Conference USA Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 11th, 2009

Memphis passed its last regular season road test and now only has a few games to go to return to the “promised land” that they’ve never really left.

While the Tigers’ dominance over the rest of CUSA is nearly unparalleled in the history of modern college basketball, it doesn’t mean that every other team is chopped liver. Basically anything can happen in a tournament setting and the Tigers have endured a few close calls this year.


So here are the teams as they are seeded and some pertinent info:

#1: Memphis Tigers

Coach: John Calipari

Record: 28-3 overall (16-0 in CUSA)

Players to Watch: G Tyreke Evans, F Robert Dozier, F Shawn Taggart, G Antonio Anderson

Season Highlights: In a year that many thought would be fraught with ‘rebuilding’ and the like, the Tigers continue to look dominant. The arrival of the latest one-year wonder: Tyreke Evans, has allowed the blue and gray not miss a beat from last year’s final four squad. But the veteran leadership of guys like Antonio Anderson, Doneal Mack, Shawn Taggart and Robert Dozier has been a huge factor too. They suffered early-season setbacks against Xavier and Syracuse, but they’re currently riding 20+ game winning streak. There have been a few close calls and at the end of the day they’re still undefeated against the rest of the conference.

They Will Win If: They simply show up and play their game. I don’t want to imply that the Tigers will simply cream whomever they play, because they could well lose. But they’re playing an extremely favorable draw on their home court. This is a recipe for success and it also doesn’t hurt that they’ve won over 50 games in a row against CUSA teams.

First Game: vs. the winner of #8 Tulane/#9 East Carolina; Thursday at 8:30 pm.

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SEC Wrapup & Tournament Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 11th, 2009

Ryan ZumMallen of LBSportsPost is the RTC correspondent for the Big West and SEC Conferences.

A lot of people have written off the SEC as an also-ran.  It’s lacked a Top 20 presence most of the season and doesn’t figure to make a lot of noise in The Dance.  LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee are looking like the only teams that have earned themselves a Tournament spot – save, of course, a surprising SEC Tournament champion.  But in a conference boasting the likes of Jodie Meeks, Nick Calathes, Ole Miss’ Terrico White and others, it’s entirely plausible that a middle of the pack squad could pull a Chattanooga and punch themselves a Tourney ticket.


LSU was clearly the best team in the conference this season, posting the best margins of points (+10.1) and rebounds (+5.7) per game.  But the Tigers are not without their faults.  Their three SEC losses were to Alabama, Vanderbilt and Auburn – who boast a combined 25-23 conference record.  Not exactly quality losses, and LSU will need to be wary carrying a two-game losing streak into the conference tournament; lest we forget that many teams need an SEC title more than the #16 Tigers do.

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Big 12 Wrap & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 11th, 2009

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 and MVC Conferences.


Kansas didn’t rebuild, they reloaded this season.  After questions whether this team would be able to be as good as they were last season with basically only Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, this new class has gelled together and Bill Self was able to prove that he is one of the best developers of talent in the nation and also the Big 12 Coach of the Year.   As I said in my preseason predictions, Kansas could fly under the radar and by the end of the season have a seasoned team.  I just didn’t think they would actually win the conference.    Oklahoma has also had a great season, but the loss of Blake Griffin over two key games was the difference between winning the conference and finishing second.  I’m sure a lot of people were surprised to see Missouri be as successful as they were this season.  You just didn’t know if Mike Anderson had the guys he wanted to play high pressure defense.    But probably the surprise for me is the performance of Texas.  To be real honest, I am really surprised how many people feel so confident Texas is comfortably in the tournament after the inconsistencies this team has had this season.    I had high expectations for them to win the Big 12, but the non-existence of a player to step up to play point guard has really hampered this team.  But I’ll have more on Texas later.  Kansas St., Texas A&M and Oklahoma St. all have realistic desires of making the NCAA Tournament.

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MAAC Tournament Notes

Posted by rtmsf on March 10th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC Conferences.  He found himself in Albany last weekend witnessing the MAAC Championship.

