2009-10 Conference Primers: #25 – Atlantic Sun

Posted by rtmsf on October 13th, 2009

seasonpreview

Ryan Dunn is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Sun Conference. Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Lipscomb Bisons                             (20-9, 15-5)
  2. Jacksonville Dolphins                     (19-11, 14-6)
  3. Mercer Bears                                   (17-15, 12-8)
  4. Campbell Camels                            (17-13, 11-9)
  5. East Tennessee State Bucs              (15-15, 11-9)
  6. Belmont Bruins                               (13-17, 10-10)
  7. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles              (14-15, 9-11)              
  8. Stetson Hatters                               (13-16, 8-12)
  9. North Florida Ospreys                    (11-19, 7-13)
  10. Kennesaw State Owls                   (9-23, 5-15)
  11. USC-Upstate Spartans                  (4-25, 4-16)

Preseason All-Conference Team (all stats 2008-09 season):

  • James Florence (G), Mercer                  20.8 points, 3.7 assists
  • Ben Smith (G), Jacksonville                   16.9 points, 4.0 assists
  • Jonathan Rodriguez  (F), Campbell        15.6 points, 8.3 rebounds
  • Mike Smith (F), ETSU                               15.3 points, 7.7 rebounds
  • Adnan Hodzic (C), Lipscomb                17.1 points, 7.1 rebounds

6th Man.  Daniel Emerson, Mercer.  Yes I know Emerson will not come off the bench but since he is such a good player and he wasn’t mentioned on my all-conference team I wanted to give him some recognition.  Emerson was the only player in the league last year to average a double-double.  

Impact Newcomer.  Justin Tubbs, ETSU.  Transfer from Alabama, very athletic and should provide immediate help in the ETSU backcourt.

a sun

What You Need To Know.

  • While the A-Sun has 11 teams in the league, only nine teams are eligible for postseason play as Florida Gulf Coast and USC-Upstate are still completing their transition from Division 2to Division 1.  This upcoming season marks the first year that North Florida and Kennesaw State will be eligible for postseason play as they have now completed their transition to Division I.  Only eight spots are reserved for the conference tournament meaning that only one eligible team will miss out.  This year’s tournament will be played at Mercer’s University Center in Macon, Georgia.
  • Some headlines that made news this offseason included a coaching change at North Florida as they named former Baylor assistant Matthew Driscoll head coach.  Driscoll has put together quite the coaching staff that features former Campbell assistant Bobby Kennan, former Head Coach at Lander College Bruce Evans, and Jeremy Shyatt, former Director of Basketball Operations at VCU and son of former Clemson head coach and current Florida top assistant Larry Shyatt.  Driscoll and his staff brought in nine newcomers to go along with six returning players.  Five of the newcomers earned all-state honors in the state of Florida. 
  • The league features two of the more premier mid-major players in Campbell’s Jonathan Rodriguez and Mercer’s James Florence.  Both have a chance to rewrite their school and conference record books.  Florence is the active leader for career scoring in the league with Rodriguez following in second.  Rodriguez stands second on the Atlantic Sun’s career double-double list with 39, and is just three off the record.  Florence currently sits in fifth on the Mercer all-time scoring list.  Both players should indeed break numerous records and if you haven’t seen them play it would definitely be worth your money to see them in action this season.

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2009-10 Conference Primers: #26 – Southern Conference

Posted by nvr1983 on October 12th, 2009

seasonpreview

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference. Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.

Predicted Order of Finish:

North Division- Two Divisions in the SoCon
1.  Western Carolina (14-6 SoCon) 22-11 Overall
2.  Samford (12-8 SoCon) 16-15 Overall
3.  Applachian State (10-10 SoCon) 17-14 Overall
4. Chattanooga (9-11 SoCon) 15-17 Overall
5. Elon (8-12 SoCon) 16-16 Overall
6. UNC Greensboro (3-17 SoCon)  4-26 Overall
South Division- Two Divisions in the SoCon
1.  College of Charleston  (16-4 SoCon)  24-9 Overall
2.  Davidson (12-8 SoCon) 19-14 Overall
3.  Citadel (11-9 SoCon) 17-15 Overall
4.  Wofford (9-11 SoCon) 16-17 Overall
5. Georgia Southern (7-13 SoCon) 11-20 Overall
6. Furman (6-14 SoCon) 10-21 Overall

North Division

  1. Western Carolina (13-5 SoCon) 22-11 overall
  2. Samford (11-7 SoCon) 16-15 overall
  3. Applachian State (9-9 SoCon) 17-14 overall
  4. Chattanooga (8-10 SoCon) 15-17 overall
  5. Elon (7-11 SoCon) 16-16 overall
  6. UNC-Greensboro (2-16 SoCon)  4-26 overall

South Division

  1. College of Charleston (15-3 SoCon)  24-9 overall
  2. Davidson (11-7 SoCon) 19-14 overall
  3. Citadel (10-8 SoCon) 17-15 overall
  4. Wofford (8-10 SoCon) 16-17 overall
  5. Georgia Southern (6-12 SoCon) 11-20 overall
  6. Furman (5-13 SoCon) 10-21 overall

All-Conference Team:

  • Andrew Goudelock (G)College of Charleston (Jr.) – 16.7 ppg
  • Cameron Wells (G) The Citadel (Jr.) – 15.6 ppg
  • Harouna Mutombo (F)Western Carolina (So.) – 14.4 ppg
  • Bryan Friday (F)Samford (Sr.) – 12.5 ppg
  • Noah Dahlman (C)Wofford (Jr.) – 17.8 ppg

6th Man. Jake RobinsonWestern Carolina (Sr) – Led the team in three pointers made (60) and attempted (167), coming off the bench in 19 games.

Impact Newcomer. Rashad WrightCollege of Charleston – Intimidating presence inside with his 6’9″ frame, averaged 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and four blocks a game at South Kent High School last season will look to contribute to a team that is lacking in size.

