Checking in on… The Ivy League

Posted by rtmsf on February 26th, 2010

Dave Zeitlin is the RTC correspondent for the Ivy League.

The Not Ready For Prime Time Players

It probably started with the nationally acclaimed recruiting class. It picked up momentum in early December when Jeremy Lin and his 30 points nearly singlehandedly upset then-Big East powerhouse UConn.

It gathered steam with a victory against Boston College, followed soon by a seven-game winning streak. And it came to a boiling point with stories in Sports Illustrated and The Wall Street Journal prior to a showdown with Cornell.

We are talking about expectations…specifically those for the Harvard Crimson. The trouble with expectations is that they rarely turn out as you would hopefully…expect. And in this case, they exploded on Jan. 30 when Cornell administered an 86-50 dose of reality. In retrospect, perhaps we were all guilty of anointing Harvard as a serious Ivy threat too soon. After all, its roster is composed of — amazingly — seven sophomores and seven freshmen. And its schedule, aside from a brutal three-game stretch against UConn, B.C. and Georgetown in December, was ultra-soft. The combined records of the schools Harvard has beaten (not counting Division III neighbor MIT and considering vanquished Ivy foes only once) stands at 152-224, and that figure is somewhat softened by William & Mary at 19-8.

In fact, Harvard has beaten only THREE teams with a winning record — the aforementioned Tribe (thrashed in their BracketBuster game by Iona), BU, and GW. None of those inspire fear. Harvard has lost to the other five teams on their schedule with winning records — Army, UConn, Georgetown, Cornell (twice), and Princeton. The latter three games represent the defining moments of Harvard’s season. Given his coaching history, Tommy Amaker is an easy target. But with a youthful roster, a resurgent and rebuilt Princeton team, and a powerhouse up in Ithaca, it is clear that all those expectations were, indeed, unrealistic.

The true measure of this team will come in succeeding seasons. Will all those recruits stay happy and keep coming — knowing that, while they will receive a superb education, they will play in relative obscurity? Cornell loses much of its strength via graduation but Princeton is back to where Princeton expects (there’s that word again) to be and Penn may be on that road as well. Harvard may likely be the sexy Ivy pick for the 2010-11 season and with it will come more … expectations.

A Non-Ivy Footnote (or, Six Degrees of Separation from Craig Robinson)

It has been a month since President Barack Obama sat down with Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg at halftime of the Georgetown-Duke game. And it got me thinking. Now, nothing against Special K, who we remember as a dominant forward for THE Ohio State University and who we regard as one of the finest nuts-and-bolts analysts of the college game. But we lament the fact that CBS decided to break up the Lundquist/Bill Raftery team. Their rapport and repartee was delightful, sometimes irreverent, and always spontaneous and unrehearsed. It was definitely good for a few laughs, especially during the most one-sided games. Imagine if they were still together for Barack Banter at halftime. We would have found out if he had suggested to his campaign contributors to “send it in”; if he addressed Congress as a group or “mantaman”; or if he tucked his daughters in at night with a “kiiisss” and if he left Michelle with some of her “lingerie on the deck”; and most importantly, could he deal with some of the problems in the Middle East with “onions!”

And now on to the power rankings. With two weekends of Ivy play remaining, the top spots, while technically still up for grabs, are sorting themselves out. The middle is a muddle. And at the bottom, even Dartmouth broke into the win column. Here’s how we see it:

