Boom Goes The Dynamite: ESPN’s 24 Hours Of Hoops Marathon 2010

Posted by jstevrtc on November 15th, 2010

PUT. THAT COFFEE. DOWN.

For the third year in a row, ESPN is bringing us what we consider one of the great television events on the sports television calendar, the 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon. That means that for the third year in a row, I’ll be live-blogging the whole thing from start to finish — and this year, we’re climbing this hoops blogger’s Everest without supplemental oxygen. That is to say…I’m going caffeine-free. More importantly, here is the schedule of games for this year’s marathon (all times Eastern):

  • 12:00 midnight — Miami (FL) at Memphis (ESPN)
  • 2:00 am — St. John’s at St. Mary’s (ESPN)
  • 4:00 am — Central Michigan at Hawaii (ESPN)
  • 6:00 am — Stony Brook at Monmouth (ESPN)
  • 8:00 am — Robert Morris at Kent State (ESPN)
  • 10:00 am — Northeastern at Southern Illinois (ESPN)
  • 12 noon — Oral Roberts at Tulsa (ESPN)
  • 2:00 pm — La Salle at Baylor (ESPN)
  • 4:00 pm — Virginia Tech at Kansas State (ESPN)
  • 5:30 pm — Marist at Villanova (ESPNU)
  • 6:00 pm — Ohio State at Florida (ESPN)
  • 7:30 pm — Miami (OH) at Duke (ESPNU)
  • 8:00 pm — Butler at Louisville (ESPN)
  • 9:30 pm — Belmont at Tennessee (ESPNU)
  • 10:00 pm — South Carolina at Michigan State (ESPN)
  • 11:00 pm — San Diego State at Gonzaga (ESPN2)
  • 11:30 pm — Pacific at UCLA (ESPNU)

The first attempt at this resulted in some hallucinations and arrhythmias as the hour got late (I had been up for 16 hours before starting the live blog) and I required a few caffeine-laden beverages. Last year, we had a technical glitch that kept us on our toes, but the live blog survived. This time, to raise the standard yet again, I’ll be sans caffeine. I know that without a webcam (we’re not that kind of site) you have no reason to believe that I’m not pounding sodas and cappuccinos and Five Hour Energy drinks by the blender-full. Since I believe RTC is the only site that’s done this all three years, well…you’ll just have to trust me. After two years, I think our relationship is in that kind of place. I hope you’ll join us right here (the live blog will continue in this post) a few minutes before midnight. Now, for my pre-live-blog meal. How’s a little turkey and wine sound?

11:47 PM Monday — Here we go. The high-def at the RTC Southern Compound is rockin’. We’ve checked the router and the internet connection to the building (which bit us in zee buttocks last year), and it appears solid. The football game is all but over (as it has been since halftime). Let’s go.

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Starting Tomorrow, We’re Talkin’ About Practices

Posted by jstevrtc on October 14th, 2010

Fall is the most appropriately named season. It is called that because the sun is falling below the celestial equator, for you amateur astronomers out there, but poets and writers far better than this one have described so many other reasons throughout time to illustrate why fall is known as the “season of descent”  — the decreasing number of daylight hours, the leaves, the mercury in your thermometer, the amount of filler material on SportsCenter. Of the few things that do indeed rise at this time of year, one of them has become one of surest signs that fall has arrived…

When the Tents Sprout in Lexington for Big Blue Madness Tickets, You Know That Fall Is Here.

True, in the Driesellian sense, nobody has true “Midnight Madness” anymore. And there’s so much more interaction now between coaches and players that happens prior to that circled mid-October day where once none was allowed. It doesn’t matter, because the psychosis to which college basketball aficionados across the nation willingly give in is real, and it arrives tomorrow.

That’s right, tomorrow. A big black “x” in the October 15th square on your wall calendar means that hoopheads are celebrating their own national holiday, which, inasmuch as it isn’t real Midnight Madness, we’ll call the First Official Day of Practice (FODP). Like it or not, the NCAA still calls the shots, and if they say that that particular day is open season for full-squad, you-can-use-a-ball workouts to begin, then celebrate we will, for the season is short but sweet for certain (apologies to Dave and the boys).

