Checking in on… the Big 12

Posted by jstevrtc on January 15th, 2010

Patrick Sellars is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 Conference.

Power Rankings:

  1. Texas (16-0, 2-0) – Right now the Longhorns are the best team in the nation, and Avery Bradley is playing at the level he needs to if UT wants to win the National Championship.
  2. Kansas (15-1, 1-0) – I was very surprised by the loss to Tennessee, but it isn’t enough for me to think that the Jayhawks still can’t win the Big 12, or the National Championship for that matter.
  3. Kansas State (14-2, 1-1) – The top three teams in the Big 12 have stayed pretty consistent this season. Denis Clemente was lights out in the first half against Texas A&M, and if he can continue to shoot the three like that KSU will be insanely dangerous.
  4. Missouri (14-3, 2-0) – So far, Mike Anderson and his Missouri Tigers are silencing everyone that doubted Mizzou could get back to playing at an elite level with the loss of their “Big Three”.
  5. Texas A&M (12-4, 1-1) – Picking the fifth best team in this conference is very difficult right now. I give the edge to the Aggies because of what they’ve been able to do in non-conference games, and I also think that Donald Sloan is one of the most underrated players in the nation.
  6. Baylor (13-2, 1-1) – Flukes happen, and I truly believe it was a fluke that Colorado beat Baylor on Wednesday night in Boulder. I’m not saying that the Buffaloes are a bad team, but I think Baylor can play at a much higher level.
  7. Oklahoma State (13-3, 1-1) – If I can say one thing about Oklahoma State, it’s that they have not surprised me at all this season. As of today, they are on the bubble like everybody thought they would be and their offense is totally reliant on James Anderson.
  8. Oklahoma (10-6, 1-1)Willie Warren can lead this team to an NCAA birth, but he has to play at the highest of his abilities. Tiny Gallon is finding his stride, and that’s everything but good news for the rest of the Big 12.
  9. Texas Tech (12-4, 0-2) – I cannot explain what happened in Stillwater on Saturday. That will probably be the low point for Texas Tech basketball this season, however they are slowly slipping out of the national picture and the only way to get people talking about you is to win some games.
  10. Colorado (10-6, 1-1) – I didn’t think the Buffaloes would get a conference win this early. Maybe Colorado is going to be a tougher team than everyone thought.
  11. Iowa State (11-5, 0-1) – Cyclones fans had every reason to be excited about this season, but so far it’s more of the same.
  12. Nebraska (12-5, 0-2) – Could we see a winless Big 12 season in Lincoln? It’s possible, but improbable. The Cornhuskers will have chances to beat Iowa State and Colorado at home.

Team of the Week — Missouri Tigers.  Beating Kansas State at home would have meant nothing if they lost to Texas Tech later in the week, but Mizzou pulled it off and are looking at Top 25 candidacy.

Player of the Week — Avery Bradley, G, Texas.  What a start to this youngster’s Big 12 career. 29 points in a big win over Colorado, and then a much-needed 24 in UT’s nailbiter against Iowa State. He also had a combined 15 rebounds and 9 assists in those two games.

Top Stories:

  • Home Court Advantage — One major theme in the conference this season is that, in conference games, winning on the road is a very tough task. Road wins in the Big 12 have been few and hard to come by, and any team that steals a road win should be feeling very good about themselves. So far only 4 road teams have won in conference games.
  • Kansas Falls — Don’t worry Jayhawks fans, I wouldn’t sweat this loss to Tennessee. First off, it’s the nonconference schedule, which has no effect on KU’s first goal (to win the Big 12 Regular Season Title), and I think it will light a fire under this Kansas team. I still believe Kansas will be in the Final Four at the end of this season.

