Checking in on… the SEC

Posted by jstevrtc on December 16th, 2009

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Paul Jordan of Wildcat Blue Blog is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.

CURRENT STANDINGS

EAST

  1. Kentucky  10-0
  2. Florida  8-1
  3. Tennessee  7-1
  4. South Carolina  6-2
  5. Vanderbilt  6-3
  6. Georgia  4-4

WEST

  1. Mississippi  8-1
  2. Mississippi State  7-2
  3. LSU  6-2
  4. Alabama  6-3
  5. Auburn  5-4
  6. Arkansas  4-5

It was a very slow week in the SEC as three teams did not see any action at all.  Kentucky and Mississippi State represented the SEC well in the SEC/Big East Invitational while Florida and Georgia lost their matchups.  Both Mississippi teams have been coming on strong and supplying some firepower to the West; Tennessee has only one setback and they should challenge UK all season.  The big story for the rest of the year will be the race to 2000 wins between UK and North Carolina.  Kentucky has pretty much assured themselves of being the first team to break the 2000-win plateau as they currently have 1998 wins to 1992 for UNC.

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11.10.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on November 10th, 2009

In getting all the preview stuff together, we lost a little track of the news other than the endless suspensions and injuries…

  • NCAA Not Backing Down on Renardo Sidney.  If the information that Gary Parrish wrote in his “Three Storylines” articles is true, then Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney may not play this season at all.  According to the Sidney family attorney, the NCAA requested additional evidence beyond what the Sidneys gave them two weeks ago — specifically, “records that identify the sources of each [bank] deposit, cellular phone records for every family member since Jan. 1, 2006, records to indicate where every payroll check was deposited, etc.”  To an untrained ear, that sounds like the NCAA isn’t buying what the Sidneys are selling.  The evidence that the Sidneys previously provided — bank statements and the like — don’t mean a whole lot unless they can show the funds in those accounts are not a product of financial tomfoolery.  So, what now for the Sidneys?  MSU’s first game is against Rider on Friday night, so their only recourse might be to take things to court, but the NCAA could probably motion up/down/sideways until March to keep Sidney off the floor if it wanted to make a point.  Even if Sidney sought injunctive relief in the interim, MSU is unlikely to play Sidney until he’s eligible by NCAA standards.  Well, Jarvis Varnado and John Riek still makes for a nasty frontcourt, right? 
  • Arkansas SuspensionsCourney Fortson and Stefan Welsh were indefinitely suspended by John Pelphrey today for their roles in various discipinary actions over the offseason.  Additionally, reserve Marcus Britt will miss six games, freshman Glenn Bryant will miss two games, and walk-on Nick Mason will miss the fall semester.  The latter three players were at a fraternity party last month where a student alleged several players raped her.  The local prosecutor (who is related to Arkansas brass) said there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward, but the case has now been brought to a special prosecutor for further review.
  • Vegas Watch Mammoth Preview.  It was finished over the weekend, so here’s the link to the entire thing in one place.  The analysis we performed here reflects VW’s vision as to how to project the 2009-10 teams in a quantifiable manner, and we think he’s done a pretty damn good job at developing a formula that properly takes into account returnees plus incoming recruits.  Keep an eye on things over there this week as he rolls out a list of the final projected ratings among the BCS conferences (and a few others) sliced and diced in various ways. 
  • Preaseason Stuff.  There’s more out in the last week than we know what to do with, and besides you have our Everything You Need to Know… post to guide you there, but let’s look at some of the better things we’ve seen.  Luke Winn has his 16 most entertaining players in America, while Jeff Goodman gives his 65 storylines to watch for this season and even found time to do a little bracket work.   Mike DeCourcy encourages us all to buy blue-chip stocks this year and also lists his top storylines and questionsGary Parrish believes that the Big 12 is the best conference in the land this year, and he also projects a bracket for us while sprinkling around his all-americans.  Everybody’s doing this bracket thing these days, including Jerry Palm, whose done it once or twice before.  And for good measure, here’s the Fox Sports power rankings.
  • Quick HitsKen Bone: unpluggedDeCourcy: why cupcakesBob Knight: as expected, did not attend his IU Hall of Fame induction over the weekendCal Faculty: nonbinding vote to end athletic department subsidiesScout: top 100 prospects of 2010Isiah: got his mom’s blessing to coach Monday night.  UNC Throwbacks: why would Carolina ever have red in its unisJeff Capel: Big 12 is the bestDeniz Kilicli: WVU freshman forward will sit until FebruaryVillanova: How Scottie Reynolds almost ended up at OklahomaDave Odom: your new Maui chairmanACC Tourney: headed back to the ATL in 2012 (but at Phillips Arena, not the Ga Dome).  Luke Apfeld: Vermont player tears ACL again.
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2009-10 Conference Primers: #5 – SEC

