We Salute You: Paying Homage to the Nation’s Winless Teams in League Play

Posted by Kenny Ocker (@kennyocker) on February 4th, 2014

Kenny Ocker (@kennyocker) is a national columnist for Rush The Court and spent way too much time on these articles.

With the calendar turned to February and the meat of conference play upon us, the most dominant and least effective teams are showing their colors against equal competition. And with the halfway point of conference season rapidly approaching for many – and already here for others – now is a good time to take stock of both teams that are undefeated in conference and those who have yet to win a game. Today’s installment takes a look at the less fortunate teams among us, ranked from least to most likely to not win a game in conference play.

Note: All statistics dutifully harvested from kenpom.com.

Princeton (12-5, 0-3 Ivy League)

T.J. Bray and Princeton winless? Probably not. (AP)

Although things have been a struggle lately for T.J. Bray and Princeton, the chances of the Tigers going winless is zero. (AP)

  • Odds: 0.0 percent chance to go winless
  • Most likely wins: February 8 at home vs. Cornell, 97 percent; March 7 at Cornell, 91 percent
  • Biggest strengths: Top 15 in field-goal shooting, top 10 in defensive rebounding nationally
  • Achilles’ heel: Field-goal defense in bottom 100 nationally
  • Key player: Senior guard T.J. Bray (17.8 points per game, 5.7 assists per game, 55 percent field goal shooting; the nation’s most efficient player to use more than 20 percent of available possessions.)
  • Outlook: Perhaps it’s not fair to start off with an Ivy League team, given that the Tigers are only three games into their conference slate. But few teams have had more surprising collapses than Princeton, which squandered a 9-2 non-conference slate and talk of a possible two-bid Ivy League by losing games against Penn, Harvard and Dartmouth. Here’s the thing: Each game was on the road; Penn is an ancient rival; Harvard has athletes unlike the conference has seen in a generation; and Dartmouth, well, there’s probably not a ready-made excuse for that one, although it did happen in overtime. To get an NCAA Tournament bid now, though, the Tigers have to sweep their next 11 games and hope the Crimson lose twice aside from the teams’ head-to-head February 22 matchup, and then beat them in a one-game neutral-site playoff. That’s a tall order, even for one of the nation’s best offenses, and the one that shoots more three-pointers than any other. But failing to win a game in the Ivy League is not in question here. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

Four Thoughts on Cincinnati’s Jimmy V Win Over Pitt

Posted by CD Bradley on December 18th, 2013

Four Thoughts is our way of providing some rapid reactions to some of the key games involving AAC teams throughout the season.

Brad Penner/USA Today Sports The defense of Sean Kilpatrick (right) and his fellow Bearcats was key in Cincinnati's 44-43 win over Pittsburgh at the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday.

Brad Penner/USA Today Sports
The defense of Sean Kilpatrick (right) and his fellow Bearcats was key in Cincinnati’s 44-43 win over Pittsburgh at the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday.

  1. It is clear that the question that will determine Cincinnati’s fate this year is whether their aggressive defense can overcome their inept offense. It did so, barely, Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden. The Bearcats held the Panthers without a field goal for more than 11 minutes of game action, bridging the half, but only managed to outscore punchless Pitt 6-5 over that span. After a veritable offensive explosion in which Pitt made four field goals in less than three minutes, Cincinnati endured an even longer drought, failing to make a field goal for more than 13 minutes. And yet, Cameron Wright‘s driving layup with 1:09 remaining gave Pitt a 43-42 lead. Admittedly, a key reason the Panthers failed to connect from the field was that Cincinnati continually chose fouls over allowing points in the paint; Pittsburgh shot 29 free throws (making 19) to Cincinnati’s three. But between all the fouls, the Panthers hit only 11-of-33 field goals, a testament to the consistent defensive pressure they faced all night.
  2. There was much moaning and complaining on Twitter about the lack of aesthetic appeal offered by last night’s match-up. And while it was no offensive masterpiece, scoring efficiency wasn’t awful at right around 0.9 points per possession. What really set apart this game, though, was the glacial pace of it. At approximately 48 possessions (the average this season is around 68), it was one of the slowest games of the year. As pointed out by @BPredict (proprieter of the Basketball Predictions blog), it’s only the third game so far this season with fewer than 50 possessions, and the first that didn’t involve Delaware State. Cincinnati’s style of play lends itself to slow games, with its lack of any discernible offensive sets paired with relentless defense designed to deny scoring opportunities. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

