Set Your Tivo 01.31.10

Posted by THager on January 31st, 2010

***** - quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** - best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** - set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** - set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* - don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Florida @ #14 Tennessee – 1 pm on CBS (***)

These football rivals will face each other for the first time this year, and it should be a good one.  Tennessee has had a better season overall, but is going in the opposite direction of Florida.  After winning seven straight games following the arrest of Tyler Smith and three others, the Volunteers dropped a bad game at Georgia and followed that up with a home loss to Vanderbilt.  The Gators, on the other hand, have won four straight games to grab a share for third place in the SEC.  They have given up less than 68 points per game in that stretch, and Tennessee has surrendered 78 and 85 points in their last two contests.  For the whole year, UT has played better defense, ranking #16 in defensive efficiency, and the Vols average nine steals per game.  For UT to get back on the winning side, they are going to have to revert back to their old style of defense against a Florida team that has five players that average double figures.  Led by Kenny Boynton, a freshman who scores 15 PPG, the balanced Gator attack puts up over 73 points per game.  The game is in Knoxville, but the Gators are 3-1 on the road this year, so this game should go to the wire.  To be fair, Florida’s four wins have come against bad SEC teams in LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Georgia, so I expect the Vols to bounce back against a Florida team that may not be as good as their record indicates.

Maryland @ #21 Clemson – 5:30 pm on FSN (****)

Vasquez Hopes to Avoid This Feeling vs. Clemson

Maryland may not know it, but they are fighting for the tournament lives just as much as Clemson is.  The Terrapins, who currently sit atop the ACC, are ranked 50th in the RPI (Clemson is #46) and with a couple losses they could be looking at a bubble spot.  Clemson, who just three games ago was sitting at 15-3, will now have to defeat the conference leaders to avoid a fourth straight loss.  If Clemson loses tonight, they will be 3-5 in the ACC, and due to their recent loss at Boston College, would claim sole possession of 10th place in the conference.  There is no way the selection committee will allow a team that plays that poorly in conference to get into the tournament, so Clemson needs to channel what allowed them the hot start to avoid another epic collapse.  The key for the Tigers to win this game is to shut down Maryland’s high powered arsenal.  The Terrapins rank in the top fifteen in the country in points per game, assists per game, and rank in the top ten in assists to turnover ratio and offensive efficiency.  Maryland is led by the fiery Greivis Vasquez, who scores 17.8 points per contest and also ranks 8th in the country at 6.2 assists per game.  Clemson has the ability to the ability to shut down powerful offenses, as they have not allowed an opponent to score over 75 points per game since December 2.  They are seventh in the country at 10.2 steals per game and ranked ninth in defensive efficiency.  Despite playing at home, their recent play cannot be overlooked and look for the Terrapins to further raise the bar in the ACC.

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Set Your Tivo: 01.20.10

Posted by rtmsf on January 20th, 2010

We’re trying a new star system out here at the Set Your Tivo desk beginning today.  Let us know in the comments if you think we should change our ratings system.

SYT Star System

***** - quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** - best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** - set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** - set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* - don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Xavier @ Temple – 7 pm on FSOhio and CSN  (*****)

It is a shame more people won’t be able to watch this Atlantic Ten battle that will most likely decide the regular season conference champion.  Xavier is the only 4-0 team in the A10 right now, but Temple is the conference’s representative in the top 25 rankings.  Both teams are coming off four straight wins, including Xavier’s recent victory over a strong Dayton team.  Needless to say, these teams are talented and should provide an entertaining game.  Scouts will also be in attendance to see how potential first round pick Jordan Crawford can match up against Temple’s methodical style of play.  The Owls only score 64.6 points per game, but at 56.0 points given up on defense, most of their games are close.  Considering Xavier’s lack of success in big games this year (Butler, Wake Forest, Baylor, Kansas State) and Temple’s ability to perform well at home, look for the Owls to give Xavier a run for their money, but something tells me the Musketeers are ready to emerge as the best team in this talented conference.

Georgetown @Pittsburgh – 7 pm on ESPNU  (****)

Those without ESPNU will unfortunately miss out on the night’s only matchup between two top 25 teams.  Both Pittsburgh and Georgetown have been pleasant surprises this year, as Georgetown responded from last year’s NIT season and Pitt has been able to cope with the loss of several key players.  The Panthers have all the momentum heading into this game, as they have won eight straight while the Hoyas are coming off of a loss to Villanova.  Over 82 percent of ESPN voters claim Pitt will win this game at the Petersen Events Center, where they are 10-0 this year, but Georgetown will not be an easy team to take down.  The Hoyas are much more balanced with four players scoring in double figures, including center Greg Monroe, who is averaging a double-double so far this season.  If Georgetown’s road woes (just 3-2 on the year with losses in their last two road games) and Pitt’s ability to excel at home continue, look for Pitt to ride Ashton Gibbs and company to stay even with Villanova atop the Big East.  However, Georgetown’s defense has been strong all season, and if they can find a way to lock down Gibbs or Brad Wanamaker, this game will be a close call.

