ATB: Regular Season Coda

Posted by rtmsf on March 8th, 2010

The End of the Regular Season.  Since there was so much going on this weekend, we’re going to separate today’s ATB into two separate posts.  This post exclusively covers the major conference teams, none of whom have gotten to the postseason portion of their schedules yet.  We’ll also have another ATB tonight that solely focuses on the mid-major conference tournaments — that post is here.

It’s Kyle Kuric’s World, We’re Just Living In ItLouisville 78, #1 Syracuse 68.  Rick Pitino loves these games, as it takes him back to the early days of his coaching career as the underdog at Providence or his early probation-era Kentucky teams.  With a possible NCAA bid on the line and the air filled with the pomp and circumstance of the closing of Freedom Hall, the Cards found the unlikeliest of heroes in the second half after guard Jerry Smith hurt his thumb and had to leave the game.  A little-used sophomore by the name of Kyle Kuric who had logged eight scoreless games this season found a groove from seemingly everywhere on the court.  Dunks, threes, rebounds, assists, you name it — Kuric did it.  He scored all 22 of his points in the second half, including a stretch of four treys in five minutes that gave Louisville some breathing room as Syracuse kept going inside to their big men.  It was an unbelievable performance that you have to figure will never be duplicated in that young man’s career.  With the win, Louisville moved into the #6 seed in the Big East Tournament and will await the winner of Cincinnati and Rutgers on Wednesday.  As for Syracuse, we’re not going to read much into this loss on the road where UL was playing for everything and Jim Boeheim’s team was playing for nothing, but it should be noted that the Cardinals defeated the Orange twice this year, and the Cuse only lost three times.  The way that the Cardinal players attacked the SU zone in the two wins should be Cliff Notes material for every team that the Orange faces the rest of the way.  You have to have athletes who understand good offensive spacing, and it doesn’t hurt to have a Kyle Kuric draining everything he throws up, but it can certainly be done.

Think Louisville's Next Opponent Might Scout Him? (C-J/S. Upshaw)

KU HangoverIowa State 85, Kansas State 82 (OT).  This is why we’re not sold on K-State as a Final Four contender this year.  Mere days after getting run out of the gym against rival Kansas in the Phog, we would expect a top five team to rebound at home on Senior Day to obliterate a vastly inferior team like Iowa State.  Instead what we got was an uninspired performance by Frank Martin’s team that included poor shooting (34% FG and 3-23 from three) and even worse decision-making.  Often the K-State players decided on a forced shot when there were better opportunities available, and it showed as Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen combined for 11-38 from the field (3-21 from three).  ISU led for most of the game, but when Kansas State finally tied it up in the last minute, you figured that the better team would eventually pull it out.  Didn’t happen.  There’s an element of undisciplined and scattered play that we’ve repeatedly noticed in the KSU attack this year, and while the Wildcats are definitely a dangerous team, Martin agrees that his team is not yet at a championship level of play.  It will be interesting to see how a team that doesn’t have a lot of postseason success to hang its hat on will handle going into the Big 12 Tournament next week as the #2 seed.

Quincy Acy, Dunking Machine.  We had to mention this because we’re not sure we’ve ever heard of such a thing.  In Baylor’s win against Texas on Saturday, forward Quincy Acy had 24 points on 12-15 shooting, an amazing ten of which were on dunks.  Acy is a very nice swing player, but it’s not like he’s Shaq or Dwight Howard standing in the paint all night.  How a single player can throw down that many dunks, many of which were earth-shaking in force, is as indicative as anything that Texas’ defense has checked out for the season.

Acy is a Raging Dunkaholic (AP/M. Bancale)

Conference Recaps.  As of tonight, there’s only one regular season game left (Penn-Princeton), and it’s meaningless to the national picture, although certainly important to fans of that rivalry.  Let’s recap how the final weekend of the regular season shaped up in the major conferences.

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Set Your Tivo: 02.23.10

Posted by THager on February 23rd, 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

#13 Georgetown @ Louisville – 7 pm on ESPN2 (***)

For how large the gap is between their rankings, Georgetown is not that much better of a team than Louisville.  Georgetown is still aiming for a #3 seed in the Tournament, while Louisville still has some work to do.  However, Louisville is a game ahead of the Hoyas in the Big East standings, and with a victory tonight they will have more wins on the year than Georgetown.  UL has all the momentum, as they are coming off of three straight conference wins and the Hoyas have not won since February 9.  Louisville’s main concern will be guarding the Hoyas, as the Cardinals’ #80-ranked defense will be going up against a Georgetown team that shoots 50% from the floor as a team.  They Hoyas are trying to rebound from a rough performance against Syracuse in which they missed 40 shots and Julian Vaughn was held scoreless.  The Cardinals have a solid offense as well, ranking ninth in offensive efficiency, but they are going to need more help from players other than Samardo Samuels and Edgar SosaJerry Smith is their third leading scorer, but he hasn’t scored more than seven points in a game since February 6.  The Hoyas have lost two straight games, but their second half performance against Syracuse may indicate that they have come out of their slump, and they should get back on track tonight.

