The Other 26: Bracketbuster Preview and Analysis

Posted by IRenko on January 31st, 2012

I. Renko is an RTC columnist. You can normally find him kicking off each weekend during the season with his analysis of the 26 other non-power conferences. Follow him on twitter @IRenkoHoops.

In this special mid-week edition of The Other 26, we take a look at all of the premier (read: televised) Bracketbuster matchups that were announced on Monday and offer a guide to the uninitiated on what to watch for. The annual mid-major hoops feast typically offers a host of compelling contests, and this year is no different. In roughly descending order of interest/excitement:

Main Event — St. Mary’s at Murray State (2/18, 6 PM, ESPN or ESPN2) — I was hoping we would get a double main event with St. Mary’s at Creighton and Wichita State at Murray State. Perhaps the Bracketbuster selection committee didn’t rate Wichita State that highly or was intent on giving the undefeated Racers a ranked opponent against whom they could prove their quality. So they sent top 20, 21-2 St. Mary’s to Murray, Kentucky, to set up the undisputed headliner of this year’s Bracketbuster event. Murray State will have a clear advantage from playing at home, but apart from that, this looks like a very close matchup. Offensively, both teams rely heavily on the two lines — the three-point line and the free throw line. Defensively, both teams are pretty good at not giving up many attempts from either of those lines, with the notable exception of Murray State’s tendency to foul too much. Both teams are also somewhat turnover prone, but only the Racers play the kind of defense that is likely to exploit such a weakness. Finally, the Gaels may look to get easy points off of the offensive glass, as defensive rebounding is a liability for Murray State. Which, if any, of these games within the game will determine the outcome? Only one way to find out:  tune in at 6 PM on February 18.

Can St. Mary's End Murray State's Undefeated Season?

Battle of the Supporting Casts — Long Beach State at Creighton (2/18, 10 PM, ESPN2) – Most eyeballs will be trained to watch Casper Ware and Doug McDermott, two of mid-major hoops’ most recognizable players. But I hope that fans will also tune in to get a glimpse of the extent to which these conference-leading teams depends on their supporting casts. LBSU has three other players who average in double figures — Larry Anderson (who also stuffs the stat sheet with 5.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, while shooting 44% from three-point range), T.J. Robinson (who adds 10.2 rebounds a game), and James Ennis. Creighton, meanwhile, has discovered that they can be just as potent, maybe even moreso, when McDermott scores less than 20 a game. Antoine Young’s dribble penetration, Greg Echinique’s inside banging, and the marksmanship of Grant Gibbs and Jahenns Manigat make the Bluejays a much more multi-dimensional team than they’re often portrayed to be. It’s worth noting, too, that each of these teams will be trying to bolster their at-large bona fides in the event that they don’t win their conference tournaments — an especially distinct possibility for Creighton, who will have to get through three games in the always tough MVC to cinch an auto bid.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Morning Five: 01.14.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 14th, 2010

  1. Ken Pomeroy does what he does and concludes that, when you break down games by minutes 1-40, it’s the first minute of the game where offenses are the least aggressive.  Somewhere, some coach will read this and try to put his energizer bunny reserve in for the first couple of minutes of the game.  Guaranteed.
  2. UCLA’s J’Mison Morgan will miss at least two weeks with a torn quad in his right leg.  Despite his pedigree, Morgan doesn’t play much (only 8 MPG), but it’s been that kind of a year for Ben Howland in Westwood.
  3. Rutgers transfer Greg Echinique will re-surface at Creighton, which was one of his finalists coming out of high school.  Big, big get for the mid-major power in Omaha.
  4. Could everyone have been completely wrong about “Born Ready” as an uncoachable cancer to a team?  This article by Paul Daugherty suggests that Lance Stephenson only needed a change of environment to “out here” aka Cincinnati to get his head straight.
  5. Several hours before UNC got smashed by Clemson, the UNC bus got smashed by a Clemson student (photo below from Larry Drew II’s tweet).  Roy must have known he was in for a tough night when this happened.

Share this story

Checking in on… the Ivy League

Posted by rtmsf on December 5th, 2009

checkinginon

Dave Zeitlin is the RTC correspondent for the Ivy League.

POWER RANKINGS

  1. Cornell (6-2): The two-time defending champs have done a very nice job navigating a tricky non-conference schedule thus far.
  2. Harvard (6-1): Off to its best start in 25 years, the Crimson will look to keep the momentum going against some brutally tough teams.
  3. Columbia (3-3): Considering the Lions have already faced two Big East squads, a .500 record is nothing to scoff at.
  4. Princeton (2-4): Tigers have dropped four straight but should have better days on the horizon.
  5. Brown (4-5): Bears haven’t beaten anyone of note but have shown a lot of fight in a few of their losses.
  6. Penn (0-5): Injuries to key players and inconsistent play are again coming back to bite the Quakers.
  7. Yale (3-5): Bulldogs’ schedule hasn’t been as difficult as some of the other Ivy teams.
  8. Dartmouth (1-5): Big Green’s lone win has come against a poor Hartford team.

COOKED RICE: The story in the league right now has to be Harvard, which with its rout of Rice on Wednesday is off to its best start since 1984-85 (though in that season three of its first eight wins came against non-Division I opponents). Keep in mind, Harvard has never won an Ivy League title – and stealing the crown from Cornell this season will be a monumental task. But Tommy Amaker’s bunch may be, according to the Boston Herald, the best mid-major in New England, which sounds like a compliment.

SEEING RED: I’ll let Ithaca Journal ace reporter Brian DeLaney catch you up on Cornell because he knows more than me and he claims he can slap his hand against a backboard (debatable). One of his messages: Cornell is so loaded this season that it doesn’t even have to play well to win at lot of times. Sounds about right.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story