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RTC Live: Wake Forest @ UNC

Posted by rtmsf on January 20th, 2010

Headed into this bout between the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (12-4, 2-2 ACC) and the #24 North Carolina Tar Heels (12-6, 1-2 ACC), both teams are in need of a win to reverse what has been a tough January. Wake Forest is 2-2 in the month, while North Carolina is lucky to come into this Wednesday matchup at 1-3. The Deacs aren’t playing great on the road, but that might change against the Heels, who have yet to use the Dean E. Smith Center as much of an advantage in ACC play. Add to that the recent news that sophomore forward Ed Davis (14.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg) will be a game-time decision due to an injured left ankle, and basketball fans must wonder how Roy Williams will combat WFU’s star forward, Al-Farouq Aminu (17.6 ppg, 11.6 rpg). A Carolina frontcourt that was once thought of as the deepest in America may now consist of Deon Thompson (14.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and three freshman who combine to average less than 10 points per game. The 2004 season was the last time the Tar Heels dropped three games in a row, and also the last time a WFU team won in Chapel Hill. Will lightning strike again? Join us here for RTC Live tonight and find out.

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ATB: Well, Hello There, Mr. Cremins…

Posted by jstevrtc on January 5th, 2010

Doing the CharlestonCharleston 82, #9 North Carolina 79.  We tweeted this during the game, but it bears saying again here: America, if you didn’t know him before, may we introduce you to Andrew Goudelock.  He is a 6’2 junior guard from Lilburn, Georgia, and he plays for the Charleston Cougars.  No, that’s not a minor league baseball team.   Despite their 8-6 record, it’s a pretty good basketball team that knocked off the 9th-ranked Tar Heels on Monday night.  We single out Goudelock for three reasons.  First, when you put up 24 points on 10-20 shooting (including 4-8 from behind the three-point line) against North Carolina, you deserve a mention.  Second, we had him fourth on our pre-season all-Jeff Fryer team as one of the best three-point shooters in the nation and he made us look like freakin’ geniuses.  Lastly, it was his three from distance with two seconds left in regulation that forced overtime.  You have to see this shot.  Fading away, Ed Davis challenging, just short of 30 feet, so high we’re sure it showed up on NORAD radar.   All string.

In fact, when Carolina was up by 11 at the final TV timeout, this just looked like a moral victory for Charleston.  The lead was cut to eight, and Goudelock went on an 8-0 run by himself (including the long three) to close the scoring in regulation.  It wasn’t like he didn’t have any help, though.  Senior forward Casaan Breeden was impressive as well, adding 15/7/5 blocks, including one block of an Ed Davis shot late in regulation that must have sailed, as ESPNU color commentator Bob Wenzel said, “about 16 rows deep into the crowd.”  Indeed, every single one of Charleston’s starters scored at least 13 points (they only played eight players, and got only two points from their bench), also accounting for all 13 of their threes.  As for Carolina, they were guilty of poor game management late in both regulation and overtime.   They waited too long to foul when they needed to foul, fouled too quickly when they didn’t need to foul, got caught sleeping on an important in-bounds which led to an easy late bucket for Charleston, and missed a couple of close, easy shots in important situations despite owning the paint for most of the game.  Most intriguing, though, was the glaring disparity of threes and free throws between the two sides.  Charleston was 13-32 for 40.6%. UNC was ONE FOR SIX (16.7%).   Their streak of 421 straight games with a three-pointer was doomed until Larry Drew, II, hit one with a minute left in overtime.  From the free throw line, UNC shot 24-34 (70.6%), while Charleston was only three for six!  Charleston played a tough man defense for most of the game, but didn’t seem to be doing anything special to defend the three.   It looked like UNC just didn’t want to take them.  Unfortunately for them, 24 free throws simply cannot compete with 13 three pointers.   There’s no doubt Carolina will recover from this, since they were playing without Will Graves and Marcus Ginyard, and life in the ACC will teach the young Tar Heels all that they need to know.  They’ll be fine by March.  But that shouldn’t take away from Charleston’s victory.  Goudelock showed that he’s not just about the three, Charleston showed that they’re better than their 8-6 record (3-0 in the Southern Conference, by the way) and are brimming with new confidence — and the Charleston fans showed that they can rush a court with the best of them:

(Ed. note:  This RTC is approved under Provision IV of the Modified Forde Criteria.)

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Checking in on… the ACC

Posted by rtmsf on December 29th, 2009

Steve Moore is the RTC correspondent for the ACC.

First, let me apologize for the delay in this week’s ACC update. I got a concussion Christmas Eve and Mike Leach locked me in a closet because I wouldn’t go back to practice. Oh well, these things happen.

ACC POWER RANKINGS (record as of Monday, Dec. 28)

1A. Duke (9-1, 0-0)

PAST:  No games last week. (And yes, I took the easy way out and did the 1A/1B thing.)

FUTURE: The Blue Devils face Long Beach State tonight and Penn on New Year’s Eve (double-yawn) before hosting Clemson in the first real anticipated league game of the year (more on that later).

1B. North Carolina (10-3, 0-0)

PAST:  Most people expected sophomore Ed Davis to lead the young Tar Heels this year, but he has possibly exceeded expectations so far, including this week, as UNC rolled over Marshall and Rutgers. He’s shooting an absurd 66% from the field, and ranks second in the ACC with 6.7 rebounds per game.

FUTURE:  UNC wraps up its pre-conference slate with two games – home against Albany on Wednesday, and a tricky road game at the College of Charleston next Monday.

3. Wake Forest (9-2, 1-0)

PAST:  Easy win over UNC-Greensboro Monday night.

