Big Ten M5: 10.23.13 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on October 23rd, 2013

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  1. Regardless of Ohio State’s postseason performance this year, Aaron Craft will go down as one of the best guards in the school’s history. He will be remembered for not necessarily his offensive skills, rather, his ability to impact the game on the defensive end. But after averaging 10 PPG last season, he has proved that he can score when needed. Does that mean he has a future in the NBA? Thad Matta thinks he can, as he said: “I think he can play in the NBA, yes. A lot of teams like to carry three point guards.” If Craft can improve his three-point shooting, specifically from the corners, he will find a way onto an NBA team because of his defensive abilities.
  2. Tom Izzo is no stranger to Final Fours – he has been to six of them during his tenure at East Lansing. Yet, he remains hungry to take his team back to the Final Four after two straight Sweet Sixteen appearances. At Michigan State’s media day, Izzo talked about his team’s chances to get back to the Final Four and cited a “great summer in terms of chemistry” as one of the reasons why this team could be special. If Gary Harris lives up to the hype as an effective scorer and Keith Appling can create his own shot during crunch time, the Spartans have the defensive talent to make a run at the Final Four and beyond. While most of the favorites – Kentucky, Kansas and Duke – have star freshmen, the Spartans have experience on their side, which could pay off in March.
  3. Speaking of Final Four appearances, there is no way Michigan’s Derrick Walton can fill Trey Burke’s shoes in Ann Arbor. But that doesn’t seem to be his main concern for the season. John Beilein said, “I don’t think he sees replacing Trey Burke as his challenge. I think think he sees, ‘How can I help this team win?’ as the challenge.” Walton will have plenty of opportunities to control Beilein’s offense, alongside wings such as Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III. While Burke had to carry the team during the final minutes of the game, Walton can rely on the super sophomores to pick up the scoring load. As long as he can limit the turnovers and hit the wide-open shot, he will help the Wolverines make a run at the Final Four.
  4. Even though Illinois may not be a clear favorite to make the NCAA Tournament this season, John Groce still has Champaign excited because of his accomplishments on the recruiting trail. This summer, he got two top-40 players – Quentin Snyder and Leron Black – to commit to Illinois for the 2014-15 season. His next target is top-5 recruit Cliff Alexander, who will visit Champaign this weekend. Alexander is also considering Kansas in addition to Illinois, but Groce has proven that he can compete against the best recruiters in the business because he is very “sincere in his message.” Regardless of Alexander’s decision, Illinois will have a top-20 recruiting class next season and if they can stay competitive on the court this season, Groce’s recruiting will not miss a beat for the 2015-16 season.
  5. While Groce has impressed the Illinois fan base, Minnesota’s new head coach, Richard Pitino, has his work cut out over the next year or so. He will rely on Andre Hollins to carry the offensive load this season, but could use some help from other players to pick up the scoring slack. Transfer guard Deandre Mathieu may just be that guy who steps up. He scored 26 points in the scrimmage on Friday and Pitino said after the scrimmage, “He’s really good. He’s so quick. He’s so aggressive.” The Gophers could have a tough time keeping up with rest of the Big Ten, but if Mathieu can provide double-digit scoring in the backcourt, the opposing defenses won’t be able to just zone in against Hollins.
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20 Questions: Can Michigan Remain Great Without Trey Burke?

Posted by Chris Johnson on October 18th, 2013

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Throughout the preseason, RTC national columnists will answer the 20 most compelling questions heading into the 2013-14 season. Previous columns in this year’s series are located here.   

Replacing Trey Burke will be hard. Michigan fans have no doubt heard this statement plenty of times since the Wolverines’ exhilarating national championship game run ended in Atlanta last April, and they’re going to hear it a few more times before the season tips off in three weeks. Not only was Burke the best player on his own team, he was, according to most national award voters, the best player in the country. It is impossible to replace a player that good, that impactful, in the span of one offseason; all Michigan can hope to do is to mitigate his departure. But before we get into how the Wolverines will attempt to recreate Burke’s production, let’s have a statistical look back at his incredible 2012-13 season. While playing 87.5 percent of Michigan’s available minutes, Burke posted an offensive rating of 121.2 (52nd in the country), assisted on 37.3 percent of his team’s buckets (23rd) and used up 29 percent of available possessions (66th). All of which translates thusly: Burke played a lot, scored a lot, had a lot of assists, and did all of it efficiently.

