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RTC Live: Preseason NIT Semifinals

The Grand-daddy of all preseason tournaments tips off with its semifinal round tonight at Madison Square Garden  in NYC. Enjoy some pre-Thanksgiving hoops with Stanford vs. Oklahoma State, followed by Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech this evening.  Join us for the conversation, after the jump.

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RTC Live: Preseason NIT Semifinals

Games #33-#34.  It’s back to the World’s Most Famous Arena for the semifinal round of the Preseason NIT.

Villanova comes into this one at 4-0, although their path has not been as easy as their margins of victory would indicate. Bucknell and Boston U. both gave the Wildcats a fight, all while they are dealing with a suspension to star freshman JayVaughn Pinkston. Villanova’s attack is centered around their backcourt, and while Corey Fisher has yet to really catch fire this season, Maalik Wayns looks like a potential superstar. UCLA will be the first real test for this Villanova team. The Bruins come into this one at 3-0 and a bit under the radar. The front line of Reeves Nelson (19.3 ppg), Tyler Honeycutt, and Joshua Smith is underrated and Lazeric Jones is an upgrade over Jerime Anderson at the point. The question mark is going to be Malcolm Lee. He rolled an ankle against Pepperdine, and his status (as of this writing) is still uncertain.

The nightcap is between Tennessee and VCU. Tennessee is a bit of a question mark this season. They have some talented and versatile players in Tobias Harris, Scotty Hopson, and Cam Tatum. All three are capable scorers with length and athleticism. But Brian Williams still is not in shape at center and the combination of Melvin Goins and Trae Golden has not exactly yielded terrific point guard play. VCU may play in the CAA, but don’t be fooled — this is a very good basketball team. Joey Rodriguez is the best point guard you’ve never seen play (18.3 ppg, 10.3 apg, 2.0 TO’s in three games), Jamie Skeen is a power forward transfer from Wake Forest, Ed Nixon is as good a defender as you will find on the perimeter, and Bradford Burgess and Brandon Rozzell are terrific complementary scorers. I’ll go as far as to say that I think VCU will win tonight.

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RTC Live: Preseason NIT Semifinals (UConn vs. LSU; Duke vs. Arizona State)

RTCLive

RTC Live is taking over the Garden… again. Just last week, we were there to watch Syracuse run roughshod over the rest of the Cal and UNC en route to the CvC tournament title. This time around, we will be there to provide instant analysis of the semifinals and finals of the Preseason NIT. The semis kick off with LSU taking on the UConn Huskies. Not much was expected out of the Tigers this season as they lost Chris Johnson and Marcus Thornton, but Trent Johnson’s group has played well. They are 3-0, including a win over Western Kentucky in the NIT regional final. Bo Spencer (20.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.0 apg) and Storm Warren (16.3 ppg, 11.7 rpg) are putting up the best numbers, but senior Tasmin Mitchell is the best player on this team. UConn, on the other hand, has been playing below expectations. With underwhelming wins over William & Mary, Colgate, and Hofstra (a game they were down nine with nine minutes left), the Huskies look like they are a long way from being a top three team in the Big East. That said, Jerome Dyson has played like an all-american (20.0 ppg, 6.0 apg), and Stanley Robinson (16.7 ppg) is forever a threat for a big dunk or three.

The second game of the night pits the Duke Blue Devils and the Arizona State Sun Devils. ASU, and the Pac-10 as a whole, could really use a strong showing in NYC. Herb Sendek’s teams are usually expected to low-scoring, but ASU has hit 80 points three times already this season, including breaking the century mark in their last outing against San Francisco. Sharpshooting Rihard Kuksiks leads five players averaging double figures at 13.8 ppg. The Dukies are shorthanded in their backcourt this season, as Nolan Smith, Jon Scheyer and Andre Dawkins are the only scholarship guards Coach K has. Smith and Scheyer are playing like stars, however. Smith is averaging 22/6 apg through his first two games back from suspension, while Scheyer is posting 16.5 ppg and 5.3 apg through four games. His most impressive stat? 0. As in the number of turnovers he has this year. With Kyle Singler playing like Kyle Singler, this Duke team looks a lot better than the pundits gave them credit for during the preseason.  Join us for an exciting night of RTC Live hoops again from the mecca of college basketball, Madison Square Garden. Read the rest of this entry »

RTC Live: Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship


It’s an old familiar name versus a new one in the Atlantic 10 Tournament championship game, as Xavier will match up against surging St. Bonaventure on Sunday afternoon with a guaranteed bid on the line.

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RTC Live: Albany @ Syracuse

RTC Live is back with a few more games this evening. Syracuse romped all over Manhattan College last night in the first round of the Preseason NIT, so they’ll face another Empire State team in the Dome this evening against Albany — join the fun from the Dome, after the jump.