FUTURE:  The Deacons better be ready for their New Year’s Eve date with Richmond. The Spiders already scalped Florida this year, and as is often the case in these regional big fish/small fish games, Richmond will be up for this game more than any other this season. It doesn’t get easier for Wake Forest on Sunday, when Xavier comes to town. A 2-0 week will be a big victory for the Deacons heading into ACC play.

4. Georgia Tech (9-2, 0-1)

PAST:  Tech rolled over Kennesaw State.

FUTURE:  The Jackets host Winston-Salem State today and then travels to Charlotte on Saturday.

5. Florida State (11-2, 1-0)

PAST:  With an easy win over Tennessee-Martin, the Seminoles stay at No. 5 – for now.

FUTURE:  Upcoming dates with Alabama A&M and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi won’t say anything about FSU. A Jan. 10 trip to Maryland will.

6. Clemson (11-2, 0-0)

PAST:  The Tigers took care of Western Carolina last Tuesday.

FUTURE:  Clemson hosts in-state rival (tongue in cheek) South Carolina State tonight before heading to Duke on Sunday.

7. Miami (12-1, 0-1)

PAST:  Miami rolled over North Carolina A&T.

FUTURE:  After they take care of Bethune Cookman Wednesday, the Hurricanes travel to Pepperdine. Winter in Malibu. Tough life.

8. Virginia Tech (10-1)

PAST:  The Hokies flat-out embarrassed the Retrievers of UMBC last week in a 71-34 victory.

FUTURE:  Tech plays Longwood Wednesday, then travels to Cancun for an interesting game against Seton Hall Saturday.

9. Maryland (8-3, 0-0)

PAST:  The Terps recorded two cupcake wins this week, but had a relatively close call in a 13-point win over Florida Atlantic. Greivis Vasquez continues to lead Maryland, and was named ACC Player of the Week, but he was without second-leading scorer Sean Mosely, who sat out with a sprained ankle.

FUTURE:  Maryland hosts William & Mary Wednesday and travels to UNC-Greensboro on Sunday.

10. N.C. State (8-3, 0-1)

PAST:  The Wolfpack dropped a heartbreaker at Arizona on Wednesday, as the Wildcats pulled off their second-straight buzzer-beating win.

FUTURE:  N.C. State hosts Winthrop tonight then plays at UNC-Greensboro on New Year’s Eve. I swear, UNC-Greensboro should just join the ACC already.

11. Boston College (8-4, 1-0)

PAST:  Someone please explain this team to me. Home losses to Harvard and Rhode Island. Road wins at Providence and Michigan. And a convincing home win over UMass this week. You figure it out.

FUTURE:  Interesting home game with South Carolina Wednesday night.

12. Virginia (6-4, 0-0)

PAST:  Virginia routed NJIT and Hampton by a combined score of 148-91. Wake me when it’s over.

FUTURE:  The Cavs host a very good UAB team Wednesday night. A win here would definitely help Virginia get out of the ranking cellar.

WEEK THAT WAS…

  • DESERT DRAMA: There was only one game worth talking about this week, and that was N.C. State’s 76-74 loss to Arizona. The Wolfpack made a furious comeback from eight points down with 37 seconds left, but played some pretty porous defense in the final seconds as Arizona’s Nic Wise pulled a Tyus Edney for a coast-to-coast game-winning layup. Javier Gonzalez was impressive for the Wolfpack, who deserve credit for a tough trip out west while the rest of the ACC was fattening up on garbage games.
  • RAMBLING RANT OF THE WEEK:  What’s the deal with UNC-Greensboro? I understand that the poor Spartans have a short trip to almost every ACC school, and can fatten their athletic wallet with games in ACC gyms. But they’ve gotta grow tired of this, right? Greensboro plays 13 non-league games this season, and six of them come against ACC foes. The Spartans have already lost to Duke, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Wake Forest by a combined score of 319-235, and still have to face N.C. State and Maryland this week. To add to their misery, the Spartans have also been thumped by Richmond (26 points), Akron (24 points) and East Carolina (21 points). I’d love to hear that recruiting pitch…

WAITING IN THE TUNNEL…

  • REAL LEAGUE GAME ALERT!:  With Clemson heading to Duke on Sunday (7:45 pm), we can FINALLY see what these teams are made of. A Clemson win would be enormous for the Tigers, but just seeing an exciting game would be a moral victory for Clemson (and a win for hoops fans still sleeping off Duke’s snoozefest with Gonzaga). How will Trevor Booker and the Clemson frontcourt deal with Brian Zoubek, Miles Plumlee and the Duke big men? It’ll be nice to have real games to watch – finally.
  • DAUNTING FOR DEACONS: Wake Forest has a tough twinbill this week with surprising Richmond and a very good and physical Xavier squad. Two wins will be huge, especially with three of their next four league games coming on the road at Miami, Duke and North Carolina. Ouch.
  • WORTH WATCHING: Three teams from the mid- to lower-half of the league face interesting nonleague tests – Virginia Tech vs. Seton Hall (Saturday); B.C. vs. South Carolina (Wednesday); Virginia vs. UAB (Wednesday).

Happy New Year!

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A Rush The Court Christmas List

Posted by jstevrtc on December 24th, 2009

As if we weren’t already immature enough here at RTC, this season we figured we’d regress further into our childhood years and come up with a Christmas list, each participant naming one or two things we’d like for ourselves and/or the game of college basketball.  As you can see, the answers ranged from the practical to the impossible, the civil to the…well, hostile.  Above all, we hope that you, our faithful readers, will have a happy, healthy, hoop-filled holiday season.  Enjoy the list, and thanks for being here.

