ACC Morning Five: 12.02.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on December 2nd, 2011

Luke Winn’s Power Rankings are out! The Seminoles have dropped out, leaving Duke (fifth) and North Carolina (fourth) in the most interesting rankings in the land. But it’s time to get back to the ACC. In other rivalry news Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney took some shots at former ACC member South Carolina and former ACC coach Steve Spurrier. Shots fired starting around the two minute mark, but Swinney saves the big guns for the last line:

That is why Carolina is in Chapel Hill, USC is in California and the university in this state always has been and always will be Clemson. It’s right here in Clemson, SC. You can print that. Tweet that.

Boom. Roasted.

  1. Duke Basketball Report: There’s a generalization that Clemson is bad at shooting free throws (the Tigers are shooting just under 64% on the year). Turns out, that generalization is correct. Duke Basketball Report looked at free throw shooting percentages historically in light of the fact that Virginia and Maryland seem on pace for historically good and bad years, respectively. The Cavaliers are shooting the ball at a 78.3% clip through the first seven games of the season (which would be good for sixth all-time among ACC teams). The Terrapins, on the other hand, are knocking down 59.4% of their shots from the charity stripe (which would be good for second worst all-time). Interestingly, Clemson owns nine of the worst 15 season free throw performances for the conference.
  2. Charlotte Observer and Greensboro News-Record: You know things are serious when Roy Williams takes off his jacket (or takes out his BB gun). The normally composed coach tossed his outerwear in a (successful) attempt to inspire his team against Wisconsin. Just because they needed a little extra fire, don’t think the win wasn’t hugely important for the Tar Heels. Perhaps the most interesting part about the win was that it hinged on UNC’s defense. Normally, it’s the other side of Tobacco Road that flaunts an elite defense, while Williams’ teams prefer to steamroll opponents on offense. This year is different. And to Kendall Marshall’s credit he covered Jordan Taylor for the majority of the game against the Badgers, pushing the All-American into a 6-20 shooting night.
  3. Winston-Salem Journal: The ACC/Big 10 Challenge showcased one elite conference and another that needs a lot of work. Unfortunately, the ACC was the latter. Apart from wins from Virginia and Wake Forest, the conference didn’t manage any upset victories. When North Carolina ekes out a win over a lower-ranked team at the Dean Dome is a highlight, it’s clear that the winds have changed from the decade of dominance the ACC showed during the opening years of the challenge. Mostly, I think, it’s a sign of so many new coaches in the league. Most programs’ success ebbs and flows; it just so happens that many of the ACC’s programs are currently ebbing.
  4. Charlotte Observer: The end of the NC State game was a little more controversial than Mark Gottfried would have liked. Specifically, the Wolfpack coach took issue with a flagrant one foul on Scott Wood that gave the Hoosiers an extra possession with three minutes left in the second half. Gottfried’s argument was that Wood went for the ball, which is true. It’s also true that Wood used both hands, which made the play look like Wood was trying to wrap up the Indiana player — especially from the referee’s angle. The call was a big one (and the wrong one, even if it was a judgment call).
  5. Fayetteville Observer: North Carolina‘s most consistent shooter, PJ Hairston, tweeted that he will miss the Kentucky game Saturday because of a sprained wrist suffered during the win over Wisconsin. That’s a blow to the Tar Heels, as Hairston has been the team’s best shooter so far this season at 45% from behind the arc. The loss shouldn’t be back-breaking though, as Reggie Bullock and (to some extent) Harrison Barnes are also good shooters and athletic wings.

EXTRA: If you’ve got a spare minute (or 20, actually) check out Shane Ryan’s interview with John Feinstein on his newest book, which is a retrospective of his first ten books. Feinstein is a Duke alumnus who’s written books on everything from college basketball to tennis. The interview is incredibly long, but just as interesting.

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Feinstein’s Thursday Lunch: Shaheen-Kebabs

Posted by jstevrtc on April 2nd, 2010

Now that spring is here and the weather has improved over much of the country, we’d like to announce that grilling season officially kicked off today in Indianapolis, but probably not in the way you’re thinking.

The president of the NCAA and/or some other high-ups has always made it a point to take some time on the Thursday or Friday preceding the Final Four to have a press conference to talk about the NCAA Tournament in general and the tournament specific to that year.  This little get-together happened today in Indy.  The media got the chance to hear from Dan Guerrero, chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee; Kevin Lennon, VP for academic and membership affairs; and one Greg Shaheen, the NCAA’s senior VP for basketball and business strategies.

