2009-10 Conference Primers: #5 – SEC

Posted by rtmsf on November 3rd, 2009

seasonpreviewPaul Jordan of Wildcat Blue Blog is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish:

SEC EAST

  1. Kentucky  (13-3)
  2. Tennessee  (11-5)
  3. South Carolina  (10-6)
  4. Vanderbilt (10-6)
  5. Florida (7-9)
  6. Georgia  (2-14)

SEC WEST

  1. Mississippi State (10-6)
  2. Mississippi (9-7)
  3. Arkansas (9-7)
  4. Alabama (7-9)
  5. LSU  (6-10)
  6. Auburn (4-12)

All-Conference Team:

  • John Wall (G), Kentucky
  • Devan Downey (G), South Carolina
  • Tyler Smith (F), Tennessee
  • Patrick Patterson (F), Kentucky
  • Jarvis Varnado (F), Mississippi State

6th Man. Terrico White (G), Mississippi

Impact Newcomer. John Wall (G), Kentucky

sec logo

What You Need to Know.  After missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 years, the Kentucky Wildcats are poised to regain their role at the top of the SEC, having added the number one recruiting class and top coach John Calipari. This year looks to be a year of redemption and resurgence not only for UK but for the whole SEC which placed just three teams in the NCAA last year.  Tennessee, South Carolina and Vanderbilt are very strong, experienced teams in the East that should go dancing.  Mississippi State hopes to win the West behind Jarvis Varnado and Mississippi and Arkansas look to be much improved and can give any team in the SEC fits.

Predicted Champion. Kentucky  (NCAA Seed:  #1).  Kentucky returns Patrick Patterson and the core group of the team that won 22 games last season.  The main loss for UK was junior Jodie Meeks who went to the NBA, but in his place, UK added the number one recruiting class and hired head coach John Calipari.  Obviously, Calipari faces the task of instilling a new offense with six new faces, but the Cats are so deep that freshman Daniel Orton, a top 25 player, will have to battle for significant playing time.  The Wildcats achilles heel last year was at point guard and UK added two of the top four freshman points in John Wall and Eric Bledsoe.  Talent and depth alone make this a top 10 team and if Calipari can install his DDMO effectively, this is a legitimate Final Four team.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Tweeting the Preview: #186 – #163

Posted by rtmsf on November 3rd, 2009

tweetingpreviewOk, we’ve officially lost our minds, but they say the first step toward healing is recognizing the problem.  As of 8am EDT last Monday, there were 347 hours until tipoff of UNC vs. FIU and Ohio State vs. Alcorn State on Opening Night, Nov. 9.  Beginning that morning, we started releasing our rankings of every Division I team from worst to first as tweets on the social networking platform known as Twitter (you may have heard of it).  We’ll release one team preview every single hour from now until Opening Night, and in case you’re not following us over there, we’ll put the updated list here each night for your review.  The key to tweeting, of course, is conciseness, so we’ll try our best to relay some relevant information about each and every team in the requisite 140 characters or less, and hopefully some of you will be paying attention along the way.  Here are Monday’s entries, #186 to #163.  You might see a few conference champions floating around at this level…

tweeting preview 186-163

Share this story

2009-10 Conference Primers: #6 – Pac-10

Posted by rtmsf on November 2nd, 2009

seasonpreview

Ryan ZumMallen of LBPostSports.com is the RTC correspondent for the Big West and Pac-10 Conferences.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. California  (13-5)
  2. Washington  (12-6)
  3. UCLA  (11-7)
  4. Oregon  (10-8)
  5. Arizona  (10-8)
  6. Stanford  (8-10)
  7. Oregon State  (8-10)
  8. Washington State  (7-11)
  9. Arizona State  (6-12)
  10. USC  (5-13)

All-Conference Team:

  • Nic Wise (G), Arizona
  • Jerome Randle (G), Cal
  • Patrick Christopher (F), Cal
  • Landry Fields (F),  Stanford
  • Michael Dunigan (C), Oregon

Impact Newcomer. Abdul Gaddy (G), Washington

pac10-logo

What You Need to Know.  A legendary NCAA powerhouse, the Pac-10 Conference practically owned property in the Final Four in recent years. Last season, though, no team made it to the promised land with a flurry of budding superstars bolting for the NBA – leaving the Pac-10 fumbling to reload with a full clip.  This season, the number of quality players is as high as ever, but they’re largely too young or inexperienced to consider the Pac-10 a national power this season. While UCLA and Arizona look to rebuild their storied histories from near scratch, only Washington and California return enough experienced talent to warrant much confidence, and its no coincidence that these two teams have been picked as preseason favorites to vie for the conference title.

