AAC M5: 11.21.13 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on November 21st, 2013

AAC_morning5_header

  1. Sometimes, when you are afraid you won’t have enough news to fill the Morning Five, you have to pray to the College Basketball News Gods. They don’t always listen to your prayers, but when they do, they always answer them by sending Richard Andrew Pitino to save the day. After Louisville demolished Hartford on Tuesday night, Pitino could have just answered questions about the Kevin Ware speeding ticket by expressing his disappointment and moved on. Instead he took the time to make vague insinuations that the story only broke because a Kentucky fan tipped off the media outlets. It can’t be proven, but given the nature of this rivalry, absolutely no one would be surprised if Pitino’s suspicions were totally true. Ware’s suspension rumors from the summer were also supposedly started by someone in Big Blue Nation and let’s not pretend like Louisville fans are any nobler. They would be direct messaging every national college basketball writer in the country if they thought they could get Julius Randle suspended or even looked at by the NCAA. I’m not a proponent of trading in gossip but this is also partially what makes the rivalry between the teams so fun… so… uh… work those phones Cardinals’ and Wildcats’ fans!
  2. It’s a little bit surprising to hear that former Boston College coach Al Skinner never even bothered to call Shabazz Napier and at least feign interest just in case his preferred targets fell through. Napier wasn’t exactly a can’t-miss prospect coming out of prep school, but he did play in the Eagles’ backyard and was probably worth at least a phone call. Skinner’s loss (it is really Steve Donahue’s loss since he actually tried to recruit Napier but was too late) was Jim Calhoun’s gain as Napier has built himself into a conference player of the year candidate and the Huskies’ most important player. Napier gets a chance to indirectly exact his revenge tonight as the Huskies and Eagles square off at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Sports Classic. Donahue has a pair of solid sophomore guards in Olivier Hanlan and Joe Rahon, just don’t think for a second that either one of them is going to be able to stop Napier.
  3. The coronation of Troy Caupain as Cincinnati‘s point guard of the future will have to wait at least one more game after last night’s underwhelming performance. I won’t pick on the members of the media who were already starting to sing his praises because I was singing them just as loudly after his excellent all-around game against Appalachian State. But the beginning of the breakout that was supposed to happen against Campbell last night never materialized as Ge’Lawn Guyn played most of the minutes and Caupain missed the only two shots he took from the field to finish with one point, one rebound, one assist and one steal in just 14 minutes. I will readily admit that my itchy “breakout performer” trigger-finger got the best of me on this one, but I am not jumping of the Caupain bandwagon quite yet. Caupain is still more than a week away from his 18th birthday and he is already part of an AAC team’s rotation. He will undoubtedly have bouts of inconsistency throughout the season but he has a lot of room to grow and he is going to do that by playing a lot.
  4. The theme of the week for Temple is patience. Coach Fran Dunphy is preaching it. The student newspaper is preaching it; and star forward Anthony Lee is preaching it too. Although the Owls were picked to finish fifth in the preseason AAC coaches poll, it is now fair to wonder whether that prediction has more to do with the respect for Dunphy than it does with the Owls’ actual abilities. The outlook from KenPom is far less favorable (for those without the subscription, he is predicting the Owls finish 10-18) and the team is going to need to grow up in a hurry if they want to prove the prognosticators wrong. They have the pieces and a good amount of talent, but right now they aren’t particularly good in any facet of the game. They have been particularly bad from behind the three-point arc, shooting just over 26 percent from downtown, and they also rank near the bottom nationally when it comes to forcing turnovers. The hope is that some of this will improve as the team gets more comfortable and more experience, they just better hope that happens before its too late.
  5. I’m fine with giving Houston‘s TaShawn Thomas conference player of the week honors, as he has dominated in all four games this season. I am not fine with hyping Houston as a contender, however, not at least until they play someone even remotely worthwhile. They are still a bad defensive team, and while the offense is improving, it still isn’t that efficient and certainly not enough so to help them beat conference foes. The schedule doesn’t get any better against Howard, which rates as one of the worst teams in the country, so expect Thomas and Danuel House to get theirs in an easy win.  But the Cougars get a shot at Stanford at the Barclays Center on Monday and if they can beat the Cardinal, then I will consider to start to take the team seriously.
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Morning Five: 08.30.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on August 30th, 2013