ALBANY, NY – Following Siena’s quarterfinal win , Canisius coach Tom Parrotta was asked about the Saints’ Kenny Hasbrouck. “He made some big plays in the first half to keep us at bay,” Parrotta said. “That’s what seniors do.”  The play of Hasbrouck is probably the best or primary reason Siena cut down the nets last night following the 77-70 MAAC championship victory over Niagara at the Times Union Center. The stats show Hasbrouck shot 8 of 21 from the field. The stats do not reveal that the Saint senior battled through a calf injury that had his status questionable the day of the game.  During a 13-1 run that gave Siena a double digit lead midway in the second half, Hasbrouck buried a trey, took one to the basket, hit a midrange jumper in the lane and a twelve footer from the corner. He finished with 19 points to pace the Saints. More importantly, he was the heart and soul behind the Siena triumph. Niagara gave a solid effort a night after surviving a thrilling double-overtime win over Rider. The Purple Eagles appeared finished until Tyrone Lewis banked in a trey with 1.7 seconds remaining to force overtime. That Rider-Niagara semifinal was a classic battle, the type we see so often during the latter rounds in this tournament.

Think it’s a great idea the men’s and women’s tournament share the same venue. It gives fans a chance to see the programs of the member schools and gives the women a little more of a showcase.   Economics of the day called for it. A good number of  courtside press tables were removed to put in café style tables complete with waitress service. MAAC commissioner Rich Ensor made the decision to generate more funds and, at the same time, make other seating more affordable. No media were shut out due to this. Some were seated in the hockey press area in the upper level and not a bad vantage point by any means.

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March Madness Indeed

Posted by nvr1983 on March 10th, 2009

With all the college basketball news floating around the Internet right now I also missed an interesting piece of news about the Robert Morris basketball team and I’m sure the administration at wishes I had. According to police reports, Mezie Nwigwe, the Colonials’ leading scorer (6.5 PPG) off the bench, was involved in an altercation that left 2 men with minor injuries. Apparently Nwigwe was with 3 of his teammates (Jeremy Chappell, Rob Robinson and Velton Jones) when the fight allegedly happened at 2:20 AM on Saturday. Although Nwigwe was not arrested he was issued a court summons on an assault charge.

Nwigwe is a Valuable Asset (photo credit:

Nwigwe is a Valuable Asset (photo credit:

Normally this wouldn’t make headlines on a national blog like Rush the Court, but the Colonials will be playing for the Northeast Conference championship game against Mount St. Mary’s tomorrow night with a trip to the NCAA tournament on the line. Of course, this leaves the Robert Morris athletic department and administration with a dilemma. What did they do? Initially Robert Morris was uncertain about what they should do with Nwigwe. However, after a few hours of deliberation they reached a surpisingly firm decision that Nwigwe would play. Maybe I have become a little jaded with the way schools handle athletics today, but I’m pretty sure Robert Morris wouldn’t be as firmly behind Nwigwe if this had happened to him prior to a game against Mount St. Mary’s in the middle of January. I think this one falls under Bobby Bowden’s Variable Laws where punishments depend on the importance of next weekend’s game. And I am sure the $125k that the NCAA gives each tournament team per game didn’t have any influence on their decision. . .

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WAC Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 10th, 2009

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

A WACky regular season came to an end on Saturday night and after the dust settled the seedings were finally set. Heading into last week’s games just two of the nine seeds were cemented in place, the 1-seed (Utah State) and the 9-seed (Fresno State). The final seeds look like this 1) Utah State, 2) Nevada, 3) Idaho, 4) Boise State, 5) New Mexico State, 6) Louisiana Tech, 7) San Jose State, 8) Hawai’i, 9) Fresno State.


Tuesday night sees the two last place teams battle it out for the honor of facing top seed Utah State on Thursday in the quarterfinals.On Thursday the remaining eight teams will be whittled down to four.

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Big East Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 10th, 2009

Rob Dauster of Ballin is a Habit is the RTC correspondent for the Big East ConferenceHe will be live-blogging all the action from his executive suite at MSG this week. 


