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

morning5

  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

morning5

  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

morning5

  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 ESPN.com.

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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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 2009 Midnight Madness Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 16th, 2009

BOOMEd. Note: for our Midnight Madness wrapup post, click here.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our first Boom Goes The Dynamite of the new season.  And now, we can say those words — “new season.”  For tonight is the final hurdle in that long lull of the off-season that we have to cross.  Maybe it’s inappropriately named, but who cares?  Tonight is Midnight Madness across the country.  Schools all over the place have got the festivities going, the first official games are less than a month away, and we can finally say that the new season is here.

ESPN-U’s broadcast is minutes away from starting.  I’m John Stevens, one of the editors here at Rush The Court, and I’ll be live-blogging the whole way with RTMSF, our founder and guru, behind the scenes watching message boards, Twitter accounts, and getting texts and video from all over, and we’ll put up everything we get.  So settle in, enjoy the coverage, and let us know your opinions as always.  Keep hitting that refresh button, and we hope you enjoy it.  Most of all — welcome.  It’s finally here.

9:01pm:  Here are some tweets RTMSF has already procured from various sources:

Mike Davis, Illinois

IlliniBalla24… @BuckWildBill33:  Three point contest tonight, i’m looking to go 15 for 15 <—- I like ur confidence but I like @dkeller23 for a bill lls

Abdul Gaddy, Washington

gaddy0uw…Midnight madness tonight! Everybody come support

Jim Boylen, Utah

JimBoylen…Talking to the media for a few minutes before practice starts. We’re going to hit the ground running!

Tom Crean, Indiana

TomCrean…http://twitpic.com/lr6zu – The first four in line for Hoosier Hysteria

Gary Williams, Maryland

MDCoachWilliams…MARYLAND MADNESS IS HERE!!!! Come out to the Comcast Center and check out all the action.

9:12:  Evidently the University of Kentucky had recording artist Drake at the festivities.  No report on Ashley Judd’s whereabouts.

9:16:  Right now, just lots of talk by Katz, Gallindo, and Branch.  Mostly about North Carolina.  Keep in mind, in the race for all-time wins, UNC is only 4 behind Kentucky, and the two face off on December 5th.  Might be REALLY important.

9:20:  Nice UNC picture:

unc pic

9:24: And here’s Drake from Kentucky:

drake and cal

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07.29.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on July 29th, 2009

Things were VERY quiet over the weekend, but as always, RTC brings you the hostess with the mostess…

