Memorial Magic, Again!

Posted by rtmsf on February 27th, 2008

Well, if you didn’t see last night’s Vandy win 72-69 over newly-minted #1 Tennessee coming, then you probably didn’t know that #1 teams simply don’t make it out of the strange and unusual venue known as Memorial Gymnasium alive.  Vandy is now 6-3 all-time against #1 teams in the gym, and have won the last four, including an equally impressive 83-70 win last year over then #1 and defending national champion Florida. 

 Final Scoreboard - Vandy v. UT

Another #1 Goes Down at Vandy

But for some reason, last night’s win just seemed more impressive.  Maybe it was because Vandy fans clutch a particular ire for their neighbors in puke orange.  Maybe it was because we had just witnessed the Vols do likewise to #1 Memphis three nights earlier.  Or maybe it was simply that we got wrapped up in the Memorial Magic like so many teams before, as the arena rocked and rolled for most of the night (no country for old men in Nashville last night).  In any case, it was yet another impressive victory for Vandy at home, and one sure to propel them into the national top ten.  Shan Foster made his case for SEC POY over rival Chris Lofton (25 pts on 7-18 shooting) by dropping 32 huge points on 9-13 shooting.   

Vandy Student Section

Why RTC When You Always Beat #1?

As for Tennessee, to come out of these two close road tests 1-1 is probably considered a victory for Bruce Pearl.  The Vols have been more impressive than its teams of recent vintage in the sense that they are less perimeter-happy than they once were, thanks to Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism inside.  Still, their toughness with the bullseye directly on their backs leaves questions for national prospects in March.  As an underdog, Pearl’s teams excel – it’s only when great things are expected (see: Sweet 16 second half game against Ohio St. last year) do the Vols tend to become gunshy.   This is worth keeping an eye on during the next few weeks, as Pearl will likely use this as motivation for the Vols to keep their underdog status. 

Thing is, Florida used to be the same way, and we saw what happened with the Gators the last two seasons. 

Final thought.  Tennessee essentially held its first #1 ranking ever for about 28 hrs before losing it, which is one of the quickest reigns you’ll ever see.  We remember a newly-minted #1 Florida getting run out of the gym at Kentucky in 2003 after a similar amount of time; and first-time #1 Wake Forest likewise getting destroyed at Illinois in 2004 after a day at the helm.  Maybe there’s something to the idea of uneasy is the head that carries the crown, eh?  ‘

Photo Credits:  Sammy8146 at

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Monday Wrap

Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2008

Since we just continue to get slammed by work and life in general, we can’t even find time to post new Erin Andrews pics (so a video will have to suffice today)… but here are a few things that we enjoyed from the weekend’s events.

#1 v. #2. This was the only game we got to see this weekend, but it looked a lot like we had expected. Seriously, who didn’t see this one coming after Memphis’ recent struggles? To paraphrase Luke Winn today, Memphis looks like the same team of athletes that they always have – a bunch of guys who can’t run a halfcourt offense or make a clutch foul shot under any circumstances. When John Calipari came onto PTI last week and said that his players traditionally were clutch at making FTs down the stretch, we almost fell off our chair in hysterics, considering the Tigers’ pathetic performance in the last five minutes of the game (1-8) last week at UAB. We still don’t love the Volz come March, but they seem to be a lot tougher mentally than the previous renditions. Major trap game upcoming for UT at Vandy on Tuesday night.

EA v. BP. What coach hasn’t been romantically linked to Erin Andrews at one time or another? After Saturday night’s halftime interview goosing at the hands of Bruce Pearl, we think it’s safe to say that EA isn’t busily canoodling with the Tennessee coach in her spare time. Ok!

Kelvin No More. So there was no player mutiny at IU over the weekend, but there may have been one on campus had the Hoosiers actually dropped their weekend game at Northwestern, currently winless (0-14) in the Big Ten. How will interim coach Dan Dakich handle what are obviously bruised player egos and emotions? The Hoosiers could be looking at a crash-and-burn in a big way here if he can’t get their buy-in very soon.

