Checking in on the… WAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 26th, 2009

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

Current Standings:

  1. Utah State (12-1, 25-3)
  2. Nevada (8-4, 16-10)
  3. New Mexico State (8-5, 15-12)
  4. Boise State (7-5, 17-9)
  5. Idaho (6-6, 13-13)
  6. Hawai’i (5-8, 13-13)
  7. San Jose State (4-8, 11-14)
  8. Louisiana Tech (4-9, 12-16)
  9. Fresno State (2-10, 11-17)

The race for the league title and the automatic bid to the NIT should be decided on Thursday night. Utah State hosts Hawai’i with a chance to wrap up the regular season title, their second in the past two seasons. For Utah State however, they’re looking to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since the 2005-06 season, that year they received an at-large bid after finishing second in the regular season and losing to Nevada in the title game of the conference tournament. The UtAgs, despite a record of 25-3 don’t want to leave anything to chance as they still feel the sting of finishing 25-3, being ranked 21st but not receiving an at large bid after losing in the Big West semifinal to Cal State-Northridge 63-62.

As for the rest of the league, the race for second place is on as Nevada (8-4), New Mexico State (8-5), Boise State (7-5) and Idaho (6-6) can all finish as high as 2nd.

And not to be left out, the bottom four teams, Hawai’i (5-8), San Jose State (4-8), Louisiana Tech (4-9) and Fresno State (2-10) are all playing to stay out of the league’s 8/9-seed play-in game (with the winner having to face likely 1-seed Utah State) in the quarterfinal round.

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Rudy in Bloomington?

Posted by nvr1983 on February 26th, 2009

It seems like there is a lot of news coming out of Bloomington for a team is at the bottom of the Big Ten with a record of 1-14 in the conference. We figured that they would stay under the radar after the Kelvin Sampson fiasco, but in the past few months they have managed to get in the news with reports of rampant drug use and their continued inability to understand how to use phones.

Santa (#1) gets some PT
Santa (#1) gets some PT. http://www.insidethehall.com

This time the Hoosiers have managed to make news headlines for a positive story though as Tom Crean has announced that he has promoted team manager Mike Santa to a reserve guard. While this move does reek of desperation (and I’m sure Indiana’s Big 10 rivals will have fun taunting him particularly with his last name), we like the move as it might help boost morale on the team and on campus. I’m not sure if it the fact that the campuses are just 200 miles away or my lack of imagination, but this reminds me of the whole “Rudy” Ruettiger mixed with a bit of Ollie from “Hoosiers”.

200 miles between Notre Dame and Indiana
200 miles between Notre Dame and Indiana

We don’t know much about Santa’s high school basketball career (for all we know he could be a Jimmy Chitwood-style sharpshooter), but he did play against Northwestern even if ESPN hasn’t even bothered to give him a position, height, or weight. If anybody has some background info on Indiana’s Rudy, let us know by posting it in the comment section.

ollie

 

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RTC Live: Notre Dame at #2 UConn – Saturday 2 PM ET

Posted by nvr1983 on February 26th, 2009

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We’re following up Tuesday Night’s RTC Live where Providence knocked off #1 Pittsburgh leading  to the first RTC Aftermath with a trip to Storrs, Connecticut, where Notre Dame will attempt to knock off UConn. While the game is significant for the Huskies (a win would mean they would go back to #1), it is enormous for the Fighting Irish. Mike Brey‘s squad remains on the bubble despite winning 4 of their last 5 games (including a 33-point annihilation of a very good Louisville team that played very poorly) after going a month without a win (7 consecutive losses), but a win over Jim Calhoun‘s Huskies would be huge for their NCAA tournament resume and would put them in position to finish 10-8 in the Big East with their remaining games against Villanova and St. John’s in South Bend.

