NCAA Preview: North Dakota State Bison

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

North Dakota St. (#14, Midwest, Minneapolis pod)

vs. Kansas (#3)
Mar. 20 @ 12:30pm

Vegas Line: NDSU +10

General Profile

Location: Fargo, North Dakota
Conference: Summit League — Tournament Champion
Coach: Saul Phillips, hired 2007. Record at NDSU = 42-19
08-09 Record: 26-6 (16-2)
Last 12 Games: 11-1, won 7.
Best Win: vs Oakland 66-64 on 3/10/09 for the Summit tournament title after the teams had split the season’s two earlier matchups.
Worst Loss: Southern Utah, 69-74, on 2/14/09, though the most heartbreaking was the 4-point loss at USC on 12/20.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 103.0 (139th)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 107.7 (285th)

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Ben Woodside (5’11” senior guard), 22.8 ppg/6.3 apg and shoots 84.2% from the FT line and 42.7% from three.
Unsung Hero: Brett Winkelman (6’6″ senior forward), 18.7 ppg/7.4 rpg and shoots over 50% from the field and over 80% from the FT line. Probably not as much “unsung” as he is simply playing behind Woodside.
Potential NBA Draft Pick: None.
Key Injuries: No significant injuries.
Depth: 31.0% mins (170th nationally)
Achilles Heel: Defense. NDSU lets opponents shoot 45.1% (254th) and 35.7% (251st) from the field and from three, respectively.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: …Woodside can still hit shots even with the tougher defenses he’s going to face, AND he and Winkelman get some help from 1-2 other fellows who might find themselves benefitting from the attention Woodside draws.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: …they don’t shoot well. This is where they live. This team shoots 49% and 41.2% from the field and from three respectively. That’s 3rd and 5th in the NATION, for those categories. If they don’t shoot well, it’s over.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: None — this is their first eligible season.
Streak: 1
Best NCAA Finish: n/a
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): n/a

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: None
Distance to First Round Site: 235 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: Alf Clausen, composer for The Simpsons, is an alum.
School Wishes It Could Forget: That it wasted Woodside’s 60-point explosion against Stephen F. Austin in December; Woodside was the story, but NDSU lost that game 112-113 in three overtimes.
Prediction: Do you want to see this team coming in the first round? Everyone’s going to be rooting for them. Woodside’s got a shooting eye that can turn out your lights and there’s probably not a lot of game film about. Still, probably a one-and-done debut. It’ll be fun to watch, though.

Major RTC stories: Ben Woodside Knows Free Throws, and 12 Down, 53 To Go

Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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NCAA Preview: Siena Saints

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Siena (#9, Midwest, Dayton pod)

vs. Ohio St. (#8)
Mar. 20 @ 9:40pm

Vegas Line: Siena +3

General Profile

Location: Albany/Loudonville, New York
Conference: Metro Atlantic — Tournament Champion
Coach: Fran McCaffery, hired 2005. Record at Siena = 84-43
08-09 Record: 26-7 (16-2)
Last 12 Games: 10-2, won 4
Best Win: vs Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley tournament champion), 81-75 — 2/21/09
Worst Loss: vs Wichita State, 70-72 — 11/28/08
Off. Efficiency Rating: 110.4 (48th)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 97.3 (92nd)

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Kenny Hasbrouck, 14.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg (though Edwin Ubiles has played as well, statistically)
Unsung Hero: Ryan Rossiter, 10.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.2 spg.
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Hasbrouck
Key Injuries: Hasbrouck fought through a calf injury in the conference title game, but it won’t be a factor for their R1 game.
Depth: 21.3% mins (329th nationally)
Achilles Heel: Free throws. 66.2% is 254th nationally. Would you want to rely on that in a close one?
Will Make a Deep Run if…: They take nothing for granted. It’s one thing to score an upset when nobody’s watching. After last year’s upset of Vanderbilt, Siena will be a popular pick for another first-round ‘upset’ win; they won’t catch any opponents by surprise.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Their shot selection is sub-par. Siena’s defense is mediocre at it’s best so their offensive efficiency will have to be exemplary to score another upset.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2008. Whipped Vanderbilt 83-62 in R1 then lost to Villanova 72-84 in R2.
Streak: Second consecutive year.
Best NCAA Finish: R32 (1-1) in both 2008 and 1989.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): N/A

