Who Won the Week? Tyler Ennis, Wisconsin, Grambling State & More…

Posted by Kenny Ocker (@KennyOcker) on February 14th, 2014

wonweekWho Won the Week? is a regular column that outlines and discusses three winners and losers from the previous week of hoops. The author of this column is Kenny Ocker (@KennyOcker), a Spokane-based sportswriter best known for his willingness to drive (or bike!) anywhere to watch a basketball game. This week’s main event? Watching INCREDIBLY LARGE MAN Sim Bhullar and New Mexico State get upset by an Idaho team that was just 1-6 in its home dome at that point.

WINNER: Tyler Ennis

When you save your team’s undefeated season by making a buzzer-beating three-pointer to knock off a Top 25 team on the road, you’ve got the best week imaginable. Syracuse’s freshman point guard earned top honors this week thanks to that. Tyler Ennis’ 13-point, five-assist performance in Wednesday’s 58-56 win at Pittsburgh, including that last shot, pushed the Orange’s record to 24-0 and 11-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. OK, sure, maybe they won’t make it through consecutive road games at Duke, Maryland and Virginia in the next couple of weeks, but for another few nights, the magic lives on thanks to a phenomenal shot from a freshman phenom.

Tyler Ennis certainly had a week to remember. (Getty)

Tyler Ennis certainly had a week to remember. (Getty)

(Related winners: Syracuse, who also beat Clemson 57-44 on Sunday; Wichita State, which gets to avoid the singular spotlight of being the nation’s only undefeated team. Related losers: Pittsburgh, but thanks for setting the stage for a star.)

LOSER: Everybody involved in the Marcus Smart fiasco

One of last year’s phenom freshman point guards hasn’t exactly had the same season in his second try. Marcus Smart’s frustration seemed encapsulated last Saturday when the Oklahoma State sophomore pushed Texas Tech purported “superfan” Jeff Orr in the stands during the Cowboys’ eventual 65-61 loss in Lubbock. Nobody wins in this. Smart rightfully earned a three-game suspension for his actions. Orr, who has been caught making obscene gestures to other players, won’t attend a Texas Tech game for the rest of the season. The Pokes’ losing streak extended to five after following their loss at the Red Raiders with an 87-68 loss Tuesday at Texas. We’ll never know what Orr actually said to provoke Smart. We’ll never know what went through Smart’s mind. But we know that his team has slipped to 16-8 and 4-7 in Big 12 play. He’ll certainly have a lot of work to do upon his return, both on the basketball court and with his reputation.

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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 »
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RTC Big East Microsite Week in Review

Posted by Dan Lyons on November 26th, 2013

Happy holidays everyone! Feast Week is upon us, and the Big East has been performing pretty well across the board so far this season. There appears to be a lot of parity in the conference, and a few surprise teams like Xavier and Providence look like they may be real contenders this season. Let’s jump into the previous week of action.

Power Rankings

Xavier is Creeping up the Power Rankings Behind Semaj Christon

  • 10.) DePaul (3-2), LW (10): DePaul looks like it might be a solid step up from where it has been the last few seasons, but last night’s game against Wichita State shows there’s still a lot of opportunities for improvement.
  • 9.) Seton Hall (4-2), LW (8): The Pirates have a penchant for close games. Four of their six games have been decided by single figures, including both of their losses: a 77-74 double-overtime heartbreaker to Mercer, and an 86-85 loss to Oklahoma.
  • T-7.) Butler (4-0), LW (9): Butler is still undefeated by the narrowest of margins, winning an overtime thriller against Vanderbilt and a one-point game against Ball State last week. Khyle Marshall and Kellen Dunham are keeping the Butler offense afloat, each by averaging 15.8 points per game.
  • T-7.) St. John’s (3-1), LW (5): Phil Greene IV had a big week for the Johnnies, scoring 16 and 22 points in tight wins over Bucknell and Monmouth, respectively. Greene’s contributions in the backcourt have been very important for a St. John’s team that is struggling to score.
  • 6.) Providence (6-1), LW (6): The Friars had as good of a week as anyone, winning three games over solid competition before dropping last night’s Paradise Jam championship to Maryland. The frontcourt combination of Kadeem BattsLaDontae Henton and Tyler Harris has been as effective as any in the league in the early part of the season. Read the rest of this entry »
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Morning Five: 03.14.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 14th, 2013