The last time these teams met was on January 24th when UConn came into the Joyce Center and beat the Fighting Irish, 69-61, to end Notre Dame’s home winning streak at 45, which was the longest in the nation at that time. In that game, UConn held Notre Dame to 33% FG and used a 13-1 run in the 2nd half (along with a huge edge at the line–30 attempts compared to 4 for the Irish) to put the game away. Jerome Dyson, who won’t be playing on Saturday as he is out for the year with a meniscal tear, led the Huskies in scoring with 15 points to go with 9 rebounds. Jeff Adrien also had a big game with 12 points and 19 rebounds. Luke Harangody led the Irish with 24 points and 15 rebounds despite playing against Hasheem Thabeet, the likely national defensive player of the year. Notre Dame’s other big scoring threat, Kyle McAlarney, started off hot hitting his first three shots from beyond the arc before going pulling a John Starks-in-Game 7 performance by missing his last 12 shots from the field. Senior guard Ryan Ayers also struggled with his shooting going 1-for-10 from the field in the game.Since that game, which was featured on ESPN GameDay, the teams have gone in opposite directions. The Huskies went on a roll with the exception of their hiccup last Monday against Pittsburgh while the Irish, who were ranked 19th in the nation at the time, lost their next 5 games as part of their month-long 7-game losing streak.

The big match-up in this game will be in the middle where Harangody will be battling Thabeet, who called out Harangody on an ESPN cover in the pre-season (Thabeet later apologized). These two will likely end up on the first team All-Big East squad and on an All-American team. While Harangody dominated Thabeet statistically in the first match-up, Thabeet’s defense disrupted Notre Dame’s attack enough to help the Huskies escape with the win. [Please don't leave a Chamberlain-Russell comparison in the comment section. This also applies for Michael Lewis-style Shane Battier arguments.] One of the interesting aspects of this match-up outside of the obvious offense/defense contrast is whether Harangody’s outside game can draw Thabeet away from the basket opening up space for Notre Dame to clean up underneath. Unfortunately for the Irish, they don’t have another interior presence on the offensive end. Thus, barring an explosion from Harangody, which he is capable of, the interior match-up will probably end up being a draw with Stanley Robinson and Adrien making up for any statistical advantage that Harangody has over Thabeet because I’m not expecting much out of Zach Hillesland (5.4 PPG and 5.5 RPG) against the Huskies frontline.

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ATB: Marquette’s Dominic James Out For the Season

Posted by rtmsf on February 26th, 2009

afterbuzzer1

RTC Intern Mike Lemaire contributed to tonight’s ATB.

Marquette Loses Their Heart & SoulConnecticut 93, Marquette 82.  Marquette announced at halftime that their senior leader and heart/soul of the team,  PG Dominic James, had broken the fifth metatarsal in his left foot and will not play again this season.  He hurt it on a seemingly innocuous play just four minutes into the first half, but the x-rays don’t lie, and this is a potentially devastating blow to the Golden Eagles as we approach the postseason.  James had re-invented his game this year, becoming less of a scorer and more of a set-up man (#31 nationally in assists and #22 in steals) with the ascent in production from Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews.  Marquette will need to regroup quickly with games at Louisville, at Pitt and vs. Syracuse in the next ten days.  As for this game, AJ Price was the other story – he was simply phenomenal, with 36/6/6 assts, including one ridiculous ankle-breaking move (see below) that crystallized the kind of night he was having.  Hasheem Thabeet added 14/15/5 blks and Stanley Robinson contributed 19/10.  When UConn is playing like this, they are the best team in the nation – the problem is that we don’t always see this level of effort from the Huskies.  McNeal and Matthews combined for 46/9/9 assts to pick up some of the slack from James’ injury, but Maurice Acker (and his 2.2 ppg) will be asked to carry the load that James is leaving behind.  No easy task.

Operation ScheyerFace Didn’t WorkDuke 78, Maryland 67. You have to hand it to Maryland – when Grievis Vasquez picked up his fourth foul less than two minutes into the second half, you had to wonder where Maryland’s offense would come from. But they showed a lot of heart by matching Duke basket for basket in the second half. In the end there was just too much Gerald Henderson for the Terps to handle. Freshman Sean Mosley did a good job on Henderson man-to-man, but the Blue Devils did a great job of setting screens and getting Henderson free for open looks. Vasquez’s absence finally caught up to the Terps in the final four minutes of the game as the team (with the exception of Landon Milbourne) struggled to get good looks as the Blue Devils clamped down on defense. Maryland was a completely different team from the guys we saw blow big leads in the first half of the season, but Duke showed a lot of grit by stuffing the Maryland momentum coming off their huge upset of UNC.  As for Maryland, they have two winnable road games (@ NCSU; @ UVa) and Wake at home – they can still get to 9-7 in the ACC with a strong finish, but their margin of error is thin the rest of the way.  Speaking of screens, check out this pick on Nolan Smith that had the sophomore hearing bells the rest of the game.

