NCAA Preview: Morgan State Bears

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Morgan State University (#15, South, Kansas City pod)

vs. Oklahoma (#2)
Thur. 3/19 at about 9:40 pm

Vegas Line:  +16

General Profile
Location:
Baltimore, MD
Conference:
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, automatic bid
Coach:
Todd Bozeman, Overall Record: 58-40
08-09 Record:
23-11 (14-3)
Last 12 Games:
11-1, won 5.
Best Win:
66-65, University of Maryland, 1-7-09
Worst Loss:
63-58, Florida A&M University, 1-17-09
Off. Efficiency Rating:
99.3 (210th)
Def. Efficiency Rating:
97.4 (92nd)

Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s):
Reggie Holmes, 16.9 ppg, 37.3 3pt%
Unsung Hero:
Kevin Thompson, 8.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s):
None
Key Injuries:
No significant injuries.
Depth:
20.4% mins. (336th nationally)
Achilles Heel:
Poor Free Throw Shooting.  Only 66 percent as a team.
Will Make a Deep Run if…:
They stretch the Oklahoma defense and shoot well from three-point range
Will Make an Early Exit if…:
Blake Griffin takes more than seven shots.

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: First Bid in School History
Streak:
n/a
Best NCAA Finish:
n/a
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present):
n/a

Other
Six Degrees to Detroit:
Todd Bozeman once coached Jason Kidd, who had several epic battles against the Detroit Pistons as a member of the New Jersey Nets.
Distance to First Round Site:
963 Miles
School’s Claim to Fame:
Coached by former Cal Bear coach Todd Bozeman, who was banned from NCAA competition for eight years for improper payments to players.
School Wishes It Could Forget:
N/A
Prediction:
Morgan St. will shoot and defend well in the first half, but jitters will enable Oklahoma to pull away late.
Major RTC stories:
27 Down, 38 To Go

Preview written by: JC of HBCUSportsblog.com.

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NCAA Preview: Pittsburgh Panthers

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Pittsburgh (#1, East, Dayton pod)

vs. East Tennessee State (#16)
Mar. 20 @ 2:55pm

Vegas Line: Pittsburgh -20

pitt-ncaa-graph

Thanks to Vegas Watch for providing these graphs that measure the moving average of a team’s spread (moving avg.) over time vs. the spread for each individual game (indiv).  If a team’s moving average is higher than zero, then Vegas currently has a higher opinion of them than Pomeroy, and vice versa.

General Profile

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Conference: Big East, at-large
Coach: Jamie Dixon, 150-41
08-09 Record: 28-4, 15-3
Last 12 Games: 10-2
Best Win: 76-68, Connecticut, 2/16/2009
Worst Loss: 81-73, Providence, 2/24/2009
Off. Efficiency Rating: 122.9 [2]
Def. Efficiency Rating: 92.2 [34]

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): DeJaun Blair – 15.6 ppg/12.2 rpg; Sam Young – 18.7 ppg/6.1 rpg; Levance Fields – 10.7 ppg/7.6 apg
Unsung Hero: Jermaine Dixon – 9.0 ppg
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): DeJuan Blair, 13th overall in 2009 / Sam Young, 22nd overall in 2009
Key Injuries: No injuries to report
Depth: 29.4% mins, #206
Achilles Heel: DeJuan Blair and fouls – Pitt is 0-3 when their big guy fouls out, and 28-1 when he stays on the court.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Everything goes as expected.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Blair gets in foul trouble, and the other Pitt stars can’t make up the difference.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2008, Round of 32
Streak: Pitt is dancing for the 8th straight year.
Best NCAA Finish: 1941, Final Four
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): -0.40 wins per appearance

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: Head coach Jamie Dixon (1) took over in 2003 at Pitt after Ben Howland (2) left for UCLA. Howland’s Bruins won a spectacular game again Gonzaga in the 2006 tournament, with Adam Morrison (3) starring for the Zags. Morrison was the first draft pick by Michael Jordan (4), who famously played for the Chicago Bulls (5), who were at the time the chief rival of the Detroit Pistons (6).
Distance to First Round Site: 256 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: “Send it in Jerome!” In 1988, Pitt forward Jerome Lane had one of the most spectacular highlight reel dunks ever, shattering the backboard with a slam against Providence.
School Wishes It Could Forget: In 2005, a University of Pittsburgh scientist named Gerald Schatten was linked to a South Korean embryo-cloning debacle that made international controversy. Generally, schools don’t like their faculty members getting involved in such things.
Prediction: FSU doesn’t have the firepower, outside of Douglas, to take down Pitt, and Blair should dominate over Duke’s tepid post players. In the end, Pittsburgh makes it all the way to the Final Four, but can’t quite make it to the title game.