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: None
Distance to First Round Site:
678 miles
School’s Claim to Fame:
1) Producing a bevy of politicians and priests. 2) Mariska Hargitay’s character on “Law & Order: SVU” (Olivia Benson) graduated from Siena College.
School Wishes It Could Forget: That it produces a bevy of politicians. And, the UConn Blog reference on the cheerleader article below.

Prediction: As noted above, the Saints won’t be surprising anyone this time around. But Siena is tough, confident, and they know they can play with anyone. Still not a bad squad to latch onto if you’re looking for a first round upset; after that, it’ll depend on how the draw falls for them.

Major RTC stories: Feasting On Feast Week, Do Not Boo The Cheerleaders (No Matter How Ugly They Are)

Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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NCAA Preview: Morehead State Eagles

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Morehead State (#16, Midwest, Dayton pod)
vs. Louisville (#1) having defeated Alabama State on 3/17/09 in the Preliminary Round.
Friday, March 20th at 7:10 pm
Vegas Line:  TBD

General Profile

Location: Morehead, Kentucky — approx. 50 miles east of Lexington on I-64
Conference: Ohio Valley Conference — Tournament Champion

Coach: Donnie Tyndall; hired 2006. MSU record 46-48
08-09 Record: 19-15 (12-6 OVC)
Last 12 Games: 7-5, Won 3

Best Win: at East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun tournament champion), 71-61 — 12/30/08

Worst Loss: vs Grambling State, 71-72 — 11/29/08

Off. Efficiency Rating: 101.1 (175th)

Def. Efficiency Rating: 101.4 (174th)

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player: Kenneth Faried, 13.9 ppg, 12.8 rpg (3rd nationally); 23 double-doubles this year

Unsung Hero: Leon Buchanan, 15.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg; 66.7% 3PFG (12th nationally)

Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Faried, currently a sophomore, is a future candidate.

Key Injuries:  No significant injuries.
Depth: 24.9% bench minutes (303rd nationally)
Achilles Heel: Guarding the three. Opponents shoot 36.7% (290th nationally)
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Faried, Buchanan, and Maze Stallworth can all achieve an Arceneaux-level of performance, now that the prelim is over.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: They play their usual game, and a miracle doesn’t happen.  No disrespect intended, but Louisville isn’t Alabama State.  Congrats to Morehead on getting an NCAA Tournament win, but the road likely ends here for the Eagles.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 1984. Beat NC A&T (70-69) in the “Preliminary Round,” then lost to Louisville in Round of 64 (59-72).
Streak: Consecutive invites in 1956, 1957 and 1983, 1984.

Best NCAA Finish: 2-1 in 1956 (Lost in Sweet 16 and won Regional 3rd Place game)

Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): n/a

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: Junior guard Cecil Brown is from Grand Rapids, MI. The Eagles’ campus is 402 miles (6.5 hrs by car) from Detroit.

Distance to First Round Site: 193 miles

School’s Claim to Fame: One of only four US universities to offer a BS in Space Science. Also the alma mater of NPR personalities Steve Inskeep and Noah Adams, ESPN college football commentator Mike Gottfried, game show host Chuck Woolery.

School Wishes It Could Forget: Billy Ray Cyrus (of “Achy Breaky Heart” fame, and father of Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana) is an alum. The school doesn’t necessarily want to forget this…but a lot of people do.

Prediction: Lousville will be too much to handle, of course. It would take something even bigger than a Chaminade-like upset to get out of the official first round. This is a team that lost its last four games of the regular season before the OVC tournament and the play-in game. They deserve congrats for getting through the conference tournament, and I hope they enjoy the trip.