Other Games. A few other scores caught our eyes this weekend…

  • Oklahoma St. 61, Kansas 60. There is absolutely no excuse for KU losing to this OSU team.
  • Drake 71, Butler 64. Battle of the mid-majors involved Drake going to Hinkle and showing they’re going to be heard from in March.
  • Arizona 65, Washington St. 55. The strange and curious middle of the Pac-10 continues to confound us.
  • Miami (FL) 78, Maryland 63. Last week the Canes just made themselves relevant.
  • LSU 69, Ole Miss 49. Ok, so Andy Kennedy still had a good year in getting Ole Miss to the NIT.

Only four more days until March, people!!!

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Mutiny on the HMS Hoosier

Posted by rtmsf on February 22nd, 2008

We had to come out of our work-induced hibernation for a brief passage on what’s being reported from Indiana today.  This is getting juicier than Lindsay Lohan’s tenderloin on display in New York Magazine. 


Mutiny on the HMS Hoosier

Luke Winn is reporting that the IU players are on the verge of a full-scale mutiny if Kelvin Sampson is fired, as many are expecting his termination today.  If assistant coach Dan Dakich is promoted, Winn writes that the players may walk out on the season in unison.

The source said that in meeting with Hoosiers players on Thursday night, IU athletic director Rick Greenspan informed them of the likelihood that Sampson would no longer be their head coach — either as a result of a termination or suspension Friday.  The players’ response, according to the source? “If Sampson isn’t our coach, we’ll quit.” The source said this was the unified sentiment of the whole team, but was first expressed by the Hoosiers’ senior leadership in a smaller meeting earlier Thursday. Greenspan and the players reached a stalemate in the second meeting, with the athletic director reportedly asking them if “the whole season should just be canceled.”

We’re sure something like this must have happened at some point in college basketball history, but we certainly cannot remember something like this happening at such a high-profile program such as Indiana.  Just thinking back in our lifetime, did the Michigan players in 1989 threaten to walk when Bill Frieder was fired?  Who else?

Right now, though, everything is just speculation and talk.  Players often threaten to transfer and/or cause problems unless a certain coach is fired/promoted/hired, but eventually emotions settle, reality hits home, and the players acquiesce.  Put simply, we would be completely and absolutely shocked if the Indiana players actually followed through on this threat, considering the team they have and the possible March run they could make.


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Memp(h)is: Still #1

Posted by rtmsf on February 19th, 2008

Great visual from the fracas after Memphis astonishingly grasped victory from the jaws of defeat at UAB on Saturday night…

Memphis v. UAB

We’re not sure which is funnier – the sign itself or the fact that UAB fans can’t spell the word “Memphis.” 

Helluva game though.  It appeared the Tigers’ unbeaten season was all but finished when UAB took a 77-70 lead with two minutes remaining.  But consecutive threes by Antonio Anderson and CDR combined with defensive stops led to the final play where CDR probably travelled and put Memphis ahead with an and-one basket. 

Why Memphis will not win the national title:  12-22 from the line, including 3-12 down the stretch as Memphis was trying in vain to make its comeback.  In fact, there were were two separate occasions in the last four minutes where Tiger players went to the line and missed BOTH free throw attempts.  Those are unbelievable momentum killers. 

For our money, Memphis appears complacent and flagging.  Is it the CUSA competition?  The pressure to stay unbeaten?  We’re going with Tennessee in the 1/2 matchup next weekend. 

Update:  These Guys did a much better analysis of the above photo than we ever could have.  Bama Bangs…  Bravo!

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Goodbye, Kelvin?

Posted by rtmsf on February 13th, 2008

There’s an old Simpsons episode where Lisa was experimenting with Pavlovian conditioning in an effort to determine who was smarter – Bart or a hamster. Needless to say, Bart continued reaching for the goodies long after the hamster gave up, only to be greeted with a shock every time.

Bart Simpson

Oh, Bart, er, Kelvin!!

