ATB: Wild Weekend Full of Tournament Tickets Punched And Regular Season Finales

Posted by EJacoby on March 5th, 2012

This Weekend’s Lede – What makes the official start of March Madness? Saturday, March 3, which included 105 total games, three conference tournament championships, and 15 ranked teams playing their regular season finales definitely felt like the appropriate start date. Sunday saw eight more ranked teams play and one more conference tournament decided. It was a wonderful start to Championship Week that included both the usual (Murray State won the OVC) and the unexpected (Wichita State, Iona, and Middle Tennessee all lost before the title game) that makes our sport so much fun to watch. All regular season games but one Ivy contest are now completed, so the power leagues start up their own conference tournaments in the next couple of days. Over the course of the next week we will find out 27 more automatic bid winners and the 37 at-large teams to fill out the NCAA Tournament bracket. Let’s start by rehashing what took place over the weekend, and who looks good to go dancing. We start in the Big Ten…

Your Watercooler Moment. Buckeyes Victory Means a Three-Way Tie for Big Ten Supremacy 

Who said that Ohio State blew its chance at a Big Ten title last week with its loss to Wisconsin? Well, we were actually guilty of thinking the same, as Michigan State had built a two-game lead with two games to play in the conference season. But after losing at Indiana, the Spartans needed to defend their home court and defeat Ohio State in Sunday’s regular season finale if they wanted the outright Big Ten championship. The Buckeyes had other ideas, as they came back from down double-digits in the second half to eventually win on a game-winner with one second remaining. William Buford’s jumper not only evened Ohio State with Michigan State at 13-5 in the conference, but it also means that Michigan’s 13-5 record holds up as a third team atop the Big Ten. These three teams all slipped up at home late in the season, but none was more costly than this Michigan State loss with the outright title and a likely NCAA Tournament #1 seed on the line. The Big Ten Tournament will be as great to watch as ever before, with so many teams jockeying for postseason inclusion or seeding position, and three teams all as co-favorites. In the tiebreaker scenarios, Michigan State comes out victorious as the regular-season champion and #1 seed, but all three split their season series and can stake a legitimate claim as league champ.

Top Storyline – North Carolina Exacts Revenge on Duke. If it weren’t for Austin Rivers’ buzzer-beating three on February 8, then North Carolina would currently be on a 13-game winning streak in ACC play with a +13.6 average scoring margin in those games. The Tar Heels got revenge on Duke for that shot and made sure everyone remembers how great this team is as UNC throttled Duke from the outset of Saturday night’s regular season finale. The Tar Heels jumped out to an 18-5 lead in under four minutes, wound it all the way up to a 24-point advantage at halftime, and finished it off with an 88-70 blowout victory going away. Duke has struggled in Cameron Indoor Stadium this season, but nothing like this, in which the road team was superior in every facet of the game. The Tar Heels’ entire starting lineup finished with at least 12 points, Kendall Marshall dished out his usual 10 assists, and John Henson and Tyler Zeller each had 10 rebounds. Carolina is the ACC champion and peaking at the right time of year.

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MAAC Tournament Preview & Season Wrap-Up

Posted by rtmsf on March 2nd, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

Tournament Preview

A year ago the MAAC tournament gave us a surprise with St. Peter’s coming on strong to win the title. This season Iona is the clear-cut choice. Interestingly, if Iona gets upset, the conference will be a two-bid league with the Gaels almost certain to be an at-large entry to the NCAA tournament. As it stands, Iona cutting down the nets virtually guarantees the conference one spot on Selection Sunday. Doesn’t mean there will be a lack of excitement and drama along the way.

Final Regular Season Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record:

1. Iona 15-3, 24-6
2. Loyola (MD) 13-5, 21-8
3. Manhattan 12-6, 20-11
4. Fairfield 12-6, 17-3
5. Rider 10-8, 13-18
6. Siena 8-10, 13-16
7. Niagra 8-10, 13-18
8. Marist 7-11, 13-17
9. St. Peter’s 4-14, 5-25
10. Canisius 1-17, 5-24

 

MAAC Awards

Player of the Year: Scott Machado, Iona

A player that simply has a tremendous impact on the game. Machado scored 13.1  points a game while adding 5 rebounds, but his expertise lies in handing out assists. He led the nation with 10.1 assists an outing. The Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year award finalist is also dangerous in late game situations, hitting 80.5% of his free throw attempts.

