The Other 26: Week 8

Posted by KDoyle on January 7th, 2011

Kevin Doyle is an RTC contributor.


With the non-conference portion of many schedules coming to an end, it is time for schools that comprise some of the smaller Other 26 conferences to retreat to their small gyms and compete against teams on their own level. In a sense, for many of these smaller conference teams, the non-conference schedule is a mere preamble for league play. The leagues I am referring to—NEC, America East, MEAC, Patriot, etc.—are all destined for just one bid to the NCAA Tournament. In most years, there are usually about a dozen conferences that receive multiple bids, thus leaving 20 conferences with just the auto.

Being a keen fan, follower, and observer of Patriot League basketball, I have come to the unfortunate realization that this league—like many others—is destined for one bid to the Dance every year. What irks me more than anything, however, is when I hear the phrase: “Three games in March.” This expression may vary depending upon the league, but it is the one that is used when describing the Patriot League tournament. Because the PL is comprised of eight teams, in order to win the championship and attain the automatic bid a team must win those “three games in March.”

I do not necessarily disagree with this expression—it is the reality of the Patriot League and many other leagues alike—but it is very bothersome when this becomes a mentality for the fanbases of the teams. It becomes acceptable to lose a non-conference game or a regular season game within the league because these games “don’t matter.” Of course, this is not a universal belief, but it is something I have observed within Patriot League fan circles. I will always recall Herman Edwards’ press conference as the head coach of the New York Jets when he repeatedly said in a stern voice: “You play, to win, the GAME!” It is Herm’s mentality, not the “three games in March” business, that I am a fan of.

The Other 26 Rankings

Tidbits from the Rankings

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The ESPN-U Midnight Madness Locales

Posted by jstevrtc on September 17th, 2010

Earlier today, ESPN-U let the world in on their plans for the evening of Friday, October 15th, otherwise known as Midnight Madness (see clock, above right). Like last year, ESPN-U will crank out four hours of coverage starting at 9 PM ET, with Lowell Galindo anchoring alongside Andy Katz and Adrian Branch, and of course they’ll have all the live peeks at several schools’ festivities.  This year’s featured schools:

  • Duke
  • Connecticut (women’s team will be featured)
  • Kentucky
  • Gonzaga
  • Kansas State
  • Memphis

Last year we BGtD’d during the broadcast, and we were surprised at how high the talk-to-hoops ratio was, but to be fair it looked like a lot of that was because the analysts and commentators were vamping as they waited for things like volleyball matches, relay races and raffle drawings to finish at the various sites — in other words, as they waited for something interesting to happen that was covering. Still, even though we have no problems with listening to Lowell, Andy, and Adrian talk hoops, even after things like the dunk contests and scrimmages started, there were several instances last year where viewers would be treated to a shot of two or three people talking at a media table or in a locker room while crowds were cheering at what was actually happening on the unseen basketball court. We bet that ratio will change this year.

This debuted during Midnight Madness last year. Wonder what Harrison Barnes and Brandon Knight have in store.

Given the program’s achievements last season, we were hoping to see Butler on the list of coverage sites. Seems to us like some Madness footage from Hinkle Fieldhouse would be a lot of fun, but then we realized — Butler does not do Midnght Madness.

Last year’s Madness coverage brought us the birth of the John Wall Dance and Tom Izzo riding into Michigan State’s party in an Indy car (since the Final Four was to be in Indianapolis). That turned out to be prophetic, so this time around we’ve got our money on Izzo referencing the 2011 Final Four in Houston by descending from the ceiling in some sort of space capsule. Only 27 days, 22 hours, 35 minutes (again, see clock) and change before we find out.

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24 Great Things About Watching ESPN’s 24 Hour Hoops Marathon

Posted by jstevrtc on August 18th, 2010

One of the first things I did on this website upon debuting two years ago was live blog ESPN’s first 24-hour college hoops marathon from start to finish.  You know how it is. You’re the new guy, you want to impress your co-bloggers, and all that.  I volunteered for the job, thinking I’d earn the respect of my RTC-mates and perhaps bring a few new visitors to the site. I assumed the novelty of it (it wasn’t that novel) would, in the same way that circus-goers stroll by the exhibition of freaks, bring a few people by to check in on the weirdo who was staying up and live blogging the whole thing.  I thought it turned out great, especially for a guy’s first time.  I had been awake for 16 hours before it started, too, so there were a few palpitations and many hallucinations by the time it was over, but I was proud. And as I was doing it, I was convinced that the combination of my astute basketball observations with my razor-sharp pop culture references would make this site a household name and propel us into the very heart of the American consciousness. Which, as we all now know, is precisely what happened.

