Checking In On… the Missouri Valley

Posted by jstevrtc on December 1st, 2009

checkinginon

Patrick Marshall of White & Blue Review is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley Conference.

Current Records and My Standings:

  1. Missouri State  (5-0)
  2. Wichita State  (5-1)
  3. Bradley  (4-2)
  4. Illinois State  (6-0)
  5. Indiana State  (5-2)
  6. Southern Illinois  (3-1)
  7. Northern Iowa  (4-1)
  8. Evansville  (2-2)
  9. Drake  (2-4)
  10. Creighton  (2-4)

STORIES OF THE WEEK

Creighton lays an egg.  Creighton had Michigan on the ropes in their opening game of the Old Spice Classic with a five point lead in the closing minutes but let Michigan back.  It took a full court drive by Creighton’s Antoine Young to send the game to overtime, but the Bluejays could not stop Manny Harris from taking over the OT period and sending Creighton to a loss. They then looked like they were stuck in quicksand against Xavier in the losers’ bracket and then finished things off with a loss against a young Iona squad. Many thought Creighton had a chance to really make some noise in this tournament and even an opportunity to win it all, but they had the worst possible scenario happen to them, going 0-3 in the tournament and creating only negative buzz for themselves on the national stage.

Missouri St. On Fire.  Missouri St. took out an undefeated Tulsa team to up their record to 5-0.  They already have two nice wins on the season with their first road contest coming up this week.

Performance in tourney play.   The Valley had varying degrees of success in the holiday tourneys held last week. Wichita St. lost to Pittsburgh, but then came back to defeat Iowa in the CBE Classic.  Bradley kept Oklahoma St. close before losing to them, but turned around to defeat Illinois.  Creighton, as mentioned earlier, went 0-3 in the Old Spice Classic.  The conference is now 36-17 in the non-conference season.

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RTC Live: CBE Finals (Texas vs. Pittsburgh)

Posted by rtmsf on November 24th, 2009

RTCLive

Last night in the CBE Classic semifinals, we saw the traditional powers Texas and Pittsburgh impose their will on inferior teams that were hanging around into the second half.  Rick Barnes’ Longhorns looked like a young, undisciplined team that should have been embarrassed with itself in the first half; and a dominating defensive juggernaut during the second stanza when the Horns eviscerated the outmatched Iowa Hawkeyes with and out-of-the-locker-room 17-0 run to put the game away.  In three games, as well as Texas has been playing offensively (all wins by 25+ pts), it’s been their tough-nosed defense that has been masterful.  Teams are shooting 29% from two and 17% from three against the deep, rangy Horns, and it will be up to Pitt coach Jamie Dixon to help his team find the seams in that defense.  Pitt, of course, returns none of its major stars from last year, but Dixon’s teams always compete, and so far this season sophomore Ashton Gibbs (17 PPG) and freshman Travon Woodall (11/4/7 APG) have been playing well.  On paper, the CBE Classic final appears to be a mismatch, but we’re interested to see if Dixon can successfully employ a strategy to slow down the talented Horns.  Join us tonight for another RTC Live from Kansas City.

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Checking in on… the MVC

Posted by rtmsf on November 23rd, 2009

checkinginon

Patrick Marshall of White & Blue Review is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley Conference.

MY STANDINGS (current records)

  1. Missouri State  (4-0)
  2. Wichita State (2-0)
  3. Illinois State (2-0)
  4. Indiana State (2-1)
  5. Southern Illinois (2-1)
  6. Creighton  (2-1)
  7. Bradley  (2-1)
  8. Northern Iowa  (2-1)
  9. Evansville (2-1)
  10. Drake  (1-4)

STORIES OF THE WEEK

Injuries, Illness and Suspensions—The Valley has started out with several injuries, illnesses and suspensions this season, causing some teams to play without some veteran leaders including:

  • Bradley lost Dodie Dunson for the season with a broken arm suffered in their game against Idaho State while Taylor Brown is serving a suspension for  an offseason battery charge.  Brown was the team’s leading scorer during the Labor Day trip to Brazil. 
  • Creighton lost Justin Carter to an MCL tear for 2-4 weeks, Casey Harriman was hospitalized with swine flu that turned to tonsillitis that turned to strep throat that turned into mononucleosis, while Chad Millard has been out with a foot injury since September.
  • Drake was without Josh Young due to a hip pointer injury.
  • Wichita St. was without Clevin Hannah for the first three games (including the upcoming CBE Classic game against Pittsburgh) due to a “paperwork” error on his amateur status

