Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.14.09Posted by nvr1983 on March 14th, 2009
Welcome back to the weekend edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite. First off I’d like to commend rtmsf for his strong work on yesterday’s BGtD. You guys really have no idea how exhausting it is doing a full day’s worth of this is and he managed to do it with only a short break although it almost caused me to give up working on the site after being forced to endure the American-Holy Cross game yesterday. As he outlined in his After the Buzzer post last night/this morning, there are 12 conference championship games today. For the sake of maintaining our sanity and having enough energy in the tank for our huge March Madness preview, we’ll be taking multiple shifts but we promise to coordinate it so you won’t miss anything during our handoffs.
6:00 AM: Yes. That’s actually the time I’m starting this thanks to a “short nap” that ended up going from 9 PM to 5 AM. Obviously my posts will be infrequent in the early morning hours, but I’ll be passing along some news and links to you before the games start at 11 AM. The New York Times has been stepping it up with their college sports blog “The Quad” recently and has an interesting post on Louisville‘s Terrence Williams and his pre-game ritual of the giving himself a pep talk during the national anthem. Before anybody thinks this might be a Chris Jackson Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf situation, it should be noted that Williams actually stands during the anthem and is supposedly talking about family members that he has lost and asking that everyone on the court avoids injuries. Of course, we can’t verify this, but if we have any lip-readers in our vast legion of RTC readers, we would love hear your take on this particularly if you have seen this is in person.
7:00 AM: Before I head out for a few minutes to take care of some errands like stocking up on groceries for the coming storm where I probably won’t leave my apartment for 3 weeks. I thought I would pass along one of my favorite things we are doing at RTC right now. We enlisted the help of our correspondents and got them to send us their favorite March memories. We narrowed down the submissions to the 16 best entries and are counting down to #1, which will be revealed on Wednesday (the day before the tournament starts). I’d encourage you to check out the entries we have so far and keep on coming back throughout the day to see what they selected as their favorite March memories and then chime in with your memories on those moments.
8:45 AM: Ok. False alarm on that grocery run. Apparently Costco doesn’t open until 9:30 so after this post I’ll be on a short break. So today’s RTC East breakfast is brought to you by Flour Bakery and consists of their Bobby Flay-slaying “Sticky Buns” and a twice-baked brioche. Here’s a quick run-down of the games (title game in red–there’s a lot of red) that I will be focusing on today:
- UMBC vs. Binghamton at 11 AM on ESPN2 for the America East title
- Memphis vs. #3 Tulsa at 11:35 AM on CBS for the Conference USA title
- Mississippi State vs. #16 LSU at 1 PM on ESPN2 and Raycom in the SEC semifinals
- #6 Michigan State vs. Ohio State at 1:30 PM on CBS in the Big 10 semifinals
- #1 UNC vs. #22 FSU at 1:30 PM on ESPN and Raycom in the ACC semifinals
- Tennessee vs. Auburn at 3 PM on ESPN2 and Raycom in the SEC semifinals
- Maryland vs. #8 Duke at 3:30 PM on ESPN and Raycom in the ACC semifinals
- #25 Illinois vs. #24 Purdue at 4 PM on CBS in the Big 10 semifinals
- #23 Arizona State vs. USC at 6 PM on CBS for the Pac-10 title
- Baylor vs. #15 Missouri at 6 PM on ESPN for the Big 12 title
- Temple vs. Duquesne at 6 PM on ESPN2 for the Atlantic 10 title
Late Night Games
- San Diego State vs. Utah at 7 PM on Versus for the Moutain West title
- Morgan State vs. Norfolk State at 7 PM on ESPNU for the MEAC title (Periodic score updates for this one)
- Buffalo vs. Akron at 8 PM on ESPN2 for the MAC title
- #5 Louisville vs. #20 Syracuse at 9 PM on ESPN for the Big East title
- Jackson State vs. Alabama State at 9 PM on ESPNU for the SWAC title (Periodic score updates for this one)
- Utah State vs. Nevada at 10 PM on ESPN2 for the WAC title
- Cal State-Northridge vs. Pacific at 11:59 PM on ESPN2 for the Big West title (This one is questionable)
10:55 AM: Ok. I’m back from my extended Costco run and have enough food to last me through the week. A quick summary on the early games. In the America East, Binghamton is a 5-6 point favorite (depending on your gambling establishment of choice). Honestly, I’m surprised that they aren’t bigger favorites since they come in at 22-8 while UMBC comes in 15-16 and the game is at Binghamton. It could be interesting though as they split the season series in the regular season with Binghamton winning the last game of the regular season at home against UMBC 71-51. I’m guessing the America East commissioner is rooting for UMBC to avoid the embarrassment of the CBS announcers having to explain why the conference’s regular season leading scorer (D.J Rivera) was left off the all-conference team. In Conference USA, Memphis is a 14-point favorite against Tulsa. Memphis might be playing for a #1 seed even with their ridiculously easy schedule. We’re hoping this game is more like the first time they met (a 55-54 Memphis win) rather the last time they met (a 63-37 Memphis win). I have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to be more like the latter, but we’ll be following it anyways to get a last look at Memphis before CBS’s new Billy Packer rips the NCAA selection committee for putting them over a Big East team.
11:05 AM: Breakfast at Binghampton? Actually that looks kind of tempting. I’m going to grab something to eat now. Are we going to get any shots of, or better yet an interview with, Tony Kornheiser (Binghamton’s most famous and vocal alum)?
11:25 AM: It has actually been a decent game so far. Kornheiser must be going nuts unless he’s still watching replays of American Idol. I have to say that as much as playing the game at a team’s home court must stink for the opponent it really adds to the atmosphere. I guess it’s not the best idea economically for the bigger conferences who can fill big arenas for their tournaments, but for small conferences with the appropriate geography I’m all for it. And best of all, we might get another “rush the court”. Memphis-Tulsa will be starting on CBS in a few minutes.
11:35 AM: It looks like CBS is trying to cheer Bill Simmons up after Holy Cross getting blown out by American as they brought Gus Johnson in for the Memphis-Tulsa game.
11:40 AM: Some clock problems at America East with the Kornheisers up 29-21. Memphis has jumped out to 5-0 lead after a Tyreke Evans “and 1″.
