Rushed Reactions: Wichita State 66, Illinois State 51

Posted by dnspewak on March 9th, 2013

rushedreactions

Danny Spewak (@dspewak) is an RTC correspondent. He’s covering the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis through Sunday.

Three Key Takeaways.

Carl Hall Will Get Yet Another Shot at Creighton (Photo credit: AP Photo).

Carl Hall Will Get Yet Another Shot at Creighton (Photo credit: AP Photo).

  1. That Wichita State Defense: It is quite possible the Shockers played the best 12-minute defensive stretch of any team in college basketball this season. Illinois State did not make a field goal until Tyler Brown’s wide-open layup in transition with fewer than eight minutes to play in the first half. Wichita State led 17-1 out of the gate and punished the Redbirds on the defensive end. They didn’t get a single open look in the opening minutes of the game, and when they managed to actually find a shot, it either air-balled or barely hit the rim. Wichita State’s guards are just so fast and so athletic on the perimeter. When they’re really guarding and playing with energy and momentum, Demetric Williams, Tekele Cotton and Malcolm Armstead are like a pack of hyenas. There might not be anybody better in the country. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Ehimen Orukpe and Carl Hall were like The Incredible Hulks in the paint, too, especially at the onset of the game. 
  2. A Microcosm of Illinois State’s Season: Things could not have started more poorly for the Redbirds, but they overcame the horrific offensive start and actually put a scare into the Shockers. Once they settled down offensively, got stronger with the basketball and played a little more patiently, the shots started to fall and Jackie Carmichael went to work. In the blink of an eye, a 15-0 ISU run helped tie the game, and the Shockers led by just two points at halftime. Of course, the game got away from Illinois State in the second half as the offense began to stall again. Wichita State’s physicality proved too much, and it was a frustrating way for the Redbirds to exit Arch Madness after advancing to the title game a year ago. Even after losing coach Tim Jankovic to SMU – and remember, he took point guard Nic Moore along with him – the Redbirds looked like a team with championship aspirations. Carmichael has NBA potential, and the rest of the crew was back from a young roster that seemed to really grow up during the 2012 MVC Tournament. But first-year head coach Dan Muller’s squad sputtered, starting Valley play 0-6 and never quite recovering. There were flashes of that championship talent, mainly during a victory at Creighton in early February. It’s why many believed the Redbirds had an outside shot to win this thing as a six seed, and it’s why that 15-0 run in the middle of the first half had the thousands of Shockers fans in the building wiping their foreheads a little bit. Illinois State’s magic run never materialized, though, and now Muller is left wondering how he’ll recover in Year Two.
  3. Wichita State’s Depth Is Starting to Form: Marshall’s team is finally healthy. And it’s completely healthy— meaning absolutely every key contributor is back. That’s been evident during the first two games of this tournament, as Marshall has flooded subs in and out of the game at every possible turn. He’s basically playing two lines of players, and all of them get after it on the defensive end and rebound the heck out of the ball. Much was made of Carl Hall’s return during the middle of MVC play, but look no further than a guy like Ron Baker as an example of the kind of depth Marshall has at his disposal. Marshall has hailed his return from injury as an important factor in the Shockers’ development, and after making a bunch of key plays in the quarterfinals, he scored seven points in the semis on Saturday. Marshall played 10 players against the Redbirds. Is it a coincidence that Illinois State wore down in the second half?

Star of the Game: We’re giving the game ball to the entire Wichita State defense. Yeah, that’s probably a cop out, but it’s absolutely necessary in this instance. The Shockers manhandled Illinois State on every level, especially at the beginning of the game. “I mean, they couldn’t score,” Marshall said. “They were having a hard time putting the ball in the basket, and this is a prolific scoring team.” Tyler Brown, who lit up Northern Iowa on Friday and made four threes in the first five minutes of that quarterfinal game, was shut down by Tekele Cotton on Saturday. That’s the kind of effort everybody gave, and it’s why the Redbirds’ offense fizzled in the second half.

Sights and Sounds: Gregg Marshall has a lot of pull with the officials, apparently. After the officials called a charge on one of his players and took away a basket, Marshall exploded on the sidelines. Bright red face and everything. A few seconds later, they changed the call. “I’m even helping the referees,” Marshall said to the radio producer at the scorer’s table.