Zeitlin totally owns this tie. No need to get it for him.

rtmsf, RTC founder/editor/contributor:

All I want for Christmas this year is for a titanium-based super extra force field with double-secret password protection to be built on, around, above and under the current NCAA Tournament format.  Seriously, I want this thing to be more hermetically sealed than Tiger Woods’ brand-new Swiss bank accounts or Jerry Jones’ new face.  Please, Santa, no matter what the rest of these guys ask for — the new rear spoiler for nvr1983, a clue with the ladies for Stevens, that ridiculous jumpsuit for Hayes, and whatever Penn nonsense Zeitlin wants this year — just throw away their lists.   Please.  The single most important thing you’ll find on anyone’s list this year is mine (ok, I say that every year, but I mean it this time).  The possibility that some television money-men and NCAA decisionmakers long on greed but short on perspective and common sense support the idea of expanding the single most exciting and grand spectacle in all of sports to 96 teams should appall your jolly sensibilities.  If you can make this happen, Santa, I promise to be good all year round; I’ll even send in that cash pledge this year I keep promising to do but never do, I swear.   Thanks.

–Signed, 65 is Enough.

Hands OFF.

nvr1983, RTC  editor/contributor:

  1. The NCAA finally gets a sense of reality and actually go after some big name programs instead of focusing on the relatively little guys.  Sure, Memphis and Renardo Sidney were involved in some shady dealings, but was it any worse than what USC has done over the past decade?
  2. Have ESPN get ESPNU on every major cable provider or at least put those games on ESPN360.com
  3. Go back to 64 teams.  Forget this talk about 96 teams.  I don’t even want the 65th team.  The play-in game has been a joke for years and everybody knows it.  It cheapens the tournament by making the official start of the tournament a game that even die-hard fans don’t care about.
  4. Someone needs to fix this one-and-done rule.  I love watching these guys—Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, and John Wall—play, but I know that I will never get to see them mature in the college setting. Either make them stay 4 years or let them enter the draft right out of high school.
  5. Fire the guy running the clock at Hinkle.  Somebody has to get some coal this Christmas…

Here's your 1.3 seconds.

John Stevens, RTC editor/contributor:

I can’t lie, there are some things I want for the other guys.  Heck, this is the giving season, right?  I’d like nvr to remember how to sleep, since he rarely gets to.  I think it’d be nice if rtmsf’s, er, “rash” finally cleared up.  And yeah, there are some things I’d like for myself.  Michelle Beadle’s phone number.  Fran Fraschilla’s tweeting abilities.  But those are things I’d rather earn of my own efforts.  As far as gifts that revolve around college hoops, there’s just no way I can limit it to one thing.  Yes, I’m that selfish.  But I think I want things that everyone wants, so I’m willing to share.  I’d like Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery to be the implied #1 announcing crew for any weekend CBS game, even though I still love and respect Enberg, Lundquist, Elmore, Bilas, et al.  I’d like fewer TV timeouts.  I’d like the NCAA Tournament to be freaking left alone.  But most of all, what I want is for the rest of the season to be free of major injuries.  The Evan Turner fall was scary and he’s lucky it wasn’t worse than just a couple of fractured transverse processes.  After Derrick Roland broke his leg last night I went outside and sat in my car for half an hour just to avoid the television.  That’s gotta be it for the gruesome injuries.  I don’t want to watch Kansas or Kentucky or Duke or Texas or anyone come tournament time and think, “That’s not the same team, compared to when they had (x).”  It’s been too fun of a season so far to have some team’s chances ruined by a misstep or a freak accident.

"Rise and FIRE...." "ONIONS, Mr. Johnson!!" It has to happen.

Zach Hayes, RTC Bracketologist-in-Residence:

This one might cause some controversy, but I’d ask Santa for some duct tape for Dick Vitale.  Watching the Texas-UNC game on Saturday sent me over the edge.  His shameless self-promotion and constant hyperbole is incredibly irritating and the man fails to make one cogent basketball point from an analytical perspective the entire telecast.  His quirks and habits get extremely tiresome by December.  While others like Bill Raftery have their fun, they bring to the broadcast a true sense of the intricacies of basketball to further my understanding of the sport.  Jay Bilas is constantly providing enlightening analysis and former coaches like Bob Knight and Steve Lavin are tremendous.  Yet ESPN keeps giving us Dick Vitale in the biggest games so he can yell things like “I’ll tell you, Ed Davis has talent!” and “go onto dickvitale.com for my freshman of the year, coach of the year, fans of the year…”  It’s enough.  Santa, send me some duct tape so I never have to hear that old man screaming again.

We'll go ahead and cancel that interview request...