#6 Kansas State @ Texas Tech – 8 pm on ESPN360 (**)

The Wildcats have quietly been working towards a potential #2 seed the last few weeks, winning their last five games against the bottom of the Big 12.  Texas Tech, who has lost three straight games to most likely kill their at-large tournament hopes, is now among the worst teams in the conference.  Had the Red Raiders pulled out their recent games against Oklahoma State and Texas, they would have looked like a much more formidable opponent at 18-8, so this game won’t likely be a blowout.  Nevertheless, the Red Raiders are going to have to step up their defense if they want to keep this game close.  Their defense, which ranks #97 in efficiency, has allowed their last four opponents to shoot over 40% from the field, including a road game against Baylor in which they allowed the Bears to make 55% of their shots.  Kansas State, led by Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente, features four legitimate scorers and ranks in the top 10 in offensive efficiency, so they will likely capitalize on any defensive miscues that Texas Tech makes.  Although the Red Raiders don’t have the best offense by any stretch, they shoot almost 39% from the three-point line, and can at least keep the game within reach if they hit their shots.  Against Baylor, they made 8 of their 13 three-pointers, so this game may largely hinge on their three-point shooting.  KSU has a solid defense, and given that Texas Tech dropped their last two home games, I don’t think the home crowd will play much of a factor tonight.

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Checking in on… the Big East

Posted by rtmsf on December 17th, 2009

checkinginon

Rob Dauster of Ballin is a Habit is the RTC correspondent for the Big East Conference.

You all were waiting for it.  And it finally happened.

You may not have noticed due to the beer and football induced stupor you were in on Sunday, but the Big East had a pretty rough weekend. Louisville, Providence, DePaul, Notre Dame, Villanova, Cincinnati and Marquette all lost as the Big East went 7-7 over the course of Saturday and Sunday. That’s seven losses in two days from a league that had 20 losses over the first month of the season.  Throw in the losses that UConn and Pitt suffered in the Garden during the week, and nine different teams from the league lost this week.  The question now becomes, is this simply the Big East coming back down to earth – hey, they had to lose at some point, didn’t they – or is it a sign that the league is not quite as powerful as some of us speculated in the last few weeks?

Last season, the consensus was that the Big East was one of the strongest in the history of college basketball, but most of that strength was at the top of the league. Less than half of the teams in the Big East made the NCAA Tournament, but of the seven that did, five reached the Sweet 16, four made the Elite 8, and two reached the Final Four.  Can a league be one of the best even when 9 of the 16 teams don’t even qualify for the Big Dance?  Part of the reason there was so much hype regarding the Big East was that they started off so strong. At one point early in the year, nine teams were ranked in the top 25. Two teams that spent time in the top 10, Notre Dame and Georgetown, ended up missing the dance completely.

So, as any reasonable blogger would do, I’ll compare.  Last year on December 16th, the Big East was 116-28 as a league. This year? 119-29. That’s a one game difference in the loss column.  Crazy, right?  Now take into account the disastrous weekend the league just had, and it is pretty obvious that as of last Friday, the Big East was well beyond where they were at this same point last season, and last season the conference was considered one of the best ever.

There’s more.  Seven teams that got out to great starts last season fell way off as the year went along:

  • Seton Hall and St. John’s both started the season 8-1 before hitting a mid-year swoon and finishing 17-16 and 16-18, respectively. Both the Pirates and the Johnnies are much improved this season, and despite neither playing at full strength right now, St. John’s is 8-1 while Seton Hall is 8-0.
  • Notre Dame (7-2) and Georgetown (7-1 on Dec. 16th, 10-1 to start the season) both shot up the polls early in the season, but for a variety of reasons collapsed during the rigors of Big East play, finishing 21-15 and 16-15, respectively. Georgetown is 8-0 this season and once again approaching the top 10, while Notre Dame is 9-2.
  • Cincinnati started the year 7-2 and looked like a team that could compete for a bubble spot, but struggled during conference play as a result of their lack of balance offensively and finished 18-14. They are 6-2 this year and have much more help for Deonta Vaughn.
  • Providence looked like they could also compete for an at-large bid as they started the season 6-3. They are 7-4 this year, but don’t look like they will be a factor come March.

What does all this mean?  Could the Big East actually be better this season than it was last season?  Depends on what you mean by better.

