Boom Goes the Dynamite: 02.22.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 22nd, 2009

dynamite1

1:00pm. Welcome back to another day of BGTD.  There are only 2o games today, but there are five of particular interest that we’ll be tracking.  Villanova @ Syracuse and Illinois @ Ohio St. at 1pm, Wisconsin at Michigan St. @ 3pm, Wake Forest @ Duke at 7:45pm, and Arizona at Arizona St. at 10pm.  Pretty strong day.  Let’s get it started in upstate NY…

1:02pm.  Before we get going, we want to touch on this story from the LA Times yesterday that UCLA has stopped recruiting local 6’11 prep star Renardo Sidney even though by mid-last week the Bruins were still considered the front-runner.  Certainly UCLA could use a big man with guard skills such as those that Sidney has, so what gives?  Color us jaded, but all we could think of when we heard that UCLA so abruptly dropped Sidney was this story written by Gregg Doyel about a Pac-10 recruit who was charging $10k per on-campus visit a few years ago.  Did Sidney finally give UCLA his price?  Was there a package deal that Ben Howland wasn’t willing to stomach?  Not surprisingly, USC (of OJ Mayo, Daniel Hackett and Reggie Bush) is now considered the leader. Let’s see what happens later today when Sidney announces his college choice at 4pm PDT.

1:13pm.  Villanova looks fantastic thus far, with seven scores in eight possessions, including three threes from Dwayne Anderson.  If you’re still reflecting on yesterda’s wild Saturday, here’s Andy Katz’s article focusing on how quickly things can change.

1:23pm. Nova is getting whatever it wants offensively, and the Syracuse crowd still looks asleep (the players aren’t much better).  Uh-oh alert – Clemson is already down double-figures at Georgia Tech – remember the Tigers lost a road game last weekend at bottom-feeder Virginia.

1:45pm. Cuse is coming back here just before the half, now down 2, behind Devendorf, Rautins and Flynn.  Clemson is also back in the game, after getting down by as much as 15 to Ga Tech.  Illinois appears like they’ll hit their total from the Illini’s last game vs. OSU in the first half (up 26-24 with 2:30 left).

2:00pm.  Nova goes into the half with a six-pt lead, 46-40.  Neither one of these teams is playing much defense – both sides are shooting 55% from the field.  The key difference is that Villanova has been able to get to the line eight more times than the home team.   Clemson fought back to tie things up at Georgia Tech, and Xavier is ripping GW 36-20 at halftime.

2:05pm. Seth Davis just got on board the RTC train with the Duke Swoon at halftime of the Syracuse-Nova game, predicting that the Devils will be the highest ranked team to lose early next month.  Not sure if Duke will lose tonight, but there are two things in Wake’s favor…  1) Duke will play man-to-man, which helps Wake penetrate to the rim; and 2) Wake has shown this year a propensity to take ranked teams seriously, home or away.  The Deacs get into trouble when they’re playing teams they don’t respect.

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10.30.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 30th, 2008

What are you going as for Halloween this year?  We hear the Kelvin Sampson costumes are boss in Bloomington…

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10.21.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 20th, 2008

Let’s see if we can get through some of the news piling up…

  • CHN averages the rankings from the three preview magazines that are already out (Athlon, Lindy’s and TSN/S&S).  UNC still #1.  CHN gives us the mid-majors to keep an eye on this season as possible NCAA Cinderellas.  And here’s your EA Sports NCAA Basketball 09 Top 25 (now partnered with Blue Ribbon).  We know you were waiting for it.
  • Hahahahaha, so it appears the ACC is cooking the books Wachovia-style in an attempt to act like it has more televised games this year than it actually has. 
  • North Dakota Fighting Maize?  According to the North Dakota state legislature, the Fighting Sioux are out
  • Syracuse had best hope that Jonny Flynn doesn’t get hurt this season, as the Orange’s backup PG Scoop Jardine is redshirting.
  • Nevada starting guard Brandon Fields and two freshmen were charged with petty larceny last week, and suspended indefinitely.  Brilliance.  Oh, and Fields was all-academic WAC, proving that good grades doesn’t necessarily mean you have a brain. 
  • Seth Davis asks twenty questions as we get started with the 2008-09 season.  Gary Parrish has 24 things that he can’t wait to see this season, and his Top 26 teams.  Mike DeCourcy offers five things he hopes to see this year.
  • Katz hints on our issue with UConn as a F4 threat (zero postseason wins since 2006) in this story about Stanley Robinson.   He also provides us with a nice update of open questions as we head into the first week of practices. 
  • Yep, this is going to get old real, real fast.  Tyler Hansbrough, the symbol of all things good and merciful.   
  • Dan Hanner over at YABB throws us some love (thanks, Dan!), and does a breakdown of the preseason tournaments by school participation – cool concept. 
  • Truly, the most Epic Post of all-time.  Maybe the author wants to be an RTC correspondent???  Our fave blurbs were Florida and Colgate, fyi.
  • Being Cinderella (Davidson) can pay dividends.
  • This is pretty awesome over at STF – Drake U’u and Da’Veen Dildy are our favorites.  Honorable mention to An’Juan Wildnerness (isn’t that in Alaska?).
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10.15.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 14th, 2008