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RTC Live: CBE Classic Semifinals (Wichita St. vs. Pitt; Texas vs. Iowa)

Posted by rtmsf on November 23rd, 2009

RTCLive

For our third week of RTC Lives of the young season, we’ll be back in Missouri for two more neutral-site games at the still-shiny-and-new Sprint Center on the other side of the state, in Kansas City.  The CBE Classic semifinals feature Pittsburgh vs. Wichita State in the early game (tip at 7:30 pm ET) and #3 Texas vs. Iowa in the nightcap (tip at 10 pm ET).  While Texas is the only powerhouse of the four teams playing in the CBE this year, the early game of Pitt-Wichita State could present an interesting situation of a rising mid-major seeking respect against a rebuilding power.  Iowa is the lone dog of the group; but for the Gazelle Group’s insistence on pre-bracketing teams into the semifinal slots, they wouldn’t even be here, as both UT-San Antonio and Duquesne beat the Hawkeyes in the subregionals last week.  If they can stay within thirty point of Rick Barnes’ talented crew, that’ll be a win right there.  Join us for another night of great basketball on the plains!

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RTC Live: Week 3

Posted by rtmsf on November 23rd, 2009

RTCLive

It’s Feast week and RTC Live will once again be covering games from coast to coast.  This week is tournament-heavy, as we’ll have correspondents in Kansas City for the CBE Classic, Anaheim for the 76 Classic, New York for the Preseason NIT, Atlantic City for the Legends Classic, and Orlando for the Old Spice Classic.   We’re not crazy enough to cover every game at these venues, but we will try to get ourselves to the best games for your live-blogging enjoyment.  We may add a couple more games during the week, so check back periodically.

Monday November 23 (click here for post)

  • Wichita State vs. Pittsburgh (in Kansas City, MO) – 7:30 pm ET (also on ESPN2)the undercard in terms of the evening, but probably the much better game.  Pitt is trying to figure out how to move past the DeJuan Blair/Sam Young era without taking too many losses, and this will be a quasi-home game for the Shockers.
  • #3 Texas vs. Iowa (in Kansas City, MO) – 9:45 pm ET (also on ESPN2)Iowa has already taken losses at the hands of Texas-San Antonio and Duquesne, so this could get extremely ugly for Todd Lickliter’s team in dealing with Texas’ hordes of young talent.

Tuesday November 24

  • CBE Classic Finals (in Kansas City, MO) - 10 pm ET (also on ESPN2) – we’d expect this one to match up Texas and Pitt, but it wouldn’t shock (heh) us if Wichita State ended up there instead of the Panthers.  Either way it’s an opportunity to get another look at Rick Barnes’ outstanding freshmen corps of Jordan Hamilton, J’Covan Brown and Avery Bradley.

Wednesday November 25

  • #13 Connecticut vs. LSU (in New York, NY) – 7 pm ET (also on ESPN2) – the Huskies will have a home crowd as they return to NYC to take on a depleted LSU team that was the SEC champion last year.  This doesn’t mean that UConn should sleep on the Tigers — Tasmin Mitchell and Bo Spencer are a formidable duo, and Trent Johnson knows how to coach. 
  • #8 Duke vs. Arizona State (in New York, NY) – 9:30 pm ET (also on ESPN2) – Herb Sendek gets another look at Coach K in the nightcap, which would have been a spectacular game last season.  Former Dookie Eric Boateng is averaging 12/8 for the Sun Devils, who come into this game scorching hot. 

Thursday November 26

  • #24 Minnesota vs. #11 Butler (in Anaheim, CA) – 8:30 pm ET (also on ESPN2) – Butler continues its difficult nonconference schedule with an opportunity to play three ranked teams in three days at the 76 Classic, starting with Tubby Smith’s Gophers.
  • Portland vs. UCLA (in Anaheim, CA) - 10:45 pm ET (also on ESPN2) – UCLA bounced back from its loss to Fullerton with a win over Bakersfield, but Portland will be in a class above those teams.  Howland’s team better be able to improve upon it’s 21.4% from three percentage if they hope to come out of the 76 Classic with a winning record.