morning5

  1. Many pundits have been writing endlessly about how this season has lacked a superlative team, but they may have been looking at the wrong end of the spectrum as Grambling State just completed a truly remarkable season going 0-28 with only its last loss being by less than double digits. It may be hard to get your mind around how horrific the season has been we would direct you to Ken Pomeroy who has Grambling State rated as the worst team since he created his site in 2003. It is hard to say how historically bad their season was beyond that, but given the distance between this team and prior standard bearers in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings we think they would be pretty competitive.
  2. With the NCAA Tournament two weeks away and teams starting to lock up automatic bids we are already beginning to see several dominant story lines emerging, but we doubt that many will be bigger than the play of St. Louis following the death of Rick Majerus. In the week following Majerus’ death on December 1 the media churned out hundreds of columns on Majerus–both on his genius and complexity. Since that time the play of his Bilikens has been nothing short of inspiring. After winning the Atlantic 10 regular season title, they should have a decent shot of making a run to the second weekend and if that happens you should expect to see plenty of Majerus montages.
  3. Conference realignment means a lot of things to a lot of schools and one of them is the need to upgrade their coach as they move into more difficult conferences. That appears to be the case at San Jose State (or the fact they won nine games in each of the past two seasons) as they fired George Nessman (86-161 in eight seasons at the school) yesterday. With their move from the WAC to the Mountain West the Spartans will need to field a much better team if they hope to be anything other than the conference doormats. Even with a serious coaching upgrade it is hard to envision the program becoming competitive in the Mountain West any time soon.
  4. We had thought that Texas Tech was just unfortunate in winding up with some odd coaches (Mike Leach in football then Billy Gillispie in basketball), but now that we heard about how they treated Trency Jackson we are beginning to wonder if it is also an administrative issue. As Gary Parrish notes the administrators at Texas Tech made Jackson’s attempt to transfer much more difficult than it had to by providing him with poor advice on multiple occasions and mislabeling him as a violator of team rules rather than just a player who was academically ineligible. The whole story is a lot more complex than that, but it leaves you feeling dirty reading it and that has been happening in Lubbock a lot recently.
  5. Schools have been very active in redesigning/rebranding their courts as we pointed out in a column four years ago that preceded the infamous atrocity that is the Matthew Knight Arena floor, but few conferences have tried to be creative with their floor design. That is until the Mountain West decided to purchase the floor from last year’s Women’s Final Four after champion Baylor declined the right to purchase the floor. These type of designs are not for everybody, but the way that the conference went about getting the current floor is still worth reading about.
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ATB: Louisville Ends Skid, Kansas Stays Clean and Grambling State Remains Winless…

Posted by Chris Johnson on January 29th, 2013

ATB

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn

Tonight’s Lede. Two Games, and That’s About it. When college basketball gives you two good games, you watch them. That’s what ESPN’s Big Monday night promises to serve up over the next month or so, and on evenings when there’s literally nothing else of note going on, you study those two games from every angle, every statistical nuance – and if you’re me, you write about them. So if you’re interested in what happened when Pittsburgh visited Louisville and Kansas embarked on its first ever conference road trip to West Virginia, and not much else, you’ll find this post meets that interest quite well. Or maybe you’ll reject my analysis and stop reading altogether. It’s cool; I’ll never begrudge a critical approach. However you go about it, take comfort in the fact that the rest of the week, leading into Saturday’s massive Indiana-Michigan game (and that other football game being played Sunday afternoon), promises more enticing match-ups.

Your Watercooler Moment. A Win Is A Win Is A Win. 

With the three-game losing streak behind them, the Cardinals can look forward to the Big East stretch run (photo credit: Getty Images).

With the three-game losing streak behind them, the Cardinals can look forward to the Big East stretch run (photo credit: Getty Images).

