CAA Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2009

Ryan Kish of George Mason Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the CAA.  He will be reporting from the CAA Tournament this weekend in Richmond, Va.

Having the privilege of attending this weekend’s CAA conference tournament, I’d like to share the fact that it’s probably going to be one of the most exciting in the country.  Starting this Saturday I will be liveblogging the most intriguing game from the sidelines for the CAA faithful (see RTC Live sidebar).  Choosing which game will be very difficult as almost any match-up will be worthy.  This weekend you will get an in-depth hands-on look into the tournament and some insight on what to expect.

2009-caa-tourney-bracket

Favorite:  VCU

The term “favorite” is kind of a loose term this season in the CAA, and even though VCU was picked by the coaches and media to be where they are now, any CAA fan will tell you that #1 seed won’t guarantee a championship visit.  The Rams have ridden the success of Eric Maynor as he guided his young squad through the CAA schedule but not without their share of bumps and bruises.  Nearly every team in the top of the conference has lost a game or two to the bottom dwellers and much can be said about the fact that VCU only had to face George Mason and Northeastern once each.  But despite that the Rams have shown more consistency in an unstable CAA and they have the tools to run the table in Richmond.  Head coach Anthony Grant has been here before and Eric Maynor is continuing to make his teammates better even with scoring 25+ a night. Forward Larry Sanders has been having a sensational season to date, on both ends of the court.  His play in the front court will be huge for the Rams.  VCU plays an aggressive, rough, in-your-face kind of game and that’s exactly the kind of squad I’d like to avoid in a single elimination tournament.  At times this season that same aggressiveness has led to trouble but if they can keep it under control and they will be the most dangerous team this weekend.

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NEC Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2009

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

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The postseason brackets are set and the Northeast Conference tournament tips off tonight. The schedule:

Thursday

  • Quinnipiac at LIU
  • Central Connecticut  at Sacred Heart
  • St.Francis (NY) at Robert Morris
  • Wagner at Mount St. Mary’s

**Semifinals are Sunday at the home court of the higher seed and the finals are next Wednesday, 8:00 on ESPN2. Again at the home court of the highest remaining seed (see below bracket).

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Sun Belt Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2009

Rick Henderson of The Owl’s Nest is the RTC correspondent for the Sun Belt Conference.

sbc-standings-030409

Final Results Are In

A couple things were expected.  And a lot was not.  WKU sitting out the first round is no shocker.  UALR atop the West was expected as well.  But MTSU was expected to do a lot better.  Additionally,  who would have “thunk” that head coaches Mike Jarvis and John Brady would finish at the bottom of their respective divisions and as 12th and 13th seeds?  Wow.  Lastly, how does Troy, a team that actually was picked to finish in the basement, obtain a first round bye and sit all alone in second in the East?  Weird wild stuff!  And, of course, why we all love the sport of basketball.  Anything can happen on any given night.  And especially over the course of a season.  Troy has a decent shot at making it to the finals given they can get past UALR.  But WKU will prove a tall order.  The Trojans lost both regular season games to the Toppers.

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Patriot League Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2009

Marty Leon is the RTC correspondent for the Patriot League. 

Patrtiot League Playoff Preview

#1 American vs #8 Lafayette - Lafayette took American to overtime last week at home. American is 21-7 overall and 13-1 in league play. This is their second year in a row as #1 seed. They won 11 road games, tied for tops in the country. Like all Patriot games this will be a battle, and anything could happen but most likely will not.

#2 Holy Cross vs # 7 Bucknell – Holy Cross smoked Lehigh by 15 to end the season and are playoff sharp. Bucknell has overachieved all year but just had a tough 17 point loss to Army.  Ralph Willard’s team will march on, right into a title game with American.

#3 Navy vs #6 Colgate – This veteran Navy squad has a legit shot at a title run. Kaleno Kena had 23 as the midshipmen just beat Colgate to end the season.  Colgate too young, Navy too experienced.

#4 Army vs. #5 Lehigh – We thought Lehigh would have a better year.  They will not go to West Point and beat a determined Army team on their home turf.  Kudos to Jim Crews for a great year and the #4 seed.

