Checking In On…the Southern Conference

Posted by EMoyer on February 25th, 2012

Eric Moyer is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference and Atlantic Sun Conference and a contributor to the RTC SEC Microsite. You can follow him on Twitter @EricDMoyer.

Reader’s Take

 

Looking Back

  • Bye Bye: Davidson and UNC Greensboro secured first-round byes into the SoCon Tournament as top seeds of the South and North Division, respectively. The last remaining spots will be decided until after Saturday’s finales.
  • Busted: In BracketBusters, the SoCon split its four games as College of Charleston and Appalachian State scored victories but Davidson and Wofford dropped their respective contests.
  • Academic Honors: Student-athletes earned spots on the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Team. Wofford senior guard Brad Loesing was named to the first team, while Davidson junior JP Kuhlman garnered third-team honors.

End of Year Honors

Since this edition is the last “Checking In On” for the SoCon before the end of the season, no time seemed more appropriate than now to dole out some hardware (hardware not included).

  • Coach of the Year: Charlton Young, Georgia Southern: After winning a total of 14 games in his first two years in Statesboro, Young guided the Eagles to a second-place showing in the South Division and achieved the second-biggest win improvement in SoCon history winning 12 league games after winning just one in 2010-11.
  • Freshman of the Year: Karl Cochran, Wofford: On a Terrier team that faced major overhaul from the past two seasons in which they claimed NCAA Tournament bids, Cochran has paced all SoCon freshmen in scoring (11.0). In addition, he ranks in the top three in rebounding, assists, steals and blocks.

    Eric Ferguson Is The RTC Southern Conference Player of the Year (Georgia Southern Athletics)

  • All-Conference Team: De’Mon Brooks, Davidson (15.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 53.1 FG Pct); Eric Ferguson, Georgia Southern (14.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 57.0 FG Pct); Mike Groselle, The Citadel (16.6 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 59.2 FG Pct); Andrew Lawrence, College of Charleston (12.9 PPG, 5.7 APG, 1.8 SPG); Brad Loesing, Wofford (14.6 PPG, 5.6 APG, 38.6 MPG).
  • Player of the Year: Eric Ferguson, Georgia Southern: Ferguson has been at the front of the Eagles’ ascent up the SoCon standings. He ranks in the top six in scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage. He increased his shooting percentage to 46.2 percent and increased his scoring by almost three points per game.

Power Rankings

  1. Davidson (21-7, Previous Ranking: 1): The Wildcats secured their tenth 20-win season under head coach Bob McKillop and won their eighth division title in the last 12 years. 98 percent of the WildCats’ scoring and 96 percent of their rebounding comes from juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
  2. Wofford (18-12, Previous Ranking: 4): The Terriers extended their streak of 10-conference-win seasons to four after beating Elon on Feb. 15. Wofford improved to 15-1 when leading at halftime. Against UNC Greensboro, Brad Loesing surpassed the 1,000-point mark. Read the rest of this entry »
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Night Line: Kansas’ Offensive Weaknesses Exposed in Surprise Loss to Davidson

Posted by EJacoby on December 20th, 2011

Evan Jacoby is an RTC columnist. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. Night Line will run on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s slate of games.

Despite having two losses, Kansas had earned the right to be ranked No. 13 this week, thanks to some great wins (Ohio State, Georgetown, Long Beach State to name a few) and a consistent effort that’s a staple of Bill Self‘s teams. But Monday night’s loss to Davidson at the Sprint Center in Kansas City  exposed some major offensive flaws for this team that should be concerning as they head into Big 12 play. The Jayhawks saw just three players –Thomas RobinsonTyshawn Taylor, and Elijah Johnson — score in double figures, which is becoming a common theme for a team that doesn’t have much scoring prowess elsewhere. And with five more turnovers tonight, the senior point guard Taylor is up to 4.4 per game, a rate that is second worst in the entire country of qualifying players. This is not the same KU offensive juggernaut of old, and the Jayhawks’ run of consecutive Big 12 regular season championships (now at seven years) appears in jeopardy.