Major RTC stories: None

Preview written by…  Matt the Intern

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NCAA Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Minnesota (#10, East, Greensboro pod)

vs. Texas (#7)
Thur. 3/19 at 7:10 pm
Vegas Line:  +4

General Profile
Location:
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conference:
Big Ten, at large
Coach: Orlando “Tubby” Smith, hired 2007. Record at Minnesota = 42-24.
08-09 Record:
22-10 (9-9)
Last 12 Games:
5-7
Best Win:
vs Louisville, 70-64, 12/20/08
Worst Loss:
at Northwestern, 65-74, on 1/18/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating:
106.5 (88th)
Def. Efficiency Rating:
90.6 (20th)

Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s):
Lawrence Westbrook (6’0″ junior guard), 12.4 ppg.
Unsung Hero:
Ralph Sampson III (6’11″ freshman center), leads team with 4.4 rpg and second in blocks at 1.5/game.
Potential NBA Draft Pick:
Sampson has some teams interested.
Key Injuries:
No significant injuries.
Depth:
40.7% mins. (13th nationally)
Achilles Heel:
Guarding the three. Opponents shoot 32.7%, 236th in the nation in that category.
Will Make a Deep Run if…:
…their defense can frustrate. They’re 20th nationally in Defensive Efficiency and 4th nationally in blocks.
Will Make an Early Exit if…:
…their interior defense breaks down. Despite being poor in defensing the three, they’re in the top 30 as far as guarding shots inside the arc.
Last Year Invited:
2005
Streak:
One year.
Best NCAA Finish:
1997 Final Four.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present):
n/a

Other
Distance to First Round Site:
1143 miles
School’s Claim to Fame:
A notable alumni list too long to list, but it includes 18 Nobel prize winners.  Bob Dylan went here but dropped out.
School Wishes It Could Forget:
Yanni is an alumnus.
Prediction:
Minnesota doesn’t wow you with statistics but with Smith at the helm you know at the very least they’ll give Texas a ballgame, and maybe win it outright. Minnesota will be a popular 1st round upset pick, but they have to find a way to corral Pittman. If they can…who knows, after that.
Major RTC stories:
Big 10 Wrapup and Tourney Preview

Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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NCAA Preview: Cal St. Northridge Matadors

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Cal State Northridge (#15, West, Kansas City pod)

vs. Memphis (#2)
Mar. 19 @ 12:25pm

Vegas Line: Cal St. Northridge +19.5

General Profile

Location: Northridge, CA
Conference: Big West, automatic
Coach: Bobby Braswell, 205-180
08-09 Record: 17-13, 11-5
Last 12 Games: 9-3
Best Win: 71-66, Pacific, 3/15
Worst Loss: 67-65, Cal State Bakersfield, 11/21
Off. Efficiency Rating: 102.2; #162
Def. Efficiency Rating: 97.1; #83

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Rodrigue Mels, 25.5 ppg in Big West Tournament
Unsung Hero:
Tremaine Townsend – 10.2 ppg, 8.3 rebs
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s):
None
Key Injuries:
Josh Jenkins, G – car accident; Deon Tresvant, G – pending legal case
Depth: 41.4%, #9
Achilles Heel: Just 67.3% from the FT line
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Memphis falls asleep on the court
Will Make an Early Exit if…: They turn the ball over too much (17.7 pg)

Other

Distance to First Round Site: 1,637 miles
School’s Claim to Fame:
One of the state’s largest schools (33,000+ students), Northridge finished rebuilding in 2007 after the campus was heavily damaged in the 1994 earthquake that struck the Los Angeles area
School Wishes It Could Forget:
Three players (including leading scorer and coach’s son) accused of stealing thousands of dollars in merchandise from a local Best Buy on New Year’s Day this year, and have not played since.
Prediction:
Northridge does all of the things that Memphis does… only Memphis does them much, much better. The Matadors won the Big West despite missing some key players, but that grit won’t get them far against the Tigers.