Predicted ChampionCalifornia (NCAA Seed: #5) – Arizona attempts to begin a new legacy with the replacement of their iconic coach. UCLA starts from scratch after losing the core that took them to national heights. USC is facing stiff sanctions and has a tough season ahead of them after losing an array of stars. By comparison, California is a picture of consistency. The Bears return two all-conference first team players who will likely battle each other for POY honors this season. In Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher, Cal boasts two experienced leaders who can each carry the team when need be. Add to that a deep bench and the nation’s best shooters, and this team is built for a Pac-10 championship, and beyond…

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Where 2009-10 Happens: Reason #6 Why We Love College Basketball

Posted by zhayes9 on November 2nd, 2009

seasonpreview

Shamelessly cribbing from the very clever NBA catch phrase, we here at RTC will present to you the Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball as we gear up toward the start of the season next week.  We’ll be bringing you players to watch for this season and moments to remember from last season, courtesy of the series of dump trucks, wires and effluvia known as YouTube.

#6- Where Another Freshman Player of the Year Happens

Share this story

Preseason Bracketology: 11.02.09

Posted by zhayes9 on November 2nd, 2009

seasonpreview

Zach Hayes is RTC’s resident bracketologist.  He’ll regularly be out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the course of the season.

Last Four In: Florida State, Creighton, Xavier, Florida

Last Four Out: Texas A&M, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Wisconsin

Next Four Out: Miami (FL), Missouri, Illinois State, Utah State

Multiple bids per conference: Big East (8), ACC (7), SEC (7), Big Ten (6), Big 12 (5), Pac-10 (3), Atlantic 10 (2), Conference USA (2), Missouri Valley (2).

Automatic bids: Boston University, Dayton, North Carolina, Jacksonville, West Virginia, Kansas, Weber State, Radford, Purdue, Long Beach State, Old Dominion, Tulsa, Butler, Cornell, Siena, Morgan State, Akron, Northern Iowa, BYU, Mount St. Mary’s, Morehead State, California, Holy Cross, Kentucky, College of Charleston, Sam Houston State, Oakland, Western Kentucky, Jackson State, Nevada, Gonzaga.

bracketology nov 2 09

Share this story

Tweeting the Preview: #210 – #187

Posted by rtmsf on November 2nd, 2009

tweetingpreviewOk, we’ve officially lost our minds, but they say the first step toward healing is recognizing the problem.  As of 8am EDT last Monday, there were 347 hours until tipoff of UNC vs. FIU and Ohio State vs. Alcorn State on Opening Night, Nov. 9.  Beginning that morning, we started releasing our rankings of every Division I team from worst to first as tweets on the social networking platform known as Twitter (you may have heard of it).  We’ll release one team preview every single hour from now until Opening Night, and in case you’re not following us over there, we’ll put the updated list here each night for your review.  The key to tweeting, of course, is conciseness, so we’ll try our best to relay some relevant information about each and every team in the requisite 140 characters or less, and hopefully some of you will be paying attention along the way.  Here are Sunday’s entries, #210 to #187 (on an undercover cop…).  These teams are appropriately called the middle of the pack…

tweeting preview 210-187

Share this story

Tweeting the Preview: #234 – #211

Posted by rtmsf on November 1st, 2009

tweetingpreviewOk, we’ve officially lost our minds, but they say the first step toward healing is recognizing the problem.  As of 8am EDT last Monday, there were 347 hours until tipoff of UNC vs. FIU and Ohio State vs. Alcorn State on Opening Night, Nov. 9.  Beginning that morning, we started releasing our rankings of every Division I team from worst to first as tweets on the social networking platform known as Twitter (you may have heard of it).  We’ll release one team preview every single hour from now until Opening Night, and in case you’re not following us over there, we’ll put the updated list here each night for your review.  The key to tweeting, of course, is conciseness, so we’ll try our best to relay some relevant information about each and every team in the requisite 140 characters or less, and hopefully some of you will be paying attention along the way.  Here are Saturday’s entries, #234 to #211.  There are some decent teams popping up…

tweeting preview 234-211

Share this story

Where 2009-10 Happens: Reason #7 Why We Love College Basketball

Posted by zhayes9 on October 31st, 2009

seasonpreview

Shamelessly cribbing from the very clever NBA catch phrase, we here at RTC will present to you the Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball as we gear up toward the start of the season in about two weeks.  We’ll be bringing you players to watch for this season and moments to remember from last season, courtesy of the series of dump trucks, wires and effluvia known as YouTube.

