Morning Five: 11.25.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 25th, 2011

  1. We hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and got to indulge in turkey or whatever food you prefer while spending time with friends and/or family. There was not much off-the-court news yesterday so instead of our traditional recap where we avoid discussing the games directly we are going to provide general overviews of the games that have already happened and the ones that are on tap.
  2. Praise continues to pour in for the Duke-Kansas game, which may have been the best November college basketball game in the past few years. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (aka LeBron’s personal biographer) called it “a candidate for one of the best regular season games of the year” and we would agree with his assessment. While neither team is close to the true upper echelon of college basketball (the UNCs, UConns, and Kentuckys of the world) they are definitely Sweet Sixteen teams at least and possibly Elite Eight level teams when they work out a few kinks (of course, they could also get upset during the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament). If you missed the game because you were either at/watching another game, traveling, working, or spending time with family and you find yourself with some free time today, we highly recommend that you watch a replay of it if it is on your DVR or through ESPN3.com.
  3. The best teams playing yesterday were all playing at the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in Nassau, Bahamas where the three best teams (ConnecticutFlorida State, and Harvard) all won their opening games relatively easily while Central Florida used a late run to beat College of Charleston. As a reward for their hard-fought win the Knights, who are without star A.J. Rompza for another month, will get to play the defending national champions who are still adjusting to the post-Kemba era and will be without the services of Ryan Boatright, who will be sitting out his sixth and final game against UCF, and perhaps Alex Oriakhi after this Twitter mishap. The other semifinal pits a very good Harvard team against the Seminoles, who feature one of the top defenses in the country. The first game should be a relatively easy victory for the Huskies, but the second game might be the best college basketball game being played tomorrow.
  4. The FSU-Harvard game might be the best game tomorrow, but we would suggest you keep an eye on the Preseason NIT finals that pits Syracuse against Stanford. The Orange come in as the heavy favorites, but we think the game could end up being a lot more competitive than many people think because we don’t think that the Orange are as good as many pundits have been saying they are (basically a better version of the Vanderbilt story) and the Cardinal are better than anybody outside of Palo Alto expected. Neither team has beaten a top-tier team yet, but Stanford has the most impressive victory this season of the two teams with its 15-point victory against Oklahoma State that was not as close as the final score indicates. Another thing to watch for in this game is what is going on with the Syracuse backcourt where a mini-controversy is brewing between Scoop Jardine, the incumbent, and Dion Waiters, the challenger who played in place of Jardine in the Orange’s last game.
  5. With no end in sight for the NBA lockout many professionals have headed to interesting locations to keep their skills sharp while waiting for the business/labor negotiations to be resolved allowing them to return to their NBA teams. Most players who have chosen to play in games are doing so in summer/very advanced recreational leagues, exhibition games for charity, or in Europe. Former Ohio State center Byron (B.J.) Mullens has taken a less traditional approach as he is working on his game in prison. We know what you are thinking and the answer is not that Mullens is incarcerated. Instead, Mullens has chosen to go to prisons to talk to the inmates about making better choices in their lives and to get in some solid games, which he has been doing this since he was in high school. We would be interested to hear if any of the inmates that Mullens has encountered or mentored are out of prison now and cite him as an influence.
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That’s Debatable: Coaches Giving Thanks

Posted by rtmsf on November 24th, 2009

debatable

Each week RTC will posit a That’s Debatable question or topic that is relevant to the world of college basketball.  Sometimes whimsical, sometimes serious, we’ll post the thoughts of our core editing crew (in 200 words or less), but we’ll also be expanding to include our contributors and correspondents as appropriate throughout the season.  We also invite you, the readers, to join us as we mull over some of the questions facing the game today.  Feel free to send us your takes and/or leave them in the comments below.

This Week’s Topic: Thanksgiving week is upon us, and families everywhere around the country will come together to give thanks for the numerous people and things important to them.  What will some of the nation’s top college basketball coaches give thanks for during this week of reflection and thought?

nvr1983 – editor/contributor, RTC

One of the people who should be thankful this Thanksgiving is Thad Matta. When last season ended two of his players were contemplating leaving school early to go to the NBA: B.J. Mullens and Evan Turner. While Mullens was the more highly rated recruit, he hadn’t quite lived up to those expectations. Although Turner was no slouch in high school (he was a 4-star recruit), he didn’t come to Columbus with the same expectations. By the end of last season, both players we predicted to be mid- to late-first round picks. As you all know Mullens decided to leave school early and ended up being selected #24 overall by the Mavericks before being traded to the Thunder where he is averaging 3 PPG and 1 RPG in 15.8 MPG. Turner decided to stay in Columbus for at least one more season and is the early favorite for National Player of the Year after starting the season averaging 21.8 PPG (on 59% FG), 14.8 RPG, 6 APG, and 1.8 SPG for the Buckeyes. If Mullens had stayed and Turner had left OSU wouldn’t be a top 25 team, but because the roles were reversed they could be a top 10 team.

