The RTC Podblast: Billion Dollar Predictions Edition

Posted by rtmsf on March 19th, 2014

We know you’ve been anxiously awaiting it, so here goes. The RTC Podblast is back, just in time for you to fill out your final bracket — the one that you’ve been secretly stashing away all week for the cool billion — with predictions about which teams are heading to the Elite Eight and beyond. Go ahead and pick your own upsets in the first three rounds — the real points are earned in the latter stages of the Tournament, and we’ve got you covered there. This season’s theme — believe in the teams you’ve always believed in, reject those that you don’t. We’ll find out how that works very soon. Enjoy the holidays, everyone! The full rundown is below.

  • 0:00-2:40 – Lessons From Regional Previews
  • 2:40-7:14 – Still Think the Bracket Is Wide Open?
  • 7:14-8:22 – UCLA: The “Should Have Seen It Coming Team”
  • 8:22-11:43 – South Region Predictions
  • 11:43-17:04 – East Region Predictions
  • 17:04-19:27 – West Region Predictions
  • 19:27-22:05 – Midwest Region Predictions
  • 22:05-26:00 – Picking a National Champion
  • 26:00-28:13 – Dark Horse Picks
  • 28:13-31:17 – What We Are Most Excited For in Round of 64/Wrap
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Rushed Reaction: #3 Baylor 75, #10 Xavier 70

Posted by KDoyle on March 23rd, 2012

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Baylor’s Defense Was Tough. Yes, you read that correctly. After being scrutinized and maligned for much of the season, especially during Big 12 play, Baylor’s stout defense made life difficult for Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons all night. Although the two scored in bunches in the final minutes — when the bulk of the scoring was done — that would prove to be too little, too late. Scott Drew elected to play man-to-man defense for much of the game, and threw in the zone defense sparingly. More than anything though, it was the sheer length, athleticism, and speed of Baylor that made their defense so effective. It begs the question, with lockdown defenders and such speed, why is a zone defense even necessary?
  2. Running, Hops, and Flushes. With a flurry of dunks slammed home by Quincy Acy and Perry Jones III, Baylor’s offense replicated a game of Slamball at one point. Many already knew this, but Baylor’s exceptional play in transition confirmed they can run with any team in the nation — even Kentucky; they have the horses and a steady point guard in Pierre Jackson. Conversely, like most transition-oriented teams, Baylor’s offense stalls in the halfcourt for long stretches. When Xavier was able to cut into Baylor’s lead, it was because they limited Baylor’s transition opportunities.
  3. Kenny Frease Needed More Touches. Xavier got away from what they were doing best—and what got them back into the game — feeding big Kenny Frease the basketball. Frease was 7-10 for the game, and whenever he got a touch something good seemed to happen. The senior from Ohio, who has the physical appearance of one who cuts down trees or wrestles grizzly bears for a living, exploited Baylor’s thin front line. While Jones III and Acy are phenomenal offensive threats and move better than many players with their height, they struggle to defend an opposing post player one-on-one. With Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones looming on the horizon — potentially — this has to be a concern for Scott Drew.

Star of the Game. Pierre Jackson, Baylor. Many will point to Quincy Acy as the star for Baylor—it sure is hard to ignore the several highlight reel dunks he had — it was point guard Pierre Jackson who led Baylor’s fast break and offense to perfection. Jackson had 10 assists to just two turnovers, while knocking down three shots from behind the arc to boot.

Quotable. “Baylor fans have been blessed, the nation’s been blessed, and he is a better person than a player.” — Baylor head coach Scott Drew on the play of senior forward Quincy Acy.

Sights & Sounds. Without question, the most humorous moment during the game ironically had nothing to do with the teams competing on the floor. The loudest the arena got during the game was not after a monstrous dunk or big three, but when the Kentucky band entered the arena. Yes, that is right, the band. Not the basketball team, but the band. Big Blue Nation erupted when a collection of tuba and trumpet players walked out of the tunnel.

What’s Next? Baylor moves onto the Elite Eight where they will play the winner of Kentucky vs. Indiana. Just two years ago, the Bears stumbled at this juncture of the Tournament against Duke, but this is a different Baylor team. Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller were tearing up the AAU circuit, and Pierre Jackson was elsewhere too. Will Scott Drew be able to get over the Elite Eight hump and make it all the way to New Orleans?

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Second Round Wrap

Posted by rtmsf on March 25th, 2008

Saturday 3/22 – Round 2

Day three of the Tourney continued on the same track as the second day, with two upsets by the numbers as well as two classics involving Pac-10 teams. Our new favorite player is West Virginia’s Joe Alexander, in part for these comments:

When Joe Alexander, the Mountaineers’ star forward, was informed that Duke had eight McDonald’s All-Americans, his response was “Who?” When reserve Cam Thoroughman was informed that Duke point guard Greg Paulus was one of them, he said, “Oh my God. Are you kidding?”

