Set Your TiVo: 01.04.12

Posted by EJacoby on January 4th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is an RTC columnist and contributor. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

Huge games in the Big East and Big 12 highlight tonight’s action, along with Duke’s final non-conference test. Here’s your schedule for tonight:

#8 Duke at Temple – 7:00 PM EST on ESPN2 (***)

Will Dunphy Have His Owls Ready To Upset K's Devils? (Getty)

  • The Blue Devils have shockingly stayed out of the spotlight for the past few weeks, quietly handling their business in the non-conference. Perhaps the shellacking that Mike Krzyzewski’s team took in Ohio State in November was the wake-up call that this team needed, as Duke has won five straight in impressive fashion since that game. Coach K’s team is ranked 4th in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive rankings, boasting the nation’s third-best true shooting percentage (60.6%) and eighth-best points per possession statistic (1.16 PPP), amongst many other impressive offensive numbers. As Austin Rivers continues to improve his decision-making and efficiency offensively, Duke gets harder to defend. The freshman is now up to a team-leading 15.4 points per game while shooting 46% from the field and 41% from three. If Rivers can penetrate the Owls’ defense to create good looks for the other Duke guards and himself, Duke will be in good shape.
  • Temple is an elite perimeter defensive team, where the Owls hold opponents to shoot 25.6% from three-point range, the fourth-best percentage in the country. Against a Duke team that loves to shoot the three, guarding the perimeter will again be priority number one in this game. In addition, Temple is strong with the ball and their 1.28 assist-to-turnover ratio is a top-30 national number, far better than Duke’s 1.02 ratio. By limiting their opponent’s long-range makes and winning the turnover battle, Temple will seek to gain an advantage at home. Their trio of guards Ramone Moore, Juan Fernandez, and Khalif Wyatt, all at 13.3 PPG or better, will look to neutralize Duke’s own trio in the scoring department. However, their best big man Michael Eric remains out with a knee injury, which could spell trouble against Duke’s 6’10” Plumlee brothers.
  • Duke is a seven-point favorite in this game and will be well-prepared in their final non-conference game. But the Blue Devils haven’t played a road game since their blowout loss at OSU, and Temple has the guards to match Duke. With Eric missing down low, Temple is without a key defensive cog, but they’ve been playing without him for over a month. Expect a hard fought game in Philly.

#17 Marquette at #9 Georgetown- 7:00 PM EST on ESPNU (****)

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Big 12 Team Previews: Kansas Jayhawks

Posted by cwilliams on November 13th, 2011

Predicted finish: 1st

2010-11 Record: 35-3 (14-2, Big 12)

Head Coach: Bill Self, 9th season

Key Losses: Marcus Morris (17.2 PPG), Markieff Morris (13.7 PPG), Tyrel Reed (9.7 PPG), Josh Selby (7.9 PPG), Brady Morningstar (7.1 PPG), Mario Little (5.1 PPG)

The 2011-12 Jayhawks face a daunting rebuilding task, after losing six players from last season’s 35-win team. If there is one coach who has proven he knows how to reload instead of rebuild, it’s Bill Self. The appeal of NBA riches hit the 2010-11 Jayhawk team hard with the early departure of the Morris twins and Josh Selby. That won’t stop Self and his squad from competing for a Big 12 championship, though, a title they’ve earned the past seven seasons. Kansas will not roll over, especially at home — Allen Fieldhouse has had 164 consecutive sellouts and has one of the most intimidating student sections in the game. Like always, the Jayhawks will thrive at home. Where we will see who they really are is on the road. Despite not being considered as talented a team as compared to those in recent years, Kansas will still have the bulls-eye pinned to their backs. All season long.

It Says Here That Self's Team Will Find a Way...

The Stars: All eyes will be on Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson this season. Taylor is the lone returning 2010-11 starter. He averaged 9.3 PPG last season with 4.6 APG. He will have to carry this team with his leadership this season, both on the court and off. Robinson was Kansas’s sixth man last season, contributing 7.6 PPG and 6.4 RPG. Robinson is more known for his personal tragedies off the court last season. We watched as the young man experienced the death of his maternal grandparents and his mother all in the course of a month (read the tragic yet inspiring tale here). He  provided us with one of the more awe-inspiring sports comebacks, as he played the rest of the season as an integral part of his team despite the darkness resting on his shoulders. I expect Robinson to have an All-America caliber season.

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A Closer Look at the Texas/Kansas Rivalry

Posted by dnspewak on October 13th, 2011

There’s just something about Kansas that spurs all kinds of rivalries. Although it has dominated the Border War with Missouri lately and has traditionally beaten up on Kansas State (until Michael Beasley came along), the Jayhawks have found a new bitter rival to tangle with: the Texas Longhorns.  KU’s geographic rivalries will never be replaced, of course. But for now, the most bitter, cold-blooded rivalry in the league is between Bill Self and Rick Barnes‘ programs.