No, they don’t have the same powerhouses at the top of the league. Sure, Syracuse, West Virginia and even Villanova and possibly Georgetown may compete for #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, but will three of those teams be #1 seeds? Not with Kansas, Kentucky, and Texas around.  But the Big East is deeper this season. Teams like Marquette, Louisville, Pitt and UConn, traditional Big East powers, are going to occupy the middle of the league standings. Seton Hall, South Florida, St. John’s, Cincinnati and DePaul, teams that have been consistently at the bottom of the league, also look to be middle of the pack teams.  Does that make it a better league?

Player of the Week: Greg Monroe, Georgetown. Monroe carried the Hoyas to a 2-0 week against top 25 teams. On Tuesday against Butler, he went for 24 points and grabbed 15 boards while dominating in the paint. On Saturday against Washington, Monroe was much more of a distributor, as he went for 15 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists while orchestrating the Hoya offense. The most impressive part of his week was that he was seamlessly able to move between the roles of being a dominant post presence and being a a guy that the Hoyas can run their intricate offense through. While I still believe he needs to be assertive in the post for Georgetown to reach their potential, his versatility makes you realize just how good of a basketball player he actually is.

Honor Roll

  • Jamel Jackson, Seton Hall – Jackson scored 40 points and hit 12 threes off the bench in a 134-107 win over VMI.
  • Kevin Jones, West Virginia – Keep an eye on this kid. He averaged 19 ppg and 10 rpg in a 2-0 week for the Mountaineers, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds.
  • Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame – Fresh off of a 31 point performance, Abromaitis averaged 20.5 ppg in a 1-1 week for the Irish. His ability to shoot, score, and take prressure off of Harangody will be a huge factor in the Irish success this season. Full disclosure – I’m biased, Abro is a product of the same AAU program as me.

Team of the Week: Syracuse Orange.

Syracuse gets the nod thanks to their win over Florida in the SEC/Big East challenge in a game played in Tampa. What can I say about the Orange that hasn’t already been said too many times? Their ability to create points off of turnovers is astounding for a zone team, they can shoot, they are big, and they have a star in Wes Johnson. The Orange are arguably the best team in the East.

POWER RANKINGS

1. Syracuse

Last Week: 12/10 vs. Florida 85-73; 12/13 vs. St. Francis NY 75-51

Next Week: 12/19 vs. St. Bonaventure

See above.

2. West Virginia

Last Week: 12/9 vs. Duquesne 68-39; 12/12 vs. Coppin State 69-43

Next Week: 12/19 @ Cleveland State

The Mountaineers just keep rolling along, as they have been playing suffocating defense, overwhelming smaller, less physical teams. If there has been a knock on WVU this year, it is that they are not the most efficient offensive team. That could change once Devin Ebanks starts playing better. As I mentioned above, Kevin Jones might be the most pleasant surprise in the league this side of Abromaitis.

3. Georgetown

Last Week: 12/8 vs. Butler 73-65; 12/12 vs. Washington 74-66

Next Week: 12/19 vs. Old Dominion

I’m not completely sold on the Hoyas yet, but you can’t argue with their performance thus far. In depth analysis here.

4. Villanova

Last Week: 12/9 @ St. Joe’s 97-89; 12/13 @ Temple 65-75

Next Week: 12/19 @ Fordham

While you never want to lose a game, dropping a game on the road against a Big 5 rival is not the worst loss in the world. As you should know, you can throw the records out when rivals play, and it also serves to note that Temple is not a terrible team this season. They were a Greg Monroe layup away from winning at Georgetown. Two things to be concerned about: Nova allowed 53 combined points from Juan Fernandez and Ryan Brooks, and Antonio Pena was out played (especially on the glass) by Lavoy Allen, who had 17 rebounds.

5. UConn

Last Week: 12/9 vs. Kentucky 61-64

Next Week: 12/20 vs. Central Florida; 12/22 vs. Maine

Tough to knock the Huskies after their loss to Kentucky. UConn is going to be up and down all season. Their success is going to be a result of their effort. When this team is hustling defensively, crashing the boards, and attacking in transition, they are going to be able to compete with anyone in the league. But when they get pushed around inside like they did against Duke, UConn will look like a NIT team.

6. Cincinnati

Last Week: 12/10 vs. Miami OH 63-59; 12/13 @ Xavier 79-83; 12/16 vs. UAB 64-47

Next Week: 12/19 vs. Lipscomb; 12/22 vs. Winthrop

Like Villanova, take the loss at Xavier with a grain of salt. Losing a double overtime dogfight on the road against your rival isn’t a bad loss. The bigger worry should be the Bearcats offensively. Cincy can bang inside with anyone in the country, and they really have embodied their coach by playing intense defense, but until they become a more efficient offensive team and figure out how to utilize talents like Lance Stephenson, Deonta Vaughn and Yancy Gates, they are going to suffer some losses like this.