Major RTC stories: None

Preview written by… (Ryan ZumMallen, LBPOSTSports.com)

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NCAA Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Ohio State (#7, Midwest, Dayton pod)

vs. Siena (#9)
Mar. 19 @ 9:40pm

Vegas Line: Ohio St. -3
ohio-st-ncaa-graph

Thanks to Vegas Watch for providing these graphs that measure the moving average of a team’s spread (moving avg.) over time vs. the spread for each individual game (indiv).  If a team’s moving average is higher than zero, then Vegas currently has a higher opinion of them than Pomeroy, and vice versa.

General Profile
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Conference: Big Ten
Coach: Thad Matta, hired 2004.  Record at OSU = 127-45.
08-09 Record: 22-10 (10-8)
Last 12 Games: 7-5
Best Win: vs Michigan State 82-70, on 3/14/09
Worst Loss: at Northwestern, 69-72, on 2/18/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 114.0 (26th)
Def. Efficiency Rating:  95.9 (72nd)

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Evan Turner (6’7″ sophomore forward); 17.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.8 spg.
Unsung Hero: William Buford (6’5″ freshman forward); 11.3 ppg, shooting 45.2% FG and 89.6% FT.
Potential NBA Draft Pick: 7’0″ freshman center B.J. Mullens is currently projected as the 12th overall pick in the 2009 mock NBA draft at www.nbadraft.net.
Key Injuries: Would-be star player David Lighty (6’7″ junior F) injured his left 5th metatarsal against Jacksonville on 12/17/08 and was slated to miss 6-12 weeks.  No recent mention of possible return.
Depth:  26.6% mins (271st nationally)
Achilles Heel: The boards.  The Buckeyes pull down 28.2 rebounds/game, which is 301st nationally.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: …they shoot well, and the Buckeyes know how to do that.  9th nationally in FG% (48.9), and 7th nationally on shots inside the arc (54.5%).
Will Make an Early Exit if…: …they don’t take advantage of limited possessions; OSU only gets an average of 63.1 chances per game, which is 315th nationally.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2007
Streak: 1
Best NCAA Finish: 1960 National Champions.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): -0.12 wins per appearance

Other
Six Degrees to Detroit: Freshman guard Anthony Crater is from Flint.  And the Buckeyes know the state of Michigan well, let’s just say.
Distance to First Round Site: 71 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: Largest single-campus university in the nation.  Oh, and they kind of like football.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Recent football shortcomings, along with that loss to Florida in the 2007 tournament final after the Gators had also beaten them for the football title earlier that year.
Prediction: Another Big Ten team that doesn’t jump off the page, and Siena would be a typical team that could surprise the Buckeyes if it were not for the fact that this will basically be a home game for OSU, playing in Dayton and all.  They’ll have the best chance to knock off a 1-seed if they get to play Louisville in Dayton in the 2nd round.
Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.
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NCAA Preview: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Western Kentucky University (#12, South, Portland pod)

vs. Illinois (#5)
Thur. 3/19 at about 9:50 pm
Vegas Line:  +4.5

General Profile
Location:
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Conference
:  Sun Belt, automatic bid
Coach:
Ken McDonald, hired as head coach 2008. Record at WKU = 24-8.
08-09 Record:
24-8 (15-3)
Last 12 Games:
11-1, won 7.
Best Win:
vs Louisville, 68-54, 11/30/08
Worst Loss:
at Denver, 74-78, on 1/24/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating:
108.6 (68th)
Def. Efficiency Rating:
101.3 (168th)

Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s):
A.J. Slaughter (6’3″ junior guard), 15.8 ppg.
Unsung Hero:
Sergio Kerusch (6’3″ senior guard), 11.2 ppg/7.4 rpg.
Potential NBA Draft Pick:
None.
Key Injuries:
No significant injuries.
Depth:
25.3% (295th nationally)
Achilles Heel: Guarding the three. Opponents shoot 34.9%, 206th in the nation in that category.
Will Make a Deep Run if…:
…they get Slaughter lots of touches, and if they continue hitting the offensive glass hard, something they’ve done well all year.
Will Make an Early Exit if…:
…they think just because they pulled off an upset last year, it will automatically happen this year.
Last Year Invited: 2008
Streak:
Two years.
BestNCAA Finish:
1971 Final Four. Defeated Kansas in consolation game.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present):
+0.08

Other
Distance to First Round Site:
2326 miles
School’s Claim to Fame:
Darrin Horn (South Carolina head coach), Clem Haskins are both alums, as is the PGA’s Kenny Perry. And everyone loves Big Red, the seemingly amorphous Hilltopper mascot.
School Wishes It Could Forget:
Last year’s Sweet 16 loss. The ‘Toppers had their chances against UCLA.
Prediction:
Not a team to take lightly. Wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one semi-upset win, since they are indeed peaking at the right time.
Major RTC stories:
Sun Belt Conference Tourney Wrapup

Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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NCAA Preview: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Mississippi St. (#13, West, Portland pod)

vs. Washington (#4)
Mar. 19 @ 5pm

Vegas Line: Mississippi St. +5

General Profile

Location: Starkville, Mississippi
Conference: SEC, automatic
Coach: Rick Stansbury, 231-127
08-09 Record: 23-12, 9-7
Last 12 Games: 7-5, 6-game win streak
Best Win: 67-57, #20 LSU, 3-14-09 or 64-61, Tennessee, 3-15-09
Worst Loss: 64-70, Charlotte, 12-10-08
Off. Efficiency Rating: 108.1; #74
Def. Efficiency Rating: 94.3; #59

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Jarvis Varnado, Junior center, 4.7 bpg – leads nation and more than 318 D1 teams and this year broke SEC single-season block record currently held by him and Shaquille O’Neal – 9.0rpg – 4th in SEC – 55.1% FG – 3rd in SEC – 13.1ppg, Reigning and likely two-time National Defender of the Year, SEC Tournament MVP, All-SEC First Team, SEC Defender of the Year
Unsung Hero: Dee Bost, Freshman point guard, 4.34 apg – 4th in SEC and 1st among SEC freshmen, 1.51 a/to – 7th in SEC and 1st among SEC freshmen – 1.46spg – 11th in SEC and 1st among SEC freshmen – 72.1% FT – 12th in SEC and 1st among SEC freshmen – 11.1ppg, SEC Freshman of the Year Runner-Up, Consensus All-SEC Freshman, Two-Time SEC Freshman of the Week
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): none
Key Injuries: Elgin Bailey, ankle – out indefinitely
Depth: 25.2% of mins from bench, #296
Achilles Heel: Rebounding, #11 in SEC in rebounding margin
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Some threes will fall for MSU. State leads the SEC in 3-pointers made and ranks fourth in 3PT%. The team starts four guards and is very, very difficult to beat when the threes are falling
Will Make an Early Exit if…: The effort on the boards is below par. State was outrebounded 44-24 in an 81-57 raping at LSU earlier this season.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2007-08, 2nd round 74-77 loss to #1 seed Memphis
Streak: 2 consecutive years
Best NCAA Finish: 1995-96, Final Four 69-77 loss to Syracuse
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): RTC will provide

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: None
Distance to First Round Site:
2,519 miles
School’s Claim to Fame:
Before Rick Stansbury: 3 NCAA’s, 4 NIT’s all-time. Under Rick Stansbury: 5 NCAA’s, 3 NIT’s. If you’re talking about MSU as a whole…MSU has won the prestigious Challenge X competition for engineering the past two years.
School Wishes It Could Forget:
MSU hasn’t produced a successful high-round NBA pick in well over a decade despite losing players such as SEC Player of the Year Lawrence Roberts and infamous All-SECers Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes. If you’re looking for MSU as a whole, State is by far the poorest school in the Southeastern Conference.
Prediction:
Mississippi State’s disgraceful 13 seed could be a blessing in disguise, as the Bulldogs don’t see a team higher than a four-seed in the first two rounds. State is hot at the moment and if the team continues to play with passion, the Bulldogs could be a darkhorse to reach the Sweet Sixteen.

