The Week That Was: November 27 – December 3

Posted by rtmsf on December 4th, 2010

David Ely is an RTC Contributor.


LeBron James’ big return to Cleveland on Thursday night got TWTW thinking if something similar could ever happen in the college hoops world. Now obviously it would be tough/impossible to create the exact same circumstances surrounding James’ seven-year tenure in Cleveland, his love affair with the city and their subsequent breakup on national TV this past summer. First we’d have to end the NCAA’s policy that forces transfer players to sit out for a year, as that would let players move freely to and from teams in a manner similar to free agency in the NBA. Then we’d have to find the right player that could possibly inspire the right amount of anger/hatred if he just so happened to “take his talents” to the wrong team.

Imagine if Hansbrough Moved to Duke...

OK, ready? Imagine if Tyler Hansbrough announced after UNC’s Final Four loss to Kansas in 2008 that he was going to transfer to Duke for his senior season. Kinda the same situation. A ringless player jumps ship in search of a possible championship. Imagine the public outcry. Imagine the reaction in Chapel Hill. Imagine Hansbrough’s first trip to the Dean Dome in a Blue Devils’ jersey.  You think Cleveland hates James? Just think about hatred felt by Tar Heel Nation if the reigning player of the year jumped ship to play for its bitter rival. Cleveland fans harbored no ill-will toward the Heat before this year, UNC fans don’t need any reason to wish bad things upon Duke and Coach K.

I don’t know if the environment in our hypothetical Dean Dome would trump the Quicken Loans Area. But it would be a memorable night… one of the most epic evenings of hoops in college basketball history.

Anyway let’s get back to reality with our third installment of TWTW.

What We Learned

  • Despite its overtime win at Virginia Tech, I don’t like what I see from Purdue. While discrediting the Boilermakers’ chops as a national player was a popular thing to do in the immediate aftermath of Robbie Hummel’s season-ending ACL tear, there was still a small group that warned people not to overlook Matt Painter’s club.  “Hey! We’ve still got E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson!” There’s no debating Moore’s and Johnson’s basketball credentials, but the problem is there’s not much firepower apart from that inside-outside duo. Against Richmond and Virginia Tech, the Boilermakers put up some pretty dreadful offensive numbers. They only made four field goals in the first half against the Spiders en route to a 16-53 shooting night (30.2%). They improved slightly against the Hokies (36.2%), but Johnson and Moore combined for 43 of Purdue’s 58 points Wednesday night. To compete in a Big Ten that’s looking more and more loaded as the season progresses, the Boilermakers are going to have to find some offensive balance.
  • Even though it boasts the best team in the country, the ACC stinks. Thank god for Duke (how many times has that sentence been written?). The Blue Devils provide some much-needed respectability to a conference that views itself as the center of the college basketball universe. This year, though, the ACC shares more in common with the Atlantic 10 than the Big East. #1 Duke is the only squad ranked in RTC’s top 25. Let’s take it a step further. If you look at the AP poll, the ACC only boasts two teams outside of Durham, N.C., that received votes. North Carolina checks in at #29 and Virginia Tech at #32. The conference lost the ACC/Big Ten Challenge by a count of 6-5. And for every positive result like Duke’s 84-79 win over Michigan State or Virginia’s upset at Minnesota, there were disasters like Georgia Tech’s 20-point thumping at Northwestern, Clemson’s home loss to Michigan and N.C. State’s 87-43 loss to Wisconsin. Could Duke possibly go 15-1 or 16-0 in conference play this season? TWTW wouldn’t bet against it.
  • Maybe all of that talk about Florida’s return to national prominence was a little bit premature. The Gators began the season expecting to battle Kentucky and Tennessee for the SEC East title because they… ummm, they… why did everyone think this team would be great, again? Billy Donovan’s bunch definitely is going through some growing pains. Since its blowout loss at home to Ohio State on November 16, Florida struggled to beat the likes of Morehead State and Florida Atlantic and then got beaten by Central Florida on Wednesday. Like Purdue, the Gators aren’t performing on the offensive end. Florida has only topped 70 points once in the past four games, and its 75.3 points per game rank 94th overall as of Wednesday night. The most troubling stat for Florida is that it ranks 93rd in the nation in assists as only three players on the Gators’ roster (Erving Walker, Chandler Parsons and Kenny Boynton) average more than one dime a game.

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Morning Five: 12.01.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2010

