Set Your TiVo: 03.05.12

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 5th, 2012

Brian Otskey is the Big East correspondent for RTC and a regular contributor. You can find him @botskey on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

Four conference tournament titles will be decided this evening. The most important game may be in the Colonial where the loser of the game needs to make a good impression for the NCAA Selection Committee. Rankings are subject to change with a new RTC Top 25 coming out today.

Colonial Athletic Association Championship: Drexel vs. VCU (at Richmond, VA) – 7:00 PM EST on ESPN (****)

Will Shaka Smart Earn Himself More Nets Tonight?

  • This is a huge game because the loser is going to be sweating it out for the next week. Drexel won the first and only meeting between these teams way back on January 8. The Dragons bring the #4 eFG% defense to the table along with one of the slowest tempos in Division I. That combination could really frustrate a VCU team that likes to play faster and score in transition. The Rams are the best team in the nation when it comes to defensive turnover percentage but creating turnovers against Bruiser Flint’s Dragons is going to be very difficult. It’s always easier to slow a team down than it is to speed one up and that’s exactly what Drexel has to do in order to win in Richmond tonight. Drexel point guard Frantz Massenat will have to play a complete game and set the tone for his team in front of what should be a quasi-road atmosphere.
  • The one problem an aggressive team like Shaka Smart’s group can have is foul trouble. Drexel is a solid free throw shooting team (76% in CAA play) so VCU needs to avoid fouling and putting the Dragons in the bonus early and often. VCU’s defensive free throw rate is not good and Drexel had a remarkable 89.7% free throw rate when these teams got together in Philly in early January. VCU simply can’t afford another effort like that if it hopes to win the CAA’s automatic NCAA bid. The Rams are not a particularly great shooting team but Bradford Burgess and Troy Daniels pose major perimeter threats. Burgess has last year’s experience to fall back on in a pressure situation and you have to believe that helps when faced with what should be a very close elimination game.
  • The point guards could decide this game. Massenat can distribute and shoot with the best of them in this conference while VCU’s Darius Theus must play the role of facilitator and not as the go-to scorer. Theus went 1-6 from the floor in the first meeting but did record six assists. A few less shots and a couple more assists could be the difference for VCU tonight. For Drexel, Samme Givens has to come up big on the boards. The 6’5” swingman is a terrific rebounder for his size and should look to take advantage of VCU’s weakness on its offensive glass. We think this is going to be a contest that comes down to the very end. With an NCAA bid on the line and no guarantees for the loser, it should be quite an atmosphere in Richmond on this night.

West Coast Conference Championship: #20 Gonzaga vs. #24 St. Mary’s (at Las Vegas, NV) – 9:00 PM EST on ESPN (****)

  • These teams will meet for the third time after splitting the regular season series, each winning at home. Gonzaga smashed BYU on Saturday night behind 30 points from Kevin Pangos and the Bulldogs will look to do more of the same against a St. Mary’s defense that is vulnerable to the three-ball. The Gaels allow opponents to shoot 37.5% from deep and that’s not something Randy Bennett wants to see when going up against a shooter as talented as Pangos. While the SMC defense is a concern, the Gaels shoot more threes than Gonzaga and can gain an edge because of it. When Clint Steindl and Matthew Dellavedova are knocking down triples, St. Mary’s is tough to beat. Gonzaga’s defense is pretty good on the perimeter but it will be tested significantly by the Gaels’ guards and forwards. Read the rest of this entry »
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Set Your Tivo: 03.07.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 7th, 2011

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

Four automatic bids will be handed out this evening in places stretching from Connecticut to Las Vegas. All rankings from RTC and all times Eastern.

Colonial Championship (at Richmond, VA): VCU vs. Old Dominion — 7 pm on ESPN (****)

Old Dominion looks like a safe bet even if they lose but VCU more than likely has to win this game to make the NCAA Tournament. The Rams and Monarchs split the season series, each winning on the other’s home floor. This game will be all about pace and one team’s strong defense against the other’s potent offense. If Old Dominion can keep this game in the half court, they can let their stellar two point defense and rebounding take over. The Monarch’s are the best offensive rebounding team in the country while VCU ranks #303 in defensive rebounding percentage. Old Dominion also ranks highly in defensive rebounding, placing them among the best overall rebounding teams in the nation, led by Frank Hassell, averaging just under 15/10 on the season. Over his last eight games, Hassell has been even better, averaging 19/10 down the stretch. Not coincidentally, the Monarchs have won all eight of those games and 12 of their past 13. ODU is #9 in two point defense but allows 36.9% three point shooting, #298 in America. That has been the bugaboo for Blaine Taylor’s group and the Rams are one team that can really take advantage of that. Four out of ten VCU field goals attempted are threes and they shoot it at a pretty good clip, 35.6% this season. However, that percentage drops to 33.7% when you look at CAA games only. The Rams must create offense through their defense by forcing turnovers. That will offset part of the rebounding edge ODU is almost sure to have. An energetic and aggressive defense can help push the pace and take Old Dominion out of its rhythm. The Monarchs struggle to shoot and score, relying on their defense and rebounding to win games most of the time. Shaka Smart should use some zone from time to time in order to force Old Dominion to make jump shots, something they don’t do well. Rebounding out of a zone is always difficult (especially against the #1 offensive rebounding squad) but we feel it’s worth the risk. VCU shouldn’t spend all game in a zone but mixing it up defensively will greatly help their cause. Old Dominion gets 57.5% of its points from two point range but they have a few threats from deep, most notably Kent Bazemore. He’s arguably their best three point shooter and also a terrific defender, ranked eighth nationally in steal percentage.  The Rams shouldn’t have that much trouble answering Old Dominion from the arc considering they have a number of quality shooters, including Bradford Burgess (16/13 vs. George Mason yesterday), but they need to get some looks inside for Jamie Skeen. The Wake Forest transfer has had a terrific year in Richmond and is averaging 21.7 PPG over his last three. It’ll be tough to score against Old Dominion’s interior defense but Skeen should look to get to the free throw line where he’s a 73.7% shooter. VCU is a good free throw shooting team overall and they’ve made it to the line on 41.5% of their possessions in conference play. Foul trouble for Old Dominion would open up the interior a bit and allow the Rams to spread the floor easier. VCU had lost four of their last five games heading into the conference tournament but seems to have found new life just down the road from campus in Richmond. They’ll be slight underdogs tonight but this is anybody’s game. Old Dominion will likely win the rebounding battle but whoever controls the turnover margin and the tempo will likely win this game and clinch the automatic berth.