Some Other Games of Interest.

  • Northwestern 75, Indiana 53.  Northwestern ended 41 years of futility in Bloomington with this win tonight.  Tom Crean said his undermanned Hoosiers are running out of steam at this point in the season.
  • Texas 87, Texas Tech 81.  UT got 24 from AJ Abrams and 20/11 from Damion James, but Texas Tech hung around until the final minute in this one behind ten three-pointers.
  • Utah 70, UNLV 60.  Utah continued to pace the Mountain West with another home win to go 11-2 in the conference behind Luke Nevill’s 19/13.
  • Notre Dame 70, Rutgers 65.  ND survived a closer-than-it-shoulda-been game despite Luke Harangody’s 20/15.  The Irish’s Saturday game at UConn will be huge for this team.
  • Davidson 70, UNC-Greensboro 49.  Stephen Curry dropped 20/10/5 assts as the Wildcats rebounded from their loss to Butler with a convincing SoCon win.
  • Rhode Island 93, Dayton 91 (OT).  Dayton dropped its second consecutive game due to Marquis Jones’ driving flip layup at the buzzer which pushes UD one game behind Xavier and Temple in the A10 standings.
  • Virginia Tech 80, Clemson 77.  Huge bubble road win for Va Tech behind Malcolm Delaney’s 26/4/6 assts and AD Vassallo’s 21/5.  Clemson got double-doubles from Trevor Booker and KC Rivers, but Va Tech made the plays down the stretch in a game that went back and forth all night.
  • South Carolina 77, Kentucky 59.  UK now probably needs to win its last three games to force the Committee to leave them out.  SC, on the other hand, probably only needs one more win to become a lock.  Sam Muldrow had seven of SC’s school-record sixteen blocks tonight.
  • Villanova 74, Depaul 72. Depaul got closest to its first Big East win of the year than any other previous loss, but it still wasn’t to be as the Blue Demons moved to 0-15.  Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham each had 18 pts for Villanova.
  • Michigan St. 62, Iowa 54.  MSU never really put Iowa away, but Iowa never really threatened either.  Tom Izzo didn’t think his Spartans played all that well, but they’re now 1.5 games ahead of Purdue in the Big Ten race anyway.
  • Missouri 94, Kansas St. 74.  Mizzou moved to 17-0 at home behind DeMarre Carroll’s 21/14.  The streaking Tigers go to Kansas this weekend and will host Oklahoma in Columbia next Monday.
  • Tennessee 81, Mississippi St. 76.  In this bubblicious game, UT held off the Bulldogs behind Scotty Hopson’s 21 pts.  MSU’s bubble is close to bursting, having now lost four of their last five games.
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Checking in on the… Big Ten

Posted by nvr1983 on February 25th, 2009

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

Looking Back
As Lester Bangs told William Miller, “you’ll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.” He could just as well have been talking to most of the Big Ten this season, as we now see 5 conference teams bunched up with 7 or 8 losses, all fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives. Penn State got a big boost from their ugly 38-33 victory at Illinois, then lost a winnable game at Ohio State to rejoin the masses. Penn State now has a 3-2 record against the top of the conference (Michigan State, Purdue, and Illinois), with a home game still remaining against the Illini. This ability to hang with the best of the conference is their sole basis for an at-large bid – their best non-conference win was at Georgia Tech (currently 1-12 in the ACC), so the Nittany Lions figure to need at least 10 Big Ten wins to even be considered.

Speaking of Illinois, they shook off the Penn State loss to get a nice road victory at Ohio State, putting them back on track for at least third place in the conference. Mike Davis continued his superb sophomore season, dropping floater after floater over Ohio State’s shot-blockers. Davis shot 11 for 14 from the field to finish with 22 points to go along with 8 rebounds and continues to lead the Big Ten in Defensive Rebound %.

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Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by nvr1983 on February 25th, 2009

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

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By CCT Staff | February 4, 2009

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Lavoy Allen (So.), Temple

Allen had perhaps his best week as a collegiate player, averaging 19.5 points and 14.5 rebounds over a two game span. The 6-foot-9 sophomore was sensational from the floor, shooting a sparkling 74% (14-of-19) during the stretch. In his most impressive game of the season, Allen shot 8-of-8 from the floor, scoring 20 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in a win over St. Bonaventure yesterday. The two double-doubles this week were the ninth and tenth of the season for Allen, as he helped lead the Owls to two victories.