Davidson Controlled the Game Against Kansas on Monday (AP/O. Wagner)

The Jayhawks lost 65.4% of their scoring from last year’s 35-win team, including three early-entry NBA draft picks. That cause for concern finally reared its ugly head in Monday’s 80-74 defeat against the Wildcats, a 6-3 team coming off a 23-point loss at Charlotte. The Jayhawks had trouble keeping up with Davidson’s efficient offense, a problem that KU will no doubt have again going forward. The trio of Robinson, Taylor, and Johnson are the only three players that average in double figures for Kansas, with Robinson leading the way at 18.1 points per night. Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, the other two starters, are strong defensive players but each scores about eight points per game and have shown limited offensive games. Kansas teams are used to being loaded with dynamic young players off the bench, but that’s not the case this year. The Jayhawks managed just six bench points on Monday, all of them from Connor Teahan‘s pair of made three-point shots. Outside of his 7.4 points per game, which comes mainly from the outside, no other bench player scores more than 4.6 points per night or has any defined role in the offense.

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Kansas Gets Its Point Guard Back Early

Posted by dnspewak on December 19th, 2011

That was fast. Just a little over a week after doctors suggested Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor would miss about three weeks after knee surgery, coach Bill Self confirmed Sunday night that the senior will likely play tonight against Davidson. 

Tyshawn Taylor Is Back Early For Kansas

That’s a remarkable turnaround from the original prognosis, and it means the Jayhawks will have a steady leader to help them fight a feisty Davidson squad. It’s unknown whether Taylor will start, but it does appear that Self will be quite careful with him.

“He won’t play 30 minutes or anything,” Self said in an interview with KAKE-TV in Wichita. “If he does not have a setback today than I think he will be okay to at least play a little bit (Monday).”

With Taylor’s limited availability, Elijah Johnson will still assume a greater role in the offense and freshman Naadir Tharpe should see a lot of minutes against the Wildcats. Davidson shouldn’t pose a serious threat to Kansas at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, but stranger things have happened in college basketball. Bob McKillop’s steady success at the school has continued with his 2011-12 squad, as his team has hung with both Duke and Vanderbilt before eventually losing. The Wildcats did just lose by 23 points at Charlotte, but they have decent size and versatile shooters at almost every position. Of course, the major story line here is the rematch of the 2008 Elite Eight game, when Jason Richards missed a game-winning three-point attempt at the buzzer. Had that shout fallen, Stephen Curry and Davidson would have made the Final Four; instead, Kansas marched to a national title.

Tonight’s game probably won’t go down to the wire like that. If it does, Taylor will have to play a heck of a lot more than “a little bit,” that’s for sure.

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How Will Kansas Manage Without Its Point Guard?

Posted by dnspewak on December 12th, 2011

Tyshawn Taylor finally redeemed himself in a 78-67 win over #2 Ohio State on Saturday, shaking off a poor start to his senior season by tallying 13 assists. Sure, Taylor did turn the ball over seven times, but he served as the catalyst for an improved offensive effort by the Jayhawks.

And he did it all with a sprained MCL and a torn meniscus, an injury he had actually previously suffered early in the week in practice. After pushing through the injury, however, Taylor finally had surgery yesterday and will miss about three weeks.

His status for Kansas’s Big 12 opener on January 4 against Kansas State is in question, though he is expected to return by then. Even if he does, he will surely miss their games with Davidson, USC, Howard, and North Dakota. Even without their point guard, the Jayhawks have no excuse to lose any of those contests, though Bob McKillop‘s Wildcats could provide a sneaky challenge after testing Duke and Vanderbilt earlier this season.

Tyshawn Taylor Will Miss About Three Weeks for KU

Despite the weaker competition, Kansas will need to make major adjustments to compensate for Taylor’s injury. Elijah Johnson may become the go-to option in the backcourt, a role he looks equipped to handle based on his productive performance against the Buckeyes. The situation could also enable freshman Naadir Tharpe to finally crack Self’s rotation. The true freshman has not seen much action this season, but his minutes could skyrocket during the next few weeks. Tharpe looks like a potential point guard option for Self next season after Taylor graduates, so the extra playing time could be key in his development as a Big 12 player.