 There’s a lot of news out there today…  which only means one thing…

  • Goodman continues on his crusade to expose the underbelly of the game with today’s lead – the father of UK’s new hotshot recruit, Daniel Orton, was paid three times over the summer to give talks at Billy Gillispie’s camp.  This is completely legal, by the way.  Discuss. 
  • Too many preseason/holiday tourneys?  ESPN announced today that the Diamond Head Classic will begin in 2009 at the University of Hawaii.  It will finish up on Christmas Day, which will provide a nice collegiate alternative to the annual Shaq-Kobe matchup in the NBA.
  • Please read this, “conference fans.”  It’s even truer in basketball.
  • Is it sad or compelling that this endorsement could tip North Carolina to Obama in three weeks? 
  • Ok, great.  Players are graduating more than they used to.  But is that because they’re committed to the degree program or schools are making it easier to get that degree?
  • A quick Class of 2009 recruiting update from NW Wins, as well as a nice overview of the likelihood of Carolina running the table in the regular season this year.
  • WAC coaches pick Nevada to win their conference, while Big South coaches/media picked Winthrop to win it again. 
  • NBCSports picks AJ Price, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Tyler Hansbrough and Luke Harongody as its all-americans.  We’re just not feeling Price, sorry UConn fans.
  • Parrish thinks that this year’s Florida squad will be quite a bit better than last year’s, and we can’t say that we really disagree with that.
  • Andy Katz assures us that KU’s 2008 national title is safe in light of the re-opening case of Darrell Arthur’s HS transcripts.  You know, because we were worried, or something.
  • He also gives his preseason view of 37 teams that he thinks can make a run next March.
  • Hey, we’ve always been Stacy Dales fans, BC!  Even when she was married to someone named Schulman.  Looks like we may not be able to root out Psycho T for her attention, though. 

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The Harassment of Billy Gillispie by that Coward the NABC

Posted by rtmsf on September 30th, 2008

For the second time since last spring’s Mario Miracle, the NABC has put out a statement that squarely fixes its crosshairs on Kentucky’s second-year coach, Billy Gillispie.  Certainly you remember the June directive the NABC made to stop recruiting junior high players in the wake of the media firestorm over Gillispie’s recruiting of 8th grader Michael Avery.  We wrote at the time:

Luckily, this may be a situation where coaches were doing it because they felt they needed to avoid a competitive disadvantage.  Now that the NABC has effectively disavowed this as a strategy (although it is still legal), coaches [including Gillispie] appear to be supportive of the line-drawing.

(Ed Note:  apparently another Billy, as in Billy Donovan, didn’t get that memo from the NABC.)Andy Katz now reports on his blog today that the NABC put forth a new statement yesterday that admonishes coaches for using their early autumn ‘skill development’ time (2 hours/week) prior to full practices for recruiting purposes.  More specifically, they don’t want schools to bump up their Midnight Madness festivities to a preceding weekend so as to take advantage of a more favorable recruiting scenario (i.e., big football game on campus, local stripper convention, the fact that nobody else is having Midnight Madness that weekend).  Why is this important now?  Because Kentucky and Illinois (with its gimmicky outdoor practice) are planning on having their Midnight Madnesses a week prior to the ‘official’ start of practice.  The NABC statement (via Katz):

The NABC board of directors said that “skill development events should not be open to the public.” The NABC said the initial intent was for coaches to assist their players in skill development and create stronger relationships. But by “making such skill development sessions public events, they appear to be geared more for recruiting than skill development sessions.”