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Missouri Valley Conference Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2009

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the MVC and Big 12 Conferences.  He will be reporting from the MVC Tournament this weekend in St. Louis, Missouri.

mvc-final-standings-comparison

The Missouri Valley Conference finished regular season play this last week with Northern Iowa and Creighton sharing the MVC regular season crown.  Due to the complicated tie-breaker formula, Northern Iowa received the 1-seed for the MVC Tournament and Creighton the 2nd.   My preseason predictions weren’t exactly what happened, but like the whole bizarre Valley season usually is, the middle was all muddled up.   No one expected Northern Iowa to be as good as they were in conference play and at the same time, it wasn’t expected to see Southern Illinois take such a nosedive so fast in the past two seasons.

The MVC released their postseason awards on Tuesday with Booker Woodfox from Creighton getting the Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year honors.  Woodfox leads the nation in 3-point shooting at 50.9% and averaged almost 16 points a game.  Champ Oguchi from Illinois St. received the Newcomer of the Year award.  I’m a little surprised that Bryan Mullins won the Defensive Player of the Year honors when he missed almost the whole last half of the conference season.  Maybe it is a lifetime award or something.

This Thursday night starts what is affectionately known as Arch Madness.  I will be down in St. Louis covering things for Rush The Court with a planned RTC Live for at least one game each day starting Friday and other daily updates.  I will also have all-access to the postgame news conferences and other media information.  If you have things you want me to check out or have questions for the coaches or players – but I won’t be the guy that got kicked out of the Creighton game last weekend—then be sure to ask.

Let’s take a look at the matchups starting on Thursday:
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Horizon League Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 3rd, 2009

Damon Lewis, a reporter and play-by-play announcer for the Horizon League Network, is RTC’s Horizon League correspondent.

FINAL STANDINGS
1. Butler 15-3 25-4
2. Green Bay 13-5 22-9
3. Cleveland State 12-6 21-10
4. Wright State 12-6 18-12
5. Milwaukee 11-7 16-13
6. Youngstown State 7-11 11-18
7. UIC 7-11 15-14
8. Loyola 6-12 14-17
9. Valparaiso 5-13 9-21
10. Detroit 2-16 7-22

First things first…the Horizon League announced it’s all-league teams and award winners on Monday. A complete list can be found here, but we have the 1st-teamers:

ALL-HORIZON LEAGUE 1st TEAM
Matt Howard – Sophomore – Butler (Player of the Year)
Gordon Hayward – Freshman – Butler
Ryan Tillema – Senior – Green Bay
J’Nathan Bullock – Senior – Cleveland State
Josh Mayo – Senior – UIC

Study this list closely, and you’ll have an idea why Butler should continue to dominate the Horizon League for the foreseeable future. Zoiks, Scoob.

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OVC Season Wrap & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 2nd, 2009

Greg Miller of WPSD Local 6 is the RTC correspondent for the OVC.  The OVC Tournament begins at on-campus venues on Tuesday before moving to Nashville, TN, for the final two rounds.

Regular Season Wrap-Up

How can you not be happy for UT Martin’s Bret Campbell?  After years and years of finishing at the bottom of the OVC, Campbell has led the Skyhawks to the top of the OVC.   Martin’s 79-65 win over Morehead State on Saturday night clinched the school’s first-ever OVC title and just the second 21-win season in school history (first-ever in Division One.)

Campbell is really one of the good guys in college coaching.  He’s paid his dues and at times really struggled to get the UTM program growing.  He caught a real break when he was able to land a talent like Lester Hudson and caught another break when Hudson decided to return for his senior season.  Campbell was able to go out and find a great supporting cast and now UTM is on the verge of making their first-ever NCAA Tournament if they can capture the OVC Tournament title this week.

That will be much easier said than done.

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Championship Week is Actually Two Weeks, Starting Tomorrow

Posted by rtmsf on March 2nd, 2009

We all know that the calendar turned to March a little over 36 hrs ago, but did you know that we’re already on the verge of conference tournament season?  ESPN’s ballyhooed Championship Week doesn’t start for another seven days, but some of the smaller conferences are ready to tip it off and crown a champion.  Immediately, as in…  Tomorrow. 

Yes, the Big South, OVC and Horizon are all playing elimination games within the next 24 hours, and we’re quite sure that you weren’t aware of that.  The Patriot League begins Wednesday, and there will be ten other conferences that will start their tournament extravaganzas this week, with five of those finishing before Saturday is through.  In order to keep up with it all, we produced this schedule for our own internal use that might as well be made public for you guys also. 

2009-conf-tourney-schedule-v3

Also keep in mind that RTC Live will be attending the festivities this week in St. Louis, Richmond and Las Vegas for the MVC, CAA and WCC Tournaments, respectively.  Should be a blast at all three of those high mids.

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