If Taylor misses any time during league play, Kansas could be in trouble. With a relatively inexperienced roster, Taylor and Thomas Robinson are the two most important players on this team. But by all accounts, Taylor should have no issues getting back on the court by early January.

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RTC Conference Primers: #15 – Southern Conference

Posted by rtmsf on October 21st, 2011

Will Rothschild is the RTC correspondent for the Southern and the Atlantic Sun conferences. He can be found on twitter @warothschild.

Reader’s Take I

Top Storylines

  • The Arrival of Adjehi Baru. The highest-rated prospect ever to choose the College of Charleston, Baru is a 6’9″ native of the Ivory Coast who picked the Cougars from a final group that included North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia Tech. Bobby Cremins has always been known as a great recruiter – if not exactly John Wooden on the bench – but this was clearly his biggest coup since he beat out North Carolina, Georgetown, St. John’s and Syracuse for Kenny Anderson back in 1988. Though Baru has only been playing basketball a short time and his offensive game is a major work in progress, he quickly established himself as a game-changer on the AAU circuit and shot up the recruiting rankings, eventually settling in as a consensus top-five center prospect. He will be an absolute load to deal with in the SoCon. After his eligibility was initially held up the NCAA Clearinghouse, he was cleared to play this season in early October.

Steward Will Be an Absolute Load in the SoCon

  • The Big Dogs Are Back: Will it be Davidson or Chattanooga?  The two most tradition-rich programs in the Southern Conference are back on top this season and appear head and shoulders above what otherwise looks to be a very balanced league. Each team returns four starters, top-notch point guards, and a nice blend of versatile wings and size in the post. They also have coaches – Bob McKillop at Davidson and John Shulman at Chattanooga – who know how to get a team through the SoCon tournament and into the Dance. Davidson will be looking for its 6th NCAA trip under McKillop and its 11th overall, but its first since the team that was a rimmed-out Jason Richards jumpshot from making it to the Final Four in 2008. Chattanooga is also after its 11th NCAA trip, its third in eight seasons under Shulman, and its first since 2009.
  • How Far Will Wofford Fall?  After two straight Southern Conference championships and NCAA Tournament bids (in which they lost first-round games to Wisconsin and BYU by a combined 12 points), the consensus is Wofford won’t be much of a threat in 2011-12. Coach Mike Young, who has turned down a couple of overtures from other schools the past two springs, watched five of the most celebrated players in program history graduate in May. But even with POY Noah Dahlman, the two title teams were more a testament to Young and his staff’s ability to bring the right kind of players to Wofford, one of the most challenging liberal arts colleges in the South. Indeed, those teams always had a sum-is-better-then-their-parts ethos about them. Meanwhile, Young and his staff are excited about their past two recruiting classes, including a freshman group seven strong. Expecting the Terriers to win 20 games for the third straight season isn’t realistic, but in his 10th season Young has this program rolling and stocked with young talent that will keep the Terriers from slipping very far down the standings.
  • Will Appalachian State be better WITHOUT Donald Sims?  While the 6’1″ Sims was a dominant scorer (21 PPG in 2010-11) he also dominated the basketball, and his teammates deferred too much at times to his one-on-one offensive ability. With the graduation of the school’s all-time leading scorer and 2010 SoCon POY, the sense around Boone is that Jason Capel’s second team will be much more balanced and difficult to defend. Omar Carter, a 6’5″ forward, is back after averaging 16.3 points and nearly 6 rebounds, and 6’10” center Isaac Butts returns after missing all of last season with an injury. As a junior in 2009-10, Butts averaged 8.5 points and 8.1 rebounds, and he makes Appalachian one of the few teams in the league with someone to physically match up with Baru. Capel also welcome a pair JUCO transfers – Rodney Milum, a 6’0″ guard from Houston, and Jamaal Trice, a 6’6″ forward from L.A. – who are expected to step in and contribute immediately.

Predicted Order of Finish

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RTC Conference Primers: #16 – Southern Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 20th, 2010

Justin Glover is the RTC correspondent for the Southern Conference, but he is moving on and therefore we are seeking a skilled, knowledgeable writer familiar with this conference.