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RTC Live: CAA Finals – Old Dominion vs. William & Mary

Posted by rtmsf on March 8th, 2010

RTC Live will be back at the Richmond Coliseum tonight for the CAA championship game between top seed Old Dominion and #3 seed William & Mary.  The two tidewater Virginia schools, both located within an hour of the venue, should make for a raucous environment tonight with hordes of fans in attendance and ESPN in the house as a part of Championship Week.  In yesterday’s semifinal round, ODU scrambled from down nearly ten in the home stretch of the game to push local favorite VCU into overtime, where the Monarch’s prevailed behind Gerald Lee’s 26/4 on 10-13 FGs.  William & Mary had the opposite problem — instead of coming from behind, they had to hold off a surging Northeastern squad using a key David Schneider trey late to re-take the lead and standing tough on the last Husky possession as NU missed seven shots that would have tied the game.  Both of these teams are capable of pulling an upset in the NCAAs next week, with the scalps of Georgetown (ODU), Maryland (W&M) and Wake Forest (W&M) already on their resumes this year, so this game should serve as a primer to a tremendous #5/#12 matchup next week.  It should be a great one tonight, so join us for all the action as our correspondent will live-blog all of the action in the CAA championship.

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RTC Live: CAA Tournament Semifinals – ODU vs. VCU & Northeastern vs. W&M

Posted by rtmsf on March 7th, 2010

It should be an epic Sunday afternoon in Richmond as four of the top five seeds in the CAA Tournament face off in the semifinals.  In the 3 pm game, #1 seed Old Dominion, fresh off a thirty-point pasting of Towson in the quarters, will take on #5 VCU, a team that has the advantage of playing in its hometown this weekend.  The two teams split a pair this year, with ODU taking the last one just a week ago by three in Norfolk.  In the second semifinal at 5:30 pm, #2 Northeastern will play #3 William & Mary in a matchup between teams that only met once in the regular season with the Tribe taking a one-point victory on Feb. 13.  These four teams are all good enough to do some damage to an unsuspecting first round opponent in the NCAA Tournament, but the only question is which team it will be.  Join us this afternoon for what should be some excellent mid-major basketball with RTC Live at the CAA Tournament.

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RTC Aftermath: CAA Quarterfinals

Posted by rtmsf on March 8th, 2009

Ryan Kish liveblogged the ODU-Hofstra game today, although the Richmond Arena is having technical issues with their wifi access, so we’re not sure if we’ll get another chance to liveblog tomorrow. If things are working ok, we’ll havee the VCU-ODU game for you at 3pm EST.

Quarterfinals

  • VCU 61 Georgia State 52.  VCU got a little sloppy in this one but Eric Maynor did what he had to do to get the Rams the victory. ODU will be a difficult match up for them.
  • Old Dominion 52, Hofstra 51.  Gerald Lee had an MVP performance dropping 30, but Hofstra almost stole the show with the excellent play by Charles Jenkins. Watching Jenkins and Lee trade baskets at the end made this one fun to watch.
  • George Mason 61, James Madison 53.  Patriots again used a balance attack and excellent defense down the stretch to get this victory. JMU was a worthy opponent but the Patriots just seem like they wanted it more.
  • Towson 58, Northeastern 54.  Towson again pulls off the upset. The #11 seeded Tigers won only five conference games all season but have used great defense to make it this far in the tournament. Northeastern just was not on their game and may have taken the Tigers for granted.  Tigers are confident and playing like they have nothing to lose because, well, they don’t.

Semifinals (Sunday)

  • VCU vs. Old Dominion – 3pm
  • George Mason vs. Towson – 5:30pm
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RTC Live: CAA Tournament

Posted by rtmsf on March 6th, 2009

rtc_live

Hello CAA fans, and welcome to RTC Live’s ongoing coverage of the CAA Tournament from Richmond, Virginia.  Our correspondent, Ryan Kish from George Mason Basketball, will be live-blogging and reporting from the Richmond Coliseum throughout the weekend.  If there’s any news that the fans need to be apprised of from Richmond, Kish will be all over it.  The Tournament begins Friday afternoon with four first round games, so he has already published his CAA Tourney Preview for your viewing pleasure.

We’ll also be live-blogging select games throughout the weekend, starting Saturday afternoon with the quarterfinal matchup between Hofstra and Old Dominion.   If you’re new to the site, the live-blog box will show immediately below this paragraph, and Ryan will be taking comments and questions throughout the game.  Particularly insightful questions will be chosen for him to take into the media press conference and/or locker rooms afterwards.  So if you really want to know how Eric Maynor still feels about  his game-winner against Duke two seasons ago, here’s your opportunity.  Afterwards, we’ll post takes from the day’s other games in the CAA Tourney and give you, the fans, a chance to select Sunday’s semifinal game that we liveblog.

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