Where 2011-12 Happens: Reason #6 We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on November 1st, 2011

Another preseason preview gives us reason to roll out the 2011-12 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball, our annual compendium of YouTube clips from the previous season 100% guaranteed to make you wish games were starting tonight. We’ve captured the most compelling moments from the 2010-11 season, many of which will bring back the goosebumps and some of which will leave you shaking your head in frustration. For the complete list of this year’s reasons, click here. Enjoy!

#6 – Where Ivy League Heartbreak Happens


We also encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 seasons.

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20 Questions: Is Coach K the Greatest Coach in NCAA History?

Posted by mpatton on October 31st, 2011

Matt Patton is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Coast Conference and an ACC microsite staffer.

Question: Coach K will become the all-time winningest coach soon. Is he the greatest coach in NCAA basketball history? If not, where does he rank?

Yes, but with a disclaimer. Mike Krzyzewski is the greatest coach of the modern era. You can define that era in many ways: the expansion of the NCAA Tournament (either when in 1975 it expanded to 32 teams, or when in 1985 it expanded to the truly modern 64 teams); the adoption of the shot clock (1985-86); the addition of the three-point line (nationally in 1986-87); or the advent of ESPN (1979 NCAA Tournament).

Truthfully, the best interpretation is somewhere in between, for all four of these events led to the game we know and love today. The expansion of the Big Dance made the NCAA Tournament more difficult both because more games separated teams from the championship and because at-larges increased the overall talent of the field. The shot clock redefined offenses and frankly made the game more exciting. The three-point field goal introduced statistical “noise” that created large swings in performance and allowed for more upsets (basically, a 40-minute game is a small enough sample size that even a horrendous shooting team like Florida State to go 9-19 from three and a good shooting Notre Dame team to go 7-30 from downtown). Finally, ESPN’s consistent coverage of college basketball symbiotically raised the popularity of both ESPN and men’s hoops.

Krzyzewski Will Pass Bob Knight for the Most Wins in Men's Division I History Early this Season

But to suggest that Coach K is a better coach than John Wooden would be too presumptive. There are plenty of arguments, but no sound logic can definitively put Krzyzewski over the Wizard of Westwood: Wooden won ten national championships in 12 years including an 88-game winning streak that is without a doubt the most dominant stretch of college basketball ever. If you still want to try to argue Coach K over John Wooden, read that one more time. I am not saying that Wooden would see that success now, but it is not like we are dealing with similar resumes. Wooden has as many titles as Coach K, Jim Calhoun, Roy Williams, and Tom Izzo (or Bill Self) combined.

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RTC Conference Primers: #7 – Mountain West Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 31st, 2011

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Mountain West and Pac-12 conferences; he is also a staffer on the Pac-12 microsite. You can find him on Twitter @AMurawa.

Reader’s Take I

 

Top Storylines

  • Tectonic Shifts in the MW: As the landscape of college sports continues to shift, the Mountain West continues to change. This year, the conference is without BYU and Utah for the first time in its history. Aside from the fact that the state of Utah was sort of the center of the conference for many years, the impact on the basketball side of things cannot be overstated. In the 12 years that the two schools were a part of the conference, they won five outright regular season titles between them and twice shared the regular season title. TCU will join the two Utah schools as ex-MW members after this year when it joins the Big 12.
  • Temporary Fixes? As old schools depart, new schools come in. Boise State joins the conference this season, although there are already rumors that its stay may be short-lived, as other conferences including the Big 12 and the Big East, woo the Broncos. Fresno State and Nevada are due to join the conference in 2012-13, but as the ground continues to move under the feet of college athletics, one never knows what changes will come next.
  • Scheduling: With just eight conference teams this year, each team will play just 14 conference games. So while the Pac-12 and Big Ten and other major conferences are kicking off games against their conference rivals on or before New Year’s, MW schools will wait until the middle of January to get into conference play, filling the interim with games against schools like Johnson & Wales, Texas-Pan American, Nebraska-Omaha, Houston Baptist, San Diego Christian and Utah Valley. This is not a good thing for a conference, not a good thing for the fans, and not a good thing for college basketball.
  • Changes On The Sidelines: Aside from having a new team in the conference, we’ve got a couple returning teams with new coaches. The most high profile coaching change comes at UNLV with Lon Kruger gone for Oklahoma, and Dave Rice, the former associate head coach under Dave Rose at BYU, returning to Vegas where he played and served as an assistant under Jerry Tarkanian. The other coaching change is at Wyoming, where Larry Shyatt returns to town after spending the last several years as the associate head coach at Florida.

