What’s Trending: An Impactful Week at the Top

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on February 25th, 2019

What’s Trending is a column examining the week that was in college basketball social media. Matthew Eisenberg (@matteise) is your weekly host.

LSU and Tennessee went back and forth on Saturday afternoon giving each other everything they could handle. After a frantic tip-in tied things up for LSU, the Volunteers had a chance to win the game. The Vols’ Lamonte Turner, who had made only four of his last 22 three-point attempts, took this quick look after dribbling upcourt. What happened next was a bit of misfortune on Grant Williams’ part to give LSU the break it needed.


Rivalry Week began with the primary focus, as usual, on Tobacco Road. A mere 30 seconds into the game in Cameron Indoor Stadium, though, the focus swung onto Zion Williamson and his shoes…


For as much grief as Charles Barkley deservedly gets when it comes to analyzing the NCAA Tournament, the Round Mound of Rebound delivered a spot-on take with respect to the Zion Williamson situation….

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SEC M5: 01.12.15 Edition

Posted by David Changas on January 12th, 2015


  1. The recruiting hits just keep on coming for Johnny Jones and LSU. On Friday, Arizona transfer Craig Victor committed to the Tigers, and will be eligible to play in the second semester of the 2015-16 season. Victor is from New Orleans, so his choice cannot be much of a surprise. He picked LSU over Oklahoma State. Victor was ranked No. 37 in the ESPN 100 Class of 2014, but never saw any important minutes at Arizona. Victor’s commitment comes on the heels of Jones signing Ben Simmons, the nation’s top-ranked player in the class of 2015, and of a getting a verbal pledge from another five-star recruit, Antonio Blakeney, earlier this month. So while the Tigers have not quite played up to expectations thus far this year – they came back from the dead to get their first SEC win at home against Georgia Saturday night – the future looks bright in Baton Rouge.
  2. Reality finally hit Tennessee squarely in the face during their offensive meltdown against Alabama Saturday, as the Vols scored only 2 points in the game’s last 13-plus minutes in their 56-38 home loss to Alabama. Tennessee was 9-4 coming into the contest, despite having only nine healthy scholarship players. On Friday, coach Donnie Tyndall changed that, as he surprised walk-on Galen Campbell, a Knoxville native, by awarding him a scholarship. The redshirt junior guard has played in only 14 games during his time with the Vols, and he did not see any action in the loss to the Crimson Tide. The move by Tyndall was a neat one, and as can be seen in the video, is one that was very popular among Campbell’s teammates.
  3. After Kentucky escaped its double overtime game against Texas A&M with a win, John Calipari wasted no time heading home and hitting the recruiting trail. He and assistant Kenny Payne were in Paducah within three hours of the Wildcats closing out their dramatic victory over the Aggies, checking out signee Skal Labissiere of Memphis, among others. Calipari and Payne were also there to see 2015 targets Malik Newman and Thomas Bryant, as well as Thon Maker and Josh Jackson, who are part of the class of 2016. Such is the life of a college basketball coach: pull out a tough double overtime win in the afternoon and jet 730 miles to catch high schoolers in the evening. Of course, when you’re Calipari, knowing you essentially have your pick of the best of each incoming class makes that grind a lot easier.
  4. Last week, Arkansas showed its faith in Mike Anderson‘s efforts in his three-plus years as the head man in Fayetteville, as well as the direction in which he appears to be taking the program by giving him a two-year extension through the 2019-20 season. From the moment the school hired Anderson, a long-time assistant under Arkansas’s most successful coach, Nolan Richardson, the fit appeared to perfect. Things have not quite gone according to plan, however, as Anderson did not make the NCAA Tournament in his first three years at the school. This year, though, the Razorbacks, who are 2-0 in the SEC and have separated themselves as the league’s clear second-best team, appear to be a shoo-in to make the Big Dance. Anderson has assembled enough talent and has had enough success graduating players that the powers that be are convinced he’s the right man to lead the program for a long time.
  5. Bruce Pearl got his first SEC win since 2011, when he was the coach at Tennessee, as Auburn downed Missouri 85-79 Saturday night at Auburn Arena. And while any win the Tigers get in conference play will be big news, as they likely won’t get many, the bigger story coming from the game was the presence of a famous basketball alumnus who was in attendance: Charles Barkley. As he did at Tennessee, Pearl will pull out all the stops to promote the program at Auburn, and he will especially work hard to honor former Tiger players who can bring positive recognition to the program. Inarguably, there is no one who can better do this than Barkley, who is not only the most famous player in Auburn history, but is still one of the biggest names in basketball. Having Barkley around can only help Pearl in his promotion efforts, and bring some much-needed attention to a program that likely will bring little to itself because of what happens on the court this year.
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It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume XIII

Posted by jbaumgartner on March 19th, 2013

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish each week throughout the season. In this piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball.