7. Seton Hall

Last Week: 12/12 vs. VMI 134-107

Next Week: 12/19 vs. Temple; 12/22 vs. Navy

Its pretty obvious that the Pirates are going to be able to score with just about anyone, but how well they defend this year is going to be the determining factor in where they end up this season. This team has so much talent. You should know about guys like Eugene Harvey and Jeremy Hazell and Herb Pope, but how many teams in the country have a guy like Jamel Jackson on the bench, capable of scoring 40 in a game? Seton Hall will finally play at full strength when Keon Lawrence returns Dec. 19th.

8. St. John’s

Last Week: 12/9 vs. Georgia 66-56; 12/13 vs. Fordham 73-56

Next Week: 12/20 vs. Hofstra

DJ Kennedy is one of the most underrated players in the league, and have quite a few talented role players. When SJU finally gets Anthony Mason back (and that could be a few more weeks), this may be a team that can make the tournament.

9. Louisville

Last Week: 12/12 vs. Western Carolina 83-91; 12/16 vs. Oral Roberts 94-57

Next Week: 12/19 vs. Western Kentucky

Simply put, Louisville just isn’t playing well. Jerry Smith isn’t hitting threes, Terrence Jennings isn’t playing defense, and Samardo Samuels isn’t rebounding. Typical early season swoon for Louisville?

10. Pitt

Last Week: 12/12 vs. Kent State 71-59

Next Week: 12/19 vs. Mt. St. Mary’s

This isn’t your typical Pitt team, but getting Jermaine Dixon healthy and Gilbert Brown eligible will help this team get better offensively.

11. Marquette

Last Week: 12/12 @ Wisconsin 63-72

Next Week: 12/19 vs. North Florida

Marquette has now lost three of four before losing Jeronne Maymon, who left the team. Could that cost them Vander Blue as well? I’m not sure that the mismatches on the offensive end for Lazar Hayward and Jimmy Butler outweigh their ovewhelming lack of interior size.

12. Notre Dame

Last Week: 12/9 vs. IUPUI 93-70; 12/12 vs. Loyola D 85-87

Next Week: 12/19 vs. UCLA, 12/22 vs. Bucknell

Tim Abromaitis and Ben Hansbrough have been nice complimentary players for the Irish, but this group still needs to get better defensively on in the paint.

13. South Florida

Last Week: 12/12 vs. Central Michigan 56-59; 12/16 vs. Central Florida 69-65

Next Week: 12/19 vs. San Francisco; 12/20 vs. San Diego

I wonder how much the NCAA investigation (if there actually is one) will effect this team, that could get a boost from the return of PG Anthony Crater.

14. DePaul

Last Week: 12/10 vs. Mississippi State 45-76; 12/13 vs. Illinois Chicago 77-56; 12/16 vs. American 57-62

Next Week: 12/19 vs. Texas State

DePaul came back to earth when they played MSU. They really need to get Mac Kowshal back.

15. Rutgers

Last Week: 12/9 vs. Monmouth 66-52; 12/15 vs. Rider 80-70 OT

Next Week: 12/19 vs. NJIT; 12/22 vs. St. Peter’s

The Scarlet Knights may end up dropping down these rankings in the coming weeks as second leading scorer Gregory Echinique is out for eight weeks with an eye injury.

16. Providence

Last Week: 12/9 @ George Washington 110-97; 12/12 vs. Iona 73-82

Next Week: 12/21 vs. Yale

With guys like Greedy Peterson, Marshon Brooks and Sharaud Curry, the Friars can put up points. But defense and depth is going to be an issue all season long.

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2009-10 Conference Primers: #3 – Big East

Posted by rtmsf on November 5th, 2009

seasonpreview

Rob Dauster of Ballin is a Habit is the RTC correspondent for the Big East Conference.

Predicted order of finish:

  1. Villanova
  2. West Virginia
  3. UConn
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Louisville
  6. Georgetown
  7. Syracuse
  8. Seton Hall
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Marquette
  12. South Florida
  13. Rutgers
  14. Providence
  15. St. John’s
  16. DePaul

Preseason Awards.

  • Player of the Year. Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
  • Newcomer of the Year. Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
  • Breakout Player of the Year. Kemba Walker, UConn

big east logo

All-Conference First Team.

  • Kemba Walker, UConn
  • Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
  • Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
  • Greg Monroe, Georgetown
  • Luke Harangody, Notre Dame

All-Conference Second Team.

  • Jerome Dyson, UConn
  • Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati
  • Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia
  • Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
  • Lazar Hayward, Marquette

All-Conference Third Team.

  • Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
  • Corey Fisher, Villanova
  • Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall
  • Stanley Robinson, UConn
  • Samardo Samuels, Louisville

All-Rookie Team.

  • Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
  • Peyton Siva, Louisville
  • Maalik Wayns, Villanova
  • Dante Taylor, Pitt
  • Mouphtaou Yarou, Villanova

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Buzz: On Misdemeanors and Injuries

Posted by rtmsf on October 19th, 2009

Louisville Players Plead Out.  We don’t need to rehash all the things we wrote last week with respect to Terrence Jennings and Jerry Smith’s arrest and formal charges by the Jeffersonville (IN) prosecuting attorney.  If you’re interested, you can read it here.  But the handwriting was on the wall from 1000 steps away — these guys weren’t going to face much in the way of punishment.  Sure enough, today the players both pled to a misdemeanor charge of resisting law enforcement and each sentenced to a $500 fine and forty hours of community service.  By way of comparison, we were once sentenced to a $300 fine and forty hours of community service for rolling through a stop sign and speeding.  Imagine if we’d taken a few swings at a cop or three?!?  We wonder if the community service involves practice time – after all, isn’t that giving back to the community?

SIU’s Ryan Hare Booted.  Chris Lowery apparently takes player discipline a little more seriously than Rick Pitino, as returning starter Ryan Hare was dismissed from SIU today.  The second-year guard who averaged 8/3 last season and showed considerable promise as a key contributor was charged last month with felony battery and trespassing, and had been suspended from the team until today’s dismissal.  Coach Lowery stated that he was dismissing Hare based on violation of team policies and rules, but it was unclear whether there was an other incident or if he was referring to the original allegations against Hare.

Reserve Injuries.  Stanford freshman forward Andy Brown tore his ACL in practice and is out for the season.  Iowa backup center Devon Archie will miss 4-7 weeks of practice time, and possibly the Hawkeye opener against Texas-San Antonio, due to a shoulder injury he suffered over the weekend.  He is expected to provide depth to an already shallow frontcourt.  Santa Clara backup center Scott Thompson will miss the entire season due to an unspecified heart condition.  The Broncos were hoping he could step in for departed John Bryant, but that will not be happening.

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Closing Out Midnight Madness…

Posted by rtmsf on October 17th, 2009

BOOMLast night was the celebration, but it’s back to the blood, sweat and tears of two-a-days for the roughly 5000 Division I players around the country today as coaches begin whipping their teams into shape for season openers in less than a month.  RTC’s John Stevens dynamited last night’s disappointing ESPNU coverage, ultimately finding that the various tweets and message board updates from fans, coaches, players and media around the country were entirely more interesting than Steve Lavin sitting in an empty locker room waiting for a volleyball game to end.  So to wrap up our Midnight Madness coverage, let’s take another look at some of the sights and sounds from last night’s events around the nation.

First, some of the bigger events of last night…

Duke’s Midnight Madness took an odd turn last evening.  From The Onion:

DURHAM, NC—Freshman Nate Washburn, 17, was mutilated in front of 12,000 students, players, and coaches at Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium Friday during the school’s traditional “Midnight Madness Sacrifice A Freshman Ceremony.” Prior to their first official practice, six hooded members of the Duke basketball team, lightly chanting the school’s fight song, led a blindfolded Washburn to center court, where he was greeted by head coach Mike Krzyzewski…

Ok, that’s a joke.  But the following video wasn’t.  They actually showed this at last night’s Countdown to Craziness in Cameron (this is the kind of stuff ESPNU should have been showing!), and the Titanic scene is absolutely going to give us nightmares for the entire rest of Nolan Smith’s career.  Seriously.  Check it out at the 1:55 minute mark (but the whole thing is worth watching).

And you may have heard that some tomfoolery got into those silly students at Georgetown last night.  Well, one specifically.  A freshman named Alex Thiele was arrested on suspicion of lifting a loaded handgun from a Park Police officer and then firing the damn thing in a bathroom in one of the dorms on campus.  What – it wouldn’t flush?  This is just bizarre.

Moving on, here’s Tom Izzo driving into the sold-out (first time ever) Breslin Center at Michigan State in a Formula 1 race car.  The tie-in, of course, is that Indianapolis is the site of the 2010 Final Four.

Here’s some of the freshman dance skit at Kansas’ Late Night in the Phog last evening.  Gary Parrish was there for this one.

You knew Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness was going to be on the other side of insane  last night, and it was.  Here’s John Calipari’s opening speech, which is being compared favorably with Obama’s gift of oratory by some (though not all).

Here’s Bob Huggins entering West Virginia’s Midnight Madness last night.  WVU is getting a lot of early season hype as a darkhorse F4 candidate.

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Pitino Says Jennings and Smith Will Not Miss Game Time

Posted by rtmsf on October 15th, 2009

We really shouldn’t be surprised by this stuff anymore, but we still allow ourselves to be from time to time. 