ACC Game On: 01.04.12

Posted by KCarpenter on January 4th, 2012

Last night, Maryland toppled Cornell to win an uncomfortably competitive (and wholly unofficial) ACC-Ivy League Challenge with another commanding effort from freshman big man Alex Len. Nine rebounds, three blocks, and 15 points on five field goals? I’ll take that any day. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech continues it’s depressing slide into oblivion and irrelevance. Its loss to Alabama, while understandable, makes it three losses in a row for a Yellow Jackets team that kicks off ACC play by taking on Duke. Things are not looking good in Atlanta right now. Speaking of ACC play, tonight is the last night of the non-conference slate (aside from a few oddball non-conference games in the middle of the conference schedule), so let’s enjoy the closing notes of inter-league play.

Alex Len Continues to Impress For Maryland (AP)

The Main Event

  • Duke at Temple at 7:00 PM on ESPN2

Hopefully, you’ve had this one circled since the schedules were announced. Duke, as usual, is playing very well, and Temple remains one of the most dangerous non-power conference teams in the nation. Duke definitely has the firepower to take down Temple, but Temple is certainly good enough to give the Blue Devils a pretty good game. Factor in that the game is going down in Philadelphia and that Temple’s greatest strength is locking down perimeter shooters and this game suddenly got a whole lot more interesting. Duke has been playing angry since the loss to Ohio State, and I expect them to take care of business. I also expect Temple to put up a hell of a fight.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

RTC Conference Primers: # 31 – MEAC

Posted by jstevrtc on October 3rd, 2011

For our complete list of 2011-12 conference primers working backward from #31 to #1, click here.   

Readers’ Take I

Top Storylines

  • Turmoil at Bethune-Cookman.  Bethune-Cookman is the defending regular season champion, but can they concentrate on basketball? Since least season, the school has fired Clifford Reed, its head coach for the previous nine years, because of “insubordination and failure to cooperate” during an investigation of the basketball program. His son, C. J., was last year’s conference Player of the Year and the league’s top scorer, but was named (not charged) in a now-closed sexual assault case and has left the college. The elder Reed is suing the school for wrongful termination. Forget that the Wildcats will be under new leadership and have to place replace C.J.’s scoring; will they be able to concentrate on hoops with this stuff hanging over the program all year?
  • NCCU Wild Card.  We ask the above poll question about North Carolina Central because even though they’ve been readmitted to the MEAC, the Eagles welcome three transfers from Power Six conferences (on whom more in a bit). In the few pre-season writeups we’ve seen so far, NCCU has been predicted anywhere from first to 12th. They’re by far the biggest wild card in this conference this season.
  • MEAC Parity.  From 2000 to 2009, the MEAC post-season tournament saw only two schools claim more than one title (Hampton and South Carolina State). Hampton took the conference tournament crown last year and won the honor of a 16-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Morgan State took the two before that, and Coppin State won in 2008. Those three schools have separated themselves in recent years as the top programs in this league. Which one will rise up this year, or can another squad challenge that trio?

Predicted Order of Finish

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Around The Blogosphere: Huge Night of Hoops