Five Things I Loved This Week

I LOVED… Wisconsin senior Ryan Evans. One of the best things about conference tournament week is that you suddenly get a much larger dose of all the guys who you’ve seen for a just few highlights, or maybe a couple of prime time games. And while I was ready to stamp Wisconsin with the “lucky to make it to second weekend” label, I couldn’t help but find myself impressed with the Badgers’ discipline and the savvy, fundamentals-based game that Evans displayed during UW’s impressive run in Chicago. Plus, you can’t help but love the flat top.

Ryan Evans’ Team Impressed Over the Weekend

I LOVED… Jim Larranaga completing an incredible ACC turnaround. Winning both the regular season and conference tournament titles is a truly great accomplishment, and it seems like so often that we see teams have a great start to conference play and then flare out as we get into the tough March games that really make or break you. Though I still think the Hurricanes are vulnerable, with Shane Larkin leading the way, Miami is definitely capable of a big run, too.

I LOVED… Tournament Week. I’m embarrassed to guess how many hours I spent in front of the TV last week, but it was definitely justified. The Big Ten tourney alone was enough, but additional quality finals in the Big 12, ACC and Big East, among others, made this a vintage Couch Potato weekend.

I LOVED… how Greg Anthony has somehow gotten himself into every other college basketball TV commercial.

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Morning Five: 07.03.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 3rd, 2012

  1. Georgia Tech incoming freshman Corey Heyward will likely miss the entire 2012-13 season because of a torn ACL injury that he suffered in a pickup game late last week. The six-foot guard who spent a postgraduate year at Hargraves Military Academy was expected to contribute immediately as a backup for starting point guard Mfon Udofia, but short of a miraculously quick recovery between now and the new year, Brian Gregory will have to wait on Heyward’s first minutes in a Yellow Jacket uniform. Gregory has an experienced group of starters returning next season from a 4-12 last-place ACC finisher, but it remains to be seen whether all that returning talent will equate to wins.
  2. A total of 10 schools lost lottery picks in last week’s NBA Draft, with Connecticut, Kentucky and North Carolina combining for seven, equivalent to half of the lottery selections. Jason King takes a look at how each team plans on replacing the lost talent, ultimately concluding that most of the programs that put players in this year’s lottery will just move on to its next generation of stars. A couple of programs are notable exceptions, though — Weber State’s Damian Lillard was a once-in-a-lifetime type of player for the Wildcats, while Illinois’ Meyers Leonard‘s ascent up the draft boards this year was a bit flukish and, as such, it will take John Groce some time to get his program turned around in Champaign.
  3. We noted in a piece yesterday that a number of prominent seniors were left at the draft altar last week, thanking them for four years of memories and wishing them the best of luck in pursuing their professional dreams wherever they end up. Matt Norlander took us two steps further with his article Monday dissecting the commonly held perception that recognizable and talented seniors no longer exist in college basketball. His back-of-the-envelope analysis of the number of seniors drafted in the one-and-done era shows that roughly a third of the draft is populated by the likes of Festus Ezeli, Tyler Zeller, Damian Lillard, Draymond Green, and others each year, and it is many of these folks who drive the sport forward just as much or perhaps even more so than the much considerably smaller one-and-done percentage that gets so much of the annual hype. Interesting piece — read it and see what you think.
  4. It’s a light news week, so what the hell… ESPN’s college basketball and football princess, Erin Andrews, has left the network and will move on to Fox Sports as a college football, MLB and NFL reporter. For a period in the middle part of the last decade, Andrews’ basketball broadcasts were very nearly must-see TV for males under the age of ever 50. As her personal brand grew, her hoops appearances became increasingly fewer but it appears that in her new gig at Fox she’ll no longer have access to the hardwood where she earned so much of her cred. We certainly want to wish her nothing but the best as she moves on to the network featuring none other than Joe Buck and Terry Bradshaw.
  5. If you’re not cheatin’, you’re not tryin’ — so goes the old adage about life in the SEC. Charles Barkley minces no words about his stance on the issue of paying amateurs to attend certain schools (ahem, Auburn) with this hilarious clip from a celebrity softball game where he describes a teenage Dirk Nowitzki destroying Team USA in a 1997 exhibition game. The choicest series of quotes went like this: “So I call Nike and I said, ‘find out about this kid and tell him I’ll give him anything he wants to go to Auburn. Just tell him, anything he wants, we’ll get it done.’ […] “In the SEC, dude, we make sure you’re well taken care of.” Barkley went on to say that an alleged payment of $200,000 for Cam Newton seemed like a pretty good deal, considering that he led the Tigers to a national championship in his only season on the Plains. When is the Chuckster running for governor again?