This Week’s Predictions:

  • Texas A&M at Texas (Saturday January 16th, ESPNU 6:00 PM ET) — This should be another easy win for the Longhorns, but the Aggies should stick around for a while. UT has too much depth, and TAMU just can’t matchup with the likes of Dexter Pittman and Damion JamesWinner: Texas
  • Texas Tech at Kansas (Saturday January 16th, 1:45 PM ET) — Its too bad that a Texas Tech team with a lot of promise coming into the season is going to have to start 0-3 in the conference.  Sherron Collins and company are way too much for the Red Raiders to handle.  Winner: Kansas
  • Missouri at Oklahoma (Saturday January 16th, ESPN2 1:00 PM ET) — Although Mizzou may look like the better team on paper, winning on the road is not their strong suit. I think the Sooners will get their first big win of the year Saturday in Norman.  Winner: Oklahoma
  • Kansas State at Colorado (Saturday January 16th, 4:00 PM ET) — This is going to be a much closer game than people think. Colorado fans have been looking for something to cheer about for a long time, and with the chance to knock off a top 15 opponent after defeating a ranked team at home earlier in the week, I think the CU fans will come out strong. However, Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen are not going to let the Wildcats fall subject to this trap game and KSU will pull out a very close one in Boulder.  Winner: Kansas State
  • Iowa State at Nebraska (Saturday January 16th, 8:00 PM ET) — The Cornhuskers are just not a very good basketball team, and Iowa State has Craig Brackins. Brackins should be able to do major damage in the post, and the Cyclones will notch their first conference victory.  Winner: Iowa State
  • Texas at Kansas State (Monday January 18th, ESPN 9:00 PM ET) — This is a tremendous matchup for a Monday night basketball game. Most likely we will have a battle between two Top 10 teams. A very experienced Texas team with a conditioned coach versus a Kansas State team that many think is overachieving.  In the end, I think the play of Avery Bradley will win this game for UT. Pittman and James will do their regular work inside, but Bradley’s outside shooting will dictate how many double teams the big men see. I predict Bradley will have a great game and Texas will march on, still undefeated.  Winner: Texas
  • Oklahoma at Texas A&M (Tuesday January 19th, 8:00 PM ET) — I am starting to believe in the Sooners, which is probably a bad idea because I think they might implode and end up making me look like an idiot. When I look at the talent on that team, and the fact they’re led by Jeff Capel, I see Sweet Sixteen. However, OU is the surprise team in this conference because they are underachieving, and I think they will drop this game to TAMU.  Winner: Texas A&M
  • Baylor at Kansas (Wednesday January 20th, ESPN2 9:00 PM ET) — I think Baylor has what it takes to pull an upset in this game, however I don’t think they will use that talent well enough to actually execute a victory. I could make it simpler: Kansas doesn’t lose at home.  Winner: Kansas
  • Colorado at Oklahoma State (Wednesday January 20th, ESPNU 9:00 PM ET) — If you truly enjoy college basketball there are a lot of things intriguing about this game. Two of them are NBA prospects Cory Higgins and James Anderson. Another is the fact that both teams are dying to make the postseason, and these games can end up being the best (see Texas A&M vs. Baylor 2008).  Winner: Oklahoma State
Share this story