Dave Zeitlin, RTC Ivy League Correspondent and feature writer for Backdoor Cuts:

What I really want for the holidays is for Penn to beat Duke on New Year’s Eve.  But since the odds of that happening are about as slim as Isiah Thomas doing one good thing in his life, I have another wish.  I want big-conference coaches to stop whining about tournament expansion.  I mean, really?  Everyone knows college football is a joke because of the BCS, but let’s not turn college basketball into a joke on the other end of the spectrum by completely diluting the regular season.  Yes, I like the idea of more mid-major teams getting berths, which would be a side benefit to tournament expansion.  But here’s a better solution for that:  limit the number of berths for big-conference teams.  How about you have to have a .500 record in the conference and finish in the top half of your league to be eligible?  I’m tired of the sense of entitlement some of these coaches have.  You have a whole season AND a conference tournament to be one of the 65 teams to make the Big Dance — that should be enough.  Most of these guys should take a lesson from Bill Carmody, who in nine seasons at Northwestern has never guided the Wildcats to the NCAA touranament.  Still, he is against expansion, saying it would make every game a little less meaningful.  Merry Christmas, Bill.  I like you even though you coached at Princeton.

(credit: palestra.net)

Mr. Zeitlin declines. But gives credit where it's due.

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ATB: Snow Problem, Plenty of Hoops…

Posted by rtmsf on December 20th, 2009

The Debacle in Hinkle#17 Butler 69, Xavier 68. The story over the weekend was the bizarre and (some say) unconscionable ending to the Butler-Xavier game on Saturday afternoon.  If you somehow missed it, check out our post on the subject from last night.  We pretty much agree that the referee crew followed the rules as they’re written, but that the rules as they’re written pretty much suck in a situation such as this.  RTC Live was there, and as our correspondent wrote at the time:

That would be one ballsy crew to take a full second OFF the clock against a visitor down by 1 point.  HUGE controversy WOW…. I have been doing bball for years and I cannot believe that they just did that?!?!?!?!?!”

Ballsy they were, but also correct by the letter of the law.  Unfortunately for Xavier and Chris Mack, the Musketeers were left holding the bag when a timing error led them to believe they’d have a final shot to win the game.  The NCAA needs to step up and immediately clarify this rule, including what kind of stopwatch can and cannot be used to estimate the time so that we’re not faced with an equally ridiculous ending on a much bigger stage later this year.

Jerry’s Joint#2 Texas 103, #10 UNC 90.  The featured game of the weekend at Jerry’s World known as the new-and-improved-to-a-ridiculous-degree Cowboys Stadium showed why many people are very high on Rick Barnes’ Texas team to cut down the nets in April.  UT put four players in the 20+ points column, including huge dub-dubs from seniors Damion James (25/15) and Dexter Pittman (23/15) to go along with Avery Bradley’s 20/4 assts/3 stls and J’Covan Brown’s 21/5/3 assts.  Showing the depth that Barnes now has at his disposal, much ballyhooed transfer Jai Lucas (recently eligible) only played six minutes and recorded zero points.  He’d start for most of the teams in the Top 25 from day one.  UNC’s Ed Davis was the only Carolina player who seemed comfortable with the waves of Texas players inside, as he blew up for 21/9/4 blks for one of his best performances of the year.  Texas will get another test on Tuesday of this week as Michigan State visits Austin, while UNC will head back home for a few easier games prior to the start of the ACC in early January.  We’re still worried about UNC’s point guard play, but we’d imagine that Texas is going to make a lot of pretty good teams look bad over the course of this season.  That team is loaded!

The JumboTron Dwarfs the Court (AP/Tony Gutierrez)

Gonz-awfulness#7 Duke 76, #15 Gonzaga 41.  In a game all too reminiscent of other early-season blowouts that Duke has administered on overrated teams, the Devils completely overwhelmed the Zags defensively to, as Mark Few put it after the game, “woodshed” his team on Saturday afternoon at MSG.  Duke’s defense held Gonzaga to a mere fifteen FGs for the game, 28% shooting, a single three-pointer and a quarter-century team low of 41 points.  Despite all the hype for the Duke bigs coming into the season, it’s been the backcourt play of Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith, combining for 36 PPG, 7 RPG, and 10 APG that has truly driven this team to have the look as one of the best teams in America this year.  Scheyer’s ridiculous A:TO ratio of 5.8 to 1 actually went down after two TOs in this one, but his 20/5/8 assts more than made up for the miscue.  Smith added 24/3/3 assts, and we’re going to spare talking about the Gonzaga awfulness since not a single Zag got into double figures on the day.

Shot of the WeekendCornell 91, Davidson 88 (OT). Ryan Wittman’s 30-footer at the buzzer in overtime gave the Big Red its eighth win of the year and a shot at a Big East team (St. John’s) on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.  Lost in the heroics and glee of Wittman’s shot was the fact that it wouldn’t have even been possible had Louis Dale not hit a driving layup with 0.7 seconds remaining in regulation.  Cornell’s only two losses this year were against Big East teams (Seton Hall and Syracuse), so this will likely be the Ivy League favorite’s best chance to get a huge win this season (Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse is not realistic).  We haven’t been able to locate a video of this shot yet, but if you see one, let us know.

SEC Sucktitude. A week ago, we were ready to start believing that the SEC is much-improved this year.  Then the SEC East craps itself on Saturday and Sunday.  We’re reserving judgment for now, which of course means we really think this league is terrible and deserves only one bid (ok, not really).

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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.