HONORABLE MENTION: Kevin Anderson, (So.) Richmond; Ahmad Nivins (Sr.) Saint Joseph’s; Damian Saunders (So.), Duquesne

(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.)

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Checking in on the… Big East

Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2009

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

Until Tuesday night, it was a relatively uneventful week in the Big East. The teams that should have won got the Ws, while the teams that were supposed to lose generally lost. That is, until Providence knocked off Pitt in front of packed house at the Dunk (for the record, Friar fans had one of the best ‘rushings of the court‘ that I have seen in a long time – they absolutely swallowed up the three Friar players in the center of the court).

Back to the point, not only were there not many upsets during the week, their weren’t that many outstanding performances. Weyinmi Efejuku of  Providence had 31 in a loss to Notre Dame. Ryan Ayers scored 28 in that same game, but earlier in the week struggled as the Irish lost to West Virginia. Luke Harangody had 26 and 13 in the Irish loss, but was non-existent until the final few minutes (when the game was decided) against Providence. DeJuan Blair’s 20 and 18 against DePaul (which should technically make the performance not count … it’s DePaul) is overshadowed by his 17 and 8 (and 5 turnovers and 5 fouls) in the loss to Providence.

You get the point.

Why should I be pointing that out to you? What is the significance of it? Is it just so I don’t look like a fool making my Player and Team of the Week picks?

Not exactly. It should show you that no team or player in the Big East (save for Providence, the damn Friars ruined my whole column) is stepping up to make a run at the NCAAs. As of this moment, the league should expect seven teams. After this win, Providence may be the eighth.

But Cincinnati, Notre Dame, and Georgetown all still had a realistic chance to get in by winning. Cincy’s loss to Louisville gives them a two game losing streak. A win at South Florida is not going to be enough for the Hoyas, who have now lost 9 of 11. Even Providence had lost two straight before the upset of Pitt.

Notre Dame is the only team that looks to have a little bit of life left in them. They have now won three of four, including wins over Louisville and Providence, with the loss coming at West Virginia. If the Irish can keep up their winning ways, there is a good chance the Big East could actually end up with nine tourney teams.

For the record, I’m sick of everyone talking about the Big East as the toughest conference in the country.

It isn’t.

Let it go.

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So Shaq Would Have Scored 500 g’s on the Dunkometer?

Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2009

We’re total suckers for this kind of thing (h/t TSN). 

Clemson University’s physics department (Clemson has a physics department?  who knew…) has come up with some contraption (pictured) that supposedly can tell us just how much force a basket is subjected to when a large athletic manchild decides to jump up, grab it, and throw an orange ball through the middle of it as hard as he possibly can.

This Looks Like Something Our Cousin Charlie Has Lying Around His Garage (photo credit: physorg.com)
This Looks Like Something Our Cousin Charlie Has Lying Around His Garage (photo credit: physorg.com)

We’re having a little trouble believing that Clemson could come up with something like this – a dunkometer – but if it’s actually reliable, score one for State U. over the nerds at MIT and Cal Tech.  According to the CU spokesperson, who doubtless was the guy with one of the lovelies pictured below: 

Ray Sykes had a nasty dunk at the East Carolina University game,” said Jonathan Cox, one of the students working on the project. “It peaked at a little over 30 g’s, one of the highest recorded so far. That’s awesome when you consider an earthquake’s ground motion produces accelerations around point five and one g.

Physics is Phun!!!
Physics is Phun!!!

So they’re saying that Ray Sykes’ dunk was 30-60 times more powerful than an earthquake?  What does that even mean?  Part of us wonders if this isn’t a prank by the three nerds at Clemson on the rest of the campus…  “see what happens when you put a 40 up there!…  watch how crazy they’ll get!”

We would be interested in learning what this particular dunk would have scored, though.  Probably 100 Hiroshimas combined with 50 earthquakes. 