11:45 AM: Since we’re early I decided to look up famous alumni from the America East to compete with Kornheiser:
- Albany: Harvey Milk and Bob Ryan (Why couldn’t we have that as the finals? We could have had an All-America East PTI on Friday.) Wrong Bob Ryan.
- Binghamton: Karl Ravech, Paul Reiser, and Kornheiser
- Boston University: Martin Luther King Jr., Jason Alexander, Michael Chiklis, Geena Davis, Olympia Dukakis, Faye Dunaway, Mariel Hemingway, Julianne Moore, Howard Stern, Marisa Tomei, Bill Simmons (apparently he got his master’s there), Raja Bell, Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, Chris Drury, F. Lee Bailey, and your favorite college basketball blogger
- Hartford: Jeff Bagwell, Vin Baker, and Dionne Warwick
- Maine: Stephen King, Rick Carlisle, and Paul Kariya.
- UMBC: Dan Patrick (Wrong one). Some help here?
- New Hampshire: Jack Edwards
- Stony Brook: Joy Behar and Laura Schlessinger (Yikes. I feel sorry for any guys who went here.)
- Vermont: Ben Affleck, Jack Arute, John LeClair, Ryan Russillo, and Martin St. Louis.
That’s based on a quick review of Wikipedia. If I missed anybody, let me know.
Noon: Ok. That took longer than I expected. Binghamton is up 36-27 at half. Reggie Fuller is having a huge game (14 points on 7/7 FG for a 9.9 PPG guy). Memphis is up 20-15 with 6:23 left in the first half.
12:15 PM: Jablo, I have no idea about that. My shot doesn’t even hit rim so it doesn’t come into play when I’m out there. . .I wouldn’t think that they altered the rims for different leagues. USA Basketball doesn’t mention a difference, but I’m not sure what “mihe nutes” are either.
12:20 PM: Bad decision there by Matt Spadafora to go for the contested layup there when he had a 3-on-1 especially since we have the same vertical. He should have passed to either the guy on the wing or the man trailing the play to get a better look. Tulsa is only down by 5 with 1:50 left in the 1st half. Could a close game be enough to get Tulsa in the tournament?
12:30 PM: Ok. Somebody at CBS has to clown Jerome Jordan for whatever he was trying to do at the end of the 1st half. Memphis is up by 8 going into half. It’s been a pretty ugly shooting display so far with Memphis shooting a blistering 28.6% FG while Tulsa is shooting 25.8%. Binghamton is up 54-45 with 8:26 left.
12:35 PM: It looks like both Seth Davis and Greg Anthony are reading RTC as they think Terrence Williams should have been the Big East POY. By the way, what’s with the CBS guys going with the monochromatic shirt and tie? Did their producer hear that it leads to higher ratings? I might change out of my red t-shirt into a black one to match my shorts. Be back in a few minutes.
12:40 PM: Ok. I’m back with higher ratings already. Binghamton is up by 7 with 6 minutes left. They can almost taste a NCAA bid there. Speaking of the tournament, check out Zach’s new RTC Bracketology to see the latest bracket. Kornheisers are predicted as a 14 seed in the NCAA tournament.
12:45 PM: UMBC has cut it to a 6-point game with 3:20 left. If I were coaching either team, I would just give the ball to Reggie Fuller or Rich Flemming and have them shoot as soon as they touch the ball. Each guy is 7/7 FG today. Is there a reason that Fuller hasn’t taken a FG attempt this half?
12:55 PM: Emanuel Mayben just got called for a 5-second. I can’t remember seeing a guy get called for it with so little pressure on him. Just a mental slip-up by Mayden. Binghamton still up by 6 with 1:07 left.
12:57 PM: Interesting factoid that you will hear all week long if Binghamton holds on: Rivera was a nephew of the late Hank Gathers.
1:00 PM: Say it, ESPN! Say it! “Rush the court”!!! Where’s the plug? Congrats to the Kornheisers. He will be insufferable on PTI this week. Michael Wilbon should take the week off.
1:05 PM: Memphis has opened up an 18-point lead with 9:33 left. Say hello to the NIT, Tulsa. LSU-Mississippi State just tipped in Tampa/St. Pete. The SEC is awful this year. They’re looking at 2-3 teams unless Auburn or MSU can win the conference tournament.
1:10 PM: Did ESPN just bring Jeanine Edwards down from the ACC tournament to the SEC tournament the day after Kentucky was eliminated? If that’s not ESPN’s way of telling us that the Edwards-Billy Gillispie feud is real, I don’t know what is. Fortunately for Jeanine, she will still have a jog after the season is over.
1:20 PM: This Memphis game is over (25-point lead with 5:45 left) and now they’re just playing for a #1 seed. UNC-FSU should get underway in about 10 minutes. A win by UNC should guarantee them the #1 overall seed.
1:25 PM: Pretty nasty fall by Kodi Augustus who seems to be ok. He got a 3-for-1 (knee, back, and head). Hopefully the Duke fans won’t get too upset about me mentioning that.
1:35 PM: Interesting note for all the Duke-haters out there: Garrett Temple, who shut down J.J. Redick in his last game at Duke, is a senior now at LSU. Just looking at his numbers, it doesn’t look like Garrett has improved much during his time in Baton Rouge, but maybe some LSU fans can correct me. I’m guessing that Temple’s contributions are more like what Michael Lewis was talking about in his piece on Shane Battier.
1:40 PM: The analysts on ESPN2 just screwed up correlation and causation when discussing the difference between being seeded #1 or #2. I don’t think a #15 is that much better than a #16 or a #7 is that much better than a #8. It has more to do with the higher seeded team and its consistency rather than how tough the road is itself.
1:42 PM: Jeanine, so what do you think about Billy Gillispie?
1:45 PM: So I’m not getting the ESPN feed of FSU-UNC. I guess Raycom has the coverage in Boston so if anything interesting happens with the announcers there let me know. I’m assuming that ESPN moved Erin Andrews to the ACC conference tournament since the Big 10 conference tournament (where she was at yesterday) went from ESPN to CBS. Mark Titus must be crushed.
1:50 PM: As a follow-up to that, I’m guessing that Erin pulled rank on Jeanine and took the ACC sending Jeanine down to Tampa to cover the SEC. I’m hoping that Jeanine didn’t suffer the indignity of having to fly coach. . .