  1. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge ramped up last night, and as you’re probably aware by now, the Big Ten leads the Challenge 4-2 after a dominant evening where only Iowa lost on the road at Wake Forest.  Going into tonight’s five-game set, the ACC will be favored in three of the games, but if Wisconsin and Penn State can take care of business at home against NC State and Maryland, respectively, the Big Ten will win its second consecutive Challenge.  If either of those two drops the ball, the Big Ten’s next best shot for a road win will be Tom Crean’s Indiana team taking on a rebuilding Boston College, or Purdue going to Coleman Coliseum to take on Virginia Tech.  The one game we’re giving to the ACC right now is the Duke game against Michigan State in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Remember when MSU played UNC a couple of years ago at Ford Field in this event — that Spartan team still made the Final Four, if you recall, but Carolina ran Michigan State out of the building.  We expect Duke to do likewise tonight.
  2. Free Guy-Marc Michel?  We’d expect to see shirts like this popping up around Bloomington after the NCAA yesterday rejected Indiana’s appeal for the 7’0 freshman’s eligibility to play college basketball for the Hoosiers this season.  The Martinique native played in five games with a French club team that included professionals in 2007-08, but the more troubling issue according to the NCAA was his admission to a university in 2006 which created problems with their “five years to play four” rule.  Indiana is off to a 6-0 start but they haven’t played anyone of consequence yet, but it’s never bad to have a seven-footer lying around in case you need one.  That option is now off the table for Tom Crean’s team.
  3. Speaking of Indiana, the Hoosiers’ ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent tonight will be Boston College.  Gary Parrish takes a look at how its new coach, Steve Donahue, is trying to balance the competing interests of teaching his players how he wants them to play the game and trying to win those games.  He used the early-season loss to Yale as an example of what not to do, and it paid off with a 2-1 record at the Old Spice Classic last weekend.
  4. One of the few remaining uncommitted top 25 players in the Class of 2011, DeAndre Daniels, has narrowed his list to four schools: Texas, Kansas, UCLA and Florida.  The 6’8 forward whom Rivals has rated as the #9 overall prospect in the class was once a Texas commitment, but he re-opened his recruitment last summer.  He’s originally from the Longhorn State so the smart money is still probably on Texas, but don’t count out Bill Self or Billy Donovan in this race (Daniels is playing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida this season).
  5. Former Maryland star and current ESPN commentator Len Elmore, a Harvard Law graduate who never suppresses his informed opinions, believes that the NCAA should suspend Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl for two years as a consequence of his lying to investigators about his transgressions.  He said that the Tennessee’s salary docking of $1.5M and the SEC’s eight-game suspension of the coach were a “total cop-out.”  Our position on this isn’t quite as punitive as Elmore’s, but we also believe that the NCAA will come down hard on Pearl when they decide to hand out any sanctions.
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Around The Blogosphere: 12.01.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 1st, 2010

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to

Top 25 Games

  • #2 Ohio State 58, Florida State 44: “It wasn’t sexy but Ohio State used a stifling defense and timely scoring to turn back Florida State 58-44 tonight in Tallahassee.” (Eleven Warriors)
  • #10 Georgetown 111, #10 Missouri 104 (OT): “Wow.  Just wow.  I’m going to let that game sink in for a second. Ok, now we’re ready.  Georgetown beat Missouri in overtime tonight 111-102 in the game of the year so far in college basketball.  Read that score again.  Georgetown’s plodding, unathletic, silly little Princeton offense put up 111 points against the most suffocating defense in college basketball.  The Hoyas went in and defeated the #8 ranked team in the country in what was, for all intents and purposes, a home game for the Tigers.” (Casual Hoya)
  • #14 Kentucky 91, Boston University 57: “What was interesting about this game was the contrast between the first and second half. In the first half, it looked like all my worries in the open game thread were coming true — Knight was having trouble figuring out when to score and when to pass, they Wildcats were giving up scoring opportunities on the dribble drive in favor of the kick, and the defense was struggling to communicate again. But then came the second half. In the second half, the Wildcats went berserk on defense, creating 8 turnovers and scoring 12 points off those turnovers, versus 3 in the first half. One of Kentucky’s weaknesses all year long has been a failure to create turnovers on defense, and that seems way more than passing strange. This team is quicker, more athletic, and just plain more capable defensively than most teams they play. ” (A Sea of Blue)
  • #15 Tennessee 86, Middle Tennessee State 56: “Bruce Pearl’s first three teams started three or four players who didn’t top 6’4″, but since their names were Chris Lofton, JaJuan Smith, and C.J. Watson to name a few, we did just fine living by the three.  It was an exciting brand of basketball to watch, and Lofton especially was a once-in-a-generation shooter. Pearl’s fourth team took just as many threes but clanged most of them, and last year the Vols matured into a team that didn’t have to have the three ball to win” (Rocky Top Talk)
  • #16 Syracuse 78, Cornell 58: After struggling for much of the early season the Orange finally had an easy victory. (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
  • #23 Illinois 79, UNC 67: “Well how do you like that? There was an environment in the Assembly Hall tonight that is very unusual for a late November game, it felt like the good old days of the Big Ten ACC Challenge when we would routinely host top tier teams like Wake Forest or North Carolina.  The over capacity, extremely amped crowd had plenty to cheer about as the 2010 Illini attempted to exorcise the demons of the 2005 Illini.” (Hail to the Orange)
  • #24 Gonzaga 86, Eastern Washington 57: “There’s not much to say after a game like this one.  Facing an extremely overmatched Eastern Washington team, Gonzaga absolutely dominated tonight, coming away with a 86-57 win.  Steven Gray flashed some brilliant outside shooting to pace the Zags.  The senior guard finished with 18 points, all coming in the first half off of three pointers.  The news of the evening, however, was that Elias Harris is still in quite a battle with his Achilles injury.  The sophomore forward sat tonight’s game out and is reportedly questionable for Saturday’s game.  Harris seemed to turn a corner against Marquette in Kansas City but the injury kept him out of a majority of this week’s practice.  Fingers crossed as the Zags’ will be severely shorthanded without him against Illinois if he can’t go.” (The Slipper Still Fits)

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