The Annotated Bill Walton: Another Stanford Collapse Edition

Posted by Brendan Brody on February 13th, 2014

We’re back, this time in Seattle, and Bill Walton and broadcasting straight-man Dave Pasch covered Stanford somehow finding a way to let Washington win in Seattle on Wednesday night. Things are a bit abbreviated in this edition, as the Syracuse/Pitt game prior to leaked into the start of this game. But let’s set the mood with the Grateful Dead’s sole performance at the Hec Edmundson Pavilion at the University of Washington on May 21, 1974. “Ship of Fools” is a fine place to start. The “Weather Report Suite” is mighty fine too, but if you want to just cut to the chase, jump ahead to “Playin’ in the Band,” the song that makes this show famous among Deadheads. You see, this epic meltdown checks in as the longest Playin’ – a Dead staple for, what, 24 years? – on the books at better than 46 minutes!

During Wednesday Night's Broadcast, Bill Walton Got To Sing the Praises Of Birthday-Boy Bill Russell

During Wednesday Night’s Broadcast, Bill Walton Got To Sing the Praises Of Birthday-Boy Bill Russell

First Half

Intro – On Syracuse: “Syracuse. Congratulations. Just doing so many wonderful things for this great game of college basketball, including keeping us all believing in what a team is all about. And they have so many weapons Syracuse and tonight they fought back against a really good Pittsburgh team. That was great.”

12:50 – “Don’t diss Harvard. They’ve got a $35 billion dollar endowment – which is less than Bill Gates’ personal net worth.”

Comment: Let’s not even bother to check this figures. Once you’re talking –illions with something besides an “m” in front, it may as well be imaginary.

12:38 – “John Gage, who’s from this area. He’s from Vashon Island just out in the middle of Puget Sound there, he takes the ferry back and forth all the time. Johnny Dawkins asked him to speak today here at practice because this is the last time he’s ever going to play a college basketball game in this city, which is basically his home town. His mom is here, his dad is here, his grandmother, his grandfather. His mom went to the University of Washington, right here. She’s a Husky, but it’s all about the blood.”

Comment: Walton’s love for meeting and talking about the players’ families has become a theme of the season.

John Gage Is The Latest Edition Of The Walton "Oh, Yeah, I Met His Family" Greatest Hits (John Bazemore, AP Photo)

John Gage Is The Latest Edition Of The Walton “Oh, Yeah, I Met His Family” Greatest Hits (John Bazemore, AP Photo)

11:44 – “This is the best stretch of basketball I’ve ever seen Desmond Simmons play. Ever. Dominant on the boards, setting screens, pulling it all together. Right now, the Huskies trying to wrap the trees in the Purple Haze of the Seattle brilliance.”

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Countdown to the Carrier Classic: The Odd Rivalry Between the Tar Heels and Spartans

Posted by KCarpenter on November 11th, 2011

For two teams that aren’t near each other, play in different conferences, and don’t have some sort of natural relationship to one another, it’s not an exaggeration to say that North Carolina and Michigan State have an intense and storied rivalry. It’s a rivalry that started out with an absolute bang.

Izzo & Williams Have Elevated This Odd Rivalry

In 1957, Michigan State had a breakthrough year with it’s first share of the Big Ten title and a run in the NCAA Tournament that took the Spartans to the Final Four. There, in the semifinals, the Spartans took on the undefeated Tar Heels in a triple overtime thriller that resulted in UNC eking out a 74-70 win. This led to a championship clash with an also-undefeated Wilt Chamberlain-led Kansas team that somehow also resulted in another triple overtime slugfest and a 54-53 North Carolina victory for Frank McGuire’s team. It was North Carolina’s first national championship. In a consolation game, Michigan State would go on to play the two-time defending champions, San Francisco, which was making its first Final Four run without the great Bill Russell.  With all the big names, undefeated teams, and pair of triple overtime games, it was undoubtedly one of the best Final Fours in history. It was also only the beginning of the Spartans’ rivalry with the Tar Heels.

