Rushed Reactions: #3 Texas A&M 92, #11 Northern Iowa 88 (2OT)

Posted by Czech Smith on March 20th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

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  1. Epic meltdown. Northern Iowa held a 12 point lead with 44 seconds left in regulation and ended up losing in double-overtime. In one of the most incredible meltdowns ever seen in modern college basketball, the Panthers simply could not inbound the ball in their own backcourt — time and time again turning it over and giving Texas A&M a chance. The Aggies took that opportunity, going on a 14-2 run over the final FORTY-FOUR SECONDS to tie the game and send it to overtime. After a back-and-forth first overtime session, Texas A&M took control in the second and eventually worked itself to the Sweet Sixteen. 
  2. Northern Iowa has a flair for the dramatic. The Panthers took the emotional high from their win over Texas on Friday and rode it for most of the game against A&M. They came out of the locker room ready to play and established an early lead that they nurtured until the final minute of regulation.  Despite several attempts by the Aggies to close the gap in the second half, Northern Iowa seemed to always had an answer. Jeremy Morgan’s fantastic overall performance was all for naught — he finished with 36 points and 12 rebounds.
  3. Texas A&M leading scorer Danuel House was held scoreless until late in the second half… and then he turned it on. House scored 19 points in the last 5:14 of regulation and first overtime, finishing with 22 points. Northern Iowa guard Wes Washpun did a great job defending House until he fouled out in overtime. However, Texas A&M missed a big opportunity in regulation: House at 6’7” failed to post up on the 6’1” Washpun all night, especially after Washpun drew his fourth foul of the contest. House had a rough night but came alive when it mattered, allowing his Aggies to see another day.

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Rushed Reactions: #2 Oklahoma 85, #10 VCU 81

Posted by Czech Smith on March 20th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

Buddy Was Just Doing Buddy Things in Today's Second Half (USA Today Images)

Buddy Was Just Doing Buddy Things in Today’s Second Half (USA Today Images)

  1. Oklahoma is legit, even without Buddy Hield at his best. I mentioned Friday that the Sooners were going to have to play better as a team if they were going to make it to the Sweet Sixteen, and they certainly did that today. Hield’s uncharacteristic airballed three-pointer at the start (he would airball yet another later in the game) was a good indication that he was somewhat off his game. The rest of the Sooners stepped up for him in a big way to give the team a 13-point halftime buffer that allowed them to withstand VCU’s second half charge. In the first half alone, Oklahoma logged nine offensive reboundsa nd Jordan Woodard and Isaiah Cousins combined for 22 points. Their first half performances were the reason that Oklahoma was able to survive Hield’s slow start
  2. Heild proved in the second half why he is likely going to win the Naismith award. Despite being visibly off his game in the first half, Heild came out of the blocks running in the second. His oversized presence forced VCU to blanket him early, which allowed the rest of his team to get open looks. Then, when they needed him most, his second half performance was stellar. At 11:02 remaining, the game was tied at 59-all. From that point forward, Hield put the Sooners on his back in scoring 21 out of Oklahoma’s last 26 points, including several dizzying moves that left the crowd shaking their heads in amazement.
  3. Hats off to VCU. The Rams overcame a horrific start to bring the game back to within reach in the second half, including taking a small lead at several points. Mo Alie-Cox had a great second half and finished with 10 points. Jequan Lewis had 22 and Melvin Johnson 23, but more importantly, Will Wade clearly has the program moving in the right direction after the departure of Shaka Smart last summer. 

Star of the Game. Buddy Hield, Oklahoma. Hield struggled mightily in the first half, but the senior NPOY candidate absolutely took the game over when Oklahoma needed him most in the second half. He had 29 points in the second stanza on his way to 33 for the game. His maturity and ability to make such a mid-game correction are what gives the Sooners a shot to make a very deep run in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Quotable:

  • “Yeah coach drew up some really good plays and my guards executed really, really well. They got me the ball in spots they knew were really good for me.” – Khadeem Lattin, on being a factor early in the game
  • “Scoring 29 points, I didn’t know I had that, but I just knew I was scoring the ball a lot. Just glad that we got the win. – Buddy Hield, on his second half performance.
  • Our teammates did a great job. I thought Isaiah getting down, driving and kicking in the paint, Jordan making plays, Khadeem catching lobs, everybody did what they needed to do to get open and get easy shots and good shots for us. – Hield, on the teamwork and balance of the starting lineup.