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Checking in on… the Big 12

Posted by jstevrtc on December 17th, 2009

checkinginon

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

Power Rankings:

  1. Kansas (9-0)- The Jayhawks dominated Radford and La Salle at home this last week, but now the schedule gets much harder.  A Michigan team that is in need of a big win will visit Lawrence on Saturday.
  2. Texas (9-0)- The Longhorns blow out every team they play, probably because they have such an easy schedule, but also because Damion James is averaging a double-double. The matchup between the frontcourts of Texas and North Carolina may provide us with the most evenly matched game of the season, between two final four contenders.
  3. Kansas State (9-1)- Sorry Red Raiders fans, but I have to give the three-spot to the Wildcats despite TTU being the only other team in the conference outside Texas and Kansas that is undefeated. In my opinion, a road win against UNLV is better than a home win over Washington.
  4. Texas Tech (9-0)- John Roberson put the team on his back against TCU after being down five at halftime. Roberson played all 40 minutes and finished with 21 points on 7-11 from the field.
  5. Texas A&M (8-2)- Losing to New Mexico is nothing to be ashamed of; the Lobos can play with anyone in the power conferences.  The Aggies need to look at their game against Washington on December 22nd to get their name back in the national spotlight.
  6. Oklahoma State (9-1)- James Anderson is continuing his great play, and if Marshall Moses keeps averaging a double-double, Oklahoma State will be a hard team to beat in this conference.
  7. Oklahoma (7-3)- The Sooners have a good streak going, and they should have two more wins before they play on the road against Gonzaga.
  8. Baylor (8-1)- The Bears were off last week, but they’re win over Xavier looks a lot better after Xavier beat Cincinnati.
  9. Iowa State (7-3)- Beating their in-state rivals should get this team back on track.  The Cyclones have a lot of talent, they just need everyone to play well at the same time.
  10. Missouri (6-3)- Losing to Oral Roberts?  That’s a sign of a team that is in rebuilding mode.
  11. Nebraska (7-2)- A very ugly win over Oregon State, but it was a win nonetheless.
  12. Colorado (6-4)- Losing against Colorado State, a team that has been dwelling in the basement of the MWC the last few seasons, won’t get anyone in Boulder excited about basketball.

Team of the Week:  Kansas State WildcatsJacob Pullen had a huge night against UNLV (28 points, and 7-10 from behind the arc), which helped lead the Wildcats to their second big win of the week.  Denis Clemente and Pullen can lead this team to a deep run in the NCAA tournament when all other parts of the team are running smoothly.

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ATB: The More Things Change…

Posted by rtmsf on December 2nd, 2009

atb

The More They Stay the Same… #11 UNC 89, #9 Michigan State 82.  Ok, can we now all just agree that UNC just has Michigan State’s number?  For the fifth straight time, and the third episode within one calendar year, North Carolina made Tom Izzo’s Spartans look like charlatans on the basketball court.  How is this possible?  How can a team like Nevada hang with the Heels a few days ago for most of the game, and a loaded, deep, talented, athletic team like MSU continually get punked and embarrassed by the same squad?  Well, motivation helps.  Ed Davis (22/6) and Larry Drew II (18/6 assts) both had career highs in points, and in watching the game, it seemed as if Carolina could get and make nearly any shot it wanted.  Michigan State, for some reason, seems to think that it can run with Carolina, and as they learned for the third time with the same core of Lucas, Morgan, et al., they cannot.  Why do they try?  The thing about MSU is that they weren’t the second-best team last year, and they surely aren’t this year either — but aren’t we used to this with Izzo’s teams by now?  They typically underachieve in the regular season, only to overachieve in the NCAA Tournament.  The problem is that teams that are routinely blown out do not win national championships.  Granted, Michigan State made a run in this game to get the margin back to a respectable score, but Carolina was never seriously threatened after the first ten minutes of the game.  So what went wrong other than allowing UNC to shoot lights-out again?  How about 2-20 from three (and many of those misses were open looks), a terrible evening from deep for a team that came into this game shooting 37% from distance?  How about allowing point guards Drew and Dexter Strickland to torch the MSU defense for repeated forays to the rim for easy buckets (9-12 FG)?  How about the rough-and-tumble Spartans getting outrebounded (36-34) by the admittedly bigger (but tougher?) Heels?  Honestly, the reason we thought this game would go Carolina’s way was because they were playing at home, but we’re not sure that it would have gone any differently had they played this game on Mars.  Michigan State simply cannot get over on Carolina, and it’s starting to get ridiculous.  At least Raymar Morgan (18/6) looked healthy and played well, right?

Michigan St NCarolina Basketball

ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  We’re deadlocked at 3-3 going into the last day, and yeah, it’s gone exactly as we predicted so far.  Which of course means all five games tomorrow will go crazy — expect all kinds of upset specials.  Seriously, though, we still think it comes down to the BC-Michigan game tomorrow night.  Winner of that one wins the Challenge (our choice: UM).

  • #6 Purdue 69, Wake Forest 58.  Wake played well enough for a half to win this game, but the Deacs don’t have enough offensive threats beyond Al-Farouq Aminu when he has an off game (12/10 on 3-11 FG including 6 TOs) and they turn the ball over like it’s their job.  But we knew that already.  Purdue, on the other hand, is only getting production from their Big Three of Robbie Hummel (11/11 on 3-11 FG), E’Twaun Moore (22/4/3 assts) and JaJuan Johnson (21/9/3 blks) — the rest of the team only scored fifteen points.  That’ll carry the Boilermakers against the lesser teams, especially in Mackey Arena, but we have concerns about when they start playing athletic teams like WFU that also have multiple serious scorers.  Wake played superb defense, holding Purdue to 34% for the game and 1-15 from deep, but their endemic problems with ballhandling and lack of a three-point threat will be problematic all season.
  • Northwestern 65, NC State 53. Northwestern is quickly becoming our second favorite team of this season (behind Portland).  With the injury troubles that they endured to start this season, we would have completely understood if the Wildcats had simply packed it in and hoped for next year.  But they didn’t.  Beating Notre Dame, Iowa State and NC State isn’t exactly equivalent to Michigan State, Purdue and Ohio State, as they’ll face in the Big Ten, but the key is that NW is gaining experience with winning and they’re doing it in environments away from the comforts of home.  Tonight Michael Thompson stepped up with 22/4 and Jeremy Nash also chipped in 12/8/4 assts in the win.  The Wildcats could realistically enter Big Ten play at 10-1 by the end of this month.  Good for them.

