Boom Goes the Dynamite: 01.24.09

Posted by nvr1983 on January 24th, 2009

dynamite1After my trip to Chapel Hill last weekend where rtmsf handled all of the duties for Boom Goes the Dynamite while I mingled with ESPN personalities and college basketball stars, I will be in charge of today’s edition while rtmsf does relationship stuff with his significant other. Pretty weak if you ask me. . .

11:00 AM: Although we are a men’s college basketball site, we feel that it’s appropriate to mention the passing of Kay Yow, the former NC State coach, to breast cancer (or more precisely complications related to breast cancer). We can’t really do justice to her impact on the women’s game so it’s probably better just to refer you to a chronology of her life.

11:10 AM: The Notre Dame GameDay crowd looks a lot larger than what I saw last weekend at UNC. I am not sure if it is just a bunch of camera tricks by the GameDay crew, but they definitely have more signs. It may be that UConn is much, much better than Miami was last week or that the UNC crowd may be a bit jaded, but the Chapel Hill crowd was not as into the GameDay experience as I expected them to be.

11:45 AM: Digger Phelps has been doing a good job of working the crowd, which he also did last week at Chapel Hill (even off camera), taking the homer pick of Luke Harangody as his choice of tough player after the other analysts picked Blake Griffin, Tyler Hansbrough, and Stephen Curry to boos. As expected the crowd went wild with Digger’s pick. A little later in the show, the crowd gave the stereotypical college crowd response to a Duke segment by chanting “overrated”. Not surprisingly, the analysts all defend Duke. Appropriately enough, Bobby Knight calls out the Notre Dame students by questioning their education. It looks like he is getting more comfortable with his role on ESPN.

11:50 AM: Another awful half-court shot. Where does ESPN find these guys? He deserved to be embarrassed like that on national TV for popping his collar. Someone should tell him that hasn’t been cool since. . .actually it has never been cool. Congrats on the airball.

Noon: Wow. All of the GameDay guys except Knight picked LSU to beat #13 Xavier. I guess it’s in Baton Rouge, but Xavier is definitely the better team. Least surprising pick of the day: Digger picks Notre Dame. Knight abstains from picking a team.

12:15 PM: Duke is off to a good start against Maryland after Jon Scheyer opens the game with two 3s. What’s going on with Brian Zoubek? He actually looks like a legitimate center today. I have seen him play several times this year and he certainly has improved from last year, but he has never played like this. If he can do this even for spurts this year, Duke might have a legitimate chance to win the title this year instead of their usual great regular season and flop in March.

12:20 PM: Villanova is tied at 10 with USF 6 minutes into the game. Dante Cunningham has 8 of Villanova’s 10 points. I don’t have much else to say about this game since I don’t have ESPN360 available since I am out of town. If anybody has this game on TV, let me know if anything interesting happens.

1:00 PM: Duke goes into halftime with a 25-point lead despite having one of the ugliest possessions I have ever seen to end the half. Do you remember when the Duke-Maryland games used to be the best games of the season? I still remember trying to figure out where I could go to watch the game on TV my freshman year of college. (My school didn’t believe in providing cable to dorm rooms.) Meanwhile in Tampa, Villanova is struggling against USF (tied at 32 at halftime).

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ATB: Orange Crushed

Posted by rtmsf on January 14th, 2009


Some mid-week news and notes

  • One of the nation’s top prospects, 6’9 Derrick Favors, decided on his hometown school Georgia Tech today.  He’ll join a long line of 1-and-dones at Ga Tech under Paul Hewitt.  Speaking of recruits, Gary Parrish spoke with Sonny Vaccaro about the Brandon Jennings Experiment, and it appears more players are interested in testing the waters in Europe next season.  What’s left unsaid in this article is how BJ’s year in Europe (where he’s not playing all that well) will impact his draft status.
  • Kansas guard Mario Little will play out the remainder of the season rather than apply for a medical hardship due to his stress fracture (leg) and hand injuries.
  • The MVC and Mountain West will start an ACC/Big 10-style Challenge next season.   Great idea.  Kyle Whelliston should be happy about this.
  • Vegas Watch breaks down his Futures Watch with eight teams in Part 1 and another seven in Part 2.
  • Seth Davis breaks down the non-conference strength of schedule RPIs to see who is in good shape and who is in trouble come Selection Sunday.