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RTC Live: Week 3

RTCLive

It’s Feast week and RTC Live will once again be covering games from coast to coast.  This week is tournament-heavy, as we’ll have correspondents in Kansas City for the CBE Classic, Anaheim for the 76 Classic, New York for the Preseason NIT, Atlantic City for the Legends Classic, and Orlando for the Old Spice Classic.   We’re not crazy enough to cover every game at these venues, but we will try to get ourselves to the best games for your live-blogging enjoyment.  We may add a couple more games during the week, so check back periodically.

Monday November 23 (click here for post)

  • Wichita State vs. Pittsburgh (in Kansas City, MO) – 7:30 pm ET (also on ESPN2)the undercard in terms of the evening, but probably the much better game.  Pitt is trying to figure out how to move past the DeJuan Blair/Sam Young era without taking too many losses, and this will be a quasi-home game for the Shockers.
  • #3 Texas vs. Iowa (in Kansas City, MO) – 9:45 pm ET (also on ESPN2)Iowa has already taken losses at the hands of Texas-San Antonio and Duquesne, so this could get extremely ugly for Todd Lickliter’s team in dealing with Texas’ hordes of young talent.

Tuesday November 24

  • CBE Classic Finals (in Kansas City, MO) - 10 pm ET (also on ESPN2) – we’d expect this one to match up Texas and Pitt, but it wouldn’t shock (heh) us if Wichita State ended up there instead of the Panthers.  Either way it’s an opportunity to get another look at Rick Barnes’ outstanding freshmen corps of Jordan Hamilton, J’Covan Brown and Avery Bradley.

Wednesday November 25

  • #13 Connecticut vs. LSU (in New York, NY) – 7 pm ET (also on ESPN2) – the Huskies will have a home crowd as they return to NYC to take on a depleted LSU team that was the SEC champion last year.  This doesn’t mean that UConn should sleep on the Tigers — Tasmin Mitchell and Bo Spencer are a formidable duo, and Trent Johnson knows how to coach. 
  • #8 Duke vs. Arizona State (in New York, NY) – 9:30 pm ET (also on ESPN2) – Herb Sendek gets another look at Coach K in the nightcap, which would have been a spectacular game last season.  Former Dookie Eric Boateng is averaging 12/8 for the Sun Devils, who come into this game scorching hot. 

Thursday November 26

  • #24 Minnesota vs. #11 Butler (in Anaheim, CA) – 8:30 pm ET (also on ESPN2) – Butler continues its difficult nonconference schedule with an opportunity to play three ranked teams in three days at the 76 Classic, starting with Tubby Smith’s Gophers.
  • Portland vs. UCLA (in Anaheim, CA) - 10:45 pm ET (also on ESPN2) – UCLA bounced back from its loss to Fullerton with a win over Bakersfield, but Portland will be in a class above those teams.  Howland’s team better be able to improve upon it’s 21.4% from three percentage if they hope to come out of the 76 Classic with a winning record.

Friday November 27

  • Preseason NIT Consolation & Finals (in New York, NY) – 2:30 pm & 5 pm (also on ESPN2/ESPN) – if everything goes according to plan here, we’ll have an undercard game of Arizona State vs. LSU followed by a blockbuster of #9 Duke vs. #12 Connecticut.  You could spend your “Black Friday” afternoon fighting crowds in the stores, or you could watch some great early-season basketball with us — your choice.
  • 76 Classic Semifinals (in Anaheim, CA) – 2:30 pm & 9:30 pm (also on ESPN/ESPNU) – we would expect to see two phenomenal games involving #8 West Virginia vs. #22 Clemson and UCLA vs. #11 Butler, but other teams such as Long Beach State, Texas A&M, Portland and Minnesota may have other ideas.

Saturday November 28

  • Legends Classic Consolation & Finals (in Atlantic City, NJ) -  5:30 pm & 8 pm (also on HDNet) – we’d expect to see an undercard of Florida vs. UMass in a run-n-gun showdown, followed by the finals featuring loaded #2 Michigan State vs. Rutgers in an upset bid in its home state.

Sunday November 29

  • Old Spice Classic Consolation & Finals (in Orlando, FL) – 5 pm & 7:30 pm (also on ESPNU/ESPN2) – there’s no telling who these teams will be at this point, but our best guess results in Creighton vs. Baylor as the consolation game and Florida State vs. #15 Michigan in the title tilt.
  • 76 Classic Consolation & Finals (in Anaheim, CA) – 5pm & 10 pm (also on ESPN2) – again, this is a very difficult tournament to project, but if things go according to favorites, then we’ll see #24 Minnesota vs. #22 Clemson for third place and #8 West Virginia vs. #11 Butler in a slugfest for the 76 Classic title.