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Big East M5: 12.04.12 Edition

Posted by Dan Lyons on December 4th, 2012

  1. Under Mike Brey, Notre Dame has developed a reputation for early NCAA Tournament flame outs. The Irish have reached the Dance eight times, but have only advanced past the round of 32 once. One of the reasons that has been cited is the tendency for Notre Dame teams to be predicated on jump shooting and finesse play. Brey thinks that this Notre Dame squad may be the one to break that mold and achieve “it,” although he seems to be very wary of angering the basketball jinx gods by revealing what “it” is.  This season’s Fighting Irish are flying high after a win over Kentucky, and the group seems to have a different makeup than the teams before them. They have a legitimate post presence in Jack Cooley, guards who can break down the defense in Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins, and the requisite shooters in Scott Martin and Cameron Biedscheid. This may not end up being the Notre Dame team that does “it,” but they certainly look the part at this early juncture.
  2. UConn’s season has been about as weird as one would expect so far. After what seemed to be a statement win in the opener against Michigan State in Germany, the Huskies dropped a game to New Mexico and have struggled recently against the likes of Stony Brook and New Hampshire. Kevin Ollie’s team is looking forward to the return of senior guard R.J. Evans, who is the normal sixth man in the team’s rotation. Evans, who missed the last two games with an injured sternoclavicular joint, may be ready to go in tonight’s match-up with a very talented NC State team. Evans’ presence and leadership off the bench should take some of the pressure off of starting guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. Napier has stressed the impact that Evans brings to the flow of UConn’s offense: “Against New Hampshire we played a little selfish… We missed R.J.”
  3. In other UConn news, Jim Calhoun recently unveiled some interesting information about his health while on the YES Network’s Centerstage. On top of the February spinal surgery and the summer hip surgery that Calhoun underwent, he also had a “cancer-related” growth removed in May. Calhoun had previously received treatment for skin cancer in 2008, and doctors feared that the growth may be related to that incident. Calhoun also stated that he would ”never say never” with regards to a coaching comeback. This seems like incredibly strange timing for such a statement, given his abrupt retirement which allowed his chosen successor Kevin Ollie to take over the job at Connecticut.
  4. Rick Pitino has competed against almost every notable coach you can think of at the highest levels of basketball, so when he is seemingly awe-struck by a young coach, it is noteworthy. After his Louisville Cardinals escaped an upset at the hands of Illinois State with a 69-66 win on Saturday, Pitino couldn’t heap enough praise on the Redbirds’ first-year head man, 36 year old Dan Muller: “We’ve all seen Brad Stevens (of Butler) and Shaka (Smart of VCU) the past couple years. That’s one of the brightest first-year coaches I’ve witnessed in a long, long time… I’m happy for him. He’s been very patient waiting for a job. That’s one of the bright young stars in our game.”
  5. When one thinks of Jim Boeheim, basketball is likely one of the first things to come to mind, along with Syracuse, central New York, zone defense, and epic post-game rants. However, Boeheim is also an avid golfer, and at one time, the Syracuse golf coach, which makes a three-foot tall golf ball painted in his likeness a little less… peculiar. The ball was painted by local artist Phillip Burke and will be auctioned off in the spring, with proceeds going to the Jim & Juli Boeheim Foundation. The Boeheims host an annual “Basket Ball” gala every spring, which has raised over $4 million dollars in the last dozen years for cancer research.

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2012-13 RTC Conference Primers: Missouri Valley Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 7th, 2012

Patrick Marshall of White & Blue Review is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley Conference. You can find him on Twitter at @wildjays.

Top Storylines

  • MVC Untouched — The Missouri Valley Conference has so far survived the first few rounds of changes among the top 15 conferences in Division I basketball (the Ivy being the other one). While every major conference, and some others even further down have been expanding or shifting, the MVC has walked away unscathed and still completely intact. That doesn’t mean there have not been rumors about teams leaving the conference at some point. The latest such mention was late this summer whenthere was a report that Evansville was on the verge of heading to the Horizon League. While some of that was theory based on some relatively weak facts, there are still cards likely to be played on that matter at some point. The question is when it will happen and who will be the first to start the falling dominoes within the league. It may turn out to be a school like Evansville that is looking to get out of the shadow of the other bigger players in the Valley.
  • Can Doug McDermott have an even better season? — Creighton fans are salivating to see what McDermott can do to follow up last season, when he earned first-team All-America honors, averaged almost 23 points a game, and shot an amazing percentage behind the arc while frustrating opponents down low.  The encore may not be so much about increasing his scoring like he did from his freshman to sophomore year, but about how far he can lead the Bluejays come March. McDermott spent the summer at the Amare Stoudamire and LeBron James skills camps, but he also took some time off after almost playing two years without a break including a stint with the Team USA U-19 squad.  With so many expectations on his shoulders, it will be interesting to see if he continues to take everything in stride or listen to the whispers of the NBA and focuses on those areas of his game most likely to take him to the next level.  For the MVC as a whole, the fans probably hope for both. 

Doug McDermott Gives The MVC Something It Hasn’t Had In Many Years: A Bona Fide National POY Candidate.