Major RTC stories: OVC Season Wrap & Tourney Preview; 4 Tickets Punched, 61 to go…
Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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NCAA Preview: Chattanooga Mocs

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Chattanooga (#16 West, Philadelphia pod)

vs. Connecticut (#1)
Mar. 19 @ 3pm

Vegas Line: Chattanooga +20.5

General Profile

Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Conference: Southern — Tournament Champion
Coach: John Shulman, hired 2004. Record at Chattanooga = 90-71.
08-09 Record: 18-16 (11-9)
Last 12 Games: 8-4, won 3.
Best Win: College of Charleston, 80-69 on 3/9/09.
Worst Loss: at Furman, 70-72 on 2/7/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 103.3 (132nd)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 107.8 (288th)

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Stephen McDowell
Unsung Hero:
6’2″ senior guard Keyron Sheard, 7.1 ppg but leads team with 3.8 apg in just over 26 minutes/game.
Potential NBA Draft Pick:
None.
Key Injuries:
No significant injuries.
Depth:
27.6% mins (247th)
Achilles Heel:
Overall defense. Teams shoot 44.2% (204th nationally) from the field against the Mocs. 3-point defense is even more suspect, with teams shooting 36.7% (292nd nationally).
Will Make a Deep Run if…:
God becomes a Mocs fan.
Will Make an Early Exit if…:
…the Mocs don’t turn up the defensive effort for every second of 40 minutes.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2005.
Streak: 1
Best NCAA Finish: 1997 Sweet 16.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): N/A

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: None
Distance to First Round Site: 733 miles
School’s Claim to Fame:
The women’s basketball program. The women’s team has won the SoCon regular season title nine years in a row.
School Wishes It Could Forget:
Terrell Owens went there (played in 1995 NCAA Tournament).
Prediction:
First round and out.

Major RTC stories: ATB: 9 Down, 56 To Go
Preview written by
: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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NCAA Preview: Missouri Tigers

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Missouri (#3, West, Boise pod)

vs. Cornell (#14)
Friday, March 20 @ 3pm

Vegas Line: Missouri -13

missouri-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: Columbia, MO
Conference:
Big 12, Automatic bid
Coach: Mike Anderson (62-34 in three seasons)
08-09 Record:
28-6 (12-4)
Last 12 Games: 10-2 (streak: 3 wins)
Best Win:
62-60, Kansas, 2/9
Worst Loss:
56-51, at Nebraska, 1/10
Off. Efficiency Rating:
114.9; #18
Def. Efficiency Rating: 88.2; #8

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): DeMarre Carroll (Sr), 16.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 37.8% 3-pt FG; Leo Lyons (Sr), 14.2 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.0 APG
Unsung Hero
: Zaire Taylor (Jr), 6.5 PPG, 3.5 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.5 SPG, two game-winning shots (vs Texas, Kansas); J.T. Tiller (Jr), 7.9 PPG, 3.6 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.8 SPG, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s):
none
Key Injuries: none
Depth: 38.7% mins (#23)
Achilles Heel: Free-Throw shooting (66.8%, #242 in the country)
Will Make a Deep Run if…: They can avoid an early hole. They are 1-5 this season when trailing by double digits at half, 27-1 when they’re not.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Cold shooting sets in, and Mizzou cannot press after made baskets

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2003 (NCAA Second Round)
Streak:
1
Best NCAA Finish:
2002, 1994, 1976, Elite Eight
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present):
-0.31 wins per appearance