Drew Gordon Looks to Lead New Mexico to a Mountain West Title

  • New Favorites. Last year, it was more or less a two-horse race for the conference title between BYU and San Diego State. This year, there is no BYU and SDSU has graduated its four most important players. As a result, it looks to be two new horses who head the pack in search of a conference title with UNLV and New Mexico far and away the favorites. In the MW preseason basketball poll, the Lobos got 22 of the 26 first place votes from the media, with the Rebels snagging the other four. Those two schools also dominated the all-conference team selections, each putting two players on the list.
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68 Must-See Games of 2011-12: #17-1

Posted by zhayes9 on October 31st, 2011

Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist for Rush the Court. You can follow him on Twitter @zhayes9 and check out the previous editions of 68 Must-See Games: #68-52, #51-35, #34-18.

17. February 25: Missouri at Kansas (4:00, CBS)- A rivalry that dates back to the Civil War could soon be extinct due to Missouri’s anticipated move to the SEC, so enjoy one of the last few meetings between these bitter border foes. Both squads have tempered expectations heading into the season – Kansas due to the departures of six main contributors and the ineligibility of two freshmen, Missouri because of Laurence Bowers’ crushing ACL injury. Kansas’ Thomas Robinson and Missouri’s Marcus Denmon are reasons enough to watch, though. Robinson has the tools to make a leap to All-America status, while Denmon is criminally underrated and one of the nation’s true elite guards.

16. December 2: Vanderbilt at Louisville (9:30, ESPN)- I must admit: the powers-that-be who determine the matchups for the ACC/Big Ten and SEC/Big East challenges know exactly what they’re doing (well, except for sending St. John’s to Kentucky). The non-conference schedules for Vandy and Louisville were already daunting before this battle of potential top ten teams popped up on the slate. The absence of center Festus Ezeli, given he doesn’t return in time following a sprained PCL/MCL suffered last week, negates what could have been a major post advantage for Vanderbilt in light of Terrence Jennings’ early departure. The Cards will look for a resume-building win behind a clear point guard edge, a raucous home court advantage and their relentless full-court pressure.

Scoop Jardine and the Orange make quite a few appearances on this list

15. December 2: Florida at Syracuse (7:30, ESPN)- Electric guard play will be on full display at the Carrier Dome with Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche and impact freshman Michael Carter-Williams leading the charge for Syracuse and the foursome of Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton, Brad Beal and Mike Rosario filling it up for Florida. The trump card for the Orange could be 6’7 wing Kris Joseph, a preseason Big East first teamer. Billy Donovan will employ plenty of three or four-guard lineups this season, which could create a mismatch opportunity for Joseph. Cancel all plans for December 2 with this game and Vandy-Louisville on the docket.

14. February 18: Arizona at Washington (4:00, FSN)- Two years ago, Arizona basketball was a program in serious transition with four head coaches in four years, Lute Olson’s awkward departure and an embarrassing coaching search. Heading into 2011-12, the Wildcats are now the favorites to claim their second straight Pac-12 title in what has been an epic turnaround under Sean Miller. One of the stumbling blocks towards that goal could be this mid-February tilt in Seattle. How a backcourt that will depend on significant contributions from two freshmen – point guard Josiah Turner and off-guard Nick Johnson – handles such a raucous atmosphere will go a long way in not only determining the outcome of this game, but how Arizona fares in their first season post-Derrick Williams.