rtmsf – editor/contributor, RTC

While many coaches across the land will give thanks this week for a top recruit or a big win or still having a paying job, BYU coach Dave Rose will be thankful that he’s still around to coach his team.  You see, on June 17 of last summer, Rose was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and as far as pancreatic cancers go, his wasn’t the worst kind, but seeing those two words together (“pancreatic” and “cancer”) is never a good thing.  He had emergency surgery the very next day to remove part of his spleen and pancreas, and after a quick recovery, he now sits as the head coach of a strong 3-0 team with aspirations to win the Mountain West and make some noise in this year’s NCAA Tournament.  Oh, and did I mention that all tests show that he is completely cancer-free?  BYU feels so highly about Rose that the school gave him a 5-year extension through the 2014 season, showing their faith in both his coaching acumen as well as his health.  There’s no greater gift than the one of life, and Rose is undoubtedly living each day as if it were his last — now that’s something to be thankful for!

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RTC Conference Primers: #1 – Big Ten

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2009

seasonpreview

Josh & Mike from Big Ten Geeks contributed this preview for the Big Ten Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Purdue (14-4)
  2. MSU (14-4)
  3. Minnesota (12-6)
  4. Michigan (12-6)
  5. Ohio St. (11-7)
  6. Illinois (9-9)
  7. Wisconsin (8-10)
  8. Northwestern (6-12)
  9. Penn St. (5-13)
  10. Indiana (5-13)
  11. Iowa (3-15)

All-Conference Team:

  • Kalin Lucas (G), Michigan State (110.2 ORtg, 28.6 Shot Percentage)
  • William Buford (G), Ohio State (108.1 ORtg, 27.6 Shot Percentage)
  • Evan Turner (F), Ohio State (108.3 ORtg, 25.3 Shot Percentage)
  • DeShawn Sims (F), Michigan (108.6 ORtg, 30.3 Shot Percentage)
  • JaJuan Johnson (C), Purdue (112.3 ORtg, 8.1 Block Percentage)

6th Man. Robbie Hummel (F), Purdue.

Impact Newcomer. D.J. Richardson (G), Illinois.

big 10 logo What You Need to Know.

  • The Big 10 is Very Good This Year. No, really, we mean it. Last year we predicted mediocrity, and I think we were mostly right. Although Michigan State had a great run in the tournament, it was not a Final Four team “on paper.” Indeed, the efficiency margins of the teams were bunched closely together, without any real spectacular performers. Sure, lots of teams made the Dance, but not a lot of them garnered high seeds. But we think that will be different this season, mostly because the Big Ten didn’t lose anyone. Sure, B.J. Mullens is gone, as are standouts Marcus Landry, Craig Moore and Jamelle Cornley. But the conference’s best players all returned, including the entire all-conference 1st Team. Throw in some strong recruiting classes, and you’ve got what appears to be the conference’s best year in possibly a decade. Although there’s not a lot of star quality to this conference–there might be less than 10 NBA players among the 11 teams–there is the experience that can take you far in March.
  • Michigan State and Purdue are the expected frontrunners, but they have company this year. Both the Spartans and Boilermakers return most of the minutes from good teams, so there’s no reason why one of them can’t win the conference crown. But watch out for Ohio State and (especially) Minnesota. They returned more minutes than anyone, and they also both have a couple other things going for them. For Ohio State, you might be talking about the most talented starting five in the conference, and one of the best in the country. With the Gophers, you have an incredibly deep roster. So deep that athletic freak and top 50 recruit Rodney Williams will fight for playing time. When these teams are grabbing high seeds on Selection Sunday, don’t forget where you heard it first.

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2009 One-and-Dones: Was It Worth It?

Posted by rtmsf on June 30th, 2009

It’s no secret that the high school Class of 2008 was one of the weakest in recent memory.  Coming into the 2008-09 regular season, could you realistically point to any one player who would impact their team enough to become another Derrick Rose or a Michael Beasley (class of 2007), a Greg Oden or a Kevin Durant (class of 2006)?  No way, right?  The consensus #1 player, Brandon Jennings, high-tailed it to Europe when it became apparent he wasn’t going to become eligible to play college ball at Arizona, where he proceeded to burn up foreign nets at the clip of 6 ppg and 2 apg in limited action (17 mpg).  The rest of the elite remained stateside, but from Jrue Holiday on down to his teammate Malcolm Lee at UCLA, the collegians too had middling degrees of success.  We use the RSCI top 20 ratings provided by Statsheet for our table below.