Using the term “must-win” for teams who fell out of the No. 1 spot in AP Poll just two weeks ago feels wildly irrational. Seasons aren’t won and lost in January, and Louisville still withdraws the right to whip out one of the most fearsome defenses of the 21st century, a deeply stocked frontcourt, a stable of effective complementary pieces, and a Final Four pedigree to boot. But if the Cardinals didn’t need a win Monday night against Pittsburgh, per se, it was at the very least strongly advised that they get one. Lest we forget that just over a week ago, Louisville – long owners of an historically efficient defense and burgeoning National Player of the Year point guard – was on top of the college basketball world. And not just in every major poll of note; the Cardinals were the national title favorite flavor of the week. The week that followed, which included three consecutive losses to Syracuse, at Villanova and at Georgetown, was not what everyone had in mind when they pegged Louisville as the nation’s best team. After all, national championship favorites just don’t lose three in a row. Louisville’s plunge in the polls (Monday’s AP Poll had the Cardinals ranked #12) reflected this fallout, but the Cardinals had a pretty favorable opportunity on their hands Monday night.

That’s when the efficiency-buoyant Panthers, winners of four Big East games in a row, traveled to the Yum! Center to pour salt on Louisville’s three-loss wound. Any reasonable observer would have looked at this game, noted Pittsburgh’s recent improvements, the shoulder injury to Wayne Blackshear and suspension of Kevin Ware, and surmised the Panthers had a legitimate shot to not only hang tight with Louisville but seize a huge road opportunity against a confidence-bereft team in the midst of a three-game skid. Pittsburgh nearly got there. The Panthers’ stormed back to cut an 11-point deficit to just two inside the final minute, and were it not for a few clutch free throws from Gorgui Dieng and Russ Smith, Jamie Dixon’s team could well have walked out with a massive win. Final outcome aside, Pittsburgh played to its adjusted, per-possession bona fides – the Panthers entered Monday ranked seventh in KenPom’s ratings – and that’s something we’ve been waiting to see for much of this season. Poor free throw shooting (the Panthers finished 3-of-12 from the stripe) was the difference. Louisville’s performance was hardly the work of the Final Four contender so widely bandied about just over week ago, and that’s something we may not see from Rick Pitino’s team until March. The point is, the Cardinals picked up where they left off before becoming No. 1 – they won a basketball game, and they did it against a veritably good team.

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Award Tour: Anthony Bennett is the New No. 1 Freshman, the Five Worst D-I Teams, and an Ode to the Big East Conference…

Posted by DCassilo on December 14th, 2012

awardtour

David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

Farewell, Big East. As a Villanova grad who grew up in New Jersey, you were always close to my heart. I’ll miss the prime time Saturday night final. I’ll miss the coaching legends. I’ll miss the physical play that would be called for a foul in any other league. I’ll miss the afternoon games of the Big East Tournament. I’ll miss being sponsored by Aeropostale. I’ll miss record crowds at the Carrier Dome. I’ll miss seeing Carnesecca and his sweater sitting behind the St. John’s bench. I’ll miss Mick Cronin being displeased with his team. I’ll miss West Virginia fans throwing stuff. I’ll miss looking at the newspaper and saying, “Wow, DePaul won.” I’ll miss Madison Square Garden. I’ll miss the weird dimensions of the RAC. I’ll miss Seton Hall thinking its good. I’ll miss Providence’s mascot. I’ll miss UConn breaking the rules. I’ll miss Pitt’s illegal screens and 30-year old point guards. I’ll miss Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami. I’ll miss Pitino’s press conferences. I’ll miss people saying Villanova is Guard U when it rarely sends a guard to the NBA. I’ll miss Georgetown running the Princeton offense. I’ll miss the overachievers at Notre Dame and Marquette. I’ll miss that time South Florida was good. I’ll even miss the double bye, Burr and Higgins. Now let’s end this league in style.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

10. Brandon Paul – Illinois (Last Week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 19 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.5 APG