Scott Macadho's Ability To Rack Up Assists Made Him An Easy Choice For MAAC Player of the Year (AP)

Rookie of the Year: Juan’ya Green, Niagara

The 6’3″ freshman guard averaged 17.5 points per outing. Green went beyond scoring, handing out 4.4 assists per game. The leading freshman scorer and third overall scorer in the MAAC, Green recorded 27 double figure games this season.

Coach of the Year: Jimmy Patsos, Loyola

The Greyhounds finished conference runner-up and recorded a 20-win season for the first time in school history. Loyola also owns victories over every other school in the conference’s “first division.” They will be a tough out in Springfield.

First Team All-MAAC:   

  • Rakim Sanders, Fairfield, Forward
  • Mike Glover, Iona, Forward
  • Erik Etherly, Loyola, Forward
  • George Beamon, Manhattan, Guard
  • O.D. Anosike, Siena, Forward
  • Scott Machado, Iona, Guard Read the rest of this entry »
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The Other 26: Week 13

Posted by IRenko on February 25th, 2012

I. Renko is an RTC columnist. He will kick off each weekend during the season with his analysis of the 26 other non-power conferences. Follow him on twitter @IRenkoHoops.

Ah, the sweet smell of February Madness in the air.  Who says we need to wait until March to start cracking open the brackets?  Six TO26 conferences kick things off in February:  the Big South (2/27), Horizon (2/28), A-Sun (2/29), Ohio Valley (2/29), Patriot (2/29), and West Coast (2/29).  And several other conferences will kick things off just as soon as the calendar turns, including the MVC in what’s sure to be another great iteration of Arch Madness. No automatic bids will be awarded until March 3 (though Harvard is in position to clinch the Ivy bid as early as March 2), but with a number of top 15 TO26 teams with at-large aspirations kicking off tournament play next week (Wichita State, Murray State, Creighton, St. Mary’s, Gonzaga, BYU), there are heavy implications for the nationwide Bubble.  Speaking of the top 15 …

Looking Forward:  What to Watch

In addition to the conference tournaments that kick off over the next week, here are a few regularly-scheduled games to keep your eye on:

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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 24th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

Reader’s Take

 

Opening Tip

  • Iona holds a slim lead and finishes the regular season at home with meetings against Fairfield and St. Peter’s. Regardless of how the top four play out, they are all very much in the hunt. Loyola’s final game at Manhattan on Sunday guarantees that a fair amount of scoreboard watching will be in vogue.

Player of the Week

  • Scott Machado, Iona, 6’1″, Sr. G – Averaged 14.5 points, 12 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 3 steals for the week. The versatile  Machado had 16 points in a win at Rider, hitting all ten of his free throw attempts.

Co-Rookies of the Week

  • Chavaughn Lewis, Marist, 6’5″, Fr., G/F - A starter for three weeks now, Lewis has 14 double figure games to his credit. Against Maine, Lewis recorded career highs in points (24), rebounds (9) and assists (5).
  • Evan Hymes, Siena, 5’8″, Fr., G – Outstanding in a 21-point, 7-assist showing in the upset of Manhattan. Playing 40 minutes for the 14th time in 16 games, Hymes averaged 13.5 points per game for the week.

Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record:

1. Iona 13-3, 22-6
2. Loyola (MD) 12-4, 20-7
3. Fairfield 12-4, 17-11
4. Manhattan 11-5, 19-10
5. Rider 8-8, 11-18
6. Niagra 7-9, 12-17
7. Siena 7-10, 12-16
8. Marist 6-11, 12-17
9. St. Peter’s 4-12, 5-23
10. Canisius 1-15, 5-22

Team Rundown

  1. Iona- Won on the road at Rider before coming home to defeat Nevada in the Bracketbusters. Sean Armand led five double figure scorers for the Gaels with 22 points against Rider. Armand was 7 of 13 from three-point range. Against Nevada, a 90-84 victory,  Lamont Jones paced Iona with 18 points. Five Gaels were in double figures and Scott Machado handed out 15 assists.