We couldn’t help but remember this episode when we heard the news this morning that, once again, Kelvin Sanctions at Indiana has been up to his old tricks again. It turns out the the NCAA came back with its report involving phone-gate with a slightly different take than the one IU was preaching back in October.

The report sent to the university Friday accuses Sampson of five major violations, including the allegation of providing “false or misleading information” to university officials and NCAA enforcement staff. The school contended in its initial report that all violations were secondary infractions. But the NCAA accused Sampson of failing “to deport himself … with the generally recognized high standard of honesty” and failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the men’s basketball program, categorized as major infractions.

Five major violations. This coming from a program that prides itself on its ethical cache in the world of college athletics (no major infractions since 1960). Is Sampson insane? They say the true definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Sampson isn’t insane because he does expect the same result every time – that, just like at Oklahoma, that he’ll get away with breaking the rules. He simply doesn’t appear to see anything wrong with what he was doing (ask Roidger Clemens about that one).

It’s probably safe to say that Kelvin Sampson has coached his only two years at Indiana, but will he survive the week, much less until March Madness? Remember last week when we referred to possible reasons for Knight’s resignation from Texas Tech? Hey, it’s possible!

Bob Knight IU

Why Not??

How will this affect IU on the court? Well, if we were gamblers, we’d have taken Wisconsin +4 in Bloomington tonight. It’s a good thing we don’t dally in such losing propositions as that. Just sayin…

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ATB: Weekend Wrap

Posted by rtmsf on February 11th, 2008

ATB v.4

We were out of town all weekend, so we saw very little in the way of games, so let us know if we missed something…

Weekend Wrapup:

  • #24 Notre Dame 86, #20 Marquette 83. ND just does not lose at home anymore (34 in a row).
  • Kentucky 62, Alabama 52. Is UK going to make a serious run at the NCAAs?
  • #2 Duke 90, Boston College 80. We still have trouble believing Duke is the class of the ACC this year, but the D’Antoni infuence is working pretty well for Coach K.
  • #19 Texas A&M 77, Missouri 69. Isn’t half of Mizzou in jail right now?
  • Florida 77, Georgia 67. We bet Billy D. wishes every game this year was in Gainesville.
  • #6 Tennessee 47, LSU 45. Games like this are why we can never completely trust UT.
  • #12 Texas 71, Iowa St. 65 (OT). UT got a scare in Ames.
  • #16 Washington St. 74, USC 50. Anyone care to explain what happened here?
  • #17 UConn 80, Georgia Tech 68. UConn is playing like they’re a F4 contender right now.
  • #1 Memphis 84, C. Florida 65. We really can’t wait for the UT game in two weeks.
  • Old Dominion 72, George Mason 64. Mason really needed to win this game, and they didn’t.
  • Vanderbilt 66, South Carolina 65. Vandy is going to be very happy they won this game on March 16.
  • Arkansas 75, Ole Miss 69. Arkansas appears to be the class of the SEC West.
  • #18 Kansas St. 82, Oklahoma St. 61. K-State is a team nobody will want to see in March.
  • Oregon 92, California 70. If anyone can figure either of these teams out, please tell us how.
  • #14 Michigan St. 70, Northwestern 55. NW is now 0-10 in the Big Ten.
  • #9 Stanford 71, Oregon St. 56. Speaking of sucky teams, OSU is now 0-11 in the Pac-10.
  • #3 Kansas 100, Baylor 90. How do you score 100 pts w/o hitting a single three?
  • #11 Drake 73, Evansville 65 . Who can believe that the Drake is now 13-0 in the Valley?
  • #13 Butler 62, Wisc-Green Bay 57. Butler dodged not one, but two, bullets last week.
  • #23 Louisville 59, #7 Georgetown 51. Remember when Pitino teams pushed the ball – great win for UL, though.
  • Purdue 72, #7 Wisconsin 67. Purdue is for our money the best money in the B10.
  • #10 Xavier 76, St. Joseph’s 72. Is Xavier a darkhorse F4 candidate (as Wahl suggested in his M8)?
  • #15 Indiana 59, Ohio St. 53. IU had a very successful week (albeit ugly).
  • Arizona St. 59, Arizona 54. Man, there are so many good teams in this league this year.
  • Washington 71, #4 UCLA 61. How does UCLA win in Pullman but lose in Seattle two yrs in a row?
  • #5 UNC 103, Clemson 93. Is there a bigger choker situation than Clemson in Chapel Hill?