Rick Pitino said yesterday that two key contributors who were involved in an altercation with police over the weekend will not miss any game time due to their alleged transgressions.  Two expected starters, Terrence Jennings and Jerry Smith, were arrested on Saturday night for mixing it up with police at a homecoming alumni party in Jeffersonville, Indiana (across the Ohio River from Louisville).  In Jennings’ case, he was so resistant to the JPD that he was subjected to a taser – not once, but TWICE – before they finally subdued the 6’10, 230-lb forward.  Smith, a senior guard, allegedly came to his defense, refused to back off, and he too was subdued. 

jennings smith mugs

Both players were arrested and the accompanying police report recommended that each be charged with multiple counts of resisting arrest and battery.   Steven Stewart, the Clark County (IN) prosecuting attorney, had other ideas as last night he stated that they would instead each face a single misdemeanour charge of resisting arrest.  He stated:

People don’t understand that police make a recommendation in the report, but the prosecutor makes the decision what charges will be filed.

This is assuredly true, and something that many people don’t understand.  But it would have been nice if Mr. Stewart had provided a little more by way of explanation as to what mitigating factors he considered in making that decision.  In most cases, police don’t wantonly taser people to the ground (there are exceptions, of course).  And when they do it once, they usually don’t have to do it again.  Yet in the heat of the moment here, the cops felt that Jennings was so completely out of control that he needed to be subjected to extremely strong (sometimes lethal!) jolts of electricity twice.  So why would Stewart reduce the charges against someone whom the police thought was extraordinarily out of line on that night?  What on earth could it be?

steven stewart bio

We haven’t even gotten into Mr. Best Year of His Life’s sentencing techniques.  It’s understandable to a certain degree that someone in a political position such as Stewart’s must carefully navigate high-profile crimes in full view of his constituents, but what’s Pitino’s deal?  In one statement he says that “anytime you defy a police officer, it’s serious,” and in another he defends Smith’s actions by saying that “he saw a teammate [on the ground] taking some pretty good blows and tried to help.”

Speaking of serious, is Pitino serious with this hedge?  Defying a police officer is failing to move out of the way when he asks you to clear some space.  It is NOT taking haymakers at officers wearing clearly marked “POLICE” jackets, instigating a fight and causing them to use the taser on you twice (in Jennings’ case).  Furthermore, this isn’t a basketball court environment where you’re taught to defend your teammates — this is the real world.  If the cops are busily tasing your friend/teammate, you should be upset (in Smith’s case); but you should also realize that you didn’t see what led to that incident and the cops must believe it’s fairly serious (rightly or wrongly).  The smart move is to keep your head so that you can learn about what is happening and try to negotiate the heated situation – the wrong move is to refuse to back off and make the scene worse for everyone.

Well, at least they’re running lots of sprints (probably as we speak, right?).  That’ll teach ‘em, Coach!

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More Trouble For Louisville

Posted by nvr1983 on October 13th, 2009

When the news broke this weekend about the arrests of Terrence Jennings and Jerry Smith, we assumed that they would face minimal charges especially when the Louisville boosters decided to make a few donations for the 2010 elections in Jeffersonville. It turns out that it may be more serious with the addition of battery and disorderly conduct charges particularly for Jennings. According to reports, Jennings was involved in an altercation outside Kye’s. When two off-duty officers (both wearing shirts with the word “POLICE” on it) tried to break up the fight Jennings resisted before being wrestled to the ground. Jennings continued to struggle and the police ended up using a Taser on him twice in order to subdue him. Meanwhile, Smith (the ever-vigilant co-captain) refused to move away from the officers after they had handcuffed Jennings and resisted attempts by the officers to get him to back away. To make matters worse for Jennings, after he was arrested the officers administered a breathalyzer, which showed a blood alcohol level of approximately 0.022. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal as Jennings wasn’t driving and the legal limit in Indiana is 0.08 anyways, but young Mr. Jennings is a little less than a month shy of his 21st birthday, which is the “drinking age” in Indiana. To read the official police report of the incident, click here.

A Not So Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Credit: StJoeChannel.com)

A Not So Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Credit: StJoeChannel.com)

We’re still awaiting official word from Rick Pitino about the incident and what (if any) punishment will be administered, but we can only hope that he doesn’t invoke 9/11 (again) or applaud Smith for standing up for his teammate. In the meantime, we will leave you with the most recent Tweet from Jerry Smith, who re-Tweeted “Rev Run” of RUN-D.M.C. fame quoting Mister Rogers (my head is about to explode):

RT @RevRunWisdom: Little by Little we are confronted with situations that give us more & more clues that we arent perfect – (Mister Rogers)

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Buzz: Louisville Players Arrested

Posted by nvr1983 on October 11th, 2009

After falling behind Binghamton and Kansas last week for the program making the most negative news this off-season, Louisville is making a strong bid to catch up with the Jayhawks (let’s be realistic: nobody is going to catch Binghamton in this category).  Unlike the other two programs, the Cardinals had been led by their head coach Rick Pitino who has done all the heavy lifting of keeping the program in the news. Wanting to take some of the pressure of their coach’s personal problems, which have made him more delusional than usual, Terrence Jennings and Jerry Smith (one of the Cardinals co-captains this season) were arrested for resisting law enforcement after Jennings was involved in a fight around 1 AM this morning. The altercation happened at a Louisville alumni homecoming party at Kye’s (“THE place for your special event”) in Jeffersonville, Indiana. [Ed. Note: I guess Porcini’s isn’t a popular spot for Louisville parties any more.] Pitino told a local television station that “we are aware of the situation and will be handling it internally”. Details on the incident are hard to find at this point, but after looking at Louisville’s schedule, we are guessing that their punishment will be a maximum of 2 (exhibition) games so they will be ready just in time for Arkansas and Pitino’s former player John Pelphrey.