Predicted Order of Finish

North Division:

  1. Appalachian State: 21-11 (13-5)
  2. Chattanooga: 17-14 (11-7)
  3. Western Carolina: 16-15 (9-9)
  4. Samford: 14-18 (9-9)
  5. UNC Greensboro: 9-23 (7-11)
  6. Elon: 8-23 (5-13)

South Division:

  1. Wofford: 25-10 (14-4)
  2. College of Charleston: 21-13 (13-5)
  3. Furman: 17-15 (10-8)
  4. Davidson: 16-17 (8-10)
  5. Georgia Southern: 13-19 (6-12)
  6. Citadel: 10-21 (3-15)

All-Conference Team (key stats from last season in parentheses)

  • Andrew Goudelock (G) – College of Charleston (19.4 PPG)
  • Donald Sims (G) – Appalachian State (20.4 PPG)
  • Amu Saaka (F) – Furman (15.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG)
  • Tim Johnson (F) – Wofford (6.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG)
  • Noah Dahlman (C) – Wofford (16.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG)

6th Man

Omar Carter – Appalachian State: The Charleston Southern transfer will look to contribute early on as a junior. While in the Big South, he was freshman of the year in 2007-08.

Impact Newcomer

James Carlton - College of Charleston:  One of the top prospects out of the state of North Carolina, Carlton played in the 2010 NCCA East-West All-Star Game and Carolinas All-Star Basketball Classic. Carlton averaged 15 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and four blocks per game as a senior at South Central High School and is rated as a three-star power forward by Rivals.

Wofford head coach Mike Young has his Terriers on a mission in 2010-11.

What You Need to Know

  • Not surprisingly, the losses of Stephen Curry and Andrew Lovedale from Davidson led to a slide from the Wildcats, who made major strides under Bob McKillop in the latter part of the decade.
  • All 24 men’s and women’s teams will take part in the annual SoCon Tournament, the longest-running conference tournament in the nation.  McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will serve as host during March 3-7.
  • The Southern Conference ranks as the fourth oldest major college athletic conference in the United States. Only the Big Ten (1896), Missouri Valley (1907), and Southwestern Athletic (1920) are older.
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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 08.09.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on August 9th, 2010

So apparently Anthony Davis has been in the news. . . Outside of that fiasco there was also a bit of other news on the recruiting circuit.

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RTC Live: Davidson @ Butler

Posted by rtmsf on November 13th, 2009

RTCLive

When we saw this game on the early-season calendar, we knew right away what the angle would be — the media darling mid-major of the last couple of years in Davidson taking on the presumptive new one in Butler.  The changing of the guard probably already happened, though, with 2008-09 being the bridge season.  The two teams played last year at Davidson as part of the Bracketbusters on February 21, and Butler took advantage of a slowed Stephen Curry (coming off a layoff with an ankle injury) to pull away in the second stanza to win fairly easily.  Gordon Hayward was fantastic with 27/9 in a dominant inside/outside effort, while his Davidson counterpart Stephen Curry struggled from deep (2-13) in a difficult situation where Davidson’s ship appeared to be sinking and Curry was heroically trying to keep it afloat. 

Of course, this year Butler is the home team and they return virtually everyone, while Davidson lost Curry as the #7 pick in the NBA Draft (along with Andrew Lovedale and Max Paulhus Gosselin).  On paper, Butler should roll, but Bob McKillop’s teams aren’t in the habit of getting smoked, so it’ll be interesting to see how his remaining nucleus of Will Archambault, Bryant Barr and Stephen Rossiter have progressed and how the team plans on running their offense without the spectacular Curry dominating the ball this year.  In any event, we’re always happy to give mid-major programs who have national aspirations our coverage.  Join us on Saturday for some hoops from Hinkle.