Major RTC stories: n/a

Preview written by… (Kurt Wirth/SEC Hoops: The Good. The Bad. The Dirty)

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NCAA Preview: Robert Morris Colonials

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Robert Morris University (#15, Midwest, Minneapolis pod)

vs. Michigan State (#2)
Fri. 3/20 at about 9:50 pm
Vegas Line: +16.5

General Profile
Location:
Moon Township. Pennsylvania
Conference
:  Northeast — Tournament Champion
Coach
:  Mike Rice, hired 2007. Record at Robert Morris = 50-18.
08-09 Record:
24-10 (15-3)
Last 12 Games:
9-3, won 5.
Best Win:
vs Mount St. Mary’s, 48-46, on 3/11/09 for the NEC tournament title.
Worst Loss: at Monmouth, 57-60, on 2/19/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating:
101.3 (170th)
Def. Efficiency Rating:
97.3 (91st)

Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s):
Jeremy Chappell (6’3″ senior guard), 16.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.5 spg, and over 85% from the FT line.
Unsung Hero:
Rob Robinson (6’8″ junior forward), 11.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg and shoots almost 53% from the field.
Potential NBA Draft Pick:
None.
Key Injuries:
No significant injuries.
Depth:
34.6% mins. (89th nationally)
Achilles Heel:
Taking care of the ball. RoMo gives up 15.1 TOs per game, 279th in the nation.
Will Make a Deep Run if…:
…they can take care of the ball and Chappell catches fire.  And some divine intervention wouldn’t hurt. Doesn’t hurt that they shoot 39.7% from three, 17th in the nation.
Will Make an Early Exit if…:
…they are intimidated by their opponent and the TV cameras.
Last Year Invited: 1992.
Streak:
One year.
Best NCAA Finish:
1983; went 1-1, winning in the preliminary round then losing to Purdue in the Round of 64.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present):
n/a

Other
Distance to First Round Site:
860 miles
School’s Claim to Fame:
Named after a Declaration of Independence signer and a man who helped pay for the Revolutionary War.
School Wishes It Could Forget:
That there’s a Robert Morris College in Chicago.  And RMU’s last three first-round games? Kansas, UCLA, Arizona.  Not exactly friendly draws.
Prediction:
Another tough draw to add to the list — so likely another 0-1.

Major RTC stories: NEC Wrapup and Tourney Preview
Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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NCAA preview: Villanova Wildcats

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Villanova (#3, East, Philadelphia pod)

vs. American (#14)
Mar. 19 @ 7:20pm

Vegas Line: -17

villanova-graph

Thanks to Vegas Watch for providing these graphs that measure the moving average of a team’s spread (moving avg.) over time vs. the spread for each individual game (indiv).  If a team’s moving average is higher than zero, then Vegas currently has a higher opinion of them than Pomeroy, and vice versa.

General Profile

Location: Villanova, Pa.
Conference: Big East, at-large
Coach: Jay Wright, 8th season (174-90)
08-09 Record: 26-7 overall, 13-5 conference
Last 12 Games: 9-3
Best Win: 67-57, Pittsburgh, Jan. 28
Worst Loss: 67-58, Texas, Dec. 9
Off. Efficiency Rating: 114.0; 26
Def. Efficiency Rating: 91.2; 25

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Scottie Reynolds (15.5 ppg, 3.6 apg, .810 FTP), Dante Cunningham (16.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, .529 FGP)
Unsung Hero: Corey Stokes (9.7 ppg, .434 3-point percentage)
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Cunningham, late 2nd round
Key Injuries: None
Depth: 29.2% mins
Achilles Heel: Playing against size. Cunningham is having a tremendous year, but at 6-8 he’s not a legit center.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Reynolds rises to the occasion. ‘Nova has a few different guys who can score, but this tournament is all about veteran guards. And in that department, Reynolds is one of the best.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: They play a slow, plodding game and don’t establish Cunningham.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2008, Sweet 16
Streak: 5 years
Best NCAA Finish: 1985, national champions
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): +0.29 wins per appearance