Other

Six Degrees to Detroit: Some of Missouri’s best players in the late-’80s–Doug Smith, Lee Coward, Nathan Buntin, John McIntyre–were from the Detroit area, leading to the “Detroit Tigers” nickname for some of those squads.
Distance to First Round Site:
1498 miles
School’s Claim to Fame:
Nothing specific, just a montage of Don Faurot (inventor of the Split T!), Brad Pitt, Norm Stewart, Sheryl Crow, Jon Sundvold & Steve Stipanovich, Robert Loggia, Chase Daniel & Jeremy Maclin, ESPN’s John Anderson (and Matt Winer), and the invention of Homecoming.
School Wishes It Could Forget:
The Paige Sports Arena incident, the Popcorn incident, Ricky Clemons, Athenagate, and pretty much everything that happened to Mizzou basketball between 2003 and 2008. You appreciate a high-character team like Mizzou’s current squad a lot more when you’re seen some less-than-stellar characters make their way through town.
Prediction:
The main expectation for this team is to make the second weekend and play a strong game against (likely) Memphis in the Sweet Sixteen. There is nobody in the West Region that Mizzou cannot beat, but Memphis has the defense to force bad shots and the streaky offense to potentially make a run in the first half to build some cushion for a Mizzou second half run. A second round game against Marquette could be explosive and fun, but Mizzou should have the depth and inside presence to wear down the Golden Eagles.

Major RTC stories: None
Preview written by… Bill Connelly, Rock M Nation

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NCAA Preview: Wisconsin Badgers

Posted by zhayes9 on March 18th, 2009

Wisconsin (#12, East Region, Boise pod)
Vs. Florida State (#5)
About 9:55 PM ET, Boise, ID
Vegas Line: Wisconsin +3

General Profile
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Conference: Big Ten, At-Large
Coach: Bo Ryan, 192-70 at Wisconsin
08-09 Record: 19-11 (10-8)
Last 10 Games: 7-3
Best Win: 63-50, Illinois, 2/5/09
Worst Loss: 73-69 (OT), @Iowa, 1/21
Off. Efficiency Rating: 114.1, 24th in nation
Def. Efficiency Rating: 94.5, 60th in nation

Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Player(s): Marcus Landry, 12.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 50% FG
Unsung Hero: Joe Krabbenhoft, 8.6 RPG, 6.8 RPG, 49% FG, 85% FT
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): None
Key Injuries: None
Depth: 26.2% (282nd in the nation); percentage of minutes played by reserves
Achilles Heel: 245th in nation at forcing turnovers
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Trevon Hughes provides consistent outside shooting and leadership from the point guard position and the Badgers begin to play the type of lockdown defense that they’ve been known to employ in recent seasons.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: They can’t handle Florida State’s superb athleticism and get into a running game with the Seminoles. Wisconsin absolutely must control tempo.

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: 2008, Sweet 16 loss to Davidson
Streak: 10 consecutive NCAA bids
Best NCAA Finish: 2000, Final Four (1941 National Champions going way back)
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): RTC will provide

Other
Six Degrees to Detroit: The Badgers ended their strong 2007-08 campaign in the Motor City last season. After defeating Cal State Fullerton and Kansas State as a 3-seed, Stephen Curry and the Cinderella Davidson Wildcats downed the Badgers at Ford Field.
Distance to First Round Site: 1,655 miles from Madison to Boise
School’s Claim to Fame: Wisconsin’s miraculous run as a #8 seed to the Final Four in 2000 was the only year in NCAA history that two #8 seeds would reach such heights. The Badgers, along with North Carolina, both reached the national semifinals in Indianapolis before losing to Michigan State and Florida, respectively.
School Wishes It Could Forget: The last time Wisconsin finished in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten was the 2005-06 season. The Badgers promptly flamed out as a #9 seed in the first round against Arizona, giving up 94 points in the contest. They hope this season (10-8 in the Big 10, quite similar) won’t end as pathetically.
Prediction: Wisconsin would have much rather faced a 5-seed like Utah instead of the streaking and superbly athletic Florida State Seminoles. Without the services of Michael Flowers, none of their guards can contain Toney Douglas and I expect an early and, frankly, ugly first-round defeat for Bo Ryan.
Major RTC stories: Big 10 Wrapup and Tourney Preview