Checking in on… the Big 12

Posted by rtmsf on December 22nd, 2009

Power Rankings

  1. Kansas (10-0) - The Jayhawks hold the top spot because they played a bad game against Michigan but still won by double digits.  This team is going to be scary once they start playing their best basketball.
  2. Texas (10-0) - The Longhorns are very close to grabbing the number one spot away from Kansas. A win over Michigan State tonight will probably push them to the top.
  3. Kansas State (11-1) - It looks like KSU will end their non-conference season at 13-1 if they can take care of Cleveland State and South Dakota. Frank Martin and the Wildcats could be looking at a possible top three seed in the NCAA tournament if they finish third in the conference.
  4. Texas A&M (9-2) - The Aggies have a huge game against Washington tonight. This could be a big statement game for TAMU, which has fallen outside the Coaches Poll Top 25.
  5. Oklahoma State (10-1) - The Cowboys had a very close call with Stanford, and then took care of La Salle last week. This is probably the hardest team to rank right now because their non-conference schedule is not very tough.
  6. Texas Tech (9-1) – Losing to the Wichita State Shockers on the road is not necessarily a bad loss, but it makes it harder for the Red Raiders to make the NCAA tournament if they don’t finish in the top six of the conference.
  7. Baylor (9-1) - The Bears are on a long break, but when they resume play against a pair of SEC opponents (Arkansas and South Carolina) is when we’ll really know if Baylor is for real.
  8. Iowa State (8-3) - Marquis Gilstrap had a huge game against Bradley, scoring 25 points. If he can elevate his play during the conference season then the Cyclones could surprise a lot of people this year.
  9. Missouri (7-3) - Last week’s good news is that Mizzou didn’t let Arkansas-Pine Bluff register their first win of the season. The Tigers will have to prove their worth Wednesday in St. Louis when they face Illinois.
  10. Oklahoma (8-4) - I was starting to believe that the Sooners had turned it around, but then they laid a huge egg at home against UTEP. The problem with OU right now is their depth. For instance, in their loss last night, Jeff Capel got just two points from his bench players.
  11. Nebraska (8-2) - The Cornhuskers play Tulsa on a neutral court, and I really don’t see NU coming out with a victory in this game. The good news for Big Red is that they get a lot of production from a lot of different players; their leading scorer Ryan Anderson is averaging just 11 PPG.
  12. Colorado (6-4) - It looks like it will be another long year in Boulder. Cory Higgins is an NBA prospect, but that’s about the only good thing to say about this team.

Team of the Week: Texas Longhorns - Defeating North Carolina at Cowboys Stadium was a tremendous accomplishment for Rick Barnes and the Longhorns. Dexter Pittman snagged twelve Offensive boards in the victory, which may be the most impressive stat for the whole game.

Player of the Week – Damion James (F), Texas- James scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the weekend win over UNC. He is now averaging a double-double. One thing he does need to work on his is FG percentage, as he was just 8-22 from the field against the Tar Heels.

Top Stories

  • Missouri to the Big Ten? – PTI was talking about the potential move last week, and apparently Missouri wants to join the other midwestern BCS conference. The move makes sense geographically, and the Big Ten has been looking for a twelfth member for a few years. The likely scenario is that Missouri would move to the Big Ten,  and then the Big 12 would pick up TCU to compensate. Obviously this is all speculation, but it would be quite interesting if the move went through.
  • Texas’ Big Day - Dexter Pittman and Damion James both had a tremendous day against UNC, which helped the Longhorns put up triple digits on one of the nation’s best teams. I think UT answered a lot of questions about how good their team is, and I think the Horns showed that they are a final four caliber team.

This Week’s Predictions (* indicates “Game to Watch”, # indicates “Upset Watch”)

  • Kansas - California 12/22 (W)* – This is not an easy matchup for Kansas because the Golden Bears can get hot and put up a lot of points in a hurry. However, the game is in Lawrence, and that’s spells a win for the Jayhawks.
  • Texas - Michigan State 12/22 (W)* – Another big test for the Longhorns, but if they play as well as they did against North Carolina, they should be able to take the Spartans. I think this one will be closer than the UNC game, but in the end Texas’ frontcourt will prove to be too much for the smaller, more perimeter-oriented Michigan State team.
  • Kansas State is on an off week.
  • Texas A&M – at Washington 12/22 (L)* – The Huskies want revenge against this conference after their loss to Texas Tech. I think A&M has enough talent to upset Washington on the road, but Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas will prove to be too much for the Aggies.
  • Texas Tech - Stanford 12/22 (W) – Oklahoma State took care of Stanford, even though they almost faltered at the end of the game. I think Texas Tech plays better “team basketball” than OSU, and they will overpower Stanford.
  • Oklahoma State is on an off week.
  • Baylor is on an off week.
  • Iowa State - North Dakota 12/22 (W) – This will be an easy win for the Cyclones, before they take a long break until their January 3rd contest against Houston.
  • Missouri - vs. Illinois 12/23 (L)*,  Austin Peay 12/27 (W) – I don’t see Mizzou beating the Illini in St. Louis. It is a big game for both teams that need another win over a power conference team, but I just think that Illinois has a more talented roster and will beat MU pretty easily.
  • Nebraska – vs. Tulsa 12/22 (L) – Jerome Jordan was too much for Oklahoma State, and I think he will also dominate this game against the Cornhuskers. Tulsa is a possible top nine seed in the NCAA tournament, and Nebraska is a possible NIT team.
  • Colorado – Cal State Northridge 12/22 (W) – Cory Higgins and the Buffaloes need to get some momentum before they start the conference season.
Share this story