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“Friends Of Raftery” Would Require A Much Bigger Space

Posted by jstevrtc on October 7th, 2010

On October 25th, La Salle will have their annual open practice — their version of what used to be known around the nation as Midnight Madness, you could say — for fans, students, and pretty much anyone who would like an early peek at the Explorers. There’s even a reception afterward for La Salle alumni and supporters, according to the announcement of the event. The reception actually sounds cool, since it allows for the chance to interact with the players and coach Dr. John Giannini — and because the one and only Bill Raftery, an alum and a former player at the school, will be speaking at the event and participating in a Q&A.

The Great Raf Has Doctorates From Several Schools In the Field of Awesomeness

We’re not posting this merely to promote the La Salle event in Tom Gola Arena to our Philly readers and Big 5 connoisseurs. It sounds like a fine time, indeed — you’ve got an open practice, the chance to hang with the players and coaches, Raftery, free food and drink — what’s not to like, you know? But the reason we dig this so much is because the event is being put on by a group called “The Friends of Bill Raftery Committee.”

If the real “Friends of Bill Raftery” were to show up, they’d need to clear out a couple of small towns to have this thing. Tom Gola Arena is a great place to see a game, but it seats 4,000. Bill Raftery has millions of friends. Because if you’re a fan of college basketball, you’re a friend of Bill Raftery. We wanted to say that we just love that there’s an organization called “The Friends of Bill Raftery.” We want to join it.

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24 Great Things About Watching ESPN’s 24 Hour Hoops Marathon

Posted by jstevrtc on August 18th, 2010

One of the first things I did on this website upon debuting two years ago was live blog ESPN’s first 24-hour college hoops marathon from start to finish.  You know how it is. You’re the new guy, you want to impress your co-bloggers, and all that.  I volunteered for the job, thinking I’d earn the respect of my RTC-mates and perhaps bring a few new visitors to the site. I assumed the novelty of it (it wasn’t that novel) would, in the same way that circus-goers stroll by the exhibition of freaks, bring a few people by to check in on the weirdo who was staying up and live blogging the whole thing.  I thought it turned out great, especially for a guy’s first time.  I had been awake for 16 hours before it started, too, so there were a few palpitations and many hallucinations by the time it was over, but I was proud. And as I was doing it, I was convinced that the combination of my astute basketball observations with my razor-sharp pop culture references would make this site a household name and propel us into the very heart of the American consciousness. Which, as we all now know, is precisely what happened.

Last year I did it again, despite the wagging fingers of my internist and a couple of specialists. We had some technical difficulties when the internet connection at the RTC Southern Compound tendered its resignation, but with some help of friends who subbed for me while I changed location, we got it done and I was able to finish strong.

Oh sweet, delicious caffeine -- the Marathon blogger's best friend.

We’re still in secret discussions as to what we’re going to do this year to celebrate the national holiday that is the 24-hour hoops marathon. I might insult my cardiovascular and central nervous systems for a third year in a row, or we might have something better in store this year. But because I’ve done it twice and not yet needed a trip to the ER, I — erroneously, in all likelihood — consider myself the authority on the subject.  To celebrate the release of this season’s Marathon schedule and the fact that it’s — *sigh* — only three short months away, here are my 24 favorite things about watching ESPN’s 24 Hour Hoops Marathon from beginning to end.

24. The fact that it’s actually about 26 hours of basketball, not 24. The last game starts at 11:30 PM ET, if it’s on time. Not only is it an “extra” game, but it’s a good time to summarize what you’ve seen during the day and pat yourself on the back.  Bonus hoops?  I’m not complaining, not even after 24 hours.

23. Seeing whether or not ESPNU’s Lowell Galindo will continue to go with the full Windsor knot in his tie.  Others in the sports media have worn it. Only one man has perfected it.  He’s made some appearances without it during the off-season, and stock markets all over the world plummeted each time.

22. The constant string of games is an instant reminder of those sweet days of Championship Week and the NCAA Tournament.

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A College Basketball Fan’s Guide To Watching The World Cup

Posted by jstevrtc on June 10th, 2010

In less than 48 hours, our televisions will be taken over by the biggest sporting event the world has to offer.  Your TweetDeck (or whatever Twitter application you use) will be lousy with friends, celebrities, and sportswriters tweeting about it.  Your Facebook friends will be centering their status updates about it.  And, for the next five weeks, when you walk into your favorite sports bars, as you peer at the flat-screens you’ll notice an increased presence of a game to which you might not be accustomed.

It’s World Cup time.