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  1. Like many other college basketball sites we have talked quite a bit about Emmanuel Mudiay’s decision to commit to Southern Methodist and how it could affect their recruiting forward. One thing that most writers glossed over, but Mike DeCourcy goes in-depth about is Emmanuel’s brother, John Michael, and how he could have a huge impact on the program even if he does not fill up the box score. While we remain surprised that Emmanuel turned down Kentucky and many other top-tier programs to come to SMU, the fact that he would enroll at a school to play with his brother (and a Hall of Fame coach) should not be that shocking. Having said that we will wait until Emmanuel actually matriculates before we are ready to officially put him in SMU’s column.
  2. In the wake of the NCAA laying down the hammer on Johnny Manziel, several media members and a few anonymous coaches/administrators have taken shots at the NCAA, but few individuals have as much reason to criticize the NCAA as former Miami guard Dequan Jones. You may remember Jones as the Miami player who was forced to sit out 11 games of his senior year after the NCAA took Ponzi scheme mastermind Nevin Shapiro’s word that a Miami assistant had asked for $10,000 to get Jones to commit to Miami before the NCAA finally backed down when they could not find any evidence against him (other than the word of Shapiro). As you can imagine Jones was less than thrilled with how the NCAA handled their investigation of Manziel in comparison to how his was handled. We suspect that Jones is not alone among athletes who have previously been targeted by the NCAA and walked away with much larger penalties that what Manziel incurred.
  3. We are a little over a month away from the new Midnight Madness, but there is still some movement within the coaching ranks. Normally the hiring of an assistant coach at a mid (or low)-major would not merit a mention here, but the announcement that former Boston College coach Al Skinner had been added as an assistant on the Bryant staff intrigued us. Gary Williams might remain the most well-known (and successful coach) to grace the Chestnut Hill sidelines, but it is Skinner who remains the all-time winningest coach in school history. Obviously Skinner left under circumstances that can best be described as less than ideal, but if this current stint at Bryant works out for him he could soon be in the running for some fairly prominent coaching vacancies.
  4. It has been a precipitous fall for Anrio Adams. After enrolling at Kansas (arguably the most successful program in the country in recent years) Adams found himself stuck behind Ben McLemore before a series of unfortunate tweets led to Adams’ departure/dismissal from the team. From there Adams wound up at Ohio (a solid, but not elite program). Now after his decision to leave Ohio after just two months to pursue options at the junior college level we have to wonder where he is headed next. Although Adams was probably never headed for the NBA this is not the ideal trajectory for a player who was once a 4-star recruit. We do not know Adams’ motivation for leaving Ohio, but at this rate we do not expect to see Adams playing a meaningful role at the Division I level any time soon.
  5. After a hot streak picking up transfers it appears that at least one of USC‘s transfers–Ari Stewart–will not be playing for the Trojans this season as the former Wake Forest transfer reportedly failed to qualify academically. Stewart, who sat out the 2011-12 as a transfer redshirt, averaged 3.4 points and 1.8 rebounds per game last season for the Trojans and would have helped the Trojans on the inside this season. Unfortunately for Stewart he already used his redshirt year when he transferred meaning that his college career is over. Thankfully for Andy Enfield he will have VCU transfer D.J. Haley available this season to take some of the minutes that Stewart likely would have had.
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ACC Morning Five: 01.02.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 2nd, 2012

  1. Boston Globe: Al Skinner got fired from Boston College because of the perception that he wasn’t recruiting at the same level he used to (currently, he’s still looking for that next college job as an AAU coach). But if you look at the recruits he had lined up for the Eagles before he left, they’re all performing very well at various schools around the country. I still don’t see a go-to guy on Boston College’s team if you add this bunch to the roster, but it’s certainly worth mentioning after the Eagles fell to 5-8 after being blown out by Harvard.
  2. Orangeburg Times and Democrat: It was a long flight home for Clemson after losing two of its three games in the Diamond Head Classic. Because of Oliver Purnell’s notorious non-conference schedules the Tigers are off to their worst start since 2003 at a disappointing 7-6. Despite generous preseason numbers, Clemson saw its ranking from Ken Pomeroy drop steadily over the first few weeks as the losses continued piling up. Barring a miraculous conference season (read: winning the ACC Tournament), it looks like Clemson’s streak of five straight NCAA Tournament appearances will end.
  3. Washington Times: Maryland quietly bettered its resume with six straight wins, albeit against unimpressive competition. The Terrapins finally got a wire-to-wire win against Samford Saturday thanks to strong games from Pe’Shon Howard, Terrell Stoglin and Nick Faust. The win came after Mark Turgeon threw the entire team out of practice the day before. Faust finally found the basket from long range (playing off the ball has helped his game). Today the team looks to continue its winning streak against Cornell before heading into conference play.
  4. Baltimore Sports Report: Luckily, expansion speculation and rumors have died down, but the moves from earlier this year leave several conferences with the challenge (or in the ACC’s case, opportunity) of rebranding (or reestablishing) the conference with its new members. The Big East has the most work to do, trying to move from a regional to national footprint, while the ACC looks to reclaim its basketball dominance with Syracuse and Pittsburgh preparing to join in the next couple of years. It was one thing to talk about, but the augmented conferences will be very interesting to watch going forward.
  5. Wilmington Star News: What were the top 10 ACC stories of 2011? Brett Friedlander does a pretty good job paring the list down, but I totally disagree with his ordering. I know Miami‘s scandal has fallen out of the news with other scandals and its ongoing investigation, but it or conference expansion has to be number one. Mark Gottfried‘s hire was a big splash in North Carolina, but it was way less important than Gary Williams’ retirement or overall coaching upheaval for the conference. The list is still worth a read.

EXTRA: Finally, take a second and read over the inspiring story of a Duke fan who couldn’t pull against Pennsylvania yesterday because the school saved his life after his liver failed.

