ATB: Who Ya Got for NPOY?

Posted by rtmsf on February 22nd, 2010

Weekend Wrap. We just looked at the calendar again to make sure it was late February, and sure enough it is.  We’re currently just three weeks away from Selection Sunday, and yet this weekend didn’t have the feel of one so close to the end of the year.  Part of the reason is that we’ve come to expect more insanity at this point, as teams who are safely heading to March Madness let their guard down a little to the benefit of those who are not feeling as secure.  Put in short, where are the upsets?  In the top 25 alone this weekend, there was, what, one?  #25 Wake Forest went to Raleigh and lost to the Wolfpack, who are quickly going nowhere.  Who else?  #3 Villanova losing at #21 Pitt – arguable, at best.  If you remove the OSU-MSU game from consideration, in sixteen other games involving ranked teams only Baylor’s road loss at Oklahoma State is even up for discussion.  And it’s really not.  That said, even though there weren’t a bunch of upsets this weekend, there were a lot of good games.  Still, with twenty-one days leading up to the Soiree, we’re ready to start seeing a little more mayhem.


Shades of Redick vs. Morrison.  We’re loving us some NPOY discussion this late into the season, reminding us of the season four years ago when Duke’s JJ Redick and Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison played ‘top this‘ from opposite ends of the country throughout the year.  This season the two primary contenders only reside about 200 miles apart, but each is incredibly important to his team’s fortunes and as of now, the college hoops world is falling squarely into rival camps — you’re either a John Wall or an Evan Turner guy.  Arguments pro and con are filling up the airwaves and bandwidth and we expect that with each passing game the intensity of partisanship will get stronger.  This weekend didn’t solve anything, and in fact, may have exacerbated the dissension — depending on whom you ask, both Turner and Wall helped their case this weekend in big road wins for their teams.

Wall for NPOY? (AP)

  • #2 Kentucky 58, #19 Vanderbilt 56.  For about 38 minutes of yesterday’s game in Memorial Gymnasium, John Wall was the invisible all-american.  He had eight points on 2-10 shooting, and had effectively been shut down by the tough, physical Vanderbilt defense.  But when it came winning time, he once again made just enough plays to give his team the win — first, by driving to the hole and somehow securing the ball after it got stripped so that he could still find his head to lay it in to put UK up three, and second, by blocking a last-second three attempt (a terrible decision, btw) by John Jenkins that could have tied the game with four seconds remaining.  He was also 3-4 from the line in the final minute to give the Cats just enough cushion to survive yet another close finish.  By our count, that was no fewer than the fifth time this season that Wall has saved his team in the clutch.  Whether it’s luck or skill that he keeps making plays in these pressure-packed situations, or some combination thereof, we are absolutely certain that he embraces them.  And all the great ones do.  Vandy will be kicking themselves over this loss for some time, as they had multiple chances to make open shots and really put Kentucky in a tough spot, but the shots wouldnt fall (2-20 from three), and UK effectively wrapped up the SEC regular season title with this one.

Or Turner for NPOY? (Kirthmon Dozier)

  • #12 Ohio State 74, #11 Michigan State 67.  Evan Turner used the Breslin Center to do his best Michael Jordan vs. the Jazz impression, fighting off flu-like symptoms to the point where he was unable to eat anything prior to the game on Sunday morning.  After a listless first half where he only scored four points and missed seven of his first eight shots, he was able to come through when his team needed him most in the second half, scoring twelve  points in the final nine minutes to hold off MSU.  Like Wall, Turner (20/10/6 assts) was picked up by his teammates prior to his strong finish, with William Buford offering 18/10 and David Lighty 13/9 themselves.  The scary part for OSU fans is that Thad Matta only used six players today, and four of those played the entire game.  As for the Spartans, defending conference POY Kalin Lucas had a rough night, shooting 3-13 for only nine points today.  The Buckeye win ties OSU with Michigan State one-half game behind Purdue with three games left to play in the Big Ten race.  While the rest of America is entranced with the talents of Mr. Turner, the question we have is: does anyone in Columbus care?

Conference Recaps.