Checking In On… the Big 12

Posted by jstevrtc on December 1st, 2009

checkinginon

Patrick Sellars is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 Conference.

Power Rankings:

  1. Kansas (5-0) — After five games freshman Xavier Henry is leading the Jayhawks in scoring.
  2. Texas (5-0) — Won the CBE Classic in dominating fashion with wins over Iowa and Pitt.
  3. Kansas State (5-1) — The Wildcats are getting solid production from guards Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente.
  4. Texas A&M (5-1) — The Aggies went 2-1 at the 76 Classic, and the only loss was to #8 West Virginia.
  5. Oklahoma State (6-0)James Anderson is still playing great and helped lead the Cowboys to a win over Utah.
  6. Missouri (4-1) — The Tigers could not find any offense against Richmond in the final of the South Padre Invitational.
  7. Iowa State (6-1) — Losing to Northwestern will hurt this team’s resume in March, but I still believe Craig Brackins and Marquis Gilstrap could lead the Cyclones to a good finish in the Big 12.
  8. Texas Tech (7-0) — We will learn a lot about the Red Raiders on Thursday night when they play host to the Washington Huskies.
  9. Oklahoma (3-3) — The Sooners finally stopped their losing streak with a win over Nicholls State, but so far OU has done nothing impressive this season.
  10. Baylor (6-1) — Finishing 5th in the Old Spice Classic is a good sign for Bears fans.
  11. Colorado (4-2) — The Buffaloes played Gonzaga and Arizona to the wire, but still only came away from Maui with a win over D2 opponent Chaminade.
  12. Nebraska (4-1) — Defeated USC in the first game of the Pac 10/ Big 12 Hardwood Series.

Team of the Week:  Texas A&M Aggies — TAMU defeated two ranked opponents en route to a third place finish in the 76 Classic, and they did it without much production from leading scorer Donald Sloan.

Player of the Week:  Cory Higgins (G), Colorado — Higgins only scored 6 points in a dominating win over Chaminade, but in big games against Gonzaga and Arizona, the guard scored 19 and 28, respectively.

Top Stories:

  • Pac 10/ Big 12 Hardwood Series Tips Off.  With Nebraska defeating USC in the first game, the Big 12 has taken an early 1-0 lead.  The series is in its third year and in the previous two seasons the conferences split the series 6-6.
  • Four Teams Suffer First Loss.  In this past week, previously undefeated teams lost their first game:  Baylor lost to Alabama, Iowa State lost to Northwestern, Missouri lost to Richmond, and Texas A&M fell to West Virginia.

Games to Watch This Week:

  • Missouri (4-1) at Vanderbilt (4-1), 12/2 — Mizzou tries to bounce back on the road against one of the SEC’s best teams.
  • Oklahoma State (6-0) at Tulsa (5-1), 12/2 — Upset Alert:  Tulsa has one of the best players that you’ve never heard of in center Jerome Jordan.  OSU is going to have trouble trying to contain him.
  • Pac 10/ Big 12 Hardwood Series -- The best games this week:  Baylor at Arizona State and Washington at Texas Tech on 12/3, Iowa State at California on 12/5, Arizona at Oklahoma on 12/6
Share this story