Rick Barnes Always Finds Himself in a Battle With Kansas

And there’s a simple reason for that. It’s all about the competition on the court. Kansas has won seven Big 12 regular season titles in a row, but the Jayhawks have shared two of those crowns with Texas. To illustrate the rivalry a little further, consider the following statistic: since Barnes arrived at Texas in 1998, the two teams have finished 1-2 in the Big 12 seven times. For you math whizzes, that’s more than 50 percent of the time. It began with Barnes vs. Roy Williams, and the fun has continued under Self. Even though this rivalry dates back to the beginning stages of the Big 12, it has seemed to particularly gain steam during the past five years or so. The two teams have produced some of the more dramatic contests in league history. Take a look:

Feb. 26, 2006

  • Texas 80, Kansas 55: Texas embarrasses Kansas in Austin to move into first-place in late February, eventually setting the foundation for a shared regular season title.

March 3, 2007

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ESPN’s Toughest Arenas Survey: Analyzing Coaches’ Responses

Posted by rtmsf on September 7th, 2011

ESPN.com had an interesting series of stories that went up today regarding various folks’ favorite college basketball arenas to visit and the toughest ones to play in.  As always when you read blurbs of primary source information, it’s enlightening to see the reasoning behind their choices.  For example, we never knew that NC State’s old home was such an ACC snake pit, but ESPN commentators Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis both independently cited Reynolds Coliseum as the toughest arena they ever played in. Davis even claimed that he never scored “on the opposite basket away from our bench in the first half” due to the flustered situation he found himself in all four years he visited Raleigh.

A number of media types also weighed in with their favorite places to experience a game, and several of the old faithfuls represent well here — Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium (3 votes), Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse (2 votes) and the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden (2 votes) — along with a few other tried-and-trues including Oklahoma State’s Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stanford’s Maples Pavilion, Penn’s Palestra, and UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion (1 vote each).  But it was the list provided by Dana O’Neil (excellent usage of “sepia,” by the way) from her interviews of several head coaches back in July on the recruiting trail that really caught our eye. First, here’s her list:

Fifteen prominent coaches chose nine different arenas between them.  Three of those are already retired to the dustbin of history, and three others are clearly a personal house of horrors to specific coaches.  Not many people in this business will choose a place like Murray State Arena over somewhere like the Kohl Center or Breslin Arena, but Big Ten coach Bruce Weber did.  The remaining joints are again places we’re all familiar with as incredibly difficult to walk out with a win, but we quickly noticed that there was something peculiar about the responses among O’Neil’s interviewees.  Take a closer look — of the 15 coaches, only one of them gave an answer that includes a site where his team must regularly play games.

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Morning Five: 03.03.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on March 3rd, 2011

  1. Jason Wright of the Deseret News sums up what he saw from the San Diego State students during last Saturday’s BYU vs SDSU game, and is still none too happy about it. After reading his account, we had some questions of our own for him: how can you blame the crowd for your daughter hearing that often-used and ineffective two-syllable expletive chant (it’s one word, by the way, Jason) after a bad call when it’s your hand holding the remote? You shouldn’t have had a problem changing the channel if this really was one of two games you’ve watched from start to finish this year, as you admit. And as far as BYU going off “to find other places to play?” Well, they did. Care to wager if the reception is any better in the WCC next season?
  2. This isn’t a recycling of a previous M5 nugget, but it is a link to a story about a former Michigan State guard transferring to Iowa State. Last summer, it was Chris Allen. Now it’s Korie Lucious who’s headed to Ames. They’ll practice but won’t play together, since Allen will be on the court next year, a season Lucious must sit out before he returns for 2012-2013. Korie cited ISU coach Fred Hoiberg’s NBA connections as a reason for choosing the Cyclones.
  3. At the Villanova @ Seton Hall game on February 15th, it has been alleged that the partner of Keon Lawrence’s mother (Lawrence had already been dismissed from the team) assaulted the mother of SHU guard Jordan Theodore in the stands. Later that night, Theodore, flanked by two dudes in ski masks, allegedly knocked on Lawrence’s dorm room door while packing a gun. Yeesh. Theodore now faces a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm on school property, despite the questionable testimony that led to it.
  4. The glare problem in Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena has been remedied, but the midcourt line controversy remains. That may soon change. In this story at the blog of The Oregonian, floor designer Tinker Hatfield comments on his inspiration for the court’s design, how he loves the controversy about it, what the symbols on the floor mean, and the competitive advantages that may be inherent in the design. As a defense for the lack of a highly visible half court line, he says that the center line at Kansas‘ Allen Fieldhouse is partially obscured by the large Jayhawk logo at midcourt [Ed. note: I’m looking at KU’s floor as I type this, and the whole center line is visible].
  5. Tell us we haven’t seen the last of Fang Mitchell at Coppin State. The Eagles have been to the NCAA Tournament four times (1990, 1993, 1997, 2008) and Mitchell has been at the helm for each one. In his 26-year tenure, he’s won four MEAC Coach of the Year awards, and from 1992-98 his squads won 54 of 55 conference games. It’s been a tough decade for CSU, though, despite this year’s squad posting a 10-5 MEAC record going into their senior night game this evening against Morgan State. The Baltimore Sun’s Ken Murray writes that the winds of change may be swirling in Baltimore. Despite his evidence, we still hope it isn’t true.
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Morning Five: 01.18.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 18th, 2011