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Where 2011-12 Happens: Reason #7 We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on October 31st, 2011

Another preseason preview gives us reason to roll out the 2011-12 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball, our annual compendium of YouTube clips from the previous season 100% guaranteed to make you wish games were starting tonight. We’ve captured the most compelling moments from the 2010-11 season, many of which will bring back the goosebumps and some of which will leave you shaking your head in frustration. For the complete list of this year’s reasons, click here. Enjoy!

#7 – Where Second All-Time Happens

We also encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 seasons.

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20 Questions: Which Non-BCS League Will Be the Best This Season?

Posted by rtmsf on October 30th, 2011

Andrew Murawa is the Pac-12 and Mountain West correspondent for RTC and a microsite writer. You can find him on Twitter @amurawa.

Question: Which Non-BCS League Will Be the Best This Season?

In each of the past four years, the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, Atlantic 10 and Missouri Valley Conference have all been ranked by Ken Pomeroy somewhere between the seventh- and tenth-best conferences in the nation. Going back nine years, at least three of those conferences have been among the top ten conferences in the nation every season, and no other non-BCS conference outside of these four has rated higher than ninth in that span. Now, as good as the Colonial may be this year, as good as the West Coast Conference or even the MAAC may be this season, I’m willing to wager that this year will be no different. One of the MW, the A-10, the MVC or C-USA will be the best non-power conference this season.

The Mountain West Will Take a Step Back With Losses of SDSU Stars (and BYU)

Further, I’ll be willing to wager that the Mountain West, a conference that has only once in that span ranked lower than eighth, will not be the best of those conferences this season. Last year as it rode BYU and San Diego State (not to mention UNLV, Colorado State and New Mexico), it was almost unquestionably the best non-power conference. But, gone are Jimmer Fredette and Kawhi Leonard. And in fact, BYU is gone altogether, as is Utah. UNLV and New Mexico return, and both of them will be very good, but SDSU will take a big step back this season, Colorado State looks to be ordinary, and the rest of the conference ranges from unspectacular to bad.

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RTC Conference Primers: #8 – Atlantic 10

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 30th, 2011

Joe Dzuback of Villanova by the Numbers is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference. You can find him on Twitter @vbtnBlog.

Reader’s Take I

The A-10 has earned three invitations to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four seasons. Xavier and Temple, as they have for the past two seasons, will claim two bids.


Top Storylines

Xavier's Tu Holloway Is A First-Team All-American Candidate And One Of The Nation's Best Seniors

  • A-10 to Barclays in 2013: Barclays Center, under construction in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, is in the market for multi-day sporting events while the Atlantic 10 is looking for a bigger stage for their post season tournament — a perfect match perhaps? The two announced a deal late last month that will move the 2012-13 A-10 Conference Tournament to the 675,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue that will feature an 18,000 seat arena for basketball. The Atlantic 10 has vacillated between rotating campus sites and a “permanent neutral” site since the first conference tournament in 1976-77. The current location since the 2006-07 tournament, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, is a 10,500 seat amphitheater. While technically neutral, the attendance is up when one or more of the Philadelphia contingent (La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and/or Temple) advances to the quarterfinal round and beyond, and down when they do not. The conference will return to Boardwalk Hall for their 2011-12 tournament, then move over to Barclays Center the following season.
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Where 2011-12 Happens: Reason #8 We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on October 29th, 2011

Another preseason preview gives us reason to roll out the 2011-12 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball, our annual compendium of YouTube clips from the previous season 100% guaranteed to make you wish games were starting tonight. We’ve captured the most compelling moments from the 2010-11 season, many of which will bring back the goosebumps and some of which will leave you shaking your head in frustration. For the complete list of this year’s reasons, click here. Enjoy!

#8 – Where Get On That Floor Happens

We also encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 seasons.

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RTC Conference Primers: #9 – Conference USA

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 28th, 2011

Steve Coulter is the RTC correspondent for Conference USA.

Reader’s Take

Despite having two teams earn bids into the NCAA Tournament last season, Conference USA walked away without a win.