1:55 PM: Couple quick non-basketball questions before I get back to analyzing the games. What is that covering mid-court in Indianapolis? I’m guessing it is one color to represent each of the 11 schools in the Big 10. It looks like we have an early favorite for next year’s edition of America’s ugliest courts. Has Clark Kellogg replaced Billy Packer as Jim Nantz’s partner? Does this mean he’ll be covering the Final 4? I’m not sure I’m ok with that. Who would you guys choose out of CBS’s roster of analysts to be Nantz’s partner?
2:00 PM: Mississippi State is up 31-29 at halftime. Jarvis Varnado is having a big game even without racking up a ton of blocks (13 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks). Marcus Thornton is off to a slow start with just 8 points on 3/10 FG. Ohio State is up 19-15 midway through the first half thanks to a hot start from William Buford (7 points on 3/3 FG). UNC is up 12-9 with 11:43 left in the game. Some Raycom guy just said there isn’t an appreciable drop-off going from Ty Lawson to Larry Drew II and Bobby Frasor. Unforunately, the video feed from the game isn’t working so I’m stuck listening to BS like that. Seriously, how does that guy have a job?
2:05 PM: Nice job by Arinze. He’s obviously better at correcting me than he is at the FT line. That’s what happens when I take on too big of a task while trying to do something else (like BGtD).
2:10 PM: The Buckeyes are getting sloppy with the ball, but the Spartans have failed to capitalize as they haven’t scored in over 4 minutes. UNC is up 21-19 with 5:44 left in the first half. I finally have video back so I can tell you more about this game in a bit.
2:20 PM: Interesting post by Jeff Goodman today that mentions one of the candidates for the Boston University job is current Louisville assistant. . .Richard Pitino (yes, that’s his son). It would be interesting to see Richard start out at the same school that his father did. I have to say that BU isn’t a big-time hoops program. It’s a distant second on Commonwealth Avenue to Terrier hockey. It would be interesting to see how Richard handles the pressure at a small program, but one in a big city with a vicious media that will be more than willing to go after the son of a failed Celtics coach. That is assuming those same vultures still have jobs. . .I still can’t figure out what kind of hand “surgery” Chester Frazier had that would enable him to come back next week. The only two things that I can think of would be the removal of a ganglion cyst, which wouldn’t have occurred at practice like his injury was reported to be, or a closed reduction, which isn’t surgery (and wouldn’t take Frazier that long to recover from). Does anybody have some insight into what his injury might be? I’ve heard that it might be a “small” fracture, but that doesn’t seem to fit what Illinois is telling everybody although they could be lying.
2:30 PM: Quick scoreboard check: UNC is up 32-29 at half. Wayne Ellington is carrying the Tar Heels with 13 points while Tyler Hansbrough is having an off-day (6 points on 1/7 FG although he did pick up 6 rebounds). Ohio State is up 34-29 as they continue to ride the hot hand of William Buford (13 points on 6/7 FG and 5 rebounds). Maybe this will finally make Big 10 homers stop talking about Michigan State as a #1 seed. MSU is up by 8 with 10 minutes left in the game. It looks like they might knock off another bubble team.
2:35 PM: Seth Davis obviously hasn’t been looking at his brackets recently. Most people have Binghamton as a #14 seed, but it seems like Seth was suggesting that they’re a #16 seed. I can’t wait for Kornheiser to crush him on PTI this week.
2:40 PM: If you’re wondering if there is a sports story that can take the attention away from March Madness, we may have found it. Cleveland Browns WR Donte Stallworth hit and killed a pedestrian with his Bentley around 7 AM this morning.
2:50 PM: Varnado got away with one there on Thornton. Varnado has been a beast today. He’s taking this Mississippi State team into the NCAA tournament. I’m sure that every 4/5 seed will be praying that they avoid him when the brackets are announced on Selection Sunday. Like the ESPN guys, I would post his stats today, but the scorekeepers are way off right now so I’m not going to embarrass them.
3:00 PM: Looks like LSU is done as Thornton fouls out with MSU up by 16 with 2:36 left. We’re going to check out the other games, but keep an eye on this in case the Tigers find a way to battle back.
3:03 PM: Mark, thanks for the kind words. If you know anybody at any of those networks, have them e-mail me. You should keep on checking back as we are planning on having the most thorough coverage of the NCAA tournament anywhere (without a media pass unless the NCAA gets on board).
3:05 PM: MSU secures a spot in the SEC final tomorrow with a 67-57 win. Meanwhile in Indianapolis, Ohio State is up by a baker’s dozen on the Spartans. Interesting thought by Jim Nantz, could they drop to a #3 seed? I doubt it with all the other top 10 teams losing, but I think it points out just how ridiculous their claim to a #1 seed was before. FSU is up 52-50 with 11:18 left. I’ll be following this game as it looks like the only interesting one on right now.
3:15 PM: A couple quick links while I’m momentarily away from the TV. . .Check out Ray Floriani’s take on the Syracuse-UConn 6-OT thriller. You should also check out a cool feature that we found that lets you look at what the NCAA Selection Committee sees when they determine who gets a bid tomorrow evening (opens to Wake Forest, but you can look at any other team too).
3:25 PM: Is Hansbrough the 3rd most important player on the Tar Heels? I don’t think there is any question that Lawson is the most important player on the team, but I think that Ellington’s outside shooting may be more important to Roy Williams than Psycho T’s tough interior play because he has several other players who can play inside.
3:30 PM: Sam Cassell is sitting/standing behind the FSU bench. I guess they don’t have any need for him in Sacramento (not much to cheer about on the bench out there).
3:35 PM: A foul on Hansbrough? In a crucial situation? That can’t be right. I don’t care what the replay shows. Tyler does not foul. The FSU guy must have swung his head into Tyler’s hand. The FSU lead is down to 1 with 3:33 left. Toney Douglas is having a huge game with 25 points so far. In Indy, MSU has cut it to 10 with 3:50 left after B.J. Mullens mishandles a pass inside. Did Tom Izzo tell his guys they don’t need a 3 with almost 4 minutes left? They just took 3 straight shots from beyond the arc when they didn’t really have a good look.