Since that first fateful meeting in the 1957 Final Four, it seemed like these two teams were destined for postseason clashes.  On five separate occasions, the two have squared off in the NCAA Tournament, and, unfortunately, for the Spartans, each game served as a bitter reminder of ’57. What the ’98 and ’07 clashes lacked, the ’05 and ’09 matches made up for in terms of stakes and drama. The ’05 game was another Final Four bout that was chock full of exciting moments, while the ’09 championship tilt was a remarkable rematch between two teams that had played each other at Ford Field once already that season. Of course, the rematch turned out to be nearly identical to the regular season game and quickly turned into a UNC rout.

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Morning Five: 10.06.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 6th, 2011

  1. Is UCLA on the verge of being back?  Ben Howland rebuilt the west coast’s premier program in the mid-2000s with strong recruiting in his home state, culminating in three straight Final Four appearances from 2006-08.  But in the last few years, the talent pool in the Golden State has dropped a bit and Sean Miller at Arizona has aggressively entered the picture for the best of the rest, leaving Howland to look elsewhere to fill his roster.  With Kyle Anderson’s decision to leave New Jersey for the fairer weather of SoCal combined with the distinct possibility that UCLA will also pull #1 prospect Shabazz Muhammad out of Las Vegas, the Bruins program may be on the verge of re-joining the elite and doing it by recruiting as a nationally relevant program should — nationally.  Luke Winn examines this recent phenomenon in addition to NC State, Kentucky, Houston, and Providence’s recruiting prowess in a compelling analysis this week.
  2. Speaking of Anderson, the overall #4 player in the Class of 2012 according to RSCI, his high school coach, Bob Hurley, Sr., told Adam Zagoria recently that the 6’8″ guard might be the best player he’s ever had at powerhouse St. Anthony’s.  Hurley’s alumni include a number of high-profile prep players dating back to the 80s, so this is very high praise indeed.  He even goes so far to call Anderson a “modern-day Magic Johnson” with his ability to see the floor and direct his team from the perimeter with the size of a big man.  These sorts of comparisons almost always seem lacking in some way, but if Anderson can bring even a smidge of Showtime back to LA over at the new and improved Pauley Pavilion next season, Bruins fans will certainly let us know.
  3. In conference realignment’s worst kept secret, Missouri is prepared to accept an offer from an unstated conference to the south and east of its geographic base that may or may not start with the letter “S” and end with the letter “C.”  Like a jilted bridesmaid, Mizzou brass would have much rather received an offer from a certain midwestern conference (last year, this year, or any year), but such an offer does not appear to be forthcoming, so as a Missouri official put it on Wednesday, the S[...]C is “what’s left.”  Mike DeCourcy points out that even if Missouri ultimately joins that league, the conference could face a dilemma where its lack of a buyout could end up biting it if that other league comes calling.  Quite the chess game that is going on behind the scenes here, we imagine.
  4. As for the practical effects on Missouri’s presumed move, Kansas head coach Bill Self had quite a bit to say on the matter Wednesday.  He told the KC Star that he, and by proxy, Kansas fans, would hate to see the Border War basketball games between Missouri and KU come to an end.  “I don’t want them to leave. I think it’s too good. What we have, what we have going is one of the best five basketball rivalries in all of America, and I’d hate to see that go away.”  He went on to implicitly suggest that if Mizzou in fact leaves the Big 12, the resulting frayed relationship may in effect make it impossible for the schools to play each other again for a while.  It’s a well-taken point, actually, but unfortunately not one that schools seem to be giving much thought to these days.  Syracuse-Georgetown, Texas A&M-Texas, Syracuse-Connecticut… all traditional rivalries that arguably are finished for some time unless school administrators are more forgiving than we think they are.
  5. Hall of Famer Bill Russell filed a lawsuit in Oakland on Wednesday accusing the NCAA and EA of using his likeness without his consent or compensation.  Russell’s case joins former NPOY Ed O’Bannon’s in claiming that both parties violate antitrust laws by selling game footage and video games with players’ images as a material component of the content while getting nothing in return.  For a greater discussion of the legal doctrines and likely positions from both sides, click here, but numerous legal experts have stated that the NCAA and EA could face a disastrous financial burden here (possibly a ten figure judgment).  Russell provides another powerful name to add to this lawsuit as it winds its way through the courts.
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RTC Live: St. Mary’s @ San Francisco