Preview written by Zach Hayes, Rush the Court’s bracketologist

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NCAA Preview: BYU Cougars

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

BYU (#8, West, Philadelphia pod)

vs. Texas A&M (#9)
Thurs. 3/19 @ 12:30pm

Vegas Line:  BYU -2

byu-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: Provo, Utah
Conference: Mountain West, at-large
Coach: Dave Rose, 85-28
08-09 Record: 25-7, 13-5
Last 12 Games: 10-2
Best Win: vs. Utah, 63-50, 2/28
Worst Loss: vs. UNLV, 70-76, 1/21
Off. Efficiency Rating: 114.3, 22d
Def. Efficiency Rating: 90.8, 23d

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Lee Cummard, 17/6/3 assts on 52%/39%/87% shooting
Unsung Hero: Jackson Emery, 8/4/3 assts/2 stls in the backcourt
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Cummard, #51, 2009 draft
Key Injuries: None

Depth: 25.1% mins, 299th
Achilles Heel: Rebounding.  BYU doesn’t board the ball very well (90th)
Will Make a Deep Run if…: The shots fall for the nation’s #7 shooting team (49%) and they manage to avoid teams with size (UConn looms in round two).
Will Make an Early Exit if…: The Cougars realize they lost to this same Texas A&M team in the first round last season.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2008, lost 1st round to Texas A&M 67-62
Streak: 3
Best NCAA Finish: 1981, Elite Eight
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): -0.41 Ws per appearance
OtherSix Degrees to Detroit: BYU’s 1984 Holiday Bowl victory over Michigan gave the Cougars its first national championship… in football.
Distance to First Round Site: 2,156 miles to Philadelphia

School’s Claim to Fame: Mormonism starts and ends here.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Any tenuous association with Big Love, Warren Jeffs and his ilk.

Prediction: BYU tested itself with games against Arizona St. and Wake Forest early in the season.  Both were losses, but both were close until the end.  It says here that the toughness of Cummard, Jonathan Tavernari and Jimmer Fredette get a win over Texas A&M this year before falling to UConn.

Major RTC stories: None

Preview written by… RTC

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NCAA Preview: Connecticut Huskies

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2009

UConn (# 1, West, Philadelphia pod)
Vs. Chattanooga (#16)
Thurs., 3/19 at 3 PM
Vegas Line: UConn, -20.5

uconn-vegas

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: Storrs, CT
Conference: Big East, at-large
Coach: Jim Calhoun, 553-204 at UConn; 801-341 overall
08-09 Record: 27-4, 15-3
Last 12 Games: 9-3
Best Win: 68-51, at Louisville, Feb. 2
Worst Loss: 74-63, vs. Georgetown, Dec. 29
Off. Efficiency Rating: 114; 20th
Def. Efficiency Rating: 85.6; 3rd

Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Player(s): PG A.J. Price, 14 ppg, 4.7 apg, 40.8% 3-point shooting; C Hasheem Thabeet 13.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 4.6 bpg; PF Jeff Adrien 13.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg
Unsung Hero: PG Kemba Walker (8.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg off the bench)
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Hasheem Thabeet, projected No. 2 pick; A.J. Price, No. 32, Jeff Adrien, No. 39
Key Injuries: SG Jerome Dyson, torn meniscus, out for season
Depth: 25.9% (287th nationally); percentage of minutes played by reserves
Achilles Heel: Depth. UConn is essentially a six-man team without Dyson, getting only cameos of late from PF Gavin Edwards and SG Scottie Haralson. And Calhoun has said recently that Price simply cannot be a 35-minute player because of his ACL injury last year. Four players (Dyson, JUCO transfer C Charles Okwandu and would-be freshmen SF Ater Majok and SG Nate Miles) who would have contributed in the tournament are (in order) injured, academically ineligible, ineligible due to transcript issues and playing in junior college for violating a restraining order.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Price carries the offense on his back and streaky SF Stanley Robinson finds a way to play like a superstar in one or two games.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Thabeet gets in foul trouble and the guards can’t buy a bucket.