NCAA Tournament Field if we were choosing today – added teams in bold (removed teams in italics):

  • America EastUMBC (Vermont)
  • Atlantic 10 – Xavier, Rhode Island, St. Joseph’s
  • ACC – Duke, UNC, Clemson, Maryland
  • Atlantic SunBelmont (Jacksonville)
  • Big 12 – Kansas, Kansas St., Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor (Oklahoma)
  • Big East – Georgetown, Louisville, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Marquette, UConn, West Virginia, Pittsburgh
  • Big SkyPortland St. (N. Arizona)
  • Big South – UNC-Asheville
  • Big 10 – Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio St., Michigan St.
  • Big West – Cal St. Northridge
  • CAA – VCU, George Mason
  • CUSA – Memphis, Houston
  • Horizon – Butler
  • Ivy – Cornell
  • MAAC – Rider
  • MAC – Kent St.
  • MEAC – Morgan St.
  • MVC – Drake
  • Mountain West – UNLV, BYU
  • NEC – Sacred Heart
  • OVC – Austin Peay
  • Pac-10 – UCLA, USC, Stanford, Washington St., Arizona, Arizona St. (California)
  • Patriot – Lafayette
  • SEC – Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi St., Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Arkansas
  • Southern – Davidson
  • Southland – Stephen F. Austin
  • SWAC – Alabama St.
  • Summit – Oral Roberts
  • Sun Belt – W. Kentucky
  • WCC – Gonzaga, St. Mary’s
  • WAC – Utah St.
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NCAA Mock Bracket

Posted by rtmsf on February 7th, 2008

We got a cool link in the inbox today from Josh Centor, the Coordinator for New Media Communications at the NCAA.  He is live-blogging the proceedings of the NCAA’s annual Mock Bracketology event where sportswriters and other college basketball media are invited to Indianapolis to go through the grueling process of selecting 65 teams.  This way, the idea goes, the media will actually know what to blather on about when it comes time later this month to discuss bubble teams, strength of schedule ratings and stock-up/stock-down trends. 

We wonder, though, whether Josh recognizes the profound irony of his position as HBIC (Head Blogger In-Charge) for the NCAA.  But that’s another discussion for another time. 


So yesterday the slovenly crew of sportswriters were invited, including such luminaries as Steve Wieberg (USA Today) and Mike DeCourcy (Sporting News).  After twelve hours of debate, several gallons of coffee, and untold levels of stink, the group came up with this bracket (you’ll have to click once here and once on the page that opens to make it large enough to view):

Mock NCAA Bracket

We don’t have time to break down the bracket at the moment, but the commenters on Josh’s page do a pretty good job. 

Today’s group are the less slovenly but more bombastic television media, including the standards Joe Lunardi, Andy Katz and Jerry Palm; but also including guys like Steve Lappas and Tom Brennan.  It’s a travesty that Ken Pomeroy isn’t invited to this thing, by the way. 

Maybe if we get some more time, we’ll do a quick and dirty comparison of how the two brackets turned out.  Our money’s on the sportswriters over the television guys. 

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Welcome Back, Dick!

Posted by rtmsf on February 6th, 2008

Presumably ESPN is marketing tonight’s clash between Duke and North Carolina as the first big game of the season, with the thinking that most casual sports fans are only now checking into hoops now that the Super Bowl is out of the way.  That’s all fine and well, but there have been other big games already (Memphis-Georgetown and UCLA-Wazzu come to mind), and plenty of interesting storylines at this point in the season (not the least of which is the Bob Knight weirdness). 