Like the Olympics and the Fields Medal, this is an every-four-year event.  It pits nation against nation in the sport that still stirs up the most passion among its fans on a worldwide scale.  Imagine if we only got one NCAA Tournament every four years.  Well, this is the one summer in four that soccer (the word we’ll use for this article, though we’re aware that most of the world calls it football) lovers get to enjoy their chance to crown a champion.  If you follow RTC on Twitter (if you don’t, shame on you, and go click our logo at right), you’ve probably been impressed by our occasional tweet about other sports or even current events.  It’s not exactly a long limb we’d be going out on for us to assume that if you’re a college basketball fan, you’ve probably got an interest in other sports, too — though international soccer might not be one of them.

Want to talk to her? Know your World Cup. Yeah, we thought that'd keep you reading.

Worry not, our fellow college hoopheads.  We’ve got you covered.  We want you to be able to hang in those conversations at those sports pubs.  We want you to be able to approach that lovely blonde bespectacled German girl wearing her Deutschland jersey in the supermarket (this actually happened to us a week ago).  We want you to impress your friends with your world vision and increased overall sports knowledge.  You think those kids in the stands at Duke or Xavier or Utah State are both well-prepared and berserk?  Wait until you hear the crowd at a World Cup soccer match.  We want you to enjoy that vital aspect of it all, as well.  We’re by no means experts on the subject, but to those ends, we give you — trumpet flourish — Rush The Court’s College Basketball Fan’s Guide to Watching the World Cup.

If this England squad is like Kentucky, then Wayne Rooney is their John Wall.

THE TEAMS

First, let’s list some of the participating  teams and define those squads in terms familiar to college hoop fans.  As you’ll see, by the way, national soccer teams have some of the best nicknames you’ll ever hear.  The best?  Cameroon.  The Indomitable Lions.  I mean, COME ON…

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Boom Goes The Dynamite: Second Round 03.20.10 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on March 20th, 2010

Now it’s a party.  The first round is done.  The next 48 hours of games will define which big-time teams can handle the pressure cooker that is the Big Dance, and it will identify the Cinderellas we’ll be talking about for years.  If you’re a double-digit seed, winning one game is nice, but you don’t receive your wicked stepsisters, pumpkin coach, and glass slipper until you at least reach the Sweet 16.  Oh, you’re a big-conference bigwig?  Then the next round is still probably less than what was expected of you.  People don’t remember Second Rounders.  They remember teams that make the Sweet 16 and beyond.  The first round was fun.  But it’s over.  Here are the teams vying for the Sweet 16 on Saturday:

  • #2 Villanova vs #10 St. Mary’s
  • #5 Butler vs #13 Murray State
  • #6 Tennessee vs #14 Ohio
  • #1 Kansas vs #9 Northern Iowa
  • #3 Baylor vs #11 Old Dominion
  • #3 New Mexico vs #11 Washington
  • #2 Kansas State vs #7 Brigham Young
  • #1 Kentucky vs #9 Wake Forest

We’ll be here all day, watching the games with you.  We hope you’ll join us, and we definitely look forward to seeing you in the comments section as we all climb in to ride this rollercoaster for the third time.  See you right here about fifteen minutes before the first tip!

12:55: Here we go!  For the Sweet 16, gentlemen…let’s play!  Some interesting matchups throughout the day.  Looking especially forward to Baylor vs ODU and KSU vs BYU.  To me those look like the more intriguing games.

1:05: St. Mary’s off to a quick start!  The inside battle between Omar Samhan and Mouphtaou Yarou and/or Maurice Sutton is gonna be fun to watch.  God, Samhan looks bigger every time I see him.

1:15: I guess Jay Wright’s “minor teaching point” is over.  Samhan could not have asked for a better start to this game.  Eight points on 4-6 shooting.  SMU does not look intimidated early.  I fact, Villanova still looks like they’re getting over whatever hangover they were nursing that caused them to almost get beaten by Bob Morris.

1:26: Samhan just rooked with that second foul.  I agree with Raftery.  That should have been a no-call.

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Checking in on… The Ivy League

Posted by rtmsf on February 26th, 2010

Dave Zeitlin is the RTC correspondent for the Ivy League.

The Not Ready For Prime Time Players

It probably started with the nationally acclaimed recruiting class. It picked up momentum in early December when Jeremy Lin and his 30 points nearly singlehandedly upset then-Big East powerhouse UConn.

It gathered steam with a victory against Boston College, followed soon by a seven-game winning streak. And it came to a boiling point with stories in Sports Illustrated and The Wall Street Journal prior to a showdown with Cornell.