  1. Cornell (9-1, 23-4): The Big Red recovered from the Score Heard ‘Round the World (a 79-64 loss to Penn for those of you more interested in triple salchows) with three straight workmanlike victories. They took over undisputed possession of first place by beating Princeton at their own game — holding them to 45 points and 36% shooting. Then they shot the lights out versus Harvard (50% FG, 52% from three) and Dartmouth (57% FG, 60% from three) to finish their four-game road trip. A third straight trip to the Dance should be coming soon.
  2. Princeton (7-2, 16-7): The loss to Cornell at home was understandable. The loss to Brown at home was inexcusable — especially for a team that was still in contention for Ivy crown. They allowed the Bears to shoot 58% and score 57 points, five more than their NCAA-leading defensive scoring average. An opportunity for atonement arrives tonight when the Tigers travel to Ithaca — a game which represents the last chance for some down-to-the-wire Ivy excitement.
  3. Harvard (7-3, 18-6): Only a possible shot at second place (and perhaps some post-season-play in a tourney not named NCAA) likely awaits the Crimson thanks to that Feb. 19 loss to Cornell. That shot at the runner-up spot will come on March 6 when they close the season at Princeton. It is hard to imagine a likely 20-win season being disappointing (see above) for any Ivy team, but the goals were higher in Cambridge. The good news is that while Harvard will lose Jeremy Lin, they will return 15 out of the 18 players on their roster.
  4. Brown (4-6,10-17): OK, so, why the Bears to round out the top half of the conference and not Penn? Here’s the logic:  they have split games so head-to-head doesn’t apply. Brown has a better overall record, albeit against a weaker schedule. And while they both have games vs. Harvard and Cornell still remaining, Penn visits Princeton to end the season. So this ranking is a projection. Besides we applaud Brown’s rare (for any Ivy team over the past 30 years) southern double weekend-road wins vs. Penn and Princeton.
  5. Penn (4-5, 5-18): This could have been a resurgence, redemption, replacement (as in coaching) and an all-is right-with-the-world paragraph. Instead, the postgame euphoria that was evident after the Doug Gottllieb hyperbole win versus Cornell was followed by three straight home losses. With road contests against Cornell and Princeton sandwiched around a home date with Harvard, the hopes for a .500 conference record look bleak — but with almost everyone returning next season, more Palestra magic will be back again soon.
  6. Yale (4-6, 10-17): The Elis have exactly the same record as Brown and a better overall record than Penn. But they are kind of like 2009 football Giants — they get their wins against the teams they are supposed to beat. Their only wins in their last seven games have come at the expense of bottom-feeders Columbia and Dartmouth. And their lost loss to Penn definitively relegated them the sixth spot in the power rankings.
  7. Columbia (3-7, 9-15): The disappointing Lions appear to have a firm grasp of seventh place. A road win at the Palestra (thanks to Niko Scott’s 29 points and an amazing seven 3-pointers) is the only thing that has kept Columbia from a five-game losing streak. They would need to win their last four games (unlikely) to keep Coach Joe Jones’ string of .500 conference seasons intact.
  8. Dartmouth (1-9, 5-19): A victory on Feb. 19 vs. Columbia averted a winless conference season for the Big Green. The good news is that they have actually had at least two players in double figures in their last three games — led by junior guard Ronnie Dixon with 46 points during that span. The glass half full approach in Hanover (for a team that ranks 326 out of 347 in RPI) has to be that five out of the top six scorers return. Come to think of it, that may be the glass half empty approach as well.
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RTC Friday Seed Update: 02.26.10

Posted by zhayes9 on February 26th, 2010

As the season winds closer to a conclusion and Selection Sunday approaches, a bracket snapshot each Monday just doesn’t quite seem adequate. From now until the end of the year, we’ll be providing a Friday seed update that outlines where each team inside and just outside the field of 65 currently stands along with reasoning why certain teams changed seed number since the previous Monday.

(Note: each of the four teams in one seed grouping is listed in pecking order in terms of who is closer to moving up a seed line. This is used to determine game location and matchups similar to Joe Lunardi’s S-Curve listing. Auto bids marked in italics).