 Duke v. Carolina

Photo Credit:

So we come to Duke-Carolina, the mere uttering of which either conjures up images of the college rivalry upon which all others are measured, or projectile vomitus from the rest of the country.  No matter your position, everyone still watches.  In 2006, ESPN received its highest college hoops ratings in four years for this game, and there’s no reason to believe this year, with the #2 and #3 teams in the AP and Coaches polls sparring, will be any different.  There’s also the curious backstory of whether Tyler Hansbrough will greet Gerald Henderson with a friendly pat on the behind or feed him his own teeth after what the Duke forward did to Psycho T’s face last year. 

But what we’re most excited about tonight is the triumphant return of Dookie V. from an operation on his vocal cords (yes, we know), who has no doubt earned that moniker over the years with his unabashed slurping of the Duke program and Coach K in particular.  But what maybe much of the Duke-hating public doesn’t also realize is that Vitale was a Dean Smith promisekeeper long before he became reborn as a Coach K disciple.  Roy Williams, as Deano’s former right (and left) hand man,  is just as much a part of Vitale’s nightly prayer routine as Krzyzewski ever was.  What we’re trying to say here is that when Dickie V. envisions heaven, it surely involves an eternal game of “class and sportsmanship” exhibited by the “true student-athletes” at the “fine institutions” of Duke and North Carolina.  Blue heaven, indeed. 

Duke Vitale

Photo Credit:

We have to admit, though, that we’ve actually missed the guy this season.  As much as we tend to view him these days as an unprepared clown and shill for the big boys, we know that he deeply cares about the status and sanctity of the game itself, and his boyish enthusiasm for it surely rubs off on kids today the same way it did when we were watching him gush on about Pearl Washington and Rex Chapman back in ’87.  The guy really cares about the game and its personalities, and for that much, we salute him and welcome him back as a true ambassador to continue carrying on the spirit of college basketball (as opposed to, say, Billy Packer, who along with Dick Cheney, hates everyone and should be excommunicated to some bunker together).  With that, we say…

Welcome back, Dick!

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ATB: St. Mary’s – Gonzaga

Posted by rtmsf on February 5th, 2008

ATB v.4

We had the pleasure, and we really mean pleasure, of attending that outstanding SMC-Gonzaga game last night in Moraga, CA. First of all, for anyone who ever tries to locate St. Mary’s College, good luck. It’s not really close to anything in particular, yet it’s only a half-hour away from one of the world’s great cities. Still, given the sparse environs surrounding the campus, you’d think you were a million miles away from anything resembling a place where ESPN would show up and televise a basketball game.
    Zag Dog
      Gaels and Zags in Moraga
      Anyway, the campus was small but very pretty, befitting the $42k/year price tag. We were told that the doll/guy ratio there was 2:1, which made us quickly regret our age, choice of undergraduate colleges and decision to work outside of academia, in that order. We had to walk a while to the gym, but once we got there, we were impressed. The gym is really dark for a normal college hoops arena, but in contrast to some other WCC gyms we’ve been to, it’s actually a pretty nice place, all things considered. SMC has clearly spruced it up in recent years, but the one bathroom situation really needs to go.
        Here are a few of the thoughts and observations we had at the game:
        • The Jeremy Pargo dunk in the first half of the open court was one of the most shockingly powerful dunks we’ve ever witnessed from a guy his size (similar to this one). Unreal. Pargo was pretty much unstoppable throughout – he got everywhere he wanted to go on the court with his strength, handle and ability to finish going either way, and he showed some range with two late second half threes that appeared to have given Gonzaga control of the game.

