ATB: Syracuse Survives, OSU Recovers, and Upset City in the West…

Posted by EJacoby on March 23rd, 2012

Tonight’s Lede. Half of our Elite Eight teams are set, with the East and West regions completing their semifinal matchups on Thursday night. The East Region in Boston finished as expected, with chalk advancing to the Elite Eight in the form of Syracuse and Ohio State for what should be a fantastic regional final on Saturday. But the story in Phoenix was much different, as the favored #1 and #3 seeds went down in games that were dominated by the lower seeds. Only one game on the night finished in single digits but there was plenty of exciting basketball that took place. And the one game that was a close one happened to be one of the Big Dance’s best. Let’s break it down… 

Your Watercooler Moment. Jordan Taylor’s Shot Falls Short, #1 Syracuse Survives.

Wisconsin is Devastated After Coming so Close Against Syracuse (Getty Images/J. Rogash)

Our first game of the night was a classic, one that featured two very different teams that both executed at an extremely high level offensively. Four-seed Wisconsin brought its patented ball-control, super-slow tempo game plan into Boston with hopes of knocking off top-seeded Syracuse with a methodical approach, good shooting, and strong collective defense. But no defense could stop what either team was bringing to the table in this one. The Badgers executed their plan offensively, hitting an amazing 14-27 from three-point range in a wonderful display of outside shooting that would usually be enough for a victory. But the Orange were just as strong on the other end, converting 55.1% of their field goals with easy baskets in the paint from a variety of one-on-one scorers. The two teams combined for just 12 turnovers and this game came down to the very last shot, one that fell short on a long three-point attempt from Jordan Taylor on a broken offensive play. Despite the fairly low 64-63 final score, the game featured crisp execution throughout its entirety. Syracuse was just one possession better, thanks to its easy offense earned through superior athleticism and playmaking in the half court. It’s on to the Elite Eight for the Orange!

Also Worth Chatting About. The First #1-Seed to Fall are Tom Izzo’s Spartans.

Everyone knows that March is Michigan State’s month. Tom Izzo has brought the Spartans to six Final Fours in his tenure, and he had never been knocked out of the NCAA Tournament before the final weekend when his team was a #1 seed. That came to an end on Thursday, when Michigan State was outplayed from the start by Rick Pitino’s #4 Louisville Cardinals. The Spartans racked up more turnovers (15) than made field goals (14) while shooting 28.6% from the field. Louisville was too athletic and strong defensively, essentially beating Michigan State at its own game. The Cardinals won the battle on the boards, in the turnover margin, and from behind the arc (they shot 9-23 compared to 5-21 for MSU). Gorgui Dieng racked up seven blocks and three steals to go along with nine rebounds in an elite defensive performance, and Peyton Siva ran the offense well with nine assists. Izzo’s March mystique could not get his players to put the ball in the basket, and our first #1 seed finally goes down.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Checking In On… The America East Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on February 25th, 2012

John Templon is the RTC correspondent for America East. You can also find his musings online at NYC Buckets or on Twitter @nybuckets.

Reader’s Take


The Week That Was

  • Binghamton Breaks Through: The Bearcats sure picked a good time to win their first game of the season. After starting 0-26 they took down Vermont 57-53 and the students rushed the court. Robert Mansell scored 18 and Ben Dickson added 16 for Binghamton. The Bearcats led by as many as 12 points during the game, by far the most this season, and held on for the victory.
  • Albany All Banged Up: Will Brown’s team is hurting. Just seven players got on the court during the Great Danes’ BracketBusters game against Rider, which Albany won. Guys sitting on the bench included Gerardo Suero and Logan Aronhalt – Albany’s top two scorers – and Luke Devlin. Devlin and Aronhalt are battling knee problems, while Suero missed the game against Rider because of a case of shingles. Suero and Aronhalt both returned in a 74-63 win over Binghamton. Suero played 25 minutes and Aronhalt nine. The plus side for Albany is that it will have had more than a week off before the conference quarterfinals for players to rest.
  • Brackets Busted: The America East went a surprising 5-4 during BracketBusters. Stony Brook picked up a nice win over Northeastern, Vermont beat Niagara by 22 and Albany got a win over Rider. Overall, the conference did well and helped itself out by beating two teams from the CAA and three from the MAAC.