3:40 PM: The other SEC semifinal just tipped pitting Tennessee against Auburn. The bubble teams have to be pulling for Bruce Pearl because a MSU-Auburn final would mean one of the bubble teams would definitely be out as neither of those teams has a shot to get an at-large bid. A lay-up and a pair of FTs by Evan “The Villain” Turner puts the Buckeyes up by 16 with less than 2:33 left and should fnish off the Spartans. UNC takes the lead at 70-69 with 58.2 seconds left and FSU has the ball.
3:45 PM: A bad foul by Ed Davis sends Toney Douglas to the line and he hits both to give FSU the lead with 45 seconds left and 11-12 second differential. Hansbrough just pulled a Trajan Langdon and Derwin Kitchens hits a pair of FTs to extend the lead to 3. Ellington misses a 3 and Danny Green blows off an open Hansbrough then proceeds to miss a game-tying 3 at the buzzer.
3:50 PM: Thanks for the heads up, Tyler. I figured I was going to make a bonehead mistake typing this much even if it was a really obvious one.
4:05 PM: Tennessee is up 30-22 with less than 6:30 left in the 1st half. Auburn might want to start playing some D. The Vols are shooting 67% FG right now.
4:10 PM: I missed most of the Mike Slive, the head of the Selection Committee and SEC commissioner (the one that can’t play basketball not the one who can’t follow up a lead on a Ponzi scheme although I can’t imagine that the latter would be that good on the court either), interview, but I’m guessing he was really vague making the entire interview a huge waste of time. Can anyone confirm this?
4:12 PM: Just saw JR’s latest comments about the live blogs. Do you guys want this style (BGtD) or using the CoverItLive technology (like we do for RTC Live when I’m courtside)? Leave your answers in the comment section to help us decide what to do.
4:15 PM: It looks like Miami and Utah are trying to recreate the Syracuse-UConn game as they are currently in the 3rd OT. I’m going to guess that nobody will be talking about that game tomorrow morning. NCAA > NBA.
4:20 PM: Hansbrough is 3 points shy of Redick’s ACC record right now. Get ready for at least a week of features on the chase and stories about his family including at least one feature on his disabled brother. The Vols are up by 11 at half. We have a nice little battle developing between Wayne Chism (16 points) and Korvotney Barber (14 points). Maryland is off to a quick start against Duke. They up 7-2 just 4 minutes into the game.
4:25 PM: It looks like Nolan Smith has returned from the concussion he suffered the last time these two teams played. Do you think he reminded his teammates to call out screens before the game? He looks a little rusty right now missing a lay-up that Kyle Singler put back. We’ll be following Smith’s play throughout the game to see how effective he will be this March.
4:40 PM: Apparently Barber injured his arm at the end of the first half. I’d just put a ton of Icy Hot on it. I always found the burning sensation made me forget the pain. Poor transition defense by the Vols leads to an open 3 and Auburn cuts it to 7. Duke responded with a 16-6 run after its slow start. They up by 5 with 8:54 left in the first half. Purdue is up by 8 midway through the first half. Illinois is killing itself with turnovers and poor defense off of them (4 TOs leading to 9 points).
4:55 PM: The Raycom guys are giving Danny Ferry praise for taking LeBron James when he fell into his lap with the #1 pick making the Cavs one of the top teams in the NBA. Maryland is up by 1 with 1:49 left while Purdue is up by 13 with 3:45 left. The Vols are hanging onto a 6-point lead with 10:30 left
5:05 PM: We’re at halftime in the ACC and Big 10. Duke is up by 2 behind Singler’s 12 points and 6 rebounds. Purdue is absolutely hammering Illinois, who had missed 13 straight shots. Matt Painter‘s squad is up 37-17 and were nearly up 40-17 as a heave at the buzzer hit the back of the rim. Well at least there are 2 good games to watch (Duke-Maryland and Tennessee-Auburn).
5:16 PM: Ok, thanks to nvr1983 for getting us through the first half of the day but he’s getting some fresh air while BGTD will roll on with multiple big games left to go… just coming out of the half in the ACC and Big 10 here. Purdue is up 100 on Illinois so we’re moving that one to the 13″ tv for now. Meanwhile, UT is up eleven on Auburn in Tampa, but there are only 2.5 minutes left there. This is a good thing for the voodoo people. They still need Duke to take control of this game, though, because Maryland can beat Florida St. if they make it there tomorrow.
5:21 PM: If we’re lucky we might get another 30-pt game out of Illinois today. They’ve already had two this year – Minnesota and Penn St. Quick word on Vitale calling the Duke-Maryland game. We’ve noticed in the past few weeks he’s been really quiet. He missed the GameDay game at Cal completely, and this is the first ACC Tourney game (we think) he’s called. Of course it’s Duke. But is he just saving his voice, or does he have some other problem? Tennessee is about to move into the SEC finals.
5:25 PM: Hilarious. It doesn’t matter which league tournament you’re listening to, you’ll hear a partisan announcer “making the case” for why that particular league deserves more than X number of teams. Jimmy Dykes just tried that argument with the SEC, which according to Lunardi, only has two teams in. He said that the SEC hurt itself because it knew it was a young league, and the SOS was hurt by it. WRONG. The SEC hurt itself by losing to all those garbage teams more than scheduling them. Kentucky losing to VMI. Auburn and Alabama losing to Mercer. Going 4-5 against the A10. Going 15-21 against the rest of the BCS conferences without a single winning record against any. That’s the problem. It wasn’t scheduling, it was losing.
5:36 PM: Be sure to get ready for Selection Monday! Sometimes advertising really annoys me.
5:41 PM: If Vasquez can catch fire here, Duke is toast. What did Gerald Henderson eat this morning – he looks like complete garbage out there (2-11 so far). Purdue is still up twenty on Illinois (stuck at 30), and we’re convinced that the Boilers are the best team in the Big Ten when fully healthy. Something isn’t right with that MSU team, and it hasn’t been all year (in our view).