  • West Virginia 73, Duke 67. It irritates us to no end how this early game slot is reserved for Duke or Carolina seemingly every single year, but this year we didn’t mind all that much. WVU exposed the Devils as the undersized three-point dependent fraud they are with a 45-19 emasculation on the boards and harassing them into 5-22 from three. Man, you know it’s getting bad for Duke when they’re losing to Mr. Second Round himself, Bob Huggins, at that juncture. One NCAA win in the last two seasons for Duke now – does K need four more McD’s All-Americans to ensure a Sweet 16? And to think that Kyle Singler (6/4 on 1-3 shooting) tied for Oregon POY with Kevin Love last year (see above quotes regarding overrated Dookies).
  • Wisconsin 72, Kansas St. 55. In the same round in which Kevin Durant was eliminated last season, K-State’s two future lottery picks Michael Beasley and Bill Walker ended up scoring 41 of their 55 pts. Wisconsin’s mantra – shut everyone else down. Which they did, easily cruising to a comfortable win.
  • Xavier 85, Purdue 78. We hated to see one of these teams go home. They both play a really fun style and compete at both ends of the court.
  • Washington St. 61, Notre Dame 41. Wazzu held an offense averaging 85 ppg to merely a point per minute. That’s impressive. Can they do similar to the high-octane Tar Heels? UNC shouldn’t take this team for granted after what we saw in the first two rounds.
  • Stanford 82, Marquette 81. Tremendous back-and-forth game including Trent Johnson’s ejection from an overzealous ref, the confounding decision by his replacement to take out both twins mid-second half (coughing up a 7-pt lead in the process), and the punch/counterpunch overtime, where it seemed the team with the ball last would win. Stanford had the ball last, and it won. These Lopez twins are something to watch, and Texas is going to have serious problems with them.
  • Michigan St. 65, Pittsburgh 54. Another Big East Tourney champion flames out early. Is there a correlation? And once again, Izzo manages to turn an inconsistent regular season team into a F4 threat in March. Amazing.
  • UCLA 51, Texas A&M 49. An ugly, ugly game, which is exactly the kind of game that UCLA enjoys playing. We still can’t figure out if all of these close and seemingly miraculous wins for UCLA in the past few weeks are because they’re simply the better team or if they’re being dealt some fortuitous breaks. Even though A&M led for much of the game, we still never felt like they’d pull it out.

Sunday 3/23 – Round 2

The final day of the weekend presented us with two more classics and two other games that became close at the end.

  • Texas 75, Miami (FL) 72. Miami showed more spunk than more highly-regarded ACC brethren Duke and Clemson by roaring back from down 16 in the last four minutes to make Texas sweat for it.
  • Tennessee 76, Butler 71. We had Butler in this one, and were surprised that UT had the tacks to take the hit and actually pull this one out of the fire. As Seth Davis pointed out today, UT has to figure out their point guard situation this week or they’ll be gone by Friday. Louisville’s pressure will eat them up otherwise.
  • Davidson 74, Georgetown 70. Obviously, upset of the Tourney thus far, and we’re absolutely murdering ourselves for waffling on that pick until the eleventh hour and ultimately going with the Hoyas instead. Argh!! Nothing more to be said about Stephen Curry that hasn’t already been said, but we hope that he keeps it up in the next round. Wisconsin will make him work harder than he ever has to get good looks.
  • Memphis 77, Mississippi St. 74. MSU had no business making this game so close (a halfcourt three was in the air to tie it), but Memphis’s well-chronicled struggles at the FT line will ultimately be their undoing. If we’re Tom Izzo and the game is within 10 pts either way at the 5-minute mark, we start fouling their bigs (with the exception of CDR) on every possession. Seriously. That’s how bad they are.
  • Louisville 78, Oklahoma 48 and UNC 108, Arkansas 77. A couple of mercy killings between teams we expect to see in the regional finals.
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It’s finally here!

Posted by nvr1983 on March 19th, 2008

After spending the last couple of days creating previews for the regions, we’re ready for the big day. We’ll be watching basketball pretty much all day (with the small exception of a short rehab trip so we can move our knee since we have to run the Boston Marathon in about a month). We are going to try to post updates as often as possible and eventually try to get a chatroom setup if possible. We’ll leave you with some interesting links and predictions that we have seen over the past couple of days, but were too busy to post.

Before we get to that, we suggest that if you haven’t done it already, sign up for the Rush The Court pool.