Posted by rtmsf on January 8th, 2010

A little Friday night college hoops, anyone?  RTC Live will be visiting a historic old gym tonight in an effort to see all the crumbling old beauties before they disappear when we’ll be at the University of San Francisco’s War Memorial Gymnasium for a WCC battle between St. Mary’s and San Francisco.  Why is it historic?  Well, for you young’uns out there, USF may not be relevant these days, but in the mid-50s with a couple of players by the names of Bill Russell and KC Jones, they were pretty much ridiculous.  The Dons won the 1955 and 1956 NCAA titles including  a streak of 55 consecutive victories over that span.  Nowadays, things have changed, and USF has been relegated to a mid-major program with its ups and downs, but they’re usually good for an upset or two each year when a big-name comes to town and St. Mary’s just might fit the bill.  SMC comes into tonight’s game at 13-2 (vs. 5-10 for USF), and Randy Bennett’s team is once again eyeing the WCC championship that starts and ends in Spokane.  The Gaels can’t afford to drop games like this if they want to have a shot at the regular season championship.  The two players to watch are Omar Samhan (21/11/3 blks) of St. Mary’s, one of the most efficient players in America, and Dior Lowhorn (19/6) of San Francisco, the two-time defending conference scoring leader and two-time first-team all-conference performer in the WCC.  We hope you find some time tonight to join  us for a little hoops action from the middle of San Francisco. 

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RTC 2009-10 Impact Players – Northwest Region

Posted by rtmsf on November 3rd, 2009

impactplayers

Ed. Note: the previous posts in this series (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Atlantic South, Deep South, Mid-South, Lower Midwest, Upper Midwest, Mountains and Southwest) are located here.

It’s time for the tenth and final installment of our RTC 2009-10 Impact Players series, the group of cool, wet Pacific states known as the Northwest Region.   Each week we’ll pick a geographic area of the country and break down the five players who we feel will have the most impact on their teams (and by the transitive property, college basketball) this season.  Our criteria is once again subjective – there are so many good players in every region of the country that it’s difficult to narrow them down to only five  in each – but we feel at the end of this exercise that we’ll have discussed nearly every player of major impact in the nation.  Just to be fair and to make this not too high-major-centric, we’re also going to pick a mid-major impact player in each region as our sixth man.  We welcome you guys, our faithful and very knowledgeable readers, to critique us in the comments where we left players off.  The only request is that you provide an argument – why will your choice be more influential this season than those we chose?

Northwest Region (AK, WA, OR, northern CA)