An RTC In Binghamton To Snap A 27-Game Losing Streak Proved Cathartic. (Daniel O'Connor/Binghamton Pipe Dream)


Power Rankings

  1. Stony Brook (19-8, 13-2) – The Seawolves have done everything asked of them this season. Their two losses are on the road at the teams sitting in second and third in the power rankings. They’ll almost certainly have the #1 seed, a home championship game, if they make it through two rounds in Hartford, and a top seed in the NIT.
  2. Vermont (19-11, 12-3) – How about we all agree that the Binghamton game didn’t happen? If that’s the case, the Catamounts should certainly be in this spot. Vermont had won 10 games in a row at that point. Odd note about the Catamounts: they have got both the best free throw percentage and free throw percentage against during conference play. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

ACC Morning Five: 01.23.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 23rd, 2012

  1. Fansided (via Soaring to Glory): This is a good post for the beginning of conference play that checks in with four bloggers from around the ACC regarding a range of topics. It’s always interesting to get different perspectives from around the league. One thing I found especially interesting was that none of the bloggers took a negative tone. Boston College is having what looks like a historically bad season; the same (relatively speaking) goes for Maryland; and North Carolina was coming off a brutal loss to Florida State. But universally the authors were positive (again, relatively speaking). More than anything, I think that’s the hallmark of the ACC this year: Everyone has a chance to exceed expectations (even the Tar Heels, whose expectations are mainly focused on March).
  2. BC Interruption: I love the rapid-fire Q & A that is “The Big Finish” over at BC Interruption. I think there’s a good bit to be learned by someone just spouting off short sentences to successive questions (which, tangentially, is why I love Twitter Q & As). Even if there’s less thought behind the answers, something feels more natural or instinctual. As to the first question about the ceiling of Boston College under Steve Donahue, I think it’s impossible to know right now. Donahue needs to show the ability to recruit high-major players consistently before I’m willing to make that call. Right now each win is on house money because of low expectations, but in two or three years it should be easier to pinpoint a legitimate ceiling for the Eagles.
  3. Raleigh News & Observer: Wake Forest notched another win this weekend against Boston College. It never trailed and looked dominant from time to time. Probably the most impressive player was Ty Walker, who somehow only got credited with five blocks (seriously, I thought he had at least seven). Walker has been a non-factor most of his career, but looks like a totally new player this season. The most dominant and outstanding player on the floor was Travis McKie. McKie can play. Unfortunately, his terrific game underscored just how much more talented Wake Forest is than Boston College. And while the game never felt in doubt, several Wake Forest bloggers are not pleased with the direction of the program.
  4. Orlando Sentinel: Florida State reestablished itself as the third-best team in the conference (and very possibly the second) with its win at Duke this weekend. I’m back on the bandwagon (which, to be fair, I was driving in the preseason) after a short respite thanks to a 10-point half against Princeton and a 20-point beatdown to Clemson. I think Leonard Hamilton said it best, talking to a fan who thanked him for the opportunity to rush the court against North Carolina: “But we won’t have to rush the court anymore. It’s expected. Those days are over.” And if they continue to put up over 70 points a game, I guarantee the Seminoles will be nearly impossible to beat.
  5. Washington Post: Speaking of ACC chaos, Virginia Tech managed to halt its conference winless streak with a win at Virginia on Sunday. The bottom line is that Virginia couldn’t score enough to get it done. They shot horrendously, which kept the Hokies in it, and allowed Dorenzo Hudson to knock down a dagger three to close out the Cavaliers. The game said a lot, especially about Virginia Tech, which finally showed the toughness it will need going forward to win games in the conference. The game also raised some questions about Tony Bennett’s squad, which will have to bounce back this week to maintain their upper position in the conference.
Share this story

05.21.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 21st, 2007

  • Is Billy Donovan reportedly set to become the highest paid college basketball coach in history?
  • Larry Eustachy is definitely not. Still, $135k will buy a lot of Natty Lite for the Southern Miss coeds.
  • Apparently the Arizona assistant coaches should keep their resumes fresh upon Lute’s retirement.
  • John Pelphrey says his Razorbacks are out of shape. Somewhere Stan Heath chuckles.
  • Tubby Smith is enjoying his “rock star” status over the “pariah” status he previously enjoyed.
  • Speaking of Kentucky, Billy Gillispie has no use for games in Boston.
  • Purdue’s Mackey Barn Arena will cost $82M to reduce its capacity by ~800 seats. Oh, and it’ll also be renovated.
  • USC guard Gabe Pruitt has signed with an agent and is staying in the NBA draft.
Share this story