2008 top 20 recruits

The last two summers (here are 2007 and 2008), we’ve taken it upon ourselves to review how these one-and-dones did during their freshman year to determine whether their presence on campus for a mere 6-8 months was worth it for the schools involved.  As it turned out this time around, only four college freshmen (+ Jennings) thought they were ready for the NBA Draft after only one season, so let’s take a look at how things turned out for them and their teams last year.

2009 One-and-Dones

Memphis – Worth It. After losing three starters from their 2008 national runner-up team, Memphis could have slid back into relative mediocrity by Tiger standards – very good, but not great.  One-and-doner Tyreke Evans prevented that from happening.  He averaged 17/5/4 assts/2 stls in 29 mpg and was the most efficient player on the team.  He also showed that he was a gamer, dropping 33 huge points in the Tigers’ loss to Missouri and leading a furious comeback from 24 points down in that contest.   More importantly,  Memphis was 6-3 and ranked #24 in the nation when Evans moved from the shooting guard to the point guard slot; the Tigers then ran off 27 straight wins en route to a #2 seed and another Sweet Sixteen appearance, much of it due to Evans’ command of the team.  Furthermore, prior to John Calipari’s departure, Memphis was building a pretty impressive reputation as a successful stopover for NBA-level point guards.  Is there any coincidence that John Wall followed Calipari to Kentucky after seeing what Evans and Rose were able to do at Memphis?  We’d have to say that Tyreke Evans coming to Memphis for one year was most definitely worth it for that program.

tyreke evans memphis

USC – Worth It. USC knew when they signed Demar DeRozan that they were unlikely to have this acrobatic swingman on campus for more than one year.  For much of that year, however, it wasn’t looking like a good fit.  Three points in a loss vs. Seton Hall.  A 2-9 shooting night against Missouri.  Six turnovers and fouling out of another loss at Washington.  But around midseason, as things began to click in DeRozan’s game, USC benefitted.  He provided a consistent threat on the wing and may arguably have been the Trojans’ top option in the last six weeks of the season.  His season numbers were good – 14/6 on 52% shooting – but his stats from February on were better – 16/7 on 54% shooting with 22 of his season-total 51 assists coming in the last nine games.  USC rode DeRozan’s playmaking abilities to win its first-ever Pac-10 Tournament and a convincing win over BC in the NCAAs before succumbing to national runner-up Michigan St in the second round.  Or, in others words, more than what OJ Mayo was able to produce as a one-and-doner in 2007.  Notwithstanding all the choas that has enveloped this program in the interim, we’d have to say that getting DeRozan to USC for one year was worth it.

Ohio St. – Not Worth It. For the third year in a row, Thad Matta lost a one-and-done player whose actual performance during his only season in Columbus didn’t really mesh with what you might expect from an elite prospect.  He lost Daequan Cook in 2007 (along with stars Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr.), Kosta Koufos last year, and BJ Mullens this season.  To date, we’ve yet to see any indication that Mullens has any discernible basketball skill other than being big (7’0).  He averaged 9/5 in about 20 mpg with only two starts over the course of the season, but as an indication of how much Matta ultimately valued him, Mullens’ minutes tailed off considerably in the last 6-8 games.  His defense was often considered suspect (37 blks all season) and he earned a reputation for loafing and failing to get back downcourt after an offensive possession.  OSU had a solid season, mostly on the back of super-soph Evan Turner, but it’s difficult to construct an argument that Mullens brought much of anything to the Buckeye program other than an ability to get drafted in the first round.  Ultimately, that may have been all Matta wanted to get from him, as he’s shown a substantial willingness to take one-and-dones every year that he can.  Still, we don’t think that Mullens was on balance a good pickup for the Buckeyes, so we’re saying that he wasn’t worth it.

UCLA – Not Worth It. After Kevin Love’s departure from Westwood as a one-and-done, we thought UCLA might continue that trend this season with another superb guard ranked #2 in his class named Jrue Holiday.  We were wrong.  Holiday is exceptionally athletic, but he never seemed to ‘get it’ with respect to how Ben Howland runs his team and expects his players to execute.  When we watched Holiday play, we saw a player who had a tendency to play out of control and get frustrated when things weren’t going his way (in other words, like most freshmen).  Had Holiday stuck around for another couple of years at UCLA, he probably could have tamed his tendencies to become an elite guard in college basketball, but we’ll never know.  After averaging a mere 9/4/4 assts as a starter who seriously tailed off down the stretch (single figure points in 10 of his last 13 games) ending in a second round NCAA blowout loss to Villanova, Howland may be questioning why he bothered to take this player for only one season.  His contributions to the program were minimal and his general unhappiness with the program could actually end up hurting UCLA’s recruiting in the future more than it ever helps to have gotten him.  Unlike Demar DeRozan across town at USC, Holiday wasn’t worth it.