We are talking about expectations…specifically those for the Harvard Crimson. The trouble with expectations is that they rarely turn out as you would hopefully…expect. And in this case, they exploded on Jan. 30 when Cornell administered an 86-50 dose of reality. In retrospect, perhaps we were all guilty of anointing Harvard as a serious Ivy threat too soon. After all, its roster is composed of — amazingly — seven sophomores and seven freshmen. And its schedule, aside from a brutal three-game stretch against UConn, B.C. and Georgetown in December, was ultra-soft. The combined records of the schools Harvard has beaten (not counting Division III neighbor MIT and considering vanquished Ivy foes only once) stands at 152-224, and that figure is somewhat softened by William & Mary at 19-8.

In fact, Harvard has beaten only THREE teams with a winning record — the aforementioned Tribe (thrashed in their BracketBuster game by Iona), BU, and GW. None of those inspire fear. Harvard has lost to the other five teams on their schedule with winning records — Army, UConn, Georgetown, Cornell (twice), and Princeton. The latter three games represent the defining moments of Harvard’s season. Given his coaching history, Tommy Amaker is an easy target. But with a youthful roster, a resurgent and rebuilt Princeton team, and a powerhouse up in Ithaca, it is clear that all those expectations were, indeed, unrealistic.

The true measure of this team will come in succeeding seasons. Will all those recruits stay happy and keep coming — knowing that, while they will receive a superb education, they will play in relative obscurity? Cornell loses much of its strength via graduation but Princeton is back to where Princeton expects (there’s that word again) to be and Penn may be on that road as well. Harvard may likely be the sexy Ivy pick for the 2010-11 season and with it will come more … expectations.

A Non-Ivy Footnote (or, Six Degrees of Separation from Craig Robinson)

It has been a month since President Barack Obama sat down with Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg at halftime of the Georgetown-Duke game. And it got me thinking. Now, nothing against Special K, who we remember as a dominant forward for THE Ohio State University and who we regard as one of the finest nuts-and-bolts analysts of the college game. But we lament the fact that CBS decided to break up the Lundquist/Bill Raftery team. Their rapport and repartee was delightful, sometimes irreverent, and always spontaneous and unrehearsed. It was definitely good for a few laughs, especially during the most one-sided games. Imagine if they were still together for Barack Banter at halftime. We would have found out if he had suggested to his campaign contributors to “send it in”; if he addressed Congress as a group or “mantaman”; or if he tucked his daughters in at night with a “kiiisss” and if he left Michelle with some of her “lingerie on the deck”; and most importantly, could he deal with some of the problems in the Middle East with “onions!”

And now on to the power rankings. With two weekends of Ivy play remaining, the top spots, while technically still up for grabs, are sorting themselves out. The middle is a muddle. And at the bottom, even Dartmouth broke into the win column. Here’s how we see it:

  1. Cornell (9-1, 23-4): The Big Red recovered from the Score Heard ‘Round the World (a 79-64 loss to Penn for those of you more interested in triple salchows) with three straight workmanlike victories. They took over undisputed possession of first place by beating Princeton at their own game — holding them to 45 points and 36% shooting. Then they shot the lights out versus Harvard (50% FG, 52% from three) and Dartmouth (57% FG, 60% from three) to finish their four-game road trip. A third straight trip to the Dance should be coming soon.
  2. Princeton (7-2, 16-7): The loss to Cornell at home was understandable. The loss to Brown at home was inexcusable — especially for a team that was still in contention for Ivy crown. They allowed the Bears to shoot 58% and score 57 points, five more than their NCAA-leading defensive scoring average. An opportunity for atonement arrives tonight when the Tigers travel to Ithaca — a game which represents the last chance for some down-to-the-wire Ivy excitement.
  3. Harvard (7-3, 18-6): Only a possible shot at second place (and perhaps some post-season-play in a tourney not named NCAA) likely awaits the Crimson thanks to that Feb. 19 loss to Cornell. That shot at the runner-up spot will come on March 6 when they close the season at Princeton. It is hard to imagine a likely 20-win season being disappointing (see above) for any Ivy team, but the goals were higher in Cambridge. The good news is that while Harvard will lose Jeremy Lin, they will return 15 out of the 18 players on their roster.
  4. Brown (4-6,10-17): OK, so, why the Bears to round out the top half of the conference and not Penn? Here’s the logic:  they have split games so head-to-head doesn’t apply. Brown has a better overall record, albeit against a weaker schedule. And while they both have games vs. Harvard and Cornell still remaining, Penn visits Princeton to end the season. So this ranking is a projection. Besides we applaud Brown’s rare (for any Ivy team over the past 30 years) southern double weekend-road wins vs. Penn and Princeton.
  5. Penn (4-5, 5-18): This could have been a resurgence, redemption, replacement (as in coaching) and an all-is right-with-the-world paragraph. Instead, the postgame euphoria that was evident after the Doug Gottllieb hyperbole win versus Cornell was followed by three straight home losses. With road contests against Cornell and Princeton sandwiched around a home date with Harvard, the hopes for a .500 conference record look bleak — but with almost everyone returning next season, more Palestra magic will be back again soon.
  6. Yale (4-6, 10-17): The Elis have exactly the same record as Brown and a better overall record than Penn. But they are kind of like 2009 football Giants — they get their wins against the teams they are supposed to beat. Their only wins in their last seven games have come at the expense of bottom-feeders Columbia and Dartmouth. And their lost loss to Penn definitively relegated them the sixth spot in the power rankings.
  7. Columbia (3-7, 9-15): The disappointing Lions appear to have a firm grasp of seventh place. A road win at the Palestra (thanks to Niko Scott’s 29 points and an amazing seven 3-pointers) is the only thing that has kept Columbia from a five-game losing streak. They would need to win their last four games (unlikely) to keep Coach Joe Jones’ string of .500 conference seasons intact.
  8. Dartmouth (1-9, 5-19): A victory on Feb. 19 vs. Columbia averted a winless conference season for the Big Green. The good news is that they have actually had at least two players in double figures in their last three games — led by junior guard Ronnie Dixon with 46 points during that span. The glass half full approach in Hanover (for a team that ranks 326 out of 347 in RPI) has to be that five out of the top six scorers return. Come to think of it, that may be the glass half empty approach as well.
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Boom Goes The Dynamite: 1.16.10 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on January 16th, 2010

WOW.  284 of the 345 Division I college basketball teams are in action on Saturday, and an inordinate number of those games are being broadcast on TV somewhere.  We all know what happened last week — an upset-lover’s dream, with a wave of surprising results that started about halfway through the day and kept rolling through Sunday night.  And then we had the equally compelling performances by Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds on Monday night and the Robbie Hummel/Evan Turner show on Tuesday.  What will this weekend bring?  If you check the schedule, many of these match-ups are pretty intriguing, with quite a few highly-ranked teams heading into the home lairs of some squads that really need wins (Purdue at Northwestern comes to mind, where we’ll be courtside with RTC Live).  There are some excellent early games of which we’ll be keeping track, starting off with an incredible (not to mention VITAL for both teams) A-10 game involving Dayton at Xavier at 11 AM ET.  How about a little bit of #5 Syracuse visiting #9 West Virginia at noon?  Maybe you’d prefer a couple of angry ACC teams coming off of losses with #18 Georgia Tech traveling to Chapel Hill to say howdy to #13 North Carolina at 2 PM ET?  Well, whatever hoops we can find (and as I say, it is everywhere this weekend), we’ll be live-blogging it here for most of the day, not to mention we have two OTHER RTC Lives we have in store in addition to the aforementioned Purdue/Northwestern: Arizona at Oregon at 4:30 PM ET, and Portland at Saint Mary’s at 10 PM ET.  We’ll be here starting at about 11 AM for the first game, so get that refresh-button finger warmed up and join us — and better yet, let us know what you’re watching and what’s on your mind.  See you in a bit!

11:00: So here we go with Dayton at Xavier.  What a rivalry, and what a way to start the day!  This is something like the 4,286th meeting between these two schools (OK, actually 115th, I think).  Both teams are currently undefeated in the A-10, and this one would REALLY look good on the ol’ NCAA Tournament resume’.

11:10: I’m sitting here wondering what sort of high-flying exploits Dayton’s Chris Wright will have on display.  It’s also fun to watch Dayton coach Brian Gregory on the sideline; he’s a high-energy guy, not that Chris Mack’s not.  Gregory is one of those coaches where, if you’re just talking basketball with him, you want to ask him, “Hey, are there some lines I can run for you?  Could I do a couple of miles out on the track?”  In other words, he’s a good motivator.