    Michael Glover and Iona Are The Team To Beat In The MAAC Tourney (AP)

  2. Loyola – Lost at Marist before defeating Boston University in the Bracketbuster. Shane Walker had a 16-point, 12-rebound night in the losing effort at Marist. A team with a defensive efficiency of 96 during the MAAC season, Loyola allowed Marist a huge 114 rating in their 72-54 loss. Four Greyhounds hit double figures against BU with Robert Olson’s 17 points leading the way. Olson added 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Read the rest of this entry »
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Set Your TiVo: 02.17.12 – 02.19.12

Posted by Brian Otskey on February 17th, 2012

Brian Otskey is the Big East correspondent for RTC and a regular contributor. You can find him @botskey on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

While BracketBusters is always solid, the overall slate over the next few days is full of good, but not great, games. Still, tune in to these games as conference races head down the stretch and the NCAA Tournament field begins to take shape.

#13 St. Mary’s at #24 Murray State – 6:00 PM EST Saturday on ESPN (****)

  • Since losing to Tennessee State, Murray State has rebounded with two wins over Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri State. On Saturday night the Racers will get their chance to show the nation they are for real. Playing at home in front of a juiced up crowd on national television, there is no excuse for Murray State to come out anything less than fired up. The three point line is this team’s best friend on both ends of the floor and it will be important against St. Mary’s. Murray State shoots 41% from deep (#8 nationally) and defends the arc very well. Against a St. Mary’s team that ranks a putrid #305 against the triple, that’s a huge advantage for the Racers at home. Steve Prohm should do everything in his power to ensure Isaiah Canaan (47.3%) and Donte Poole(39.3%) get quality shots from the arc against the porous Gaels’ defense. Defensively, the Racers must lock down the arc as they usually do. St. Mary’s shoots a lot of threes and while they don’t make a great percentage they do get just a shade under 30% of their total points from the arc.

    Isaiah Canaan And Company Could Have A Big Day From Behind The Arc Against St. Mary's Average 3-Point Defense (Getty)

  • St. Mary’s has lost two of its last three games after starting the season 22-2. The Gaels are still a likely NCAA Tournament team, but a win here would ensure their place in the field of 68 for sure. In order to win on the road in a tough environment against a good team, St. Mary’s must use its edge on the offensive glass, make threes and get to the foul line. With strong rebounders like Rob Jones and Brad Waldow, St. Mary’s has a clear size edge over Murray State. Only Ivan Aska and Ed Daniel see significant minutes for the Racers inside, two of only three players on the roster who are at least 6’7” tall. While the Gaels have a huge edge inside, they’re going to have to overcome Murray State’s strong perimeter defense. Matthew Dellavedova and Clint Steindl are going to have to hit threes for Randy Bennett’s team to come out on top. Thirdly, St. Mary’s should look to take advantage of a Murray State defense that ranks in the bottom half of Division I in defensive free throw rate. The Gaels get to the line fairly well and make 71.9% of their free throws. It’s so important to control tempo and keep the crowd out of the game and getting to the charity stripe while controlling the boards definitely helps in achieving that goal.
  • This should be a very close game but the edge has to go to the home team. St. Mary’s is struggling a bit right now and Murray State seems to have righted the ship since suffering its first loss. One concern for the Racers is their turnovers (14 per game). If Murray State controls the ball, plays well on the perimeter and gets to the free throw line at its usual clip, this will be the Racers’ game to lose.
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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 10th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

Reader’s Take 

 

Leading Off

  • Iona avenged a tough defeat in New Rochelle by knocking off Manhattan on their home floor, 85-73. The consensus around the league is that the two teams is will meet again later on down the road. In likelihood, the pair could very well tip it off in March at Springfield with a whole lot at stake.
  • In the meantime, don’t discount Loyola, who keeps on winning and is playing some outstanding defense.