Posted by rtmsf on November 3rd, 2009

seasonpreviewPaul Jordan of Wildcat Blue Blog is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish:

SEC EAST

  1. Kentucky  (13-3)
  2. Tennessee  (11-5)
  3. South Carolina  (10-6)
  4. Vanderbilt (10-6)
  5. Florida (7-9)
  6. Georgia  (2-14)

SEC WEST

  1. Mississippi State (10-6)
  2. Mississippi (9-7)
  3. Arkansas (9-7)
  4. Alabama (7-9)
  5. LSU  (6-10)
  6. Auburn (4-12)

All-Conference Team:

  • John Wall (G), Kentucky
  • Devan Downey (G), South Carolina
  • Tyler Smith (F), Tennessee
  • Patrick Patterson (F), Kentucky
  • Jarvis Varnado (F), Mississippi State

6th Man. Terrico White (G), Mississippi

Impact Newcomer. John Wall (G), Kentucky

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What You Need to Know.  After missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 years, the Kentucky Wildcats are poised to regain their role at the top of the SEC, having added the number one recruiting class and top coach John Calipari. This year looks to be a year of redemption and resurgence not only for UK but for the whole SEC which placed just three teams in the NCAA last year.  Tennessee, South Carolina and Vanderbilt are very strong, experienced teams in the East that should go dancing.  Mississippi State hopes to win the West behind Jarvis Varnado and Mississippi and Arkansas look to be much improved and can give any team in the SEC fits.

Predicted Champion. Kentucky  (NCAA Seed:  #1).  Kentucky returns Patrick Patterson and the core group of the team that won 22 games last season.  The main loss for UK was junior Jodie Meeks who went to the NBA, but in his place, UK added the number one recruiting class and hired head coach John Calipari.  Obviously, Calipari faces the task of instilling a new offense with six new faces, but the Cats are so deep that freshman Daniel Orton, a top 25 player, will have to battle for significant playing time.  The Wildcats achilles heel last year was at point guard and UK added two of the top four freshman points in John Wall and Eric Bledsoe.  Talent and depth alone make this a top 10 team and if Calipari can install his DDMO effectively, this is a legitimate Final Four team.

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RTC 2009-10 Impact Players: Mid-South Region

Posted by rtmsf on October 7th, 2009

impactplayers

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

It’s time for the fifth installment of our RTC 2009-10 Impact Players series, the group of landlocked states that produce some really good basketball players – the Mid-South.   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?

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

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  • James Anderson – Jr, F – Oklahoma St. An obvious and unanimous choice for our Mid-South list, James Anderson cannot be blamed if he has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder right now.  Let’s see:  he’s the third-leading returning scorer in the Big 12  for the upcoming season; last year the guy averages 18.2 points, 5.7 boards, shoots over 48% from the field as well as over 82% from the line and 41% from beyond the three-point line… and he gets left off the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list.  Anderson has coolly acknowledged his surprise at this slight, and we think he’s well within his right to do so.  No doubt this will provide motivation for the versatile forward as he embarks upon his junior season for a Cowboys squad that needs him in the leadership role.  Gone are Byron Eaton and Terrel Harris, leaving only Anderson and Obi Muonelo in terms of returning double-digit scorers.  That’s over 27 points a game for which to compensate, so Anderson will get the touches, without question.  Last year was the first trip to the NCAA Tournament for Oklahoma State in the last four years, and despite the aforementioned losses, Cowboy fans are most assuredly expecting another bid this season.  If it’s going to happen, it will be on Anderson’s shoulders.  We know that making our Impact Players list for the Mid-South region isn’t the same as making the preseason Wooden Award Top 50.  But at least we can say… hey James… we got your back, man.
  • Patrick Patterson – Jr, F – Kentucky. Patrick Patterson didn’t need a ton of motivation to return for a junior season in Lexington. The potential NBA riches were surely enticing, but with the news of John Calipari’s hire and subsequent commitments of a recruiting class for the ages, Patterson found himself in a spot where another season at Kentucky may mean a national championship, a far cry from the tumultuous two campaigns he spent in the Bluegrass State under the tutelage of Billy Gillispie. Patterson is a physical specimen in the paint for Kentucky and coach Cal has to be absolutely salivating at the thought of pairing Patterson and diaper dandy DeMarcus Cousins there to complement John Wall, Darius Miller and Eric Bledsoe on the perimeter (just think if Jodie Meeks had stuck around). Patterson nearly finished with a double-double last season at 17.9 ppg and 9.3 rpg, including a dominant 22/15 performance at future #1 seed Louisville, a 19/16 vs. Miami and 21/18 vs. Auburn. In fact, Patterson led the SEC with 15 double-doubles in 2008-09 and was the only player in the conference to finish in the top five in scoring and rebounding. A wildly underrated part of Patterson’s game is his 77% ft to go along with an efficient 60% from the field overall. Most NBA scouts think Patterson will only get stronger and continue to improve with another season in college, a scary thought for opposing SEC coaches and forwards, and a delightful proposition for Calipari. The 6’8″ big man already possesses an NBA-ready frame, a beast on the blocks that loves to bang inside and fight for any rebound in his vicinity. If Patrick Patterson gets the ball deep, he will score. Period. And with John Wall, possibly the top point guard in the nation this season, making those entry passes, Patterson should be able to average a double-double for Kentucky, only adding to the 1,000+ points he’s already totaled as a Wildcat. Barring injury (which isn’t a certainty as PP battled a stress fracture in his ankle in 07-08), Patterson seems about as surefire as anyone in the country to earn national accolades this season. But with realistic hopes of a Final Four at Kentucky for the first time in Patterson’s career, it won’t be about personal accomplishments for the determined forward; it’ll be all about wins.