        Patty Mills

        Mills and Pargo Played Each Other Tough

        • Josh Heytvelt continued to look like a shell of the former player we saw dominate the likes of Carolina last year. 2 pts and 5 rebs in 19 minutes against a team that clearly struggles with any and all interior size? Maybe he was sick? Still hurting? From our view, Heytvelt should be an All-American on par with what Nick Fazekas was at Nevada the last few years. But he’s not. Most of the time we watched him, he looked completely uninterested in playing basketball. His lateral movement and body language sucked. What’s up, Zag fans?
        • Austin Daye is so long and skinny that he looks like Marcus Camby did when he was a freshman at UMass. He’s nowhere near as developed as Camby defensively, but he’s already very skilled on the offensive end. He has great touch out to 3-pt range on his shot, and he clearly thinks very highly of himself, as he loves to woof and congratulate himself after a good play. He’s already projected as a lottery pick in 2009, and we believe it.
        • Patty Mills was a wonder to watch. He clearly needs some more strength, and his jump shot looked suspect all night long, but he never got rattled and made several big plays down the stretch. The fast break where he outraced the entire Gonzaga team to reverse the layup and get the and-1 foul was fantastic. He really reminds us a lot of Tony Parker his first couple of years in the NBA. Potentially great things await this young player.
        • The unsung hero last night was SMC’s #24 Todd Golden and his push shot jumper, which hit nothing but net all six times he released it. He helped get St. Mary’s the lead in the first half, and hit the huge one in the OT period that pretty much sealed it. When the Gaels were busily blowing their lead in the late second half, we kept referring to our significant other that perhaps they should consider running a play to get the ball to “#24.” They never did, but Mills saved them anyway.


        #24 Hits the Big 3 in Overtime

        • There were a few home cooking calls where it was clear the refs were unsure what had happened, so it seemed as if they said “screw it, this crowd looks pretty involved, let’s just go their way…” We didn’t see the key disputed call in front of Gonzaga’s bench until we got home and watched the replay, but yeah, that was a horrendous call.
        • One cool thing we saw the SMC players do with eight seconds remaining in the game was to motion the Gael Force student fan group to not RTC after the victory was secured 89-85. Although a few students ran onto the court, the majority did not, and that signifies a shift in the attitude of the program about beating the Zags. As of this date on this season, SMC has proven it is every bit the team as Gonzaga; but that’s merely the first step in becoming every bit the program. Still, this acknowledgement by both fans and players was nice to see for a program on the rise.

        In our dreams, when we envision writing the great american travelogue about college basketball, last night’s game was exactly the type of environment we’d hope to capture. There was a bandbox arena with poor lighting, a rabid crowd so fired up for the contest that it sang the last stanza of the national anthem in unison, multiple eye-popping plays on both ends of the court, a sprinkle of controversy, and an overtime classic that went to David. Oh, and a 2:1 ratio. :-)

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        What the #&$*#! is this?

        Posted by rtmsf on February 4th, 2008


        We just learned that everyone’s favorite egomaniacal asshole coach disciplinarian and teacher, Bob Knight, has resigned from Texas Tech.  Kinda strange timing, this being the middle of the season and all. 

        Bob Knight

        Photo Credit:  Indy Star

        We truly hope there’s nothing health-related going on with Knight or his family, but with that caveat, here’s RTC’s top 10 reasons why Coach Knight might be leaving Texas Tech.  Remember, there’s always a backstory with this guy.

        1. Retirement is fun – Knight should just sit back, “relax, and enjoy it.”   
        2. Pier 1 refused to supply him with any further vases for his secretaries
        3. Texas Tech decided to nail down the courtside seats this year. 
        4. It’s all f$#&ing Greg Graham’s fault. 
        5. “Hey Knight.”  Some snot-nosed punk kid needed a lesson or two on manners. 
        6. Kelvin Sampson was caught three-way calling again, so there will be an opening at Indiana soon. 
        7. Folks in Texas don’t take too kindly to whips used on them.
        8. Isiah offered him a job as Chief of Ho Security in the Knicks front office.
        9. Neil Reed asked for his relevance back.    
        10. And oh yeah… his mediocre record this year and every other year since 1994. 

        Best of luck to Coach Knight in his next gig at the University of San Francisco.

        Indy Star Cartoon

        Cartoon Credit:  Indy Star

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