Checking in on the… Big East

Posted by nvr1983 on January 14th, 2009

Rob Dauster of Ballin is a Habit is the RTC correspondent for the Big East Conference.

Give me an honest answer. What do you think is a more impressive accomplishment? Winning the Big East regular season title, winning the Big East Tournament, or reaching the Final Four?

Me? I’m going with the Big East regular season title. Every single time you step on the court in this league, it is a dogfight. It’s ridiculous what these teams go through. Take a look at the next six days for Syracuse: they head to DC on Wednesday to take on Georgetown, return back to Syracuse to face Notre Dame on Saturday, then travel to Pittsburgh to face the Panthers for Big Monday. Three games against top 15 teams in the span of six days culminating in a date with the #1 team in the country. And that isn’t an uncommon occurrence this year. Every team does it at least once (Running the Gauntlet, we’ve gone over this kiddies). The only conference that can match a run like that is the ACC, and that would have to mean one of Wake Forest, Clemson, Duke, or UNC plays the all of the other three. Tennessee playing Kentucky, Florida, and Arkansas in the span of a week just isn’t quite the same thing.

What I love about this year’s version of the Big East is the unpredictability. I could legitimately see four different teams winning the regular season title and three others that, if they get hot, could reel off six or seven straight wins and end up on top. Before league play started, it was UConn. Then they lost to Georgetown on opening night, and the Hoyas became the team to beat. Then Pitt rolled through DC to become the new and current favorite. Who is next? Pitt plays Louisville and Syracuse this week. If one of those two knocks off the Panthers, are they the favorite of the week?

The more I think about it, winning the Big East tourney title may be a tougher feat than reaching a Final Four as well. For the first time, all 16 teams will be headed to Madison Square Garden to participate in the conference tournament, which just so happens to be the number of teams that play in each regional in the NCAA’s.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

01.12.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on January 12th, 2009

A new set of Fast Breaks to get your “work” week off to a good start. . .

  • Congrats to Don Meyer for breaking Bobby Knight’s all-time NCAA win mark. I’m guessing this will get a 10 second mention on SportsCenter so we thought we would honor Meyer here.
  • The New York Times with an analysis of the coaching tenure by conference. It is interesting how much longer the ACC coaches tenure has been. The ACC number is obviously boosted by Coach K’s 28+ year run at Duke. I’m not sure if the difference are significant. Does this mean that ACC programs are more successful or that the administrators there are more lenient? Either way I don’t think a conference’s average length of tenure should matter as much to a recruit as a specific school’s track record.
  • Ohio State transfer Anthony Crater will be heading to Tampa to play at USF. A pretty big pick-up for a team that will likely finish DFL in the Big East.
  • RTC touched on academics and basketball a few months back, but a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution piece (h/t to The Big Lead for finding this) goes well beyond that (imagine that full-time journalists. . .) analyzing SAT scores of football players (it is a Southern newspaper) compared to their “classmates”. Anybody who went to school with big-time athletics programs realizes what a joke the term “student-athlete” often is. We’re planning on digging into this issue (with a basketball focus obviously) a bit more in the near future. It also makes you wonder what kind of grade inflation is going on if someone with a reported 890 SAT (I don’t care if that was as a 9th grader) can pull a 3.81 GPA.
  • A look at Belmont almost 10 months after they nearly knocked off Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament. I doubt Vince Gill goes to many regular season games.
  • A look at how Jamie Dixon is motivating Pittsburgh even after they rose to #1 in the polls. I guess I can see what he is saying since they are only the #3 team in Vegas.
Share this story

Checking in on the… Big Ten

Posted by rtmsf on January 6th, 2009

Josh & Mike of Big Ten Geeks are the RTC correspondents for the Big Ten Conference.

Looking Back

Conference play is underway, and it appears we’re going to be in for a wild one.  There were very few blowouts, and two of them involved Minnesota (dishing it out against Ohio State, and taking their lumps against Michigan State).  For the most part, the home teams held serve, but there were 3 road victories (2 of them belonging to the Spartans).  Even Indiana gave Iowa a scare in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.  It just isn’t safe to take a night off in this conference.