ATB: Just Call Him Oscar…

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2009

atb

Story of the Night.  Evan Turner’s Date With History.  It’s only a matter of time.  So long as Evan Turner stays healthy this year, he should have the new record for triple-doubles in a single season by around New Year’s Eve.  He’s already got two in November, which puts him in select company of 33 others players in the entire history of the NCAA to have multiple trip-dubs in one season.  The record is four, held by Stephane Lasme (UMass), Jason Kidd (Cal), Brian Shaw (UCSB) and Michael Anderson (Drexel).  We should go ahead and dust off the record book because Turner is on pace to not only beat this record, but obliterate it.  With his 16/10/11 asst night in an 84-64 win over Lipscomb, he’s now averaging an absurd 21/14/7 apg over five games this season.  He’s really not that far from approaching an Oscar Robertson-esque season-long triple-double average, but suffice it to say that we’re calling the over/under on this year’s total at 10.  The mere fact that you’re thinking about this — really thinking about this! — should give you pause as to the ridiculousness of how well Turner is playing.  If Ohio State continues to hang around the top 10-15 in America this year, does anyone else stand a chance at NPOY?

Upset of the Night.  Morgan State 97, Arkansas 94.  We guess that the Pac-10 and SEC are simply going to trade spots in this section for the rest of the nonconference season.  Arkansas, with several really good players in their lineup (Michael Washington, Rotnei Clarke, Marshon Powell), dropped a barnburner of a game to a nonconference foe for the first time in a long time (45 games).  Morgan State’s Reggie Holmes went off for 34/5/4 stls, but there’s really no excuse for a loss like this for a team like Arkansas.  Maybe it was something we saw in the body language of John Pelphrey’s players last week in St. Louis, but we feel like there are fundamental problems on this team beyond basic basketball skills. 

Co-Upset 0f the NightSeattle 77, Utah 74.  This is nothing short of amazing, as Cameron Dollar’s Seattle club is playing its first full season as a member of D1, and to get a win on the road in a fairly tough environment as that at Utah is very impressive.  Seattle’s Charles Garcia blew up for 24/8 and is it too early to tell Lorenzo Romar to start looking over his shoulder in the Emerald City?  The Redhawks are already 3-2 this season with wins over Fresno State and Weber State in addition to the Utes.

Maui Invitational.

  • Cincinnati 69, #22 Maryland 57.  Cincinnati is looking good.  Yancy Gates dominated the inside, dropping 17/13 on the Maryland frontline, who often looked confused about where to be and what to do during this game — UC was also +15 on the boards.  Greivis Vasquez finally broke through for double-figure points (19), but he shot poorly (5-17, 0-5 from three) and his percentage for the year is downright icy (30%).  The Bearcats will take one of the other surprises of the young season in Gonzaga tomorrow night in the title game. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Checking in on… the Big 12

Posted by rtmsf on November 24th, 2009

checkinginon

Patrick Sellars is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 Conference.

Power Rankings:

  1. Kansas (3-0)
  2. Texas (3-0)
  3. Kansas State (4-1)
  4. Oklahoma (2-1)
  5. Missouri (2-0)
  6. Texas A&M (3-0)
  7. Iowa State (4-0)
  8. Oklahoma State (3-0)
  9. Texas Tech (5-0)
  10. Baylor (4-0)
  11. Colorado (3-1)
  12. Nebraska (2-1)

Team of the Week: Texas Tech Red Raiders - TTU got a big home win over an Oregon State team that many experts think have a chance at the postseason in a weak Pac-10. Junior guard David Tairu had 19 points in the victory.

Player of the Week: James Anderson (G), Oklahoma State - Anderson is already averaging 25 points and 11 rebounds per game. If he can somehow keep those stats going for the whole season he may be the frontrunner for Big 12 Player of the Year when it’s all said and done.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

RTC 2009-10 Impact Players – Wrap-Up

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2009

impactplayersOver the course of the last ten weeks we’ve broken down sixty players from around the country whom we expect will have the biggest impact on college basketball this season.  We performed this exercise geographically, choosing five high-major and one mid-major player from each of the somewhat arbitrary ten regions of the country.  If you’d like to read through the individual regions (and we highly encourage that), you can check all ten here.

impactcountry(2)

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read through all of the previous posts, we’ll summarize here for you by rating the strongest to the weakest regions.