Now, onto the links:
- Our first round schedule run-down
- Our analysis of the East region
- Our analysis of the West region
- Our analysis of the Midwest region
- Our analysis of the South region

Ok, now seriously onto other people’s links. . .
- If you haven’t done so already, sign up for March Madness on Demand so you can watch all the games on your computer if you’re working. . .(Hint: “Alt + Tab” if you boss is nearby)
- Bob Ryan decides its time to care about college basketball again and chimes in with his thoughts
- ESPN.com’s Insider NCAA Tournament Guide
- A panel of ESPN experts offer their answers to a bunch of random questions
- Lunardi decides that predicting brackets isn’t enough to justify his career so now he’s predicting the scores for every game in the tournament.
- Tim Keown’s “64 things to mull over before Thursday”
- ESPN The Magazine offers some tips for picking your bracket
- Vegas Watch asks the question about what the odds are of picking a perfect bracket. It’s a good read as is the rest of his site. We highly recommend it.
- Picks from the sports expert in the Bill Simmons’s family. . .his wife
- Here are the picks from the loser of the Simmons family pool along with a love letter to UCLA
- The postseason blog of CNNSI.com’s Luke Winn (CNNSI.com)
- Bill Trocchi on CNNSI.com offers his perspective on how to pick Cinderellas
- The brackets of CNNSI.com’s writers

That’s it for now. If you have any links that you think we should include, send it to healthcarewatch@gmail.com

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First Round Schedule

Posted by nvr1983 on March 17th, 2008

I’m working on putting together a first-round analysis along with regional previews, but you might want to take a look at the schedule for the games on Thursday and Friday. All times are EST.

Thursday
12:20 PM #14 Georgia vs. #3 Xavier (West – Washington, DC)
12:25 PM #16 Portland State vs. #1 Kansas (Midwest – Omaha, NE)
12:30 PM #12 Temple vs. #5 Michigan State (South – Denver, CO)

2:30 PM #11 Kentucky vs. #6 Marquette (South – Anaheim, CA)
2:50 PM #11 Baylor vs.#6 Purdue (West – Washington, DC)
2:55 PM #9 Kent State vs. #8 UNLV (Midwest – Omaha, NE)
3:00 PM #13 Oral Roberts vs. #4 Pittsburgh (South – Denver, CO)

5:00 PM #14 Cornell vs. #3 Stanford (South – Anaheim, CA)

7:10 PM #11 Kansas State vs. #6 USC (Midwest – Omaha, NE)
7:10 PM #15 Belmont vs. #2 Duke (West – Washington, DC)
7:20 PM #13 Winthrop vs. #4 Washington State (East – Denver, CO)
7:25 PM #9 Texas A&M vs. #8 Brigham Young (West – Anaheim, CA)

9:40 PM #14 Cal State Fullerton vs. #3 Wisconsin (Midwest – Omaha, NE)
9:40 PM #10 Arizona vs. #7 West Virginia (West – Washington, DC)
9:50 PM #12 George Mason vs. #5 Notre Dame (East – Denver, CO)
9:55 PM #16 Mississippi Valley State vs. #1 UCLA (West – Anaheim, CA)

Friday
12:15 PM #15 American University vs. #2 Tennessee (East – Birmingham, AL)
12:25 PM #10 Davidson vs. #7 Gonzaga (Midwest – Raleigh, NC)
12:30 PM #10 Saint Mary’s vs. #7 Miami (FL) (South – Little Rock, AR)
12:30 PM #12 Western Kentucky vs. #5 Drake (West – Tampa, FL)

2:45 PM #10 South Alabama vs. #7 Butler (East – Birmingham, AL)
2:55 PM #15 UMBC vs. #2 Georgetown (Midwest – Raleigh, NC)
3:00 PM #15 Austin Peay vs. #2 Texas (South – Little Rock, AR)
3:00 PM #13 San Diego vs. #4 Connecticut (West – Tampa, FL)

7:10 PM #11 Saint Joseph’s vs. #6 Oklahoma (East – Birmingham, AL)
7:20 PM #13 Siena vs. #4 Vanderbilt (Midwest – Tampa, FL)
7:25 PM #9 Oregon vs. #8 Mississippi State (South – Little Rock, Ark)

9:40 PM #9 Arkansas vs. #8 Indiana (East – Raleigh, NC)
9:40 PM #14 Boise State vs. #3 Louisville (East – Birmingham, AL)
9:50 PM #12 Villanova vs. #5 Clemson (Midwest – Tampa, FL)
9:55 PM #16 Texas-Arlington vs. #1 Memphis (South – Little Rock, AR)

TBA #16 TBA (Mount St. Mary’s or Coppin State) vs. #1 North Carolina (East – Raleigh, NC)

Whenever I get the regional broadcast schedule, I’ll post it.

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NCAA Selection Show: Live blog

Posted by nvr1983 on March 16th, 2008

The show is here on CBS. I have never tried a live blog before (rtmsf did once), but I might try it for some of the games this year so I’m going to try this as a test run to try to work the kinks out.