Last year I did it again, despite the wagging fingers of my internist and a couple of specialists. We had some technical difficulties when the internet connection at the RTC Southern Compound tendered its resignation, but with some help of friends who subbed for me while I changed location, we got it done and I was able to finish strong.

Oh sweet, delicious caffeine -- the Marathon blogger's best friend.

We’re still in secret discussions as to what we’re going to do this year to celebrate the national holiday that is the 24-hour hoops marathon. I might insult my cardiovascular and central nervous systems for a third year in a row, or we might have something better in store this year. But because I’ve done it twice and not yet needed a trip to the ER, I — erroneously, in all likelihood — consider myself the authority on the subject.  To celebrate the release of this season’s Marathon schedule and the fact that it’s — *sigh* — only three short months away, here are my 24 favorite things about watching ESPN’s 24 Hour Hoops Marathon from beginning to end.

24. The fact that it’s actually about 26 hours of basketball, not 24. The last game starts at 11:30 PM ET, if it’s on time. Not only is it an “extra” game, but it’s a good time to summarize what you’ve seen during the day and pat yourself on the back.  Bonus hoops?  I’m not complaining, not even after 24 hours.

23. Seeing whether or not ESPNU’s Lowell Galindo will continue to go with the full Windsor knot in his tie.  Others in the sports media have worn it. Only one man has perfected it.  He’s made some appearances without it during the off-season, and stock markets all over the world plummeted each time.

22. The constant string of games is an instant reminder of those sweet days of Championship Week and the NCAA Tournament.

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Obama Bracket 2010: Feeling Selfish?

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2010

Andy Katz once again had the privilege of visiting President Obama this year to go through his bracket step by step.  We like that he didn’t end up with all chalk, slotting Villanova and Kansas State as #2 seeds into the Final Four this year (along with favorites Kansas and Kentucky).  You recall that he picked the champion (UNC) in 2009, but he missed on his other three F4 teams — Louisville, Pittsburgh and Memphis, and his first round was pretty much a disaster.  One out of four is a pretty good success rate on Capitol Hill, but what was palpable in this year’s version of the unveiling was how much more stressed the environment (and Obama) seemed at the White House.  It was almost a little uncomfortable, a painful reminder of the mental and physical rigors of running the country in the midst of  a recession.  Here’s the clip.

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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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That’s Debatable: Revisiting the Butler-Xavier Fiasco

Posted by rtmsf on December 23rd, 2009

Each week RTC will posit a That’s Debatable question or topic that is relevant to the world of college basketball.  Sometimes whimsical, sometimes serious, we’ll post the thoughts from our core editing crew (in 200 words or less), but we’ll also be expanding to include our contributors and correspondents as appropriate throughout the season.  We also invite you, the readers, to join us as we mull over some of the questions facing the game today.  Feel free to send us your takes and/or leave them in the comments below.

This Week’s Topic: What do you think about the whole Butler vs. Xavier fiasco at the end of their game over the weekend?

Crawford Wasn't Happy About the Decision to End the Game

Crawford Wasn't Happy About the Decision to End the Game

zach hayes – editor/contributor, RTC

When the crazy ending occurred and throughout the interminable review by the officials, I was convinced there was no way the officials could end the game without giving Xavier at least a chance for a miracle shot. For the officials to determine that a certain amount of time came off the clock with a stopwatch and end the game based on that ruling seems like a total reach. But taking a step back and reviewing the rule and the play, the officials did properly end the game. It was simply bad luck on Xavier’s part because if Hayward had released the ball just a split second longer, the Musketeers would have benefited from the rule and a riot may have ensued at Hinkle. It’s unfortunate to end such a dramatic and important game on a controversial ending directly involving the officials, but given the wild circumstances, the referees handled it properly.