The Wolverines should adjust to life without Burke while maintaining their status as a top-tier BIg Ten outfit (Getty Images).

The Wolverines should adjust to life without Burke while maintaining their status as a top-tier BIg Ten outfit (Getty Images).

There is no Michigan player capable of replicating that statistical profile – which ranked second in Ken Pomeroy’s final player of the year standings, behind (believe it or not) Louisville guard Russ Smith. That’s fine, because the Wolverines don’t need an All-American point guard to remain one of the best teams in the Big Ten. They have plenty of firepower returning at other spots. For a few weeks after the season, as the NBA Draft loomed and several Michigan players – including Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, both in position to parlay the momentum of standout March performances into likely first-round selections – debated leaving school, it appeared as if John Beilein might need to hunker down for a bit of a rebuild. Then Robinson and McGary announced their respective returns, and the repercussions of Burke’s departure didn’t feel quite as drastic. That duo’s decision ensured Michigan would stay relevant in what’s almost sure to be another brutal Big Ten. The matter of replacing Burke, of course, can’t be addressed by Robinson or McGary, nor does Michigan have a star point guard waiting in the wings, another surefire first-round pick capable of reprising Burke’s ridiculous production from last season.

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Who’s Got Next? Gary Goes Green, Mitchigan for McGary and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on November 10th, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing or different things you’d like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: McGary to Michigan, Program-Changing Recruit For Beilein

Michigan Fans Will Go Crazy When Mitch McGary Steps On Campus.

Elite Recruit Gives Wolverines A Top-Five Class. When Class of 2012 power forward Mitch McGary (#2) committed to Michigan last Thursday, he did more than just announce where he’s going to college, his decision sent the rest of the Big Ten a message that they need to look out for the Wolverines. McGary and Class of 2012 small forwards Glenn Robinson and Nik Stauskas will look to give Michigan its first conference championship since the 1980s — yes, it’s been that long — and McGary is the perfect player to build a team around. McGary is a high-energy, consistent big man who has an endless motor that makes him one of the best prospects in the country. He is an excellent rebounder and productive shotblocker who can impact the game in a variety of ways on both ends of the court. He can score inside and out and has an impressive mid-range game that will take his defenders out of the paint. McGary is strong, creates scoring opportunities for his teammates and has good footwork as well. The Wolverines also have gotten off to a quality start with the Class of 2013 by signing point guard Derrick Walton, shooting guard Zak Irvin, small forward Austin Hatch and power forward Mark Donnal.

What They’re Saying

  • Junior Julius Randle on almost committing to Oklahoma two years ago and great advice he received: “I was ready to commit, I had a ball and I loved everything about the campus. Coach Capel and I were close and I loved what he was doing. I had so much fun that I was ready to be a Sooner. Then I got the best advice that I could ever get. My mom and coach told me to not to get caught up in the emotions of the visit.”
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Around The Blogosphere: August 3, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on August 3rd, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • Austin Hatch Makes Slow Progress: An update on Hatch and his family. (UM Hoops)
  • Immediate help on the way? 2011 PF Jaylen Bond commits to UT: “Much has been made of the lack of depth in Texas Basketball’s 2011 – 2012 frontcourt. The Horns return seniors Alexis Wangmene and Clint Chapman as their only experienced post players. Obviously, Texas needed some help in the frontcourt, and they might have gotten it this evening with the commitment of 2011 Plymouth Meeting, PA PF Jaylen Bond.” (Burnt Orange Nation)
  • Rotnei Clarke will not be a Sooner after all: “Clarke has instead chosen Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs as the destination for his final year of eligibility. Clarke will have to sit out the upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules. It was believed that Clarke was on the verge of choosing OU, however when news broke last week regarding the NCAA/Tiny Gallon issue that caused enough uncertainty on Clarke’s part to go another way.” (Crimson adn Cream Machine)
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Around The Blogosphere: July 13, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on July 13th, 2011

 

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • Syracuse Basketball Exhibition Slate Includes Cal-State Los Angeles, College Of St. Rose: “The Orange will begin the 2011-2012 season with their usual two exhibition games in the Dome and they’ll playing two familiar exhibition foes, Cal-State Los Angeles and College of St. Rose. The Orange and the CSULA Golden Eagles will square off on Tuesday, November 1, and SU will host the CoSR Golden Knights on Tuesday, November 8.” (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)

