Well, That’s One Way to Avoid a Home Loss (bcc: Tom Crean)

Posted by rtmsf on January 29th, 2009

RTC typically doesn’t have a lot of SWAC coverage, other than our biweekly correspondent updates on the conference managed faithfully and superbly by HBCUSportsBlog’s inimitable JC.  But thanks to a loyal tipster (h/t Bluejay Basketball), we were alerted to a peculiar situation out of that bottom-dwelling league from a game earlier this week.   Er, almost a game.  From the Monroe (La) News-Star:

The Talladega College (NAIA) men’s basketball team arrived at Grambling’s Assembly Center on Tuesday expecting a game. There was no game to be played.  Talladega coach Matt Cross said the team was initially told that the scheduled 7 p.m. game had been delayed because referees were late in arriving, and 20 minutes later, Grambling officials told him the game was canceled because the Southwestern Athletic Conference had forgotten to schedule the referees.  “I said, ‘Can we reschedule? We’ll just stay another night,'” Cross said. “They said, ‘No, we’ll just cancel.'”

We’ve heard some harebrained excuses over the years (“sorry about that, but can you believe that I contracted malaria this weekend?”; “my ex called me out of the blue from Korea and said he wanted to get back together”; “I’m really just not into to guys anymore”), but this one certainly strains the seams of credulity.  The SWAC forgot to schedule the refs?  And no refs could be found within a day’s drive?  Hmmm….

More Like Grumbling State

More Like Grumbling State

Cross, to his credit, smells a dancing Tiger rat in Denmark.

Cross said he suspects there is more to the situation than a scheduling mix-up. He said Grambling just didn’t want to play the game. The Tigers (5-13 overall, 3-4 SWAC) were blown out at home 83-58 by conference rival Jackson State on Saturday, and Talladega already has four wins over SWAC teams this season: Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Southern, and Mississippi Valley State.  “They didn’t want to play the game,” said Cross, a Shreveport native. “They wanted to save the embarrassment.”

So Talladega boarded onto its bus and took the 7-hour trek east back home.  The school will still receive its $2500 guarantee for the game, but can you imagine if, say, Duke showed up at the Dean Dome next month and UNC said, “y’know, we couldn’t find any refs, so you’re just going to have to get on back to Derm.  It’s the ACC’s fault.  See ya!”  Absurd.

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Checking in on the… Pac-10

Posted by rtmsf on January 29th, 2009

Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 Conference.

News & Notes.

  • California’s 66.7% from the field against Oregon was the best any Pac-10 team has registered in conference play this year.  Theo Robertson of the Golden Bears still leads the nation in 3-point percentage shooting at a 55.2% clip. 
    Patrick Christopher is just 13 points shy of 1000, at 987.  Jerome Randle is right behind at 957.  Randle also is ninth in career 3-point field goals made at 125, and tenth in career assists with 313. Randle is also first in career free-throw percentage at 85.7%.
  • This is just the third time Washington has started 6-1 in the last 25 years.  Washington has won 13 out of their last 14 games. It is the first time the Huskies have been in sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 since January 2005. It is just the third time Washington has started 6-1 in the last 25 years.  The only time the Huskies ever had a better start through seven games was 1953 when they went 7-0.  Last week Washington averaged getting to the free throw line 41.5 times a game.  If they keep getting to the line this much they will be hard to beat.
  • Arizona forward Jordan Hill’s 30 points and 18 rebounds against Houston, was his first game of his career that he broke the 20 point and 15 rebound plateaus.  Blake Griffin on the other hand has put together 10 such games so far this year. Aubrey Coleman’s face stomp of Chase Budinger was the most classless act I have seen in years.  He should have been suspended multiple games for that.  Each high-five he got while leaving the game, should have added a game to it.
  • Oregon State’s three victories so far match their total of the last two seasons combined.
  • Joe Lunardi currently has Arizona State, California, UCLA and Washington getting in the dance.  It is hard to see any other Pac-10 teams really making a push.  USC has been too inconsistent still and they are the only other team with a shot in my mind.

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Behind the Lines – Week 7

Posted by rtmsf on January 29th, 2009


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

Thursday, January 29th

Clemson (11) at Virginia Tech

Behind The Line:  This is going to be a very small line. VT could be favored at home where they are 7-1 this season. They have also covered 4 in a row against some good competition. Clemson on the other hand is 1-4-1 in 2009 against the spread.