For our money, Michigan State looks like the early frontrunner.  Twelve or thirteen wins might be enough to win this thing, which can be boiled down to the two-step formula of winning at home, and going .500 on the road.  MSU stands at 2-0 with both wins being road wins.  That means they would need 9 home wins and 4 road victories to seal this up, and assuming they don’t falter at Indiana, they’re very close to winning all the road games they need to.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

12.29.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on December 28th, 2008

This is the last installment of Fast Breaks for the calendar year, but it’s a loaded one with lots of news before the New Year’s ball drops.

Share this story

ATB: Holiday Weekend Wrap

Posted by rtmsf on December 28th, 2008

afterbuzzer1

Let’s start with some news & notes…

  • Which of the ten (now nine) unbeaten teams are frauds and which are legit?  Not sure we agree about Minnesota, Goodman.
  • On Jan. 7th, ESPN will have its announcers switch roles, using its NBA team of Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Mike Tirico to call the Duke-Davidson game, and its college team of Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale to call the Heat-Nuggets game.  One can only hope that Van Gundy and Jackson will get into an argument over how to best defend Stephen Curry.
  • Just tuning in to college hoops?  Here’s a season recap.  And here’s Jeff Goodman’s Xmas gift column.

Weekend Wrap. The weekend was generally light, with only a few really good matchups.  So we’ll just hit the highlight games in short order tonight.

Saturday Games.

  • LSU 64, Washington St. 52. Is LSU a team to watch in the SEC West?   Well, the Tigers are 10-0 at home and 0-1 on the road against the nation’s 300th toughest schedule.  You tell us.
  • Kentucky 76, Florida Atlantic 69. The Cats struggled in this one as a team, but Patrick Patterson (27/14/3 blks) is entering himself into first-team all-american consideration with his consistently superb numbers.  Consider that PP is averaging 20/10 on 71% shooting and is the second most efficient player in America (behind only Blake Griffin).
  • Louisville 82, UAB 62. Rick Pitino benched Earl Clark and Andre McGee and the Cards responded with the new lineup by pulling away from an overmatched UAB team with little depth.  T-Will nearly had a trip-dub with 21/10/7 assts.
  • West Virginia 76, Ohio St. 48. Unbeaten no more.  WVU put the smack down on the Buckeyes in their house, ending a 14-game winning streak and giving Bob Huggins sweet vindication given his previous snubs by the flagship university of the state of Ohio.   A 27-4 run in the mid to late-second half did the trick.
  • Michigan St. 82, Oakland 66. This game is only notable because Goran Suton started, contributing 16/9 in the process.  A healthy and effective Suton is key to MSU’s season.

Sunday Games.