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ACC Team Previews: Boston College

Posted by KCarpenter on October 26th, 2011

Usually, replacing the winningest coach in a program’s history is a thankless task. Yet somehow, Steve Donahue came out of the 2010-11 season smelling like roses. Taking over for longtime head coach and flex offense enthusiast Al Skinner, Donahue led Boston College to a 21-13 season and 9-7 conference record, a significant improvement over the 2009-10 season. Donahue was lucky to inherit a veteran team, stocked full of seniors and a first round NBA draft caliber talent in Reggie Jackson. Still, while that season was an improvement over the previous one, it too ended in disappointment: a second-round ACC Tournament exit against Clemson and a March spent watching other teams play basketball.

Boston College Will Miss Reggie Jackson This Season

As for the summer turnover, well, it was near-complete. The downside of a team of mostly seniors is that seniors have this habit of graduating. The starting lineup was completely wiped out and the bench was decimated. Calling this year a rebuilding year is an understatement. Donahue is bringing in nine freshmen and two transfers to totally re-fashion a team that barely has anything in common with last year’s team. As for the newcomers? Well, the recruiting services didn’t think too highly of them. Despite bringing in so many players, Rivals rates BC’s 2011 crop as only the 9th best in the ACC. However, Donahue thinks that this is deceiving, considering the recruiting services focus more on raw athletic talent. Donahue got his kind of guys: Guys who can shoot, pass, and dribble even if they aren’t as naturally physically gifted as some of their peers. Years recruiting at Cornell means that Donahue has the potential to be a more wily recruiter than you might expect: Luring a player to a program without the ability to offer athletic scholarships has a tendency to hone recruiting skills. Similarly, the scholarship restriction in the Ivies drove Donahue further abroad, giving him a chance to extensively network and now he has a chance to snag players that might not even be on the radar of other ACC schools. Much has been made out of the heavy California contingent in BC’s freshmen class, but Donahue’s explanation as why he recruits so heavily from the Golden State is cogent and well-thought outUsing Euroleague style ball as his model, it seems clear that the coach is assembling a team that will thrive on open perimeter shots generated by fast and frequent ball movement.

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The Disappearance of Black Coaches in the ACC

Posted by KCarpenter on October 13th, 2011

Just a few years ago, seven out of the twelve head coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference were African-American. Today, it has one: Leonard Hamilton at Florida State. Where the ACC was once a progressive leader, it is now at the rear of the pack. Now while many may find the race of coaches in college basketball an unimportant or trivial issue, the drastic change in percentages is worth examining, particularly if there is a single driving force behind the change. Where have all the black coaches gone?

Leonard Hamilton Stands Alone

Let’s check in on the seven black head coaches in the ACC in 2008 and see where they are now: Leonard Hamilton is still at Florida State where he leads a defensive powerhouse that can reliably challenge the very best in the ACC. Hamilton stands alone, though. Frank Haith, who was the head coach of Miami, accepted a new job at Missouri, where he will get to play spoiler and rival to elite Kansas. The great rebuilding artist, Oliver Purnell,was offered a Godfather-style contract from DePaul. Offered a ridiculous sum of money that he couldn’t possibly refuse, Purnell left Clemson. A failure to meet increased expectations at Georgia Tech led to the firing of Paul Hewitt. Of course, plenty of schools were happy to take a chance on Paul Hewitt and it was less than two months before Hewitt was named the head coach of the perennial Cinderella, George Mason. Dave Leitao at Virginia and Sidney Lowe at North Carolina State were fired/bought out for repeated failures in the conference. While Lowe landed on his feet as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Utah Jazz, it took Leitao a little longer before he finally landed the gig as the head coach of the Maine Red Claws, an NBA Development League  team. Al Skinner, longtime coach at Boston College, was fired after a disappointing 2010 season, despite being the winningest coach in the program’s history and leading the Eagles to seven NCAA Tournament appearances including the Sweet Sixteen once.  Skinner isn’t currently coaching anywhere.

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RTC Conference Primers: #4 – Atlantic Coast Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 3rd, 2010

Matt Patton is the RTC Correspondent for the ACC.


Predicted Order of Finish

  • 1. Duke (15-1)
  • 2. Virginia Tech (12-4)
  • T3. North Carolina (10-6)
  • T3. NC State (10-6)
  • 5. Florida State (9-7)
  • 6. Maryland (9-7)
  • 7. Clemson (8-8)
  • 8. Miami (7-9)
  • 9. Boston College (5-11)
  • 10. Wake Forest (4-12)
  • 11. Georgia Tech (4-12)
  • 12. Virginia (3-13)

All-Conference Team (key stats from last season in parentheses)

  • G: Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech (20.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4.5 APG)
  • G: Nolan Smith, Duke (17.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.0 APG)
  • F: Kyle Singler (POY), Duke (17.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.4 APG)
  • F: Harrison Barnes, UNC (26.1 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.1 SPG for Ames High School)
  • C: Tracy Smith, NC State (16.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.1 APG)

6th Man

Chris Singleton (F), Florida State (10.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.2 APG)

Impact Newcomers

Harrison Barnes (F, UNC) and Kyrie Irving (G, Duke).

Here’s the catch.  Barnes might be the better player statistically, and he should have an unbelievable season, but if Duke’s repeat hopes rest on Irving’s shoulders, I’m not sure how he couldn’t be an impact newcomer. Both have NBA scouts fawning over them.