St. Mary’s (18) at Gonzaga (25)

Behind The Line:  Gonzaga is going to be giving points to a good St. Mary’s team. The ‘Zags are 4-5 against the spread in their last 9 games.

Friday, January 30th

No games of note. Prepare yourself for the weekend ahead that included college ball, UFC 94 and the Super Bowl. But now back to the games…

Saturday, January 31st

Notre Dame (22) at Pittsburgh (3)

Behind The Line:  ND finds themselves on the road again, where they are just 2-3 this season. They have faield to cover 6 of their last 7, including 5 in a row.

Georgetown (23) at Marquette (8)

Behind The Line:  The Hoyas have also struggled away from home and are 1-4. They are also 1-6-1 in 2009 against the spread.

Sunday, February 1st

Cincinnati at Villanova (21)

Behind The Line: Two very hot teams. Cincy is 4-1 in their last 5 against the spread while ‘Nova has covered their last 4.

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Checking in on the… WAC

Posted by nvr1983 on January 29th, 2009

Kevin McCarthy of Parsing the WAC and Sam Wasson of bleedcrimson.net are the RTC correspondents for the WAC.

Last week was a week of opportunities. Some took advantage while others did not. Boise State took their opportunities by the horns as they completed a home sweep to put themselves into third place. New Mexico State on the other hand did not falling twice on the road after having a chance to rise to third in the standings, instead of coming out of the week in fifth place. Idaho had an opportunity at redemption and took advantage by avenging an earlier loss to New Mexico State, a game that head coach Don Verlin felt they should have won. This week is another week of opportunities. Utah State has the opportunity to give themselves a two-game lead on the rest of the league. Idaho has the opportunity to lay claim to being the best team in the state of Idaho and then the opportunity to sweep Nevada for the first time since the 1998-1999 season.

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01.29.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on January 29th, 2009

Lot of good links today with many of them follow-ups of stories we have reported on in the past.

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Checking in on the… WCC

Posted by rtmsf on January 29th, 2009

Michael Chin is the RTC correspondent for the West Coast Conference.

So now here it comes, the premiere game we have been waiting for all season in the WCC: Saint Mary’s vs. Gonzaga (1/29 at 11pm EST on ESPN2). Both are ranked, both are undefeated in conference play, and both are really talented.  So with that said lets break this sucker down:

Point Guard – Jeremy Pargo v. Patty Mills:

Advantage: Saint Mary’s

Analysis: A few months ago, most analysts had Pargo winning this matchup. At the time Jeremy was the more physical of the two guards and was believed to be farther along from a maturity standpoint. Fast forward and I think Patty, by many expert’s accounts, wins this matchup. From a draft potential standpoint, one has to say that Mills has the bigger upside, but just looking at the stats, the two are about even. Patty is far and away the more prolific scorer this season, averaging nearly 20 points a game. However Jeremy has over 100 assists and has a 2.76 assists to turnover ratio whereas Patty’s is 1:1. In two matchups last year Pargo beat Patty up with his more physical style of play. I don’t think he will be able to do that this year. Mills’ most improved asset this year has been on the defensive end of the floor. If Pargo holds Patty to under 15, he wins this matchup, as I believe the trio of Bouldin, Downs, and Gray could more than make up those points. However it Patty goes off for 25+, the Gaels have a good shot of scoring the upset

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ATB: Upset Wednesday

Posted by rtmsf on January 29th, 2009

afterbuzzer1The Lead. There were seven ranked teams playing conference road games tonight, and only three of them survived.  One of the survivors, the Greatest Team of All-Time, did so by a sliver.  It’s a rough life playing on the road in the conference, and did anyone else notice that the calendar is turning to February very soon?  The shortest month of the year is when all those gaudy 20-2 records suffer scrutiny, as great teams start to hit their stride, and merely good ones begin taking their lumps.  We have a sneaky suspicion that it began tonight – let’s lock in for the ride.