jrue holiday ucla

*Brandon Jennings – Push.  Of course, this is a weird situation because Jennings didn’t play for an American college last season, instead deciding to go to the Italian leagues and get paid for his services.  He would have been drafted higher last season had he been eligible to come out, but then again, so would have all these one-and-doners except for Evans (who at #4 is about where he would have been last year).  Playing in Europe didn’t hurt him very much despite his paltry stats, but it didn’t appear to help him, either, in any way other than financially.  It’ll be interesting to watch how he develops in the NBA now.  You’d have to believe that Jennings’ previously indomitable confidence would be somewhat tempered after spending a year as the backup-cum-waterboy.  We’re quite certain he had images in his head of going to Italy and winning MVP in his rookie season, but the broken American basketball system doesn’t exactly inspire schoolboy humility.  Will that carry over to his development as an NBA player, or will he be able to accept his European comeuppance and use that to improve his game in the next few years?  There’s no way of knowing at this point.

One-and-Dones: Historical Snapshot

1-and-done v.2

As stated above, RTC has done this for the three years in which the one-and-done rule has been in existence.  We’ve made a qualitative determination as to whether recruiting a particular one-and-done was worth it for each program, and what we’ve found is that so far it’s been a roughly equivalent proposition.  Of the 24 one-and-dones in three years, we’ve found thirteen instances (57%) where the player in question was either worth it or well worth it, “it” being the trouble of landing a top player and dealing with the disruption and potential hole he leaves in the program after one season.  Additionally, in seven of the thirteen ‘worth it’ instances, we found that the player was such a great boost to the program in terms of success and marketing that the residual effects of his presence there will be felt for many years after he’s gone (e.g., OSU and Memphis making it to the NCAA Championship Game).  On the other hand, we can only count ten occasions (42%) where a one-and-done player wasn’t worth the trouble of getting him into the program.  So let’s look at it this way…  if you were a college coach and you knew you had a historically better than even chance that recruiting a John Wall or Derrick Favors would end up making your program better, and a 25-30% chance of truly elevating your program into an elite echelon, there’s no question you do it, right?   What’s the downside?  Your player doesn’t do a whole lot, leaves after one year and you end up where you were before he got there.  Exactly.  Not only is recruiting one-and-dones worth the risk (so long as you’re doing it legally, Tim Floyd), but if you’re not doing it then you’re putting yourself at a serious competitive disadvantage.

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Boom/Bust Cycle

Posted by rtmsf on June 25th, 2009

It’s a little less than an hour before tonight’s NBA Draft, and this should have probably been done days ago, but we wanted to use our undeniable RTC expertise when it comes to projecting college hoops talent to the pros so we can say “told ya so” when the one undervalued player we said would be a star pans out (while the other ten we said would be don’t, but let’s not quibble).  We’ll use Andy Katz’s final mock draft from this morning, and we’re only going to evaluate college players (because we’ve seen them play for at least one year).  The criteria is BOOM or BUST – either that player is undervalued or overvalued based on his selection.  That’s it.  Here we go…

SKU-000062925_COVER.indd

1.  Blake Griffin, Oklahoma - BOOM, although the fact that he’s going to ClipperLand means drug addiction and/or horrific injury.  Bill Simmons agrees

2.  Hasheem Thabeet, UConn – BUST, his offensive game won’t develop any further and he’s no Dikembe.

4.  Tyreke Evans, Memphis – BUST, not seeing it at this selection; opposing defenses can lay off of him out to 18 feet. 

5.  James  Harden, Arizona St. – BOOM, a Joe Johnson/Monta Ellis clone.  Kid can really play.

6.  Stephen Curry, Davidson – BUST, limitless range but really, #6?  Too many question marks to be this high.

7.  Jordan Hill, Arizona – BUST, nice player but he’s not even as good as Big Baby.

8.  Jrue Holiday, UCLA – BUST, classic example of being a better athlete than player. 

9.  Demar DeRozan, USC – BOOM, DeRozan really came on at the end of the season and appears poised to break out.

10.  Jonny Flynn, Syracuse – BUST, is Flynn really the best true point in this draft?  No way. 

11.  Terrence Williams, Louisville – BUST, seems like the kind of player who will be out of the league in 3 years (does everything well, nothing great).

12.  Gerald Henderson, Duke – BOOM, second best guard in the draft behind Harden.

13.  DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh – HEDGE, this is about the right position for an undersized beast like Blair. 

14.  Earl Clark, Louisville – BOOM, should have been higher but has a reputation for being lazy.  Will shed that and become an excellent NBAer.

15.  Austin Daye, Gonzaga – BUST, we used to love this guy, but he hasn’t shown much improvement in two years of college.  We don’t believe in him.

16.  BJ Mullens, Ohio St. – HUGE BUST, this is a joke.  Either he’ll be washing cars in two years with Patrick O’Bryant or turn into Chris Kaman, who knows?