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Buzz: Courtney Fortson Faces Discipline For Tweet

Posted by rtmsf on September 11th, 2009

Yep, we’re officially moving into shark-jumping territory on Twitter now, as this is our second post of the day relating to the micro-blogging site (#rushthecourt, btw).  You’ve undoubtedly heard by now that a few days ago several Arkansas players were accused of sexual assault by a freshman woman who at the time belied her story by reportedly telling a bystander who happened upon the lascivious incident that she and her new friends “didn’t do anything wrong.”  Prosecutors declined to pursue the case citing a lack of evidence, but it appears that John Pelphrey will not rest until somebody pays for all this negative publicity.  Well, guess what – even though he was not one of the accused, Arkansas PG Courtney Fortson made reference to the rape allegations on Monday in a tweet (later deleted but available through Tweleted) and he is now facing discipline from the school for his “crass” comment (see tweet below).  We’re not even quite sure what Fortson is trying to say here, actually.  Is he getting blown during a workout?  Or is he making some cryptic reference to one of the accused who has a reputation for working out hard?  It’s pretty much indecipherable to our eyes.  Or maybe he was simply trying to be creative.  If that’s the case, Fortson clearly needs to work on his metaphors, so maybe Pelphrey should force him to take a creative writing class.  If he’s lucky, maybe the “do no wrong” gal will be sitting there next to him.

fortson tweet

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Boom Goes The Dynamite: 02.14.09 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on February 14th, 2009

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Good afternoon, college hoops fans, and welcome to another version of Boom Goes The Dynamite.  What does that mean?  If there’s a game on my television, I’m watching it.  I’m even monitoring games on about five different online game-trackers.  John Stevens, here, holed-up in the RTC Midwestern Compound.  Normally you have to wait until Tuesday for me to force my opinions and exert my influence on you in my weekly column; on this particular Saturday, NVR1983 (the Zelig of college basketball fandom — the man can literally pop up anywhere in the country with a press pass and do a live broadcast and duck out before you’ve noticed he’s been there, and probably eaten half your food) is probably somewhere setting himself on press row for a game tonight, and RTMSF (the guru of RTC) is, from what I understand, probably laying under a big pink blanket watching Mad About You or Sex And The City DVDs with his wife at a spa somewhere.  Poor b—ard.

(Just kidding, Mrs. RTMSF…)

Anyway, where I am in the Midwest, it’s cold again, it’s grey, and it’s starting to snow.  Sounds like good basketball-watching weather (but what isn’t?).  I’ve got a television, I’ve got a cooler, and I’ve got a couch.  Let’s watch some hoops.  I invite you to join me. 

We’re getting a little bit of a delayed start because of a techincal difficulty on my end (long story — suffice to say, I am easily distracted and/or confused by things like shapes and colors), but now that we’re up and rolling, in a moment we’ll catch up on what’s happened so far in today’s games.  Welcome!

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ATB: Can ND Make the Recovery?

Posted by rtmsf on February 13th, 2009

Starting with some News & Notes…

Tonight’s Big Games.