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Set Your Tivo: 11.14.09

Posted by nvr1983 on November 13th, 2009

tivo

I originally wanted this to be a post for the entire weekend, but after looking at the schedule for the weekend I realized that the only games worth watching were on Saturday so I had to make a slight revision and consequently this will be a Saturday only post. The way I look at it is to view Sunday as a day off to rest up (maybe get a little bit ahead on either school work or “real world” work so you can do absolutely nothing next week) for the first set of big games, which will be start on Monday. Unfortunately as you will soon see even Saturday might be a bust unless you live in about a 200-mile radius near the Indiana or Ohio border. Fortunately, your fearless editors have come through with RTC Live coverage at 2 out of 3 sites with the third site being less enlightened about new media.

Creighton at #22 Dayton at 1 PM on WHIO-TV: Yeah. That’s right. Only on local television, but like I said we will be there with RTC Live coverage. This will be the first game for both teams so both teams will be hyped up for this game even though the Flyers come in with significantly higher expectation not that the Bluejays are slouches.  After being snubbed by the NCAA Selection Committee two years ago, the Flyers now have a target on their back after knocking off West Virginia in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament. Brian Gregory‘s team is led by Chris Wright, everyone’s preseason A-10 POY (everyone also conveniently forgets that Wright wasn’t even 1st team A-10 last year), but if the Flyers are to live up to their preseason ranking they will need other players to step-up. If we were to pick out two players to fit that description would be London Warren, who picked apart West Virginia with 9 assists and only 1 turnover, and Marcus Johnson, a sophmore swingman who put up solid if unspectacular numbers (6.3 PPG and 5.2 RPG) last year, but has been pegged by Gregory as a breakout star this year. On the other sideline, Dana Altman will be hoping that P’Allen Stinnett can fill the void left by Booker Woodfox, last year’s Missouri Valley Conference POY and need center Kenny Lawson (8.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and conference-leading 1.6 BPG last year) to dominate the Flyers on the inside. If the Bluejays can get big performances out of those two and some big shots by Kaleb Korver (yes, he is Kyle’s brother and he can shoot–45% from beyond the arc last year).  However, the Bluejays’ biggest advantage might be that the Flyers could be looking ahead to their next opponent–#20 Georgia Tech and its hyped freshman Derrick Favors in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Davidson at #10 Butler at 2 PM on WHMB-40: Yeah. Local television again, but once again we have come through for you with yet another RTC Live from historic Hinkle Fieldhouse (the site of Milan’s famous 1954 win over Muncie and where they filmed Hoosiers–anybo are dy got the odds that Bill Simmons has ever travelled there since he references the movie so often?). Of course, we have a funny feeling that if Stephen Curry were still in a Wildcat uniform ESPN might have found a way to get them on one of their networks. Instead this game will give us a look at Butler, everyone’s top mid-major team and one of the highest ranked mid-majors that I can remember in recent years. Butler coach Brad Stevens managed to lead the Bulldogs to 26-6 record last year despite starting three freshmen in every game, a remarkable feat for the 2nd year coach who has more wins (56) in his first two years than any coach in D1 history other than Bill Guthridge (58). This year, Stevens will have significantly higher expectations for his Bulldogs who are led by sophomore Gordon Hayward (13.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, and 1.5 SPG) and junior Matt Howard (14.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.7 SPG). On the other side of the ball, Davidson coach Bob McKillop will have his hands full trying to manage an inexperienced and Curry-less group in a hostile environment. In addition to losing Curry and his nation-leading 28.6 PPG, the Wildcats also lost Andrew Lovedale (a solid inside presence who provided both points and rebounds) and Max Paulhus-Gosselin (an excellent defender who to the best of my knowledge is not related to Jon, Kate, or any of the 8). This year, McKillop will be relying on Will Archambault (8.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG), Bryant Barr (7.1 PPG and 2.0 RPG), and Stephen Rossiter (6.1 PPG and 5.9 RPG). Unfortunately, the Wildcats strength is on the inside where Hayward and Howard will be dominating. The Bulldogs relative weakness is on the outside where Curry could have done some major damage, but he’s hanging out with Nellie now so expect the Bulldogs to be out to send a message to the rest of the nation that they deserving of this extremely high ranking.