Friday November 27

  • Preseason NIT Consolation & Finals (in New York, NY) – 2:30 pm & 5 pm (also on ESPN2/ESPN) – if everything goes according to plan here, we’ll have an undercard game of Arizona State vs. LSU followed by a blockbuster of #9 Duke vs. #12 Connecticut.  You could spend your “Black Friday” afternoon fighting crowds in the stores, or you could watch some great early-season basketball with us — your choice.
  • 76 Classic Semifinals (in Anaheim, CA) – 2:30 pm & 9:30 pm (also on ESPN/ESPNU) – we would expect to see two phenomenal games involving #8 West Virginia vs. #22 Clemson and UCLA vs. #11 Butler, but other teams such as Long Beach State, Texas A&M, Portland and Minnesota may have other ideas.

Saturday November 28

  • Legends Classic Consolation & Finals (in Atlantic City, NJ) -  5:30 pm & 8 pm (also on HDNet) – we’d expect to see an undercard of Florida vs. UMass in a run-n-gun showdown, followed by the finals featuring loaded #2 Michigan State vs. Rutgers in an upset bid in its home state.

Sunday November 29

  • Old Spice Classic Consolation & Finals (in Orlando, FL) – 5 pm & 7:30 pm (also on ESPNU/ESPN2) – there’s no telling who these teams will be at this point, but our best guess results in Creighton vs. Baylor as the consolation game and Florida State vs. #15 Michigan in the title tilt.
  • 76 Classic Consolation & Finals (in Anaheim, CA) – 5pm & 10 pm (also on ESPN2) – again, this is a very difficult tournament to project, but if things go according to favorites, then we’ll see #24 Minnesota vs. #22 Clemson for third place and #8 West Virginia vs. #11 Butler in a slugfest for the 76 Classic title.
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ATB: Fresh Maui Breezes

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2008

afterbuzzer1

Maui Invitational. Texas vs. Notre Dame could be the best game of the first month of the new season.  UNC vs. Oregon could be interesting, but won’t be.

  • Texas 68, St. Joseph’s 50.  The Texas defense has been absolutely superb so far this season, holding its three opponents to an average of 46.3 ppg and 29% from the field.  St. Joe’s was no different, struggling to find open looks against the long arms and quick feet of the Longhorns.  Damion James and AJ Abrams combined for 31/8 for the Horns, who will hook up with Notre Dame tomorrow in a blockbuster contrast of styles (ND is averaging 82.3 ppg).
  • Notre Dame 88, Indiana 50. This was a complete mismatch from start to finish, as the experienced Golden Domers meticulously picked apart the green Hoosiers in nearly every way possible.  Notre Dame shot 51% as it brought back to the fore that Indiana simply isn’t going to be very good this season.  Tory Jackson had 21/5/6 assts and Kyle McAlarney contributed 18 (all threes) for the Irish.
  • UNC 115, Chaminade 70. UNC rode a 67-pt second half to the second-worst loss that host Chaminade has ever suffered in this tournament.  Roy Williams kept Tyler Hansbrough on the bench throughout, figuring it best to keep him fresh for what will be a much tougher next two days of games.  Danny Green had a career-high 26 pts, while Ty Lawson added 19/6 assts.  UNC will play a revived Oregon next, but we guarantee that the Heels will put up more of a fight defensively than Bama did.
  • Oregon 92, Alabama 69.  At times during this game, Alabama appeared to be the least prepared and worst coached team in America.  And they were playing a team in Oregon that often appears that way themselves, which should really tell you something.  If we had a coconut for every time Bill Raftery or Jay Bilas said the word “terrible,” our living room would smell like Maui right about now.  UO hit a blistering 54% from the floor while holding Bama to 36%.  In a sidenote, Ronald Steele shot 3-11 from the field and just doesn’t look like the same player he was two years ago (before all of his knee injuries).

CBE Classic. It’ll be Syracuse vs. Kansas in KC tomorrow night for the championship.