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: Villanova star guard Scottie Reynolds committed and then decommitted to Oklahoma, Jeff Capel is the coach at Oklahoma, Jeff Capel played for Duke, where he played against Rasheed Wallace, who currently plays for Detroit.
Distance to First Round Site: A whopping 16 miles.
School’s Claim to Fame: Their stunning win over goliath Georgetown in the 1985 national championship game when they shot nearly 80 percent from the floor. To this day, the Wildcats remain the lowest seed (No. 8) to ever win the whole thing.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Starting guard Gary McLain’s ensuing admission that he did cocaine during the aforementioned championship run.
Prediction: With Wright and this core of players, it’s hard to imagine Villanova not returning to the Sweet 16. But the Wildcats will need some good fortune to make it all the way to Detroit.

Major RTC stories: RTC will provide

Preview written by… Dave Zeitlin

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NCAA Preview: Cornell Big Red

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Cornell (#14, West, Boise pod)

vs. Missouri (#3)
Mar. 20 @ 3pm

Vegas Line: Cornell +13

General Profile

Location: Ithaca, New York
Conference: Ivy, Automatic
Coach: Steve Donahue, 117-132 (ninth year)
08-09 Record: 21-9 overall, 11-3 Ivy
Last 12 Games: 9-3
Best Win: 79-70, La Salle, Dec. 20
Worst Loss: 61-41, Princeton, Feb. 6
Off. Efficiency Rating: 107.2; 79
Def. Efficiency Rating: 100.0; 143

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Ryan Wittman (18.5 ppg, .419 3-point percentage, .818 free throw percentage); Louis Dale (13.5 ppg, 3.6 apg, .483 field goal percentage); Jeff Foote (7.1 rpg; 2.1 bpg; 534 field goal percentage)
Unsung Hero: Chris Wroblewski, (.449 3-point percentage)
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Foote or Wittman? Both are darkhorses for sure.
Key Injuries: None
Depth: 28.5 %
Achilles Heel: Quickness. Besides Dale, Cornell will certainly lack the athleticism of other tournament teams. When they have lost this season, the coaches have typically said it’s because they didn’t move well enough without the ball.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: They make their threes and play smart, fundamental basketball – the same way any Ivy team would have a chance of pulling an upset. They’ll need a lot of luck, too.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Any of their ‘Big Three’ have off games. Dale needs to control the tempo, Wittman needs to shoot well and Foote needs to stay out of foul trouble inside.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2008, 1st-round loss to Stanford
Streak: Two
Best NCAA Finish: This is only Cornell’s fourth trip to the tournament (1954, 1988, 2008). The Big Red have never made it out of the first round, though in 1954 they got a bye into the Sweet 16 before losing to Navy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_NCAA_Men’s_Division_I_Basketball_Tournament).
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): n/a

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: Before Mark Coury transferred into Cornell from Kentucky, he was an all-state player at Detroit County Day School. Coury, however, is not eligible until next season.
Distance to First Round Site: 2350 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: There are too many famous alumni to count. So let’s go with their most famous fake alumni: Andy from The Office. I think Donahue’s pregame pep talk should go something like this: “You, me, bars, buzzed. Wings. Shots Drunk. Waitresses, hot. Football – Cornell/Hofstra. Slaughter. Then a quick nap at my place and we’ll hit the tiz-own.”
School Wishes It Could Forget: that Ann Coulter graduated from there. And her absurd recent feud with Keith Olbermann over who has the better Cornell diploma.

Prediction: The Big Red will keep it closer than last year’s 24-point whitewashing at the hands of Stanford, but pulling the upset might be too mush to ask. Next year, they shock the world.

Major RTC stories: n/a

Preview written by… Dave Zeitlin

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NCAA Preview: Cleveland State Vikings

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Cleveland State University (#13, Midwest, Miami pod)
vs. Wake Forest (#4)
Thur. 3/20 at about 9:40 pm
Vegas Line: +8

General Profile
Location:
Cleveland, Ohio
Conference:
Horizon League, automatic bid
Coach: Gary Waters, hired 2006. Record at Cleveland State = 56-44.
08-09 Record:
25-10 (12-6)
Last 12 Games: 10-2, won 4.
Best Win: Either at Syracuse, 72-69, on 12/15/08 OR vs Butler, 57-54, on 3/10 for the Horizon tournament title.
Worst Loss: at Youngstown State, 60-64, on 1/23/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 104.2 (122nd)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 91.8 (31st)

Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s): J’Nathan Bullock (6’5″ senior forward), 15.3 ppg/7.0 rpg.