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The Dream Team 20 Years Later: Reflecting On Their College Careers

Posted by EJacoby on June 13th, 2012

On Wednesday night, NBA TV will air “The Dream Team,” a brand new documentary that relives the 1992 Men’s Basketball USA Olympic Team that’s better known by that same name. This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the team, the inspiration behind documenting the players, and their legendary run through the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The national team of 12 players included 11 future Hall of Famers and some of the greatest players in basketball history all in one locker room. The forgotten member of the team is Christian Laettner, the lone collegian at the time to make the squad, who was coming off of one of the greatest NCAA basketball careers of all-time as a two-time National Champion for Duke. Looking back, how did the other 11 players fare in their amateur careers? Was their collective NBA and international success predicated by dominance in college? On the day the documentary airs, we reflect on the Dream Team from a college perspective.

Michael Jordan hit the game-winning shot in the 1982 National Championship game for North Carolina 10 years before he joined the Dream Team (AP Photo)

As it turns out, the team wasn’t just a collection of all-time great professionals. Exactly half the players on the roster also qualify as some of the greatest collegiate players ever. Six players on the Dream Team were included on ESPN’s list of the 25 greatest players in college basketball history, the highest of whom was Larry Bird at #9. Bird averaged 30.3 points per game in his career at Indiana State, and in his senior National Player of the Year season he led the Sycamores to a 33-1 record and a loss in the National Title game to Michigan State and Magic Johnson. Johnson is another one of the greatest collegians on the list (#15), averaging 17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game in two seasons for the Spartans that became a preview of the stat-sheet stuffing machine he would become in the NBA.

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The RTC Interview Series: One-on-One With Kenny Smith

Posted by rtmsf on March 22nd, 2012

Rush The Court is back with another edition of One on One: An Interview Series, which we will bring you periodically throughout the year. If you have any specific interview requests or want us to interview you, shoot us an email at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Last week we were lucky enough to spend 15 minutes with one-half of the Inside the NBA analyst crew on TNT, Charles Barkley. This week we are back with his compatriot on that show as well as during Turner Sports’ studio coverage of the NCAA Tournament, Kenny Smith. The Jet is promoting Coke Zero during March Madness with its Watch & Score Instant Win Game, where fans  pick a team to advance to the next round and a with a correct pick, a shot at winning a trip to the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta. 

Kenny Plays off Barkley on Inside the NBA on TNT

Rush the Court: Kenny, let’s jump right in to the biggest news coming out of the weekend, which is that the point guard at your alma mater, North Carolina, has a broken wrist and may or may not be able to play this coming weekend. Can you relate the situation facing Kendall Marshall and UNC right now to the situation you dealt with in your freshman season there when you broke your wrist?

Kenny Smith: Except for the timing of it, it’s pretty much exact. He broke his wrist. I broke my wrist. He has a pin in his wrist. I have a pin in my wrist. At the time, I was out three or four weeks and it was earlier in the season, but I had to wear a cast when I came back. Keep in mind, though, this is not an injury. This is not an injury like a sprained ankle. This is a break. It’s broken. He has a broken wrist. Guys can play through a sprained ankle or whatever else if it’s an injury, but this is a broken bone. What makes him a great player is his ability to distribute the basketball. His effectiveness is a little different than what I could do then, in terms of scoring and so forth, but I am not sure that he can get back on the court and play with a broken wrist.

RTC: He had surgery on Monday and nobody seems to be able to say whether he’ll be able to play or not at this point. My question is whether a guy who isn’t necessarily a great scorer needs to have full capacity of both hands in order to help his team out. Can he dribble or distribute the ball at all with a pin in his wrist five days after breaking it?