Illinois is going to need a big effort out of Brandon Paul at Indiana. (Joe Robbins/Getty)

Brandon Paul tore apart Gonzaga. (Joe Robbins/Getty)

With 35 points at Gonzaga last Saturday, Paul officially declared his candidacy in the Player of the Year race. The major improvement in his game this year comes down to his shooting. He never cracked 40 percent from the field in his first three years but is up to 46.8 percent this season.This week: December 16 vs. Eastern Kentucky

9. Michael Carter-Williams – Syracuse (Last Week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 12.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 10.4 APG, 3.8 SPG

There’s no doubt that Carter-Williams does more to fill up the stat sheet than any player in the country, but it’s his passing that has been second to none. He leads the nation in APG and has 37 dimes in his last three games. A high turnover rate (3.8 per game) and poor three-point shooting (22.2 percent) hold him back from challenging for the top spot. This week: December 15 vs. Canisius, December 17 vs. Temple

8. Jeff Withey – Kansas (Last Week – 7)
2012-13 stats: 13.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 5.6 BPG

After blocking five shots against Colorado last Saturday, Withey has swatted the ball at least that many times in six of his team’s eight games. His defensive dominance coupled with the rise of freshman Ben McLemore has the Jayhawks thinking of a return to the title game. This week: December 15 vs. Belmont, December 18 vs. Richmond

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Pac-12 Pick’Em: Week Two

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 7th, 2012

Last Thursday, you may have remembered our Pac-12 Hoops Pick’Em that got underway in our M5. We’re back at it again this week, this time with a full post to go over the results from last week and to look ahead as well. Parker and I stole the show in week one, going a solid 11-2 to take a one-game advantage over Drew and Adam. I was the only one to miss Utah’s road win at Texas State on Friday night, but I came back to the field with Wyoming’s upset of Colorado. Parker and I took the lead thanks to San Diego State’s win over UCLA on Saturday at the Honda Center. So now, we enter week two. Colorado’s visit to Kansas and Illinois visiting Gonzaga headline the list as our games of the week.

Game Connor (11-2) Drew (10-3) Parker (11-2) Adam (10-3)
Colorado at Kansas KU 75-70 KU 70-68 KU 68-57 KU 72-61
Cal State Northridge at Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State
Grambling State at Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State
UCLA vs Texas Texas UCLA UCLA UCLA
Idaho State at Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
Arizona at Clemson Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona
Nevada at Washington Washington Washington Washington Washington
Utah at BYU BYU BYU BYU BYU
Illinois at Gonzaga GU 85-79 Illinois 71-65 GU 79-74 GU 86-74
Minnesota at USC Minnesota USC Minnesota Minnesota
Fresno State at Washington State Fresno State Fresno State Fresno State WSU
UNLV at California UNLV California UNLV California

 

The only difference between the two leaders this week comes in The Showcase at Houston, where I was the only one to take the home-state Longhorns. Drew was the only one to take the visiting Fighting Illini against the Zags, and he was also the only one to pick USC with a home upset over Minnesota. Three of the four of us took Fresno State getting a road win in Pullman, with Adam going with the safe pick in the Cougars. The final game of the week, featuring #21 UNLV visiting Berkeley, was split between the prognosticators.

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Baylor’s Dunn Suspended For Three Games

Posted by jstevrtc on November 12th, 2010

Baylor guard and scorer extraordinaire LaceDarius Dunn will stay suspended for the first three games of the season in the aftermath of the allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend in a domestic dispute in September. Dunn will therefore miss the games against Grambling State, La Salle, and Jackson State and return against Lipscomb on November 22nd.

The Bears Will Be At Full Strength By Thanksgiving; Dunn Returns 22 November

The details of the incident involving the alleged assault are still hazy. Early reports indicated that Dunn broke his girlfriend’s jaw in the altercation; later, she claimed that there was no assault at all, and she did not pursue charges against Dunn. The McLennan County DA still has the case, as the linked AP report says. Dunn resumed attending classes shortly after the incident but was suspended from all competitive basketball activity. That suspension will end after the Jackson State contest.

 

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