Kyrie Irving (left) and Harrison Barnes have sky-high potential, but how will they do in their respective coaches' systems? (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

What You Need To Know

People will probably say the ACC is having a down year again, but statistically, in the ACC’s “down season” last year, it finished as the highest ranked conference by Ken Pomeroy (just above the Big 12).  Even though the conference has won five of the last ten NCAA championships, people will argue it’s in decline after perennial contender UNC had a devastating season and Duke caught a few breaks on the road to the National Championship. That said, the ACC will not be the country’s deepest conference this season, but that doesn’t mean it will be irrelevant beyond the Blue Devils and Tar Heels.  The ACC has five recruiting classes in ESPN’s top 25, which should ease the loss of important conference players like Greivis Vasquez, Jon Scheyer, Sylven Landesberg, Trevor Booker and Al-Farouq Aminu.

Predicted Champion

Duke (NCAA #1 Seed) – Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad should not only be favored to win the conference, they should be favored to win the NCAA Tournament.  Duke returns two Preseason All-Americans in Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith from last year’s championship team.  Kyrie Irving is the highest-touted Duke recruit since Jason Williams, who led the Blue Devils to the 2001 title. Irving is also considered by scouts as the best true point guard of this class.  Additionally, the Blue Devils picked up four-star power forward Joshua Hairston and Seth Curry (who averaged 20.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 2.3 APG in his freshman season at Liberty), both of whom should see lots of playing time. Duke loses three starters from last year’s team: Jon Scheyer (18.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.9 APG), Lance Thomas (4.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.9 APG), and Brian Zoubek (5.6 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.0 APG).  Losing three starters would normally lower expectations for a team.  But, if anything, this Duke team should be more talented than last year’s squad.  According to Evan Daniels of Scout.com: three people who have watched Duke recently “are raving about their overall talent and Kyrie Irving.”  If you’re looking for more praise (not likely), Dan Wetzel tweeted: “Keep hearing from NBA scouts who’ve seen Duke practice describe Devils as ‘scary’ ‘complete’ ‘even better.’”  He followed that up rebutting the pro-Coach K media saying “These are NBA scouts raving about Duke, not supposedly pro-Coach K media.”  And last but not least, Luke Winn ranked the Blue Devil backcourt first in the nation and the frontcourt second (after Purdue, whose loss of Robbie Hummel almost certainly drops them a couple of spots). Long story short, Duke is going to be very, very good this year, especially if Mason Plumlee has the breakout season people are expecting. Read the rest of this entry »

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Comings & Goings: Oregon Chasing Tubby; Tim Floyd to UTEP – Really?

Posted by rtmsf on March 31st, 2010

The big news today is that Oregon and Mr. Moneybags Phil Knight have made a formal offer to Minnesota’s Tubby Smith, which (you know the drill) Smith vehemently denied.  In an effort to keep Tubby in Minneapolis, the Minnesota president has gotten involved and said that they hope they can put together a contract extension that will result in Smith retiring from basketball at the school.  Another source near the Duck program says that Pitt’s Jamie Dixon has been offered the job.  We’re really not sure what Oregon is thinking here.  Sure, they want a big name, but they need to be realistic about this.  Oregon may have gobs of cash to throw at a prospective coach, but they’re not nearly as important as they must think they are.  Just within the Pac-10, this is probably the fifth best basketball job (behind UCLA, Arizona, Cal and Washington), and if you’ve ever been to Eugene it cannot possibly be the easiest place in the world to recruit mostly african-american players to.  Ernie Kent probably did as well as he possibly could do there.  The play that Knight and friends should make is to scour the nation for the hottest mid-major coach in America and throw whoever that may be (Randy Bennett?  Brad Stevens?  Ben Jacobson?) a wad of cash and the keys to the new Matthew Knight arena.  Give him four years and watch him work his tail off.  You’ve probably got a better shot at long-term success with that strategy that you would ending up with someone like Tubby who has gotten comfortable with his career arc.

Moving on to other coaching news, there were two more interesting items today.  First, former USC coach Tim Floyd has been hired at UTEP to replace Tony Barbee.  Yes, this is the same guy who as head coach at USC was responsible for the OJ Mayo fiasco and other self-reported NCAA violations that ended up costing a promising Trojan team its season.  It’s nice to see that UTEP brass thinks that Floyd will be cleared to coach when the NCAA sanctions come down next month, but mixed messages are coming out of El Paso about what the school expects to hear from the NCAA.

The other piece of news is that Boston College fired Al Skinner after thirteen seasons at the helm in Chestnut Hill.  Citing “philosophical differences,” the BC athletic director said that the information was kept quiet last week as Skinner applied for the St. John’s job that went to Steve Lavin.  Rumored candidates for the job include Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, Cornell’s Steve Donahue and Richmond’s Chris Mooney.

Seton Hall lost its third player to the NBA Draft today when guard Jeremy Hazell decided to test the waters.  Hazell averaged 20.4 PPG this year, which was third-best in the Big East but he is currently projected as a late second-rounder on the current draft boards.  One player who will not be heading to the NBA Draft this year is UCLA’s J’Mison Morgan who was dismissed from the program today.  Morgan’s complete lack of production in two years in Westwood has been nothing short of confounding — the onetime top-50 recruit scored a grand total of 36 points in the 2009-10 season.