nw_impact_players_v2

  • Matt Bouldin – G, Sr – Gonzaga.  As anyone in Spokane or among Gonzaga’s growing national fan base can tell you, most of the talk about Gonzaga this off-season has concerned itself with what the Bulldogs have lost.  Understandable, as the excellent Zag firm of Daye, Heytvelt, Pargo, and Downs are a tough bunch to replace, to say the least.  Consider also that Gonzaga is bringing in something like 37 freshmen onto this year’s squad, and one can easily conclude that Mark Few finds himself with his most interesting coaching predicament yet.  With such an inexperienced squad, what’s the one thing Few needs most?  A savvy, intelligent senior leader.  Enter Matt Bouldin, a 2010 preseason Wooden Award nominee to absolutely nobody’s surprise.  Check these stats from last year:  49.1% from the field, 42.3% from three-point range…but only 13.6 PPG.  Even with several other offensive options on his team, you’d expect a shooting guard with those percentages to average more than 13.6 PPG.  But, this means that when Bouldin does shoot, it’s usually a good shot in terms of shot selection, something coaches will tell you is one of the real keys to winning at this level, and an incredibly difficult thing to teach.  Mind you, those percentages are up from his sophomore season even though he registered more attempts as a junior.  Without a doubt, Bouldin’s touches and minutes will increase this season, despite leading last year’s team with 31.7 minutes a game.  He might need to get to the line a little more this year, but with his ability to take care of the ball, Coach Few should have no apprehension adding this to Bouldin’s responsibilites, if he chooses.  Bouldin’s 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio was third in the conference (behind two of his teammates!) and is exceptional for a shooting guard.  So go ahead, feel sorry for Gonzaga if you must.  We know what they lost, and we know Portland might be a fun pick in the WCC.  But with a coach like Few, a leader like Bouldin, and a non-conference pressure-cooker like the one Gonzaga has in store, if Portland so much as twitches, Gonzaga will take them down.  And look at their NCAA Tournament history.  Except for 2007, Gonzaga does best when they get a 10-12 seed and nobody’s looking.  Mark Few is spectacular when it comes to keeping numerous talented players happy and, perhaps better than anyone in the country, instilling in all of his players an immense pride in the name on the front of the jersey as compared with the one on the back.  When you watch Few’s Gonzaga teams, you can almost feel the love the players have for that uniform.  Matt Bouldin possesses this pride just as much as any of his Wooden-list predecessors like Morrison or Dickau.  We guarantee you — he will not go quietly.

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Big East: Blair = Thabeet?

Posted by nvr1983 on March 10th, 2009

Here at RTC headquarters, we are big fans of fundamentals and appreciate things that the casual fans doesn’t care about (like defense). Having said that, we were shocked when we received an e-mail from the Big East informing us of their men’s basketball awards. Before I go on my rant, let me start by saying that I agree with Greg Monroe of Georgetown winning “Rookie of the Year” and Jay Wright of Villanova winning “Coach of the Year”. Fans of other Big East teams might criticize Monroe for not leading his team to a better performance this year (possibly the biggest disappointment in the nation), but I don’t think you can blame a freshman/rookie for that. I would think the blame for Georgetown’s disappointing season should be placed elsewhere (like John Thompson III). As for Wright winning the “Coach of the Year” award I don’t think you can argue with that one too much. Sure they “only” finished 4th in the conference, but his team had much lower expectations this season than any of the teams that finished ahead of them. Coming into the year, the Wildcats were a borderline top 25 team (23rd in the AP and 25th in the ESPN/USA Today) with 6 teams ahead of them (including two teams–Georgetown and Notre Dame–that probably won’t even make the NCAA tournament). Wright guided a team with 2 “stars” (Dante Cunningham and Scottie Reynolds) to a #3/4 seed in the NCAA tournament and made them a darkhorse pick to sneak into the Final 4. And yes, I know they were helped by an unbalanced Big East schedule.

Big East Coaches Have Lost Their Minds - Blair is the Choice

Big East Coaches Have Lost Their Minds - Blair is the Choice

Ok, now that we have the simple stuff out of the way I can move onto my rant. . .

When the coaches were asked to vote for Big East “Player of the Year” (they were not allowed to vote for their own players), they ended up splitting the award between DeJuan Blair and Hasheem Thabeet. I’m willing to admit that they are both great players and have a legitimate shot at being 1st team All-Americans when the 47 different organizations reveal their lists in the next 3 weeks. Over the course of the season, they had fairly similar numbers too. Having said that, did the coaches not watch what happened when these two matched up? Here’s a quick summary of their numbers in those games:

Blair = 15 PPG (on 54% FG), 15.5 RPG, 1 APG (1.5 TO/G), 2 Blocks/G, and 2-0
Thabeet = 9.5 PPG (on 44% FG), 5.5 RPG, 0 APG (3 TO/G), 3.5 Blocks/G, and 0-2