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RTC Live: Wichita State @ Utah State

Posted by rtmsf on February 20th, 2010

Grab a cup of coffee or a red bull, because we’ve got a great one for the nightcap of an RTC Live quadruple-header when Wichita State visits Utah State to end ESPN’s Bracketbuster weekend. The Shockers come into Logan on a bit of a slide, going just 1-4 in their last five road games (including a terrible loss at previously MVC-winless Evansville) but could get back into the bubble discussion with a win here. Wichita State will look to get it done with their fantastic defense (30th in the nation in points per possession at just .914) and a balanced offense led by guards Toure Murry and Clevin Hannah (averaging 12.4 and 12.3 points per game, respectively). Utah State comes into the game red-hot, winning their last 11 games and will counter the Shockers’ defense with the nation’s fifth most efficient offense, including the eleventh best FG% (48.6%) and nation’s best 3-point shooting (42.4%). Tai Wesley gets it done for the Aggies underneath leading the Aggies with 13.3 points per game and they will look to Pooh Williams, the WAC’s best perimeter defender, to slow down the Shocker guards. A win for the Aggies would add another much-needed quality win to the resume should they falter at the WAC Tournament in Reno next month. The loser of this game will likely have its odds of making it into the bracket as an at-large candidate busted. Can Wichita State turn it around? Or will Utah State continue its recent dominance? Make sure you have enough caffeine in you to stay up with us on RTC Live tonight and find out.

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RTC Live: Siena @ Butler

Posted by rtmsf on February 20th, 2010

Both Butler and Siena are setting themselves up to be bracket busters in a few weeks, but for one Saturday they will face each other at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The host Bulldogs have mowed through Horizon League play with a spotless 17-0 record and are on a 16-game winning streak overall. Their opposition in this made-for-TV event is Siena. The Saints scored a first round NCAA victory a year ago against Ohio State and are the class of the MAAC. A recent loss to Niagara, however, has left their NCAA at-large chances in some doubt if they don’t win their conference tournament. Butler is playing for a seed, while you’d have to figure that a Siena win in a tough road environment such as this would secure their place in the field of 65.  Join us on RTC Live to analyze and discuss the action. 

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Morning Five: Groundhog Day Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 2nd, 2010

  1. It’s Groundhog Day 2010, and just for a little perspective, let’s look back one year ago.  On February 2, 2009, the nation’s #1 team in the AP poll was UConn (ok), #2 was Oklahoma (alright), #3 was UNC (definitely ok), and #4 was Duke (um, no).  The other two Final Four teams besides the Huskies and Heels — Michigan State and Villanova — were #13 and #17, respectively.  Look at a few of the other names in the top ten… #7 Wake Forest, #8 Marquette, #10 Clemson.  There’s a lot of season left, folks.
  2. We always love this… when conference officials admit to a bad call or calls that impact whether a team wins a game by stating there were “procedural and communications errors” without giving specifics as to what those were (as Big East officials did after the Louisville-West Virginia game).  Maybe they should just start going back and disallowing baskets based on the replay, similar to how they vacate wins for using an ineligible player?
  3. Jameson Fleming at the Bleacher Report recently interviewed ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb about his somewhat abrasive honest style of analysis, which endears him to few fans other than lonely bloggers who appreciate hearing something beyond Team X is “getting it done” and Player Y has the “total package.”
  4. A lot of people are understandably focusing on the small rift that seemed to manifest over the weekend between John Wall and his coach, John Calipari, but the underlying truth of the matter is that Wall’s play has fallen off considerably in 2010.  The question we have is not whether there’s some kind of problem between player and coach, but whether Wall has the ability to bounce back for the last 6-8 weeks of the season.
  5. We hope to have an analysis of these up later today, but the Bracketbuster matchups were announced last night, and the obvious choice for the best game on the docket is Siena visiting Butler in Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Some other games of major interest in our book are: 1) Old Dominion @ Northern Iowa; 2) Charleston @ George Mason; and 3) Wichita State @ Utah State.
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Buzz: ESPN Bracketbusters to be Announced at 6:30 pm

Posted by rtmsf on February 1st, 2010

In less than a half-hour from now, ESPNU will be broadcasting their ESPN Bracketbusters Selection Show, hosted by Lowell Galindo and analyst Mark Adams.  Will this year’s schedule give us some choice matchups such as Siena-Cornell or New Mexico-Northern Iowa?  What about a St. Mary’s-Radford matchup so we can see Omar Samhan battle with Artsiom Parakhouski?  Check back in later as we’ll have a comprehensive analysis of the best games to keep an eye on as part of your viewing schedule in three weekends (February 19-20).  As if you didn’t already have enough good hoops to watch this month!

