Set Your Tivo: 02.07.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on February 7th, 2011

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

Two of the top teams in the country are each without a key player tonight, plus one is on the road. How will the personnel losses affect these two deep teams? All rankings from RTC and all times Eastern.

#4 Pittsburgh @ West Virginia – 7 pm on ESPN (****)

The Panthers Will Have To Learn to Live Without Gibbs For a While

The Backyard Brawl, hoops edition, tips off for the 181st time tonight in Morgantown with West Virginia owning a 95-85 series edge. However, Pittsburgh has won seven of the last ten meetings with Jamie Dixon’s program reloading every year of late. This evening the Panthers will be without a key cog in their offense, itself ranked #2 in efficiency. Ashton Gibbs, Pitt’s leading scorer and best three point shooter, is out with a knee injury and will miss up to two weeks. That means Travon Woodall will start at the point guard position and the Panthers’ outstanding depth will be put to the test.

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Set Your Tivo: 01.31.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on January 31st, 2011

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

It’s another “Big Monday” as two Big East powers collide, fresh off huge road wins on Saturday. The nightcap features two of the better teams in the Big 12 getting together for the second time this year in a good old fashioned Texas rodeo. All rankings from RTC and all times Eastern.

Louisville @ #21 Georgetown – 7 pm on ESPN (****)

These teams are coming off very successful weeks, each capping theirs with big time road wins, with Louisville winning at Connecticut and Georgetown coming away victorious at Villanova. This game should feature a lot of target practice from deep, as the Cardinals are highly dependent on the triple while the Hoyas have three players who can get hot from long range at any time. Austin Freeman has been lately, and is the reason why Georgetown has turned their season around by winning four straight games. During their three game losing streak at the beginning of the month, Freeman was averaging only 10 PPG. Over the last four games, he’s averaged 24 PPG and it’s no coincidence that Georgetown has won all four. The senior guard had 30 points at Villanova on Saturday, and Louisville must keep him in check tonight if they hope to tack on another solid road win.

No Time To Celebrate Recent Successes For JT3 and the Hoyas

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Set Your Tivo: 01.24.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on January 24th, 2011

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

After a thrilling Saturday, the attention turns back to the Big East and Big 12 on ESPN’s Big Monday. Can Notre Dame pick up a much needed road win? Will either Baylor or Kansas State save their season (at least temporarily) with a win? All rankings from RTC and all times eastern.

#16 Notre Dame @ #5 Pittsburgh – 7 pm on ESPN (****)

The big story in this game will be whether or not Notre Dame can make a statement by finally picking up a road win. The Fighting Irish are 0-3 in true road games this season, but they did win the Old Spice Classic on a neutral floor back in November. Winning at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh is about as difficult as it gets, a place where the Panthers have lost only 11 times since the building opened at the start of the 2002-03 season. Notre Dame has some momentum having won two straight in South Bend, including a nice comeback win against Marquette on Saturday. As for Pittsburgh, they have won nine straight games and built a resume that would earn a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament if the season ended today.

Dixon Has His Panthers On Track To Earn a #1 Seed

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Set Your Tivo: 01.17.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on January 17th, 2011

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

The first official ESPN Big Monday of the season tips off with two top ten clashes in the Big East and a couple of nice matchups from the Big 12. Park yourself on the couch from 3:30 until about 11:30 and you’ll be just fine. All rankings from RTC and all times eastern.

#7 Villanova @ #9 Connecticut – 3:30 pm on ESPN (*****)

Jay Wright's Name Belongs in Any Conversation About Elite Active College Coaches

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Morning Five: 09.17.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 17th, 2010

  1. Andy Katz reported that Tennessee has its hands somewhat constricted by the clauses in Bruce Pearl’s contract that protects him from termination short of an NCAA “finding” that he had committed a “significant” violation.  Given that the NCAA is currently in the early stages of its investigation of the UT basketball program, any such finding would not likely come until well into 2011; and even then, there would have to be a finding involving a “significant” violation.  It’s unclear whether hosting recruits at his home and later lying about it rises to that standard of significance, but the key point here is that even if UT wanted to get rid of Pearl, they would have a difficult time doing so presently.  Interesting wrinkle unearthed by Katz, there.
  2. Seth Greenberg’s Virginia Tech Hokies are prepping for what could possibly their best season in his tenure there, but they received bad news yesterday when it was learned that sixth man JT Thompson had torn his ACL and will miss the entire season with that injury.  The senior forward averaged 7/5 last season as the first player off the bench, and he was expected to provide strong front court depth again this year.  With Malcolm Delaney, Dorenzo Hudson and Jeff Allen returning, Tech still has plenty of talent, but Thompson will surely be missed in the wars of the ACC this winter.
  3. Luke Winn checks in with a piece examining the twelve BCS conference coaching changes during the offseason, evaluating which coaches are stepping into the most favorable and least favorable situations.  We couldn’t agree more with his assessment that Oliver Purnell is walking into a nightmarish scene at DePaul (other than the hefty paycheck, of course).  We seriously doubt that will ever work out for anyone involved.
  4. Is John Calipari a good thing for college basketball in general?  Dan Wiederer writes that he’s not, essentially arguing that there’s too much nonsense, if not outright cheating, associated with the man.  And, the response.
  5. The Big East Conference and ESPN simultaneously announced the Big Monday matchups for the 2010-11 season, which means that we’re that much closer to actually watching some meaningful games again.  Officially, the first three games on the list below are not “Big Monday” games, but they’re Big East matchups on ESPN on Monday nights, so… whatever.  It’s difficult to say which teams will step up in the always-brutal Big East, but the Syracuse-Villanova game on February 21 looks mighty tasty.  Here’s the lineup:

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Big Monday: Nebraska and Colorado Who?

Posted by rtmsf on July 19th, 2010

It’s not like Nebraska and Colorado were going to be on anyone’s short list for prime-time basketball in the 2010-11 season anyway, but we were a little intrigued to see how the Big 12 might handle its two lame ducks this season as a part of ESPN’s annual Big Monday coverage.   Excluding the other three bottom-feeders from last season — Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Iowa State — the remaining seven Tories schools will be featured on the package, beginning on January 17′s MLK Day with a rare Big 12 double-header and continuing each following Monday through the last two months of the regular season.  Here’s the schedule (all times CDT):

A Sunflower State Sorta Winter (Again)

  • Jan. 17 – Kansas State @ Missouri – 4:30 pm
  • Jan. 17 - Kansas @ Baylor – 8:30 pm
  • Jan. 24 – Baylor @ Kansas State - 8 pm
  • Jan. 31 – Texas @ Texas A&M – 8 pm
  • Feb. 7 – Missouri @ Kansas - 8 pm
  • Feb. 14 - Kansas @ Kansas State – 8 pm
  • Feb. 21 – Oklahoma State @ Kansas – 8 pm
  • Feb. 28 – Kansas State @ Texas – 8 pm

For two schools who supposedly held no value to anyone in conference realignment-land, the good people in Bristol sure seem to think that they’re worth something.  Kansas and K-State are involved in no fewer than seven of the eight Big Monday contests next season, with the biggest one of course falling on Valentine’s Day between the two in Bramlage Coliseum.  We’ve said it before, but the Big 12 continues to be a loaded league, and there’s a slight but realistic possibility that if the Texas schools and Oklahoma State come on strong late next season that all eight of these games could involve ranked teams on both ends of the court.

It’s seeing stuff like this start to come out, though, that really makes us anxious for next season.  What game do you guys like best in this television lineup?     

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ESPN’s Huge Monday Schedule Released

Posted by rtmsf on September 10th, 2009

This really is an exciting time of year, as the incomprehensible puzzle that becomes the broadcast schedule for the 09-10 season comes together.  The Big East announced its half of the Big Monday slate for the upcoming season today to go along with the previously released Big 12 schedule.  Let’s take a look:

  • Jan. 11: Villanova @ Louisville; Oklahoma St. @ Oklahoma
  • Jan. 18: Syracuse @ Notre Dame; Texas @ Kansas St.
  • Jan. 25: Georgetown @ Syracuse; Missouri @ Kansas
  • Feb. 1: Connecticut @ Louisville; Texas @ Oklahoma St.
  • Feb. 8: Villanova @ West Virginia; Kansas @ Texas
  • Feb. 15: Connecticut @ Villanova; Kansas @ Texas A&M
  • Feb. 22: West Virginia @ Connecticut; Oklahoma @ Kansas
  • March 1: Georgetown @ West Virginia; Oklahoma @ Texas

big monday espn logo

Just looking at it briefly, there’s no question that the best night BY FAR is on Feb. 8 when the top two teams in the Big East meet up in Morgantown, followed next by two top five squads clashing in Austin.  Must-see tv that night.  Our second favorite night includes the rivalry games on Jan. 25, even though Syracuse and Missouri are facing a bit of a dropoff this year.  The only dog of the schedule could be Jan. 18, where Syracuse visits Notre Dame and Texas goes to Kansas St.  Nothing there really excites us.

What do you guys see with this schedule?

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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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ATB: Pitt Reasserts Itself and a Look Back to Saturday

Posted by rtmsf on January 19th, 2009

afterbuzzerBig Monday. After a weekend (well, Saturday) of good games, it was probably to be expected that tonight’s games were a couple of dogs.  Does anyone know what happened to the late game that used to be on Big Mondays?  A long time ago it was a Big West game, but in recent years it was the WCC (mostly Gonzaga).  Why did that go away?