Individual Standouts

  • Player of the Week: Lamont “Momo” Jones, Iona, Jr., G  – Averaged 30.5 points and five rebounds as the Gaels swept their two conference games. Jones shot 59.5% from the field and scored a Hynes Center record 43 points against Canisius.
  • Rookie of the Week:  Chavaughn Lewis, Marist, 6’7”  Fr.  G/F – Recently inserted into the starting lineup, Lewis averaged 13 points for the two games the past week. The freshman swingman proved versatile as well by averaging 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists to compliment his scoring.

Momo Jones Had A Huge Week For Iona (Iona Athletics)

Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record:

1. Iona 11-2, 19-5
2. Loyola (MD) 11-2, 18-5
3. Manhattan 10-4, 17-9
4. Fairfield 9-4, 14-10
5. Rider 8-6, 11-15
6. Siena 5-9, 10-14
7. Niagra 5-9, 10-16
8. Marist 4-9, 9-15
9. St. Peter’s 4-10, 5-20
10. Canisius 1-13, 4-20

 

Team Rundown

  1. Iona – Knocked off Canisius before earning a huge decision at Manhattan. Lamont Jones erupted for 43 points in the win over Canisius. Jones was 16 of 23 from the field (7 of 12 from three). Gaels enjoyed a 140 offensive efficiency rating in that contest. At Manhattan, the OE was another gaudy 123 for Iona. Four players were in double figures, led by Mike Glover’s 19 points.
  2. Loyola - Defeated Rider before winning at St. Peter’s to increase their win streak to six games. Outstanding defense has been the key during the winning streak. Rider was held to a 73 offensive efficiency. Erik Etherly scored 15 points and Shane Walker added 12 boards for Loyola. Against St. Peter’s, balance was a key as Roberton Olson led with 19 points while Etherley added 15 and Walker 14. Read the rest of this entry »
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March’s Top Cinderella Candidates

Posted by zhayes9 on January 31st, 2012

Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist for Rush the Court.

Did you think last year’s NCAA Tournament was chaotic? That was nothing.

That’s right, the tournament that saw two out of eleven Big East teams reach the Sweet Sixteen, #10-seed Florida State face #11-seed VCU in a regional semifinal and two mid-majors provide the undercard on Final Four Saturday could pale in comparison to what we’ll witness in 2012. Never before have the perceived top teams in the nation been more flawed. Never before has the soft underbelly of every power conference been more susceptible. Never before have the upper echelon mid-major schools been as viable and competitive. It’s a distribution of wealth that would make Bernie Sanders blush.

Which Mid-Majors Have the Best Shot to Celebrate Like This?

By the time we reach New Orleans, the cream may rise to the crop. A Final Four consisting of Kentucky, Ohio State, North Carolina and Syracuse wouldn’t stun me. It’s during the first weekend where a handful of non-BCS schools could knock off inadequate power-conference at-large teams. Don’t say you weren’t prepared.

Who are the mid-majors (a designation that excludes the Atlantic 10, Conference USA or Mountain West) most likely to crash the party? Here’s a good place to start:

  1. Saint Mary’s: The Gaels performed an offensive clinic best saved for instructional videos in a difficult road environment at BYU on Saturday. After watching that display (and two prior destructions to both BYU and Gonzaga on their home floor) it comes as no surprise that St. Mary’s assists on nearly 62% of made field goals. Their offensive assault is led by face-of-the-program Matthew Dellavedova, who plays almost 92% of the teams’ minutes, ranks in the country’s top 50 in assist rate and provides another shooting threat. What gives the Gaels the sustainability to win multiple games in the Tournament is dominance inside the arc. Randy Bennett’s team shoots 55% and holds opponents to 44% despite employing just two regular rotation players taller than 6’7”.
  2. Creighton: We know all about Doug McDermott’s All-America caliber season: an unfathomable 65% from two and 50% from three to match his 23.5 points per game. Now he only needs a sexier name to reach Jimmer-like cult status. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a one-man rodeo. What’s carried the Bluejays to a 10-1 record in the Valley is a formidable supporting cast with all of the ingredients for a deep March push: an athletic big man in Greg Echenique who can hold his own against power-conference frontlines, a heady senior point guard in Antoine Young with a more than 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, stat sheet stuffer Grant Gibbs and two rangy shooters in Jahenns Manigat and Ethan Wragge. Read the rest of this entry »
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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.