17.  Ty Lawson, UNC – BOOM, he’s proven that he’s a winner and has improved his game substantially.  Could be TJ Ford w/o the back problems.

18.  James Johnson, Wake Forest – BOOM, has a reputation for being lazy, but he’s silky smooth at his size and will succeed in this league.

19.  Tyler Hansbrough. UNC – HEDGE, we all know what kind of player he’ll be.  Average at best.

20.  Sam Young, Pittsburgh – BOOM, an absolute steal at this pick; Young could end up being a star.

21.  Jeff Teague, Wake Forest – BOOM, would have been a lottery pick had he not packed in the second half of the year; the talent and athleticism is apparent.

24.  Eric Maynor, VCU - HEDGE, nice pickup for this position. 

25.  Jon Brockman, Washington – BUST, sorry, but Brockman just isn’t NBA material in the long run.

26.  Toney Douglas, Florida St. – HEDGE, could go either way here, but we’d expect Douglas to find a niche in the League.

27.  Darren Collison, UCLA – BUST, Collison has always struck us as someone who should have been better than he was. 

29.  Nick Calathes, Florida – BOOM, Calathes will find a way to make himself a good pro if he decides to play in good ole USA instead of Greece.

30.  DaJuan Summers, Georgetown – BUST, but it’s worth a gamble given his natural abilities.  Could become a defensive stalwart at some point if he tried.

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Early Entries 2009 Part 1

Posted by nvr1983 on March 30th, 2009

While most of the nation has been fixated on the Final 4 and the circus going on in Lexington, which is probably over (for now), several players have decided to enter the NBA Draft. Here’s the list:

  • DaJuan Summers (Georgetown, junior)–#47 in Chad Ford’s Top 100/#47 in the DraftExpress Top 100
  • Nick Calathes (Florida, sophomore)–#38 in Chad Ford’s Top 100/#73 in the DraftExpress Top 100
  • Patrick Christopher (California, junior)–Unranked
  • Brandon Costner (NC State, junior)–Unranked
  • Greivis Vasquez (Maryland, junior)–#55 in Chad Ford’s Top 100/#78 in the DraftExpress Top 100
  • B.J. Mullens (Ohio State, freshman)–#21 in Chad Ford’s Top 100/#15 in the DraftExpress Top 100

money-roll

Summers is the only one who appears to be in the process of selecting an agent, but don’t expect to see Mullens back in Columbus next year as he did not even register for spring classes accordging to some reports.

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: NCAA Tournament Day Two

Posted by nvr1983 on March 19th, 2009

dynamiteWe’d like to apologize for our coverage yesterday. We had some technical/communication issues regarding the post yesterday, but I’ll be back covering the games today so everything should be back to normal. Here’s a quick rundown of the games we’ll be covering today:

Early Games

  • 12:15 PM: #14 Stephen F. Austin vs. #3 Syracuse
  • 12:25 PM: #9 Tennessee vs. #8 Oklahoma State
  • 12:30 PM: #11 Utah State vs. #6 Marquette
  • 12:30 PM: #14 North Dakota State vs. #3 Kansas

Afternoon Games

  • 2:45 PM: #11 Temple vs. #6 Arizona State
  • 2:55 PM: #16 East Tennessee State vs. #1 Pittsburgh
  • 3:00 PM: #14 Cornell vs. #3 Missouri
  • 3:00 PM: #11 Dayton vs. #6 West Virginia

Evening Games

  • 7:10 PM: #16 Morehead State vs. #1 Louisville
  • 7:10 PM: #12 Arizona vs. #5 Utah
  • 7:20 PM: #10 USC vs. #7 Boston College
  • 7:25 PM: #13 Portland State vs. #4 Xavier

Late Night Games

  • 9:40 PM: #9 Siena vs. #8 Ohio State
  • 9:40 PM: #13 Cleveland State vs. #4 Wake Forest
  • 9:50 PM: #15 Robert Morris vs. #2 Michigan State
  • 9:55 PM: #12 Wisconsin vs. #5 Florida State

Quite frankly, today’s slate looks a lot more interesting than what was on yesterday. There are 3 games in each of the 4 groups that seem like they will be entertaining except for the afternoon set where only the 6/11 match-ups really catch my eyes. Feel free to leave your thoughts or questions on any of these games or the ones from yesterday in the comment section. I’ll be back around noon to cover the day’s action.

12:15 PM: Ok. We’re about to get underway. I was a little delayed by the fact that the bus to RTC East decided to pick up 3 people in wheelchairs, which slowed down my trip significantly (had to get them in/out during 6 stops). Is anybody rooting for Stephen F. Austin just because they can’t stand Eric Devendorf?