5:45 PM: This hasn’t gotten a lot of press because of all the attention on this year’s teams, but Vitale/Patrick reminded me of it, and that’s the insane class that Memphis has put together for next season if the reports are true. Think about this – the word is that consensus #1 player John Wall is leaning to John Calipari’s Tigers, and they already have the consensus #2 (6’9 DeMarcus Cousins) and #3 (6’6 Xavier Henry) players coming in next year. Fab Three? Nobody has ever done something like this before. The Fab Five had three top ten recruits including consensus #1 Webber, but good lord! Better get any licks you can on Memphis now…
5:51 PM: I’d just like to clarify on the Vitale comment above that I really hope that he’s just taking it easy on his voice as well. As much as I love to clown him for his partisanship and protection of his coaching buddies, there is no single greater ambassador for the game. Period. Maryland is finished. They can’t win if Vasquez is playing poorly, and this 9-0 run by Duke has pretty much finished off the Terps.
5:54 PM: Gotta win six in a row, except for the fact that #1 seeds get to the Four at a 2:1 margin over #2 seeds. Probably because they’re generally better teams.
5:57 PM: Illinois breaks forty! Really an unbalanced team – #2 defensive efficiency and #138 offensive efficiency. Yet despite that lack of offensive prowess, they’re a very good team in terms of passing the ball for baskets – 70% of their hoops are assisted.
6:01 PM: Maybe we spoke a little too soon on Maryland’s demise – the Terps had a shot in the air to cut the lead to four. Huge rebound by Singler, and GW is disgusted. So it’ll be Purdue and Ohio St. in tomorrow’s Big 10 Final. OSU is playing a lot better, but so is Purdue. The Buckeyes beat Purdue when Hummel was out injured, but they got humiliated in W. Lafayette a few weeks later when he was back.
6:06 PM: Big three by Maryland there to cut it back to two possessions, but we just don’t see Duke blowing this one like the Terps did in 2002.
6:11 PM: Eric Hayes is on fire right now. I’d give him the ball for another three. Wow, Vasquez was very near to getting that down to cut it to three.
6:20 PM: Ok, Duke moves on to face FSU in the ACC Finals tomorrow. Both of their previous games were very good, games that FSU could have won. It’ll be interesting to see if FSU might lose a little focus after knocking off #1 today, though.
6:23 PM: On to the next round of games, which includes no fewer than three championships on at once. On ESPN2, we have the A10 championship game, also known as the Voodoo Game because whoever wins will steal a spot from a team on the proverbial bubble. Remember that College Chalktalk is live-blogging that game from courtside if you’re interested. On ESPN is the Big 12 title game between Baylor and Mizzou, and despite the cold shooting to start, we figure this one might go triple digits with the way these guys love to run up and down. Finally, over on CBS we have Arizona St.-USC and this might be one of the first times all year many people will get to see the “new and improved” Demar DeRozan for the Trojans. Three excellent games to keep an eye on…
6:29 PM: Ron Franklin just said Baylor’s Tweety Carter scored 7400 pts in high school competition (six years). That’s incomprehensible, so we’ll just move on. People have been saying that Baylor “re-discovered” their defense in the Big 12 Tourney to make this run, but the numbers don’t really bear out that viewpoint. The Nebraska game, yes, but the Texas and Kansas games, not so much.
6:40 PM: ASU is looking strong early against USC, with Ty Abbott already dropping 8 on the Trojans. Remember, USC probably needs to win this game to make the Dance. Temple and Duquesne are in a tight one in AC, with Temple leading by two.
6:42 PM: By the way, we’re down to under-24 hours until the Selection Show. :-)
6:44 PM: Wow, James Harden just looks like an NBA two-guard. Maybe it’s the beard, but more likely it’s the silky way with which he handles and shoots the ball. Of course he hasn’t shot much yet, but give it time.
6:48 PM: Mizzou has made a bit of a run to take the lead back from Baylor; meanwhile, USC is hanging with ASU and Temple has taken a five-pt lead into halftime in Atlantic City. DeMarre Carroll just got a weight-room “and-one” as Steve Lavin would call it. Mamadou Diene has 0 pts, 3 fouls, which comes on the heels of yesterday’s 0 pts/5 fouls performance. Would you believe that his point/foul ratio is a healthy 0.91. Yes, he has more fouls (55) on the season than points (50), playing 10.5 minutes per game. Nearly a foul every five minutes – wow.
6:56 PM: James Harden may be on his way to a trip-dub here, already with five assists (the hardest part). He’ll get double figures in pts easy; the hardest part will be getting the rebounds. Daniel Hackett and DeRozan are the players keeping USC alive, but ASU appears to be the more confident and aggressive team right now.
6:59 PM: Harden with another NBA-level move to create space and drop a 24-footer at the buzzer. If he played for Duke or Carolina, he probably would have been NPOY over Griffin. Mizzou finished up the half with a four-pt lead. 37-33, expect this one to open up a little more in the second stanza.
7:06 PM: Wasn’t aware that Duquesne is the youngest team in the country, but that’s what they just said on the A10 title game coverage. I count nine freshmen on their roster, all most of them don’t really play. In the starting lineup, it appears they start two frosh, two sophs and a senior. Not as young as I would have expected.
7:16 PM. Ok, we’ll play. Just got a comment with a link to the below photo, courtesy of InsideCarolina.com. We’ll even be nice and assume these images weren’t cherrypicked to show the least amount of contact. So tell us, fair readers, is the below image from yesterday’s VT-UNC game a foul or a jump?
7:21 PM: USC came out of the half really pushing, and they’re on a 10-2 run to get it within six. The Trojan defense is really stepping up here, getting a few turnovers already. Floyd must have really gotten after them in the locker room.
7:24 PM: Temple has moved back up eight on Duquesne, and we’re back in the Big 12 as well. Seriously, is there anything much better than this stuff? When we’re sitting through some endless baseball game next August, we’ll be thinking about the games we’re watching now and during the next few weeks.
7:26 PM: Mizzou’s ball movement was outstanding there to find an open three on the skip pass. Mike Anderson has really done a great job with this program to put the Tigers in position to win the Big 12 championship. They haven’t even been to the Tourney since 2003, and we think Missouri is the most successful NCAA program to have never tasted a F4. If we’re wrong about that, let us know.