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IU Still Struggling With the Whole Illegal Phone Call Thing…

Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2009

Tom Crean should be proud of his Indiana team this year – despite basically playing with D2 talent, the Hoosiers have used grit and hustle to compete in nearly every Big Ten game, even winning one against Iowa a few weeks ago.  Furthermore, the stench of impropriety and illicit activity that enveloped Bloomington during the tenure of Kelvin Sanctions is finally, like a soupy fog lingering to mid-day, starting to lift.  As a result, the phone lines at the athletic department are free and clear; nobody is hiding under their desks trying to, um, get a signal (yeah, that’s you, Senderoff). 

What’s that? 

Please Pick Me Up and Call a Recruit

Please Pick Me Up and Call a Recruit

Oh, maybe the stink hasn’t quite dissipated after all.  Perhaps there’s something about the phones in that place that is so magnificent… so wonderful… so awe-inspiring, that coaches just can’t resist the siren-like urge to pick it up and call someone.  Someone like, oh we dunno, just thinking out loud here, maybe… a recruit!  From the Indy Star:

Indiana University reported a secondary NCAA violation involving what the school said was an inadvertent extra phone call by the men’s basketball staff to recruit Bawa Muniru in October.  IU punished itself by not making any recruiting phone calls for a week in December, according to the report, revealed through a public records request by The Indianapolis Star.

Rumors and Rants had an excellent set of suggestions for the Indiana coaching brass, seeing as how they have loads of trouble getting all these confounding phone rules right (i.e., two calls per week, fellas).  Here are their best two recommendations:

The smoke signal: This is one of the oldest forms of communication known to man, dating back to ancient China, and it’s particularly useful for long distances. The smoke signal will be most effective when courting in-state recruits in places like Indianapolis, Richmond and Terre Haute.

The heliograph: Here’s another one where knowing Morse Code will come in handy. A heliograph was standard issue in the British and Australian armies until the 1960s, and involves using a flashes of sunlight to convey Morse Code with, basically, a mirror. It works, according to Wikipedia, to 50 kilometers or more, which is perfect if you want to get in touch with a player while recruiting in Canada or Europe.

Agreed.  Nothing says Ironic Indiana U. basketball like using smoke signals to communicate with each other.  Right, Eric?

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Behind the Lines – Week 9

Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2009

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

Wednesday, February 25th

Connecticut (2) at Marquette (10)

Behind The Line: Uconn has failed to cover in 4 of their last 5 as have the Golden Eagles. This should be an extremely small line, nearly a pick ‘em game at Marquette.

Texas Tech at Texas (24)

Behind The Line: Texas Tech has not won a single road game this season and have failed to cover 4 straight.

Thursday, February 26th

Memphis (4) at UAB

Behind The Line: UAB is undefeated at home but are facing the cream of the crop in C-USA Thursday. Memphis has covered 8 of their last 10 games.

Arizona St.(11) at Washington(21)

Behind The Line: The Huskies have achieved the over in 8 of their last 10 games.

Saturday, February 28th

Clemson (13) at Florida St. (25)

Behind The Line: Against the spread both Clemson and FSU are 6-2 in their last 8; this should be a small line with Florida State at home.

Duke (7) at Virginia Tech

Behind The Line: Away from Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke has struggled a bit and are currently 4-4. Duke is also only 2-6 in their last 8 against the spread.

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Checking in on… Conference USA

Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2009

Allen R. of Houston Basketball Junkies is the RTC correspondent for Conference USA.

The moment of truth for Conference USA has come and in the next couple of weeks there will be major tests for the flagship program of the conference:  Memphis.

But the biggest story still is the fact that the Tigers have dominated in a year that for all intents and purposes was supposed to be a down year.

1.) Two More Tests for the Tigers:  There are only 4 games left on their schedule, but 2 of them will pose serious challenges for Memphis, who is currently 12-0 in Conference USA. Last Saturday UTEP gave the Tigers a tough game before losing 70-63. The first challenge will come this Wednesday night on the road against UAB. In a conference desperate for some true rivalries, a heated one is developing between the Tigers and Blazers. The last game ended in an ugly altercation between Memphis players and the UAB student section after a hard-fought Tiger win. There probably won’t be an altercation this year, but I still expect a hard-fought game. Keep in mind that in 2006 the Blazers handed the Tigers their last CUSA loss. If the Blazers don’t stop the Tigers, Houston hosts the Tigers for their last road game of the year and the Cougars will try to recapture the same magic that led to a 2005 upset in Houston.

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02.25.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on February 25th, 2009

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