  • Big Men Instead of Guards—For many years, the Valley has been known as a guard’s league with not as many big-bodied frontcourt players leading the way.  Things have changed at least for the teams at the top. Along with McDermott, the Bluejays boast big man Gregory Echenique, who while topping over 300 pounds when he came to Creighton over three seasons ago, is now down to 260 and very agile. Jackie Carmichael from Illinois State impressed many at the camps he attended this summer after coming up big at the end of the season for the Redbirds. Colt Ryan, though he could be considered a guard, is more of a forward, but he can score in bunches for Evansville. Drake returns center Seth Van Deest from a shoulder injury that kept him out all season. Carl Hall will likely try to hold things down with Wichita State bringing in a bunch of new players.  Then you have Seth Tuttle from Northern Iowa who was the MVC Freshman of the Year last season. When you look at the make-up of the MVC going into this season, it is easily dominated by talented frontcourt players. 
  • Deja vu Times Two—Three years ago, Greg McDermott returned to the conference that originally made him a hot commodity and has experienced success by taking Creighton back to the NCAA Tournament.  This time Southern Illinois hopes Barry Hinson has the same success coming back to the conference that he had marginal success with while at Missouri State.  It is rare that a coach returns to the same conference to coach another school, but the MVC must be a special place where two former coaches do so to coach different teams in a short period of time. Unlike McDermott who came to Creighton with a cupboard somewhat full, Hinson has a little more work to do after the struggles SIU has had for the past four seasons.

Reader’s Take I


Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Creighton (27-4, 15-3)
  2. Northern Iowa (24-7, 14-4)
  3. Illinois State (24-7, 13-5)
  4. Wichita State (23-8, 12-6)
  5. Drake (15-15, 9-9)
  6. Missouri State (15-16, 7-11)
  7. Indiana State (15-15, 6-12)
  8. Evansville (15-16, 6-12)
  9. Bradley (13-18, 5-13)
  10. Southern Illinois (11-20, 3-15)

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Morning Five: 05.08.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on May 8th, 2012

  1. With his conference falling apart Big East commissioner John Marinatto stepped down yesterday after less than three years on the job. His reign was notable for the conference’s fall from being arguably the top basketball conference in the country to one that was struggling to survive. While the conference’s drop in performance could just be cyclical and the exodus from the conference has probably been a long time coming it does leave a black mark on Marinatto’s resume. To Marinatto’s credit he did stabilize the conference by bringing in other (lesser) schools to make the conference whole again. Former Miami Dolphins CEO Joseph Bailey III will serve as interim commissioner while the Big East looks for a permanent replacement. As for Marinatto you can be sure that after having such a high-profile position he will likely find another high-profile job int he near future if he decides to pursue one.
  2. Missouri continues to rack up the transfers as it added Jordan Clarkson yesterday. The Tulsa sophomore guard created some waves in media circles when his attempt to transfer after a coaching change at the school was initially blocked by the school before restrictions were eased outside of a few schools like Texas. Clarkson, an All-Conference USA first team member as a sophomore, will join four other transfers on the Tiger roster, but unlike the others he will have to sit out next season meaning that we will not have a Missouri lineup with all transfers on the floor next season and will have to settle for just four at one time. Given the number of players graduating from the school it seemed unrealistic to have the Tigers bring in that high school recruits to replace the production of the departing players, but this group of transfers may be able to do that. In addition, the year Clarkson has to sit out may actually benefit the Tigers in the long-term as it will stretch out the years of eligibility for their talented perimeter players and ease the transition between teams from year to year.
  3. After being rebuked by Chris Collins, Illinois State appeared to be ready to fill the coaching vacancy created by the departure of Tim Jankovich to Southern Methodist by naming assistant coach Rob Judson as its new head coach. However, the school would not confirm that report although several sources appeared to indicate it was true. It turns out they were wrong as the school is moving outside the program for its next coach as it will name Vanderbilt assistant Dan Muller as its next head coach at a press conference tomorrow. While we are sure that Muller has some very nice credentials the choice of Judson would have helped the program build on the success of the preceding staff as it goes for its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998. After all of the speculation about Judson being hired it will be interesting to see what Muller does with the existing staff and Judson in particular.
  4. There are very few insightful articles about young players as most of them have been taught that they should keep a closely guarded image, but Time managed to get a pretty good look at Jabari Parker, the #1 recruit in the class of 2013. The article provides pretty basic information about him, but he does have some interesting quotes in the video including one where he is asked about the pressure he feels being watched so closely and he replies, ”It [The pressure] doesn’t feel good. It makes me feel uneasy.” We are not sure what to think of that quote given the macho attitude that top stars are supposed to possess, but it is refreshing to hear a player speak so openly.
  5. As you may have noticed the coaching  carousel has been quite active even though the season ended just a little over a month ago. If you have had a tough time keeping up with all the movement, Andy Glockner has you covered with a recap of the most interesting moves so far. While most of the major openings seem to have been filled, we would not be shocked if there was another move or two, but nothing to match the scale of the moves mentioned in the column. Some of the moves may have seemed surprising, but compared to last year it has seemed like a relatively quiet offseason and there has not been a move as shocking as Missouri hiring Frank Haith outside of potentially the Larry Brown hiring, which was telegraphed and made by a much weaker basketball program and featured a much more accomplished coach.
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