One other interesting rumor coming out of the McDonald’s All-American Game is that Kentucky is apparently telling recruits that all five of their NBA-possiblesJohn Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson — are expected to leave for the NBA Draft.  Is UK lying to these players in the hopes that they’ll lure them into the Wildcat fold, or is there any truth to this?  Everyone expects Wall, Cousins and Patterson to be gone, but Bledsoe and Orton as well?

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Comings & Goings: Weekend Edition

Posted by rtmsf on March 28th, 2010

We haven’t updated this over the weekend because there were some games to attend to, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the college basketball world stopped in its tracks.  So here goes…

The big news of the weekend was that Siena’s Fran McCaffery eschewed several openings in the Big East for a job outside of his comfort zone in the heartland at Iowa.  His work will be cut out for him in Iowa City, as the Hawkeyes were 10-22 (4-14 B10) last year and appear from a talent perspective to be light years away from the 1990s when they were an NCAA Tournament staple.  This article discusses some of the challenges that McCaffery will face coaching and recruiting in the Big Ten.

Meanwhile, St. John’s is apparently taking a hard look at former UCLA coach and current ESPN commentator Steve Lavin, whose hiring would satisfy the Red Storm’s desire for a big-name coach.  A west coast guy, Lavin would need to hire a strong New York-centric staff to handle recruiting the area.  His charisma and the UCLA ‘name’ would certainly help, and the truth is that a Sweet Sixteen-level coach — which is what Lavin was at UCLA and it wasn’t good enough — is probably plenty good enough for the Johnnies at this point.  At least one NY area columnist thinks this would be a great fit.  BC’s Al Skinner is also still reportedly in the mix.

Seton Hall has its guy, as the Pirates hired Iona coach Kevin Willard, who has led Iona out of a 2-28 quagmire to a situation where the Gaels are expected to be one of the top teams in the MAAC next season.  The Hall struck out on McCaffery in part because their pay offer of $700k annually could not approach what a Big Ten school could offer.  Willard was the MAAC Coach of the Year this past season and Rick Pitino is on record as calling him the “best assistant” he’s ever had.

In NBA Draft news, Michigan’s Manny Harris is expected to announce his intention to leave school on Monday.  Harris averaged 18/6/4 assts in a disappointing season for the Wolverines, who missed postseason play altogether.  The 6’5 guard who sometimes struggles with shot selection is projected as a second-round pick at best, but he will have time to assess his prospective position in the draft before making a final decision.

New Mexico State’s Jahmar Young will also test the draft waters after a junior campaign where he averaged 20/4/3 assts for the season.  The 6’5 wing is not currently projected as a pick in either of the first two rounds, so we’d expect to see him back in Las Cruces again next season.

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 02.20.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 20th, 2010

Hello everybody, welcome back to another thrilling edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite.  If you haven’t noticed, we’re at the point of the season where every game has a little more intensity, a little more pressure, a little more edginess, as each team tries to attract the eye of the fickle Selection Committee.  Whether in an attempt to lock up a high seed or simply to make the darn thing, the next three weeks will present ample opportunities for every team to make its case, for better or worse.  As always, we’ll be right there with you throughout the day, checking in on the big games and others of varying importance.  While today isn’t a blockbuster day in terms of key games, there are always going to be a good number at this time of year.  Below are the ones we’ll be keeping an eye on…

11 AM: Siena @ #13 Butler on ESPN2 – RTC Live
12 PM: Florida @ Ole Miss on CBS
12 PM: Seton Hall @ #8 West Virginia on ESPN
12 PM: Morgan State @ Murray State on ESPNU
1 PM: Louisiana Tech @ Northeastern on ESPN2
1:30 PM: #22 Baylor @ Oklahoma State on ESPN360
2 PM: #17 Texas @ Texas Tech on ESPN
2 PM: Georgia Tech @ Maryland on ESPN360 – RTC Live
2 PM: Xavier @ Charlotte on CSS
4 PM: Illinois @ #4 Purdue on ESPN
4 PM: UTEP @ Tulsa on CBS CS – RTC Live
4 PM: Colorado @ #1 Kansas on ESPN360
6 PM: #2 Kentucky @ #19 Vanderbilt on ESPN
6 PM: #7 Kansas State @ Oklahoma on ESPNU
8 PM: Charleston @ George Mason on ESPN2
9 PM: UCLA @ Washington on ESPN
12 AM: Wichita State @ Utah State on ESPN2 – RTC Live

11:02: And we’re live with another BGTD. Interesting decision by ESPN to keep GameDay at 11 AM with the Siena-Butler game on ESPN2. We already have someone doing a RTC Live for the Siena-Butler game so we’ll focus more on GameDay than we otherwise would. Definitely check out our RTC Live of the game though.

11:07: The ESPN analysts are really going out on a limb saying the Big East Tournament will be the best of the conference tournament. Digger breaks with the group and goes with the Big Ten. Surprisingly Bobby Knight calls out the Big Ten saying the Big East would beat them head-to-head.