What You Need to Know. Although this conference lacks the star power of a certain recently departed, diminutive guard from Davidson, the conference is not devoid of talent as witnessed by the fact that the aforementioned guard didn’t even make the NCAA tournament last year. While the Wildcats will certainly fall off this year, don’t be surprised to see the second most famous basketball personality in the league last year (Bobby Cremins) getting plenty of airtime in March.

Predicted Champion: College of Charleston (NCAA Seed: #15) – Made it to the SoCon Championship game last season after a Cinderella type run knocking off the favorite in Davidson on their way to the finals. They have always been an athletic team that uses stellar guard play to offset lack of size inside. With the starting back court of Tony White Jr., who scored 31 points in the SoCon finals game against Chattanooga, and junior all-conference candidate Andrew Goudelock who led the team in points per game and three pointers. CofC should be the team to beat in the Southern Conference this season with close to 75% of its scoring coming back from a team that made the finals in the conference tournament.

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05.26.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 26th, 2009

It’s been a while since we updated things (Wall to Kentucky), so let’s get caught up this evening…

  • RIP Wayman. You’ve undoubtedly heard the sad news about 44-year old Wayman Tisdale’s passing on May 15.  Obviously, we never met Tisdale, but everyone agrees that he was a person who touched the lives of many through his athletic and musical career.  ESPN takes a look back here, and CNNSI reflected on his legacy in the state of Oklahoma here.   Jeff Goodman tells a story about Tisdale following through on a promise to a budding jouralist (him).   Tisdale’s public memorial service was last Wednesday.
  • Smoke, then Fire.  We mentioned previously that it’s unfathomable to us that USC wouldn’t take Renardo Sidney, given their astonishing and proven ability to look the other way.  Maybe they knew that Rodney Guillory’s associate, Louis Johnson, was chirping like a parrot to anyone who will listen that he witnessed Tim Floyd handing Guillory a cool grand in return for the delivery of OJ Mayo.  Now Mayo’s talking to the feds about Guillory, and at least one writer thinks the whole darned ship is going up in flames.  The million-dollar question is whether the NCAA investigators have the sack to do it.  (our response: yes, but half-assed).  Update: Noel Johnson, a 2009 signee, left the program today, leaving Dwight Lewis, and um, Lil Romeo?
  • Transfers. Iowa’s Jeff Peterson (11 ppg) will transfer to Arkansas for the 2010-11 season; Indiana’s Nick Williams (9/5) will return to the South to play for Ole Miss (he was the Alabama POY in 2008); and, Clark Kellogg’s kid, Alex, will leave Providence for Ohio University (Bobcats, not Buckeyes) to play his senior season.  In corollary news, Oklahoma’s Juan Pattillo was shown the door by Jeff Capel for undisclosed team violations.
  • NBA Draft News.  Duke’s Gerald Henderson made it official and signed with an agent, forgoing his final year in Durham.  Xavier’s Derrick Brown, a borderline first-rounder, is highly unlikely to return to XU next season.  Meanwhile, word last week was that Florida’s Nick Calathes signed a contract for $1.1M/year (+ a home, car and tax credits) to play in Greece (where he holds dual citizenship), and Clemson’s Terrence Oglesby is leaving school after his sophomore year to pursue a pro career in Europe (he’s also a dual citizen with Norway).  Southern Miss’s Jeremy Wise will not return either.  BYU’s Jonathan Tavernari decided to wise up and will return to the Cougs for his senior season, as will Arkansas leading scorer Michael Washington.  FYI, now that the draft lottery is set (Clips win!), the new mocks are coming out.  Here’s NBADraft.net’s Top 14.
  • Obligatory Kentucky News.  It’s out with the old and in with the new, as three scholarship at Kentucky are given the pink slip to make room for Calipari’s motherlode of talent.  The buzz is already loud for Kentucky as the preseason #1 next year, but we’re a little surprised Jodie Meeks hasn’t made his decision yet (he’s unlikely to move up to the first round).
  • Coaching News.  Illinois top man Bruce Weber got a $500k raise and a three-year extension based on his stellar work in Champaign last season.  Villanova’s Jay Wright talked to and then withdrew from the search for a new Philadelphia 76ers head man.  Wazzu’s new man Ken Bone signed with the school for seven years and $650k per year, according to school records.   Michigan’s John Beilein will chair the NCAA’s Ethics Comittee, featuring Johnny Dawkins, Jeff Capel and the omnipresent Dave Odom…  does anyone else find it odd that Beilein’s charge here is to clarify the rules as written, even though he used legal loopholes to get out of his stated buyout with WVU when he left for greener pastures?   Finally, here’s a rather-suspect list of the top ten coaches in America today – it omits Bill Self and John Calipari, which leads us to believe that the author did not watch the 2008 national championship game.
  • Other Errata.  CJ Henry is officially enrolled at Kansas and will get to play with his brother, super-wing Xavier Henry, next season in Lawrence.
  • Former Tennessee guard Ramar Smith (whom Coach Bruce Pearl kicked off the team in 2008) was arrested for robbery (the holy trinity: money, guns and marijuana) last week, and he’s currently awaiting trial.
  • Luke Winn gives us a glimpse at what Mississippi St. will look like next year (with John Riek and Renardo Sidney in the fold).
  • Please tell us that some irate Kentucky fan with rivers of money will buy these and burn them.
  • What WILL we do with those nefarious message board posters!?!?
  • Campbell University will rejoin the Big South (its former home until 1994), leaving the Atlantic Sun after the 2010-11 academic year.
  • The Big Sky is moving to a Friday/Saturday conference weekend model to save costs beginning next season.
  • This is a sad story, but we’re glad that the authorities found this Olympic champion safe and sound.
  • Well, sucks for them (next, USC?).
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East Region Game by Game Previews – 1st Round (pt. 2)

Posted by nvr1983 on March 20th, 2009

EAST REGION GAME PREVIEWS – PART TWO (By Dave Zeitlin and Steve Moore)

Once again, we will be picking the East Regional games, while also pitting non-basketball alums from each school in a no-holds barred battle for March supremacy.