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A Rush The Court Christmas List

Posted by jstevrtc on December 24th, 2009

As if we weren’t already immature enough here at RTC, this season we figured we’d regress further into our childhood years and come up with a Christmas list, each participant naming one or two things we’d like for ourselves and/or the game of college basketball.  As you can see, the answers ranged from the practical to the impossible, the civil to the…well, hostile.  Above all, we hope that you, our faithful readers, will have a happy, healthy, hoop-filled holiday season.  Enjoy the list, and thanks for being here.

Zeitlin totally owns this tie. No need to get it for him.

rtmsf, RTC founder/editor/contributor:

All I want for Christmas this year is for a titanium-based super extra force field with double-secret password protection to be built on, around, above and under the current NCAA Tournament format.  Seriously, I want this thing to be more hermetically sealed than Tiger Woods’ brand-new Swiss bank accounts or Jerry Jones’ new face.  Please, Santa, no matter what the rest of these guys ask for — the new rear spoiler for nvr1983, a clue with the ladies for Stevens, that ridiculous jumpsuit for Hayes, and whatever Penn nonsense Zeitlin wants this year — just throw away their lists.   Please.  The single most important thing you’ll find on anyone’s list this year is mine (ok, I say that every year, but I mean it this time).  The possibility that some television money-men and NCAA decisionmakers long on greed but short on perspective and common sense support the idea of expanding the single most exciting and grand spectacle in all of sports to 96 teams should appall your jolly sensibilities.  If you can make this happen, Santa, I promise to be good all year round; I’ll even send in that cash pledge this year I keep promising to do but never do, I swear.   Thanks.

–Signed, 65 is Enough.

Hands OFF.

nvr1983, RTC  editor/contributor:

  1. The NCAA finally gets a sense of reality and actually go after some big name programs instead of focusing on the relatively little guys.  Sure, Memphis and Renardo Sidney were involved in some shady dealings, but was it any worse than what USC has done over the past decade?
  2. Have ESPN get ESPNU on every major cable provider or at least put those games on ESPN360.com
  3. Go back to 64 teams.  Forget this talk about 96 teams.  I don’t even want the 65th team.  The play-in game has been a joke for years and everybody knows it.  It cheapens the tournament by making the official start of the tournament a game that even die-hard fans don’t care about.
  4. Someone needs to fix this one-and-done rule.  I love watching these guys—Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, and John Wall—play, but I know that I will never get to see them mature in the college setting. Either make them stay 4 years or let them enter the draft right out of high school.
  5. Fire the guy running the clock at Hinkle.  Somebody has to get some coal this Christmas…

Here's your 1.3 seconds.

John Stevens, RTC editor/contributor:

I can’t lie, there are some things I want for the other guys.  Heck, this is the giving season, right?  I’d like nvr to remember how to sleep, since he rarely gets to.  I think it’d be nice if rtmsf’s, er, “rash” finally cleared up.  And yeah, there are some things I’d like for myself.  Michelle Beadle’s phone number.  Fran Fraschilla’s tweeting abilities.  But those are things I’d rather earn of my own efforts.  As far as gifts that revolve around college hoops, there’s just no way I can limit it to one thing.  Yes, I’m that selfish.  But I think I want things that everyone wants, so I’m willing to share.  I’d like Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery to be the implied #1 announcing crew for any weekend CBS game, even though I still love and respect Enberg, Lundquist, Elmore, Bilas, et al.  I’d like fewer TV timeouts.  I’d like the NCAA Tournament to be freaking left alone.  But most of all, what I want is for the rest of the season to be free of major injuries.  The Evan Turner fall was scary and he’s lucky it wasn’t worse than just a couple of fractured transverse processes.  After Derrick Roland broke his leg last night I went outside and sat in my car for half an hour just to avoid the television.  That’s gotta be it for the gruesome injuries.  I don’t want to watch Kansas or Kentucky or Duke or Texas or anyone come tournament time and think, “That’s not the same team, compared to when they had (x).”  It’s been too fun of a season so far to have some team’s chances ruined by a misstep or a freak accident.

"Rise and FIRE...." "ONIONS, Mr. Johnson!!" It has to happen.