#1 Seeds: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Purdue

#2 Seeds: Duke, Kansas State, Villanova, West Virginia

#3 Seeds: Georgetown, New Mexico, Ohio State, Pittsburgh

#4 Seeds: Vanderbilt, BYU, Temple, Wisconsin

#5 Seeds: Michigan State, Gonzaga, Butler, Baylor

#6 Seeds: Texas, Xavier, Texas A&M, Tennessee

#7 Seeds: Wake Forest, Richmond, Maryland, Northern Iowa

#8 Seeds: Missouri, UNLV, Florida State, Illinois

#9 Seeds: Oklahoma State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, UTEP

#10 Seeds: Florida, Virginia Tech, Marquette, California

#11 Seeds: Louisville, Old Dominion, Rhode Island, UAB

#12 Seeds: Connecticut, Utah State, Saint Mary’s, Siena

#13 Seeds: Cornell, Charlotte, Kent State, Oakland

#14 Seeds: Murray State, Wofford, Weber State, Sam Houston State

#15 Seeds: Morgan State, Coastal Carolina, North Texas, UC-Santa Barbara

#16 Seeds: Jacksonville, Stony Brook, Robert Morris, Lehigh, Jackson State

Last Four In: Charlotte, Saint Mary’s, Connecticut, UAB

Last Four Out: Mississippi State, Dayton, San Diego State, Arizona State

Next Four Out: Mississippi, Cincinnati, Seton Hall, Notre Dame

Bids per conference: Big East (8), ACC (7), Big 12 (7), Atlantic 10 (5), Big 10 (5), SEC (4), MWC (3), Conference USA (2).

Analysis after the break:

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Morning Five: 02.26.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 26th, 2010

  1. Robbie Hummel aftermath.  Obviously, Purdue losing Hummel to a season-ending ACL injury will get a lot of attention.  Here’s what some of the big names are writing about it – Gary Parrish, Jeff Goodman, Mike DeCourcy, Andy Glockner.  Everyone agrees that this is a situation that Purdue will not be able to overcome.  One thing’s for sure, though — America may have found its team to root for in the postseason this year.
  2. You gotta give it up for ESPN’s Jeannine Edwards going on John Calipari’s show and getting into a friendly banter about last year’s odd situation with former UK coach Billy Gillispie, well-chronicled on this very site.
  3. Expect this to enable a lot of snarky dialogue today in the blogosphere: FIU head coach Isiah Thomas was ejected from his team’s game against Middle Tennessee State last night (a loss, 74-71).   Thomas ran onto the court to protest a call and was thrown out for his behavior.  FIU is now 7-23 on the season and 4-13 in the Sun Belt Conference, in case you were wondering (and we know you were).
  4. Missouri’s Justin Safford joined Robbie Hummel with torn ACL injuries this week, but oddly, MU officials are leaving open the possibility of Safford returning to the team this season.  The junior starting forward tore the ligament in the Tigers’ blowout win over Colorado on Wednesday night, and he was averaging 9/4 in twenty minutes per game this year.
  5. Syracuse is expecting to set a new on-campus record for attendance at the Carrier Dome on Saturday night for their battle with Villanova.  34,616 tickets have been sold, nearly a thousand more than the previous record crowd in 2006 for Gerry McNamara’s last home game.
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ATB: Magic in Rupp