john stevens – editor/contributor, RTC

The way I see it, the referees did what they could in that last bit where they got out the stopwatch and tried to figure out how much, if any, time should be remaining.  If the rule book allows them to do that, I realize it’s not a perfect solution but it’s the best way to correct that kind of error.  If they figure that there would have been a negative time balance left had there been “proper” timekeeping, then that’s just how it is.  I wonder, though, how much time is lost in the use of a stopwatch?  An official would have to have perfect reflexes to use a stopwatch and accurately determine how long such a stoppage lasted.  Even if there’s just .01-.02 seconds lost, any team would want any fraction of a second they could get.  Even if Xavier had been awarded the entire final 1.2 seconds to get off a shot, we’re talking about a last-second heave.  But they deserve the chance.  There are ways to prevent this problem in the future, but in this case I think the zebras got it…well, as right as they could get it.

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Morning Five: 12.10.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 10th, 2009


  1. Rutgers inside force Gregory Echinique will miss approximately a month due to eye surgery to correct a pre-existing condition recently.  Which begs the question – if it was pre-existing, why not have the surgery during the offseason?  Did it become aggravated?  The 6’9 forward is averaging 13/8/2 blks on the season, and the Scarlet Knights will undoubtedly miss his presence in upcoming games against beefy frontlines at North Carolina, Cincinnati and West Virginia.
  2. This is rich.  Binghamton continues to pay coaching disaster Kevin Broadus his full $230k yearly salary while interim coach Mark Macon draws one-quarter as much money for, you know, actually coaching the remaining players on the team.  At least Macon is getting a raise, although the amount of the increase was not disclosed by the university.  As for Broadus, the “job” he’s earning six-figures for right now is to assist SUNY with their investigation into the Binghamton athletic department.  What does that mean exactly?  Get coffee?  Make copies?  Do both at the same time?
  3. Luke Winn probably knocked this article about the first Irianian player in D1 basketball out in fifteen minutes while surfing his blackberry iPhone and eating a bran muffin, which should probably tell you something about the talent he has for research and writing.  It would take us three straight weeks just to pen the first paragraph.
  4. Memphis filed an appeal against the NCAA’s decision to vacate its 2008 season based on the Derrick Rose SAT scandal, even with the distinct possibility that the school could face a harsher punishment than currently imposed if they did so.  We’re not really keen on the NCAA Committee on Infractions using this heavyhanded method of leverage to try to force schools to swallow their initial decision just because they said so.  Memphis correctly argued that this creates a “chilling effect” for schools that wish to use their legal right to appeal, and even cited language from a 2001 case against UNLV to that effect.  We’re starting to wonder if someone at the NCAA lost a lot of money on Memphis that season, because this is taking the appearance of vindictiveness.
  5. Jumping back to Tuesday’s discussion on Expansion 96, Andy Katz weighed in yesterday on his blog.  He noted that recently deceased NCAA President Myles Brand was steadfastly opposed to expansion along with several of the other traditionalists, and we’re wondering if the power vacuum in Brand’s absence hasn’t created a bit of a money grab among some of the dissenters within the NCAA heirarchy.  Let’s hope tradition wins out, or at worst, the option that Katz describes (four play-in games, pushing the Tourney up to 68 teams) is the preferred result if things must change.
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Morning Five: 12.08.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 8th, 2009


  1. GROAN…  our post on this will be forthcoming immediately following this M5, but if your attention span is much shorter than our longwindedness requires, suffice it to say that the possibility of the NCAA Tournament expanding to 96 teams is a complete, unmitigated abomination.  If you can find anyone in support of this  idea other than coaches at mediocre programs and network executive types who are greedily trying to destroy the best event in all of sports, please send them our way for drawing, quartering and compulsory re-education.
  2. This great piece by Luke Winn comparing offensive production as freshmen with recruiting rankings confirms what we’ve been saying for a long time — that the relative dropoff in talent between top 10 recruits and top 50 recruits is much larger than the drop between top 50 and top 100 recruits.  The next step is to crosstabulate that data with team success to see just how impactful those numbers are with respect to wins and losses.  Great stuff.
  3. William & Mary, the nation’s surprise middie this year?  According to Basketball Prospectus, TSN and Andy Katz… possibly.
  4. Jeff Goodman takes a look back at the last week with his Weekly WrapMike DeCourcy takes a look at the week aheadSeth Davis gives us his weekly Hoop Thoughts.
  5. Former UCLA forward Drew Gordon did an interview with Fanhouse, and although much of this interview is whimsical, he did mention that “pigs will fly” before UCLA would keep the star player over the coach (Ben Howland) – an absurd question in its own right.  Still, Gordon did confirm that he and Howland had serious differences which led him to leaving the program, and he didn’t let on where he might be headed next.
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Morning Five: 11.24.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 24th, 2009