(ed. note: we started this so long ago that Binghamton still had a promising basketball program, and DJ Rivera still had a place to play)

1.  Lower Midwest Region (OH, IN, IL, IA, NE, KS)

lower mw summary

Overview. This seemed pretty clear just at a first glance.  Aldrich, Collins and Harangody are three of the 1st team AAs on the RTC preseason list, and Brackins and Turner are on the 2d team.  This group has unbelievable scoring ability, size and experience.  The only weak link is the mid-major inclusion of Eldridge, who is a fine player, but not in the class of the rest of these superstars.  The nation’s heartland is the epicenter of college basketball talent this year.

Best Players Left Out. Where to start?  The depth in this region is incredible.  Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard at Butler, Robbie Hummell and E’Twaun Moore at Purdue, even Lance Stephenson at Cincinnati.  The #6-10 players in this region would probably be better than all but a few of the other regions.

2.  Mid-South Region (KY, TN, MO, AR, OK)

mid-south summary

Overview.  It was a very close call between this region and the South Atlantic, but we felt that the guard play of Warren and Wall with Anderson on the wing would compensate for what this team gives up in size.  And it doesn’t give up much, considering Patterson, Smith and Jordan are all exceptional inside.  Tough call, but Wall is the likely #1 pick, so he’s the x-factor.

Best Players Left Out.  Plenty of raw size here, including Samardo Samuels at Louisville, Michael Washington at Arkansas and DeMarcus Cousins at Kentucky.  Throw in the skilled size of AJ Ogilvy at Vanderbilt and Wayne Chism at Tennessee and this area will punish you on the interior.

3.  South Atlantic Region (DC, VA, NC, SC, GA)

s.atlantic summary

Overview.  This is the third region that’s chock full of NBA talent – each of the rest below have smatterings of it, but not nearly as much.  Aminu, Booker and Singler all define skilled versatility, while Monroe could end up the best big in the entire country if he wants it enough.  Sanders is a little undersized but relentless as well.

Best Players Left OutEd Davis at UNC was a lighting rod topic, as some felt that he’d be an all-american this year with his length and skill set.  Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal are two others.  A good argument could be made that this region had the best players left out, but it sorta depends on how this year plays out due to their relative youth and inexperience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

2009-10 Conference Primers: #4 – Big 12

Posted by rtmsf on November 4th, 2009

seasonpreviewPatrick Sellars is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Kansas (15-1)
  2. Texas (14-2)
  3. Oklahoma (11-5)
  4. Kansas State (10-6)
  5. Missouri (9-7)
  6. Texas A&M (8-8)
  7. Oklahoma State (8-8)
  8. Iowa State (7-9)
  9. Baylor (5-11)
  10. Texas Tech (4-12)
  11. Nebraska (3-13)
  12. Colorado (2-14)

All Conference Team:

  • Sherron Collins (G), Kansas
  • Willie Warren (G) Oklahoma
  • Craig Brackins (F) Iowa State
  • Damion James (F), Texas
  • Cole Aldrich (C), Kansas

6th Man. James Anderson (G) Oklahoma State

Impact Newcomer. Xavier Henry (G), Kansas

big 12 logoWhat You Need to Know.