  • Summer Hypocrisy Trail.  We spend a lot of time around here criticizing the NCAA, its administrators, coaches and enablers for their acute sense of self-serving righteousness mixed with hypocrisy as it relates to their various policies of doing business.  A couple of stories caught our eye to this effect over the past few days.  The first was Pete Thamel’s NYT piece exposing how summer camp organizers are charging exorbitant fees to coaches for the privilege of watching its players in the stands (along with a fancy-schmancy binder of player names and hometowns, whoop-de-damn-do).  Prices range from $175-$350, depending on the locale, but coaches are uniformly annoyed with such a major additional expense to their recruiting budgets.  Vandy’s Kevin Stallings has taken the lead on criticizing the practice (he refused to pay the fee at a Memphis camp, turning around and driving back home), but predictably, those coaches who get their bread buttered by virtue of cozy relationships with the camp organizers (K, Howland, Matta, etc.) will not speak out publicly about this trend.  And as Dana O’Neil showed in her article about a coach’s banquet in Las Vegas put on by camp organizers, there’s often very little accountability with respect to where all these fee dollars are flowing.  Organizers make claims about funding AAU trips, tournaments and “feeding their families,” but as we’ve seen with allegations involving Renardo Sidney and others, the paper trail on where money ends up is often ambiguous and fraught with obfuscation.  Of course, none of this should surprise you or us – the system is so completely dirty at the AAU level that we truly wonder if the NCAA will ever succeed in rooting it out.  The genie is already out of the bottle, and for every World Wide Wes out there, a hundred others are gunning to take his place.  Mike DeCourcy, for what it’s worth, thinks that the coaches should just STFU, and he’s probably right.  Still it doesn’t change the fact that, without regulation of these camps, nobody except the organizers really know what these dollars are being used for.  
  • Summer of Lawsuits.  An odd lawsuit has arisen over a clause in a head coach’s former contract that unequivocally states that he may not continue to recruit players he was recruiting at his old school if he leaves for a new school.  Matt Brady, the second-year head coach at James Madison and formerly at Marist, was sued by Marist for violating what many people suggest is an unenforceable clause that they’ve never seen employed elsewhere.  Creative contract negotiations or willful ignorance of the law?  Regardless, four players whom Brady was recruiting at Marist – Julius Wells, Devon Moore, Andrey Semenov and Trevon Flores – ended up at JMU instead last season, although only Wells had signed a national letter of intent (which Marist released him from).  Of course, the key issue that the NY state court will consider is whether there is an obligation on the part of the coach over third parties (the recruits); we can’t imagine that the long arm of any contract would suggest such a thing, but we’re not lawyers, we just play them on tv. 
  • UNC Title Tilt.  If you’re of the opinion that the 2005 NCAA Champion UNC squad would mop the floor with the 2009 NCAA Champion NCAA squad, as we are, then you’ll have an opportunity to see players from those two teams settle the debate at the UNC Pro Alumni Game on September 4 at the Dean Dome.  Nine players from the ’05 team - Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashad McCants, Byron Sanders, Reyshawn Terry, Jackie Manuel, Quentin Thomas, Marvin Williams and Jawad Williams – are scheduled to appear, along with six players from last year’s champs – Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson, Danny Green, Bobby Frasor and Michael Copeland.  The scrimmage will allow for ad hoc division of rosters, and we’d expect to see several possessions where the starting lineups for each team are on the floor facing off against each other.  For the record, if the two teams actually were to play at full strength, the frontline of May and M. Williams would dominate the Hansbrough/D. Thompson side, especially with the superior playmaker Felton (over Lawson) distributing the ball.  The 2005 Heels weren’t as dominant in the NCAAs as the 2009 version, in part due to a lack of experience, but the talent on that team was far better. 
  • Quick Hits2012 Olympic team: projecting a rosterBen Howland: on noticeBob Knight: teacher, leader, comedianKatz: stock watch for 2010 prospectsLebron Tape: what was it worthFlorida St.: fine, you pay our legal fees thenBig Monday: Big 12 ScheduleCanadian Elite Hoops: doing great, until thisFather/Son Recruiting: play for dad or UCLAIsiah: checking in on him at FIU.
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Notes from the East Region Open Practice

Posted by nvr1983 on March 25th, 2009

Because of the NCAA’s refusal to give us a media credential (or discuss the issue and our side of the case), we were forced to go to today’s open practice to get an up-close look at the teams. As an aside, if anybody has extra tickets for the games in Boston for the Sweet 16 or the Elite 8 (in case your team gets cheated by the refs), send me an e-mail at rushthecourt@gmail.com and I might be able to take them off your hands.

The guys who don't want me covering the game

The guys who don't want me covering the game

Let’s get one thing out of the way. The East Region open practice might have been the most boring 5 hours of my life (not counting lectures). There’s a reason the NCAA makes this event free (outside of the fact that they more than make up for it through the $8 programs, $5 Cokes, and $23 baseball caps). The crowd was 95% white males in their mid-30s or above along with a handful of kids chasing autographs from players who they were looking up during the practices checking to see which ones had the best stats. My favorites were the old guys sitting behind me who kept on commenting on how good Gary McGhee and Brian Zoubek were (the tallest guys on the court) and what outstanding pros they were going to be. Anyways, here are my thoughts and pictures (some pictures are from my iPhone because I forgot to charge my digital camera) from each team’s “practice”.

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03.09.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on March 9th, 2009

There were no Fast Breaks this weekend as I was in Atlanta all weekend and returned only to find a ridiculous amount of work still left to do in the real world. But all that means is that the limits of the phrase “link dump” will be put to the test today. I am even skipping out on last minute studying for a history midterm to bring you more links…because that is just the kind of guy I am.

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02.25.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on February 25th, 2009

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