Tonight’s Big East Blockbuster (there’s seemingly one every night)Georgetown 88, Syracuse 74. Looks like nvr1983 may have been onto something earlier today in his SYT piece previewing this game when he ripped Syracuse’s schedule thus far.  The bottom line about this game is this.  When Georgetown shoots the ball from deep as well as they were today (12-21 from three), the Hoyas are nearly impossible to beat due to their system.  The discipline they show on the offensive end limits their turnovers and their players are drilled to always move the ball to find the open man.  The reason Georgetown isn’t the top national title contender, though, is because they don’t usually shoot it that well.  They’re currently ranked #205 in 3fg% at 33%, which is below the national average of 34%.  Tonight was a bit of an anomaly, but Syracuse looked significantly off its game tonight – the Orange shot the ball ok (48%) and outrebounded the Hoyas by seven (who doesn’t?), but their defense seemed a couple steps slow on their rotations and losing Andy Rautins to injury early in the game seemed to remove most of the wind from their sails (word is that Rautins will be ok).  The thing about this conference that Syracuse must remember is that any one game is simply that – one game.  Georgetown just finished a five-game stretch where they played four Top 10 teams and came out of it 3-2 – they’ll take that in spades.  Cuse, on the other hand, played four bottom-dwellers (starting 4-0), and is about to play Notre Dame, Pitt and Louisville in succession – they’ll be lucky to get a split in this four-game stretch.  Everyone in the Big East is going to lose games.  The strongest teams in March will have learned from these wars and made the necessary adjustments – that’s what Syracuse needs to take away from tonight’s loss.  Oh one final note – that Dajuan Summers and-one was unreal.

Peter Lockley/Washington Times)

(Photo Credit: Peter Lockley/Washington Times)

Upset of the Night. Colorado St. 71, UNLV 69. Ouch.  CSU came into this game 5-11 overall.  UNLV had better be careful, as they’ve now lost two in row in the Mountain West to teams they shouldn’t be losing to (TCU was the other).  The Rebs had built a solid non-conference resume with wins over Arizona and Louisville, but all of that good will has disappeared with these last two losses.

Other Games Inducing General Malaise.

  • Michigan St. 78, Penn St. 73. PSU used a furious second-half comeback to shave 16 pts off of a 17-pt lead and give MSU a huge scare, but the Spartans held on for their tenth in a row.  Penn St. is becoming a place nobody in the Big Ten wants to play.
  • Duke 70, Georgia Tech 56. Duke only hit 39% from the field but was able to completely shut down Tech’s scorers, holding Gani Lawal, Lewis Clinch and Alade Aminu well below their averages.  Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson had 19 each.
  • Pittsburgh 75, South Florida 62. The nation’s #1 team started slowly, but they pulled away in the second half – perhaps they were looking ahead to their battle with Louisville on Saturday night.  DeJuan Blair singlehandedly outrebounded USF on the offensive end (9-8).
  • Davidson 83, Elon 68. Stephen Curry dropped 6 threes en route to a 39-pt night.  He must have seen that Jodie Meeks added 2 pts/game to his average in one night and needed to secure his national lead in scoring.
  • Florida 68, Auburn 65. We caught a little of this one, and as usual, UF failed to impress.
  • LSU 85, South Carolina 68.  LSU is now 13-0 at home, 0-3 on the road.  Tasmin Mitchell blew up for 30/14 tonight.
  • Mississippi 74, Arkansas 65. Speaking of which, Arkansas has beaten Oklahoma and Texas at home, but is 1-2 on the road.
  • Creighton 73, S. Illinois 72 (OT). P’Allen Stinnett dropped 29 pts in the late comeback win for Creighton at home, which SIU apparently was trying to give away (and they did).
  • Illinois 66, Michigan 51. The Illini held Michigan to 32% shooting, including an ugly 3-14 night from DeShawn Sims.
  • Wake Forest 83, Boston College 73. Wake improves to 15-0 behind Jeff Teague’s 29 pts, setting up a huge matchup of unbeatens at Clemson on Saturday.  Check RTC’s liveblog of this game here.
  • Miami (FL) 62, Maryland 60. Another gutpunch loss for the Terps, who led 52-35 with 12+ minutes to go in the game.  Miami, behind five late threes from Jack McClinton and James Dews, roared back to take their first lead with 24 seconds remaining.
  • Texas A&M 84, Baylor 73. A&M is quietly putting together an NCAA resume, and by watching the Aggies tonight, they have sufficient talent to get there this year and do some damage.  All five starters for Texas A&M reached double figures, and they showed an array of ways to score.  Baylor has to improve on the road in the Big 12 to ever make the leap to serious contender (4 wins in the last 33 trips).
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12.12.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on December 12th, 2008