KS: The question isn’t whether he can do those things, the question is whether he can get on the court. Because if he can get on the court, he can manage it. But when you’re talking about a broken wrist and whether it will bend without terrible pain or even if you can move it at all, that’s the bigger issue. But if he can get on the court, he can manage it. The problem is that very few people in his position can get on the court that quickly.

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Morning Five: 03.16.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 16th, 2012

  1. With how his team has performed this season we figured it would only be a matter of time before something and in the end it was the coach who made the first move. Yesterday, Rick Stansbury announced that he was stepping down as coach at Mississippi State. To those who followed the program it should not be that much of a surprise despite Stansbury’s 293-165 record in 14 seasons at the school. Despite loading up on enough talent to easily make the NCAA Tournament, Stansbury could not coax his team to play well. At the end of the season one of the team’s stars stated that he did not think that his team had the resolve to bounce back to make the NCAA Tournament. Fittingly, Stansbury’s career ended with his team playing uninspired during a home loss in the first round of the NIT.
  2. It was 23 years ago that Rumeal Robinson sank two of the biggest free throws in college basketball history to give Michigan a national championship. Since that time his life has been a little less than ideal. Most people who frequent this site are aware of his relatively uninspiring pro career and his legal troubles, but we have not seen a story that detailed his life as well as the one in the upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine. You are probably going to spend most of your day looking over the carnage that is your bracket and planted on a couch watching TV, but if you are going to read one article today that isn’t directly related to the NCAA Tournament this would be an excellent one to pick.
  3. With the season nearing its conclusion (yes, we know it is awful) John Gasaway takes a look back at 12 proposed “fixes” for college basketball that he came up with in 2010 and proposes some updates. Some of the proposals have already been implemented, which John no doubt takes credit for, but some of them appear to be a long way away. Some of them are a little ridiculous (he was probably straining to get to 12 back in 2010), but there are several that we would like to see. Which ones do you think are the most reasonable to implement?
  4. Corey Schmidt, Gasaway’s colleague at Basketball Prospectus, goes with someone a little more in their site’s wheelhouse–analyzing whether or not you need a go-to player to win a national championship. After looking at the data, we are not sure that the data says a lot other than you can win it different ways. While the raw data in the post is interesting we would like to see someone provide some work with a “control” (or case control) team that did not win the championship. The data set being used is obviously too small to come to any legitimate conclusions, but it could serve as a nice starting point for someone to build on for a bigger project.
  5. If you were overwhelmed by all the action yesterday and need to catch up, we have you covered. Outside of our interview with Charles Barkley we also filed our new “Rushed Reaction” from courtside of every single game yesterday. We plan on doing the latter again today and if you are looking for more direct interaction beyond our national Twitter feed, we suggest you check out our feeds for the East, South, Midwest, and West regions. Our correspondents will be filing direct reports from all the locations within the region including pictures and answering any questions you may have.
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The RTC Interview Series: One on One With Charles Barkley

Posted by rtmsf on March 15th, 2012

Rush The Court is back with another edition of One on One: An Interview Series, which we will bring you periodically throughout the year. If you have any specific interview requests or want us to interview you, shoot us an email at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Hall of Fame power forward Charles Barkley has become without question one of the most entertaining analysts on sports television. TNT’s Inside the NBA has been must-watch television for over a decade now in large part because of his wit and wisdom, and Barkley’s recent foray into college basketball analysis with Turner Sports has helped pick up what had been a somewhat stuffy studio environment. For the past month, Rush the Court has been providing a weekly column  called What Would Charles Say? on Barkley’s website, and he was gracious enough to allow us to spend some time with him this week for a short Q&A. 

Charles Barkley Will Provide Analysis All March Long for the NCAA Tournament

Rush the Court: Charles, the big news early this week was the news that Fab Melo was ruled ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. I was hoping to get your take on how you feel that impacts the chances for Syracuse and Jim Boeheim to get to the Final Four and win a national championship this year?

Charles Barkley: Well, I think that they probably can’t win the championship, but they’re still deep enough to go deep into the Tournament. But I don’t think they can win it without him… but they’re still the deepest team in the Tournament, honestly, top to bottom.

RTC: So the news has come out that this relates to an academic issue for Melo, and with all the academic services that schools give these guys nowadays, how does that happen? How do you drop the ball so badly that you’re not even eligible for the Tournament?