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After the Buzzer: Opening Night Recaps

Posted by zhayes9 on November 10th, 2009

atb

Welcome back to RTC’s THIRD season covering college basketball with one of our old standbys, the nightly After the Buzzer feature.   If you’re new here, the purpose of these nightly updates is to go a little deeper than game recaps.  We’ll talk about the key games and storylines of each night of the regular season so that you can join the watercooler crew with some knowledge to throw around the next morning.  Tonight we got the season underway with four opening round subregional games in the 2kSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.  None of the four favorites were every seriously threatened, but there were quite a few good storylines tonight.

Isiah’s debut. #4 North Carolina 88, Florida International 72. For a team picked last in their Sun Belt division and has just eight scholarship players on its roster, Isiah Thomas had his Florida International Golden Panthers putting up a respectable fight against the top-five Tar Heels in his much-anticipated coaching debut. The bright spots for the powder blues in the first post-Tyler Hansbrough era contest: Deon Thompson appears to be in for a fine year in the post, totaling 20 points and 10 boards on 7/11 FG while frontcourt mate Ed Davis used a slew of putbacks and easy buckets to complete his own double-double: 13/11/4 blks on 5/8 FG. The other big question mark heading into the season was whether Larry Drew could provide steady point guard play for UNC, and the sophomore put in a solid performance with 6/2 A:TO in 21 minutes, including a Lawson-esque coast-to-coast layup in the first half and a few pretty dishes to Thompson and John Henson for jams. The bad news: Even with the incredible turnover and rustiness of a season opener, Roy Williams cannot be pleased with a 26-turnover performance from his team against a Sun Belt foe (the most in any game coached by Williams at UNC), especially backup point guard Dexter Strickland’s five turnovers in 11 minutes. Also worth noting is Williams opting to go with a more experienced starting five with Thompson, Drew, Davis,  Marcus Ginyard and William Graves getting the nod and Henson, Strickland, Tyler Zeller, Leslie McDonald and the Wear twins coming off the pine. This group is absurdly deep up front and, due to the high-impact departures, shouldn’t be expected to look like a world-beater in early November.  They don’t.

Boeheim gets win #800. #25 Syracuse 75, Albany 43. Coming off their embarrassing defeat in an exhibition contest at the hands of D2 Le Moyne, Syracuse needed to come out in their first actual game of the 2009-10 season and make a statement. Their 2-3 zone defense confused the Albany Great Danes all night and was the primary factor in garnering a 75-43 victory for Jim Boeheim’s 800th win, putting him on an esteemed list with only two other active coaches — Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Calhoun. Syracuse’s defense and superb athleticism forced Albany into 32 turnovers and only 27% shooting in a primarily ugly game that lacked much flow. Syracuse shot just 2/17 from outside themselves including a clunker from three-point specialist Andy Rautins (0/6, 0/4 3pt) who left the game midway through the 2nd half with a sprained ankle (3am update: doesn’t sound too serious, but he was wearing a walking boot after the game). The good: Scoop Jardine coupled a productive preseason into another stellar performance at the point tonight, totaling 12 points and 4 assists on 5/7 shooting with just one turnover while his main competition, Brandon Triche, had some moments but mainly struggled with six turnovers. Syracuse looks extremely athletic with Wes Johnson (who features a sick one-handed posterization on an unsuspecting Great Dane) around the perimeter and Rick Jackson swatting shots down low.

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Set Your Tivo: 11.09.09 – 11.13.09

Posted by nvr1983 on November 9th, 2009

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It is time to rejoice college basketball fans. After seven long months college basketball is back (officially). Since the last game of importance (UNC dismantling Michigan State), we’ve put up with the drama of Billy Gillispie getting fired and John Calipari getting hired (technically before the title game) along with John Wall, Lance Stephenson, and Renardo Sidney taking a ridiculously long time to decide where they would go to college (maybe just for one year) then waited to see if they would be eligible to play, which will probably be an ongoing drama throughout the season, and put up with a lot of really bad behavior by players and coaches. Now it is time for the games to begin. To be honest, the opening week is a little light on great games, but the pace should pick up next week as the early season tournaments get underway and we know that college basketball fans are craving a fix of real games so this week should still be exciting.

