RTC Live: CBE Semifinals

Posted by rtmsf on November 22nd, 2010

Games #25-#26.  RTC Live is pleased to announce our presence at these two games, which are without question the best group of the young season.

RTC is at Sprint Center in Kansas City for a spectacular two-day course of games in the CBE Classic, with a field that resembles late March rather than late November. The first semifinal features #1 Duke tipping off against Marquette, while #3 Kansas State and #11 Gonzaga provide the nightcap. A meeting between top-five squads awaits tomorrow if the Blue Devils and Wildcats handle business tonight. Duke has rolled through their first three games as expected, pounding Princeton, Miami (OH) and Colgate at Cameron Indoor. They’re loaded with NBA talent, and are playing away from Durham for the first time this season. There are plenty of ways Duke can beat you: Kyle Singler gets well-deserved attention for his shooting touch and high basketball IQ, and they man a lethal guard core of Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith and Seth Curry. For Marquette, Jimmy Butler is a veteran leader while Jae Crowder and Vander Blue have provided fresh blood. The Golden Eagles, at 4-0 so far, are off to a running start.

With Manhattan, Kansas, just a couple hours away, the Wildcats are the local draw of the event. AP Preseason All-American Jacob Pullen drives the bus for Frank Martin’s Wildcats, and the bench was a key factor in handling Virginia Tech last week with Pullen in foul trouble. On the other side of the court, Elias Harris, Gonzaga’s star forward, is still achy from a foot injury sustained in the Bulldogs’ setback against San Diego State. If he can’t go, the Zags will still have a solid frontcourt duo in Robert Sacre and Sam Dower. Senior guard Steven Gray has exploded for 25.7 PPG in his first three games of the season, accounting for more than 25% of the Bulldogs’ scoring production. Still, make no mistake – Harris’ availability (or unavailability) could end up being the difference this week.  Join us this evening for what should be a great couple of games in Kansas City.

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Morning Five: 03.05.10 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on March 5th, 2010

  1. Eddie Sutton made his first public comments about the charges and the future of his son Sean Sutton in an interview with Tulsa World yesterday.  Sean Sutton was arrested back on February 11th and charged with attempting to possess controlled substances, and soon after admitted an addiction to pain killers.  The elder Sutton expressed confidence in his son, saying “He’ll be all right because he’s a strong person who just made a mistake.”
  2. Santa Clara sophomore Troy Alexander is impressive.  His stats this season: 1.1 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.7 APG in 30 games.  Ah, but his most meaningful stat is found in the “Lives Saved” column.  He’s been raising awareness about the malaria epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and has been raising money via Facebook and Twitter to buy mosquito-repellent nets for children’s beds.  The nets are draped over the beds so the kids don’t get bitten and contract the disease while they sleep.  The cost of one net?  Ten lousy bucks.  A life saved.  If you don’t think malaria is a big deal, there are some studies out there that say malaria has actually killed one out of every two people who has ever lived.  Alexander initially wanted to raise $1,000, but has already tripled that.  He does this through the Nothing But Nets campaign, an organization jump-started by everyone’s favorite punching bag these days — Rick Reilly.  We won’t post Troy’s Facebook page, but we will link his page at NothingButNets.net.  Bravo, brother.
  3. According to the 49 responding journalists in AnnArbor.com’s final player of the year poll, Evan Turner is widening his lead over John Wall.  Interestingly, Turner was the only player named on every ballot.  Three voters didn’t have Wall ranked first, second, OR third, and 32 of them didn’t name Wesley Johnson anywhere.  Wow.
  4. The host schools — that is to say, the teams that automatically advance to the “championship rounds,” win or lose — have been announced for next season’s O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas CityDuke, Kansas State, Gonzaga, and Marquette will be the sites for the regional round games from November 14-17, and then will move on to the Sprint Center on November 22-23 to play each other in matchups to be determined later.
  5. Are referees working too much?  It’s been a big topic for some time, and especially this year.  Conference bigwigs and coaches may think refs are overworked, but the referees seem to disagree.  ACC referees’ supervisor John Clougherty, though, feels the critics might have a point, saying of his refs, “They are independent contractors.  I can’t tell them how many times to work.”  Interesting piece by Ray Glier of the New York Times.
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Iowa’s Todd Lickliter Has Carotid Tear Repaired

Posted by jstevrtc on December 9th, 2009

Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter underwent placement of a stent to one of his carotid arteries on Saturday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, according to reports from ESPN and from The Hawk Eye.  Lickliter had evidently complained of severe headaches while coaching his Hawkeyes in the CBE Classic in late November, and upon evaluation and testing on Friday, a tear in one of his carotid arteries was found.  This led to the decision to access the carotid and place a stent, a small semi-rigid mesh-like tube, into the artery to keep it open and intact.  He was released on Tuesday and was told to chill for a week before resuming his coaching duties (probably not in those terms).  As if that matters, considering the rest of the above paragraph.

Most folks have heard of “stents” when talking of heart disease, like when a doctor puts a stent in one of the arteries that suppies blood to the heart, so that the blood will keep flowing through it and you won’t have a heart attack.  Yeah, I’m talking to you, there — the guy dipping potato chips in lard.  Same concept here.  The carotid arteries (you have one on each side of your neck, and you probably knew that) help supply blood to a little organ we here at RTC like to call, “the brain,” which we learned in 8th-grade health class as having a great deal of  import.  Putting a stent in one of them makes sure that blood keeps flowing through that vessel like John Wall through your 2-3 zone, so that you don’t have a “brain attack.”  Also known as… a stroke.

From the information available in the various reports about this (including the two above), and after talking with the guys over at Rush The Court’s Vascular Surgery wing — fun group, by the way! — it doesn’t sound like this was a matter of actual flow through the carotid that got repaired, but rather an issue of a tearing of the artery wall itself.  If this is the case, what happens is — because your artery walls have many layers in them, like reinforced garden hose — one of the layers begins to weaken and bulge, which can not only disrupt blood flow to the brain (badness!), but can also result in further tearing (extreme freakin’ badness).  If it was a matter of true lack of flow through a clogged carotid artery, most likely Lickliter would have had something called a carotid endarterectomy.  This involves not only a year of medical school just to learn how to say that word, but also involves cutting open the neck from the outside, cutting the artery from the outside, and pulling out, as I believe Bill Walton once said, “a big tub of goo” from the artery so blood can flow all smooth-like. 

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Checking In On… the Missouri Valley

Posted by jstevrtc on December 1st, 2009


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)


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


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


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)


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


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


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


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.


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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