Sights & Sounds.

  • At one point in the second half, Buddy Hield’s mother left her seat to pray and it apparently worked. 
  • The raucous performance by the VCU pep band will be missed, especially the disrobing Superman act. You don’t want to go to war…. with the Raaaammmss….

What’s Next? The Sooners will advance to Friday’s Sweet Sixteen to play the winner of the #3 Texas A&M and #11 Northern Iowa game tonight.

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Rushed Reactions: #11 Northern Iowa 75, #6 Texas 72

Posted by Czech Smith on March 19th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

One of the Most Dramatic Moments in NCAA Tournament History

One of the Most Dramatic Moments in NCAA Tournament History

  1. Northern Iowa spread the floor against Texas in the first half – and Texas mirrored the strategy to start the second. The Panthers kept five men on the perimeter for most of the first half. That forced the Longhorns to vacate the paint and respect the three-point line, which opened up the lane for the Panthers’ quick cutting guards. Wes Washpun, the Panthers leading scorer, only had four in the first half while Jeremy Morgan had 12 including a pair of threes. Texas came out of the locker room with a clear strategy to play the Panthers’ own game, and it worked as they quickly narrowed the gap. The Longhorns erased an eight-point halftime deficit in the first six minutes of the second half, which led to a back-and-forth battle of attrition from there on out.
  2. Texas had to stray from its inside game to combat Northern Iowa’s quickness. The Big 12 defensive player of the year, Prince Ibeh, played a total of four minutes in the first half. This was a direct result of Northern Iowa’s strategy of spreading the floor and forcing Texas to play a smaller lineup. When Texas turned it around on Northern Iowa, they were able to keep Ibeh in the game which allowed him to make a difference on defense.
  3. Miracle from half-court. Both teams shot horrifically down the stretch, with Northern Iowa ending the game 2-of-10 from the field and Texas 2-of-12 during the same stretch. Isaiah Taylor redeemed himself with a fabulous drive and finish to tie the game with 2.7 seconds left, but one of those pair of makes for Northern Iowa was a desperation half-court bank shot by Paul Jesperson to win the game at the buzzer. It will go down as one of the iconic moments in NCAA Tournament history.

Star of the Game. Paul Jesperson, Northern Iowa. Jesperson ended with 14 points and was a solid 4-of-7 from behind the arc, but all that really mattered was his spectacular half-court buzzer-beater.

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The RTC Podcast: Ups and Downs Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 5th, 2016

It might be Super Bowl week to everyone else, but to those of us around here it’s the beginning of the home stretch of the college basketball season. In this week’s RTC Podcast, hosted by Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114), the guys talk extensively about a few teams with their share of both supporters and detractors — Indiana, Louisville, and Texas A&M — as well as take a deep dive into last weekend’s Big 12/SEC Challenge and how the ACC is stacking up this season. The full rundown is below, and make sure to subscribe to the pod on iTunes so that you’ll have it as soon as it releases each week.

  • 0:00-7:25 – What to make of Texas A&M
  • 7:25-17:52 – Big 12/SEC Challenge review
  • 17:52-20:43 – Louisville’s ups and downs
  • 20:43-25:27 – ACC Power Rankings
  • 25:27-32:22 – Best Matchups of the season
  • 32:22-37:20 – Indiana’s Hot Streak
  • 37:20-48:45 – Weekend Preview
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The RTC Podcast: Conference Road Games Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 14th, 2016

Welcome back to another edition of the RTC Podcast, hosted each week by Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114). In this week’s show, the guys get to work talking about the first couple weeks of conference play and whether road losses to ranked teams are issues in any meaningful way (hint: usually not). We cover that and more as we slowly turn the corner into the midseason and start heading for the down slope to March. The full rundown is below, and make sure to subscribe to the pod on iTunes so that you’ll have it as soon as it releases each week.