Posted by rtmsf on February 26th, 2010

A Little Magic in Rupp Tonight

The RematchKentucky 82, South Carolina 61. In the locker room before the game, John Calipari told his team, “Guys, before we start, here, I got a recruit here we want to talk to, so make sure you introduce yourself to the recruit.”  A moment later, into the locker room walked…Earvin “Magic” Johnson.  And honestly, that was about the only unexpected thing that happened this evening at Rupp Arena.  To be sure, this looked pretty similar to the South Carolina squad that has ownership of the only bruise on Kentucky’s record; not much has changed.  Devan Downey went nuts (26 points on 9-25), and that’s about the whole story for the Gamecocks.  This was a different Kentucky team, though, especially when it came to defense and glasswork, and the biggest change was seen in Patrick Patterson.  Ticked off after his five point performance in the first game against South Carolina, Patterson blew up for a season-high 23 points on 10-12 shooting, swatted four shots, and yanked down eight boards on this night.  South Carolina won the rebounding war in the teams’ first meeting 40-38, and even beat Kentucky on the offensive glass a month ago, 16-13.  Tonight, Patterson — whom sophomore Darius Miller called the “unquestioned leader of this team,” in case there was any doubt — along with Miller (7/8) and DeMarcus Cousins (19/11, his 17th double-double), were having none of that.  Kentucky owned the glass on both ends, outworking the Gamecocks 44-26 overall and 14-8 on the offensive side.  South Carolina had a short 7-0 run in the middle of the second half to cut the Wildcat lead to six, but didn’t really test the Wildcats after that.  It’ll be interesting to watch Kentucky in their next one.  The postgame interviews tonight didn’t end until around midnight, and Kentucky now travels to Knoxville on Saturday to take on Tennessee in a game that starts at noon — that’s right, a mere 36 hours.  Calipari noted how this is “the doldrums, the dog days of the season.  We and a lot of other teams are all wanting to get on with it…let’s get on with that other tournament, and I’m not talking about the one in Nashville (the SEC),” and, because of that, revealed some trepidation about the Tennessee game, adding, “They played Tuesday.  I think they’re there, just waiting on us.”  Magic’s message to the UK team, by the way, was simply to tell them (according to Calipari), “You’re a defensive team.  I love it, the way you guys guard, and I love watching you play.  Keep rebounding and defending the way that you are now, and stick together.”  Looks like the Wildcats got the message.

#20 Vanderbilt 96, Georgia 94 (OT). Vandy survived the post-Kentucky hangover by coming back against the very pesky Georgia Bulldogs tonight in a game they probably should have lost.  With 33 seconds left, the Commodores were down five points when Andre Walker nailed a big three to bring his team back within two.  After two missed FTs by Georgia’s Dustin Ware, AJ Ogilvy got a key tip-in to send the game to overtime and give Vandy new life.  In overtime, the Dores were able to build a small margin, but Georgia still had a chance to tie waved off when a missed FT led to a heave/tip-in that came after the buzzer.  Regardless, Vandy stayed one game up on Florida for the second seed in the SEC East and the all-important first round bye in the SEC Tournament.  Jermaine Beal was awesome with 28/7 assts and Ogilvy added 16/11 in the winning effort.  Vanderbilt is a team that is still slightly under the national radar but they can cause serious trouble for teams in the NCAA Tournament with the right matchups.

Other Games of National Interest.

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When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go…

Posted by nvr1983 on February 25th, 2010

You may have missed it with all the news about Robbie Hummel‘s torn ACL, but Corey Stokes of Villanova was cited earlier this morning for public urination. The 21 year-old junior who averages 9.1 PPG and 4 RPG for the Wildcats was cited (not arrested or fined) after he was found by police urinating between 2 parked cars outside a bar near the Villanova campus at 3 AM following the Wildcats win over USF. I’ll let you guess why he was in that situation and I doubt it was BPH or Lasix.

At this point we still are not sure if Stokes will play at Syracuse on Saturday (we are guessing he will get a 2-minute “suspension” at the beginning of the game) because the only response we have out of Villanova regarding the incident is Jay Wright‘s generic PR response: ““This was a simple mistake by a college student. Corey regrets it and has apologized for it. We will now deal with it within our basketball family.” We are guessing that more than a few of the NCAA on-campus record 34,616 fans that will attend Saturday night’s game between Syracuse and Villanova at the Carrier Dome will be happy to remind Stokes, Wright, and the entire Wildcat squad about that “simple mistake” during the game.

Corey wants to know how Calvin gets away with it

For our money, Stokes still has a long way to go to catch Bill Walker for sheer brazenness while urinating in public.