  • Syracuse 89, Florida 83. Florida’s ‘improved’ defense got exposed exploited, giving up 89 points and 52% shooting to the more athletic Orange in an entertaining up-and-down game that featured several nice performances on both sides.  Paul Harris contributed 18/11 for the Orange, while Alex Tyus chipped in 24/4 for the Gators.
  • Kansas 73, Washington 54. KU’s Cole Aldrich dominated the more ballyhooed Jon Brockman by dropping 16/9/6 blks (vs. Brockman’s 7/18 on 2-9 shooting) in the Jayhawks’ blowout victory in the semis of the CBE Classic.  The Kansas defense held the Huskies to 29% shooting for the game, and frankly, Washington largely looked out of sorts for much of this game.

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We’ll See Your Maui, and Raise You a CBE…

Posted by rtmsf on November 24th, 2008

Yep, Feast Week is here, and that means tons of preseason tournament action this week.  And to think that some misguided folks still associate Thanksgiving with the gridiron!  Let’s take a quick look at the two tournaments starting tomorrow in Hawaii and Kansas City, and leave a comment if you have a favorite memory from one of these tourneys or a particular game you’re really excited about seeing.

turkey-feast

Maui Invitational

This is our favorite annual preseason tournament.  The Hawaiian shirts, the late start times, Bill Raftery, the high school gym, the raucousness of the fans, the soothing views of the sea as we go to commercial breaks, all of it.  Oh, and it’s usually a loaded field, and this year is no different. If things go as expected (and hoped), we’ll have two good games tomorrow (Texas v. St. Joe’s and Oregon v. Alabama) followed by an absolute blockbuster on Tuesday (Texas v. Notre Dame) and Wednesday (Texas/ND v. UNC).  And hey, who knows, there’s always the chance that little Chaminade can re-enact its magic from that fateful evening 26 yrs ago against another #1 team from the ACC with the reigning POY on the team.  Right?

CBE Classic

Ed. note: we’ve already written a post on the absurdity of the Gazelle Group’s decision to pre-slot the regional hosts (Florida, Washington, Kansas, Syracuse) into the semifinals.  Luckily for GG, all four hosts won their regions, thereby avoiding any possible outcry over the inherent unfairness of not allowing an upset winner to ‘advance’ into the semifinals of this ‘tournament.’

Nevertheless, the matchups in Kansas City are fairly good ones. All four of these teams have a good shot at playing March Madness this year.  For our money, Florida’s young guns versus Kansas’ would be the ideal final game on Tuesday night.

Semifinal Doubleheader
(November 24 – 7:30 ET)
Syracuse vs. Florida- ESPN2
Kansas vs Washington- ESPN2

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Preseason Tourney Brackets

Posted by rtmsf on October 10th, 2008

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive listing of the preseason tournaments, rather just the best ones, but if you feel like we omitted something relevant, link to it in the comments.  And against our better judgment, we’re putting those ridiculous CBE and Legends Classic “brackets” into the post as well.  Losers. 

The 2kSports Coaches v. Cancer tips off the season with games beginning on Nov. 10.  Duke, S. Illinois, UCLA and Michigan are expected to make it to the semis at MSG, but don’t sleep on UMass or Northeastern as spoilers.   

The Maui Invitational, on the Mon-Wed of Thanksgiving week, as usual, shouldn’t disappoint.  There are at least five NCAA teams here, and UNC-Notre Dame in the finals could be seen again in late March or early April. 

Another Thanksgiving week classic, the Preseason NIT, with the semis on the Wednesday prior to the holiday and the finals on Friday night, is a little weaker than normal.  But any chance to see Stephen Curry on the big stage at MSG is worth watching, so let’s all root for Davidson to pull off the second-round upset over Oklahoma.  A number of teams could win this tourney, but we guess Purdue is most likely?  Arizona?  Cornell?

The Old Spice Classic is a newer tournament also airing during Thanksgiving weekend, but what a great lineup!  There are literally no bad teams here – all eight could be playing in March Madness 2009, and it would be a huge disappointment if any fewer than six do.  We like Siena to pull the upsets to play Gonzaga in the finals there, with mid-major glory all around. 

The Anaheim Classic is another ESPN property airing during Thanksgiving weekend – the lineup is solid, although not as strong as the Old Spice.  We like the young Deacs to play run-n-gun Baylor in the finals. 