Coach Gillispie, godlovehim, just cannot resist pushing the envelope when it comes to the NCAA rulebook.  We’re not saying that he’s breaking any rules – hell, we’re not even saying that he’s bending them – but like any fastidious attorney, he manages to consistently find the gray nether-regions where legislative intent meets bright-line rule, and he forces those in charge to make decisions.

Bring It On, NABC!  (photo credit: AP/Ed Reinke)

Our take on these early Midnight Madness celebrations is such: we tend to like orderliness when it comes to college hoops, as in…  we’d like to know with assurance when Opening Night will be or when the Final Four will be.  So we’re 100% in agreement with the NABC on this one – can’t we just all agree to have Midnight Madness on the same night, and preferably, AT MIDNIGHT?  If the NCAA has to mandate this, so be it – add another page to the 17-lb rulebook.   

Update (10/1): Jeff Goodman weighs in with this background information about the NABC:

Word is that there were numerous coaches on a conference call who were less than thrilled with Gillispie’s decision. They feel that the NCAA allows the coaches the two hours per week for skill development and Gillispie is taking advantage of the rule.  It was the unanimous decision of the Board that skill development events should not be open to the public.

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09.29.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on September 29th, 2008

Are the leaves changing colors in your town?  We’re less than three weeks until Midnight Madness…

  • Santa Clara center John Bryant, the WCC’s leading returner in rebounds and blocks (and second in scoring), was literally stabbed in the back this weekend.  He is expected to make a full recovery.   
  • Andy Katz takes a look at three teams he expects are ready to rise again this season – Ohio St., Nevada, Wake Forest.
  • The NYT reports that Tommy Amaker is continuing to make friends at Harvard.
  • Pitt’s Jamie Dixon proves that unproven commodities who are bright and work hard can be just as (if not more) successful than the old retreads.  Why does that sound strangely familiar?  Another one of those unknown coaches, Wright St.’s Brad Brownell, was profiled by HoopWise as well.
  • UCLA’s stalwart Darren Collison says he’s back in Westwood to win that elusive national title.
  • Jeff Goodman puts a gun to the head of two top recruiting gurus and forces them to predict where the 2009 Top 10 prospects will end up.  If true, Memphis will be scary good in 2010.
  • Siena is seeking to become the new Gonzaga, er, Davidson. 

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6.11.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on June 10th, 2008

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05.04.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 4th, 2008

Weekend kibbles n’ bits…

  • Bruce Pearl booted UT guard Ramar Smith and forward Duke Crews off the team, reportedly for failing drug tests.
  • New Hoosier head man Tom Crean refused to allow Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis back onto the team, while kicking DeAndre Thomas off the squad as well. This all occurred one day after the bizarre transfer of Eli Holman, leaving Indiana with only seven scholarship players for 2008-09.
  • Missisippi State’s Ben Hansbrough (little bro of Psycho-T) will transfer to Notre Dame next year, ostensibly because he didn’t like the MSU offense.
  • Speaking of impact transfers, Georgetown’s Vernon Macklin will end up at Florida.
  • Ohio State’s Kosta Koufos is one-and-done – he signed with an agent.
  • Coaching News – Bob Huggins got a raise ($1.5M) and an 11-year extension at WVU – guess he impressed them this year, eh? Their former coach, John Beilein, made the first payment on the $1.5M he owes WVU for breaking his contract last year when he left for Michigan. In a similar vein, former Ohio St. coach Jim O’Brien was paid $2.74M in back pay for being fired by the university even though he admitted to cheating. And Wazzu’s Tony Bennett got an extension through 2015 and a $200K raise, totaling his annual compensation to $1M per year (but no increase in his buyout clause).
  • Next year’s Thanksgiving-week Old Spice Classic will include Tennessee, Michigan St., Gonzaga, Maryland, Georgetown, Oklahoma St., Siena and Wichita St. In other words, loaded.
  • Here are some early entry analyses from Andy Katz and Jeff Goodman.
  • Dana O’Neil writes a compelling article on the uncertainty that programs must endure during the next six weeks of “testing the waters.
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Perspectives on an Epic Title Game

Posted by nvr1983 on April 8th, 2008

I provided my instant (revised) analysis very early this morning and rtmsf will be providing his a little later today. I thought I would provide you with some of the thoughts of various other sportswriters.

-At the Alamo, this was one to remember: Bob Ryan, who most of you may know from his frequent appearances on ESPN, offers his thoughts on the game and the Kansas team, which may get lost in all the talk about missed FTs and Chalmers huge shot.

