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.

big-12-final-standings

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: syracuse.com)

Nwigwe is a Valuable Asset (photo credit: syracuse.com)

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 bleedCrimson.net 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.

2009-wac-tourney-bracket

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. 

Schedule:

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.

2009-mac-tourney-bracket

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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)

2009-summit-tourney-bracket

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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MAAC Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by nvr1983 on March 6th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC Conferences.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Times Union Center in Albany is the site. The women’s tournament started Thursday for the MAAC and the men get things going tonight with the champion crowned on Monday evening. The schedule…

Friday
7:30- Loyola – Canisius
9:30- Iona – Marist

Saturday
2:30- Manhattan-Fairfield
5:00- Siena vs. Loyola-Canisius winner
7:30- Niagara vs. Iona-Marist winner
10:00- Rider-St.Peter’s

Sunday
7:30- Semifinal
10:00- Semifinal

Monday
9:00- Championship (on ESPN)

The seeds and EM (efficiency margin is offensive – defensive points per possession).

SEED TEAM EM
1. Siena +.12
2. Niagara +.14
3. Rider +.02
4. Manhattan -.03
5. Fairfield -.02
6. St.Peter’s -.03
7. Iona -.02
8. Loyola -.04
9. Canisius -.08
10. Marist -.10

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Southern Conference Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 6th, 2009

Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 and Southern Conferences.

Favorite: Davidson

Stephen Curry is back to full strength from his ankle injury. That is the single most important factor in the Southern Conference tournament. Curry just was voted the Southern Conference’s Player of the Year for the second straight year. Davidson started out conference play by winning 15 straight games before hitting a rough patch and going 2-2with both losses at home. Since then, Davidson has won their final three conference games by an average margin of 25 points.  First teamers Curry and Andrew Lovedale have led this team back to the brink of the NCAA tournament. They are sitting on the other side of the bubble right now, so a Southern Conference Tournament Championship is what they need to feel secure come Selection Sunday. We all would like a chance to see Curry and Davidson tackle the giants in the tournament again. With an 18-2 conference record, they are heavy favorites.

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WCC Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2009

Michael Vernetti is the RTC correspondent for the West Coast Conference.  He will be reporting from the WCC Tournament this weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Check for his game liveblogs at RTC Live: WCC Tournament throughout the weekend.

A little unexpected news on the injury front has turned what looked to be a rather drab WCC Conference Tournament into a hotbed of excitement. The news concerned the broken right hand of Saint Mary’s star guard Patty Mills, who had been told by his doctor not to count on being ready for the tournament. That was before a visit with the doc on Monday (3/2), at which time Mills was pronounced fit to resume practicing with the Gaels. Current plans from coach Randy Bennett had Mills participating in non-contact drills on Tuesday and Wednesday and full five-on-five scrimmages on Thursday, Friday and maybe even Saturday since Saint Mary’s doesn’t have to be in Las Vegas for its first game until Sunday at 8:30 p.m.

The condition of Mills’ hand is significant because it permits speculation about a possible rematch between Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga with revenge and an NCAA tournament bid in the balance. As the number one and number two seeds in the tournament, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s need only to get by a single semifinal contest to face each other for a third time this season in the WCC championship game Monday night, March 9. Their first game on January 29 on Gonzaga’s home court in Spokane was shaping up to be Mills’ finest effort as a collegian, as he rattled the Zags for 18 points in the first 17 minutes of the game. Then as he eluded the Zags’ Jeremy Pargo on a dash into the key, Mills lost his balance and fell to the floor, with his right hand striking the hardwood first. Given the spills taken regularly by the fearless Mills it didn’t seem to be much to be worried about, but appearances were deceiving. He had broken metacarpal bones, requiring surgery, insertion of pins to stabilize the area and fitting of a cast. Things immediately went downhill for the Gaels, who were 18-1 and possessing the nation’s longest active winning streak at 15 heading into the Gonzaga game.

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