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RTC Live: Arizona @ California

Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2010

We’re back in Haas Pavilion tonight for another edition of Pac-10 hoops at RTC Live.  It’s no secret that the conference is having a major down year, but Cal has been the one team with a solid enough out-of-conference schedule to warrant  possible inclusion in the NCAA Tournament should they do well enough in the league.  Right now, our bracketologist Zach Hayes has the Bears as #10 seed, which isn’t exactly living dangerously with respect to the bubble but it’s definitely not comfortable either.  Whatever the case, Cal has been solid at home this season, going 13-1 (6-1 in the Pac-10) with the only loss a bizarre overtime L to UCLA in January.  The Pac-10 regular season title and the top seed in the Pac-10 Tournament are there for the taking this weekend, with Arizona State currently one game behind the Bears in the standings.  But to get to that all-important game on Saturday, Mike Montgomery’s team needs to take care of business tonight, and considering that they lost in Tucson by four points a month ago, that won’t be an easy task.  Join us tonight as Cal takes on the Wildcats on RTC Live…

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RTC Live: South Carolina @ Kentucky

Posted by jstevrtc on February 25th, 2010

Is this a revenge game for Kentucky?  You recall that it was South Carolina that beat Kentucky on ESPN near the end of January, giving UK their only blemish on the season and removing them from the #1 ranking to which they had ascended merely days beforehand.  The UK players and coaches downplay the revenge factor a bit, but you can’t help but think that the Wildcats would LOVE to get the Gamecocks back…especially after the USC Student Senate sent a rather boastful message to Kentucky after that game. USC is here to prove that first one wasn’t a fluke, and Devan Downey relishes these spoiler roles.  He has his critics (is USC really 6-0 when he takes less than 14 shots?), but he’s certainly exciting, and God only knows what the Rupp Arena crowd has in store for him tonight.  Should be fun.  ESPN2’s got this one at 9pm, and we’ll be there as well.  Join us, and join the discussion this evening.

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Knee Injuries And The Home Viewer

Posted by jstevrtc on February 25th, 2010

Whether or not you’ve had a knee injury of any kind in the past, there aren’t many things that make people cringe more readily than watching a game on TV and seeing that slow-motion replay of a gruesome injury, especially when it involves an athlete’s knee(s).  The only thing stranger than seeing that joint go out of place and do that strange contortion for a split-second (I shudder every time) is watching it from multiple angles in super-slo-mo in high definition while an announcer narrates it — “Oh yeah, THERE it is!”

We saw this during Robbie Hummel’s injury last night.  When he drove into the lane and planted that right leg — you saw it.  Something happened, and it was unnatural.  Then the slow-motion replays gave you a better look at it.  It’s the usual story — a player plants their (usually in-turned) leg, but the top part of the knee keeps moving while the bottom stays still.  Pop.  The first thing people think when a player goes down and grabs a knee is “Uh oh, ACL.”  They’re often right, and unfortunately, though the MRI is pending, that looks like the case for Hummel.

You may ask how can they make that diagnosis without the MRI pictures.  Good question.  Doctors know that the physical exam is more important than any pictures you get.  The next time you’re watching television and a player (in any sport) goes down with a knee injury, watch what the doctor or trainer does.  There’s one specific thing that they almost always do first in evaluating the knee right there on the floor or field, or when they get the player back to the bench — there’s a test that checks the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) almost immediately.

It’s called the “Anterior Drawer” test.  Here’s what you’ll see.  The doctor/trainer will lay the player on their back and bend the knee they’re checking to about a 90 degree angle.  They’ll grab the leg at the calf with both hands, with their thumbs up to stabilize against the knee.  Then they’ll pull forward on the bottom part of the leg as if they were opening a drawer.  At this point, the player will usually yell loudly.  This alone doesn’t tell you anything, since if I’d just hurt my knee and some putz started messing with it, the foot on my good leg would immediately rise up and head for the doctor/trainer’s face or testicles.  What they’re feeling for is how much that bottom part of the leg slides forward at the knee when they do the drawer-opening motion.  If it’s a lot, your suspicion for an ACL tear goes way up.  If it’s not much or it feels normal, an ACL tear is still on the list, but not as likely.  But quite often, you can literally see the result there on television.  You can see the bottom part of the knee slide unnaturally forward (anteriorly) when the ACL is torn.  MRIs are best for looking at ligaments (you can’t see them on a normal x-ray), and that almost always gets done, but this is how doctors make a “preliminary” diagnosis even without the pictures.  There are other tests besides the Anterior Drawer to check the ACL, but that’s the one doctors and trainers most often use first, and the one you see them use most often right there on TV.