Shaheen Isn't Speechless Here

RIGHT HERE is the transcript of this press conference.

IMPORTANT:  Listen, we post a lot of links on this site.  We want you to click every one of them.  We wouldn’t put them up there if we didn’t think it would enhance your enjoyment or understanding of a story or article.  But YOU MUST CLICK ON THAT LINK if you want to get a glimpse into the minds of the people who are trying to change the greatest sporting event in the world, the people who want to increase the number of teams in the NCAA Tournament from 65 to 96.

Before you do that, we need to make sure you understand something — this thing is happening.  The 96-team tournament isn’t something that’s just being discussed, anymore.  This press conference wasn’t an official announcement, but it was everything but that.  We don’t like it any more than you do, but we might as well get used to it. We know why they’re doing it.  Like Joe Pesci said in Casino:

“Always the dollars.  Always the f***in’ dollars…”

You see, the NCAA has to make a decision this summer.  Their current college basketball contract with CBS runs through 2013, but states that the NCAA can opt out of the deal by the end of this July to go searching for a better deal, meaning more money.  The current contract with CBS was finalized in 1999 and is worth about $6 billion.  It also applies to a 65-team tournament.  If they opt out, the NCAA can do whatever it wants to the tournament and market the new version (like, say, one with 96 teams) as their new product as they negotiate for even bigger bucks.  They could even renegotiate with CBS (we wonder if CBS also sees possible bigger profits and actually wants the NCAA to opt out of this thing).

Back to this press conference.  Here’s a little rundown of what happened.  First, Mr. Guerrero took the mic, and to be honest you really don’t have to read his short introduction.  He said very little and then introduced Mr. Lennon.  Lennon’s portion is quite interesting, because he used his time to tell everyone about the improved graduation and retention rates among student-athletes, specifically men’s basketball players.  He noted that student-athletes in ALL sports, and “certainly men’s basketball, are continuing to outperform the student body” as a whole.  Sounds good.

Then came Mr. Shaheen’s turn.  That’s when it got interesting.

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NCAA Basketball 2010: The BCS Version

Posted by nvr1983 on April 2nd, 2010

With all the talk about the coming 96-team tournament, many in the sports media have forgotten that there is already another ridiculous major college sport championship in place: the BCS. We took you through this process in a post last year, but it’s worth going over again as the blogosphere is ablaze with opinions on changing our beloved NCAA Tournament.

Here are the basic ground rules:

  1. We are following the BCS Football guidelines as closely as possible. Obviously there are some differences. A college basketball team is expected to win more than 9 games (we kept a cut-off at a 75% winning percentage). We replaced the Notre Dame rule with the Duke rule since they both have sketchy TV contracts (Notre Dame with NBC and Duke with ESPN).
  2. I used the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls as the human polls and ESPN.com’s InsiderRPI, KenPom.com, and Sagarin’s ratings as the computer polls. The computer polls include data from the NCAA Tournament, but as you will see it didn’t affect the results that significantly.
  3. We used the traditional BCS calculations for determining each team’s score weighing the two human polls and the combined computer poll average as 1/3 of a team’s total score each.

Here are the results:

We will let you digest that for a minute and will provide more information/analysis and the BCS Bowls after the jump.

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Morning Five: 11.12.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 12th, 2009

morning5

  1. The Big Lead scored an interview with Dick Vitale recently, and the elder statesman (he’s 70!) of college basketball announcers riffed on Calipari/Pitino, UNC/Duke and one-and-dones.  Worth the few-minutes read, and we hope to meet him again next week in NYC.
  2. It appears that John Feinstein only recently figured out that the 2kSports Classic and others have already slotted the elite teams into their showcase events for the semifinal and final rounds.  He should read RTC more often.
  3. Virginia’s Jamil Tucker is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team to deal with some personal issues — he averaged 7/4 last year in a reserve forward role, and Northwestern star forward Kevin Coble injured his foot in practice and could possibly miss time because of it.  It’s currently unclear the extent of the injury, but he will be examined Friday and a determination will be made at that time.  This could be devastating for Northwestern’s high hopes for this season.  Moving away from injuries, there were some more suspensions yesterday, including Charlotte PF Shamari Spears, who will miss the 49ers’ first game on Friday against UNC Asheville, and Hawaii’s Douglas Kurtz, whose heart of darkness begins the season with a six-game suspension for playing three games in a Brazilian professional league in 2007.
  4. Things aren’t going very well for Tubby Smith at Minnesota lately.  One of his prized recruits, Royce White, who was already suspended for a violation of team rules and has recently caused trouble (shoplifting and assault) at the Mall of America, is now under suspicion for the theft of a laptop computer.  We’re not exactly experts in this sort of thing, but is it safe to say that White will be at a junior college very soon?
  5. Yesterday was the beginning of the early signing period, and John Stevens wrote a nice breakdown of some of the interesting recruiting gets.  Scout also blogged all day about it and broke down some of the big winners from yesterday — it appears that Ohio State and Memphis both have big smiles on their faces this week in light of their recruiting hauls.  There are seventeen of the top 100 players still undecided, and it appears most of them will wait until spring to make their final decisions.