Sigh…  here is the “Championship Round” bracket for the Legends Classic.  Remember, each of these teams has already been slotted into these spots no matter what happens in the previous two rounds of this ‘tournament.’  So… disgustingly… weak.  Pitt should roll here no matter what happens in the other game. 

Along the same lines, the CBE Classic is so lame that they won’t even give us a bracket to put up for you.  The matchups aren’t bad, but we’re still bitter (see Legends Classic).  We like Florida and Kansas to play in the final, with UF taking the title. 

—CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS—


Semifinal Doubleheader
(November 24 – 7:30 ET)
Syracuse vs. Florida- ESPN2
Kansas vs Washington- ESPN2
Championship Doubleheader
(November 25 – 7:45 ET)
Consolation Game- ESPNU
Championship Game- ESPN2

Any others?  We’ll revisit these when they actually start, but we wanted to get them all in one post as part of the preview. 

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Quite Possibly the Most Ridiculous Thing We’ve Ever Seen

Posted by rtmsf on October 2nd, 2008

Today we were doing some background work on some of the preseason tournaments – you know, the Maui, the PNIT, the Coaches v. Cancer, the CBE (formerly Guardians) Classic, etc. – and we came across some information that absolutely floored us.  Seriously – like a-George-Mason-administrator-who-also-happens-to-be-a-college-football-referee-selling-his-F4-rings-on-Ebay (h/t GMB) floored us.

Photo Credit: LA Times

When we started researching the CBE Classic and the Legends Classic, both tournaments put on by The Gazelle Group organization, we discovered very quickly that we couldn’t find a complete bracket for these tournaments.  Instead, all we located was a weird one-page listing of matchups on the CBE site, and a similar listing in addition to a four-team “Championship Bracket” on the Legends site.  As we floundered wondering what the hell was going on with these tournaments, we noticed an interesting little phrase tucked into the middle of the page of the CBE site (emphasis added). 

This year, the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic will be played under a new format…

- Regional hosts automatically advance to the Championship Rounds in Kansas City regardless of the regional results.

- All other participants will advance to play a round-robin series at one of two other sites. Thus, every participating team will be guaranteed four games.

Ummmmm…. whaaaaaaattt??? 

Is this some kind of a joke?  Does The Gazelle Group think that we, the college hoops public, are complete effing morons?  How can they get away with this???  One of the ironclad bastions of basketball at every level from peewee league up to the pros is the idea of tournament play – you win, you advance.  You lose, you go home.  And here we have the first instance we’ve ever seen where that rule of basketball law is being fixed supplanted so that the money teams get to keep playing irrespective of their on-court performance.

Oh, but RTC, Kansas, Florida, Washington and Syracuse are going to win those CBE Classic games against a couple of nobodies anyway.  Same for Wazzu, Mississippi St, Pitt and Texas Tech in the Legends Classic.  No harm, no foul, right? 

Where’s My Shotgun?

Well, here’s a reminder for those of you with that clouded mentality – Gardner-Webb.   Does that name ring a bell from last year’s CvC Classic?  In the subregional round, the little school from outside of Charlotte shocked the basketball world by defeating mighty Kentucky in its worst home loss in almost two decades.  In the middle of football season, that loss earned far more attention in the national media (PTI, Sportscenter, etc.) than whoever won that tournament actually got.  But the problem, apparently, was that the Kentucky loss resulted in G-W and its dozens of fans going to NYC to play in Madison Square Garden rather than the Big Blue and its legions of fans (and dollars).  So this year the Gazelle Group has managed to rig the system in two of its sponsored tournaments so that the marquee names have a 100% chance (as opposed to the 99% chance they previously had) of getting to the semifinal round. 

Sorry Fairleigh Dickinson, Eastern Kentucky, North Alabama and Akron (among others), The Gazelle Group doesn’t have room for you on its dance card this year.  But hey!  At least you’re guaranteed four games, right?  That’s just as good as playing in a big-time arena on ESPN, right?

Memo to TGG for next season – why don’t we just take a vote of 12 random teams and declare it the champion of the tournament?  That way we can simply do away with the tedium of getting teams to the various locations, televising the games, and actually worrying about who will advance to the next round!  You can run ads on ESPN for a month given all the money you’ll save!  As for your judges, we hear that there’s a former French Olympic judge available to serve on your panel, and Katherine Harris is always around for this sort of thing…

What a stinking, heaping, vomit-inducing pile of abomination. 