Friday’s Games – Dayton, Ohio

(8) Oklahoma State vs. (9) Tennessee (12:25 p.m.)

DZ: This match-up is about as even as they come. Both teams play fast-paced, high-scoring basketball. The Cowboys’ James Anderson (18.6 ppg) will be the best player on the court, but the Vols are stronger in the interior with Tyler Smith (17 ppg) and Wayne Chism (13.8 ppg). I’ll go with Bruce Pearl and the Vols here – but you might be better off just flipping a coin.

SM: Usually, these 8 vs. 9 games include at least one so-called mid-major team against a BCS conference team, and I usually lean toward the little guy with my pick. But as the only 8/9 game between two mediocre big boys, this is a total toss up. I have to go with the team I know more about, and that would be Tyler Smith and Tennessee. The real question is whether Bruce Pearl will break out the day-glo orange blazer.

Alumni Throwdown – Gary Busey (Oklahoma State) vs. Chris Hadfield (Tennessee)

DZ: Like the real game, this has all the makings of a great match-up with an actor lost in space going up against the first Canadian to walk in space. But the astronaut wins when Busey gets distracted trying to figure out the life force of a basketball.

SM: Busey had a great turn in a recent season of Entourage. But once you’ve appeared on a reality show called Celebrity Rehab, you’re disqualified. I’ll go with the Canadian astronaut, eh?

(16) East Tennessee State vs. (1) Pittsburgh (2:55 p.m.)

DZ: If the national championship hopeful Panthers have a hard time with this one, they could be in trouble. High-scoring guard Kevin Tiggs (21.5 ppg) helped ETSU win the Atlantic Sun tournament championship, but you may have heard Pitt has a couple of stars in its own in DeJuan Blair (15.6 ppg, 12.4 rpg) and Sam Young (18.8 ppg). The Panthers coast into the second round.

SM: I’ll lay it on the line – Pitt is my pick to win it all. So if they show ANY signs of trouble against a school whose finest alum is a late bishop, my bracket could be in trouble. Tiggs may be a small-conference gunner against Lipscomb and South Carolina-Upstate (yeah, that’s a real school), but DeJuan Blair is a big enough force to block out the (Atlantic) Sun. Panthers rest the starters late, and still run away by 20-plus.

Alumni Throwdown – Bishop Earl G. Hunt Jr. (East Tennessee State) vs. Mark Cuban (Pittsburgh)

DZ: It will take a wing and prayer for ETSU to beat Pitt, but prayers are what the late bishop has (sorry, there aren’t many famous ETSU alums). Look for the bishop to prove faith is stronger than money by knocking off the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks in the feel-good upset of the (fake) tournament.

SM: I don’t want to vote against a bishop, but I also don’t want Mark Cuban to rip me on his blog or his Twitter or whatever it is the kids are doing these days. Cuban politely edges Bishop Hunt in this one, but then gets fined by David Stern for excessive celebration.

Friday’s Games – Boise, Idaho

(4) Xavier vs. (13) Portland State (7:25 p.m.)

DZ: The Musketeers notched some signature wins early but have just a .500 record since Feb. 7. Meanwhile, pint-sized guard Jeremiah Dominguez, the two-time Big Sky MVP, fuels a very good shooting Portland State team that knocked off Gonzaga, on the road, earlier in the season. Xavier is a tourney-tested team under head coach Sean Miller, but I like Portland State here in the East Region’s upset special.

SM: I’m on record saying Xavier is a little high as a four seed, but Portland State may be the one team in this region with an even more favorable ranking. I was the one person who watched the Vikings win the Big Sky title at the buzzer, and they did not look like a 13 seed. The Musketeers handle their business rather easily in this one. After that, though, I make no promises.

Alumni Throwdown – Robert Romanus (Xavier) vs. Holly Madison (Portland State)

DZ: Madison, one of Heff’s girlfriends on Girls Next Door, matched up against the actor who played Mike Damone in Fast Times at Ridgemont High? This one would be over before it starts with the Playboy model easily wooing the overconfident sleazeball. (“I woke up in a great mood. I don’t know what the hell happened.”)

SM: Blondes aren’t usually my thing, but in this matchup, it’s a no-brainer. I mean she’s a Playmate, for goodness sake. Personally, I would’ve gone with Phillies legend and Xavier grad Jim Bunning, but a certain Mets’ fan picked this alumni matchup. At least he has a World Series title to back it … oh, wait.

(5) Florida State vs. (12) Wisconsin (9:55 p.m.)

DZ: Averaging over 20 points per game, the Seminoles’ Toney Douglas is one of the best players in the region. But Wisconsin is a pretty solid team for a 12 seed, allowing less than 60 points per contest. Florida State should win a close one, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see a 12-13 game in Round 2 here.

SM: I’m much higher on the Big Ten than most folks this year (Purdue to the Elite 8!), but not in this case. The Badgers have been totally unimpressive this year, and first-round games are often decided by the best player on the floor. In this case, that is FSU’s Toney Douglas – this year’s breakout star in the East Region. The ’Noles win a tight one late, possibly on a Douglas trifecta.

Alumni Throwdown – Burt Reynolds (Florida State) vs. Stephen Ambrose (Wisconsin)

DZ: Because why wouldn’t we pit a famous actor and former Florida State football player against a late historian and author of Band of Brothers? I’m going with cool guy Reynolds since Ambrose was accused of plagiarizing one of my old professors at Penn.

SM: That’s the best a large state school like Wisconsin has to offer? No Bud Selig, Steve Miller, Joan Cusack, or Charles Lindbergh? This one goes to Burt Reynolds in a landslide. The man nearly stole the show in Boogie Nights – a film that included Heather Graham and not a lot of clothing.

