Circle of March: Vol. X

Posted by rtmsf on March 12th, 2014

The calm before the storm. With last night’s results, which included championship games from the Horizon, NEC, Summit and WCC Tournaments, we’re now down to a grand total of 199 eligible teams for the 2014 NCAA Championship. Oh, and hey, Mount St. Mary’s, Milwaukee, North Dakota State and Gonzaga. Nice to see you all dancing. As for today’s games, a boatload of leagues get under way as we push hard over the next five days to get this thing to 68. We’re not going to list them all here, but five power conferences and the A-10 and Mountain West all have games today, and the bloodbath will continue in these leagues at least through Friday. Expect the culling of the Circle to take its most direct hit over the next 48 hours.


Teams Eliminated From National Title Contention (03.11.14)

  • Jackson State
  • North Carolina A&T
  • Rice
  • Bethune-Cookman
  • Robert Morris
  • Wright State
  • Penn
  • Princeton
  • Florida Atlantic
  • Delaware State
  • IPFW
  • Texas-San Antonio
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Circle of March: Vol. IX

Posted by rtmsf on March 11th, 2014

With six days of hoops left until Selection Sunday, we still have a lot of work to do. Thirteen more teams were eliminated on Monday night, and that leaves a grand total of 211 “eligible” schools remaining on the Circle of March. Eight of those teams are now locked into next week’s field of 68, with Delaware, Wofford and Manhattan last night joining the previous five automatic entrants. Penn and Princeton finish their regular seasons this evening and four other championship games will be held in the Horizon, NEC, Summit and WCC Tournaments, but we won’t really start to see a lot of progress (also known as white space) in the Circle until the Thursday and subsequent editions.


Teams Eliminated From National Title Contention (03.10.14)

  • Maryland-Eastern Shore
  • Ball State
  • Kent State
  • William & Mary
  • Iona
  • Denver
  • Central Michigan
  • Bowling Green
  • South Carolina State
  • Saint Mary’s
  • Western Carolina
  • South Dakota State
  • San Francisco
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Circle of March, Vol. VIII

Posted by rtmsf on March 10th, 2014

Day seven of Championship Fortnight is in the books, and with it the first week of the Circle of March. Sunday’s slate was a bit lighter than Saturday, but we still eliminated 12 more teams to reach a total of 224 eligible schools remaining. Of course, at this time next week, we’ll be down to the magic number of 68, which means there’s still a lot of work to be done over the next 168 hours. There will only be 13 games on tap tonight, but they’re all elimination games with the MAC and MEAC getting under way, the Summit and WCC playing their semifinal rounds, and the CAA, MAAC and SoCon crowning champions. Keep in mind that to preserve the integrity of the regular season, we’re not yet eliminating schools from the CoM that still have games to play (i.e., Penn and Princeton).


Teams Eliminated From National Title Contention (03.09.14)

  • Canisius
  • Vermont
  • Towson
  • Davidson
  • South Dakota
  • Quinnipiac
  • Hartford
  • Georgia Southern
  • Western Illinois
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The RTC Podblast: SEC Tournament Edition

Posted by rtmsf on March 10th, 2014

The regular season is over, Championship Week is here, and it’s now or never for all of the teams that have talked a rather big game but haven’t necessarily backed it up with their play on the court. To that end, we’re going to be rolling out nine RTC Podblasts this week, one to preview each of the seven power conference tournaments as well as the Atlantic 10 and the Mountain West (to scroll through all that have been released, click here). In this, our SEC Tournament edition, RTC microwriter Brian Joyce (@bjoyce_hoops) joins us to discuss Florida and the 13 dwarves heading into Atlanta this week. If you’re interested, the Big East Tournament podcast released this morning, while the Big 12 and AAC Tournament editions follow a bit later today. Join us!