Some notes for your weekend of debauchery…

  • It’s harder than it looks, huh?  Former #1 recruit Brandon Jennings was supposed to become a trailblazer by going to Europe rather than Arizona for one year.  According to this Washington Times piece, he’s averaging 5/3 in a mere 17 minutes per game.  As for his peers who matriculated at US colleges, they’re not exactly tearing it up either.
  • Gary Parrish points out an interesting stat about Stephen Curry’s shooting vs. BCS and non-BCS opponents this year.  Definitely something to keep an eye on (although this is consistent with Curry’s 41.1% shooting against Georgetown, Wisconsin and Kansas in the NCAAs last year). 
  • From the completely shocking and out of character department, Jim Boeheim is upset with the terms of Eric Devendorf’s suspension from Syracuse
  • John Wooden would like to see the rims raised to some point less than eleven feet high. 
  • Kentucky all-time assists leader Dirk Minniefield was indicted in Houston for engaging in a fraudulent real estate scheme.
  • Here’s a pretty good piece on Dick Vitale’s vocal cord problems – we love to rip the guy’s partisanship, but we’ve never wavered on his passion and love for the game. 
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11.14.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on November 14th, 2008

Well, if we can get our ESPN Full Court package to work tonight, we might actually get to watch some games…  don’t hold your breath on Comcast actually coming through at the casa de RTC, though… 

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10.08.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 8th, 2008

We’re less than 48 hrs from the quasi-official start of practice (at least at Kentucky, Illinois and a few others)… 

  • The Class of 2009 will definitely be keeping an eye on Brandon Jennings’ experience in Europe this year.
  • So we can have D2 games on tv, but getting some good mid-majors on the ESPN Full Court package is damn near impossible?
  • The Big West signed a new deal with ESPN, but unless you get the U, you’re pretty much out of luck.  Note to ESPN – put ESPNU games on the Full Court Package this year!  Find a way to watch Fullerton’s Josh Akognon anyway this year – trust us.
  • STF pegs Purdue and Oklahoma as its breakthrough teams in 2008-09, and Baylor and Tennessee as its tipping-point teams.
  • Talent = Title Contender.  Thanks, Gary.  This was a fun idea, but we don’t really trust DraftExpress for evaluating NBA talent that far out, do you?
  • The Big 12 coaches like Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas/Baylor in that order.  Over in the Horizon League, Butler is picked fifh?!?!
  • Tom Crean to NCAA on further penalties:  Enough is Enough!  Meanwhile, Kyle Taber goes on record stating that Indiana will no-way, no-how, finish last in the B10 this year.
  • One jewel from Goodman’s blog – wait, Georgetown recruited a white kid?
  • Insert Rick Pitino isn’t walking through that door joke here
  • Speculation on where the top prospects in the Class of 2009 will end up.
  • Dickie V. should stay away from MLB Playoffs predictions.   
  • We must say, as an unabashed fan of God Shammgod, this is completely awesome.
  • One man’s take on the top NCAA program of all-time.
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Lute’s Plot Thickens

Posted by rtmsf on October 3rd, 2008

Quick hit here, but Arizona coach and resident college basketball drama queen Lute Olson announced today, some four months after the bitter dissolution of his marriage to Christine Toretti, that he is newly engaged!  The new Mrs. Arizona Basketball will be the much-younger Kelly Pugnea (below, left), 47, herself a divorcee with two sons.  Apparently the couple met seven months ago while Lute was still battling his ex-wife over undisclosed issues.  Gosh, we wonder what those could have been?

(photo credit:  Arizona Daily Star)

From the Star:

Arizona Wildcats basketball coach Lute Olson formally announced another new member of his team Wednesday: a fiancée.  During a benefit dinner at the UA student union hosted by former Wildcat Steve Kerr, Olson introduced Kelly Pugnea as his fiancée, saying she’s a “very, very good person.”  Pugnea, 47, is a divorced mom of two boys. They reside in Tucson. Olson said after the banquet that the two met seven months ago but have no wedding date at this point.  “No plans yet,” Olson said. “Probably next summer.”