7:28 PM: Maybe everyone is at dinner with their families right now, but here’s my take on the above photo from yesterday’s UNC-VT game. If the standard is that a player can reach around someone to touch the ball, that’s fine, but that’s not a tie-up. However, if you are allowed to essentially hug someone from their side to continue to keep their hand on the ball, then you’ve crossed over into physical contact creating a competitive advantage for the defender, which in our book, is a foul. In the third frame, really? Hugging someone from their side is not a foul? I see substantial skin-on-skin contact. Please explain this to me.
7:32 PM: USC will not go quietly. They’re down four and showing a lot of athleticism and quick hands in their fullcourt pressure. Temple is up five in the A10 final with about 4:30 left – we’ll make sure this doesn’t lose us.
7:36 PM: Baylor is down nine, but they’re starting to realize it’s now or never and have gotten very aggressive offensively the last few possessions.
7:38 PM: Just updating scores again, but the Mtn West and the MEAC are playing their championships now as well – SDSU and Morgan St. have early leads. The MAC will begin in about twenty minutes.
7:43 PM: USC is back within two and Mizzou is still up seven, while Temple remains up six with under-two to go in the A10. Duquesne has had several possessions to cut that lead, but haven’t been able to get it done.
7:48 PM: Temple is finishing off Duquesne, who hasn’t scored a point in forever. Another great conference tournament for Fran Dunphy in only his third year on the job there. It will be Christmas in March for the Owls, as we’ll see them again next week in the first round! In the Pac-10, SC can’t quite get over the hump against ASU – both teams are showing signs of fatigue. Who can gut out the last five+ minutes the most?
7:52 PM: Derozan is having another great game, with 23 and counting. He appears to have fresher legs than everyone else out there, but maybe that’s just younger legs. Mizzou has gone on another run in Oklahoma City to really put Baylor in a tough spot, down thirteen now.
7:55 PM: Baylor picked the wrong day to go cold from three – they’re currently sitting at 5-22, and they’re going to need at least 3-4 to get back into this game and have a chance to win it. Ok, there’s one. Still time…
7:58 PM: Kinda glad we’re not watching the Mtn West final right now – SDSU leads 20-18 over Utah at the half. Ugh.
8:01 PM: Punch, counter-punch in the Pac-10 title game. Great execution on offense on both ends right now. You get the sense that if USC could get one major stop they could win this game. HUGE three for Dwight Lewis from the corner – do they get that stop?
8:03 PM: Where has this USC team been all year? They got the stop, and now Hackett goes to the line (smart move, btw) after driving it down the lane and getting fouled. SC is now all the way back, and in fact, have a one-pt lead. Guess who will get the ball now – maybe the all-american who can score on anybody?
8:05 PM: Mizzou is still up nine on Baylor with 2:40 to go. But we’re really interested in this USC-ASU game. Remember, USC probably needs to get this stop to make the Tournament next week. Here we go…
8:06 PM: Didn’t like that drive by Harden there into the gut of the lane and the Pac-10′s best shot-blocker. Harden was probably also guilty of a charge there. Can USC knock another bubble team off the list? How’re you feeling right now, Creighton and St. Mary’s? Providence and Auburn?
8:09 PM: What a hustle play to knock it off of Harden as the ball was sailing out of bounds! Gotta say… we’ve been a big fan of Harden’s all year but we haven’t liked any of these decisions down the stretch. Over in the Big 12, Mizzou is going to win the conference title, so all the bubblers can rest easy on Baylor’s inclusion. They will not steal a spot.
8:13 PM: Nobody is going to want to see USC in their pod. They have A-grade talent; it just took them a whilel to put it together this year. And Demar Derozan has come of age in the last week – with 25 today, he set a new career-high and averaged 21/9 in the Pac-10 Tourney. Who the hell is the guy in the stocking hat on the court celebrating with the Trojans?
8:25 PM: I’m back to replace rtmsf who is taking a well-deserved break. Quick rundown of the scores to set the stage: Akron is up 12-8 on Buffalo with 11:22 left in the 1st half; Utah is up 35-31 on San Diego State with 10:31 left in the game; Morgan State is up 44-37 on Norfolk State with 14:21 left in the game.
8:35 PM: I just read through rtmsf’s commentary. I would like to point out that I was on the USC bandwagon as a dangerous darkhorse back in early February (see bottom of the post). Where were Katz, Davis, Winn, Lunardi, Wahl, Gottlieb, Digger, Bilas, Vitale, Davis, and company on that one? The only ones who saw this USC run coming were our loyal readers. That’s why you come here–analysis and mind-blowing predictions that you won’t find anywhere else. As for Derozan’s performance, is this the college basketball equivalent of a contract year (March greatness–>NBA Draft)?
8:40 PM: I’m going to go ahead and file this MWC title game under the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” column. I don’t need any tempo or offensive efficiency numbers to tell me that this game is U-G-L-Y. Luke Nevill may have sealed it a free throw to extend it to an 8-point game with 5:20 left. Of course, Ryan Amoroso responds with a 3 to kill my previous comment, but I’m sticking with it. Nevill misses the front end of a one-and one. Aztec ball down by 5 with 4:30 left.
8:45 PM: ESPN.com is predicting Nevill as a 2nd round pick or being undrafted. I haven’t seen him play that much, but I can’t see a 7’2″ guy with a reasonable offensive repetoire being undrafted. I would think he might be able to go mid 2nd round.
8:50 PM: Ok. That possession was just ugly all-around. I think that explains why Nevill may go undrafted and why San Diego State isn’t in the tournament. Why does Utah have it’s name on the back of the jerseys? Why are they the Runnin’ Utes? Shouldn’t UNLV have a trademark on the term “Runnin’” at least in its own conference? Are they the Runnin’ Utes for everything? The swim team? Yeah. This game is that boring. Utah is up by 5 with 37.9 seconds left after Shaun Green splits a pair of FTs.
8:55 PM: I have to say the atmosphere in the Thomas & Mack Center is depressing. I’m not sure if it’s the acoustics in there or that all the fans have hangovers and are debating whether they should gamble again tonight or go to Crazyhorse, but the arena sounds like it is the end of a meaningless mid-season 40-point blowout instead of a 3-point game with 21.4 seconds left with a conference title and a NCAA bid on the line.