 

  • 0:00-9:26 – West Virginia Knocks off #1
  • 9:26-15:10 – Virginia Bounces Back vs. Miami
  • 15:10-24:42 – Maryland, Duke, Iowa State Fall on the Road
  • 24:42-31:23 Surprising Teams Early in Conference Play
  • 31:23-36:31 – Dave Rice Fired
  • 36:31-42:05 – Missouri Sanctions
  • 42:05-43:45 – Thursday Preview
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The RTC Podcast: New Year’s Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 7th, 2016

Happy 2016, everyone! The RTC Podcast is back after a couple weeks of not much basketball but a whole lot of merry. In this week’s start-of-conference-play edition, the guys — hosted by Shane Connolly  (@sconnolly114) and joined by Bennet Hayes (@hoopstraveler) — dig into one of the best college basketball games of recent memory in Kansas-Oklahoma, discuss some of the other surprises of the last couple of weeks, and offer some new year’s resolutions to conferences, teams and personalities (OK, just one personality) around the sport. The full rundown is below, and make sure to subscribe to the pod on iTunes so that you’ll have it as soon as it releases each week.

  • 0:00-20:01 – Kansas-Oklahoma Fallout
  • 20:01-26:25 – LSU Upsets Kentucky
  • 26:25-31:42 – Cause for Concern in Charlottesville?
  • 31:42-38:20 – Making Sense of the Big East
  • 38:20-41:45 – South Carolina/SMU Remain Undefeated
  • 41:45-52:00 – College Basketball New Year’s Resolutions
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RTC Top 25: Week Five Edition

Posted by Walker Carey on December 22nd, 2015

After a relatively quiet week on the college hoops hardwoods, here’s this week’s RTC25. Happy Holidays, everyone!

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Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

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The RTC Podcast: Final Exams Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 18th, 2015

The RTC Podcast is back in action this week with sharpened pencils ready to tackle the key questions surrounding the first month of the season. As always, Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) hosts, Bennet Hayes joins (@hoopstraveler), and the banter is fast and furious. Ranging in topics from Bo Ryan, court rushing, best teams, biggest disappointments, and all the way back to Ryan again, the guys are juiced and ready to tackle their exams. Who gets a passing grade?

Remember to add us to your iTunes lineup so the pod will automatically upload each week. The entire lineup of topics is below. Happy Holidays, everyone!

  • 0:00-9:30 – Bo Ryan Retirement
  • 9:30-13:21 – What we learned the last few weeks
  • 13:21-16:28 –  Best team in the Big 12
  • 16:28-20:41 – Best team in the Big Ten
  • 20:41-24:24 – Biggest surprise of the season
  • 24:24-26:04 – Player of the Year
  • 26:04-27:48 – Best conference?
  • 27:48-30:59 – Biggest disappointment of the season
  • 30:59-33:47 – Impact of new rules
  • 33:47-45:18 – Court Rushing Rules/wrap
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Monmouth’s King Rice Talks Bench Celebrations and Basketball

Posted by Kenny Ocker on December 4th, 2015

Kenny Ocker (@kennyocker) is a national columnist.

That bench. Those big upset wins over major conference teams. That bench.

Monmouth has had a surprising start to the 2015-16 season, beating UCLA in overtime at Pauley Pavilion (where even top-ranked Kentucky fell last night), and then Notre Dame and USC on a neutral court in Orlando during a Thanksgiving week tournament. And the Hawks have had a ton of fun doing it, with their bench becoming nationally known for their hilarious and diverse set of celebrations. We talked with fifth-year coach King Rice about where his program’s been, where it’s going and (on accident) where he plans to retire to when he hangs up the whistle.

Where did this season-opening run come from?

We’ve been going after this for a while. This is my fifth year as the head coach. Every year, we’ve played high majors. My first three years, the average margin of loss was 36 points. We played three or four of them a year, and everybody told me, “King, you’re crazy for playing schedules like this. What are you doing? What are you doing?” I just thought it was the right thing to do. Last year, our average margin of loss was nine points, and last year we played West Virginia, we played Maryland, we played SMU and Rutgers, so I felt like we were getting closer.

But to have this much success this early, no one could have imagined that. But we do have an older team now, most of our guys are juniors, and we’ve been in those situations for three years – and now it’s time for us to have a chance in those games.