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.07.09

Posted by nvr1983 on March 7th, 2009

dynamite

We’re back for the final weekend of regular season Boom Goes the Dynamite for this college basketball season. The highlights of the weekend are obviously the two top 10 match-ups (in Pittsburgh on Saturday and in Chapel Hill on Sunday). We would love to provide you with another RTC Live from those site, but apparently we’re not big enough for them yet. (The onus is on you to spread the word.)

In any event, we’re going to make lemonade out of those lemons so we’ll be providing coverage from our bi-coastal offices covering all the action. Today is loaded with 15 of the top 25 playing with the other 10 playing on Sunday. We will be trying out best to provide you with wall-to-wall coverage of the top teams in action as well as RTC Live from several different locations:

In addition to our on-site correspondents we will be focusing in on a few key games for the majority of the day while also channel surfing over to the other games when the situation merits it. Here are the primary games that we will be covering today:

  • #1 UConn at #4 Pittsburgh at Noon on CBS
  • Michigan at Minnesota at Noon on ESPN and ESPN360.com
  • #25 Syracuse at #15 Marquette at 2 PM on ESPN360.com
  • #12 Missouri at Texas A&M at 2 PM on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com
  • California at #21 Arizona State at 2 PM on CBS
  • Oklahoma State at #5 Oklahoma at 3:30 PM on ABC
  • Texas at #9 Kansas at 4 PM on CBS
  • Washington State at #13 Washington at 5:30 PM on CBS
  • Wright State at #22 Butler at 7 PM on ESPNU
  • #6 Louisville at West Virginia at 9 PM on ESPN and ESPN360.com

As you can tell it’s a pretty ambitious schedule so we are asking you, our loyal legion of RTC followers, to help alert all of us if something interesting is happening. You can contribute by leaving a message in the comment section so we all can follow it.

One piece of RTC breaking news, UNC point guard Ty Lawson injured his left big toe yesterday in practice.

11:30 PM: ESPN GameDay is live from Morgantown, WV and they’re doing their own version of Make Your Case. I feel a little bit like Bill Simmons after ESPN stole his Mount Rushmore, but they aren’t paying me a million dollars a year.

11:45 PM: A couple pieces of NCAA tournament news to wrap-up before we focus on our TV for the next 12 hours: Cornell became the first team to officially get into the tournament last night by winning the Ivy League title and 3 others will join them when the Atlantic Sun, Big South, and Ohio Valley have their championship games today.

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ATB: Happy in Happy Valley

Posted by rtmsf on March 6th, 2009

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Game of the Night. Penn St. 64, Illinois 63. It was nice to see a team turn the tables on Illinois after they had pulled off a furious comeback win in the last five minutes against Northwestern.  PSU was down ten pts with five minutes remaining, but the Lions stormed back and when Talor Battle’s feathery soft leaner dropped through with 0.3 remaining on the clock, the “white house” of fans went wild and quickly RTC’d the court.  Now, THAT is how you RTC, friends!  Quick, no hesitation, straight to the middle of the floor.  Immediate bedlam.  We have two clips here – the first will show the tv version of the winning shot by Battle (scroll ahead to the 6:00 mark); the second is a user-generated clip of the RTC.  Enjoy.  (btw, PSU is IN if they win at Iowa this weekend)

The Rest of Tonight’s Key Games.

  • UCLA 79, Oregon St. 54. The Bruins kept their Pac-10 title hopes alive with a blowout win over Oregon St. tonight.  If they beat Oregon this weekend and Washington loses to Wazzu, then they’ll both be tied at 12-6, where the Bruins would presumably win the tiebreaker.  What’s up with Josh Shipp’s line tonight?  27 pts, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 0 turnovers, 0 fouls, 1 block.  He really didn’t do anything other than shoot tonight, did he?
  • Villanova 97, Providence 80. Villanova picked up its second strong win of the week as it continues to make its case for the coveted double-bye in the Big East Tournament.  Scottie Reynolds had 23/4/4 stls as Nova finished off a perfect home slate.  Providence has a #69 RPI but finished at 10-8 in the Big East – what to do with the Friars?
  • USC 80, Oregon 66.  USC shot 59% behind Demar DeRozan’s 19 pts and Taj Gibson’s 18 pts as the long nightmare continues for Ernie Kent’s Oregon team.  USC is a classic bubble team, sporting a mid-40s RPI and what will likely be a 9-9 Pac-10 record come Saturday night.
  • California 83, Arizona 77.  Arizona really didn’t need to lose another home game, but they’ve fallen apart the last two weeks.  Tonight’s loss to Cal was their fourth in a row, and they absolutely need to get the game against Stanford this weekend to turn this around.  Cal’s Jerome Randle had eight threes on his way to 31 pts.
  • Temple 68, St. Joseph’s 59.  This Big Five matchup had A10 ramifications as Temple moved into a two-way tie for the #3 seed in the conference (tied with Dayton), as well as kept their bubble chances alive.
  • Tennessee 86, South Carolina 70. Tough home loss for SC, while Tennessee captured the top seed in the East Divison of the SEC behind Tyler Smith’s 22/6/7 assts.  The Vols are coming on lately, having won at Florida and SC in their last two games.
  • Stanford 74, Arizona St. 64. ASU is slumping lately, having lost their last three games.  James Harden had 22, but was only 2-10 from three, and it doesn’t appear if either of the Arizona teams have much interest in playing deep into March at this point.

QnD Conf Tourney Update.  Tomorrow the America East, CAA, MAAC, SoCon and WCC begin.  Here’s what happened tonight.

A-Sun. The two higher seeds, #3 Belmont and #4 Lipscomb advanced, meaning the top four seeds will be in the semis starting tomorrow.

Big South. VMI will play Radford (the top two seeds) on Saturday for possibly the first NCAA automatic bid this year.