12:20 PM: “The best look the Lumberjacks have had so far”? That was only their 2nd possession of the game. The crows is awful in Miami. I know its early, but there is nobody there. I have to say the NCAA did a pretty poor job with their pod placement. I’ll have to double check, but Miami is probably the worst pod location in terms of distance from the participating schools (and the fact that they don’t care about sports in Miami).

12:30 PM: Rough start for Stephen F. Austin in Miami. Already down 10-2. Hopefully they can keep it close although this was probably the game that was the most likely to be a blowout in this group.

12:35 PM: Did anybody pick upsets in this group of games? I have North Dakota State and Utah State.

12:40 PM: Good game in Dayton (Ok State 14, Tennessee 13 with 12:20 left in the first half). In Boise, Lazar Hayward is up 7-5 on Utah State.

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NCAA Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Ohio State (#7, Midwest, Dayton pod)

vs. Siena (#9)
Mar. 19 @ 9:40pm

Vegas Line: Ohio St. -3
ohio-st-ncaa-graph

Thanks to Vegas Watch for providing these graphs that measure the moving average of a team’s spread (moving avg.) over time vs. the spread for each individual game (indiv).  If a team’s moving average is higher than zero, then Vegas currently has a higher opinion of them than Pomeroy, and vice versa.

General Profile
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Conference: Big Ten
Coach: Thad Matta, hired 2004.  Record at OSU = 127-45.
08-09 Record: 22-10 (10-8)
Last 12 Games: 7-5
Best Win: vs Michigan State 82-70, on 3/14/09
Worst Loss: at Northwestern, 69-72, on 2/18/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 114.0 (26th)
Def. Efficiency Rating:  95.9 (72nd)

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Evan Turner (6’7″ sophomore forward); 17.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.8 spg.
Unsung Hero: William Buford (6’5″ freshman forward); 11.3 ppg, shooting 45.2% FG and 89.6% FT.
Potential NBA Draft Pick: 7’0″ freshman center B.J. Mullens is currently projected as the 12th overall pick in the 2009 mock NBA draft at www.nbadraft.net.
Key Injuries: Would-be star player David Lighty (6’7″ junior F) injured his left 5th metatarsal against Jacksonville on 12/17/08 and was slated to miss 6-12 weeks.  No recent mention of possible return.
Depth:  26.6% mins (271st nationally)
Achilles Heel: The boards.  The Buckeyes pull down 28.2 rebounds/game, which is 301st nationally.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: …they shoot well, and the Buckeyes know how to do that.  9th nationally in FG% (48.9), and 7th nationally on shots inside the arc (54.5%).
Will Make an Early Exit if…: …they don’t take advantage of limited possessions; OSU only gets an average of 63.1 chances per game, which is 315th nationally.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 2007
Streak: 1
Best NCAA Finish: 1960 National Champions.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): -0.12 wins per appearance

Other
Six Degrees to Detroit: Freshman guard Anthony Crater is from Flint.  And the Buckeyes know the state of Michigan well, let’s just say.
Distance to First Round Site: 71 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: Largest single-campus university in the nation.  Oh, and they kind of like football.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Recent football shortcomings, along with that loss to Florida in the 2007 tournament final after the Gators had also beaten them for the football title earlier that year.
Prediction: Another Big Ten team that doesn’t jump off the page, and Siena would be a typical team that could surprise the Buckeyes if it were not for the fact that this will basically be a home game for OSU, playing in Dayton and all.  They’ll have the best chance to knock off a 1-seed if they get to play Louisville in Dayton in the 2nd round.
Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.
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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.14.09

Posted by nvr1983 on March 14th, 2009

dynamiteWelcome back to the weekend edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite. First off I’d like to commend rtmsf for his strong work on yesterday’s BGtD. You guys really have no idea how exhausting it is doing a full day’s worth of this is and he managed to do it with only a short break although it almost caused me to give up working on the site after being forced to endure the American-Holy Cross game yesterday. As he outlined in his After the Buzzer post last night/this morning, there are 12 conference championship games today. For the sake of maintaining our sanity and having enough energy in the tank for our huge March Madness preview, we’ll be taking multiple shifts but we promise to coordinate it so you won’t miss anything during our handoffs.

6:00 AM: Yes. That’s actually the time I’m starting this thanks to a “short nap” that ended up going from 9 PM to 5 AM. Obviously my posts will be infrequent in the early morning hours, but I’ll be passing along some news and links to you before the games start at 11 AM. The New York Times has been stepping it up with their college sports blog “The Quad” recently and has an interesting post on Louisville‘s Terrence Williams and his pre-game ritual of the giving himself a pep talk during the national anthem. Before anybody thinks this might be a Chris Jackson Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf situation, it should be noted that Williams actually stands during the anthem and is supposedly talking about family members that he has lost and asking that everyone on the court avoids injuries. Of course, we can’t verify this, but if we have any lip-readers in our vast legion of RTC readers, we would love hear your take on this particularly if you have seen this is in person.

