will get a scare here. 

The Pick – Dallas rides Nowitzki to a closeout win at home in Game 7.  Mavs in seven.   

(2) Phoenix vs. (7) LA Lakers

Over/Under on Kobe 50s?  1.5.  See, this is why we love the Varsity.  Another juicy matchup.  Since Kobe has decided that the only way LA has a chance to win games is by going medieval on his opponents, watching just to see the Mamba pursue Jordan’s record 63 vs. the Celtics is worth the time.  We also love the subplot of Raja Bell firmly implanting himself in Kobe’s head (and shorts) – perhaps this will be the year that Kobe remembers “that kid.”  Even so, despite last year’s close series until Kobe decided to “set up his teammates,” the two teams are further apart this time around.  Phoenix has Stoudemire back patrolling the middle, and the Lakers have regressed at key non-Kobe positions (particularly Smush Parker and Lamar Odom).  Phil Jackson will have to find a new Zen mantra in order to inspire enough confidence into those guys to beat the Suns this year.  Not gonna happen.         

The Pick – Kobe as The Man?  Zero playoff series wins in two seasons – make it three this time around.  Suns in five.   

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NBA Playoffs – JV Conference

Posted by rtmsf on April 19th, 2007

 NBA Playoffs Logo

We at Rush the Court don’t really get why so many college hoops fans do not appreciate the NBA playoffs, which features unquestionably the highest level of basketball played in the world.  Sure, the school spirit and passion of the fans isn’t the same, and the endless regular season often renders some players joyless and methodical.  But the playoffs are a different story.  The players defend better, fight through screens harder, and the very best of the bunch – Bird, Magic, Isiah, Jordan, Hakeem, Duncan, Shaq – rise to the occasion time and time again.  With the young guard of Wade, Lebron, Melo, Bosh and D. Howard ready to take the game to a higher plane for its generation, we find it compelling drama again this spring. 

The JV (Eastern, in common parlance) Conference has been so mediocre for so many years that it took us a while to remember when it was truly competitive with the West.  The last time you could say that the East was marginally on par with the West was 1999, immediately prior to the ascent of the Lakers (Phil Jackson arrived on the scene in 2000) and commensurate with the slow and steady descent of the mid-late 90s stalwarts Knicks, Heat, Pacers and Bulls (not so slowly or steadily).  In that lockout-shortened year, the West had five thirty-win teams, while the East had four – although their Finals representative was the 8th seeded and 27-win Knicks, perhaps already belying the weakness among the top eastern teams.  The very next season, in 2000, the West had six fifty-win teams, while the East only managed three.  Over the course of the next five years, arguably only one eastern team (Philadelphia in 2001; New Jersey in 2002-03; and Detroit in 2004-05) would have broken into the top six of the West.  Since Shaq came to Miami in 2005, the Heat along with the Pistons can be considered elite.  No other team in the East deserves that consideration.        

So here are the picks for the JV Conference: 

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sup r u playin 2nite? ttul8r

Posted by rtmsf on April 18th, 2007

In one of the its smarter moves in some time, the NCAA reported today that its management council is recommending a ban on text messaging between coaches and recruits.  Although nothing gets us quite as lathered up as the image of middle-aged men playing electronic footsie with teenagers, we feel that this is an overdue necessity for the sake of the kids, who are already bombarded with letters and phone calls from amorous coaches.  Consider the following story about uber-texter Billy Gillispie:

When describing how well Billy Gillispie fits what the University of Kentucky wanted in a basketball coach, athletics director Mitch Barnhart noted his new man has sent an average of 8,000 text messages a month to recruits.”  He’s got the fastest thumbs in America,” Barnhart quipped. 

Assuming a thirty day month and six hours of sleep per night (perhaps a high estimate for the workaholic Gillispie), this means that Gillispie averages FIFTEEN text messages per waking hour, or one every four minutes.  When does the man find time to do other things, like eat, or coach? 

For recruits who do not have unlimited texting capabilities with their cell phone plan, the barrage of text messages can also become expensive.  An Arizona football recruit named Delashaun Dean says that he racked up an $800 bill one month solely based on text messages from coaches.  No matter how you slice it, we can all agree that it’s just plain creepy to have the likes of the Great Pumpkin, er, Phil Fulmer routinely texting kids with “what’s up playmaker?!”  Ick.  Good call NCAA.   

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04.18.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 18th, 2007

  • Sixteen games of root canal basketball weren’t enough.  Big Ten will expand its conference season to 18 games next year.   
  • Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert may both return to Georgetown.  Minor quake felt in central NC as Franklin St. collectively shudders. 
  • Indiana could be legit next year.  DJ White plans on returning to play with super frosh Eric Gordon.
  • UCLA backcourt remains half intact, as Darren Collison stays in Westwood another year. 
  • Nick Young makes it official that he is leaving USC. 
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Big Ten Fans prepare for their Annual Emasculation

Posted by rtmsf on April 17th, 2007

The 2007 ACC/Big 10 “Challenge” games were released yesterday, much to the dismay of coaches throughout the midwest, who must have been hoping that the contract on this thing had finally expired. In the eight year history of this event, the ACC has gone 8-0 vs. the Big Ten, including a commanding 48-27 lead in head-to-head matchups. Only one Big Ten team has a winning record, Michigan State (4-3); and only two ACC teams have losing records, UNC (3-5) and Miami (0-2). This year all eleven Big Ten teams will compete against all but Miami from the ACC, including the scintillating set-your-Tivo-now Wake Forest vs. Iowa game on the first night. Not that it matters – who are we kidding? The ACC could send out its third-place intramural squads and still go 6-5 in this thing. Enjoy.