#7- Where The Unexpected Happens

Share this story

2009-10 Conference Primers: #7 – Mountain West

Posted by rtmsf on October 31st, 2009

seasonpreview

Andrew Murawa of The Great Leap Backward is the RTC correspondent for the Mountain West Conference. 

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. BYU 12-4
  2. UNLV 11-5
  3. San Diego State 10-6
  4. Utah 10-6
  5. New Mexico 9-7
  6. TCU 7-9
  7. Wyoming 6-10
  8. Colorado State 5-11
  9. Air Force 2-14

All-Conference Team:

  • Jimmer Fredette (G), Jr, BYU (16.2ppg, 4.0 apg)
  • Carlon Brown (G), Jr, Utah (9.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.3 apg)
  • Afam Muojeke (F), Soph, Wyoming (13.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
  • Jonathan Tavernari (F), Sr, BYU (15.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg)
  • Zvonko Buljan (C), Sr, TCU (12.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg)

6th Man: Billy White, Sr, San Diego State (8.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg)

Impact Newcomer: Derrick Jasper, Jr, UNLV

mtn west logoWhat You Need to Know.  The Mountain West Conference is consistently one of the top high mid-major conferences in the country. In just over a decade in existence, the MWC has only failed to finish among the top 10 conferences in terms of RPI just once (2005-06), and only once in the conference’s history has it failed to advance more than one team to the NCAA tournament (2000-01). Six of its nine member schools feature campuses above 4,000 feet in elevation, and that, coupled with some small, raucous arenas, make MWC arenas a tough place for visiting teams to play.

New look league: Only five of last year’s top 20 scorers in the conference, and only one of last year’s top ten in minutes played, return. Last year, the Mountain West Conference was dominated by veterans, but despite their absence, coaches around the league have plenty of incoming talent to get excited about. For every Luke Nevill, Lee Cummard, Wink Adams, Kyle Spain or Brandon Ewing that has moved on, a Derrick Jasper, Malcolm Thomas, Kawhi Leonard, Shawn Glover or JayDee Luster has arrived.  As a result, every team in this league has questions that will need to be answered between now and March. Who can BYU get to step in and take up the slack that the graduation of Lee Cummard leaves? Can gigantic sophomore David Foster fill the hole in the paint for Utah left by Luke Nevill? Can UNLV get enough production from its frontcourt to help their strong backcourt?  Can Steve Fisher’s San Diego State squad not underachieve for once? Is New Mexico’s Phillip McDonald ready to become a star in this league?

Stability remains: While there has been a lot of turnover in terms of players in the MWC, the guys patrolling the sidelines will look remarkably similar. In an era of seemingly rampant coaching turnover, the MWC boasts nine returning coaches, three of whom (UNLV’s Lon Kruger, San Diego State’s Fisher and New Mexico’s Steve Alford) have more than 350 career wins.  BYU fans should feel particularly pleased to see their head coach, Dave Rose, return. Rose was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just after the end of last season, but has been fortunate enough to have received a clean bill of health following treatment and surgery in the offseason.

Non-conference boost: One area where the conference has gone downhill recently has been in the strength of its collective non-conference schedule. In the early 2000s, the MWC was consistently in the top 10 conferences in terms of non-conference schedule strength, but have slid to the point where their non-conference schedule strength the past three years has been out of the top 20. It would appear, however, that the conference has made a concerted effort to improve those numbers this year. In addition to the inaugural MWC/MVC Challenge (which will give MWC teams a chance to compete against a mid-major conference of similar historical strength), you’ll find tough games against both major conferences and respected mid-major programs littering the schedules. From tough roadies against national powers like Arizona, LSU and UCLA to sneaky matchups against other mid-majors like Utah State, St. Mary’s and Oral Roberts, the MWC has gone a long way towards beefing up their early-season schedules.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Tweeting the Preview: #258 – #235