11:09: In another surprise, Jay Bilas goes against Coach K by saying that the conference tournaments effectively act as a huge NCAA Tournament and if you win you are into the real NCAA Tournament. Digger agrees with him while Hubert Davis attempts to make a ridiculous argument against the automatic bid saying it penalizes teams like Siena that dominate their conferences, but might choke in the conference tournament. Personally I think if you’re that good you can earn an at-large bid with your play throughout the season. Knight holds the coaching fraternity party line saying that he wants to expand the tournament. Translation: Nobody gets fired ever.

11:15: Just flipped over to ESPN2 where the announcers were comparing Gordon Hayward to Mike Dunleavy Jr. I’m not sure if they are talking about their games or the way they look. Where is the college basketball Spike Lee who will call out these announcers for comparing the two only because they are white guys who look fairly similar? For the record their games are pretty similar. Feel free to call me out in the comment section. . .

11:20: Knight wants “The Committee” to get an ex-coach on there (like him?) and the team’s last 18 games. I have no idea how he decided on 18. Why not 20? The other talking heads rip the RPI. Davis wants to take the strength of schedule component out of the RPI and wants to use an “eye test” to replace it. I’d like to see Professor Davis come up with a quantitative way to come up with the “eye test” score.

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Boom Goes The Dynamite: Wednesday 1.13.10 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on January 13th, 2010

There are some REALLY good games on tonight and many of them will be somewhere on the tube, so we figured tonight we’d step up with a special edition of our weekend live-blogging feature.  To start off, we’ll be checking on Boston College at Duke (ESPN), Pittsburgh at Connecticut (ESPN2), and Cincinnati at St. John’s (ESPN-U), and we’ll branch out to other networks as well throughout the night.  We want to know what you’re watching, as well.  Keep hitting that refresh button and we’ll see you in the comments section.  It’ll all start off momentarily…

7:03 pm ET: Wow, where to start?  This is a ridiculous night of hoops.  SO many games on, which is why we’re here.  The first thing I notice is the wardrobe symmetry between play-by-play man Rece Davis (?!?) and Bobby Knight.  Both in the v-neck sweaters.  Is it good when Bobby Knight is influencing your wardrobe choices?  I guess Rece can make it work.

7:07: Yeesh.  Not exactly a good trip for Nolan Smith.  A missed dunk and then a missed 10-foot jumper from almost behind the backboard.  Meanwhile, over on the Big Ten Network, Minnesota is keeping up with Michigan State early; MSU has a 24-21 lead at the under-4 TVTO.  I’m especially fired up for this UConn-Pitt game.  Can Pitt continue this ascent after being basically forgotten about in the early part of this season?  Up on the Huskies early in Storrs…

7:20: UConn looks like a YMCA club team.  They’re straight up on defense, if you can call it that.  At this point they seem severely uninterested.  Pitt has guys moving on offense without the ball, talking on defense, etc.  That’s how you build an early ten point lead on a team in their own house.

7:23: Maybe that Jerome Dyson dunk will get UConn going.  UConn’s strategy is obvious, and that’s to run Pitt into the ground.  UConn scored on four straight possessions so it looks like they’ve finally shown up mentally.  But what’s this?  Interesting score…South Florida up at home on West Virginia 23-12 over on ESPN 360 with about 7:00 left in the first.  Virginia has an early lead on Georgia Tech and BC just got a NICE dunk by Reggie Jackson to go up one on Duke.

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Checking in on… the ACC

Posted by rtmsf on January 5th, 2010

Steve Moore is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

There may not have been a ton of games this week in the ACC, especially games that looked good on paper heading in. But there were more than a few interesting results and developments. So let’s get on with it. Be sure to scroll to the end and see if you can beat my predictions for this week’s biggest games.

ACC POWER RANKINGS (record as of Tuesday, Jan. 5)

1. Duke (12-1, 1-0)

PAST:  After splitting the top spot last week with rival UNC, the Blue Devils sit atop this week’s rankings all by themselves. No, it wasn’t the win over Long Beach State or the 59-point demolition of Penn. Duke pretty much dismantled highly regarded Clemson Sunday night, posting a 21-point win that was never even remotely that close. Jon Scheyer is scoring more than enough for Duke, and Kyle Singler and the Devils’ frontcourt proved it could handle a seasoned big man like Trevor Booker. An impressive win, to say the very least.

FUTURE: The Blue Devils face two interesting road tests this week — something they’re not really used to this season. They face Iowa State in Chicago on Wednesday, then head to Georgia Tech for a big date on Saturday. A win there would keep Duke on top of these rankings for another week.

2. North Carolina (11-4, 0-0)

PAST:  Well, there was that Charleston thing on Monday night, but that’s not enough for us to drop them this week. 

FUTURE:  The Heels host Virginia Tech this weekend, leading up to next week’s trip to Clemson and home game against Georgia Tech.

3. Wake Forest (11-2, 1-0)

PAST:  The Deacons take the award for most basketball played this week — and they have two impressive wins to show for it. Wake needed overtime to shake off a very, very good Richmond team on New Year’s Eve (a game I predicted to be a dogfight last week in this space), then went two overtimes to beat Xavier on Sunday in a game I am sad I couldn’t see. More on this game later.