 

Top Storylines

  • Can Memphis Pull Away?: While the Tigers have fielded strong teams since John Calipari left after the 2008-09 season, they’ve never had quite as much talent in that time as they figure to show this season. With essentially every notable contributor returning, a huge gap could form quickly. On the other hand, chemistry rarely comes instantly, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Memphis have a double-digit loss season, either.
  • Central Florida Continues To Build: Thanks partially to a soft non-conference schedule of six opponents with KenPom ratings 200 or lower and a non-D-I matchup, UCF cracked the national rankings for the first time in school history. While the Knights came down to Earth once conference play began, momentum is important no matter how it’s established. After winning two postseason games, we’re excited to see how the UCF follows up on a surprising season.
  • Realignment Hovers Over C-USA: Perhaps no single conference houses as many schools that were rumored to be on their way out than Conference USA, even if its membership ultimately stayed intact. East Carolina and UCF are frequently connected to the Big East; Memphis’ basketball program is as valuable a commodity as there is outside of the Power Six, and in its shakier days, the Big 12 could have found itself eyeing the Texas schools as a contingency plan in case the Longhorns and Sooners packed up for the Pac-12. It didn’t come to pass, but you have to wonder just what C-USA will look like in the long term.

This Year's Tigers, Led By Will Barton, Could Be Pastner's Most Talented Memphis Team Ever

Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Read the rest of this entry »
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20 Questions: Which Program Is In Best Shape The Next Five Years?

Posted by zhayes9 on October 28th, 2011

Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist for Rush the Court. You can find him on Twitter @zhayes9.

Which program is in the best shape to compete for national titles the next five years?

The components of a successful college basketball program mimic a virtuous cycle: find the solution to the initial problem and the issues that follow are infinitely easier to solve. Once a foundation of success is built, once winning evolves into an expectation rather than a wish, everything else falls into place. Locating that first transformational coach and winning that first national title is the most difficult part. Once winning on the biggest stage becomes a habit, players follow that want to live up to the expectations set by their predecessors. A history begins to build. A brand is established.  Aside from an occasional bump in the road, these esteemed programs inevitably become an unstoppable machine.

Unstoppable machine seems like an accurate way to describe the North Carolina Tar Heels over the next five years under Roy Williams.

Roy Williams will win another national title at Carolina

The hype surrounding this year’s team is both unmatched and totally justified. One required trait of a top-flight program is sustainability and Williams has successfully re-loaded not even three years since a Tyler Hansbrough-led Carolina juggernaut cut down the nets in Detroit. A fresh influx of young, talented and hungry stars have arrived antsy to match the accolades of their elders and continue the tradition established by Dean Smith. Expectations for 2011-12 are precisely where Williams and the Tar Heel faithful want them: national championship or bust.

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Preseason Bracketology: 10.28.11 Edition

Posted by zhayes9 on October 28th, 2011

Zach Hayes is RTC’s official bracketologist.  He will periodically put together his latest bracket projections throughout the season.  Tell him where you agree or disagree @zhayes9 on Twitter.

  • Last Four In: Drexel, Illinois, Kansas State, Notre Dame.
  • First Four Out: Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Oregon, Minnesota.
  • Next Four Out: Northwestern, BYU, Princeton, Oklahoma State.

Click to Enlarge Bracket

Notes

  • This was the most clear-cut foursome for the top line that I can recall during any previous preseason bracket and all four deserve to be anointed Final Four teams here in October.
  • Maybe a bit of a surprise in both instances, but I’m taking Texas A&M and California to win their respective leagues. Maybe their talent level is not up to par with the likes of Kansas and UCLA, but I like their stability, coaching and players like Khris Middleton and Allen Crabbe are primed to explode.
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Where 2011-12 Happens: Reason #9 We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on October 28th, 2011

Another preseason preview gives us reason to roll out the 2011-12 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball, our annual compendium of YouTube clips from the previous season 100% guaranteed to make you wish games were starting tonight. We’ve captured the most compelling moments from the 2010-11 season, many of which will bring back the goosebumps and some of which will leave you shaking your head in frustration. For the complete list of this year’s reasons, click here. Enjoy!

#9 – Where Broken Ankles Happens

We also encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 seasons.

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