7:00 AM: Before I head out for a few minutes to take care of some errands like stocking up on groceries for the coming storm where I probably won’t leave my apartment for 3 weeks. I thought I would pass along one of my favorite things we are doing at RTC right now. We enlisted the help of our correspondents and got them to send us their favorite March memories. We narrowed down the submissions to the 16 best entries and are counting down to #1, which will be revealed on Wednesday (the day before the tournament starts). I’d encourage you to check out the entries we have so far and keep on coming back throughout the day to see what they selected as their favorite March memories and then chime in with your memories on those moments.

8:45 AM: Ok. False alarm on that grocery run. Apparently Costco doesn’t open until 9:30 so after this post I’ll be on a short break. So today’s RTC East breakfast is brought to you by Flour Bakery and consists of their Bobby Flay-slaying “Sticky Buns” and a twice-baked brioche. Here’s a quick run-down of the games (title game in red–there’s a lot of red) that I will be focusing on today:

Early Games

  • UMBC vs. Binghamton at 11 AM on ESPN2 for the America East title
  • Memphis vs. #3 Tulsa at 11:35 AM on CBS for the Conference USA title

Afternoon Games

  • Mississippi State vs. #16 LSU at 1 PM on ESPN2 and Raycom in the SEC semifinals
  • #6 Michigan State vs. Ohio State at 1:30 PM on CBS in the Big 10 semifinals
  • #1 UNC vs. #22 FSU at 1:30 PM on ESPN and Raycom in the ACC semifinals
  • Tennessee vs. Auburn at 3 PM on ESPN2 and Raycom in the SEC semifinals
  • Maryland vs. #8 Duke at 3:30 PM on ESPN and Raycom in the ACC semifinals
  • #25 Illinois vs. #24 Purdue at 4 PM on CBS in the Big 10 semifinals

Evening Games

  • #23 Arizona State vs. USC at 6 PM on CBS for the Pac-10 title
  • Baylor vs. #15 Missouri at 6 PM on ESPN for the Big 12 title
  • Temple vs. Duquesne at 6 PM on ESPN2 for the Atlantic 10 title

Late Night Games

  • San Diego State vs. Utah at 7 PM on Versus for the Moutain West title
  • Morgan State vs. Norfolk State at 7 PM on ESPNU for the MEAC title (Periodic score updates for this one)
  • Buffalo vs. Akron at 8 PM on ESPN2 for the MAC title
  • #5 Louisville vs. #20 Syracuse at 9 PM on ESPN for the Big East title
  • Jackson State vs. Alabama State at 9 PM on ESPNU for the SWAC title (Periodic score updates for this one)
  • Utah State vs. Nevada at 10 PM on ESPN2 for the WAC title
  • Cal State-Northridge vs. Pacific at 11:59 PM on ESPN2 for the Big West title (This one is questionable)

10:55 AM: Ok. I’m back from my extended Costco run and have enough food to last me through the week. A quick summary on the early games. In the America East, Binghamton is a 5-6 point favorite (depending on your gambling establishment of choice). Honestly, I’m surprised that they aren’t bigger favorites since they come in at 22-8 while UMBC comes in 15-16 and the game is at Binghamton. It could be interesting though as they split the season series in the regular season with Binghamton winning the last game of the regular season at home against UMBC 71-51. I’m guessing the America East commissioner is rooting for UMBC to avoid the embarrassment of the CBS announcers having to explain why the conference’s regular season leading scorer (D.J Rivera) was left off the all-conference team. In Conference USA, Memphis is a 14-point favorite against Tulsa. Memphis might be playing for a #1 seed even with their ridiculously easy schedule. We’re hoping this game is more like the first time they met (a 55-54 Memphis win) rather the last time they met (a 63-37 Memphis win). I have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to be more like the latter, but we’ll be following it anyways to get a last look at Memphis before CBS’s new Billy Packer rips the NCAA selection committee for putting them over a Big East team.

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Checking in on the… Big Ten

Posted by nvr1983 on February 25th, 2009

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

Looking Back
As Lester Bangs told William Miller, “you’ll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.” He could just as well have been talking to most of the Big Ten this season, as we now see 5 conference teams bunched up with 7 or 8 losses, all fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives. Penn State got a big boost from their ugly 38-33 victory at Illinois, then lost a winnable game at Ohio State to rejoin the masses. Penn State now has a 3-2 record against the top of the conference (Michigan State, Purdue, and Illinois), with a home game still remaining against the Illini. This ability to hang with the best of the conference is their sole basis for an at-large bid – their best non-conference win was at Georgia Tech (currently 1-12 in the ACC), so the Nittany Lions figure to need at least 10 Big Ten wins to even be considered.