FUTURE:  Fortunately for the tired Deacons, just one game is on the slate this week — a trip to sunny Coral Gables to face Miami on Saturday.

4. Georgia Tech (11-2, 0-1)

PAST:  I won’t waste anyone’s time with details of Tech’s rout of Winston-Salem State, but the 9-point road win at Charlotte is worth mentioning, if only because it was a near disaster. Tech held a 15-point lead in the second half, and needed some big free throws from do-everything-star Gani Lawal to ice it late. Lawal scored 29 points in the win over a good Charlotte team that entered the night with 10 wins.

FUTURE:  A short trip to rival Georgia tonight, then a huge home date with Duke on Saturday afternoon.

5. Florida State (13-2, 1-0)

PAST:  The Seminoles thumped Alabama A&M by 47 points, and followed that up with a 40-point pasting of Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.

FUTURE:   The Seminoles head to Maryland on Sunday.

6. Miami (14-1, 0-1)

PAST:  I almost bumped the Hurricanes up a spot after two more wins this week — except they were against Bethune-Cookman and Pepperdine. No matter the schedule, 14 wins is nothing to laugh at, so beware the ‘Canes as ACC play kicks into gear.

FUTURE:  Saturday’s home game with Wake Forest is one the Hurricanes have to have to be taken seriously as ACC contenders. And I’m gonna predict a win for my new ACC darkhorse (after preseason pick Maryland let me down — big time).

7. Clemson (12-3, 0-0)

PAST:  I really can’t bump Clemson down more than one spot for a loss at Cameron Indoor. But Booker and Co. better find a way to hang around with the ACC’s best if they want to be taken seriously.

FUTURE:  Clemson hosts the ACC’s trainwreck of the year — Boston College — on Saturday. Lose there, and I will find a way to bump the Tigers down more than one spot.

8. Virginia Tech (12-1, 0-0)

PAST:  On the surface, Saturday’s overtime win over Seton Hall in Cancun was nothing exciting. But when you realize that ACC leading scorer Malcolm Delaney missed the game, and Dorenzo Hudson dropped in 41 points, you realize how big a win it was. So far this season, the Hokies have been a one-man show, with Delaney carrying the load. Maybe one or two games without Delaney might be just what Virginia Tech needed with ACC play coming up.

FUTURE:  ACC play couldn’t open in a much tougher fashion for the Hokies, as they head to North Carolina on Sunday. Fortunately, the week-long layoff should be enough time for Delaney’s ankle to heal.

9. N.C. State (10-4, 0-1)

PAST:  Just when you thought last week’s heartbreaker at Arizona was a punch in the gut, N.C. State falls victim to Chandler Parsons’ 75-foot 3-pointer at the overtime buzzer to lose to Florida Sunday night. If you want to be optimistic in the new year, NC State fans, just think that you’ve used up all your bad breaks so far this year, and you’re still 10-4.

FUTURE: The Wolfpack host Holy Cross on Wednesday.

10. Virginia (7-4, 0-0)

PAST: Last week, I said a win for Virginia over UAB would get them out of the cellar. In fact, the 9-point win bumped them up two spots (nearly three, but I just couldn’t pile onto the poor N.C. State fans). The win was easily the biggest ever for coach Tony Bennett in his short career in Charlottesville, with Sylven Landesberg leading the way with 19 points. UAB didn’t help its own cause though, missing 10 of its 15 free throws.

FUTURE: Virginia hosts Texas-Pan American on Tuesday night.

11. Maryland (8-4, 0-0)

PAST:  Maryland, you disappoint me. I piled on the praise in my preview, and thought you were the darlings of the ACC. Then you go out and lose at home to William & Mary. Now I know the Tribe are one of the nation’s top mid-majors this season, but you can’t drop that game at home. Your other three losses (Villanova, Wisconsin, Cincinnati) are nothing to be ashamed of, but this is one the Terps needed to have. Not even a rout of ACC whipping boy UNC-Greensboro on Sunday was enough to help you.

FUTURE:  Maryland hosts Florida State on Sunday.

12. Boston College (9-5, 1-0)

PAST: Just when you thought home losses to Harvard and Rhode Island were bad, the Eagles go and lose — AT HOME — to the University of Maine. This is a team that is not even in the upper echelon of the America East, but the Black Bears still found a way to beat the Eagles at Conte Forum. It’s bad enough for BC fans that the biggest one I know (who also happens to share lots of my DNA) is calling for Al Skinner’s head. Skinner is one of those guys that everyone seems to love, and he has gotten plenty of great years out of teams that no one expected to be great. But it’s hard to ignore these three simple names: Harvard, Rhode Island, and MAINE.

FUTURE: I’ve made this joke before in this space, as BC continues to host what should be easy cupcake opponents in Chestnut Hill. But the Eagles better watch out for NJIT this week. The same NJIT that set the standard for Division I futility. Sorry Eagles fans, but I think you should get comfortable at the bottom of these here rankings.