Game of the NightWake Forest 70, Duke 68. This game was everything that was anticipated, and a little more.  Sick dunks, clutch shooting, and some tremendous hustle and defense were the markers on both ends of the court.  Oh, and one really bad call.  Call us crazy, but we’re not sure how you call a travel on Duke when a player is lying beneath him on a rebound, but the call was moot (Wake still would have possession on the inevitable and ensuing jump ball).  Still, as we watched this game, we had much the same sentiment we had two weeks ago when Wake “upset” North Carolina, which was, Wake appears to have the superior talent on the floor.  Now, the Deacs certainly showed signs of youth and inexperience in the last few minutes (missed FTs, poor decision-making) when Duke fought back to tie the game, but we never once thought Duke might actually win the game (ok, one time, and that was when James Johnson failed to hustle after the rebound after Jon Scheyer missed what would have been the go-ahead three – but no others).  Wake’s defense was once again spectacular, harassing the Duke shooters into 33% from the field (and 18% from three), including nine blocks and ten steals.  But the fact of the matter is that Duke plays every possession and Wake tends to take some off (both mentally and physically), and that’s why the Deacs didn’t run away with it in the second half.  Wake got dub-dubs from Al-Farouq Aminu (15/10, including a filthy follow flush, below) and James Johnson (13/11) to help pick up for Jeff Teague (11 pts on 4-14 FGs), who Duke swarmed all over the court.  Duke got good nights from their only two consistent scorers, Kyle Singler (22/12) and Gerald Henderson (20/8, including a nasty flush in his own right, also below), but Scheyer struggled (2-10 FGs) and there was no other production for the Blue Devils.  Wake has now won five of its last six home games against Duke, and definitely gotten a huge leg up on the ACC regular season race with wins over Duke, UNC and Clemson so far.  One final note:

HEY WAKE FANS!  This delayed rushing the court nonsense has to end.  You’re a top five team.  You’re a national title contender.  Act like it.

Life On the Road is Tough.

  • Villanova 67, Pittsburgh 57. Just another night in the Big East, right?  Playing in the last college basketball game in the Spectrum (site of the greatest NCAA Tournament game of all-time), VU’s Reggie Redding channeled Christian Laettner and went 10-10 from the line for 18 pts.  It also helped that Villanova was able to get DeJuan Blair in foul trouble and limit his effectiveness in the form of 7 pts in only twenty minutes of action.  This game, along with the Louisville loss two weeks ago, showed just how vulnerable the Panthers are when Blair is not on the floor – in the four games this season where he has had 4+ fouls, Pitt has been outscored by 4 total points and is just 2-2 in those contests.  In all other games, they’re +324 total points and 16-0.  No other player in America has such a huge impact.
  • Providence 100, Syracuse 94. In what was a wild game at the Dunk (luckily Jonathan Xavier wasn’t out on supervised release), Providence nailed ten threes against the SU zone and held on down the stretch for a victory that now puts the Friars in a tie for third-place in the Big East.  Who saw that coming?  Syracuse nailed twelve threes on its own but simply could not get necessary stops at any point in the second half against the PC shooters, particularly Sharaud Curry (22 pts) and Marshon Brooks (17 pts).  Syracuse, who has now lost four of its last five games in this rugged league, was led by Jonny Flynn’s 35 and Eric Devendorf’s 27, but Paul Harris didn’t bring much (8/6) and Arinze Onuaku was ineffective in fifteen minutes based on recent swelling in his knees.  If PC can get to nine wins in this league (and they should, with 2 games against Rutgers and one against S. Florida), they should be in good shape for an NCAA invitation.  Cuse has now lost four of five and has five more tough games upcoming – they need to win a couple of those to stay in the middle of the pack of the league.
  • Cincinnati 65, Georgetown 57. Georgetown has now officially fallen apart.  Was it really only thirty days ago that the Hoyas went into UConn and eviscerated the Huskies with such precision?  Now they’re 3-5 in the Big East with a road trip to league leader Marquette this weekend.  And possibly even worse news – Dajuan Summers turned his ankle tonight and may not be available for a couple of games down the line.  Georgetown already had a minuscule bench – how are the Hoyas to be expected to replace their best wing scorer?  Cincy might be making a Providence-type run of its own now, after having won four of their last five games to move to 4-4 in the conference.  But the bigger story of this game is of course what has happened to Georgetown, and can they recover?
  • UNC 80, Florida St. 77. It looked as if UNC was going to take its third loss of the season tonight in Tallahassee, but Ty Lawson’s running floater from THREE (see below) made sure that wasn’t going to happen.  FSU stormed back in the second half behind Toney Douglas’ 24 (32 for the game), but the Noles couldn’t take advantage of a poor shooting night from UNC (38%) and a single-figure scoring night from Tyler Hansbrough (first time in 56 games).   We’re becoming more and more convinced that this UNC team is the same team as last season.  In Deon Thompson and Tyler Zeller, they have two one more scoring option, but their defense is still marginal at best for a supposedly “great” team, and it’s not going to surprise us when these Heels drop 2-3 more games this conference season because of it.  Wasn’t tonight, though.