6:57 PM: Both CBS guys go with UCLA to win it all. Kellogg goes with 3 #5s and a #7 as his sleeper. Davis goes with a 6 (USC), 10, 11, and 12. I didn’t catch all the names because I was trying to process it and type this at the same time. Hard to imagine it’s the Duke guy who has the balls to go out on a limb.
6:55 PM: The CBS guys with their Final 4 picks: Clark Kellogg goes with all #1 seeds. Seth Davis goes with Tennessee, Kansas, Texas, and UCLA.
6:48 PM: Tom O’Connor (the head of the committee) is stating the “obvious” answer that they don’t award bids by conference. Packer doesn’t seem that satisfied. Not quite the Packer that we have come to know and hate, but I think it’s all we’re getting today from the old man. . .
6:47 PM: Jay Bilas just made an interesting point that the ACC tends to get more bids when they have a member on the selection committee. Packer is going on about the ACC only getting 4 bids as I type this. . .
6:45 PM: The ESPN crew is going over the snubs. They seem to be all over the Arizona Sun Devils who had a RPI of 88. I haven’t really taken a good look at their case but it seems like they were punished for a weak out-of-conference schedule.
6:43 PM: Are the producers giving Packer and Knight tranquilizer? Both of them seem much more subdued than usual. Just noticed the Marquette-Kentucky 1st round matchup. I wonder if Dwayne Wade and Pat Riley will show up for that game since neither one seems interested in being with the team that pays them. Nice point by Packer about the lack of inside guys in Duke’s path, which I am sure Coach K appreciates.
6:40 PM: Interesting chart from CBS about Power Conference vs. Mid-Major bids. It’s interesting to see how much more consolidated the bids are even though the Mid-Majors seem to be getting more respect in the polls. Back in a bit once Packer goes through the bracket.
6:37 PM: Just noticed Arizona got in as a 10 seed. That’s higher than I expected. Congrats to Baylor getting the last spot (in terms of order announced on the show). What a swing from the Dave Bliss era.
6:35 PM: The West region seems pretty favorable for UCLA with a potential Sweet 16 matchup against Jim Calhoun and the Huskies. Duke ends up in that region too as the #2 seed. It’s too bad Beilein’s offense left with him to Michigan or we might have set a record for 3 pointers if Duke and WVU met in the 2nd round.
6:29 PM: Finally, a commercial break on both CBS and ESPN. About the point Wahl just made, I went to the 2003 East Regional in Albany where Carmelo Anthony’s Syracuse team knocked off the higher seeded Oklahoma Sooners. I always thought it was pretty unfair for Sampson and the Sooners to have to play the Orangeman in that setting since the Sooners were they higher seed.
6:27 PM: Pitt jumps to a #4 seed so Lunardi wasn’t too far off with his #3 seed projection. The South region doesn’t looks pretty fair. We’re definitely hyped for the potential DJ Augustin-Derrick Rose matchup. I’m guessing the NBA scouts are looking forward to that game too. As Wahl correctly pointed out, Memphis will have to potentially win in Houston over Texas to get a Final 4 spot. So they would have earned it.
6:24 PM: I just noticed the Gonzaga-Davidson matchup. Very interesting with 2 of the premier “little people” programs in college basketball. We’ll be checking that one out on March Madness on Demand. If you haven’t signed up, I would suggest you do so now to try and get VIP status.
6:20 PM: The Wisconsin Omaha, NE pod might be the most interesting as I think Wisconsin deserved a #2 and we get to see the battle of super freshman Beasley versus Mayo/Jefferson. That’s my favorite sub-region so far.
6:18 PM: Ok, that confirms my earlier suspicion. The East seems to be much tougher than the Midwest even though I think Kansas was the last #1 seed.
6:16 PM: I know it’s early and I haven’t seen what the other regions look like, but the East seems like a stacked region. I think the 2, 4, 5, and 8 seeds are all better than their seed or as tough as I would expect out of that spot.
6:13 PM: The committee isn’t doing UNC any favors as they put Tennessee in the same region. I would have considered the Vols the best #2 seed, but as Seth Davis said they also get screwed with a potential second round game against South Alabama in Birmingham.
6:10 PM: Roy Williams can’t be happy to see his pod with Indiana as the #8 seed. That will be an extremely interesting 2nd round game if they can get past Arkansas in the first round.
6:07 PM: Ok. I just missed it (since there are shows on 2 channels), but it seems like Bobby Knight and the ESPN crew are getting on the little people saying it should be the 65 best teams in the country, which probably means leaving out the Coppin States of the world.
6:04 PM: Wow. Billy agrees with the committee. I guess we will just have to wait for them to get to the small schools before he gets cranky.
6:03 PM:  I think the 4 #1 seeds are pretty straightforward. I don’t think you can argue with it. Hold on they are going to Billy Packer. . .

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