Tuesday, March 10th / First Round
– Game 1: #9 Cincinnati vs. #16 DePaul
– Game 2: #12 Georgetown vs. #13 St. John’s
– Game 3: #10 Notre Dame vs. #15 Rutgers
– Game 4: #11 Seton Hall vs. #14 South Florida

Wednesday, March 11th / Second Round
– Game 5: Game 1 Winner vs. #8 Providence
– Game 6: Game 2 Winner vs. #5 Marquette
– Game 7: Game 3 Winner vs. #7 West Virginia
– Game 8: Game 4 Winner vs. #6 Syracuse

Thursday, March 12th / Quarters
– Game 9: Game 5 Winner vs. #1 Louisville
– Game 10: Game 6 Winner vs. #4 Villanova
– Game 11: Game 7 Winner vs. #2 Pitt
– Game 12: Game 8 Winner vs. #3 UConn

Friday, March 13th / Semis
– Game 13: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner
– Game 14: Game 11 Winner vs. Game 12 Winner

Saturday, March 14th / Finals
– Game 15: Game 13 Winner vs. Game 14 Winner

It is only fitting that the biggest conference in college basketball have the biggest tournament. For the first time, the Big East is inviting all 16 teams to MSG for a five day extravaganza. The BET is always full of exciting moments – from Ray Allen vs. Allen Iverson in 1996 to Taliek Brown’s banked in 30 footer in 2002 to Gerry McNamara’s superhuman performance in 2006. With the number of good teams and absurdly high number of talented players, this year’s edition of the BET should not disappoint.

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Pac-10 Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by nvr1983 on March 9th, 2009

Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 Conference.

Pac-10 Final Regular Season Standings
1. Washington 14-4, 24-7
2. UCLA 13-5, 24-7
3. Arizona State 11-7, 22-8
4. California 11-7, 22-9
5. Arizona 9-9, 19-12
6. USC 9-9, 18-12
7. Washington State 8-10, 16-14
8. Oregon State 7-11, 13-16
9. Stanford 6-12, 17-12
10. Oregon 2-16, 8-22

Player of the Year: James Harden
The third sophomore in Pac-10 history to win player of the year. The others were Jason Kidd (1994) and Mike Bibby (1998). Harden is also the third ASU player to win it following Ike Diogu (2005) and Eddie House (2000).

Freshman of the Year: Isaiah Thomas
Thomas set the freshman scoring record for Washington with 477 points and is the fourth Husky to win the award.

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MAC Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 9th, 2009

Greg Miller of WPSD Local 6 is the RTC correspondent for the OVC and MAC Conferences.

What in the world has happened to the MAC?  Check out Monday’s edition of bracketology and you’ll see Bowling Green as Joe Lunardi’s choice to be the MAC’s representative in the NCAA Tournament.  No problem with that, considering they edged Buffalo for the MAC regular season title on Sunday.  The problem lies with where they are seeded.  A #16 SEED!?!?!?  WHAT?!?!?!?  This conference is at maybe it’s lowest point in decades.  Scratch maybe.  This is rock bottom for the MAC.

With that being said, the play has been super-competitive within in the league.  Going into the final four game stretch, every team in the MAC East was alive for the league title.  We’re not even going to touch the West.  They were a flat debacle.  Nobody had a winning record.  Ball State had the most wins in the West and the Cardinals won 13 games.  Just sad.

The league did announce their postseason awards Monday.  Click here to take a look.

The league tournament starts on Tuesday and, if you throw out the West, the tournament should be wide open.


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Summit League Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 7th, 2009

Ryan Pravato of College Fast Break is the RTC correspondent for the Summit League.

Tourney Preview (Sioux Falls Arena)


Saturday Games:

(1) North Dakota St. vs. (8) Centenary

Centenary was outrebounded in their last meeting with NDSU by 22. Although Redus had a strong game, Adams and Stallings combined for just 16 points. Expect the same defensive play from the bigger, better guards of NDSU.

(2) Oral Roberts vs. (7) South Dakota St.

Home state advantage could make this a much tighter game than it is on paper. Jackrabbit forwards Anthony Cardova and Kai Williams, the only players taller than 6’5 to see regular minutes, must come up with huge games on the glass. If Ford and Lewis are not accounted for, it’s over.

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