9:00 PM: Richie Williams has hit back-to-back 3s to cut the margin to a single point with 5.7 seconds left and Lawrence Borha at the line. He splits them, but Williams was stripped on his attempt to be Danny Ainge. Congrats to Utah. That was about 7 seconds of excitement from the crowd–nice job West Coasters.
9:10 PM: Syracuse-Louisville is about to tip. I didn’t get to see Terrence Williams doing his own lyrics to it, but I only caught it from the middle. Out of curiousity, did the fans who went the Syracuse-West Virginia game last night want a refund because they only got 1 OT? By the way, if you’re looking for a guy who will be object of opposing fan’s ire during the tournament (outside of the usual suspects from Duke and UNC) look no further than Eric Devendorf. Scott Van Pelt basically called him out on his show yesterday show for all of his trash-talking and antics. At the risk of infuriating the sensitive Syracuse fans, I’ll say it again: fatigue might affect Syracuse (gasp). I have to say I like Louisville’s choice of Biggie for their introduction song. I guess he qualifies as old-school for most of these guys since he was “assassinated” when they were in elementary school.
9:15 PM: Jason, we’re over 7000 words right now. I’d be surprised if even 1% of those mentioned that call if you don’t count the stuff where we are responding to yo. I would say the better evidence is the video from yesterday not some freeze frames of the event. Back to the games. . .Morgan State just punched its ticket to the dance. If you’re upset that we didn’t cover it, blame Comcast since we don’t get ESPNU. This is their first NCAA appearance in school history. They’re predicted to be a #16 seed according to most bracketologists so Colin Cowherd thinks they should be shot now to be put out of their misery. Akron is up 43-27 with 15:44 minutes left. It looks like they are in control here. Back over to ESPN for the big boys game.
9:25 PM: JR, we agree on both of your points. We linked to an article about what Williams does in the pre-game earlier in the day. It seems harmless.
9:35 PM: I analyzed this almost 2 weeks ago, but it’s worth noting that at that time Syracuse and Louisville were the worst FT shooting teams in the top 25. Syracuse’s is primarily related to Arinze Onuaku‘s horrendous FT shooting (comes into tonight shooting .300–a solid batting average not so much as a FT percentage), but Louisville is just a poor FT shooting team without anybody bringing them down. Just something to think about when we get to crunch time.
9:40 PM: Kind of depressing to see Gerry McNamara in the crowd so soon after he played at Syracuse. I would have assumed he could have played for a couple years in Europe. It looks like he is still floating around the NBDL playing for the Reno Bighorns, but waived for “personal reasons” according to Wikipedia. I can’t verify it. Can anybody here confirm or deny it?
9:45 PM: Nice. Doris Burke coming through for me with an interview with McNamara. What is ESPN thinking calling McNamara the star of that 2003 title run? I was at that East Regional in Albany and while McNamara was a good player (I thought he was every bit as good in college–not talking about pro potential–as Jameer Nelson) and that was 100% Carmelo Anthony‘s team.
9:50 PM: Kristof Ongenaet just took a hard fall. It was a pretty hard fall, but no chance of any serious spinal injury based on how his back/head hit. He was pretty lucky that he didn’t flip about 15 degrees further or it could have been ugly. Syracuse is up by 5 with less than a minute to go.
9:55 PM: Syracuse closes a 13-2 run go into half with an 8-point lead. They looked surprisingly fresh in the first half. I think shooting 53.3% FG including 50% from 3 helps that. Louisville needs to get a few 3s to drop after going 4/15 from beyond the arc in the 1st half. Having T-Will show up offensively in the 2nd half would be nice too (2 points on 1/6 FG). Preston Knowles is keeping Louisville in this game with 12 first half points off the bench. Meanwhile, Akron is holding onto a 12-point lead with 3:51 left.
10:10 PM: It looks like Akron has this one wrapped up. It’s a minor upset as most people had Buffalo winning this game. I’d expect them to be a #14 seed. Get ready for plenty of stories about Keith Dambrot, who coached some guy named LeBron in high school. Apparently, they are still very close. Who will use their icon first to recruit high school talent? Dambrot with LeBron or Craig Robinson with Barack Obama?
10:20 PM: Louisville has tied it in less than 3 minutes and has the ball again after a carless Syracuse turnover. I hope this isn’t all the minutes catching up with the Orangmen.
10:25 PM: Utah State is already up 21-4 and we’re not even midway through the 1st half. This may be the only update we have of this game until we congratulate Utah State on getting a NCAA bid.
10:30 PM: Syracuse needs to be careful here. They’re only down by 3 right now, but if they’re not careful Louisville could open up a big lead. At least they’re getting offensive rebounds, but they missed 4 consecutive 3s. Are their legs starting to go?
10:32 PM: This is exactly what I was talking about. Louisville is up by 8 (+16 in the first 6 minutes of the 2nd half). Can Syracuse rally yet again?
10:45 PM: How is T-Will 30th on Chad Ford’s draft board? Oh yeah. It’s Chad Ford’s draft board. The same guy who argued for Darko Milicic over Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh.
10:55 PM: This game looks like it could be over if Louisville plays smart, which means no more dumb shots. Did you hear that Edgar Sosa?
11:00 PM: Quick check-in on the other games tonight. It looks like a jumped the gun on that WAC game. Utah State is only up by 5 at half against Nevada. Alabama State is up by 7 with 3:37 left. It looks like they’ll be in the tournament by 11:15.
11:15 PM: Congrats to Louisville for sweeping the regular season and post-season titles. You know for a guy who is so politically correct, Jay Bilas is using the word “courageous” a lot. It just seems like he is the kind of guy who would be on a talk show lecturing somebody not to throw around words like that for things that aren’t life and death. Still, here’s a tip of the hat to Syracuse for making this such an interesting Big East tournament.
11:20 PM: Congrats to Alabama State. This will be their 3rd tournament trip. Their previous 2 trips ended in 1st round losses to Michigan State (2001) and Duke (2004). That might be the toughest pair of opponents of any team to make it to the tournament twice.
11:25 PM: Checking back in with you for the late, late shift here. We’ve still got more basketball on our hoops agenda tonight. Utah St. is up eleven on the road at Nevada, and the Big West Championship between Pacific and Northridge comes after that one. Then we’re down to the four tomorrow. That’s it.