Mount St. Mary’s at #16 Oklahoma at 2 PM on ???: This is ridiculous. I can’t find this game on any TV listing and we won’t be there thanks to Big 12 policy against new media  so we will just assume that Jeff Capel will hire one of those courthouse artists to let the rest of us know what the action was like.  There are only really two reasons to watch this game if you happen to be in Norman, Oklahoma (since you can’t see it anywhere else–seriously Oklahoma’s site doesn’t even list a local TV station carrying the game): to see how the Sooners adapt to life without Blake Griffin and to see how Willie Warren plays as the main option for the Sooners playing against the Mountaineers’ backcourt of Jeremy Goode (15.9 PPG and 3.1 RPG), Kelly Beidler (12.1 PPG and 6.5 RPG), and Jean Cajou (13.6 PPG and 3.4 RPG). We expect the Sooners to be ok, but don’t be surprised to see them struggle a bit in the early going. They shouldn’t have a problem with the Mountaineers, but if Milan Brown‘s backcourt gets hot from beyond the arc we could have an interesting game that nobody outside of the arena will see.

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Daily Obituaries: 03.08.09

Posted by rtmsf on March 8th, 2009

grim-reaper

Team: Davidson Wildcats

Record: 26-7 (18-2)

Preseason Expectations: The Wildcats were the heavy favorites to repeat as Southern Conference champions and both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today poll had Davidson at No. 20 in their preseason polls. It can be argued that ranking was inflated because of the star status of Stephen Curry because this team was clearly not the same without players like Jason Richards and Thomas Sander.

Best Wins: Davidson beat North Carolina State (72-67) and West Virginia (68-65) in back-to-back games in early December and a quick glance at the schedule shows that those wins were far and away the team’s best although the win over West Virginia should come with an asterisk.

Worst Losses: With Curry out with a gimpy ankle, Bob McKillop‘s club got shellacked, 64-46, by the Citadel on February 18th. The Citadel, under the guidance of Ed Conroy, has made vast improvements this season and finished third in the Southern Conference, but getting trounced by the Bulldogs was inexcusable for a team hoping for an at-large bideven if Curry was out.

Where it ended: Right around the beginning of the second half of today’s game against College of Charleston. The Cougars outscored the Wildcats 39-23 in the second half to send Curry and company home in the semifinal of the Southern Conference tournament.

What went wrong: Aside from the second half of the game against College of Charleston, it can’t be stressed enough how important former point guard Richards was to this team. He averaged 12.7 points per game along with 8.1 assists per game, and had one of the better assist/turnover ratios (2.8/1) in the country. Without his steady hand to run the offense, Curry was forced to move over to the point guard and was unable to run around the court trying to get free on screens. Teams were able to focus their defense on Curry and he struggled with all the attention.

What’s next: It is a very good question, and one that Bob McKillop would more than likely like to put off thinking about it for at least another month. But if the Wildcats fail to make the tournament, it is a realistic possibility that Curry will go pro. While the cupboard won’t be bare, the Wildcats will have scoring issues without Curry and Andrew Lovedale (a senior) on the court. The team will be forced to shift their offensive focus to developing players like Ben Allison and Frank Ben-Eze.

————————————————————————————————————————————————

Team: Maryland Terrapins

Record: 18-12 (7-9)

Preseason Expectations: Most analysts probably would have put Maryland right where they are now, fighting for their life to squeak into the tournament. Maryland was predicted to finish seventh in the ACC according to the ACC preseason poll. They currently find themselves tied with Miami and Virginia Tech for seventh in the ACC, so, in the words of former Cardinals football coach Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were.”

Best wins: Maryland has two fantastic wins on their resume: they had a borderline miraculous comeback victory over North Carolina, 88-85 in overtime, and they also had a big win over Michigan State, 80-62, early in the season when they played in the Old Spice Classic.

Worst losses: Unfortunately the Terps also have two very bad losses. They had every opportunity to solidify their tournament resume on Saturday in Charlottesville against the Virginia Cavaliers, but they blew their opportunity with sloppy play and porous defense as the Wahoos prevailed 68-63. But, possibly a worse loss was back in early January when the Terps let a double-digit lead slip away at home and they lost to Morgan State 66-65.