MVC. Indiana St. and Wichita St. advanced to the quarters.

NEC. The top three seeds (Robt. Morris, Mt. St. Mary’s, Sacred Heart) + Quinnipiac advanced to the semis on Sunday.

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ATB: The Bubble Seems to be Sorting Itself Out Nicely

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2009

afterbuzzer1

Running Late.  Apologies to the twelve loyal readers of this nightly update, but we ran into some other issues that got into the way of a fully fleshed-out post tonight.  So we’re just going to do some quick takes and leave it at that.  We’ll be back stronger tomorrow night.

  • Northwestern 64, Purdue 61. It’s really quite the shame that NW didn’t get the Illinois and Michigan games; otherwise, the Cats would be a serious bubble team.  Did you know that NW has never made the Big Dance?  Not once.
  • Louisville 95, Seton Hall 78. There is no more talented dynamic duo than T-Will (14/12) and Earl Clark (27/14), but does UL have consistent enough guard play to win it all?
  • NC State 74, Boston College 69. BC is as tough of a team to figure as anybody this year – they should probably make sure to beat Ga Tech on Saturday to feel safe.
  • UNC 86, Virginia Tech 78. Another season, another 17-12 Va Tech team.  Hansbrough with 22/15.
  • Georgia Tech 78, Miami (FL) 68. Another major disappointment in the ACC.  Does 7-9 with a 40-something RPI get it done this year?
  • Pittsburgh 90, Marquette 75.  The Marquette exposure tour continues.  We thought Dejuan Blair (23/9) was seriously going to Shaq-truct the basket stanchion on one thunderous dunk (start at the 0:29 point).

  • Georgia 90, Kentucky 85. Completely unacceptable loss for Billy Gillispie at home at this point in the season.  Georgia hit 11-16 from long range.
  • Vanderbilt 75, LSU 67.  LSU was unbeaten at home in the SEC before tonight.  AJ Ogilvy dropped 33/10 on the Tigers, who were clearly looking ahead to next week’s SEC Tourney after clinching the top seed last weekend.
  • Memphis 69, Houston 60. For about a half-second, we thought Houston might have a chance in this one.  That’ll be 57 in a row in CreampuffUSA for the Tigers.
  • Mississippi St. 80, Florida 71. Another devastating loss for an SEC bubble team.  Is anyone else wondering if the Donovan magic was based solely on his O4s – Noah, Green, Horford and Brewer?
  • Minnesota 51, Wisconsin 46.  Huge bubble win for the Gophers to sweep the season series against the Badgers.  If it comes down to these two teams, Minny will have the advantage.
  • Texas A&M 72, Colorado 66.  With five straight Big 12 wins to get to 8-7, TAMU is getting in.
  • Missouri 73, Oklahoma 64.  Mizzou finished its home slate 18-0 and “held” Blake Griffin to 16/21 in setting up a shot at sharing the Big 12 regular season title with a win this weekend (+ another KU loss).
  • Texas Tech 84, Kansas 65.  No explaining this one, but KU is still a team we really like in two weeks.

QnD Conf Tourney Update.

A-Sun.  Only one game where #2 seed ETSU advanced to the semis.

Patriot.  All four quarters were at home sites tonight.  #1 American, #2 Holy Cross and #4 Army advanced.  The upset was #6 Colgate knocking off #3 Navy in OT.  The semis will be Sunday and our RTC correspondent Rob Dauster will be at American to liveblog the game between Am.U. and Colgate.

Sun Belt.  Five games at campus sites also.  Higher seeds North Texas, MTSU, S. Alabama and Denver all advanced.  The only (mild) upset was Florida Intl. over La-Lafayette.  The quarters continue on Sunday.

Upcoming: The MVC gets started with its opening round tomorrow night, and the NEC and A-Sun have their entire quarterfinal rounds tomorrow.  The Big South will have its semifinals, and all of the top four seeds are still alive.  Should be fun.

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Seeking Correspondents Who Like Southern Fried Hoops

Posted by rtmsf on January 3rd, 2009

As you know if you read this blog, we take pride in providing our readers with the most comprehensive coverage of all 31 Division I conferences available in the so-called alt-media.  But given our pitiful pay scale, sometimes perfectly good correspondents lose interest in providing their usual excellent coverage, and we need to find some new reliable bloggers/writers who are willing to step in and take over for certain leagues.  This is especially important as we move into conference season and start thinking about bubbles and brackets over the next ten weeks until Selection Sunday.  So please, if you have any interest in becoming an RTC correspondent for one or more of the below conferences, or if you know of someone who would, please drop us a comment below or send us an email.

Conferences Needing Correspondents

  • Atlantic Sun
  • Southern
  • Southland
  • SEC

Email us at rushthecourtATyahooDOTcom if you think you can help…

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RTC Back to School: 2008-2009 Preview

Posted by nvr1983 on November 10th, 2008

rtc-08-09-preview

For those of your who haven’t been spending as much time on Rush the Court the past few months as you should (looking at myself in the mirror), we thought we would offer you a quick guide to what we have been working on over the past few months.

General Overview: Some top quality writing/prognosticating to get you in the spirit for the run from today until the early morning hours of April 7th, 2009.
Finally, It’s Here: New RTC feature columnist John Stevens offers his thoughts about the upcoming season.
A Little Preseason Bracketology: RTC co-editor (Do we even have titles?) rtmsf does his best Joe Lunardi impression and makes a surprising pick for his national champion. I’m smelling an attempt to make the RTC preseason bracketology championship the new Madden cover.
Vegas Odds – Preseason Check-In: For the degenerate gamblers out there, RTC co-founder rtmsf offers an analysis of the Las Vegas odds for the 2009 NCAA champions for pure academic purposes. . .
Preseason Polls Released: The surprisingly employed (I’m running out of titles here) rtmsf analyzes the AP and Coaches polls going into the season with a deeper look at unanimous #1 UNC’s early schedule.
ESPN Full Court: 562 Games of Gooey, Delicious Goodness*: Once again, rtmsf comes through with the entire ESPN Full Court schedule with a Steve Nash-style assist from Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball.