Posted by nvr1983 on November 24th, 2010

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Top 25 Games

  • #2 Ohio State 64, Morehead State 45: “Entering the season, many prognosticators pegged Morehead State as one of the upper echelon mid-majors in the country. The last two games have shown that may be the case. Morehead fell, 61-55, to Florida on Sunday and hung with Ohio State for much of the game Tuesday before being dispatched, 64-45, at Value City Arena.” (Eleven Warriors)
  • UConn 70, #3 Michigan State: “Tonight the Huskies beat Michigan St., the No. 2 team in the country. Tomorrow they’ll play either Kentucky or Washington in the championship game of the most prestigious early-season tournament in the country. Next week they’ll be ranked. Life is good in Husky Nation.” (The UConn Blog)
  • #8 Purdue 87, Austin Peay 65: “Purdue used their Johnson to slap around Austin Peay, 87-65. JaJuan Johnson, that is. The big man had 21 and 11 while E’Twaun Moore added 17 points as the Boilers moved to 4-0 on the season. Austin Peay hung tough for a half, trailing by eight at the break, but DJ Byrd hit a three on the first possession of the second half to put it into a double-digit lead and Purdue never looked back.” (Boiled Sports)
  • #10 Kentucky 74, #15 Washington 67: “Many Washington Huskies fans had been waiting anxiously for a shot at the Kentucky Wildcats in Maui after two former Husky recruits, Terrence Jones and Enes Kanter, famously changed their pledge to the Wildcats. The old saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for,’ comes immediately to mind. Some times, wishes come true, but the desired outcome doesn’t.” (A Sea of Blue)
  • #18 Illinois 73, Yale 47: “That was probably one of the least exciting blow outs I have seen in some time. Yale is not a good team, I honestly have no idea how they beat Boston College earlier this year (does BC suck that bad?) Had the Illini faced a better, perhaps more talented mid-major, this could have been a real game.” (Hail to the Orange)
  • #23 Gonzaga 66, Marquette 63: “Mark Few’s Bulldogs found another way to keep MU at bay by owning the backboards in the game’s crucial stages. To say that Marquette was destroyed on the glass would be an understatement; Gonzaga ripped down 15 of its 17 offensive rebounds in the second half. That is not a misprint. The Warriors were no match for the Bulldogs’ toughness. All told Gonzaga earned a 42-26 rebounding advantage and a startling 17-6 advantage on the offensive glass including the 15 they claimed in the second half alone. Despite the beat down in the paint Marquette closed the gap to just two points late in the game but failed to launch a quality shot as time expired.” (Cracked Sidewalks or The Slipper Still Fits or Anonymous Eagle)

Other Games of Interest

  • Maryland 72, Delaware State 54: “One shooting problem: solved. I think. Terps’ FT shooting: 14-17. Jordan Williams': 4-6. That’s good.” (Testudo Times)
  • Indiana 72, North Carolina Central 56: “Now 5-0, this team is starting to exude a little confidence — something we’ve yet to see in the Tom Crean era. If they keep up this kind of play during the non-conference slate, such confidence will continue to grow and should suit them well by the time Big 10 play rolls around.” (Inside the Hall)

News/Analysis

  • Malcolm Lee Probable Against Villanova: UCLA is hoping to have their junior guard available for their game against Villanova tonight. (Bruins Nation)
  • Syracuse Basketball: Opinions Vary: “Normally, we’d look at the AP Basketball Poll, see Syracuse is ranked No. 9 and be done with it. But this season has been such a strange one and the Orange are such a weird kind of 4-0 that we need to dig deeper to find out what everyone is thinking. And what everyone is thinking is…something different.” (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
  • Rodney Purvis wraps up visit to Louisville: “Rodney Purvis, the 2012 prospect who Jerry Meyer calls ‘one of the best scoring guards I’ve scouted in the eight years I’ve been doing this,’ just wrapped up his Louisville visit and told Jody Demling that it was ‘wonderful.'” (Card Chronicle)
Share this story

Around The Blogosphere: Feast Week Begins

Posted by nvr1983 on November 23rd, 2010

Those of you who were checking out the site yesterday may have noticed that this is going to be a busy week as we are in Kansas City for the CBE Classic and Maui for the Maui Invitational. We will also be making appearances at the Preseason NIT, 76 Classic, and Legends Classic along with a few random places like Utah State so be on the watch out as we could be coming to a basketball game near you. In the mean time, we have plenty of insider analysis of the games. If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Top 25 Games

  • #1 Duke 82, Marquette 77: “The Marquette Warriors sampled the bitter taste of defeat last night falling 82-77 to the top-ranked Duke Blue Devlis last night at the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City. The Warriors (4-1) have no time to grouse about the defeat, tonight they lace up the hi-tops once more as they face the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the 2010 version of the Jumpin’ Jesuit Jamboree.” (Cracked Sidewalks)
  • #5 Kansas State 81, #23 Gonzaga 64: “Often times in press conferences you hear coaches say ‘We were out-coached, out-manned, out-schemed, out-everythinged’.  This would be an ideal time for Mark Few to use that phrase.  What we saw tonight was a complete butt-whupping handed down by the Wildcats of Kansas State.” (The Slipper Still Fits)
  • #10 Kentucky 76, Oklahoma 64: “I am going to resist the temptation to blast the young Wildcats for this lackadaisical performance.  We have to remember that this team is not only painfully young, but that they have no experience in tiny, hot gyms 6000 miles away to draw upon.  Basically, I just used a lot of words to say, ‘This team is young, and tonight, it showed.'” (A Sea of Blue & Crimson and Cream Machine)