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: 2008, lost to San Diego in the first round, 70-69 in OT
Streak: 2nd year
Best NCAA Finish: 1999, 2004 national champions
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): +0.47. On average, the Huskies win 0.47 more games than would be expected based on their seed compared to historical averages.

Other
Six Degrees to Detroit: UConn fans want payback against the Motor City for the Huskies’ 2001 NIT second round loss to Detroit Mercy in Storrs. That was the last time UConn took part in the second-tier tournament. I’m sure UConn fans were torn up about it and have thirsted for revenge ever since, although I was 13 and living in another state and a St. John’s fan at the time.
Distance to First Round Site: 239 miles, which is about five hours if you’re on the NJ Turnpike
School’s Claim to Fame: UConn became the first Division I school to win national titles in both men’s and women’s basketball in the same year in 2004. Since Connecticut sports fans have no pro team to root for (though they still pine for the miserable Hartford Whalers), the UConn men and women are pretty much it. Off the court, Meg Ryan and Moby are apparently listed as alumni on Wikipedia. I do not wish to claim Moby as one of our own.
School Wishes It Could Forget: You would think that prior to the ’99 championship, UConn students had no reason to riot. You’d be wrong. Back in 1998, more than 100 students were arrested after flipping and burning a car, throwing rocks and bottles at police and being pepper sprayed by said police, as a part of the annual Spring Weekend (the weekend prior to the last week of spring classes). Unfortunately for car-burning enthusiasts, the traditional weekend party has become slightly more civil since then.
Prediction: With Dyson, it was Detroit or bust. Without Dyson – and with that ‘haven’t-won-a-postseason-game-since-2006′ cloud hanging over their heads – I think most UConn fans would be mildly content with the Sweet 16, and satisfied with a trip to the regional final. UConn has Final Four talent, but no one’s quite sure if they have the makeup to win four, five or six straight in March.

Major RTC stories: RTC Live: Notre Dame at #2 UConn – Saturday 2 PM ET, RTC Aftermath: #2 UConn 72, Notre Dame 65, Jerome Dyson: Done for the Season, and Game Night: Pittsburgh at UConn.

Preview written by Kevin Meacham of TheUConnBlog.com

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NCAA Preview: Purdue Boilermakers

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2009

Purdue (#5, West, Portland pod)
vs. Northern Iowa (#12)
Thurs., 3/19 at 2:30 PM
Vegas Line: Purdue, -8

purdue-vegas

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: West Lafayette, IN
Conference: Big Ten Conference, Automatic Bid
Coach: Matt Painter, 81-49 (60.5%)
08-09 Record: 25-9, 11-7
Last 12 Games: 8-4, 3-game winning streak
Best Win: 72-54, Michigan State, 2/17
Worst Loss: 61-64, Northwestern, 3/4
Off. Efficiency Rating: 110.5, 48th
Def. Efficiency Rating: 86.9, 5th

Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s): JaJuan Johnson (13. 2 pts, 5.6 reb, 2.1 blk); Robbie Hummel (12.7 pts, 6.9 reb, 2.0 ast); E’Twaun Moore (13.9 pts, 4.8 reb, 3 ast)
Unsung Hero: Chris Kramer (2.2 stl, 2.5 ast)
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): N/A
Key Injuries: Robbie Hummel, cracked L5 vertebrae
Depth: 31% (167th nationally), percentage of minutes played by reservs
Achilles Heel: Purdue is a streaking shooting team and had a tendency to go cold for minutes at a time during the second half of the Big Ten season…and Purdue is not a deep team
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Moore and Hummel shoot well
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Kramer gets into early foul trouble, Hummel’s back flares up