Other Scores of Meandering Interest.

  • Ohio St. 72, Michigan 54. Is it safe to now say that Michigan has officially come back to earth? – this loss to OSU is four of their last five.
  • Louisville 80, South Florida 54. Louisville is really starting to play like the team we thought they’d be back in October.  A second half 22-3 run finished off USF, behind 16 from Edgar Sosa (averaging 13 ppg in his last three).
  • Memphis 85, East Carolina 64. The Tigers won their 48th in a row against CUSA competition behind Antonio Anderson’s 28/8 assts.
  • Davidson 92, Chattanoooga 70. Stephen Curry had 32/5/8 assts in another easy win for the Wildcats.
  • St. Joseph’s 68, Richmond 58. Watch out, but with tonight’s road win, SJU is now 5-0 in the A10.  And Ahmad Nivins (15/14) is a beast.
  • Kansas 68, Nebraska 62. Kansas got itself in an early 13-pt hole but was able to rally back and stay unbeaten in the Big 12.
  • Xavier 69, Charlotte 47. XU improved to 6-0 in the A10 behind a dominant performance from their defense, holding Charlotte to 31% shooting.
  • Florida 83, Georgia 57. Nick Calathes had a triple double (20/13/10 assts) in another game on the Dennis Felton death watch.
  • LSU 79, Tennessee 73. We think that Tennessee is pretty much garbage this year, and the fact that LSU can go into Knoxville (after losing to Xavier at home) confirms it.
  • Northern Iowa 59, Illinois St. 55. NIU continues to roll right along in the MVC (now 9-1).
  • Northwestern 77, Indiana 75. IU continues to get so very close to winning one of these games, but they can’t seem to get over the hump (now losing ten in a row).
  • Connecticut 71, Depaul 49. Not every Big East road team lost tonight.  Depaul is an abomination, and Jerry Wainwright should be fired for this (0-8) disaster.
  • Kansas St. 88, Missouri 72. Mizzou had been rolling (4 Ws in a row), so this was a minor shocker.  We guess 12-22 from three will do that, though (KSU).
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Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on January 28th, 2009

College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference. 


This Week in the A-10
By CCT Staff | January 26, 2009

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Ahmad Nivins (Sr.), Saint Joseph’s

Nivins once again put the Hawks on his back and carried them to two victories on the week.  In the two contests, Nivins averaged a spectacular 27 points and 16.5 rebounds per outing.  Against Duquesne, he set a career-high scoring mark, netting 34 points and pulling down 16 rebounds.  The senior forward also had a standout performance against Big 5 rival Penn, scoring 20 points and snagging 17 rebounds.  The two strong efforts by Nivins were his tenth and eleventh double-doubles on the season.

HONORABLE MENTION:  Rodney Green (Sr.), La Salle; Justin Harper (So.), Richmond

(Note: College Chalktalk’s week runs from the previous Monday through Sunday, given the release of ‘This Week in the A-10′ each Monday morning.)

GAME OF THE WEEK:  Jan. 21, 2009.  Saint Joseph’s 99, Duquesne 98 (OT)

In a game that featured double-digit leads for both teams, the outcome was decided by just one point and on the final play of the game.   By the way, that final play occurred in overtime.

Duquesne broke out of the gates early and opened up a 16-5 lead.  The Hawks came roaring back and built a 53-37 margin going into the half.  The Dukes rallied once again with a 24-4 run to retake the lead, before Ahmad Nivins scored six straight points in the final 45 seconds to tie the game and send it into an extra frame.

In the overtime,  Jason Duty hit a three-pointer with eight seconds to play to give the Dukes a one-point lead.  The Hawks had one last chance. Tasheed Carr, playing well of late, had his shot blocked and it fell into teammate Garrett Williamson’s hands.  Williamson’s game winning attempt misfired, but Idris Hilliard tipped in the rebound as time expired giving the Hawks a huge early conference win.