  • St. Mary’s 87, San Jose St. 78 (Sat.) and St. Mary’s 76, Morgan St. 60.  Don’t look now, but SMC has now won nine in a row against a top 60 schedule.
  • Wagner 68, NJIT 58. That’s 45 Ls in a row now.  The next best chance for a win – try 1/21 against Bryant University.
  • UCLA 78, Lousiana Tech 55. It’s hard to tell whether UCLA is actually improving, but they’ve won their last six by an average of 25+ pts.  Jrue Holiday had 12/10/5 assts/3 stls today.
  • Illinois St. 72, Missouri St. 69 (OT). In a key early-season MVC matchup, ISU stayed unbeaten.  Down 15 in the mid-second half, the Redbirds used a 22-2 run to take the lead and held on in OT.
  • Florida St. 82, W. Kentucky 69. FSU pulled away late against the most schizophrenic team in America behind Toney Douglas’ 27/5/5 assts.
  • USC 66, Oral Roberts 56. Demar DeRozan had his third consecutive solid game (18/5) as the Trojans held off ORU.
  • Virginia 88, Georgia Tech 84 (OT). In an entertaining battle of two teams going nowhere this season, the Wahoos were able to steal a conference road win behind super frosh Sylvan Landesberg’s 26/6/5 assts.  We still can’t figure out why Ga Tech isn’t better than they are with the talent they have on that roster.
  • Lipscomb 74, Indiana 69. This is what we were afraid of with this IU squad.  With 5 minutes to go in the first half, IU led 37-16.  They were outscored 58-32 the rest of the way.  A four-win Big 10 slate should be considered a huge success this year.
  • Florida 74, Winthrop 45. Winthrop (1-10) is an abomination these days.   Halftime score – Florida 53, Winthrop 11.
  • Minnesota 82, High Point 56. Minny is now 12-0, its best start in sixty years.  That Tubby hire looks good right now, doesn’t it?
  • Siena 75, St. Joseph’s 74. Siena rallied from eighteen down to get this win, and in turn, may have saved its season.
  • UNC 97, Rutgers 75. Another methodical blowout win for the Heels.  Hansbrough had 26/10.  Up next for Rutgers…  #3 Pitt, then #2 UConn.
  • Stanford 111, Texas Tech 66.  This was the most shocking score of the weekend.  Certainly right now Johnny Dawkins is looking like a national COY candidate – he’s never lost a game!

On tap Monday (all times EST). Big Monday gets a jump before the new year with a blockbuster game – Georgetown at UConn.  The nightcap – Cincy at Memphis – isn’t half-bad either.

  • Connecticut v. Georgetown (ESPN2) – 7pm
  • Villanova v. Temple (ESPNU) – 7pm
  • Baylor v. Portland St. – 8pm
  • Davidson @ Charleston (ESPNU) – 9pm
  • Memphis v. Cincinnati (ESPN2) – 9pm
Share this story

ATB: ACC & Big 10 Deadlocked 3-3

Posted by rtmsf on December 3rd, 2008

afterbuzzer1

Story of the Night. Is this the year, after nine straight emasculations at the hands of the ACC, that the Big 10 finally breaks through and wins the ACC/Big 10 Challenge?  Well, considering that going into the last day of the Challenge in 2007-08, the ACC led 5-1, the previous year 4-2, and in fact, the Big 10 has NEVER gone into the final day deadlocked, we consider this a moral victory.  Maybe they don’t, but we do.  Looking at tomorrow night, the ACC still has the upper hand (Wake is a mortal lock at home vs. Indiana, and Georgia Tech will be heavily favored at home vs. Penn St.), but if Michigan St. and Northwestern can protect their home court/field, (big ifs) then Michigan @ Maryland could be the tipping point game.  Maryland will be favored, but Michigan has proven that it can play with anyone this year, and you never know which Terp team will show up.  If only the Illini had held on at home tonight, Big 10 fans!!

acc-big-10-3-3

This Is What Duke DoesDuke 76, Purdue 60. The most hyped game of tonight’s Challenge, if not the actual best game, reminded us all of what Duke consistently does every year in November and December – beat all comers.  Those of us who were fooled by Duke’s completely shameful avoidance of true nonconference road contests forgot what Duke typically does when they play those ACC-mandated games away from home – win them.  Duke looked focused and ready to play from the tip, while Purdue was clearly over-focused, to the point of blowing wide open layups and showing an inability to make simple defensive switches.  The Purdue jitters excuse quickly morphed into one involving Duke’s superior defense, though, as Purdue stars Robbie Hummell and E’Twaun Moore were held to a pedestrian 25 pts (six below their average), but 20 of those points were in the last eleven minutes of regulation, when the game was largely out of reach.  The Devils held the Boilers to 37% from the field and a mere 2-13 from three.  Equally impressive, Duke dominated the boards 44-26, including eight extra possessions from offensive rebounds.  Kyle Singler led the way for Duke with a double-double (20/12), but Jon Scheyer (20 pts) and Nolan Smith (12 pts) contributed with timely threes, as Duke improved to 10-0 in the Challenge. Purdue Fan = not happy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story