Speaking of Illinois, they shook off the Penn State loss to get a nice road victory at Ohio State, putting them back on track for at least third place in the conference. Mike Davis continued his superb sophomore season, dropping floater after floater over Ohio State’s shot-blockers. Davis shot 11 for 14 from the field to finish with 22 points to go along with 8 rebounds and continues to lead the Big Ten in Defensive Rebound %.

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02.24.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on February 24th, 2009

Our intern comes through with a great set of links again today.

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ATB: Ohio St. Rising

Posted by rtmsf on February 3rd, 2009

afterbuzzer1

UNC’s Ginyard Out for the Year. No surprise here, but UNC made it official todayMarcus Ginyard’s stress fracture will keep him out of the lineup for the rest of this season.  A lot has been written about UNC missing Ginyard’s sticky defense, especially on the perimeter, but at least statistically, the Heels are playing better defense this year than last (even though it’s a marginal difference).  Where Ginyard is missed is at the three-point line, where teams are shooting a better-than-expected 32.4% against them.  As anyone who has watched this game before knows, hot three-point shooting in March has sunk many a good team, so this would be the one area where a Heel fan should worry the rest of the way – it’s unlikely to improve.

Game of the Night. Ohio St. 80, Purdue 72 (OT). We just can’t figure out the Big 10 this season.  As soon as we thought Michigan St. was ready to run away with the league, they lost home games to Northwestern and Penn St.  Then we thought Illinois might be poised to move into the top position before they laid a gigantic 36-pt omelet at Minnesota last week.  Ok, so what about Purdue?  It appeared they were well on their way to taking over the league when Robbie Hummel’s back went out again.  So what about Ohio St.?  The Buckeyes are still a couple of games behind MSU, but Evan Turner is really coming on (averaging 26.3 ppg in his last three), and BJ Mullens (17/8 tonight) is finally showing some of the promise that being a Burger Boy bestowed. Right now OSU looks like an NCAA Tournament team, and with Thad Matta’s March history, we wouldn’t want to face this team as they continue to grow.

Deconstructing Marquette. Marquette 76, Depaul 61. MU improved to 9-0 in the Big East, which we still contend is the best top-half of a conference we’ve ever seen.  So how are they doing it?  Well, for one, fortuitous scheduling within the league.  Thus far the Golden Eagles have managed to avoid UConn, Pitt, Louisville and Syracuse, while catching Georgetown and Notre Dame in slumps.  Still, you don’t win nine consecutive in this league without doing something right, and Marquette is getting tremendous in-conference production from its quartet of Jerel McNeal (24/5/5 assts), Wesley Matthews (19/5), Lazar Hayward (15/7) and Dominic James (13/4/5 assts).  In fact, McNeal, Matthews and Hayward each rank in the top 60 players in the nation in efficiency during conference games, so you know that these guys are absolutely ripping it up.  What else?  Well, their offense is very efficient (#6 nationally) and they don’t turn the ball over much, but other than that, nothing jumps out statistically about this team (which might be a sign).  All we know from watching them is that their guards seem to have a sense of the moment, and often make big shots in the clutch.  Remember last year’s R32 game against Stanford?  Big shot after big shot went down – it took a Brook Lopez fadeaway roller to knock Marquette from a trip to the Sweet 16.  This is truly a team that plays better than its individual parts, and although we keep waiting for a team with size to give them trouble, we’re still waiting.

Other Scores As We’re Less than Six Weeks From Selection Sunday.

  • San Diego St. 68, UNLV 66. HUGE win for SDSU at UNLV tonight to take the lead in the Mtn West.  The Aztecs are in good position to win this league now, with only one really tough road game remaining (at Utah).
  • Georgetown 57, Rutgers 47. Yeah, Georgetown won a game for the first time in three weeks, but it’s still troubling that the Hoyas were outrebounded by 3 against a 1-9 Big East team.
  • Mississippi St. 66, Kentucky 57. It appears that the SEC has figured out that Kentucky is a two-man team offensively (15 each for Meeks and Patterson).   That’s three losses in a row for the Cats, two of which were at home.  MSU hit fourteen threes in this one.
  • UNC 108, Maryland 91. UNC torched the Maryland defense for 60 first-half points and sixteen threes (Ellington had seven alone) in this one – maybe Bob Knight is holding out for Gary Williams’ job, because this Maryland team is just… bad.
  • Kansas St. 65, Iowa St. 50. Don’t look now, but K-State is actually starting to come on a little bit lately with four straight wins in the Big 12.
  • Northern Iowa 61, Bradley 58. Another impressive road win for this year’s Drake in the MVC.  UNI owns a three-game lead and only has one tough road game remaining (@ Illinois St.).
  • Florida 97, South Carolina 93. SC’s Devan Downey nearly pulled off the win by himself (33 pts on 7-9 threes), but Florida managed to put all five starters in double figures in a game that featured little to no defense (but was entertaining).
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