Big Early Season News: While there are several big stories going into this season, there were 2 major stories that have come out recently that you should know about before you start watching games.
Tyler Hansbrough Out Indefinitely: Who? Oh yeah, that guy. Everybody’s favorite for national POY and NBA Draft Day snub (get ready for the annual Dick Vitale rant) Psycho T will be out for a while, but we think the Tar Heels will be ok by March.
Jai Lucas Leaving Florida: In a story that isn’t getting nearly the attention that the Psycho T story has (for good reason), Billy Donovan has lost last season’s starting point guard on the eve of the new season. While it appears that Lucas was probably heading towards a role as a backup point guard on the Gators, the timing of this announcement is surprising. It will be interesting to see what the Gators will do if freshman guard Erving Walker struggles in adjusting to SEC basketball.

Conference Primers: As part of our attempt to make a new-and-improved RTC, we hired the finest journalists in America to make our site more all-inclusive of the little people in the college basketball landscape. To that end we put together 31 conference previews (31 automatic bids to the Big Dance means 31 previews from RTC) with the help of the aforementioned correspondents.
ACC
America East
Atlantic 10
Atlantic Sun
Big 12
Big East
Big Sky
Big South
Big Ten
Big West
Colonial
Conference USA
Horizon
Ivy League
MAAC
MAC
MEAC
Missouri Valley
Mountain West
Northeast
Ohio Valley Conference
Pac-10
Patriot League
SEC
Southern
Southland
Summit
Sun Belt
SWAC
WAC
West Coast Conference

As the season progresses, we will have more features and content including updates from all 31 conferences. We hope all of you are looking forward to the new season as much as we are and even if your team looks like it will struggle to make it to the NIT, remember the words of Kevin Garnett, who incidentally didn’t play a minute of college basketball (that’s another post), “Anything is possible!”

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A Brief Conference Primer Interlude…

Posted by rtmsf on October 30th, 2008

We’ve made it through eighteen of our thirty-one season conference primers so far, and our correspondents continue to top each other with their breadth of knowledge and coverage of the one-bid leagues.  So we want to thank them and once again highlight their fantastic work over the past few weeks by anchoring their primers in one post here, so that you (and we) can easily access them.  Going forward, we’ll primarily be dealing with the traditional multiple-bid conferences or conferences that should expect to see multiple bids this season.  Conference #13 will go up tonight, and we’ll be counting down to tipoff on Nov. 10, when the #1 conference primer will be unveiled. 

Also, keep in mind that our correspondents will continue to bring RTC comprehensive coverage of each league throughout the season.  Each of the above leagues will have an update post every two weeks, beginning in mid/late November. 

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2008-09 Conference Primers: #29 – Atlantic Sun

Posted by rtmsf on October 10th, 2008

Andrew Baker is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Sun and Southern conferences.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Belmont Bruins  (23-6) (17-3)
  2. ETSU Buccaneers  (20-10) (15-5)
  3. Jacksonville Dolphins  (18-11) (14-6)
  4. Stetson Hatters  (16-13) (12-8)
  5. Lipscomb Bisons  (15-14) (11-9)
  6. Mercer Bears  (14-17) (9-11)
  7. Kennesaw State Fighting Owls  (13-16) (7-13)
  8. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles  (11-20) (6-14)
  9. Campbell Fighting Camels  (10-18) (6-14)
  10. USC-Upstate Spartans  (9-21) (5-15)
  11. UNF Ospreys  (4-25) (1-19)

What You Need to Know (WYN2K).

Non-Conference.  I know how far of a stretch this may seem, but all signs point to an improving Atlantic Sun Conference.  Some of you will ask, ‘How can a conference that has been mired in the bottom three of the conference RPI be improving?’  Well it can’t get much worse than 29th in the conference RPI ratings, but there is proof of improvement just over the last two seasons.  During the 2006-07 campaign the conference went 1-38 against the power conferences (including Mountain West and CUSA).  During 2007-08 the conference went 8-41 with three wins coming over SEC teams (Gardner-Webb over Kentucky, Belmont over Alabama, and ETSU over Georgia).  Look for the Atlantic Sun’s top five to play tougher against the power conference teams as all those teams are returning a great deal of talent and scoring.  The conference also improved upon their overall non-conference record at 46-108 (.299) last year, with 17 more OOC wins than the previous year (excluding non-D-I games).  Look for the Atlantic Sun to pull a few more upsets this fall.     

Conference.  There are two teams in the Atlantic Sun who are thinking about the three time defending champion Belmont Bruins with an incredible amount of rage.  The East Tennessee Bucs and Jacksonville Dolphins are both coming into this season with huge chips on their shoulders after losing to Belmont in last season’s Atlantic Sun Championship semifinals and finals respectively.  ETSU hates to be reminded of the circumstances, but for those that don’t know it’s worth watching the below video to see why they can’t wait for their games with Belmont.  Jacksonville was never competitive in the final and got completely dismantled by Belmont’s signature three-point attack.  Only seven teams are eligible for the A-Sun tournament this year out of the eleven in the conference, so expect a dogfight at the top to secure that first round bye into the semifinals.

 

Champion.  Belmont Bruins (#15 NCAA) – Many will think this pick is made because the Bruins are the three time champions.  This is partially correct.  The real reason is that the Bruins are 30-2 against conference opposition in February and March over the last three years including the conference tournament.  They simply find ways to win late in the season.  While Jacksonville and ETSU may have more talented squads, the Bruins make up the difference with superb coaching.  Belmont has the longest tenured coaching staff in the conference.  Rick Byrd has brought his program along from NAIA in 1996 and found a successful formula for winning in this league that has helped them become the first back to back to back champions the A-Sun has ever seen.  It also helps that the Bruins will return four starters (Dansby, Wicke, Renfroe, and Dotson) that have 42.1 PPG between them.  Wicke and Dotson have not had a season where they haven’t come out as A-Sun Champions.  However, it won’t be easy, as ETSU and Jacksonville won’t be far behind the defending champs. 