Unsung Hero: Cedric Jackson (6’3″ senior guard), 10.5 ppg/5.7 rpg/5.4 apg/2.9 spg.

Potential NBA Draft Pick: None.
Key Injuries: Guard D’Aundray Brown — sprained MCL on March 3, has not returned.
Depth: 27.8% mins. (240th nationally)
Achilles Heel: Shooting the three. Cleveland State shoots 32.0% which is 265th in the nation.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: …they can shoot better overall. The Vikings are around 200th in the nation in every shooting subcategory, which they’ll have to improve to pull off an upset.

Will Make an Early Exit if…: …they don’t get a little more help for Bullock, Jackson, and Norris Cole, the three-man attack for CSU.

Last Year Invited: 1986
Streak: One year.
Best NCAA Finish: 1986 Sweet Sixteen. Beat Indiana 73-69 in R1, then St. Joseph’s 75-69 in R2, then lost to Navy 70-71 in S16.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): n/a

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: J’Nathan Bullock is a Flint native.
Distance to First Round Site:
1242 miles
School’s Claim to Fame:
Tim Russert was a CSU alumnus.
School Wishes It Could Forget:
That it’s in downtown Cleveland — just kidding, Clevelanders!
Prediction:
CSU has an interesting three-man attack and therefore they don’t jump out at you statistically in any category, and it’s a long way from the days of “Mouse” McFadden…but after watching them in their conference tournament, there’s something about them that makes me want to take a first-round chance in the way that a person puts a stray $2 on a fat longshot in a horse race.  Plus, Wake tends to not get up for “small-time” opponents, so I’ll probably have CSU moving into the second round in my bracket.

Major RTC stories: Horizon League Wrapup/Tourney Preview, RTC Live: Horizon Tournament Final

Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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NCAA Preview: East Tennessee State Buccaneers

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

East Tennessee St.  (#16, East, Dayton pod)

vs. Pittsburgh (#1)
Mar. 20 @ 2:55pm
Vegas Line: ETSU +20

General Profile

Location: Johnson City, Tennessee
Conference: Atlantic Sun — Tournament Champion
Coach: Murray Bartow, hired 2003. Record at ETSU = 118-71
08-09 Record: 23-10 (14-6)
Last 12 Games: 8-4, won 5.
Best Win: vs Jacksonville 85-68 on 3/7/09 for the Atlantic Sun title.
Worst Loss: at Florida-Gulf Coast, 61-64, on 1/12/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 105.3 (105th)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 100.3 (149rd)

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Kevin Tiggs (6’4″ senior guard), 21.5 ppg on 54% shooting.
Unsung Hero: Mike Smith (6’6″ junior forward), 17.5 ppg/7.7 rpg/1.3 steals/gm.
Potential NBA Draft Pick: None.
Key Injuries: No significant injuries.
Depth: 28.4% mins (230th nationally)
Achilles Heel: Shooting the three. ETSU shoots 33.6%, 184th in the nation.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: …they improve their offensive efficiency. ETSU averages 74 possessions per 40 minutes, which is 17th in the nation. They need to take advantage of each one of them to pull of an upset(s).
Will Make an Early Exit if…: …they can keep their main three players — Tiggs, Smith, and Courtney Pigram — out of foul trouble, since they each play about 34 minutes/game with the other two spots on the floor basically platooned.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2004
Streak: 1
Best NCAA Finish: 1992, Second Round.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): n/a

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: Two of ETSU’s starters (Kevin Tiggs, Greg Hamlin) are from Flint.
Distance to First Round Site: 407 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: ETSU has the only master’s degree program in the discipline of Storytelling.
School Wishes It Could Forget: How everyone violates/ignores last year’s campus-wide smoking ban.
Prediction: First round and out.

Major RTC stories: 4 Tickets Punched, 61 To Go

Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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