There’s been no word whether Ms Pugnea intends to honor her verbal commitment if a better offer arises, as if, for example, she were offered a six-figure deal by some hunky European suitor
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The Lute Olson Circus Continues…

Posted by rtmsf on September 16th, 2008

It’s no secret around these parts that Lute Olson has experienced a volatile year since he decided to take a leave of absence from his Arizona Wildcats last November.  There were already the rampant rumors that Olson was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, or at minimum, some other undisclosed health issue, accompanied by the not-so-private saga involving a divorce from his second wife, Christine.  Throw in the embarassingly open secret that Olson was unhappy with his replacement, Kevin O’Neill, in addition to the loss of several key players either in or coming into the program (Jerryd Bayless, Brandon Jennings, Emmanuel Negedu) and it’s safe to say that the Silver Fox had a stressful year.  All that said, Olson has gone on record to exuberantly state that he expects to remain the coach at Arizona at least through his current contract, ending in 2011. 

Happier Times for Lute and Christine Olson  (photo credit:

Well why not? – so long as you intend to wilfully flout the NCAA rulebook in an attempt to get recruits to Tucson.  From the AP report

The University of Arizona has reported a possible NCAA recruiting violation by men’s basketball coach Lute Olson, who called it “an unfortunate and regrettable error.”  Athletic director Jim Livengood said Monday that Olson had sent a letter to basketball boosters asking for a donation to Jim Storey’s Arizona Cactus Classic basketball tournament, held last May at Arizona’s McKale Center. NCAA rules prohibit institutional representatives or boosters from arranging financial assistance for potential recruits.  “A ‘personal and confidential’ letter was sent to Rebounders Club board of directors over the electronic signature of Lute Olson, requesting that they provide financial assistance to Jim Storey’s Cactus Classic AAU Tournament,” Livengood said in a July 2 letter to Ron Barker, Pac-10 associate commissioner in charge of governance and enforcement. “The letter expressed how important this tournament is to the Arizona basketball program’s recruiting. The letter also stated (correctly) that ‘The athletics department can’t assist in any way.’ Which would include requesting that donors make financial contributions.”

Forget the one-and-dones, Olson has apparently decided that he will simply have his boosters finance players into Tucson.  (sidenote: the #2 PG in the class of 2009, Abdul Gaddy, also commited to the Wildcat program today – was he at this camp?).   

To be fair, Olson disabused reporters of the notion that he knew anything about this letter, which had an electronic signature on it.  Yet numerous poeople within in the program have gone on the record to state that Olson wanted this letter sent out.  Some Arizona fans are suggesting this is a setup propagated by the AD, Jim Livengood, who (the assumption goes) wants the powerful Olson out of the picture.

There’s one thing we can remain certain about – the Lute Olson stories are getting exponentially more interesting the older he gets.  Stay tuned for more out of the desert.   

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07.25.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on July 25th, 2008

Some things we’ve missed while lounging in a pool of indignant contempt (and mineral hot springs)with Lute Olson, Kevin O’Neill and friends the past few weeks…