Where it ended: When Mamade Diane hit a 3-pointer with just under 40 seconds left to give the Cavaliers a three-point lead, Terps fans could see the NCAA tournament slipping away. The Cavaliers gave Maryland every opportunity to step up and run away with the game, but the Terps let the Cavaliers hang around and eventually take the lead in the second half. From that point on Maryland was forced to play catch up and they just didn’t have the firepower to pull it off.

What went wrong: Gary Williams had all year to develop someone to play second fiddle to Greivis Vasquez, and at times, Cliff Tucker, Landon Milbourne, and Dave Neal all played that role. But the role players on the squad were maddeningly inconsistent, disappearing for stretches of the season. In the end the Terps were too reliant on Vasquez to create offensive opportunities with his drive and kick, and Vasquez didn’t respond well to all the responsibility as there were times when he forced bad shots and tried to do too much.

What’s next: If Williams and company don’t make it to the NCAA tournament, Terps fans can take solace in the fact that it will give Williams more time to court top prospect Lance Stephenson, who would be the perfect offensive weapon to add to the Terp arsenal. Neal is the only player who will be moving on unless Vasquez decides to go pro, and the Terps add depth on the frontline with the addition of recruits Jordan Williams and James Padgett. Even if Stephenson does not end up in College Park, the Terps will have a great shot to end their tournament drought.

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Mr. March Headed to the NIT

Posted by nvr1983 on March 8th, 2009

We may have just seen Stephen Curry‘s last meaningful college basketball game. That may shock those of you who don’t follow college basketball religiously, but when the rest of the nation joins us in our college basketball obsession on next Sunday at 6 PM don’t expect to see Davidson among the teams selected on the CBS Selection Show. Sure we may get a cut-in to see Bob McKillop and the Wildcats sitting in a conference room with forlorn looks on their faces, but they just lost their shot at making another miraculous run when they lost to the College of Charleston for a second time this season ending their run in the Southern Conference tournament.

Mr. March Will Have to Settle For MSG, Not Detroit

Mr. March Will Have to Settle For MSG, Not Detroit

Now you may hear some pundits (read: Joe Lunardi and Andy Katz) say that Davidson deserves a bid given their tough non-conference schedule and their run last, which should be irrelevant). I’m sure that the CBS executives are secretly hoping that Davidson gets a bid as Curry would be ratings gold to the casual college basketball fan. While I won’t argue with the fact that Davidson played an incredibly tough non-conference schedule for a Southern Conference team, the reality is that they lost almost all of those games. Their only win (on the road over West Virginia) looks great on paper, but a closer looks reveals that the Mountaineers did not have Alex Ruoff that day and his replacement Joe Mazzulla only played 6 minutes (both due to shoulder injuries). Outside of that game, Davidson doesn’t have a win against a team in the top 50 in the RPI (1-4 overall) with losses against Oklahoma, Purdue, Duke, and Butler. While the Wildcats played Oklahoma close in Norman, they lost, which at the end of the day is what matters.

As it stands today, the Wildcats were only 68th in the RPI prior to their loss tonight. They now have 3 “bad losses” (to teams outside the RPI top 100) after losing to the College of Charleston twice and the Citadel. I’m not sure how the committee will treat the Citadel loss because Curry was injured, but it probably won’t matter. When you add in the fact that their strength of schedule is only 173rd nationally you have a team that’s new goal should be making a trip to Madison Square Garden. Maybe Curry should keep his head up high. He may be auditioning for his future employer.

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Set Your Tivos: 01.07.09

Posted by nvr1983 on January 7th, 2009

Tonight’s a special night at the East Coast RTC headquarters, as I will intently be watching a game on ESPN based on a little column I wrote a few days ago. The results of this game (more specifically how one player does) will lead to one of two options:

(1) He will go off and the site will be bombarded by hateful comments by people questioning my manhood and my intelligence.

(2) He will pull a 7-for-25 or something similar and the site will be silent. It’s not really right, but that’s just the way these things work. I guess I can be like a superstar walking out of an opposing stadium enjoying the sweet sound of silence. [Note: This doesn’t mean I would enjoy seeing Curry struggle. It would just add some validity to my theory.]