  1. South Carolina’s Dominique Archie is out indefinitely after spraining his right knee coming down from a dunk in Sunday night’s game against Miami (FL).  Archie was averaging 14/6 for the Gamecocks, who will definitely miss the athletic forward’s presence in the lineup.  Tough games against Western Kentucky, Clemson and Richmond loom in the next two weeks for South Carolina, and with the loaded SEC East waiting in the new year, the Cocks can’t afford to have Archie out of the lineup for very long.
  2. Pac-10 Pile On.  Normally, we’d be inclined to take a contrarian stance when all of the media is ready to pile on someone or something (assuming such a stance is defensible), but there’s really no possible way to defend what the Pac-10 has done to itself so far this season.  Sacramento State, Loyola Marymount and now Montana – really?  Goodman and Decourcy weigh in on what is after two weeks shaping up to be a historically bad conference.
  3. Pitino/Calipari.  We read this on the plane home this weekend and it’s now available on CNNSI as well as the print form that we’re forced to read while traveling in a wifi-less aluminum tube at 600 mph.  Grant Wahl breaks down the complex relationship between the two major head coaches in the state of Kentucky, ultimately concluding that for all their differences, they’re actually very much the same.
  4. Bob Huggins continues to play the Dick Cheney card when questioned about whether his star Devin Ebanks will be playing anytime soon for West Virginia.  The Mountaineer forward did not play in WVU’s first game last week and Huggins says he does not know if Ebanks will play this week in their game against The Citadel on Tuesday or in the 76 Classic over the weekend.
  5. Andy Katz had a long blog post yesterday on the latest in the Renardo Sidney situation at Mississippi State, in addition to a somewhat reasonable defense of the Gazelle Group’s rigged “tournaments.”  The skinny: the NCAA is no hurry to move the Sidney thing along and the MSU people believe that they’re fishing for a violation to hang their hat on; and Katz actually agrees with the idea that GG is using to set up big matchups in key venues (such as Cal vs. Syracuse and UNC vs. Ohio State last week in the CvC).  Sorry, but we cannot go along with this.  Win the games and you get to advance.  Period.  You can manipulate the brackets to get good matchups all you want, but once the games begin, we need to let the teams decide.
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Do Bank Statements Exculpate Sidney Family?

Posted by rtmsf on October 30th, 2009

Andy Katz is reporting this afternoon that the Renardo Sidney saga could — emphasis, ours — be reaching its natural conclusion.  After meetings held at the Sidney family attorney’s office in Montgomery, Alabama, this morning, Donald Jackson stated that the Sidneys revealed bank statements to the NCAA and Mississippi State representatives, which was one of the key pieces of evidence that investigators had requested.  From the report by Katz:

renardo sidney

The meeting with MSU compliance director Bracky Brett, MSU-hired attorney Michael Glazier and Alex Hammond from the Eligibility Center lasted for four hours Friday morning in Sidney attorney Donald Jackson’s Montgomery, Ala., office.  “We showed them bank deposits and bank statements for the two years the family was living in Los Angeles,” Jackson told

Obviously, we have no idea whether these bank statements completely answer the questions that the NCAA has regarding Sidney’s eligibility — namely, whether the Sidneys could prove that their rentals of million-dollar properties in the Los Angeles area over three years was justifiable on the income of a Reebok representative (Renardo, Sr.) and a personal assistant (his wife).  But it certainly is a strong step in the right direction for the Sidneys.  One would have to make an assumption that the Sidneys wouldn’t show the NCAA these bank records unless there was cause to believe that they had the (legal) income stream to support it.  Alternatively, if the bank statements do not show what the Sidneys hope (or purport) to show, then we’re not sure that Sidney will have another serious argument to become eligible this season.  This may be their last stand. 

Mississippi State’s first regular season game is two weeks from today on Nov. 13 against Rider, so time is running short.  The NCAA said that it will take a look at the evidence presented to them early next week and will make a ruling soon thereafter. 

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