By the way, there’s also a Posterior Drawer test that checks the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) in the back of the knee, where you push backward instead of forward.  Same principle applies.  One last thing — don’t go doing these things on your friends.  The next time you see a knee injury on TV, though, watch the doctor/trainer do their exam.  Or more specifically, check out their Drawers.

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Set Your Tivo: 02.25.10

Posted by THager on February 25th, 2010

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Tulsa @ #5 Duke- 7:00 pm on ESPN2 (**)

Singler is Key Cog in the Devil Attack

Tulsa had a great chance of chance of making the NCAA Tournament a few weeks ago, but four losses in their last five games have virtually eliminated any at-large chances for the Golden Hurricane.  Duke, on the other hand, has won six straight games to put itself in contention for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  It is rare to see an out of conference matchup at this time of year, but it will give the Blue Devils one last chance this season to extend their home winning streak against non-conference opponents.  They have won 76 straight games outside of the ACC at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and given Tulsa’s recent performances, it would appear the #77 won’t be that difficult.  The Blue Devils are the top ranked team in Ken Pomeroy’s overall rankings, while the Golden Hurricane don’t rank in the top seventy in either offensive or defensive efficiency.  Despite their recent performances, the one thing Tulsa has going for them is that their two best players, Ben Uzoh and Jerome Jordan, have continued to play well, scoring over their season averages for much of the last two weeks.  There is no non-conference opponent that has even challenged the Blue Devils on the road, but the key for their success will be to shut down Duke’s big three players.  Virginia Tech recently shut down everybody else on their team, but Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler scored 63 of Duke’s 67 points in a win.  Tulsa, if they have any chance of coming out with a win tonight, will have to minimize the production from those three stars.

Santa Clara @ Gonzaga – 11:00 on ESPN2 (**)

Gonzaga has had a tendency this year to disappoint their fans as soon as they start to believe that this is a legitimate contender.  They lost to San Francisco when they made just 5-18 three-point field goals, and Matt Bouldin was just 3-12 against Loyola Marymount in an eight-point loss a week ago.  With a win tonight, the Bulldogs will achieve something that has rarely been done in the history of college basketball – win a tenth straight conference title.  The last time these teams met in January, Santa Clara had a golden opportunity to win, with a 13-point lead nearly midway through the second half.  However, the Zags held Santa Clara scoreless the last 5:57 of the game en route to the close win.  Gonzaga has gone just 5-2 in the WCC since that game, but they have dominated opponents at home in that stretch, beating three teams (including Portland and St. Mary’s) by a total of 63 points.  Elias Harris has tailed off a little since his fast start in conference play, and Bouldin cannot repeat his recent performance if the Bulldogs are going to win any game much less make a run in the tournament.  Despite their solid play against Gonzaga in their last game, Santa Clara is just 11-18 on the year, so look for the Zags to try and make another late season run to save their protected tournament seed in the Spokane pod.

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Backdoor Cuts: Vol. XI

Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2010

Backdoor Cuts is a weekly college basketball discussion between RTC correspondents Dave Zeitlin, Steve Moore and Mike Walsh that occasionally touches on relevant subjects. This week the guys jump the shark with a discussion about college hoops with an Olympic flavor.

MIKE WALSH: I don’t know about you guys, but the Olympics have monopolized the TV in my house since the opening ceremonies. And don’t get me wrong, I love the Olympics – the grandeur, the goosebumps, the medals – but they’ve seriously cut into my college basketball viewing these days. Take tonight, for example. I’m sitting here watching Olympic ice dancing with my wife, and I suddenly became inspired … to not watch ice dancing anymore.