Make sure to add the RTC Podcast to your iTunes lineup so that you’ll automatically upload it on your listening device after we record

  • 0:00-8:54 – Florida’s Perfect SEC Season
  • 8:54-14:59 – Kentucky’s No-So-Perfect Season
  • 14:59-18:41 – Prediction Reflections
  • 18:41-23:22 – All Conference and SEC POY Discussion
  • 23:22-26:41 – Non-Florida Picks for the SEC Tournament
  • 26:41-29:09 – Which Bubble Team Needs a Win the Most?
  • 29:09-30:25 – One Thing to Watch For
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Circle of March: Vol. IV

Posted by rtmsf on March 6th, 2014

Alright, now we’re talking. With 14 more eliminations last night scattered among the Patriot, Big South, OVC and NEC, the Circle of March is starting to show some obvious gaps. Of our original 340 eligible teams, we’re now down to 309 remaining. The NEC was particularly exciting yesterday with two one-point games, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer at Mount St. Mary’s that resulted in the rare postseason RTC. Today the Atlantic Sun and OVC are back in action, with the Missouri Valley, the WCC and the MAAC each getting under way. Note: In order to respect the integrity of the regular season, we will not remove teams until their schedules are finished regardless of their current status (i.e., as of today, six Ivy League teams cannot win the conference’s automatic bid).


Teams Eliminated From National Title Contention (03.05.14)

  • Liberty
  • Presbyterian
  • Campbell
  • Bucknell
  • Lehigh
  • Fairleigh Dickinson
  • Central Connecticut State
  • Bryant
  • St. Francis (NY)
  • SIU-Edwardsville
  • Lafayette
  • Colgate
  • Longwood
  • Eastern Illinois
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Circle of March, Vol. III

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2014

Day two of Championship Fortnight resulted in seven eliminations spread between the Atlantic Sun and Horizon League tournaments. It was a particularly rough night for Florida schools, with three of the state’s 14 D-I programs — Stetson, Jacksonville, and North Florida — finishing off their seasons in the A-Sun. Luckily for the Sunshine State, league favorite and America’s darling, Florida Gulf Coast, easily defeated Stetson to keep its hopes alive for another turn in the spotlight. We’re now down to 323 active schools on the Circle of March. Note: In order to respect the integrity of the regular season, we will not remove teams until their schedules are finished regardless of their current status (i.e., six Ivy League teams cannot win the conference’s automatic bid).

There’s much more to come tonight, with the Patriot League picking back up and the Big South, OVC and NEC all tipping things off.


Teams Eliminated From National Title Contention (03.04.14)

  • Detroit
  • Illinois-Chicago
  • Youngstown State
  • Stetson
  • North Florida
  • Lipscomb
  • Jacksonville
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The RTC Podblast: Other 26 Conference Tourney Preview Edition

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2014

Welcome to March Madness. With the tip-off of the opening round games of the Patriot League Tournament on Monday night — hey, Colgate and Lafayette — Championship Fortnight is already here. To prep ourselves for all of the action among the nation’s Other 26 leagues, the RTC Podblast crew welcomed O26 microwriters Tommy Lemoine (@hoopthink) and Adam Stillman (@adamstillman87) to walk us through some of the top storylines to follow both this week and next. The guys had a good discussion about whether Wichita State will ultimately #cheerfortheears at Arch Madness, which tourneys might produce the most interesting match-ups, and named some players to keep an eye on as we ultimately head toward the NCAA Tournament. Among other things. If you’re at all interested in the non-power leagues, definitely give this preview a listen!

We’re going to be dropping podcasts/podblasts like crazy over the next five weeks of action, so make sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes so that you’ll get all of the episodes immediately downloaded to your listening device.

  • 0:00-4:03 – #cheerfortheears – Three Games Left
  • 4:03-8:55 – Top Five O26 Teams
  • 8:55-10:25 – Conference Tournaments To Be Excited About
  • 10:25-12:03 – Another Year, Another WCC Championship for Gonzaga?
  • 12:03-13:42 – Leagues Primed For Some Conference Tournaments Upsets
  • 13:42-15:38 – Championship Match-Ups to Hope For
  • 15:38-17:33 – Potential Bid Stealers
  • 17:33-19:34 – Future Cinderellas
  • 19:34-21:55 – Players the Nation Will Fall in Love With
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Circle of March, Vol. II

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2014

March Madness is officially under way. With the Patriot League’s opening round tipping off last night at campus sites in Baltimore, Maryland, and Hamilton, New York, eliminations have begun. The first two teams to survive and advance in the PL were Lafayette and Colgate, meaning that Navy and Loyola (MD) are the Circle of March’s first on-court casualties of the year. A handful of other schools that were not invited to the conference tournaments got their one-day in the CoM sun and were also removed. The entire group of 11 eliminated teams is listed below the Circle. We’re down to 330 active schools. Note: In order to respect the integrity of the regular season, we will not be removing teams until their schedules are finished regardless of their current status (i.e., six Ivy League teams cannot win the conference’s automatic bid).