 

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 02.21.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 21st, 2009

dynamite1

It’s BracketBuster Saturday, and we’re back with another compelling edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite.  We don’t know how it is where you live today, but it’s rainy and chilly here at the RTC Western Compound, which means it’s a great day for huddling up on the couch, firing up the three tvs, ordering up some pie and watching hoops all day.   There are some pretty strong games on the slate today, starting with Butler v. Davidson early and finishing with BYU v. UNLV late.  Settle in and feel free to make your own observations in the comments section.

12:08pm. Oh no, Steph Curry’s mom is NOT at the Davidson game today!!!!  Who will the cameras show in the crowd?!?!!?  Oh yeah, Dell’s there.  Ok.  Whew.

12:10pm. Wonder how ESPN decides who gets to host these games?  Seems like a pretty big decision considering Butler and Davidson are so tough at home, and the loser could drop a seed line or two based on this game.  Curry doesn’t like quite as quick as normal so far – the ankle is probably a little tender.

12:17pm. Our new uber-intern sent over some interesting news today – looks like Patrick Patterson might go for Kentucky today against Tennesee (coming up at 1pm), and surprise of all surprises, the NCAA is investigating USC with respect to recruiting Daniel Hackett.   His dad is the strength and conditioning coach at USC (which is legal, btw).

12:30pm. There are a couple of other BB games that started at 11am, and the most interesting one is Northeastern at Wright St., which is on ESPN2.  NE is leading by six right now, while CAA sibling ODU is crushing Liberty and Seth Curry.

12:46pm. How many games this year have we watched Davidson only to hear some announcer talking about Steph Curry having an “off” game.  It would be nice if he’d just come out and blow up one of these nationally-televised games.   As it now stands, he’s 1-10 and 0-6 from three.

12:50pm. Interesting stat from Brad Nessler there – that if Curry continued his 30 ppg pace for another season-plus at Davidson, he could conceivably catch Pete Maravich’s all-time scoring total record.  Of course, Pistol Pete did it in three years, but that would be a phenomenal record to approach.  We’ll see if we can figure the math and get back on that.

12:52pm. Early afternoon bubble watch.  Miami is smoking BC in S. Florida at halftime (up 12) and ND is also up 12 at halftime on Providence.  These are both pretty much must-wins, although Notre Dame needs it a little more than Miami.

12:57pm. Somehow three of the top four CAA teams drew road games in the BracketBusters event.  So far, the CAA looks good.  VCU only lost by one at Nevada last night, and Northeastern is finishing off Wright St.  ODU already won, and it’ll be very interesting to see what George Mason can do at Creighton later this evening.

1:02pm. Wow, Doug Gottlieb just eviscerated Jay Williams as to why Georgetown was going to make the tournament.  He must have thought he was back on that motorcycle there.  No inside presence?  Except the best freshman big in the country, Greg Monroe.  We get his point about frontcourt depth, but we’re with Gottlieb here – we think Georgetown makes a run to get to 9-9 in the Big East.

1:06pm. We’ve got some 1pm games starting here, incl. Bruce Pearl’s orange blazer at Kentucky (speaking of bubbles), Buffalo at Vermont on the deuce, and the second half of ND-Providence on ESPN FC.  Oh, and did we mention Gus Johnson is in Lexington today.  Oh yes.

1:11pm. Thanks CBS for showing me a graphic telling me that UK is on a 5-0 run in the last 3:20…  or, to start the game.  Brilliant.

1:18pm. Ok, here’s the deal on Curry catching Maravich.  Curry had 2414 coming into today.  Maravich ended with 3667 pts.  If we assume eight more games this year (three regular season; three SoCon Tourney; two NCAA Tourney), and 35 games next year, that’s 42 games.  He’d have to average 29.84 over that stretch to pass him.  Since he’s averaging 29.0 already this season, this is eminently possible should he stick around another season.  That would be fairly cool to track next season – let’s hope he returns.

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