Zach Hayes, RTC Bracketologist-in-Residence:

This one might cause some controversy, but I’d ask Santa for some duct tape for Dick Vitale.  Watching the Texas-UNC game on Saturday sent me over the edge.  His shameless self-promotion and constant hyperbole is incredibly irritating and the man fails to make one cogent basketball point from an analytical perspective the entire telecast.  His quirks and habits get extremely tiresome by December.  While others like Bill Raftery have their fun, they bring to the broadcast a true sense of the intricacies of basketball to further my understanding of the sport.  Jay Bilas is constantly providing enlightening analysis and former coaches like Bob Knight and Steve Lavin are tremendous.  Yet ESPN keeps giving us Dick Vitale in the biggest games so he can yell things like “I’ll tell you, Ed Davis has talent!” and “go onto dickvitale.com for my freshman of the year, coach of the year, fans of the year…”  It’s enough.  Santa, send me some duct tape so I never have to hear that old man screaming again.

We'll go ahead and cancel that interview request...

Dave Zeitlin, RTC Ivy League Correspondent and feature writer for Backdoor Cuts:

What I really want for the holidays is for Penn to beat Duke on New Year’s Eve.  But since the odds of that happening are about as slim as Isiah Thomas doing one good thing in his life, I have another wish.  I want big-conference coaches to stop whining about tournament expansion.  I mean, really?  Everyone knows college football is a joke because of the BCS, but let’s not turn college basketball into a joke on the other end of the spectrum by completely diluting the regular season.  Yes, I like the idea of more mid-major teams getting berths, which would be a side benefit to tournament expansion.  But here’s a better solution for that:  limit the number of berths for big-conference teams.  How about you have to have a .500 record in the conference and finish in the top half of your league to be eligible?  I’m tired of the sense of entitlement some of these coaches have.  You have a whole season AND a conference tournament to be one of the 65 teams to make the Big Dance — that should be enough.  Most of these guys should take a lesson from Bill Carmody, who in nine seasons at Northwestern has never guided the Wildcats to the NCAA touranament.  Still, he is against expansion, saying it would make every game a little less meaningful.  Merry Christmas, Bill.  I like you even though you coached at Princeton.

(credit: palestra.net)

Mr. Zeitlin declines. But gives credit where it's due.

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Join Us For A Little Midnight Madness BGTD…

Posted by jstevrtc on October 15th, 2009

BOOMEd. Note – for the entire BGTD liveblog, click here.  And for the Midnight Madness wrapup, click here.

What: Boom Goes the Dynamite – Midnight Madness Edition

When:  Friday, October 16 @ 8:45 pm ET

Where:  Your couch and ours

Why:  Because you’re just as nutty as we are to spend an entire Friday night watching glorified practice sessions

If you’re a frequent visitor here at RTC you’ve probably seen what we do on weekends during the season, meaning our live-blogging during TV game broadcasts that we call Boom Goes The Dynamite (and if you’re the one person who still doesn’t understand that reference, get yourself over to here).  We do this because not only do we love watching college basketball until our faces are numb, but we dig the comments of people who are sitting there on their couches watching right along with us and the in-game discussion it generates.  In my view, it’s one of the best things we do here.  As you probably know, even though it starts at 6pm in some places and most places don’t have the midnight start time any more, Midnight Madness is this Friday night; our beloved countdown clock up in the right hand corner of the screen will hit all-zeroes, and many schools will be having some sort of event to celebrate the first official practice of the new college basketball season.  ESPN and ESPN-U are sending analysts to nine different schools (specifically Connecticut, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Washington, Michigan State and North Dakota State) and will be showing some of the festivities at those venues from 9pm to 1am ET on ESPN-U.  ESPN will be simulcasting right along with them from 11:30pm to midnight.  By the way, Bill Raftery’s going to be one of the guys at Georgetown, which means we get an early dose of “Onions!!” and “A little lingerie!!”  And I say thank God for it.

Our first Boom Goes The Dynamite of the year will take place this Friday night during the Midnight Madness coverage.  I’m John Stevens, one of the editors here at RTC, and with some behind-the-scenes help from one or two of my RTC compatriots, I’ll be live-blogging during the ESPN-U broadcast, starting around 8:45pm ET and going all the way through 1am.  We’ll be putting up our own thoughts on what we’re seeing and of course your comments as well, but we’ll also be putting up video footage as available, tweets from people who are at the Madnesses watching live, takes from discussion forums, and so on.  So if you’re at home watching the broadcast, tune us in as well and get ready to hit the refresh button like a meth-addicted rat in a science experiment.  We’ll be waiting.