Monday (11.09.09)
FIU at #4 UNC at 7 PM on ESPNU: I’ll admit it. This game is more interesting for the sideshow that will be Isiah Thomas more than it will be compelling basketball unless Isiah decides to lace them up one more time. As for the actual basketball, I’ll be “watching” (quotation marks since this game is on ESPNU which nobody has) UNC to see how they have reloaded with the departure of Tyler Hansbrough (last seen filming awful commercials), Ty Lawson (last seen talking about how he wished he had left Chapel Hill after his freshman year), and Wayne Ellington (last seen on the bench in Minnesota). My guess is that we will be seeing a lot out of the frontcourt with John Henson, Deon Thompson, and Ed Davis. Watch for the emergence of Ed Davis as Roy Williams will no longer have the option of hiding this budding superstar in what some believed was an attempt to keep his draft stock down and keep him in Chapel Hill for at least one more year (see Roy blowing off my question at the press conference after the Miami-UNC game last year). http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/inside/roywilliams/index-index.html?&url=http://mfile.akamai.com/8108/wmv/cstvcbs.download.akamai.com/8108/open/unc/08-09/video/m-baskbl/01jan/011709_unc_m-baskbl_pcpostmiami.wmv
Albany at #25 Syracuse at 9 PM on ESPNU: A week ago I wouldn’t have even thought this would be a contest, but that was before the world learned about Le Moyne. While Albany is a nice middle-of-the-pack America East team they shouldn’t be much of challenge for the Orange, but that depends on how shellshocked they are after the Le Moyne debacle. Watch for Jim Boeheim to try to pound the Great Danes on the inside. Virgina transfer Will Harris will have his hands full on the inside with Wesley Johnson, Rick Jackson, and Arinze Onuaku.
Murray State at #12 California on ESPN U:

Monday (11.09.09)

FIU at #4 UNC at 7 PM on ESPNU: Ok, I’ll admit it. This game is more interesting for the sideshow that is Isiah Thomas more than it will be compelling basketball unless Isiah decides to lace them up one more time. As for the actual basketball, I’ll be “watching” (quotation marks since this game is on ESPNU which nobody has) UNC to see how they have reloaded with the departure of Tyler Hansbrough (last seen filming awful commercials), Ty Lawson (last seen talking about how he should have left Chapel Hill after his freshman year), and Wayne Ellington (last seen on the bench in Minnesota). My guess is that we will be seeing a lot out of the frontcourt with John Henson, Tyler ZellerDeon Thompson, and Ed Davis. Watch for the emergence of Ed Davis as Roy Williams will no longer have the option of hiding this budding superstar in what some believed was an attempt to keep his draft stock down and keep him in Chapel Hill for at least one more year (see Roy blowing off my question about Ed at the press conference after the Miami-UNC game last year–it’s the last question on the video as he is folding up his papers both while I am asking the question and as he is dodging the question).

Albany at #25 Syracuse at 9 PM on ESPNU: A week ago I wouldn’t have even thought this would be a contest, but that was before the world learned about Le Moyne. While Albany is a nice middle-of-the-pack America East team they shouldn’t be much of challenge for the Orange, but that depends on how shell-shocked they are after the Le Moyne debacle. Watch for Jim Boeheim to try to pound the Great Danes on the inside. Virgina transfer Will Harris will have his hands full on the inside with Wesley Johnson, Rick Jackson, and Arinze Onuaku.

Murray State at #12 California at 11 PM on ESPN U: This might be the most interesting game of the night even if it might be the least interesting to the casual fan, but we will be courtside covering the game for this year’s opening RTC Live (and we’ll be back two nights later when Detroit comes to Berkeley). I’m not expecting the Racers to pull off the upset although I think this game could be closer than a lot of people expect as Billy Kennedy brings a team that has the potential to win the Ohio Valley Conference into Berkeley. Kennedy will rely on his talented trio of Danero Thomas, Ivan Aska, and Isacc Miles against Mike Montgomery‘s talented group of perimeter players led by Jerome RandlePatrick Christopher, and Theo Robertson. Montgomery’s trio (with some help from Duke transfer Jamal Boykin) should be enough to hold off the Racers, but if they come in believing the considerable hype we might just have our first upset of the regular season.

Friday (11.13.09)

Hofstra at #1 Kansas on ESPN Full Court and ESPN360.com: I’m not really expecting this to be a competitive game, but it is worth watching to see the consensus preseason #1 open up. Expect to see Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich play about 20-25 minutes in what should be a glorified exhibition. Hofstra has a pretty big name for a mid-major, but coach Tom Pecora will have the unenviable task of having to replace Antoine Agudio, the school’s all-time leading scorer, and he also lacks an interior presence to battle Aldrich on the inside–expect to see Aldrich dominate Greg Washington and Miklos Szabo on the inside. One match-up that might turn out to be interesting is at point guard with Collins going against Charles Jenkins (the only returning player in D1 to average more than 19 PPG, 4 RPG, and 4 APG last season). Outside of that check out the game to see Xavier Henry, who will have to work for his minutes this season on a deep and talented Jayhawk team.

Morehead State at #5 Kentucky on ESPNU: We would like to talk about how we think that one of the contenders for the Ohio Valley Conference title could take down Kentucky’s vaunted group of freshmen in their opening game, but it’s more likely that this could be a preview of a NCAA tournament game — a 1st round NCAA tournament game. Donnie Tyndall‘s team will have its hands full going into Rupp Arena with 23,500 rabid Kentucky fans ready to witness the rebirth of their program. One match-up that might be interesting will be Patrick Patterson (yes, Kentucky does have players outside of its freshmen) against Kenneth Faried, the odds-on favorite to win OVC POY. For the NBA scouts who might be reading this, you’ll have to wait to see John Wall who is sitting out as part of his suspension, but there will still be NBA talent on the court with Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins on the inside for the Wildcats.

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