Posted by rtmsf on October 31st, 2009

tweetingpreviewOk, we’ve officially lost our minds, but they say the first step toward healing is recognizing the problem.  As of 8am EDT last Monday, there were 347 hours until tipoff of UNC vs. FIU and Ohio State vs. Alcorn State on Opening Night, Nov. 9.  Beginning that morning, we started releasing our rankings of every Division I team from worst to first as tweets on the social networking platform known as Twitter (you may have heard of it).  We’ll release one team preview every single hour from now until Opening Night, and in case you’re not following us over there, we’ll put the updated list here each night for your review.  The key to tweeting, of course, is conciseness, so we’ll try our best to relay some relevant information about each and every team in the requisite 140 characters or less, and hopefully some of you will be paying attention along the way.  Here are Friday’s entries, #258 to #235.  Ok, getting a little better…

tweeting preview 258-235

Share this story

RTC 2009-10 Impact Players – Southwest Region

Posted by rtmsf on October 30th, 2009

impactplayers

Ed. Note: the previous posts in this series (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Atlantic South, Deep South, Mid-South, Lower Midwest, Upper Midwest and Mountains) are located here.

It’s time for the ninth installment of our RTC 2009-10 Impact Players series, the group of hot, dry, desert-y states known as the Southwest Region.   Each week we’ll pick a geographic area of the country and break down the five players who we feel will have the most impact on their teams (and by the transitive property, college basketball) this season.  Our criteria is once again subjective – there are so many good players in every region of the country that it’s difficult to narrow them down to only five  in each – but we feel at the end of this exercise that we’ll have discussed nearly every player of major impact in the nation.  Just to be fair and to make this not too high-major-centric, we’re also going to pick a mid-major impact player in each region as our sixth man.  We welcome you guys, our faithful and very knowledgeable readers, to critique us in the comments where we left players off.  The only request is that you provide an argument – why will your choice be more influential this season than those we chose?

Southwest Region (NM, AZ, NV, HI, southern CA)

sw_impact_players_v.2

  • Rihards Kuksiks – F, Jr – Arizona State. Advice to Pac-10 coaches writing up their scouting reports for when they go up against Arizona State this season: when Rihards Kuksiks enters the building, get a man on him. Don’t bother waiting until the game actually starts. You don’t want him getting comfortable, because he’s the kind of shooter who can change a game just that quickly. The guy can touch the ball a few times and the next thing you know you’re down nine before the first TV timeout. Or you get a little comfortable with your late-game lead and after Kuksiks gets a couple of touches the lead is gone and you’re wondering how time can tick so slowly. You want numbers? Fine. Kuksiks is third in terms of returning individual leaders in 3-point field goal percentage (44.3%) in the country among players who hit at least two threes a game and finished 8th in that category last year. A recent article on FoxSports.com by Jeff Goodman reveals some other incredible stats: in games decided by 2 points or less, Kuksiks shot 47% from behind the 3-point line; against ranked opponents he shot 46% from beyond the arc, and in the loss to Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament’s second round last year, he put up his career high in points with 20, with 18 of those coming from long range. In other words, the man steps up during big games. If the numbers don’t interest you, then consider the fact that many of these threes are not from a hair behind the line. They are often from distance. And they are often clutch (ask Arizona about a couple of late ones he nailed in that February game last year). Most importantly, watch the form. It should be an instructional video. He gets good height on his jumper but doesn’t overdo it, and you can see how he gets his legs into the shot. He releases the ball out in front just a little bit, but then the follow-through is a perfect example of that “reach into the cookie jar” that basketball coaches start teaching kids from the moment they can lift a basketball. By the way, he’s 6’6 and more than happy to mix it up in the paint, if needed. My favorite bit about Kuksiks comes from an interview he did for a site called EuropeanProspects.com in which he was asked what kind of player he was. The first words out of his mouth? “I am a sharpshooter.”  This is confidence, not cockiness, from the big man from Riga, Latvia. But I think it’s just fine if there actually is a little cockiness there. Long-range shooters are like neurosurgeons. They’re often asked to do the most difficult things in their field…and if I get to the point where I need to depend on one, I want them a little bit cocky.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Where 2009-10 Happens: Reason #8 Why We Love College Basketball

Posted by zhayes9 on October 30th, 2009

seasonpreview

Shamelessly cribbing from the very clever NBA catch phrase, we here at RTC will present to you the Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball as we gear up toward the start of the season in about two weeks.  We’ll be bringing you players to watch for this season and moments to remember from last season, courtesy of the series of dump trucks, wires and effluvia known as YouTube.

#8- Where Order of Double Onions Happens

Share this story