Please tell The Gazelle Group how much they suck at: gazelle@gazellegroup.com.

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ATB: UCLA is #1

Posted by rtmsf on November 19th, 2007

ATB v.4

11.19.07

Story of the Day. The marquee games of the day were held in KC in the semis of the CBE Classic at the spanking new Sprint Center tonight. We’re still wondering why Kansas City built this thing (we hear the Sonics are available), but it looked like a nice joint for some collegiate hoops. #3 UCLA 71, Maryland 59. In this game, UCLA only had eight players dress out (Darren Collison in particular is still injured), but the Bruins under Ben Howland do what they always do – they uglified the game and ultimately imposed their will on the Terps. The first half looked like someone had greased the basketball, as both teams combined for 30 turnovers and only 46 pts. Advantage: UCLA, as they took a ten-pt lead into the half. The second half wasn’t as painful to watch, but Maryland never truly threatened to get back into the game – every Terp push seemed to be met with a UCLA player hanging off the rim on the other end. Kevin Love had a nice dub-dub (18/16), but we’re with Vitale in agreement that this kid is shy of 6’9 – maybe we’ll see him again next year after all. The only player that impressed on Maryland was Bambale Osby, who had several ridiculous blocks including one stuff of a stuff on Aboya that had us coming out of our seat. The bottom line is this – when UCLA gets Collison back running the show, they are without a doubt the most difficult matchup in the nation because of their defense, size and athleticism. They’re the only team around that can win games going away while shooting poorly (like tonight – 38%).

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Michigan St. 86, Missouri 83. This was a much better game from a viewing standpoint. MSU looked very impressive in the first half, building as much as a 16-pt lead over the quasi-home team, but Mizzou looked equally as impressive in the second half as they charged back into the game, using the 40MoH pressure defense to fluster the Spartans on numerous possessions. MSU’s Raymar Morgan had a perfect night (19 pts on 6-6 FG and 6-6 FT), but it was Drew Neitzel (21 pts) and Goran Suton (17/8) who made the big plays late to secure the win for Tom Izzo’s team. We still think Indiana is the team to beat in the Big 10, but MSU can prove us wrong tomorrow night against UCLA. As for Missouri, we really like what Mike Anderson has already accomplished there – at any moment, we expect to see those twins he had at UAB throwing over-the-head passes 90 feet. The rebuild is over – Missouri could be an NCAA team this year.

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Maui Invitational. Four games, four ho-hummers. Oklahoma St. 83, LSU 77. We thought this would be a close game, and we were wrong, as OSU ran out to an 18-pt halftime lead before nearly blowing the whole thing down the stretch (LSU got within three at the 1:46 mark). OSU was led by James Anderson (25 pts) and Terrel Harris (24 pts), but neither team really impresses us. Where has Anthony Randolph (5/5/5 turnovers) gone? Marquette 74, Chaminade 63. Visions of Virginia ’83 were dancing in the heads of local fans as Chaminade hung with Marquette for much of this game, but Jerel McNeal and his 22 pts held off the upstarts in the last five minutes for the win. Duke 83, Princeton 61. A completely outclassed Princeton team was overwhelmed from the opening tip against Duke, falling behind 24-4 in the first seven minutes of the game. Kyle Singler continued his impressive November, tallying 21/12 in the blowout. Illinois 77, Arizona St. 54. The nightcap game started much the same way, as Illinois ran out to a 20-0 lead on Arizona St. before coasting the rest of the way. Illinois might be better than we thought, but frankly, we expected a better performance in the first game from Herb’s boys tonight. Oklahoma St. will play Marquette and Duke will play Illinois tomorrow. Our picks – Duke and Marquette.

Paradise Jammy. Baylor 62, Winthrop 54. Is Baylor a team on the rise in the Big 12? It would appear to be so after defeating Wichita St., Notre Dame and Winthrop in successive nights to win the Paradise Jam. We would have picked against Baylor in all three games. Georgia Tech 70, Notre Dame 69. The consolation game featured a three with two seconds remaining from Tech’s Matt Causey that gave the schizo Yellow Jackets the win. ND’s Luke Harangody had 22/11 in the loss.