While it can be argued that Blair’s numbers are somewhat inflated by his 22 point/23 rebound tour de force at UConn on February 16th and that Pittsburgh‘s win over UConn on Saturday was more the result of Sam Young playing like a man among boys than Blair having an exceptional game, I don’t think anybody who watched either game can argue that Blair dominated Thabeet. Furthermore, you need to ask yourself who means more to their team. Despite all of Jim Calhoun‘s attempts to compare Thabeet to Bill Russell (the ultimate winner in team sports), the Huskies are still a very good team when Thabeet gets in foul trouble as they were able to beat a #4 seed (Gonzaga) in what was essentially a road game with Thabeet fouling out as well as picking up some big wins when he was in foul trouble (Notre Dame, Providence, Michigan, and Villanova). Compare that with what happened to Pitt when Blair got in foul trouble: a couple of wins (FSU, Rutgers, and West Virginia), but also all 3 of their losses this year Providence, Louisville, and Villanova).

As for my closing argument, I’ll let Mr. Blair’s actions do the talking. . .

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 02.07.09 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on February 7th, 2009

dynamite1

We’re back with another thrilling edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite where we try to cover every single game on TV. Since we have only two people working on BGTD, we appreciate any reader tips on what games everyone should be watching since there are so many on TV and the Internet. For a rundown of the games today, check out today’s Set Your Tivos.

11:40 AM: ESPN GameDay is live from Spokane site of the Memphis-Gonzaga game tongiht at 9 PM. The crowd is fairly small, but I’ll give the Bulldog fans a break since it started at 8 AM local time on a Saturday morning at a school with just 4,515 undergraduates. I’m still waiting for a basketball GameDay to match a college football GameDay in terms of attendance and crazy fans. Looking at the schedule, I’m going to have go with February 21st when Oklahoma plays Texas in Austin, TX as the ESPN GameDay where the fans actually show up.

Noon: Some great work by the ESPN camera crew making Philadelphia look like something other a dump. The Syracuse-Villanova game should be one of the better ones today with both teams being in the 2nd tier in the Big East after UConn, Pittsburgh, and Louisville. The jury is still out on Marquette after last night’s debacle. Like we said watch the Jonny Flynn versus Scottie Reynolds match-up. The Arinze Onuaku injury could be big particularly with Dante Cunningham on the inside.

12:40 PM: Sorry for the delay in posting, but we’re having some problems with WordPress. Anyways, Villanova is absolutely destroying Syracuse right now. A basket by Cunningham stretches the lead to 21 at 36-15. It might be a while before we have another update on this game unless the Orange make a run. If the game continues like this, Jim Boeheim‘s squad will fall out of the top 25 leaving just 5 Big East teams in the rankings.

1:00 PM: The ESPN announcers just said that Donovan McNabb played some basketball when he was at Syracuse. Either he had some ridiculous intramural basketball career that I’m not aware of or they just assume that every mobile black QB was a two-sports star. I’m guessing it is the latter.

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NBA Draft Picks by School Part III

Posted by rtmsf on June 28th, 2007

Today is the final installment of the three-part series where we wanted to take a look at the NBA Draft broken down by school over the history of the modern NBA Draft (1949-2006). In Part I, we examined the raw numbers and made a rudimentary attempt at tying NBA talent to NCAA Tournament success. In Part II, we broke out the raw numbers by round selected, and then further sliced that data into an examination of “Top 10″ and “Top 5″ selections. Today we finish off the series by looking at draft selections by decade, hoping to see how things have trended over the entire era of the NBA Draft. See Table C below.

Table C. NBA Draft Picks by School & Decade (1949-2006)

Notes: this table is sorted by the Total Draftees column, and is limited to schools with a minimum of ten or more draft picks since 1949. The yellow shading refers to the highest number in that column.