Anyways, onto the games. . .

tivos

7 PM
Davidson at #2 Duke on ESPN and ESPN360.com: Even though Duke is the obvious favorite here and the Goliath to Davidson’s, uh, David, I think the Wildcats have more pressure on them going into this game. They have had 2 shots at the big boys (Oklahoma and Purdue) and came up short both times including a beat-down at the hands of the Boilermakers. Even with a win over West Virginia, the Wildcats non-conference resume is a little weak for a team that came into the season ranked 20th in the nation after their scintillating run last March. If they lose this one, they can forget even getting a 6 seed. This isn’t a death knell for the Wildcats season (see last year), but it would be disappointing for Bob McKillop’s crew after coming into the season with such high expectations. To get a win at Cameron, Stephen Curry will need to have a huge game (40+ points) and get some help from Andrew Lovedale, who will probably have his hands full with Kyle Singler. In addition, McKillop will have to hope that the Blue Devils have an off-night beyond the arc like they did in their only loss this year. As you know the Blue Devils have a much more balanced attack led by Singler with help from Jon Scheyer, Gerald Henderson, and Nolan Smith. One of the interesting things to watch for early in the game will be the mobility of Smith, who will be guarding Curry and is coming off a knee injury. If Smith isn’t up to the task, the task of guarding Curry will be left up to blogosphere whipping boy Greg Paulus. If that is the case, I will be taking back my earlier prediction for Curry for tomorrow night.

The Cameron Crazies will be out in full force
The Cameron Crazies will be out in full force

- #21 Louisville at South Florida on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com: The Cardinals will be riding high after their rollercoaster win over intrastate rival Kentucky on Sunday afternoon. They should be careful though going into the Sun Dome where the Bulls nearly beat then #11 Syracuse in a 59-54 game despite a horrendous night from Jesus Verdejo (3/17 FG including 0/10 from 3). Rick Pitino will be expecting a more consistent performance out of freshman sensation Samardo Samuels, who only had 4 points and 1 rebound in 11 minutes due to foul trouble. I’m sure Pitino will be praying for another solid performance from Edgar Sosa, who responded to Pitino’s interesting motivational techniques (reminiscent of my high school coach threatening to put all of us on JV before every game) with a season-high 18 points including a game-winning 3 with 2.8 seconds against Kentucky. Like usual, Louisville has the talent to run away with this game, but the question is whether they will continue to play down to the level of their competition.

7:30 PM
#15 Marquette at Rutgers on ESPN Full Court and ESPN360.com: Honestly, this isn’t a particularly exciting game, but it should be fun to see if Rutgers finds the Golden Eagles below the level of their typical competition (last 3 games vs. last week’s #1 UNC, #2 UConn, and #3 Pittsburgh). The Golden Eagles are only considered the 15th best team in the country. You gotta love the Big East this year.

9 PM
College of Charleston at #3 UNC on Fox Sports South: See if the Tar Heels, currently in last place in the ACC, can dig its way out the cellar. Don’t say we didn’t warn you about the Tar Heels.

- Gonzaga at #24 Tennessee on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com: That’s not a typo. The Bulldogs, who were once ranked 4th in the country, are no longer ranked. I’m not sure what to make of Gonzaga. After being the underdog for so many years, they suddenly became a favorite, but have continued to disappoint and frustrate the nation each March after repeated failures to live up to their NCAA tournament seed. This year, they rose to their 2nd highest ranking ever (spent 2 weeks at #3 at the end of the 2004 regular season) before going into a freefall losing their last 3 and 4 of their last 5 games. To be fair, those 4 losses have been by a combined 18 points and included 2 road games and an overtime loss to then #2 UConn. Despite that, there’s no reason that a national title contender should go through a stretch like that. The Volunteers will be looking to bounce back from a tough loss at Kansas. The key to this game will be on the inside with Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism battling against Josh Heytvelt and Austin Daye.  If the Volunteers are able to control the paint, they will have a good shot at knocking off the Bulldogs, who will also need some help from their perimeter guys (Matt Bouldin, Steven Gray, and Jeremy Pargo).

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