The Atlantic Sun Strikes Again. Belmont 85, Alabama 83. Is Belmont winning on the road against a BCS team an upset anymore? No, especially against an SEC team these days, as the suckeastern conference has been taking it on the chin lately. Right now, who besides Tennessee (and maybe a very young Florida) looks worth a damn? As for this game, a review of the stats shows that both teams played pretty well – it was just that Belmont converted more plays down the stretch. Specifically, Justin Hare dropped a pullup J from the foul line with 2.2 seconds remaining to put the Bruins up two points. What’s amazing about this is that Hare has achieved Jordanesque end-of-game status at Belmont, as this was the thirteenth time he had hit a shot to win or send a game into OT in his career. Bama’s Richard Hendrix went for 25/10 in the losing effort.

On Tap Today (all times EST). The Maui continues, and the Game of the Year (so far) takes place in KC at the CBE.

  • Indiana (-21.5) v. UNC-Wilmington 7pm – the only reason we wish we had the Big Ten channel is E-Giddy.
  • Marquette (-3) v. Oklahoma St. (ESPN) 7pm - we have no idea what will happen in this game, sorry.
  • Connecticut (NL) v. Gardner-Webb (ESPN FC) 7:30pm – didn’t we just do this?
  • Tennessee (-22.5) v. Middle Tennessee St. (ESPN FC) 7:30pm – will Lofton wake up this season?
  • Maryland v. Missouri (-5.5) (ESPN2) 7:45pm – this should be an exciting, uptempo game.
  • Florida (NL) v. North Florida (ESPN FC) 8pm – when does Florida play a road game again – January?
  • Vanderbilt (-14) v. Valparaiso 8pm – the way SEC teams have been falling…
  • Duke (-7) v. Illinois (ESPN) 9:30pm - Illinois has the inside play to exploit Duke, but whither their guards?
  • UCLA (-3.5) v. Michigan St. (ESPN2) 10pm – blood, guts, and glory. This will be a slugfest.
  • Oregon (-5) v. St. Mary’s (ESPNU) 10pm – upset alert! SMC is legit, but Oregon has looked fantastic thus far. How will the Ducks fare in their first road test?
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Maui Invitational Bracket

Posted by rtmsf on November 19th, 2007

Let’s kick off Thanksgiving Week with a little Maui Invitational to go with your turkey and stuffing.

The Maui is easily our favorite pre-conference tourney every year.  There’s something about the endless beach and sunset shots they show us during timeouts, or maybe it’s just Bill Raftery in a Hawaiian print shirt.   Whatever the case, we love it and we can’t take the season seriously until the luau music hits our ears.  Not to mention that most years there’s some excellent basketball to watch.  Our favorite two tourneys right off the top of our head were the year (2001) that Ball St. beat #3 Kansas and #4 UCLA in consecutive nights before finally succumbing to #1 Duke; and the year (2005) that Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison and Michigan St.’s Maurice Ager bombed threes all over the place in a triple-OT thriller.

Our picks for this year are below the bracket.

Maui Invitational Bracket

Day One Picks.   Marquette easily over ChaminadeLSU in a low-scoring slugfest over Oklahoma StDuke runs all over PrincetonArizona St. surprises Illinois.

Semis.  Herb Sendek gives Duke a tough game, but K prevails (9-0 in this event).  Marquette’s guards confound LSU.

Finals.  Duke gets revenge for last year’s loss to Marquette in the finals of the CBE Classic.

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CBE Classic Bracket

Posted by rtmsf on November 12th, 2007

While we’re at it, here’s the CBE Classic (formerly Guardians Classic) bracket, which actually started last night (Maryland and Hampton won), but has the bulk of games starting tonight.

 

CBE Classic BracketM

CBE Classic Bracket

Unless Hampton takes down Maryland later tonight (very possible!), we don’t see the possibility of an upset in the four regionals of the CBE Classic.  Mizzou is currently keeping Central Michigan in the game, but we figure they’ll open it up in the second half and come out of their region easily the next night.  UCLA will have no problems whatsoever with either team it plays.  And Michigan St. could struggle a little with UL-Monroe, but it should no worries tonight against Chicago St.  Our take – all four hosts advance.

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