CB: Well, to me it’s very frustrating, because if you get this deep in the season, you should already have all that stuff squared away. I mean… c’mon man. You’re really letting your team down at this point.

RTC: Certainly. Well let me ask you about last year, there was a little bit of criticism with you, Kenny [Smith], and Ernie [Johnson], as knowledgeable as you guys are about NBA stuff, coming in to the college basketball world and giving your takes with maybe not having watched games the whole season. But that ended very quickly with your take on the Big East — how it wasn’t as good as everybody thought — with nine out of the 11 teams gone by the end of the first weekend. Do you have any early takes this year on maybe a conference or teams that you’re just not buying?

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Morning Five: 03.08.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 8th, 2012

  1. Just eight years after essentially getting kicked out of the Big East for its poor on-field performance and attendance numbers Temple will rejoin the conference. Yesterday, the Big East announced that Temple would be returning to the conference for football this coming season and other sports the following year. The move ensures that the Big East will have eight football teams for the coming season and gives the Big East another very strong basketball program. In addition, it should create an even more interesting dynamic between Temple and Villanova now that they will be in the same conference.
  2. One of the big storylines of the opening week of the NCAA Tournament will be that of Detroit, which features the father-son combination of Ray McCallum Jr and Sr. Most college basketball fans are very familiar with their story, but if you need a refresher before next week’s onslaught, this column is a pretty good place to start. Between the father-son combo and the school’s former coach (some guy named Vitale) the school will be getting plenty of publicity as long as they stay alive.
  3. One player who will not be part of March Madness is Arizona‘s freshmen guard Josiah Turner, who was suspended indefinitely by the school after violating unspecified team rules. The suspension is Turner’s second this year as he missed a game earlier this season against Florida. Turner, who came in as a highly touted recruit, has averaged 6.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in 29 games this season. Even with him the Wildcats would have been hard pressed to make a run in a weak Pac-12 conference, but as a local writer points out Turner’s absence is a big blow for the team right now.
  4. There have been plenty of columns on Bruce Weber and his imminent firing at Illinois, but most have focused on where he faltered. Michael Rosenberg takes a decidedly different approach choosing instead to focus on the decision to fire Weber and how it reflects on the current state of college athletics. Rosenberg compares Weber to Illinois legend Lou Henson and points out some small changes to history that would have led to Weber keeping his job. While we do find Rosenberg’s take interesting, it is worth pointing out that those small changes are essentially what makes history, which will most likely be demonstrated again over the next four weeks.
  5. Last year Charles Barkley‘s inclusion on the Selection Special on CBS created quite a bit of discussion among college basketball fans as Barkley, who is fantastic analyzing basketball games appeared out of his element discussing some teams and their resumes to that point. This year, Barkley will not be involved in the show, but will continue to be involved in the studio analysis. Both Barkley and CBS/Turner state that the move isn’t necessarily due to a lack of trust in Barkley, but instead a move to highlight his strengths and frankly a good move in our opinion.
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Charles Barkley Thinks Harrison Barnes Should Go #1 in the NBA Draft

Posted by mpatton on December 16th, 2011

Adam Zagoria asked Charles Barkley who he would take first in the NBA Draft this year, and he responded, “I’m not sure if I would take that kid [Anthony Davis] No. 1″ because “that Barnes kid is a stud.” As the “Round Mound of Rebound” (which is too long to be a nickname anyway), I’m not surprised Barkley has questions about Davis’ weight. If I was concerned with size though, I think I’d take either Jared Sullinger (a slightly undersized big with a nose for the ball) based on production or Andre Drummond (Drummond has more physical tools than anyone I have ever seen live) based on upside.

But I want to ignore the weight issue for the time being. I want to talk about John Henson and Anthony Davis.

Davis Got the Block, but Henson Played a Better Game (credit: Larry Vaught)

Watching the North Carolina-Kentucky game, one couldn’t help comparing Henson and Davis. They’re both extremely tall (with 7’4″ wingspans!), great shot blockers and unfairly athletic. Henson is listed as 6’11”, 220 pounds, and Davis is listed as 6’10”, 220 pounds. If I had to guess, the heights are fairly accurate but both weights are generous. Both Henson and Davis are very raw offensively, though Henson is trying to extend his game to include a face-up jumper this year.

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