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Trouble in College Park

Posted by nvr1983 on January 28th, 2009

Since winning the NCAA title in 2002 (in the ugliest title game I have ever seen at any level), Maryland basketball has fallen on hard times. Since that win, the Terrapins have made the NCAA tournament just 3 times in 6 years and have only advanced to the Sweet 16 once in that period. As you can see from the graphic below, the Terrapins have been a pretty mediocre ACC team since 2002.

Maryland's record since 2000-01
Maryland’s record since 2000-01

During that stretch, Gary Williams‘s teams have a combined record of 136-79 (63%) overall and 53-49 (52%) in the ACC. While they have had their bright spots (knocking a freshman Stephen Curry out of his first NCAA tournament), it seems like the Terrapins have had more than their fair share of bad moments in the past year.

Terrapin fans and the local media have already started to question Gary Williams. After the massacre at Cameron, I began to wonder how long Williams had to right the ship at Maryland (and rtmsf mentioned it in this morning’s ATB). The program is no longer even considered among the upper echelon in the ACC and Williams has been widely criticized for his inability to recruit top players to Maryland. The last class that Maryland had that was even was in Rivals.com’s Top 30 was back in 2006 (#19 that year). To be fair to Williams, he never really landed top recruiting classes (exception: 2003, the year after they won the national title, when they landed the #3 class, which unfortunately never panned out), but still managed to have great teams with Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, and Lonnie Baxter.

To make matters worse, the Terrapin players don’t even seem to go to class or at least not enough to graduate. (Note: This isn’t something new. It has been going on for a while at Maryland.)

Williams has been able to weather all these storms, but the latest news about his public disagreements with the Maryland administration regarding his inability to close on Gilchrist and Evans may just be the tipping point and provide the impetus needed for his opponents in the Maryland administration to get him off the sideline.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This leaves us with the question: How long do Maryland fans have to wait before calling for Williams’s head (figuratively please)? Bill Simmons says fans should give their teams a 5-year grace period. Unfortunately for Gary, that period ended with the loss in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament in 2007 and Maryland fans are not always the most supportive of their own team. With this latest fiasco, which unfortunately for Gary involved the Maryland administration, it may just be a matter of time before the most successful coach in Terrapins’ basketball history is sent packing from College Park.

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Checking in on the… Big East

Posted by rtmsf on January 28th, 2009

Rob Dauster of Ballin is a Habit is the RTC correspondent for the Big East Conference.

I’m not sure if anyone actually noticed, but Checking in on the… Big East was absent from RTC last week (amazing the blog could survive, right?). Long story short, I work in the restaurant industry in DC, and last week there was some big, citywide party for some guy who just won some election or something. Did anyone hear about that? Needless to say, I was a bit short on time, which meant my blogging efforts took a serious hit.

But you can sleep easy kiddies and kiddettes. Your favorite RTC correspondent is back to fill you in on the inner-workings of the biggest and baddest conference in all the land. We’re going to mix things up a bit this week, as a lot has happened in the past two weeks and, frankly, I was a little bored with the old format. So without further ado, let’s get you caught up on all the Big East action:

The way that I see it, there are ten teams that can seriously be considered for a spot in the NCAA’s. Of those ten teams, there are essentially two tiers they can be broken into – UConn, Louisville and Pitt (and maybe Marquette, but more on this in a second) in one; Syracuse, Villanova, Georgetown, Providence, West Virginia and Notre Dame in the other.

To be completely honest, the teams in that second tier all are beginning to look very average. The question I am stuck trying to answer is whether these teams are actually mediocre on a national scale, or if it just seems that way because they are getting pounded by excellent teams night in and night out in the Big East.

Take Notre Dame as an example. Once thought to be a top ten team, the Irish have dropped out of the AP Poll after four straight losses. But those losses are to Louisville, Syracuse, UConn and Marquette and the Irish also own a win over Texas and Georgetown (again, more on the Irish in a bit).

As the conference season moves on, one thing everyone needs to be keeping in mind is the way the Big East Tournament is going to work this year. All 16 teams are going to reach Madison Square Garden, but it is not going to be a typical 16 team tournament. The way it is scheduled is that teams ranked 9-16 will all play on Tuesday (9 vs. 16, etc.). On Wednesday, the winners of the Tuesday games will play the teams ranked 5-8 (8 vs. 9/16 winner). From there on, the tournament bracket is normal (1 vs. 8/9 winner, etc.).

Looking at the conference standings, it is going to be tough for anyone to crack the top four and get the double bye.

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