  • KU Dominance.  Of the 13 years that the Big 12 has held a conference tournament, Kansas has won the crown six times, which is the most of any Big 12 school.  Kansas has been deemed the regular season conference champion nine times in those 13 years, sharing the title in three of those times. Every time Kansas has shared the title the Jayhawks were the two-seed in the conference tournament.
  • Two At the Top. It’s very possible that Texas and Kansas could share the Big 12 title this season. Texas’ toughest conference games are Kansas (in Austin), then Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State on the road.  The Longhorns seem to have the advantage over the Jayhawks when it comes to an easier conference schedule, but with KU bringing back all of its talent and adding one of the top freshman in the nation, I still believe that Kansas will stay atop the conference alone.
  • Where are the Tigers. Where do you rank the Missouri Tigers in the Big 12 this season? After being picked seventh by the coaches in last year’s preseason poll, the Tigers finished third and won the Big 12 Tournament en route to an Elite Eight appearance. Mike Anderson will continue to play his “Fastest Forty Minutes” style, and behind leadership from senior guard JT Tiller (Co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2009), and sophomore guard Kim English, it’s hard to determine where Mizzou will be at the end of the season. Anderson has put together a very athletic lineup, which should be able to play to his coaching style, but their lack of experience and a consistent scorer could hurt them.
  • X-Factor. Freshman phenom Xavier Henry could be the key to Kansas’ hopes of a second national title in just three seasons.  A late decider, Henry could very well be one of the most productive freshmen in the NCAA this season.  He is surrounded by unbelievable talent that will hog most of the attention from opposing defenses, which should open up many scoring opportunities for Henry.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

ESPN Full Court Schedule: Hope You Like Craig Brackins…

Posted by rtmsf on November 3rd, 2009

The ESPN Full Court package schedule was released a few days ago, so we once again took the liberty of cleaning up the data and breaking things down for you.  The cost is $109 through your local cable/satellite provider, but they usually offer a $99 early-bird special if you sign up in November or thereabouts.  We’ve gotten the package at RTC for the past six seasons and there is a definite benefit if you follow a team or teams that aren’t on the standard national networks very often (whether due to a down year, or whatever).  It’s also very good if you one of those people who just cannot go without a Big East, Big 12 or SEC conference game this season – between the three conferences, almost 300 games will be shown.

espn full court 09

Once again, we have to point out that there are no ESPNU games on this package, which makes it just short of impossible to watch some really good games for people in areas where the cable provider will not offer this channel.  Not that we’re bitter or anything.

Here are a few highlights of this year’s schedule:

  • If you like Big 12 bottom-feeders, you’re in luck!  Colorado, Iowa State and Nebraska have 56 appearances combined over the course of the season.  We hope you like watching Craig Brackins and Cory Higgins.
  • It’s not all garbage, though.  The best high-volume teams are K-State (16), UConn (14), Cincinnati (12) and Louisville (12).  Even top-ten teams West Virginia (10), Kansas (9), Texas (8), Kentucky (7), and Georgetown (7) have a good number of appearances.

FC Apps by School

  • You won’t find a single Big Ten or Pac-10 game on this package.  Gotta get the Big Ten Network or the FSN Sports Pack for those.
  • Middie Love – one of the best features of this package annually is to get an occasional peek at mid-major leagues.  We’re always clamoring for more, but we’ll take what we can get.  There are a bunch of games involving mid-majors as the visiting team (see the entire list after the jump), but there are also 136 games where a mid-major team hosts.  The WAC has the most (24), but there are twelve leagues represented.  Here’s the list of middies:

FC Apps by Conf

Our favorite 30 games from the ESPN Full Court Package this year are:

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

RTC 2009-10 Impact Players – Mountain Region

Posted by rtmsf on October 27th, 2009

impactplayers

Ed. Note: the previous posts in this series (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Atlantic South, Deep South, Mid-South, Lower Midwest and Upper Midwest) are located here.

It’s time for the eighth installment of our RTC 2009-10 Impact Players series, the group of somewhat forgotten states that have lots of land but relatively few players that we’re calling the Mountain Region.   Each week we’ll pick a geographic area of the country and break down the five players who we feel will have the most impact on their teams (and by the transitive property, college basketball) this season.  Our criteria is once again subjective – there are so many good players in every region of the country that it’s difficult to narrow them down to only five  in each – but we feel at the end of this exercise that we’ll have discussed nearly every player of major impact in the nation.  Just to be fair and to make this not too high-major-centric, we’re also going to pick a mid-major impact player in each region as our sixth man.  We welcome you guys, our faithful and very knowledgeable readers, to critique us in the comments where we left players off.  The only request is that you provide an argument – why will your choice be more influential this season than those we chose?