Louisville Arrest

We are eagerly awaiting Smith’s next tweet as his latest update happened just 12 hours before his arrest:

Start ya day off tellin yourself 5 reasons why lifes great… Haven’t had a bad day since I heard that.. That man knows what he talkin bout

Smith’s next tweet probably won’t be quite so cheery.

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RTC 2009-10 Impact Players: Mid-South Region

Posted by rtmsf on October 7th, 2009

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Ed. Note: the previous posts in this series (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Atlantic South and Deep South) are located here.

It’s time for the fifth installment of our RTC 2009-10 Impact Players series, the group of landlocked states that produce some really good basketball players – the Mid-South.   Each week we’ll pick a geographic area of the country and break down the five players who we feel will have the most impact on their teams (and by the transitive property, college basketball) this season.  Our criteria is once again subjective – there are so many good players in every region of the country that it’s difficult to narrow them down to only five  in each – but we feel at the end of this exercise that we’ll have discussed nearly every player of major impact in the nation.  Just to be fair and to make this not too high-major-centric, we’re also going to pick a mid-major impact player in each region as our sixth man.  We welcome you guys, our faithful and very knowledgeable readers, to critique us in the comments where we left players off.  The only request is that you provide an argument – why will your choice be more influential this season than those we chose?

Mid-South Region (KY, TN, MO, AR, OK)

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  • James Anderson – Jr, F – Oklahoma St. An obvious and unanimous choice for our Mid-South list, James Anderson cannot be blamed if he has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder right now.  Let’s see:  he’s the third-leading returning scorer in the Big 12  for the upcoming season; last year the guy averages 18.2 points, 5.7 boards, shoots over 48% from the field as well as over 82% from the line and 41% from beyond the three-point line… and he gets left off the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list.  Anderson has coolly acknowledged his surprise at this slight, and we think he’s well within his right to do so.  No doubt this will provide motivation for the versatile forward as he embarks upon his junior season for a Cowboys squad that needs him in the leadership role.  Gone are Byron Eaton and Terrel Harris, leaving only Anderson and Obi Muonelo in terms of returning double-digit scorers.  That’s over 27 points a game for which to compensate, so Anderson will get the touches, without question.  Last year was the first trip to the NCAA Tournament for Oklahoma State in the last four years, and despite the aforementioned losses, Cowboy fans are most assuredly expecting another bid this season.  If it’s going to happen, it will be on Anderson’s shoulders.  We know that making our Impact Players list for the Mid-South region isn’t the same as making the preseason Wooden Award Top 50.  But at least we can say… hey James… we got your back, man.
  • Patrick Patterson – Jr, F – Kentucky. Patrick Patterson didn’t need a ton of motivation to return for a junior season in Lexington. The potential NBA riches were surely enticing, but with the news of John Calipari’s hire and subsequent commitments of a recruiting class for the ages, Patterson found himself in a spot where another season at Kentucky may mean a national championship, a far cry from the tumultuous two campaigns he spent in the Bluegrass State under the tutelage of Billy Gillispie. Patterson is a physical specimen in the paint for Kentucky and coach Cal has to be absolutely salivating at the thought of pairing Patterson and diaper dandy DeMarcus Cousins there to complement John Wall, Darius Miller and Eric Bledsoe on the perimeter (just think if Jodie Meeks had stuck around). Patterson nearly finished with a double-double last season at 17.9 ppg and 9.3 rpg, including a dominant 22/15 performance at future #1 seed Louisville, a 19/16 vs. Miami and 21/18 vs. Auburn. In fact, Patterson led the SEC with 15 double-doubles in 2008-09 and was the only player in the conference to finish in the top five in scoring and rebounding. A wildly underrated part of Patterson’s game is his 77% ft to go along with an efficient 60% from the field overall. Most NBA scouts think Patterson will only get stronger and continue to improve with another season in college, a scary thought for opposing SEC coaches and forwards, and a delightful proposition for Calipari. The 6’8″ big man already possesses an NBA-ready frame, a beast on the blocks that loves to bang inside and fight for any rebound in his vicinity. If Patrick Patterson gets the ball deep, he will score. Period. And with John Wall, possibly the top point guard in the nation this season, making those entry passes, Patterson should be able to average a double-double for Kentucky, only adding to the 1,000+ points he’s already totaled as a Wildcat. Barring injury (which isn’t a certainty as PP battled a stress fracture in his ankle in 07-08), Patterson seems about as surefire as anyone in the country to earn national accolades this season. But with realistic hopes of a Final Four at Kentucky for the first time in Patterson’s career, it won’t be about personal accomplishments for the determined forward; it’ll be all about wins.