2007 Big Ten/ACC Challenge Schedule

Monday, Nov. 26
7:00 p.m. ESPN2 Wake Forest at Iowa

Tuesday, Nov. 27
7:00 p.m. ESPN Georgia Tech at Indiana
7:30 p.m. ESPN2 Minnesota at Florida State
8:00 p.m. ESPNU Northwestern at Virginia
9:00 p.m. ESPN Wisconsin at Duke
9:30 p.m ESPN2 Purdue at Clemson

Wednesday, Nov. 28
7:00 p.m. ESPN N.C. State at Michigan State
7:30 p.m. ESPN2 Illinois at Maryland
8:00 p.m. ESPNU Boston College at Michigan
9:00 p.m. ESPN North Carolina at Ohio State
9:30 p.m. ESPN2 Virginia Tech at Penn State

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We are all Hokies.

Posted by rtmsf on April 16th, 2007

What can truly be said about the horrific events that took place at Virginia Tech this morning without seeming irreverent or callous?  Thirty-three young lives have been senselessly taken from their families, loved ones, and the tightly knit community of Blacksburg, Virginia, today, and we are all worse off for it.    May each of these families and this university find strength and peace in the coming days, weeks, and years as they come to terms with this tragedy.  Today, we are all Hokies.

 Virginia Tech logo 

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04.16.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 16th, 2007

  • Do you trust the Dad or the Agent?  Oden still undecided about returning to Ohio St.
  • Flirting with Kentucky nets Rick Barnes a $200k raise.  What would Ashley think? 
  • Winthrop’s Gregg Marshall to take over as head coach at Wichita St. 
  • Hold the Mayo: Nick Young of USC expected to announce for the NBA draft before the OJ show comes to town.  (registration required)
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Amaker as Harvard Savior?

Posted by rtmsf on April 16th, 2007

Amaker Somewhat lost amidst the coaching carousel of the last few weeks was the story that Tommy Amaker, recently ousted after six years at Michigan, was taking the head coaching job at Harvard. Consensus among the talking heads seemed to accept the notion that Amaker’s experience and recruiting acumen would translate into significant success in Cambridge. Why?

In ten years of head coaching experience at Seton Hall and Michigan, Amaker has earned only one NCAA appearance (in 2000 at Seton Hall). To be fair, he has managed six NIT appearances, including a championship at Michigan in 2004. But mediocrity, in the form of a 177-138 overall record, has been the only true consistency of Amaker’s college coaching career.

Granted, mediocrity at Harvard might be cause for celebration, considering that the Crimson’s last coach, Frank Sullivan, was 178-245 during his tenure, and the last time Harvard was invited to the NCAA Tournament was in 1946. However, overcoming the Penn/Princeton stranglehold on the Ivy League championship – one of the two schools has won the last 19 NCAA bids for the league – may be too much to ask for a coach who could not capitalize on the outstanding resources that Michigan has at its disposal.   

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Lil Romeo Coming to a Pac-10 Arena Near You

Posted by rtmsf on April 14th, 2007

Lil Romeo

In the category of “nothing surprises us anymore,” because nothing surprises us anymore, news out of LA is that Lil Romeo, aka Romeo Miller, aka Master P’s son, has committed to USC for the Class of 08. He’s a two-star prospect, so we don’t expect that he’ll contribute much immediately, but what the hell kind of three-ring circus is Tim Floyd building over there? We shouldn’t assume that Floyd will be able to contact his new prospect, but it’s safe to say that UCLA was never in the running for the basketball services of Little P, given his father’s recent troubles in Westwood.

The charges against the 38-year-old P (real name Percy Miller), and 30-year-old Vyshonne King Miller — better known by his professional moniker, Silkk the Shocker — stem from their arrests more than a year ago by campus police at the University of California at Los Angeles. The police stopped Master P’s car on January 27, 2005, after noticing the rapper’s vehicle was missing both its license plates. UCLA police say they subsequently spotted a gun peeking out from under the driver’s seat and a subsequent search of the car turned up another gun under the front passenger seat.

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Just Sign Here, Kid

Posted by rtmsf on April 14th, 2007

The late signing period began Wednesday with little fanfare, as only five of the top 150 players on Rivals were listed as still available. Top names such as Patrick Patterson and Jai Lucas are still unsigned, with Florida, Kentucky and others in the mix for their services. It got us at RTC wondering, why are there two signing periods in college basketball? The early signing period in November is typically when most players sign, but there is no analagous “early” period in college football.


College football has only one signing period in early February, scheduled after the prospects’ seasons are finished. “National Signing Day” is the first day college football seniors can sign, and ESPN and the sports world in general makes a fairly large deal out of it. Analysts chatter away for most of that day about which programs got themselves into good shape for the years to come; and who will be the hot players to watch for as freshmen next fall. Colllege basketball seems to be doing itself a bit of disservice, from a public relations and media standpoint, by splitting its recruiting into early/late signing periods. It seems that by having one signing period it puts you in a better position to maximize media attention during the offseason. We’d love to hear reasons that justify the split process from anyone.

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