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Morning Five: 01.31.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 31st, 2012

  1. Seth Davis is back with his annual Jigsaw Man column. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, Seth adopts the persona of “The Jigsaw Man” to pick out players who if they switched teams would fill significant voids and does so while speaking in the third person. He tries to avoid picking out obvious targets like Anthony Davis who would make any team better even if they didn’t have a deficiency at that position. We are not sure if we are just getting cranky in our old age, but it seems like Seth is cheating a bit with some of his picks. Stealing players like Terrell Stoglin (the leading scorer in the ACC), Scott Machado (maybe the best point guard in the country), and Mike Moser (a potential All-American and a long-time crush of Andy Glockner and Ryan Greene) seems to be too easy. Obviously, adding the best point guard in the nation would make Duke a better team. So if you are reading this Seth Jigsaw Man (and we know that you are), step it up a little bit next year. Pick someone like Alex Oriakhi who is wasting away on the bench, but could and should be a double-double guy in the right situation instead of picking a potential All-American who is the best player on a top 10 team like Moser.
  2. Whenever we hear someone talk about how unsavory recruiting is for top football recruits we hear someone else talk about how it is worse in basketball. We now have found at least one example where it is not. According to some media reports, one five-star football recruit who chose to attend Alabama over LSU was influenced by a promise that the former would give the recruit’s girlfriend a job. Interestingly, according to the NCAA bylaws, this appears to only be an infraction if it was committed for a basketball recruit, but for a football recruit apparently is it ok. The NCAA never ceases to amaze us.
  3. Last week, the National Coordinator of basketball officials in Division I, John Adams, posted a memo urging officials to pay a closer attention to sportsmanship and call technical fouls on coaches and players who violate this principle. After the officiating over the weekend, Adams decided that he needed to respond to the criticism of officials. While he did not discuss the atrocious officiating in Philadelphia or the missed goaltending call in upstate New York, Adams did discuss the role of officials in dealing with unsportsmanlike acts. Adams essentially believes that the controversial sportsmanship fouls were correct and hopes that these moves will help rebuild college basketball’s image after a rough past few months. While legislating the trash talking more effectively may reduce some of the unseemly incidents we have seen, we would also like to see Adams work on improving the officiating of all areas of the game.
  4. With his team on its way to a second straight solid season and a potential NCAA Tournament bid that it did not get last year, Iona coach Tim Cluess was given a contract extension through the 2016-17 season. Cluess, who came to the school without any prior Division I head coaching experience, is actually in the last guaranteed year of his initial contract. Thanks to a 25-win season to start his coaching career and what appears to be an even better second season, Cluess has a well-deserved contract extension, which should only help him with recruiting although we cannot imagine that any recruit thought Cluess was in jeopardy of losing his job.
  5. His team is currently on the wrong side of the bubble, but that did not stop VCU coach Shaka Smart from making a bold proclamation that the “the best programs in the state are in the CAA. It’s really not even close.” When you look at the numbers over the past ten years, the three programs he is referring to (VCU, George Mason, and Old Dominion) have put up much better numbers (detailed in the article) than the the ACC programs (Virginia and Virginia Tech). So technically Smart is correct even if he does come off as untactful, but it is more amusing to hear new George Mason coach Paul Hewitt talk about this when he guided another ACC program (Georgia Tech) right into the ground.
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The Other 26: Week Nine

Posted by IRenko on January 28th, 2012

I. Renko is an RTC columnist. He will kick off each weekend during the season with his analysis of the 26 other non-power conferences. Follow him on twitter @IRenkoHoops.

The now-annual Bracket Buster weekend is a great late-season non-conference bounty, especially for mid-major hoops fans.  This year’s matchups will be announced on Monday, and today we take a look at the top five games we hope to see scheduled.  That, plus a look back and a look forward, after the updated top 15.

Top Five Potential Bracketbuster Matchups

This year, there are 22 Bracketbuster squads in the RPI top 100, with 13 slated to play home games and nine set to hit the road. This creates a slight discrepancy between the strength of the home teams and the road teams, which is magnified when you consider that the breakdown is 12 to six among teams in the top 85.  Nonetheless, there are some great potential matchups.