  • Notre Dame 90, Louisville 57. Hey T-Will, maybe you were right… some of the worst teams in the Big East can beat some of the best teams in the…  Big East.  You should recall that Carolina handled the very same team that just pasted you with your worst loss in BE history tonight.  The same team that had just lost its last seven games.  The same team that absolutely had no recourse other than to win this game (and damn near every other game) to try to get back into the NCAA Tournament this season.  The opportunity is there – out of the Irish’s final seven games, only the game at UConn is probably unwinnable.  4-7 in the Big East could turn into 8-7 if they simply handle their remaining home games (USF, Rutgers, Villanova, St. John’s).  Split the two roadies at WVU and Providence (+ the UConn L) and they can get to 9-9.  That’s why tonight’s game was such a must-win.  The Irish lit Louisville up for ten threes and 54% shooting behind Gody’s 32/17 while holding Louisville to 39% on the other end and a mere 16 pts from T-Will and Earl Clark.  Pitino said his team was embarrassed, and they should be – this humiliating loss more or less ensures that the Cards won’t be winning the 2009 national title – teams that lose by 30+ never win it all.  Go ahead, look it up.
  • Arizona St. 74, UCLA 67. Apparently UCLA can beat everyone in the Pac-10 except for Herb Sendek’s Sun Devils.  This game was back and forth until a late block/charge call on Darren Collison went ASU’s way, essentially ensuring ASU’s second victory over UCLA this season.  Surprisingly maybe to people who haven’t watched much of UCLA this season but ASU shot 60% and hit eleven threes to keep the game competitive throughout; the Bruin offense is quite a bit further along than its defense this season, which is odd for a Ben Howland team.  Five Sun Devils ended up in double figures, but none more than 15 pts (James Harden and Derek Glasser).  This loss by UCLA really tightens up the top of the Pac-10, with five teams now within one game of first place.
  • Gonzaga 72, St. Mary’s 70. We checked into this one to see if St. Mary’s could parlay its raucous home crowd into an upset over Gonzaga without their star, Patty Mills, on the floor.  The answer was no, but one thing is fairly clear to us – St. Mary’s is the best team in the WCC with Patty Mills, and it’s really not close.  The Gaels were unbeaten and whipping Gonzaga when he was injured in Spokane, and the fact that they were this close at home with the mercurial Mills playing announcer (still can’t get over that accent…), convinces us that SMC is the better team.  Gonzaga has better individual talent in our eyes, but for some reason, they’re just not maximizing their potential this season (or any season).  Josh Heytvelt had 20/10 but it was his three missed FTs down the stretch that kept the door open for St. Mary’s, who had two possessions in the last ten seconds to win the game.  Keep an eye on SMC in the NCAAs, but forget about the Zags.

Other Games Heading into the Weekend…

  • Illinois 60, Northwestern 59. Utterly heartbreaking loss for NW and inspirational comeback win for Illinois in Evanston.  NW led 57-43 with 5 mins to go, but could only manage two more points as Demetri McCamey’s shot with 2.9 seconds hit bottoms for the Illini win.
  • Temple 61, St. Joseph’s 59. Ahmad Nivins had 21/6 in this Big 5 matchup that resulted in St. Joe’s taking its second A10 loss of the year.  Dionte Christmas had 19/11 for Temple.
  • Davidson 78, Wofford 61. Steph Curry Watch – 39/5/3 assts on 14-24 FGs (5-8 3FGs).
  • Washington St. 67, Oregon 38. Please tell us Ernie Kent is gone after this season.
  • Arizona 83, USC 76. The winner of this one was going to have a definite bubble advantage going into the last few weeks of the season, and both teams seemed to know it.  Arizona used a late 6-0 run fueled by USC turnovers to win its sixth in a row and go to 7-5 in the Pac-10.  Nic Wise had 27 pts and Chase Budinger had 25 pts in the win.
  • Utah St. 62, Idaho 53. USU struggled for a while in this one, but pulled away late to go to 24-1 (12-0) on the season.  Gary Wilkinson had 17/10.
  • Washington 79, Oregon St. 60. No letdown for the Huskies at home tonight, as Justin Dentmon had 28/7 assts to go to 8-3 in the Pac-10 (tied with UCLA).

On Tap Friday (all times EST). Actually, another fairly good Big East game on Friday this week…

  • Villanova @ West Virginia (ESPN) – 9pm.  Villanova’s been hot, having won its last six games, but WVU sorta needs this one.  Should be an interesting environment on a Friday night in Morgantown.
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Checking in on the… SEC

Posted by rtmsf on December 3rd, 2008

Kurt of SEC Hoops: The Good, The Bad, The Dirty is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.

The misery continues for the Southeastern Conference. Only one unbeaten remains after MSU, South Carolina and Tennessee dropped games, with only LSU keeping their heads above water. The Wildcats from Kentucky met a couple of high-profile-conference foes and matched up well, while Mississippi State dropped two close ones in their matchups against power-conference squads. As a whole, the conference is wallowing badly at the moment, but Tennessee – powered by All-American Tyler Smith – is looking like the perennial powerhouse they have become in the past few years under Bruce Pearl and set to take the SEC regular-season title once again.

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