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27 Down, 38 To Go…

Posted by rtmsf on March 14th, 2009

There are twelve automatic bids today, so we’ll be updating these as the day moves forward…

#16 – Binghamton (23-8, 16-3 Am East).  Binghamton took care of business today against upstart UMBC to win their eleventh in a row and earn the school’s first ever NCAA bid.  Reggie Fuller had 19/10 and alleged non-POY DJ Rivera added 16/5 in the RTC home win.  We had more coverage on today’s BGTD.

Projected Seed: #16

Something to Remember: Binghamton is um, size-challenged.  Their tallest starter is the 6’6 Fuller.  And have you heard that Tony Kornheiser has an affinity for this school for some reason?  Yeah, we hadn’t either.

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#17 – Memphis (31-3, 19-0 CUSA). 25 straight wins in a row.  61 CUSA wins in row.  Memphis just keeps on truckin’, with another stellar defensive performance in holding Tulsa to 26% from the field and 2-14 from three.  This was also the 135th win for the Tiger senior class, who is focused on getting to #141, according to Coach Calipari.  Robert Dozier had 18/14 and Tyreke Evans had 18/5/6 in the same-old, same-old for Memphis.

Projected Seed: #2

STR:  We’re going to be a little contrarian here, but we’re not buying that Memphis is a national title contender this year.  Are they better than anticipated?  Absolutely.  Are they on the same level as UConn, Pitt, Louisville, UNC, etc.?  No freakin’ way.  Their defense is outstanding, statistically the very best in the land.  And CUSA is a better league than people tend to think it is.  But the fact of the matter here is that Memphis is playing with house money right now.  They were beaten by Georgetown, Xavier and Syracuse in the pre-conference slate.  Tennessee took them down to the last possession.  They rolled up Gonzaga in their building, but the Zags wilted in the face of their athletic defenders.  Memphis is a very good team – but they’re not going back to the F4.  Remember that you heard it here first.

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.07.09

Posted by nvr1983 on March 7th, 2009

dynamite

We’re back for the final weekend of regular season Boom Goes the Dynamite for this college basketball season. The highlights of the weekend are obviously the two top 10 match-ups (in Pittsburgh on Saturday and in Chapel Hill on Sunday). We would love to provide you with another RTC Live from those site, but apparently we’re not big enough for them yet. (The onus is on you to spread the word.)

In any event, we’re going to make lemonade out of those lemons so we’ll be providing coverage from our bi-coastal offices covering all the action. Today is loaded with 15 of the top 25 playing with the other 10 playing on Sunday. We will be trying out best to provide you with wall-to-wall coverage of the top teams in action as well as RTC Live from several different locations:

In addition to our on-site correspondents we will be focusing in on a few key games for the majority of the day while also channel surfing over to the other games when the situation merits it. Here are the primary games that we will be covering today:

  • #1 UConn at #4 Pittsburgh at Noon on CBS
  • Michigan at Minnesota at Noon on ESPN and ESPN360.com
  • #25 Syracuse at #15 Marquette at 2 PM on ESPN360.com
  • #12 Missouri at Texas A&M at 2 PM on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com
  • California at #21 Arizona State at 2 PM on CBS
  • Oklahoma State at #5 Oklahoma at 3:30 PM on ABC
  • Texas at #9 Kansas at 4 PM on CBS
  • Washington State at #13 Washington at 5:30 PM on CBS
  • Wright State at #22 Butler at 7 PM on ESPNU
  • #6 Louisville at West Virginia at 9 PM on ESPN and ESPN360.com

As you can tell it’s a pretty ambitious schedule so we are asking you, our loyal legion of RTC followers, to help alert all of us if something interesting is happening. You can contribute by leaving a message in the comment section so we all can follow it.

One piece of RTC breaking news, UNC point guard Ty Lawson injured his left big toe yesterday in practice.

11:30 PM: ESPN GameDay is live from Morgantown, WV and they’re doing their own version of Make Your Case. I feel a little bit like Bill Simmons after ESPN stole his Mount Rushmore, but they aren’t paying me a million dollars a year.

11:45 PM: A couple pieces of NCAA tournament news to wrap-up before we focus on our TV for the next 12 hours: Cornell became the first team to officially get into the tournament last night by winning the Ivy League title and 3 others will join them when the Atlantic Sun, Big South, and Ohio Valley have their championship games today.

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