You have that experience, yet you only have one senior…

I don’t want you to tell anybody that, because I don’t know if people understand. We’ve been building this program – this is our fifth year – and when we first started, we didn’t have a lot of success. My athletic director, Dr. Marilyn McNeil, believed in what she was seeing and what we were doing. And now it’s time for us to have some success, and the program is set up for us to be in a good place, because we do only have one senior. And then the following year, we’re going to lose five or six guys, but the guys that are in the program that will still be in the program are getting valuable minutes right now. So we truly feel like we’ve set it up the right way so we won’t be a one-hit wonder.

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Great Alaska Shootout a Dying Breed of Holiday Tournaments

Posted by Kenny Ocker on November 27th, 2015

The school-managed exempt tournament is going extinct. The proliferation of corporate-owned events, including those put on by ESPN, have made sure of that. But out on the Last Frontier, the last holdout is conducting its last event on its own: The Great Alaska Shootout, organized and hosted by the University of Alaska-Anchorage, goes until Saturday, with its champion being the final team to win the tournament before Basketball Travelers takes over as managers next season.

The Great Alaska Shootout Produced One of the Best Moments for Bob Huggins at Cincinnati, in 1998. (AP)

The Great Alaska Shootout Produced One of the Best Moments for Bob Huggins at Cincinnati, in 1998. (AP)

The 50-plus-year-old tradition of exempt tournaments started when schools off the U.S. mainland needed to have an incentive before teams would schedule visits, and for a long time it stayed on an island floating off the coast of the NCAA landscape. But when eccentric Louisianan Bob Rachal took over the UAA men’s basketball program during its inaugural year in the NCAA’s Division II in 1977-78 – donning a tuxedo and top hat in his first game on the sidelines – he found that metaphorical island and used it to his advantage.

“He wanted something that could make a splash, something that could get the program on the map, so he dug around in the NCAA bylaws and he found out that you could host basically free games held under the exemption for any teams playing in Alaska or Hawaii at that point,” Seawolves sports information director Nate Sagan said. Well, not quite free, but close enough: A tournament of up to four games could count as one game against the NCAA’s limit of contests per season.

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The RTC Podcast: Feast Week Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2015

As we head into what is certain to be a very happy holiday weekend, the guys wanted to get a Feast Week podcast in the books before things got too crazy. Little did they know that the great state of Nebraska would leave its indelible footprint on this week’s RTC Podcast. Spreading holiday cheer from Lincoln to North Platte! Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) hosts and Bennet Hayes (@hoopstraveler) once again joins, as the group goes through some of their early season tournament takes and looks ahead to the rest of the week. Oh, and this.

Five-oh Makes an Appearance on This Week's RTC Podcast!

Five-oh Makes an Appearance on This Week’s RTC Podcast!

Make sure to add us to your iTunes subscription list so it will automatically download to your listening device each week. The full rundown is below!

  • 0:00-8:27 – Champions Classic Review
  • 8:27-15:17 – True Home Games vs. Neutral Sites
  • 15:07-21:14 – Early Season Takeaways
  • 21:14-25:51 – Battle 4 Atlantis
  • 25:51-30:21 – Other Early Tournaments/Randy Gets Arrested
  • 30:21-35:57 – Player of the Year Discussion
  • 35:57-39:17 What We Are Thankful For/Wrap
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The RTC Podblast: Opening Weekend Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 17th, 2015

Well, it certainly was an interesting opening weekend of college basketball. A number of upsets from coast to coast came across the news wires on Friday night, and a handful of others followed in the ensuing days. In this, the first RTC Podcast of the regular season, host Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) and Bennet Hayes (@hoopstraveler) run down their thoughts on all the upsets, look ahead to tonight’s Champions Classic battles and revisit their preseason Final Four picks. It’s a quick-hit, podblast version of the show, but it’ll keep you busy for 20 minutes as you wait on tonight’s games to begin. Make sure to add us to your iTunes subscription list so it will automatically download to your listening device each week. The full rundown is below!

  • 0:00-8:54 – Virginia & Other Opening Weekend Upsets
  • 8:54-13:26 – Final Four/Championship Picks
  • 13:26-19:23 – Champions Classic Look Ahead
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