Hopefully Our Olympics Won't Involve Cold War Era Fencing

I’ve got to get some hoops back in my life. With Selection Sunday just out of reach it still seems a little early to argue about who’s in and who’s out of the Big Dance (don’t tell ESPN … Doug Gottleib’s kids gotta eat). St. Joe’s is struggling to find 10 wins, Penn is struggling to find the basket, and Boston U. is struggling to pretend that anyone cares about college hoops when there’s hockey on. So what if we combine the two? What if we add a little Olympic flair to college hoops and hand out pre-March Madness medals?

I even borrowed an outfit from Johnny Weir just to get into the spirit. So wedgies be damned, we’re off to the first ever college basketball medal ceremony!

Men’s downhill: And the gold medal goes to … UNC! Get it? It’s because they won the national championship just last year and now they stink. They’re not even going to make the it to the Dance. Roy Williams has publicly questioned his team’s effort. It’s ridiculous. It’s like Canadians not being able to make ice. Oh wait … that happened too? Well, that’s unfortunate. But fear not Tar Heel Nation, it’s only a matter of time (and a few more blue chippers) until your boys are once again soaring above everyone else like Shaun White.

Curling: I’m not really sure why, but screaming like a maniac seems to be an integral part of curling. That being said, who better to win the gold than Kansas State’s own Frank Martin? If this guy was screaming, “HARD!” at the top of his lungs at me, well, I’d probably pee my pants, but you better believe I’d be sweeping that ice like a bastard too. The silver medal would be awarded to Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint, mostly because the man’s mouth goes like an outboard motor. Arizona’s Sean Miller rounds out this ear piercing podium.

Skating on thin ice:  This isn’t exactly one you want to be on the podium for. For their poor sportsmanship the students at West Virginia barely edged out the student section at Mississippi State for the gold, if only because someone actually hit an assistant coach with their flying projectiles at WVU. The Mountaineers’ fans thought maybe they should get extra rowdy for the big game against rival Pittsburgh, but guess what kids, there’s a big difference between rowdy and reckless. Maybe they’ll cover that in class next semester? As for Mississippi State, they thought they were getting hosed by the refs and the bottles started flying. News flash: bad refs are as much a part of college basketball as jump shots and lay-up lines. Those kids are as big a sore loser as Evgeni Plushenko, and they probably have the matching mullets, too.

What do you guys think? Who would you don with a Rush the Court gold medal? I’ll give you a push like a speed skating relay team, but I’ve got to get back to rooting against the Canadians.

DAVE ZEITLIN: I’ll be honest. Aside from the joy that is afternoon curling, I haven’t gotten too into the Olympics. Perhaps it’s because I can’t relate to any of the sports. I tried skiing for the first time last weekend, and other than the fact I couldn’t stop, let alone carry my skis and boots at the same time, it went really well. And if you want to understand how graceful an ice skater I am, picture a drunk moose walking on a balance beam.

But I like the topic, Michael, and I’m ready to dish out some more medals.
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RTC Official Bubble Watch: 02.25.10

Posted by zhayes9 on February 25th, 2010

RTC contributor and official bracketologist Zach Hayes will update the bubble scene every week until Madness ensues.

With just over two weeks remaining until Selection Sunday, the bubble is starting to shrink as more teams move into lock status:

Richmond– The current A-10 co-leader has the most difficult stretch to finish the season with trips to Xavier and Charlotte and a home date with Dayton. Even losing all three wouldn’t squash the Spiders.

Xavier– The Musketeers really only needed to split their road trip at Charlotte and St. Louis. Instead, they went out and won both. With a high RPI and three winnable games left, Xavier is back in the field yet again.

Maryland– The Terrapins have now won four in a row and collected huge home wins over Georgia Tech in miracle fashion and Clemson in comeback fashion. Gary Williams has his squad 10-3 in the ACC.

Missouri– Mike Anderson’s team only needs to win one of their next four games (the four includes their first round matchup in the Big 12 Tournament). The home win over Texas pretty much sealed the deal.

Baylor– The Bears clinched a berth with their squeaker over Texas A&M last night in Waco. Their non-conference wins over Xavier (neutral) and at Arizona State seems a bit stronger, as well.