Others Considered.  With the departure of Gardner-Webb, the Atlantic Sun will be one big happy family again without the north and south divisions.  What does this mean?  Well it means teams like Jacksonville and Stetson will have to play more games against Belmont, Lispcomb, and East Tennessee, which for these teams usually ends in an L.  This is not to say that Jacksonville won’t be good.  They will be excellent, but they will have to play six games against these teams whereas they only played four against them last year, including the A-Sun Final against Belmont.  Jacksonville did not come up with a single W against those three squads.  Stetson didn’t fare much better, going 1-2 and losing to Garnder-Webb (North) in the A-Sun Quarters.  Both teams will have to expect to run at least 4-2 against these teams to even have a shot at the title.  Of the two, Jacksonville has the better shot.  The Dolphins return fours starters and most of their production.  If Stetson is to win then they will do it with defense.  Stetson ranked first in the conference last season limiting conference opponents to only 67.4 PPG and only 27.8% from beyond the arc.   

What can you say about East Tennessee State?  They had the semifinal game in their grasp to move on to the finals, but one technical and a subsequent missed front end of a 1 & 1 doomed their season (see video above).  Does ETSU have the talent?  Of course they do.  Kevin Tiggs (14.6 ppg & 5.6 rpg) and Courtney Pigram (15.8 ppg & 3.2 rpg) are two of the best players in the conference.  ETSU’s supporting cast will be bolstered by the arrival of 6’11” Seth Coy and 6’6” PG Adam Sollazzo, whom ETSU considers one of their finest prospects ever.  The presence of a big man should add some depth to the ETSU attack and make them a dangerous team come conference time.  The Bucs offense is a potent one, but where they struggled was in assists/turnovers (.802 A/TO Ratio).  Turning the ball over 20% of the time is just not going to cut it for any team that has aspirations of a trip to the Dance.  Can the Bucs break their duck against Belmont?  Maybe, but Coach Murray Bartow is going to have to find a way to get a W against the Bruins to get back to the promised land.

Important Games/Games to Watch:  Make sure you jot down any game between that involves Belmont and the following teams: ETSU, Jacksonville, and Lipscomb.  Belmont has an intense rivalry with Lipscomb being as that they are only two miles away on Belmont Boulevard and have always fought for attention in the saturated sports world of Nashville.  The Battle of the Boulevard has gone into overtime five times since Lipscomb’s move into the Atlantic Sun in 2003-04 including the 2005-06 Atlantic Sun Championship Game.  The ETSU v.  Jacksonville games should be great as well.  The most important game of the year of course is the A-Sun Tournament Championship Game in March as only one team in the Atlantic Sun is going to get to Dance.

  • Atlantic Sun Championship Game  (03/07/09)

RPI Boosters.  The Atlantic Sun will be looking to improve on the eight wins they had over power conference opponents last year.  ETSU is also going to be involved in the Charleston Classic which should add some quality competition, so keep an eye out on their schedule as well.  Here are some dates to keep in mind for the top five:

  • Stetson @ Texas   (11/14/08)
  • Jacksonville @ Florida State  (11/15/08)
  • Jacksonville @ Georgetown  (11/17/08)
  • Stetson @ Florida State  (11/20/08)
  • Jacksonville @ Baylor  (11/24/08)
  • Belmont @ Pittsburgh (11/25/08)
  • Jacksonville @ Georgia Tech  (11/28/08)
  • Belmont @ Tennessee (12/20/08)
  • Stetson @ Miami (FL)  (11/29/08)
  • Jacksonville @ Ohio State  (12/17/08)
  • Lipscomb @ NC State (12/20/08)
  • Stetson @ Missouri   (12/20/08)
  • Lipscomb @ Indiana  (12/28/08)
  • Stetson @ Florida   (12/30/08)

Neat-O Stats.

The Curse of Two.  The Atlantic Sun has sent two teams to the dance only once.  In 1993-94, the College of Charleston and Central Florida broke through as 12 and 16 seeds respectively.  They both lost in the first round.  The only teams that were in the league when that happened were the Mercer Bears and the Stetson Hatters.  Both the Bears and the Hatters have seen only two winning seasons since.

University of Northern Fail.  The UNF Ospreys have had a tough life since joining Division I.  The Ospreys have only scrounged five Atlantic Sun wins in their first three seasons.  New members Florida Gulf Coast and USC-Upstate both equaled and in FGCU’s case surpassed them with six wins in their maiden seasons.  Coach Matt Kilcullen will most likely be feeling the heat this season if they don’t start seeing better results.

65-Team Era.  The A-Sun is 3-24 during the modern era, and despite Belmont’s ridiculously close 71-70 loss to Duke last year, they have simply not been able to get over the hump in the NCAA Tournament during their otherwise impressive run. 

    

Final Thoughts.  The Atlantic Sun should be more fun to watch than it has been in recent years.  Expect games between the top five schools to be knock-down, drag-outs.  A massive amount of talent returns for these schools and it should be fascinating to watch.  Don’t expect to see two bids out of this league unless someone wins a majority of their power OOC games and sweeps through the conference schedule only to lose in the final.  Is the Atlantic Sun Conference one on the rise?  Only if the Atlantic Sun can muster more OOC wins and their champion can again come close or win a NCAA Tournament game when March rolls around. 