  • It’s Extension Season! – Davidson’s Bob McKillop (3 more yrs until 2015-16), UCLA’s Ben Howland (7 yrs at approximately $2M per until 2014-15), Tennessee’s Bruce Pearl (1 more yr until 2013-14, but with a raise that will average out to $2.3M per over that span), Notre Dame’s Mike Brey (2 more yrs until 2014-15), Temple’s Fran Dunphy (2 more yrs through 2013-14), and Oregon’s Ernie Kent (3 more yrs until 2012-13) all got their wives a new car last week.
  • UCLA’s AD Dan Guerrero is the new NCAA Tournament Committee chairman for 2009-10.   Expect UCLA to play in Pauley and the Staples Center during its first four rounds that year.
  • Tim Floyd breathed a sigh of relief when he learned last week that Demar DeRozan passed the ACT and will be eligible next season for his Trojans.  DeRozan is a likely 1-and-done, which means Lute Olson has vowed to not recruit players like him for the rest of his career (still feeling the burn of Jennings and Bayless, Lute?)
  • Gonzaga forward and RTC fav Austin Daye both tore and didn’t tear his ACL at the Lebron Skills Camp recently.  He should be ok for the upcoming season. 
  • Welcome to the Kyle Taber Hoosiers.  Speaking of which, ex-Hoosier Jordan Crawford is transferring to Xavier. 
  • Memphis guard Doneal Mack has decided to return to Calipari’s squad after all – he had previously stated that he was transferring to the University of FEMA New Orleans. 
  • This is interesting.  Georgia Tech center Ra’Sean Dickey has decided to forgo his senior season so that he can begin his professional career in Ukraine?  Wow, thie Euro thing is starting to heat up, eh?
  • The fall of former Florida gambler guard and gunner Teddy Dupay is now complete.  He was recently charged with rape, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping of a Utah woman, according to court documents. 
  • It’s sayonara to the Top of the World Classic in Alaska.
  • The extremely poorly situated Kentucky Basketball Museum closed its doors in the face of large financial losses. 
  • We wanted to get a take in on the Brandon Jennings Experiment, as articulately described by N-Bug upon BJ’s announcement that he’ll spend his “1-and-done” year playing in Europe.  Generally, we think this will be a disaster and wouldn’t be surprised if Jennings absolutely submerges his draft stock during the season (that is, until he returns next spring and excels in the 1-on-1 workouts given by teams).  Gottlieb nailed it when he pointed out that EuroLeague ball is of a much-higher quality than what Jennings probably thinks it is (and certainly well above college hoops).  Lots of risk of exposure here for Jennings.  Bad decision. 
  • Gary Parrish makes a compelling point about the inherent conflict of interest in referees working for schools calling games on international trips and scrimmages, then turning around and calling games for those same teams during the season.  As you may recall, we wrote exactly a year ago that the Donaghy situation happens way more than anyone thinks, and this is just another loophole that encourages it. 
  • Maybe we’re cynical, but there has to be a Shawn Kemp is Broke story somewhere in this tender piece by Luke Winn.
  • Davidson’s Stephen Curry has noticed that his life has changed after his spectacular March run.
  • Where does Super Mario’s shot rank in the all-time great NCAA shots pantheon?  His former teammate Sherron Collins won’t have to worry about watching the highlight from the pokey, as prosecutors stated there was not enough evidence to substantiate allegations against him stemming from an alleged incident in an elevator with a woman on the KU campus. 
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The Brandon Jennings Experiment

Posted by nvr1983 on July 17th, 2008

In what will undoubtably be one of the most scrutinized decision in prep sports history, 5-star point guard and Arizona signee Brandon Jennings has decided to forgo his college eligibility to turn pro. . .in Europe. While most people have been speculating that the decision is based on his trouble achieving a high enough SAT score–met the requirement on his 2nd try, but the NCAA flagged it for being a suspiciously high increase from his 1st try and he is awaiting the results of his 3rd attempt–his family asserts they have been considering going to Europe for a while because of the NBA rule that American high school players cannot be drafted until 1 year after their high school class has graduated. Lute Olson appears to be less than thrilled with the decision and has stated he will not recruit anybody who would be a one-and-done player.

While Jennings probably isn’t the 1st American-born player to go straight from high school to an overseas professional league, he certainly is the first with legitimate NBA potential. It will be interesting to see how Jennings does as it will give us a better insight into high-level college basketball versus European pro ball.

On Thursday, Jennings signed with Pallacanestro Virtus Roma of the Italian league. The deal was negotiated by Sonny Vaccaro (surprise!) and is described as a “three-year, multimillion-dollar” contract with an option for a buyout if Jennings wishes to enter the NBA Draft. Vaccaro declined to go into detail about the financials, but I’m assuming Vaccaro is shrewd enough to make sure that the buyout isn’t significant enough to affect his client’s draft stock.

I’m not that familiar with European basketball outside of a few of the major powers, which Pallacanestro Virtus Roma definitely is not (last European League title came in 1984). However, it seems like Vaccaro has ensured that Jennings is in a position to succeed by placing him with an English-speaking coach and arranging for many other things including taking care of his family.

In order to study what could become a major turning point in college basketball (players skipping it to go overseas before the NBA), we will try to provide updates and analysis of Jennings and his performance along with an attempt to translate it into how it will affect his draft stock. In the meantime, if any of you are familiar with Italian league basketball share your knowledge with your fellow fans in the comment section.

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6.24.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on June 24th, 2008

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