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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on January 27th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences. The records listed are up to date, but the analysis is just through Wednesday’s games.

Reader’s Take 

 

Leading Off

A sobering, down to earth thought and time of reflection. Marist College cancelled last Sunday’s game with Fairfield and Monday’s Women’s contest against St. Peter’s. This came following a tragic fire in Poughkeepsie, NY that took the lives of three people, two of them Marist students. In a statement MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor said, “the MAAC member schools share in the grief of the Marist community and offers its condolences to the families of the students who died or were injured in this tragic fire.” Ensor also noted rescheduling of the games will be done later as the conference consults with the involved schools. Our thoughts and prayers are with those victims and their families as well.

The Week That Was

Player of the Week: Scott Machado, Iona, 6’1″, Sr., G – Posted an 11-point, 15-assist, 9-rebound effort in the win over Rider. Machado narrowly missed being Iona’s second triple-double performer in school history. Machado had only two turnovers in that win.

Iona's Scott Machado Has Been On Fire Lately

Rookie of the Week: Antoine Mason, Niagara, 6’3″, Fr., G – Averaged 20.5 points, 5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in a 1-1 week for Niagara. Mason has led Niagara in scoring the last three games. The highlight,  a 22 point effort in the victory over rival Canisius.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Morning Five: 01.18.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 18th, 2012

  1. There was quite a bit of news on the injury front yesterday. Louisville‘s Rakeem Buckles may have garnered the biggest headlines nationally as he appears to have one-upped Robbie Hummel as the most injury-ridden player in high-major college basketball. Just a few months after coming back from a torn ACL in his right knee that kept him out for nine months, Buckles tore the ACL in his left knee and is expected to be out the rest of this season and next season. (Yes, next season too.) For a team that has already been decimated by injuries, the loss of Buckles again and to such a significant injury must be a crushing blow. Rick Pitino will have his work cut out for him keeping this team together and getting anywhere near preseason expectations.
  2. Coming to Memphis as a McDonald’s All-American Adonis Thomas was saddled with significant expectations some of which he brought upon himself by pulling stunts like using a national television broadcast to announce his final list of schools. Now it appears his freshman campaign will come to a premature close due to an ankle injury as he will undergo what is expected to be season-ending surgery on his left ankle. Thomas, who was one of the most athletic freshmen in the country, has been erratic at times this season, but is still the team’s third leading scorer at 9.7 points per game and provided them with a versatile all-court weapon that they may miss as the season progresses.
  3. Buckles and Thomas may be bigger names, but the season-ending injury to Jenniro Bush due to a ruptured Achilles tendon will have a bigger impact on his team than that of the other two players. Bush, who leads Jackson State in scoring at 15.5 points per game, was the SWAC preseason player of the year. While the Tigers have struggled this year (4-14 overall and 2-4 in the SWAC), Bush has still managed to put up solid numbers albeit on high-volume shooting on a team where only two other players average more than five points per game. With Bush out, the Tigers, who would have been a long shot even with him, are all but eliminated from contention for the conference’s automatic bid.
  4. The Wooden Award announced its list of 25 midseason candidates yesterday. We are assuming that the GPA requirement did not knock out any candidates and even if it did the list actually appears to be pretty solid to us. You can argue that a few other players like Michael Glover should have been included, but it would be a little bit too much to expect them to have two Iona players on the list of 25 finalists, and we would have expected Tu Holloway to be on there a few weeks ago before that little incident in Cincinnati. Other than that we have to give them credit for including four players from high-major conferences not counting UNLV and Memphis who are really high-major programs playing in weaker conferences.
  5. Yesterday we provided you with a link to the methodology behind the Value Added statistic that Basketball Prospectus was going to unveil and as promised today we have their version of a Value Added statistic. As Drew Cannon notes this year’s results look “insane”. While some of you are going to immediately dismiss this statistic (and we were too when we first saw this year’s list), it is worth remembering that it is early in the season and sometimes you might need to tweak the formula a little bit. Cannon discusses the results a little bit and tries to rationalize them, but for now we will keep an eye on this and see how the rankings evolve as the season progresses.
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