NBA Draft Picks by Decade v.1

Observations:

Consistency. The first thing that struck us as interesting were the schools that were fairly consistent in providing draft picks throughout the NBA Draft era. UNC, Louisville, Kentucky and St. John’s do not lead any particular decade, but each school has provided at least two picks per decade throughout. UCLA and Indiana have been similarly consistent over the entire period, but each also led a decade in picks (UCLA during the 70s; Indiana during the 80s).

Less Volume, but Still Consistent. Look at Big 10 stalwarts Illinois and Minnesota, along with Villanova and Utah. We’ve been clowning the Gophers all week, but surprisingly, they’ve consistently produced between 2 to 7 picks per decade – guess it’s easy to forget about Willie Burton and Joel Przybilla. The same is true for the Illini (between 2 to 7 per decade), Villanova (2 to 5) and Utah (2 to 5). Maryland, Syracuse, Ohio St., Marquette, Wake Forest, Temple, USC, Stanford, Memphis, Tennessee, Oregon, BYU, Mississippi St., LaSalle and Bradley are some of the other schools with at least one draft pick per decade.

USF Dons

The USF Dons Represent a Bygone Era

Whatever happened to…? The University of San Francisco, led by KC Jones and Bill Russell, produced fourteen draft picks from 1949-79, and only two since. Eight of Kansas St.‘s fourteen total draft picks were produced from 1949-69, but there’s only been one since 1989 (Steve Henson in 1990) – it even led the 1940s/50s with seven picks. And despite its recent renaissance under John Beilein and the proliferation of draft picks to come under Bob Huggins, West Virginia has only had one draft pick since 1968 (seven overall)! Another early producer Holy Cross (six overall) hasn’t had any picks since 1969; and Grambling (nine overall) hasn’t had any since 1978.

Arizona & UConn

These Two Schools Have Come On Strong

Late Bloomers. The biggest examples of late bloomers have to be Arizona and Connecticut. Arizona’s first draft pick was in 1974, and it has produced thirty-three more since, good enough for sixth (tied with UK) all-time. Connecticut is even more shocking – the Huskies’ first pick was Cliff Robinson in 1989 (!!!), but it has produced twenty picks since (1.11 picks per year). Duke also has to be mentioned here. The Devils had good success in the early years (seven picks through the 70s), but have had thirty-two draft picks since 1980, twenty-six of those since 1990 (1.44 picks per year). They were second in the 90s with fifteen picks, and are currently tied with UConn leading the 2000s with eleven picks. No wonder they’ve been so good. Other late bloomers include Georgia Tech (22 of its 24 picks since 1982), Michigan St. (24 of its 26 picks since 1979), Georgetown (17 of 18 since 1980), Alabama (19 of 23 since 1982), Texas (15 of 17 since 1982), and Georgia (13 of 14 since 1982). After tonight’s draft, Florida could have as many as 14 of its 15 picks since 1984, but we already knew the Gators were a late bloomer. As a bit of an anomaly among the traditional powers, Kansas didn’t really begin consistent production of draft picks until the 70s (24 of 27 picks since 1972).

Coaches. The one trend we see with many of these late bloomers is how important coaches are to the talent level of a program. UNC, Louisville, UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky and Indiana have had great coaches throughout most of their histories. It makes sense that these schools have also been the most consistent at putting talent into the NBA Draft. But look at some of the other schools, particularly the late bloomers. Jim Calhoun has been responsible for every single one of UConn’s draft picks; Lute Olson has been responsible for all but five of Arizona’s draft picks (85%), and Coach K for 74% of Duke’s all-time picks. Bobby Cremins at Georgia Tech (79%), John Thompson at Georgetown (83%), and the Jud Heathcote/Tom Izzo reign at Michigan St. (92%) show just how important a single coach can be to a program.

Final Thoughts. This has been a fun experiment, and in only a few hours, we get to update all of our data with draft data from 2007. Something tells us that Florida and Ohio State’s numbers are going to be rising. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and commentary. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming…

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