11:32 PM: Maybe it’s because we’re on the west coast and we hear him more often, but does anyone else like listening to Stephen Bardo call games? Seriously, we think he does a pretty good job. Anyway, getting back to the matter at hand, we’re pretty surprised that Nevada is playing so poorly in front of a home crowd ready to explode there.
11:41 PM: Nevada is shooting an atrocious 24% from the field in this game. At home. Way to lay an egg, fellas. Look at some of these numbers – Armon Johnson (2-13), Brandon Fields (0-7), Luke Babbitt (1-9). Ouch.
11:47 PM: So Stew Morrill refuses to play “name” teams unless they’ll do home-and-homes with USU? Yeah, it’s nice to have principles, but he needs to realize that playing people anytime, anwhere, anyhow is what builds your brand. See Gonzaga ca. 1999 for lesson on this. Looks like it won’t matter, though. They’re getting in anyway after this destruction of Nevada.
11:59 PM: What’s that? BGTD hits the eighteen-hr mark for today! Ok, not really. But at least thirteen hrs where games were actually ongoing. Who else is still churning away producing top-drawer commentary other than us here at RTC? Not even Jay Bilas, and Andy Katz hasn’t been seen anywhere today. Slacker.
12:08 AM: That’s a big time championship win for Utah St. – on the bubble? Fuhgeddaboutit. They marched into a major rival’s house and pretty much stole their hearts from the tip to secure that bid. Well done, USU. Well done.
12:11 AM: Whoa. A Miles Simon sighting! Had no idea that guy was doing broadcasting these days. I think the last time I saw him the Arizona Wildcats were getting demolished in the E8 by Utah. I was in a Hooters knockoff bar in Tampa, FL. Don’t ask.
12:17 AM: Apparently Scott Van Pelt just mentioned RTC on Sportscenter. See, there’s a reason we do what we do. Good thing it was VP and not one of the other guys, though. Always dug him; knew he had some good taste. Thanks to the commenters for the notification. I’ll try to throw it up on here in a little while.
12:25 AM: Looking at the Big West here, we were in the Anaheim Convention Center back in November and it was only marginally less crowded as this game. SoCal people are so blase about college hoops. Northridge is up 15-3 and Pacific doesn’t look like they knew they had a game tonight.
12:37 AM: Jeez, Northridge is blitzing Pacific right now.
12:50 AM: Pizza man came, and we’re trying to get this clip up. Sorry about that. Anyway, Pacific has awakened, and is down only ten at this point. Maybe they should move this conference tournament to campus sites – it’s just hard to get excited when there’s so few people watching.
12:56 AM: Pacific has scored seven pts in the last 90 seconds, which was more than they had for the first ten minutes. Did you guys know that Pacific is the 334th slowest tempo in the nation this year? They are something like 20-1 when they score under 60 pts this season.
1:08 AM: Lunardi has Maryland, Creighton and St. Mary’s in over Arizona, SDSU, Penn St., and Auburn. Actually, on the sniff test, we agree with all of that. Arizona would be the one question mark, maybe vs. Maryland, but we could live with it. We keep getting these updates, but what Dick Cheney-like bunker do they have him hidden away in tonight? Why doesn’t someone apply some Nate Silver regression techniques on bracketology? That’d put Lunardi out of business. File that away on the RTC to-do list.
1:16 AM: Ok, here goes… last part of the clip. Although, admittedly, Get On The Floor!! would have been an acceptable blog title as well. Until someone came along and called themselves Going onto the Court, that is…
1:36 AM: Got sidetracked again. Stupid planning. Anyway, Pacific has cut this to within two, and we’re really starting to wonder if Northridge is going to have the sack to finish off what they started. Right now all the momentum is definitely Pacific’s way. Miles Simon pulls out the national championship talk, straight out of the Jay Williams-at-Duke rotation when he first started calling games and hosting in the studio.
1:44 AM: Ok, so now Lunardi has also moved Memphis ahead of UConn on the top-seed line. How do you justify this? Anyone? If UConn had played only twenty games this year, their schedule still would have been tougher than Memphis’.
2:09 AM: Huge jumper there for Northridge to get the lead back to four pts, then Pacific missed one of two FTs to shoot themselves in the foot a little bit.
2:13 AM: Brian LeDuc hit a big three to cut the lead back to two from the top of the key. Less than a minute remaining here. Pacific needs a stop here…
2:15 AM: What a horrendous possession for Northridge there. Dribble around, nearly lose the ball, and then throw up a 30-footer. About the only good thing from that possession was that it lasted the full shot clock. But Pacific will have 22 seconds to go.
2:17 AM: Great decision by Michael Kirby there. Thought he was going to get suckered into a bad three with the overplaying defense there, but he remained composed and took it to the rim. Got the first…. and got the second. Clutch.
2:20 AM: Wow, Northridge damn near nailed that shot from 40 feet. Pacific has to feel good though; this is as close as they’ve been since the very beginning of the game.
2:24 AM: A three-ball followed by a traditional three-pt play and we’re still tied. Maybe this one will go to six OTs.
2:27 AM: Could have been a charge there, but Northridge will try to kill some clock here. We have a strange feeling that if Northridge scores on this possession, the game will be over. Dagger three from Mels, and now the Matadors are up five.
2:29 AM: That was one of the more boneheaded plays I’ve ever seen in that situation. Mels is lucky he hasn’t been buried under the arena by head coach Bobby Braswell after that play.
2:31 AM: How on earth did Northridge miss both of those layups? It appears that Northridge is in control, but who knows with this team. I think we’ve found the team most likely to get certifiable against someone next week.
2:34 AM: Northridge has been to the NCAAs once before, in 2001, where they lost to Kansas by 25 pts. It’s over. CSN hangs on by a thread, and they’re heading to the Dance. Bobby Braswell should be proud of his troops for showing enough guts to hang on despite giving up the big lead.
2:36 AM: And that’s it for today, folks. Pretty good day. Four games left tomorrow, really only one of which could influence the bubble (if Miss. St. beats Tennessee). Then it’s bracket time, baby. RTC will of course have BGTD going through the games tomorrow and we’ll run RTC Live during the Selection Show. As always, join us and tell us what we’re doing wrong. Sleep on that globule, Hoops Nation.