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The Hypocrisy of ESPN

Posted by nvr1983 on July 23rd, 2009

Before I get started, I want to reiterate our stance against the scumbags who surreptitiously videotaped Erin Andrews in the clips that apparently came out almost 4 months ago and somehow remained unknown before exploding on the Internet one week ago. . .

As you may know by now the past week has been a particularly trying one for the sports media overlords in Bristol as they have been hit by the aforementioned peephole video scandal, which their own sister network claims might have been an inside job [Ed. Note: Can ESPN sue its parent company?],  and the Ben Roethlisberger fiasco where they waited several days to announce the news that one of the most recognizable athletes in America had a sexual assault charge filed against him. Perhaps the most interesting story out of Bristol this week was that ESPN had decided to blacklist all New York Post staff members from appearing on any ESPN or any of their outlets after the Post ran screencaps of the infamous videos that left little to the imagination. On a basic visceral level, most people would agree to ESPN’s decision as they would  be disgusted by the decision of the Post brain trust to run the screencaps.

hypocrisy meter

The situation becomes a little more dicey when 2 other major media outlets (CBS and FOX News) decided to show the actual clips on their news broadcasts. If the front office people at ESPN actually had a policy or stance regarding the use of these illegally filmed clips, they should have taken a similar stance against CBS and FOX staff members. This raises an interesting question: Why did ESPN single out the New York Post? While some may argue that it was the way the Post utilized the images, we find that rather hard to believe. Although CBS and FOX were not as sensational in their presentation of the clips as the Post was they are in fact doing the same thing–using the illegal footage to try and further their story. For our money, there is a simple answer as to why ESPN singled out the Post staff members for their blacklist–because they can.

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Villanova and Pittsburgh put the madness back in March Madness

Posted by nvr1983 on March 29th, 2009

After nearly 10 days of college basketball critics bemoaning the lack of excitement in this year’s edition of March Madness, two of the Big East’s best teams answered all of those critics by submitting an all-time classic. After one of the strangest 10 seconds you will ever see, Scottie Reynolds made an end-to-end run that might replace the Danny Ainge and Tyus Edney versions on NCAA Tournament highlight reels from now on as this was on a much bigger stage with a trip to the Final 4 on the line. Even with Reynolds miracle, Pittsburgh still had its shot, but a 75-foot desperation heave by Levance Fields was off-target and the Villanova fans which filled TD BankNorth had their biggest moment since 1985 when Rollie Massimino, who attended the games in Boston, guided the Wildcats to their only national championship.

It was a game that showed off everything that the Big East was this year: tough, physical, surprisingly high-scoring, and always entertaining. The Wildcats came out of the gates strong and held a 22-12 lead with 9:27 left before the #1 seeded Panthers joined the fight. Relying on its three stars (DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, and Fields), Jamie Dixon‘s squad cut the lead to 2 with an 8-0 spurt in 1:09. From that point forward, the two team traded punches like world-class heavyweights (back when being a heavyweight actually meant something) as neither team was able to stretch their lead beyond 5 points. Villanova relied on a balanced attack (Dwayne Anderson with 17 points, Reynolds with 15 points, Dante Cunningham with 14 points, and Shane Clark with 11 points) while Pittsburgh relied heavily on its two 1st team All-Big East performers (Young with 28 points and 7 rebounds and Blair with 20 points ant 10 rebounds) to keep it in the game.

A tight game throughout. . .

A tight game throughout. . .

After trading haymakers for nearly 37 minutes without either team achieving any separation, Pittsburgh appeared to have a chance to do so coming out of a Villanova timeout with a 4-point lead and the ball out of bounds with 3:05 left.  Instead, that’s just when the madness started. Jermaine Dixon, who had hit a tough jumper just moments earlier  (with a shot that was reminiscent of one that his brother Maryland star Juan Dixon used to hit not too many years ago) to give the Panthers the lead, had the ball stolen from him and in an attempt to recover fouled Dwyane Anderson for the conventional 3-point play. A Sam Young turnover and a Corey Fisher lay-up later, the Wildcats had the lead with 2:16 left, but Fields hit a pair of free throws to give the Panthers the lead back. The Wildcats showed their mettle by scoring the next 5 points to take a 4-point lead with 47 seconds left. As he has done all night long, Young provided the answer for the Panthers with a clutch 3-pointer (“Onions!” as Bill Raftery would say) with 40 seconds left to cut the lead back to 1. A pair of Fisher free throws and a Reggie Redding free throw allowed the Wildcats to stretch the lead back to 4 with 20 seconds left.

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