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RTC Live: Horizon League Tournament Finals


Hello Horizon League fans, and welcome to RTC Live’s coverage of the Horizon League Tournament Finals from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Our correspondent, Damon Lewis from the Horizon League Network, will be live-blogging and reporting from Hinkle Fieldhouse Tuesday night for the title game between Butler and Cleveland St.  Feel free to stop by and leave your questions and comments for him as Butler goes for its second straight HL title.

RTC Live: Detroit @ Notre Dame

RTC Live is back with another full slate of games tonight. From Ann Arbor to South Bend to Moraga, we’ll be bringing you coverage from around the country as the ESPN 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon tips off this evening. Notre Dame has some work to do to replace the pieces it lost from last season’s surprisingly good team, but Mike Brey is masterful at turning water to wine; join us this evening from the Joyce Arena as ND will face a sturdy challenge from Detroit, after the jump.

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RTC Live: Green Bay @ Duquesne

RTC Live is back today with a four-game slate from Queens to Berkeley. Join us for the first game this afternoon from A-10 hopeful Duquesne, after the jump.

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RTC Live: Butler @ Loyola (Chicago)

Game #52.  RTC Live heads to Chicago for an early-season tilt between Horizon League foes.  Unbelievably, conference play is already here. 

Coming off a shocking loss to Evansville the Butler Bulldogs will open Horizon League play at the Gentile Center in Rogers Park, Chicago against the surprising Loyola (IL) Ramblers. You can catch the game on the Horizon League Network. Loyola is off to a 7-0 start after a narrow escape versus San Francisco on Saturday. Having returned their top seven scorers, the Ramblers have been able to get out of the gate quickly this season – and have played especially well at home. Butler has struggled a bit to replace Gordon Hayward and work some talented new freshman into the rotation and it showed on Saturday as the Bulldogs dropped a 71-68 overtime decision to the Purple Aces. Point guard Ronald Nored missed the game against Evansville due to a head injury he suffered against Siena, and it’s questionable whether he will be able to return for this game. Last season, this matchup went down to the wire with Butler pulling off 48-47 victory only after Loyola missed two shots in its final possession. The Ramblers are a team-oriented outfit with five players scoring in double-figures. Senior Geoff McCammon leads the way with 14.4 points per game. Join John Templon of Chicago College Basketball at 6:45 p.m. CT as we attempt to discover if Loyola has what it takes to be a force in the Horizon League this season, or if Butler will not relinquish the crown without a fight.

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RTC Live: Siena @ Butler

Both Butler and Siena are setting themselves up to be bracket busters in a few weeks, but for one Saturday they will face each other at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The host Bulldogs have mowed through Horizon League play with a spotless 17-0 record and are on a 16-game winning streak overall. Their opposition in this made-for-TV event is Siena. The Saints scored a first round NCAA victory a year ago against Ohio State and are the class of the MAAC. A recent loss to Niagara, however, has left their NCAA at-large chances in some doubt if they don’t win their conference tournament. Butler is playing for a seed, while you’d have to figure that a Siena win in a tough road environment such as this would secure their place in the field of 65.  Join us on RTC Live to analyze and discuss the action. 

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RTC Live: Butler @ UIC

Butler sits alone atop to the Horizon League and UIC is lingering at the bottom. So why is this a game worth checking out? Well, first of all the Bulldogs have played some tough games on the road in conference. They barely survived against Loyola on Thursday night. Then there is the matter of UIC playing much better at home. The Flames’ lone conference win came at the Pavilion, against Detroit, and UIC also stunned Oregon State. No matter where Butler goes the Bulldogs bring a crowd, and an interested audience, and surely this game will be no exception. Come read along as we see if Matt Howard can finally get on track or if Gordon Hayward shows off his NBA-quality skills against the overmatched Flames. Robo Kreps is the man for the Flames, but he can’t keep it interesting by himself. Stop by and see what happens early Saturday afternoon on RTC Live.

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RTC Live: Butler @ Northwestern


Welcome back to RTC Live as we continue our coast-to-coast coverage of key games of national interest.  Tonight we’re coming to you from the campus of Northwestern University, along the shore of Lake Michigan, as the Wildcats take on #10 Butler in an interesting game between the Big Ten and the Horizon League.  As I’m sure you’re well aware, Northwestern has been hit with a string of bad news lately, losing star forward Kevin Coble to a foot injury for the season and reserve Jeff Ryan to an ACL tear.  Butler returns at full strength with stars Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard, but as we saw on Saturday afternoon, they struggled for a good portion of the game before finally putting away Davidson in a battle of mid-majors.  Both teams will need to have this win on their resumes for March – Butler to have a quality road win over a Big Ten foe and Northwestern to have a win over a ranked team.  Our correspondent John Templon will be onsite tonight at Welsh-Ryan Arena, and we invite you to join him tonight with your questions and comments.

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RTC Live: Detroit @ #13 California


Tonight at 11pm ET we’ll be visiting California for our second RTC Live of the young season.  On Monday, we had a nice turnout  for Cal-Murray State considering it was a late-night game for people in the East and there didn’t seem to be a lot of excitement for that particular game.  But it ended up being the best game of the evening, and maybe we’ll get lucky again.

Detroit is projected as a middle-of-the-pack team in the Horizon League, but they have one thing that could give Cal trouble: a strong frontcourt.  Eli Holman and Xavier Keeling are two former Indiana players who transferred after the Kelvin Sampson fiasco blew up.  You might even recall that Holman was escorted out of the IU basketball offices two years ago because he threw a potted plant at someone or something during a meeting about a transfer with Tom Crean.  We’ve already discussed that Cal’s kryptonite is a strong frontcourt, and this could be a good barometer for Jamal Boykin, Markhuri Sanders-Frison, Harper Kamp and Max Zhang.  Cal has a major advantage in the backcourt, however, and it was clear that Jerome Randle wasn’t happy with his performance on Monday night, so it’ll also be interesting to see how he and Patrick Christopher responds.

NCAA Preview: Cleveland State Vikings

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

General Profile
Cleveland, Ohio
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


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!
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.