-It takes more than talent: Stewart Mandel on one of the biggest title game collapses ever.

-The Shot Heard ‘Round the World: RTC’s most well-known fan (and SI writer/CBS college basketball studio analyst) Seth Davis provides a short Q&A in between the game and his early-morning wakeup call to be on Mike & Mike.

-Chalmers, Kansas get One Shining Moment: Pat Forde on the defining moment of the tournament (with apologies to the Davidson fans).

-Calipari: We let national title ‘slip out of our hands’: Andy Katz with one of the million columns on how Memphis let the title slip away.

-Chalmers’s Effort on Both Ends Keys Jayhawks’ Win: Camille Powell credits Mario Chalmers’s play on both ends for the title, which most writers missed because everybody has focused so much on his 3 with 2.1 secs left.

-Plenty of Twists, One Final Turn: John Feinstein, author of the famous “Season on the Brink”, offers his perspective on the title game.

-Without Collins, there are no Chalmers heroics: Dana O’Neil credits Sherron Collins with keying the Jayhawks’ win on Monday night.

-Self should ignore the dollars and stay at Kansas: Gene Wojciechowski implores Bill Self not to leave Kansas for Oklahoma State and Boone Pickens’s money.

-Sharp Defense Gives Jayhawks Edge in Matchup of Top Guards: Joe LaPointe argues that it was defense that led Kansas to victory. We agree although the missed Memphis FTs didn’t hurt. . .

-A Dominant Half by Rose Falls Short by One Shot: Thayer Evans breaks down Derrick Rose’s performance that was one shot (either Chalmers’s 3 or a made FT by either Rose or Chris Douglas-Roberts) away from being named MOP.

- Mario’s Miracle: Kansas Is The Champ: Luke Winn breaks down the Jayhawks’ comeback/Tigers’ collapse and Chalmers’s huge shot.

- Rock Chalk, Champions: Grant Wahl offers his extensive analysis of the Jayhawks victory. This is probably the most thorough piece we have seen on the championship game so far.

- What is the Best Shot in NCAA Tournament History?: SI’s Andy Gray offers his take on the top 5 shots in NCAA tournament history. We’d be interested to hear where you think Chalmers’s shot ranks.

- NCAA Championship Grades: It seems fitting to end our link post with title game grades (courtesy of Bill Trocchi) for the student-athletes.

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Et tu, Lute. . .

Posted by nvr1983 on March 28th, 2008

The scene is Tucson

Normally, I wouldn’t make a separate post for a single link to a story from another site (especially one at ESPN, which doesn’t need any more hype), but I figured you might be busy watching games and may not notice this. Apparently, Andy Katz has been busy covering the rest of the college basketball world as he spoke with Lute Olson about his sabaticcal along with several other issues.

For those who don’t care to read the rather long article, here’s a quick summary:
- Took the season off to deal with stress relating to a divorce from his second wife (his first wife died of 47 years died of cancer in 2001).
- Olson will be the head coach next year and intends to fulfill the rest of his contract through 2011 and did not mention any plans of stopping after that.
- Arizona is going back on its previous oral commitment to name interim coach Kevin O’Neill as Olson’s eventual successor. O’Neill hasn’t decided what he is doing next year although he still has one year left on his contract as Lute’s assistant.
- The Wildcats will go back to their roots as a running team instead of the half-court offense that O’Neill installed this year.
- According to the article, it seems like Jerryd Bayless is seriously considering leaving while Chase Buddinger is probably returning.
- Lute is healthy contrary to previous reports, but had to stay quiet on the issue during his leave because of Arizona laws.
- He thinks they can contend for the 2009 national title.

I’ll avoid commenting on Lute’s personal life and health other than to say that he is in a lot better shape (based on what the article says) than most guys his age I have seen.

The more interesting thing is how the Arizona athletic department is basically going back on their word. I can understand wanting to go with Olson because he is a legend particularly in that area of the country. I just don’t understand why they would give O’Neill a commitment back in December. Even though the Wildcats were playing well at the point of the verbal commitment, the AD should know enough to realize that a coach’s performance isn’t judged in December.