Other Games of Interest

  • UConn 83, Wichita State 79: “Kemba Walker played 1-on-5 against Wichita State in the second half. The Shockers needed more players. Just five days after making our eyes bug out like Looney Tunes characters by dropping a career-high 42 points on Vermont, Kemba may have outdone himself with Monday’s performance: Walker scored 31 points — 29 of which coming in the second half — on 8-for-16 (50%) shooting from the floor and 14-for-15 shooting from the charity stripe, and, just because he’s an equal opportunist, he threw in three steals and two assists while almost single-handedly erasing a nine-point deficit.” (The UConn Blog)

Pre-Game Analysis

  • Quick Look at Maryland-Delaware State: “First up, Delaware State is a cupcake compared to the two teams Maryland just went toe-to-toe with. That’s not to hate on DSU, but they’re bringing in eight new freshmen and returning only one starter. They were 17-12 last year but lost most of that team and were predicted to finish 5th in the preseason MEAC poll. A run-of-the-mill MEAC squad wouldn’t be all that imposing to begin with, but make them young and inexperienced and they should be one of the easier wins Maryland will get all year.” (Testudo Times)

News

  • Notes & Quotes from Legends Classic Teleconference: Jim Boeheim, John Beilein, Paul Hewitt, and Tim Floyd talking to the media in the build-up to the games later this week. (UM Hoops)
  • Butler: David Woods – Indianapolis Star: “Indianapolis Star writer David Woods previews Butler at Siena tongiht as well as his new book Underdawgs: How Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs Marched Their Way to the Brink of College Basketball’s National Championship.” (Siena Saints Blog)
  • Gators Basketball Rise Up? Not so much: “Sunday afternoon, Florida limped to a 61-55 win over Morehead State. The Gators allowed the Eagles to score 38 points in the second half, nearly erasing a 17-point halftime lead. While this was one game on a lazy Sunday against an inferior opponent, it revealed some dangerous trends for the Gators.” (Alligator Army)
Share this story

Jinx Alert! Who Can Run The Conference Table?

Posted by jstevrtc on February 11th, 2010

Pardon the baseball reference, but we know that if a guy’s throwing a no-hitter you’re not supposed to talk to him about it.  In fact, you’re supposed to just stay away from him, let him sit in the dugout alone, and act like nothing special is happening.  We don’t go for such superstitions around here, so let’s check out the teams that are currently undefeated in their conferences, and who has the best chance to actually pull off a perfect conference campaign.

Last season, there were only two teams that streaked through their conference schedules without a blemish — Memphis went 16-0 in the CUSA, and Gonzaga tallied a perfect 14-0 in the WCC.  Memphis kept it going three games into this conference season, but back on January 20th UTEP showed the Tigers that they were having none of that, and snapped Memphis’ conference winning streak at 64 games.  The Zags stumbled ten days later at San Francisco after winning their first six WCC games this season.

Can Aldrich, Collins, and the rest of the Jayhawks run the conference table?

Right now (before Thursday night’s games), there are no less than eight teams with perfect conference records.  We list them here along with the next time they’ll put it on the line, and our prediction as to when they’ll drop their first conference game — if at all:

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Boom Goes the Dynamite: 12.19.09

Posted by jstevrtc on December 19th, 2009

Welcome back!  Another weekend means another edition of everyone’s favorite college basketball live blog.  Assuming they all actually happen (there was, like, a huge snowstorm, you see), there are actually some pretty darn good games happening today (Michigan at Kansas, anyone?  Maybe a little Xavier at Butler?), and since we know you’ll be watching, and we know we’ll be watching…why not watch with us?  We’ll be commenting all day, but we want to know what your thoughts are on the games as they’re being played.  So keep checking this space and hitting that refresh button, and let’s have your comments as well.  It’ll start at noon and go all day long, so I suggest you grab some hot chocolate (or your beverage of choice), turn on your favorite game, and join us.  Keep checking back every few minutes!

12:03 pm: So here we go.  Starting off with Michigan at Kansas on ESPN as our principle (and as of right now, only noteworthy) game.  This is a good but perplexing Michigan team.  Their four losses are Marquette, Alabama, Boston College, and at Utah.  Michigan was a tournament team last year and returned those two stars in Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims, which would make me think they should have at least won a couple of those.  BC is tough, but Michigan has to defend the home floor against a team like that if they want to be taken seriously.  Quite a tall order they’ve got today.  As I type this, Michigan’s last three shots have been threes, none of which went down.  Meanwhile, Kansas has been getting the ball inside every trip down.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story