  1. Illinois freshman forward Jereme Richmond sought to put to rest rampant rumors surrounding a possible transfer by releasing a statement on Monday that, despite some personal issues that caused him to miss two practices last week, he will remain “an Illini for life.”  He also sat out the Wisconsin game over the weekend after driving to Madison from his Waukegan, Illinois, home rather than taking the team bus from Champaign with the rest of the players.  Like many freshmen, Richmond has found the college game much more difficult than anticipated — his minutes and offensive output have dropped since Big Ten play began (in part due to a nagging Achilles injury), but he’s certainly capable of producing (8/5) for Bruce Weber in limited minutes.  He just needs to keep his head up and continue to work hard; his time will come.
  2. The Nike Hoop Summit team was announced over the weekend, with Kentucky and Duke as the big winners.  This team will face the World Select team on April 9 in Portland, and generally tries to choose the ten best high school seniors in America.  The complete list: Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist & Marquis Teague (Kentucky); Austin Rivers & Quinn Cook (Duke); Rakeem Christmas (Syracuse); Tony Wroten (Washington); Bradley Beal (Florida); James McAdoo (UNC); Adonis Thomas (Memphis).
  3. Jeff Goodman describes the current state of Sean Miller’s Arizona Wildcat program in year two of its rebuild.  Everybody knows from his time at Xavier that the guy can coach, but despite the Wildcats’ current 15-3 overall record (4-1 in the Pac-10), he’s still lacking the across-the-board talent that Arizona teams in years past became accustomed to.  At one time in the mid-2000s, for example, UA had produced more current NBA players than any other collegiate program in America.  With the hope that super-soph Derrick Williams returns for his junior season and a top recruiting class featuring point guard Josiah Turner from Sacramento on the way, Miller believes that Y3 of the renaissance in the desert could be the season that gets the Wildcats back into the national consciousness.
  4. Seth Davis’ Hoop Thoughts discusses the Trevor Mbakwe and Wesley Witherspoon situations from last week, as well as what will happen with Missouri’s Tony Mitchell and of course a host of other interesting notes.  We gave our opinion on the Mbakwe situation a few days ago, and it appears that Tubby Smith’s analysis  came down in a way similar to what we thought (big mistake, but learn from it).
  5. It’s not often that you’ll read a rival school write so fondly about a place where its basketball program took it on the chin to the tune of a 7-52 (.119) record the last half-century, but this piece from Steven M. Sipple discusses how much he’ll miss visiting Allen Fieldhouse as a member of the press corps for Nebraska basketball after the Huskers move permanently to the Big Ten next season.  But that’s what happens when you’re a football school playing a basketball game — you refer to things like “charm” and “fun” while getting waxed over and over again.  We dare say that Husker fans won’t find the Big House or Horseshoe quite so endearing if they win 12% of their games there over the next 60 years.
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Basketball’s Original Rules Have a New Home

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 15th, 2010

Brian Goodman is an RTC editor and contributor.

While Kansas fans get amped for what the immediate future brings when Josh Selby makes his long-awaited debut Saturday, the basketball purists who follow the Jayhawks received some pleasant news regarding the past of its program, and more importantly, the sport as a whole. Last Friday, longtime KU donors David and Suzanne Booth purchased the documents containing James Naismith’s original 13 rules of basketball at a Sotheby’s auction in New York for a cool $4.3 million. The final pricetag shattered the sports memorabilia mark of $3 million for Mark McGwire’s 70th (and now tainted) home run ball from 1998.

Unfortunately, Dr. Naismith's original rules don't address palming the ball or the need for a charge circle.

According to KU officials, the Booths, who donated funds in support of renovations to Allen Fieldhouse over the last five years, are working with the university to develop a plan to display the 119-year-old edition of the game’s rules at Allen Fieldhouse. The main entrance to the facility already houses several artifacts from Jayhawk lore.  Despite inventing the game, Naismith had a losing record as KU’s first head coach, with a 55-60 mark over the program’s first nine seasons. His grandson, Ian, was on hand for the auction as the former owner. He came to the conclusion to part ways with the historic yellowed pages to support the Naismith International Basketball Foundation, which serves to benefit underprivileged children, after the foundation fell on hard times due to the dwindling economy.  The plans for the big-ticket item, once cemented, will steepen Lawrence’s legacy as the birthplace of college basketball.

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