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ATB: UCLA is #1

Posted by rtmsf on November 19th, 2007

ATB v.4

11.19.07

Story of the Day. The marquee games of the day were held in KC in the semis of the CBE Classic at the spanking new Sprint Center tonight. We’re still wondering why Kansas City built this thing (we hear the Sonics are available), but it looked like a nice joint for some collegiate hoops. #3 UCLA 71, Maryland 59. In this game, UCLA only had eight players dress out (Darren Collison in particular is still injured), but the Bruins under Ben Howland do what they always do – they uglified the game and ultimately imposed their will on the Terps. The first half looked like someone had greased the basketball, as both teams combined for 30 turnovers and only 46 pts. Advantage: UCLA, as they took a ten-pt lead into the half. The second half wasn’t as painful to watch, but Maryland never truly threatened to get back into the game – every Terp push seemed to be met with a UCLA player hanging off the rim on the other end. Kevin Love had a nice dub-dub (18/16), but we’re with Vitale in agreement that this kid is shy of 6’9 – maybe we’ll see him again next year after all. The only player that impressed on Maryland was Bambale Osby, who had several ridiculous blocks including one stuff of a stuff on Aboya that had us coming out of our seat. The bottom line is this – when UCLA gets Collison back running the show, they are without a doubt the most difficult matchup in the nation because of their defense, size and athleticism. They’re the only team around that can win games going away while shooting poorly (like tonight – 38%).

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Michigan St. 86, Missouri 83. This was a much better game from a viewing standpoint. MSU looked very impressive in the first half, building as much as a 16-pt lead over the quasi-home team, but Mizzou looked equally as impressive in the second half as they charged back into the game, using the 40MoH pressure defense to fluster the Spartans on numerous possessions. MSU’s Raymar Morgan had a perfect night (19 pts on 6-6 FG and 6-6 FT), but it was Drew Neitzel (21 pts) and Goran Suton (17/8) who made the big plays late to secure the win for Tom Izzo’s team. We still think Indiana is the team to beat in the Big 10, but MSU can prove us wrong tomorrow night against UCLA. As for Missouri, we really like what Mike Anderson has already accomplished there – at any moment, we expect to see those twins he had at UAB throwing over-the-head passes 90 feet. The rebuild is over – Missouri could be an NCAA team this year.

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Maui Invitational. Four games, four ho-hummers. Oklahoma St. 83, LSU 77. We thought this would be a close game, and we were wrong, as OSU ran out to an 18-pt halftime lead before nearly blowing the whole thing down the stretch (LSU got within three at the 1:46 mark). OSU was led by James Anderson (25 pts) and Terrel Harris (24 pts), but neither team really impresses us. Where has Anthony Randolph (5/5/5 turnovers) gone? Marquette 74, Chaminade 63. Visions of Virginia ’83 were dancing in the heads of local fans as Chaminade hung with Marquette for much of this game, but Jerel McNeal and his 22 pts held off the upstarts in the last five minutes for the win. Duke 83, Princeton 61. A completely outclassed Princeton team was overwhelmed from the opening tip against Duke, falling behind 24-4 in the first seven minutes of the game. Kyle Singler continued his impressive November, tallying 21/12 in the blowout. Illinois 77, Arizona St. 54. The nightcap game started much the same way, as Illinois ran out to a 20-0 lead on Arizona St. before coasting the rest of the way. Illinois might be better than we thought, but frankly, we expected a better performance in the first game from Herb’s boys tonight. Oklahoma St. will play Marquette and Duke will play Illinois tomorrow. Our picks – Duke and Marquette.

Paradise Jammy. Baylor 62, Winthrop 54. Is Baylor a team on the rise in the Big 12? It would appear to be so after defeating Wichita St., Notre Dame and Winthrop in successive nights to win the Paradise Jam. We would have picked against Baylor in all three games. Georgia Tech 70, Notre Dame 69. The consolation game featured a three with two seconds remaining from Tech’s Matt Causey that gave the schizo Yellow Jackets the win. ND’s Luke Harangody had 22/11 in the loss.

The Atlantic Sun Strikes Again. Belmont 85, Alabama 83. Is Belmont winning on the road against a BCS team an upset anymore? No, especially against an SEC team these days, as the suckeastern conference has been taking it on the chin lately. Right now, who besides Tennessee (and maybe a very young Florida) looks worth a damn? As for this game, a review of the stats shows that both teams played pretty well – it was just that Belmont converted more plays down the stretch. Specifically, Justin Hare dropped a pullup J from the foul line with 2.2 seconds remaining to put the Bruins up two points. What’s amazing about this is that Hare has achieved Jordanesque end-of-game status at Belmont, as this was the thirteenth time he had hit a shot to win or send a game into OT in his career. Bama’s Richard Hendrix went for 25/10 in the losing effort.

On Tap Today (all times EST). The Maui continues, and the Game of the Year (so far) takes place in KC at the CBE.

  • Indiana (-21.5) v. UNC-Wilmington 7pm – the only reason we wish we had the Big Ten channel is E-Giddy.
  • Marquette (-3) v. Oklahoma St. (ESPN) 7pm – we have no idea what will happen in this game, sorry.
  • Connecticut (NL) v. Gardner-Webb (ESPN FC) 7:30pm – didn’t we just do this?
  • Tennessee (-22.5) v. Middle Tennessee St. (ESPN FC) 7:30pm – will Lofton wake up this season?
  • Maryland v. Missouri (-5.5) (ESPN2) 7:45pm – this should be an exciting, uptempo game.
  • Florida (NL) v. North Florida (ESPN FC) 8pm – when does Florida play a road game again – January?
  • Vanderbilt (-14) v. Valparaiso 8pm – the way SEC teams have been falling…
  • Duke (-7) v. Illinois (ESPN) 9:30pm – Illinois has the inside play to exploit Duke, but whither their guards?
  • UCLA (-3.5) v. Michigan St. (ESPN2) 10pm – blood, guts, and glory. This will be a slugfest.
  • Oregon (-5) v. St. Mary’s (ESPNU) 10pm – upset alert! SMC is legit, but Oregon has looked fantastic thus far. How will the Ducks fare in their first road test?
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