  • Pittsburgh 78, Syracuse 60. This game nearly put us and everyone in the arena to sleep – it was vaguely reminiscent of the bad Big East of the 90s.  We guess this sometimes happens, especially considering both of these teams had intense games on Saturday (Pitt losing its #1 ranking to Louisville; Syracuse outshooting ND).  This was a bruiser of a game, and the Syracuse players made sure to spend a good chunk of each possession complaining to the refs.  DeJuan Blair had another dub-dub (20/12) with four offensive rebounds, and Sam Young dropped 19 of his 22 in the 2d half as Pitt pulled away.  Want further proof that this was an ugly game?  Syracuse’s Arinze Onuaku and Pitt’s Levance Fields combined to go 0-9 from the line tonight.
  • Kansas 73, Texas A&M 53. This game was over early and often.  Perhaps we were a little presumptuous in our talk last week about keeping an eye on Texas A&M.  In their last two games, the Aggies have looked spotty and inconsistent.  Granted they were playing Oklahoma and Kansas, but they’re definitely not in the top tier of the Big 12 this year – tonight, not a single Aggie player reached double figures.  KU ran out to a 16-4 lead behind Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, and never looked back.  Kansas isn’t being discussed very much this year, but Bill Self’s Jayhawks are still playing their trademark defense as they wait on their many freshmen and sophomores to come along.  They have a very good shot at starting the Big 12 slate at 12-0 (avoiding OU and Texas until their last four games), and they could become a trendy pick to make a sleeper run in March as the young players continue to improve.  Great sign, btw….

barack-chalk-jayhawk

Game of the Night. Boston U. 99, Stony Brook 97 (4OT). In a wild America East game tonight, BU and Stony Brook played an extra half of basketball before BU was finally able to get the win behind Corey Lowe’s seven points in the fourth overtime period.  John Holland of BU wins the Ironman award by playing all sixty minutes of the game.

bu-sb

Weekend Review. Here are some of our other thoughts from the weekend games.

  • No Way, Coach K. Coach K made some noise over the weekend in reference to how he believes the ACC is the toughest conference in America (over the Big East).  If you’re talking about the top three teams in each conference, sure, the ACC is probably slightly better.  Top four?  Nope.  Five?  Nope.  Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve?  Nope.  Of course, where the Big East falters is at its much-maligned bottom (which is why the Big East’s computer rankings aren’t as high as you might think).  Its bottom four teams are absolute garbage, but the bottom line for us is that there are nine teams that are Sweet 16-quality in the Big East, whereas there are four (maybe five) in the ACC.  The Big East is better.  Period.
  • Louisville is Either Really Good or Really Lucky. For the fifth time in the last six games, Louisville was in an all-out war until the very end of a game.  In all but the UNLV game, the Cards managed to hold on and get the win.  Is this a sign of a gritty team that knows how to make winning plays down the stretch; or is it more indicative of a team that plays hard but isn’t good enough to run away from all but the worst teams?  We’re not sure yet, but with upcoming road games at Rutgers and Syracuse this week, we think we’ll have a better idea as to if they’re truly legit or not.
  • We Can’t Wait Until Jan. 28. Wake and Duke are the two teams playing the best basketball in America right now.  Duke is working on all cylinders right now, with their extremely efficient defense conspiring with their multifaceted offensive attack to regularly put down opponents.  Case in point: Georgetown shot 51% in CIS on Saturday, and still never really had a chance to win that game.  We’re still not sure just how well a team of guards and swingmen will translate in March, but for now, it’s working.  Wake’s defense is even stronger than Duke’s, and when you watch their games, there are at least 2-3 times a game where your jaw hits the floor based on their athleticism and size.  The game next Wednesday will probably be #1 vs. #2, and we can’t wait for it.
  • Carolina Got its Mojo Back. If Carolina goes on a run over the next few weeks (and their schedule is favorable for the Heels to do so), everyone will point to the late first half/early second half run that Carolina made (behind Wayne Ellington’s ridiculous eight threes) as the turning point.  Ellington has been maddeningly inconsistent this season, but if the Heels have any plans to play in Detroit this April, he’s going to have to continue with the hot shooting to keep the middle open for Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson.   When he’s shooting well, Carolina is a much different team, one that few, if any, defenses in America can cover.
  • Mike Montgomery Still Welcome at Stanford (so long as he loses). Cal certainly isn’t as good as its record indicated, but the fast start that the Bears had made under Monty was a nice story through the first half of the season, which is why it was compelling when he returned to Maples Pavilion at Stanford as head man at the Cardinals’ archrival.  Stanford seemed to play a little harder, wanted it a little more, and was able to get the win, knocking Cal from the ranks of the Pac-10 unbeatens.  It’s notable that Stanford fans gave Montgomery a nice reception upon his introduction – that wouldn’t happen in the Big 10 or SEC.  No way, no how.
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