Texas– Winning at Texas Tech and taking care of Oklahoma State in Austin were the clinchers. Texas has four wins vs. the RPI top-50, but could still finish at a disappointing 9-7 in the Big 12.

Texas A&M– The win at Iowa State last Saturday clinched their bid. The Aggies have tremendous computer numbers, won at Missouri and beat Baylor at home.

UNLV– A lock for two reasons: 1) wins over BYU, at New Mexico, at Arizona and vs. Louisville and 2) their final two games against Wyoming and Air Force, teams that have combined for three MWC wins this season.

Atlantic 10

Locks: Temple, Richmond, Xavier

Rhode Island (28 RPI, 60 SOS)- The Rams hit a rough patch in mid-February losing three in a row in A-10 play, but they righted the ship this past Saturday against hapless Fordham and now head into their last three very winnable games. URI must travel to St. Bonaventure and Massachusetts with a huge bubble game against Charlotte at home sandwiched in between. If the Rams win out, they’ll finish 23-6 (11-5) in a strong Atlantic 10 and would, in all likelihood, received a bid as long as they’re not upset in the first round of the conference tournament. What’s concerning is that the Rams will head into that tournament with just two wins vs. the RPI top 50- Oklahoma State and Dayton. Current seed range: 11-12.

Dayton (43 RPI, 37 RPI)– Speaking of Dayton, unless the Flyers can stun Richmond on the road, they’ll be sitting squarely on the bubble heading into the A-10 tournament. Dayton probably passes the eye test and they do have out-of-conference wins over Georgia Tech on a neutral floor and Old Dominion. They’ve also lost a handful of close conference road games and beat fellow bubble squad Charlotte by 28 in their lone meeting. Still, the Flyers are just 3-6 vs. the RPI top 50 and 5-8 vs. the RPI top 100, and, factoring in a loss at Richmond on March 4, they’d finish an uninspiring 9-7 in A-10 play. It’ll come down to the A-10 tournament for the preseason favorites. Current seed range: Last Four Out.

Charlotte (55 RPI, 106 SOS)– The 49ers still have a shot to make the NCAA’s, but blew a golden opportunity at home against Xavier last Saturday to pick up an RPI top-25 win and lost by 14. Now they have to win two of their last three at George Washington, at Rhode Island and home vs. Richmond. Charlotte did pick up a big non-conference win at Louisville, but will the committee factor in the Cardinals depleted state at the time? What will help them more are A-10 wins over Temple and at Richmond. A 106 SOS and just four wins vs. the RPI top-100 doesn’t help the cause. They need to split those last two games to have a real shot. Current seed range: Last four out.

Bobby Lutz's 49ers are currently on the outside looking in


Locks: Duke, Wake Forest, Maryland

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RTC Live: Wisconsin @ Indiana

Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2010

Welcome tonight from Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, on the campus of Indiana University. Tonight’s matchup pits a team in Wisconsin near the top of the Big Ten against a team near the bottom in Indiana. This is the second meeting between these two teams this season. The last game was a blowout at the Kohl Center in Madison in Wisconsin’s favor. Indiana has now lost eight straight, while Wisconsin seems to be playing hop scotch in the win-loss column lately, and is coming off a win at home against Northwestern. The players to watch for Wisconsin are Trevon Hughes, Jason Bohannon, Jordan Taylor, and now Jon Leuer, who is back from a broken wrist that sidelined him for over a month. The players to watch for Indiana are Verdell Jones III, Christian Watford, and as of late, Devan Dumes, who is looking to close out his Indiana career on a positive note. This game will really come down to a couple of things: turnovers and three point shooting. Wisconsin only turns the ball over an average of nine times a game, whereas Indiana has struggled all year, giving away an average of 15 possessions a game. Each team shoots about 35% from long range, so it will just be a matter of how hot each team gets, and how many times they are willing to throw it up from long range. Get excited for what could either be a battle if Indiana shows up, or a game out of reach if they don’t. Wisconsin will definitely show up, that’s for sure.

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