Mountain Region (CO, UT, WY, MT, ID)

mountainimpact

(ed. note:  since this region has a scarcity of BCS schools, we’re grouping all of its schools into the same pool)

  • Jimmer Fredette – G, Jr – BYU. Blessed with the one of the most memorable first names in college basketball, Jimmer Fredette emerged as one of the steadiest and most productive point guards in the nation during a breakout sophomore campaign at BYU. Fredette’s scoring average jumped 9.2 PPG from 2007-08, finishing second on the team in scoring (16.2) three-point percentage (.382) and free throw percentage (.847) while leading the Cougars in APG (4.1) and steals (50). His ranks in the Mountain West are equally impressive: fifth in scoring, third in assists, second in free throw percentage and steals while finishing fourth in minutes played. Along with multi-dimensional wing Jonathan Tavernari (below), it’ll be Fredette taking the reins of a BYU team poised to win another regular season MWC title under head coach Dave Rose. With several teams on their heels, the consistent and reliable point guard play of Fredette could prove the difference, especially in important non-conference tests vs. Utah State, Arizona State, Arizona and Nevada and the always-competitive MWC slate. Fredette managed to earn himself a spot on both the all-MWC first team and the MWC all-tournament team, and it wouldn’t shock us one bit if Fredette makes both lists in 2009-10 as well. This tough, hard-nosed competitor is one of the top point guards not only west of the Mississippi, but in the entire landscape of college basketball and should only improve in an anticipated junior season manning the Cougar ship.
  • Cory Higgins – G, Jr – Colorado. Frankly, the only bright spot on a depressing 2008-09 Colorado Buffaloes team was Cory Higgins. The 9-22 (1-15)  rebuilding project in Boulder is embarrassing and downright inexcusable for a school with their resources and attractive campus (football isn’t exactly a prettier situation). Give Higgins credit for remaining loyal to the Colorado program when he easily could have bolted for better situations. The 6’5 California native whose father, Rod Higgins, is a longtime NBA veteran, does everything for Colorado, finishing his tremendous sophomore season at 17.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.9 SPG, 47% FG, 83% FT and 36% 3pt. With Higgins mired in obscurity at the bottom of the Big 12, many casual fans have no clue that his all-around game matches just about anyone in the conference. Rick Barnes knows – Higgins scored 34 points on 11/20 FG in Boulder last February in a 9-point loss to Texas. Mark Turgeon knows – Higgins went for 27 points on 10/18 FG at home in early March in a 6-point loss to Texas A&M. The all-Big 12 third team selection was one of 13 players in the nation ranked first or second on their team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks and the only sophomore to make that illustrious list. Sure, Colorado doesn’t provide much help in the way of talent for Higgins, but that’s not his fault. Higgins may be able to score 20-per-contest this season in Colorado. He hopes those epic performances also include a tally in the win column more often than nine times this season. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

Big 12 Wrap & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 11th, 2009

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 and MVC Conferences.

big-12-final-standings

Kansas didn’t rebuild, they reloaded this season.  After questions whether this team would be able to be as good as they were last season with basically only Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, this new class has gelled together and Bill Self was able to prove that he is one of the best developers of talent in the nation and also the Big 12 Coach of the Year.   As I said in my preseason predictions, Kansas could fly under the radar and by the end of the season have a seasoned team.  I just didn’t think they would actually win the conference.    Oklahoma has also had a great season, but the loss of Blake Griffin over two key games was the difference between winning the conference and finishing second.  I’m sure a lot of people were surprised to see Missouri be as successful as they were this season.  You just didn’t know if Mike Anderson had the guys he wanted to play high pressure defense.    But probably the surprise for me is the performance of Texas.  To be real honest, I am really surprised how many people feel so confident Texas is comfortably in the tournament after the inconsistencies this team has had this season.    I had high expectations for them to win the Big 12, but the non-existence of a player to step up to play point guard has really hampered this team.  But I’ll have more on Texas later.  Kansas St., Texas A&M and Oklahoma St. all have realistic desires of making the NCAA Tournament.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story