WEEK THAT WAS…

ACC-TUAL ACC GAMES: Duke’s anticipated date with Clemson turned out to be a real dud on Sunday. The Blue Devils man-handled the Tigers, and proved that their seemingly easy early-season schedule was nothing to laugh at. The frontcourt-heavy Dookies are proving that they can change their style on the fly. Sadly for ACC fans, we have to wait another month for the first Duke-North Carolina game of the season (February 10 in Chapel Hill).

WAKE UP WAKE: The Demon Deacons might be dragging around campus a little bit this week after playing a season’s worth of overtimes in just a few days time. The win over Richmond is nothing to laugh at, especially considering the Spiders are a likely Tournament team. The double-OT shootout with Xavier would have easily been the ACC game of the week, if not for N.C. State’s stunning loss to Florida. Ishmael Smith took over for the Deacons in extra time, dropping nine of his 28 points to cap a 10-for-14 day from the floor. Not only was it a big win for Wake, but it came in the inaugural Skip Prosser Classic, as two programs with direct ties to the late coach got together for a whale of a game.

HOKIE, HOKIE, HIGH: Sadly, because of my paying job (blogging just isn’t profitable), I was only able to watch pieces of a few ACC games this week. One that I did catch most of happened to be Virginia Tech-Seton Hall. At first, I was disappointed not to get a chance to watch Malcolm Delaney play, but Dorenzo Hudson made me forget about that in a heartbeat. Hudson made shots from all over the floor, and literally strapped the Hokies to his back in the second half and overtime. His 41 points was the best scoring effort at Virginia Tech since Bimbo Coles in 1990 – now there’s a name from my childhood. This kid could be a true ACC star in the coming years, and if he can find a way to be a complement to a healthy Delaney, the Hokies could be trouble for the rest of the league.

CRYSTAL BALL TIME…

With conference play really getting under way, we’ll highlight a few (hopefully five each week) specific games in this space (in chronological order), and have a little fun with predictions. Predicting final scores is crazy, but I’ll try to give you the winner and a margin of victory. Each week we’ll keep track of my overall record, and the +/- on my scoring margins. Feel free to play along in the comments and pick the same games as I do. The winner will get the greatest prize in the world: my undying respect

VIRGINIA at N.C. STATE – Saturday, Noon (RAYCOM): Lady Luck has gotta side with the Wolfpack at some point, right? Unfortunately, they get to open up the year of conference play with a tough game against a surprising Virginia team that just posted a top-25 win over UAB. I see the Pack rising to the challenge, and posting an important home win over the Cavaliers.

PREDICTION: N.C. State by 4

DUKE at GEORGIA TECH — Saturday, 2 p.m. (ESPN): After Sunday’s Duke/Clemson showdown turned into a rout, here’s hoping the Yellow Jackets can put up a fight. The frontcourt matchup should be fun to watch, as Singler, Scheyer and the big men try to figure out Lawal, Derrick Favors and Georgia Tech. I’m going with the Yellow Jackets in a semi-surprise.

PREDICTION: Georgia Tech by 2

WAKE FOREST at MIAMI – Saturday, 6 p.m. (ESPNU): The Hurricanes will finally get to see what a real opponent looks like, but they get to do it at home. Unlike some, I won’t completely disregard the Hurricanes’ 14-1 record on account of their joke schedule, but I don’t expect the Deacons to play their third-straight close game. Wake wins this one relatively easily.

PREDICTION: Wake Forest by 8

FLORIDA STATE at MARYLAND – Sunday, 5:30 p.m. (FSN): The Terrapins’ pre-conference slate has been one to forget, and they need this win much more than the Seminoles. I expect Maryland to find its stride and pick up a critical victory.

PREDICTION: Maryland by 5

VIRGINIA TECH at NORTH CAROLINA – Sunday, 7:45 p.m. (FSN): If Delaney’s ankle heals, and Hudson continues his strong play, the Hokies could make this interesting. But I see the Heels running away with it at the end.

PREDICTION: North Carolina by 10

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Checking in on… the ACC

Posted by rtmsf on December 14th, 2009

checkinginon

Steve Moore is the RTC correspondent for the ACC.

To call last week’s slate a light one in the ACC would be like saying Roy Williams is a little bit sensitive — it’s a drastic understatement (more on that in a minute). Only 11 games were played by ACC teams this week, and most were completely uninteresting. But there were two games of note…

ACC POWER RANKINGS (record as of Sunday, Dec. 13)

1. North Carolina (8-2, 0-0)

PAST: The Tar Heels destroyed Presbyterian on Saturday, 103-64. But Roy Williams turned it into a story, anyway, even though he said to “not make it bigger than it is.” More on that later.

FUTURE: UNC travels to Austin, Texas for a showdown with the Longhorns on Saturday. UNC not only sits atop these rankings, but continues to play the most must-watch games in the ACC. It’s not even close.

2. Duke (7-1, 0-0)

PAST: Did not play this week

FUTURE: Duke warms up its week with Gardner-Webb at Cameron on Tuesday, before playing a very good Gonzaga team at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. You better not make any plans on Saturday, with UNC-Texas at 2:00 (ESPN) and Duke-Gonzaga at 4:00 (CBS).

3. Georgia Tech (6-1)

PAST: Did not play this week

FUTURE: The Jackets play a non-traditional ROAD game AT Chattanooga tonight, before hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday.

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