Lute Olson is coming back for his job

The other thing I found interesting is that Olson expects to contend for the 2009 title. I guess I wouldn’t expect him to say that he doesn’t expect to contend, but going from a bubble team to champion is a stretch. It all depends on whether Bayless and Buddinger return. Going to a wide-open offense would definitely utilize their talents more than a half-court offense. I know everybody is really high on Bayless, but personally I like Buddinger’s game more and I think he will end up being a very good pro. If both come back and they add their excellent recruiting class, they will be a darkhorse contender as they lost a lot of very close games. In either case, it’s good to have Lute (and hopefully Arizona) back, but I hope that O’Neill gets a good job because this smells a lot like what Miami and Pat Riley did to Stan Van Gundy although Olson had a much better reason for taking time off.

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NCAA Mock Bracket

Posted by rtmsf on February 7th, 2008

We got a cool link in the inbox today from Josh Centor, the Coordinator for New Media Communications at the NCAA.  He is live-blogging the proceedings of the NCAA’s annual Mock Bracketology event where sportswriters and other college basketball media are invited to Indianapolis to go through the grueling process of selecting 65 teams.  This way, the idea goes, the media will actually know what to blather on about when it comes time later this month to discuss bubble teams, strength of schedule ratings and stock-up/stock-down trends. 

We wonder, though, whether Josh recognizes the profound irony of his position as HBIC (Head Blogger In-Charge) for the NCAA.  But that’s another discussion for another time. 

Bracketology

So yesterday the slovenly crew of sportswriters were invited, including such luminaries as Steve Wieberg (USA Today) and Mike DeCourcy (Sporting News).  After twelve hours of debate, several gallons of coffee, and untold levels of stink, the group came up with this bracket (you’ll have to click once here and once on the page that opens to make it large enough to view):

Mock NCAA Bracket

We don’t have time to break down the bracket at the moment, but the commenters on Josh’s page do a pretty good job. 

Today’s group are the less slovenly but more bombastic television media, including the standards Joe Lunardi, Andy Katz and Jerry Palm; but also including guys like Steve Lappas and Tom Brennan.  It’s a travesty that Ken Pomeroy isn’t invited to this thing, by the way. 

Maybe if we get some more time, we’ll do a quick and dirty comparison of how the two brackets turned out.  Our money’s on the sportswriters over the television guys. 

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10.22.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 22nd, 2007

The hits just keep on comin’…

  • Tough week at Pepperdine.  First, their top returning player Kingsley Costain was dismissed from the school; now they don’t have anywhere to practice due to the insane fires in Malibu.
  • Now that Maryland has instituted a new alcohol awareness program, what’s the over/under on some Terp like James Gist getting a DWI?  Or maybe it’ll be our favorite tool, Gus Gilchrist?  He committed to the Terps over the weekend and will play next season.
  • Maybe Purdue’s Gordon Watt should transfer to Maryland now – he was kicked out of Purdue for a DWI last week.
  • In a nice gesture, the ACC renamed its Scholar-Athlete award in honor of Skip Prosser.
  • BYU extended head coach Dave Rose‘s contract through 2011.
  • Bob Knight really hates cell phones.
  • Beginning next year, the Preseason NIT will guarantee each participant four games at on-campus sites, even for those teams that lose in the first two rounds.
  • We hadn’t seen this yet, but ESPN announced its College Gameday sites a week or two ago.  We cannot wait until Jan. 26 – Creighton at S. Illinois.
  • Thankfully, Myles Brand says there will be no expansion of the NCAA Tournament anytime soon.
  • Raymond Felton didn’t help Roy after all – Iman Shumpert chose Georgia Tech over UNC and Marquette.
  • Andy Katz has a really interesting article about Kevin Love asking the Wizard of Westwood (who turned 97 Sunday) for advice.  We like this kid already.
  • Thad Matta is hobbling around after back surgery this summer.
  • More Preseason Chatter -
    • ACC Media Days – the Research Triangle schools came in 1 (UNC), 2 (Duke), 3 (NC State) in the preseason conference poll.
    • Seth Davis breaks down Indiana‘s prospects.
    • Katz explains why Calipari opted to stay in Memphis over taking the NC State job two years ago.
    • DeCourcy gives USC some love for tough scheduling (even though they’re going to lose all those games), while he rates crosstown rival UCLA #1 in his poll.
    • STF gets us up to speed on what the mid-major conferences are bringing to the table this year.
    • SEC Hoops:TGTBTD chooses Jamont Gordon over Chris Lofton for SEC POY.   Interesting…
    • Final thought – believe it or not, the Colorado Lady Buffaloes actually have a Brittany Spears and a Whitney Houston on their squad this season.   Coke dealers in Boulder are already calculating their profits.
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