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: 2008, beaten by Xavier in the round of 32
Streak: 3 years
Best NCAA Finish: 1932 National Champs, 1969 Runner-up, 1980 third-place
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): -0.45. On average the Boilermakers win 0.45 less games than they would be expected to based on their seed compared to historical averages

Other
Six Degrees to Detroit: Purdue’s football team won the Motor City Bowl in 2007
Distance to First Round Site: 2,224 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: 22 Purdue alums later became astronauts including Neil Armstrong
School Wishes It Could Forget: Gene Keady’s hairdo…or his post-season woes
Prediction:
Purdue’s lack of depth might hurt during the NCAA tournament as Purdue only goes about 8 deep…foul trouble can kill this team defensively, which is Purdue’s strength.  And Big Ten officiating seems to allow a more physical brand of basketball than does much of the nation’s officiating.  Plus, Purdue’s offensive woes have been painful during periods of this season, especially versus zone defenses.  I look for Purdue to lose in the round of 16 versus Uconn as the Huskies depth will come into play in a close, possibly overtime, loss.
Major RTC stories: ATB: ACC & Big 10 Deadlocked 3-3

Preview written by boilerdowd of BoiledSports.com

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NCAA Preview: Alabama State Hornets

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2009

Alabama State University (#16, South, Dayton sub-pod)
vs. #16 Morehead State
Thurs., 3/17 at 7:30 PM
Vegas Line: Alabama State, +2.5

General Profile
Location:
Montgomery, AL
Conference: Southwestern Athletic Conference, Automatic big
Coach: Lewis Jackson, Overall Record: 64-58
08-09 Record: 22-9, 16-2
Last 12 Games: 11-1, 4 wins
Best Win: 66-60, Jackson State University, 1-3-09
Worst Loss: 79-74, Alcorn State University, 1-26-09
Off. Efficiency Rating: 100.2, 193th
Def. Efficiency Rating: 103; 202nd

Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Player(s): Brandon Brooks, 13.8 ppg, 39.3 3pt%, 2009 SWAC Player of the Year
Unsung Hero: Chief Kickingstallionsims, 9.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1 bpg, SWAC Defensive Player of the Year
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Brandon Brooks has the opportunity to sneak in as a low second-round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He is deceptively quick off the dribble, and shoots a high percentage for a point guard.
Key Injuries: N/A
Depth: 32.1% (126th nationally); percentage of minutes played by reserves
Achilles Heel: Despite having a seven footer, the Hornets only average about three blocks per game.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: If they can create an inside-outside threat with Brooks and Kickingstallionsims early and often.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Brooks and Andrew Hayles are shooting poorly from the perimeter.

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: 2004
Streak: N/A
Best NCAA Finish: 1st round exit
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): Not enough data (Minimum 8 bids)

Other
Six Degrees to Detroit: Freshman guard Tramaine Butler is the Hornets’ sole roster member from the Motor City.
Distance to First Round Site: 523 Miles
School’s Claim to Fame: They are the first SWAC regular season champion to win the conference tournament in four years.
School Wishes It Could Forget: It plays in the worst RPI conference in college basketball
Prediction: ASU will get past Morehead St. in the play-in game, and will shrink against the inside game of the Louisville Cardinals.
Major RTC stories: N/A

Preview written by JC of HBCU Sports Blog

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NCAA Preview: Akron Zips

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2009

Akron ( #13, South, Portland pod)
vs. Gonzaga (#4)
Thurs., 3/19 at 7:25 PM
Vegas Line: Akron, +11.5

General Profile
Location: Akron, Ohio
Conference: MAC, At-large
Coach: Keith Dambrot, 206-110
08-09 Record: 23-12, 10-6
Last 12 Games: 8-4, won 4 straight
Best Win: 63-59 at Niagara, December 1
Worst Loss: 83-79, at Northern Illinois, February 15
Off. Efficiency Rating: 101.4, 172nd
Def. Efficiency Rating: 92.0; 10th

Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Player(s): Nate Linhart, 10.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Unsung Hero: Humpty Hitchins, 8.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 2.3 apg
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): None
Key Injuries: Freshman PG Humpty Hitchins, left ankle sprain. Missed MAC semifinals, but returned (limited) for title game
Depth: 36.5% (53th nationally), percentage of minutes played by reserves
Achilles Heel: Shooting; avg 41.9% from field (246th nationally) and prone to foul trouble (avg over 20 fouls per game)
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Hell freezes over
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Gonzaga doesn’t run out of gas in the team bus on the way to the arena

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: 1986, lost in 1st round to Michigan 70-64
Streak: N/A
Best NCAA Finish: 1986, lost in first round
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): Not enough data (Minimum 8 bids)

Other
Six Degrees to Detroit: Akron football team won first-ever MAC football title with win in MAC Championship at Ford Field in Detroit in 2005
Distance to First Round Site: 2470 miles.
School’s Claim to Fame: LeBron James is from Akron and played for Zips Head Coach Keith Dambrot at St. Vincent/St. Mary High School. He occasionally goes back to work out with team.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Losses in the previous two MAC title games. Lost in 2007 on buzzer-beater by Miami and were beat by 19 by arch-rival Kent last season.
Prediction: After getting so close to the postseason the past two years, the Zips finally broke through and won the MAC Tournament for the first time ever. It gets the Zips back to the Big Dance for the first time since 1986 when a guy by the name of Bob Huggins led the Zips through the Ohio Valley Conference and into the NCAA Tournament. Huggins went on to bigger and better things. The Zips floundered for years. Finally Keith Dambrot has them in the tourney, but unfortunately that will be the high point for them. Akron just hasn’t matched up with NCAA tournament-bound programs this year, much like the rest of the MAC. They lost to Pitt by 19, Dayton by 4 and VCU by 4. They also lost by 19 to the A-10’s Rhode Island. Don’t expect much from Akron. Gonzaga should roll in this one.
Major RTC stories: Rydell’s Excessively Tinted Windows

Preview written by Greg Miller of WPSD Local 6

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NCAA Preview: Radford Highlanders

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2009

Radford (#16, South, Greensboro pod)
vs. UNC (#1)
Thurs., 3/19 at 2:55 PM
Vegas Line: Radford, +27

General Profile
Location: Radford, Virginia
Conference: Big South, Automatic bid
Coach: Brad Greenberg, 31-31
08-09 Record: 20-11 (15-3)
Last 12 Games: 11-1, won 3.
Best Win: At VMI, 97-90, on 2/21/09.
Worst Loss: At William & Mary, 53-73, on 11/25/08.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 100.5 (187th)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 101.2 (165th)

Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Player(s): Artsiom Parakhouski (6’11” junior center), 16.3 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 1.5 blocks/game.
Unsung Hero: Amir Johnson (5’9″ junior guard), 9.6 ppg/4.7 rpg/5.3 apg and plays most minutes/game on the team (36.3).
Potential NBA Draft Pick: None yet — but Parakhouski’s big and you can’t teach size.
Key Injuries: No significant injuries.
Depth: 22.7% (320th nationally); percentage of minutes played by reserves
Achilles Heel: Turnovers. Radford averages 16.1 turnovers/game, 313th in the nation.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: They keep hitting the boards. The Highlanders are 4th in the nation in rebounding (37.9 r/g).
Will Make an Early Exit if…: They don’t take care of the ball. Tough to beat higher seeds if you don’t score on as many possessions as possible.

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: 1998
Streak: One year.
Best NCAA Finish: 1998 First Round.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): Not enough data (Minimum 8 bids)

Other
Distance to First Round Site: 137 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: It’s the first university in the state of Virginia to use wireless technology throughout its entire campus.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Their only previous NCAA appearance 11 years ago? A 36-point pounding by Duke in a 1-vs-16 game.
Prediction: First round and out.
Major RTC stories: 4 Tickets Punched, 61 To Go

Preview written by John Stevens of Rush The Court

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