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Around The Blogosphere: June 16, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on June 16th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • 3′s Company | #3 Allan Chaney to Play Next Season: “TechHoops.com has it on good authority that #3 Allan Chaney will suit up for the Hokies next season. The 6’9″, 235 lbs. forward, who has been battling a heart ailment for the last year that kept him off the court, would add a big time low post presence to an inexperienced Virginia Tech team. Word on the street is he may even get back the year he lost due to his condition, perhaps making him just a sophomore next year.” (Tech Hoops)

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Around The Blogosphere: May 18, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 18th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

General News

  • Momo Jones will leave Arizona Wildcats, destination unknown: “So Jones will likely head back home, and might avoid sitting out a year by filling out a waiver due to a sick family member, Goodman says. An easy to guess destination for Jones is St. John’s, which is close to home and has former Rice High School coach Moe Hicks acting as director of basketball operations. With the news, Arizona now stands on par as far as scholarships go, making for no screwy situations in Miller’s over-recruiting.” (Arizona Desert Swarm)
  • Lamont Momo Jones to transfer to St. John’s? (possibly): “Jeff Goodman tweeted earlier this evening that Arizona Wildcats starting point guard Lamont Jones – better known as Momo – will be transferring from the Wildcats program. AND that Momo Jones might seek a waiver to play immediately due to family illness… and he’d look to play for the St. John’s Red Storm. That’s just a rumor from sources, but in college ball, sources often know what they are talking about. Adding credence to the rumor: Jones is from New York, and played under current St. John’s Director of Basketball Operations Moe Hicks when Hicks was the coach at Rice High School in the Bronx.” (Rumble in the Garden)
  • Report: Maryland Hires Dalonte Hill: “InsideMDSports is reporting that Kansas State assistant Dalonte Hill has accepted a job as an assistant coach on Mark Turgeon’s staff. No official word yet from MD, but you’d think they have to announce the full staff soon.” (Testudo Times)
  • Star Baltimore Guard Nick Faust Recommitts to Maryland: “It’s Faustival 2011, everybody! Maryland’s star recruit, Nick Faust, had asked out of his LOI with the Terrapins’ two other recruits after Gary Williams retired. But now it appears he’s back in the fold.” (Testudo Times)
  • Sterling Gibbs to Texas Provides Another 2011 Point Guard: “It’s been a long time since there was any good news coming out of the Texas basketball program. Well, if you aren’t Rick Barnes, that is, who received a recent $200k raise. Since late in the second-round tournament game against Arizona, everything has seemingly been downhill, culminating in the losses of Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton, and the unexpected departure of Cory Joseph to the NBA draft. Monday evening, former Maryland commit and Rivals three-star prospect Sterlilng Gibbs gave suffering Longhorn roundball fans something to feel good about after a difficult two months.” (Burnt Orange Nation)
  • George Washington Wants To Play Georgetown: “First it was Maryland AD Kevin Anderson clamoring for a piece of Hoyas action, and now, incoming George Washington AD Patrick Nero wants the Hoyas to face off against our friendly yet not as intelligent neighbor in Foggy Bottom. According to the DC Sports Bog, GW would like Georgetown to get involved in the BB&T Classic Basketball Tournament so that DC could have its own version of the “Big 5″” in Philadelphia.” (Casual Hoya)
  • Cal Introduced as Dominican Coach: Coverage of John Calipari’s conference where he was announced as the coach of the Dominican Republic national team. (Kentucky Sports Radio)
  • Vee Sanford is visiting Dayton today: “Former Lexington Catholic guard and Billy Gillispie recruit Vee Sanford is visiting Dayton today. He also plans to visit Loyola-Chicago and Marshall. Sanford spent last season at Georgetown University where he averaged 2.4 points in 6.6 minutes per game. Sanford decided to transfer because of the lack of playing time and the lack of opportunities to earn more.” (Kentucky Sports Radio)

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Around The Blogosphere: Jimmy V Classic Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 8th, 2010

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

Top 25 Games

  • #4 Kansas 81, #18 Memphis 68: “Efficiency is the word.  Kansas has it on the offensive end and it’s something they can be even better at.  Clean up the silly empty possessions and the sky is the limit.” (Rock Chalk Talk)

Pre-Game Analysis

  • Quick Look at Maryland-UNC Greensboro: The Return of the Cupcakes: After a challenging stretch of games the Terps appear to be getting a respite. (Testudo Times)
  • Game Preview: Oakland at Illinois: Breaking down the Grizzlies trip to Illinois. (Golden Grizzlies Gameplan)

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