Thanks also to everyone who played yesterday’s Circle of March crossword puzzle game. Many of you got at least 10 of the words, and a very few of you got the entire set of 15 (several found other words or just made some up). Here were the hidden words: court, rush, march, champion, upset, bubble, madness, cinderella, dunk, lucky shot, stars, final four, bracket, pool, swish. We’ll be contacting those who were among the winning group very soon. Thanks for playing!


Teams Eliminated From National Title Contention (03.03.14)

  • NJIT
  • Northern Kentucky
  • Kennesaw State
  • LIU Brooklyn
  • Sacred Heart
  • Jacksonville State
  • Tennessee State
  • Austin Peay
  • Tennessee-Martin
  • Loyola (MD)
  • Navy
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Circle of March, Vol. I

Posted by rtmsf on March 3rd, 2014

In this, our third annual Circle of March, we’re going to spend the next five weeks until post-championship Tuesday counting down and eliminating the entirety of Division I basketball until we get to a single, solitary name. The Patriot League Tournament gets under way this evening, and a total of 12 other conference tourneys will tip off this week after that. According to the NCAA, 11 of this season’s 351 Division I schools are ineligible for the NCAA Tournament because of APR scores or because they’re still transitioning up. We have removed those names from the CoM and wish them the best of luck in future seasons — the other 340 schools are represented in the CoM’s inaugural 2014 edition. Because we want every eligible team to get at least one day of run on the Circle, though, we have chosen not to formally remove any of the other already-eliminated schools until Tuesday. Bubble teams also won’t be removed until they’re officially disregarded by the NCAA Selection Committee in two weeks. It just seems nicer this way.

Last year you might recall we added a bit of a game component to the debut CoM. This year’s version is no different, but instead of asking readers to find like groupings of school logos, we’ve added a crossword puzzle element to this one. See if you can locate at least 10 of the NCAA Tournament-related words hidden within the Circle (note: make sure to click on the image for a larger and clearer view). The first 15 people who tweet at us (@rushthecourt) or e-mail us ( with 10 or more of the correct hidden words will receive a free RTC t-shirt. We’ll also give a t-shirt prize to every 10th person who gets that many right after that. For the first person who identifies all of the hidden words, we’ll have a grand prize. Please, everyone, feel free to SHARE AWAY!

Here is 2014 Circle of March. Welcome to March Madness.


Teams Eliminated From National Title Contention (03.03.14)

  • Abilene Christian (D-I transition)
  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff (APR)
  • FIU (APR)
  • Grambling State (APR)
  • Grand Canyon (D-I transition)
  • Incarnate Word (D-I transition)
  • Mississippi Valley State (APR)
  • Nebraska-Omaha (D-I transition)
  • New Orleans (APR)
  • Southern (APR)
  • UMass-Lowell (D-I transition)
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Welcome to Championship Fortnight: 14 Days of Elimination Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on February 27th, 2012

Unbelievably, even though the calendar reads February 27 and March is still a full 60 hours away, Championship Fortnight begins tonight in Lexington, Virginia, and High Point, North Carolina. The Big South Tournament opening round tips off this evening with two games hosted at VMI and High Point versus Radford and Gardner-Webb, respectively. Tomorrow night the Horizon League Tournament will tip off with games at Butler, Detroit, Youngstown State, and Milwaukee. In all, 16 different conferences will begin their tournaments this week, but only four will crown their champions by next Sunday — the Big South, the OVC, the Atlantic Sun, and the Missouri Valley. The full schedule of each round through next Sunday is below.

If you buy into the theory that (almost) every team has a shot to win it all through its conference tournament’s automatic bid, over the next 14 days we’ll whittle down roughly 321 contenders to the ballyhooed 31 AQs along with the chosen 37 at-larges. Even if you don’t care about that, it’s still worth noting that we start elimination-style, win-or-g0-home basketball as of tonight. No matter the month, that’s always a good thing.

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