* for recaps of last night’s games and RTC Live from Cal vs. Detroit, visit After the Buzzer.

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Notes from the East Region Open Practice

Posted by nvr1983 on March 25th, 2009

Because of the NCAA’s refusal to give us a media credential (or discuss the issue and our side of the case), we were forced to go to today’s open practice to get an up-close look at the teams. As an aside, if anybody has extra tickets for the games in Boston for the Sweet 16 or the Elite 8 (in case your team gets cheated by the refs), send me an e-mail at rushthecourt@gmail.com and I might be able to take them off your hands.

The guys who don't want me covering the game

The guys who don't want me covering the game

Let’s get one thing out of the way. The East Region open practice might have been the most boring 5 hours of my life (not counting lectures). There’s a reason the NCAA makes this event free (outside of the fact that they more than make up for it through the $8 programs, $5 Cokes, and $23 baseball caps). The crowd was 95% white males in their mid-30s or above along with a handful of kids chasing autographs from players who they were looking up during the practices checking to see which ones had the best stats. My favorites were the old guys sitting behind me who kept on commenting on how good Gary McGhee and Brian Zoubek were (the tallest guys on the court) and what outstanding pros they were going to be. Anyways, here are my thoughts and pictures (some pictures are from my iPhone because I forgot to charge my digital camera) from each team’s “practice”.

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Set Your Tivos: Finals Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 15th, 2008

After a couple weeks off spent touring the country, Set Your Tivos is back. When I started to look at this week’s slate of games, I thought it was one of the worst weeks of the year. Then I saw Saturday, which is without a doubt the best set of college basketball games so far this season. In fact, Saturday is so good that I am going to do a separate Set Your Tivos for it.
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/

Source: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/

Monday
- Stony Brook at #2 UConn at 7 PM on ESPN Full Court, ESPN360.com, and the Big East Network: The only way this game stays within 20 is if the Huskies actually have to take final exams. Nothing to see here unless you know one of the Huskies benchwarmers and want to see him get some PT.

- Cleveland State at #11 Syracuse at 7 PM on Time Warner-New York: Should be another snoozefest, but you might want to check the Orangemen out to see how they are adjusting to life without Eric Devendorf (or not). If Time Warner-New York is on their game, they will run a feature on the 1985-86 Cleveland State team that upset Indiana in the NCAA tournament that was documented in John Feinstein’s classic “Season on the Brink” (great winter break reading for the erudite RTC fan).

Tuesday
- South Florida vs. Vanderbilt at 7 PM on ESPN 2 and ESPN360.com: This game is officially at a “neutral” location, but the game is being played in Nashville. Even Coach K would be embarrassed to call that a neutral site. The Commodores could use a win here as they have been disappointing so far while the Bulls have been surprisingly competitive. However, since Vanderbilt plays in the SEC and USF plays in the Big East the reverse will be true during league play.

- #23 Marquette vs. #19 Tennessee at 9:30 PM on ESPN 2 and ESPN360.com: The game of the week (before Saturday). Another “neutral” site game in Nashville. The Volunteers will be looking to bounce back from their loss to Dionte Christmas Temple. The loss dropped them 11 spots from a #8 ranking. They can make a case for a top 10 ranking again if they can beat Marquette. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles have been playing well (7-1) and come into the game with a top 25 ranking. Unfortunately, that only makes them the 8th highest ranked team in the Big East. I know it’s early and sounds ridiculous for a top 25 team, but Marquette could use a win here to start building a case for a NCAA tournament bid in case they fall back a little in the Big East because I still have a hard time believing the Selection Committee will give the Big East 10 bids.

Wednesday
- Cram for your last finals or go through the games you missed while studying for those finals/writing that term paper because this is a weak set of games.

Thursday
- Mississippi State at Cincinnati at 6:30 PM on ESPN 2 and ESPN360.com: The Bearcats (6-2) are off to a respectable start–losses to FSU and Xavier–by almost any league’s standards except for the Big East where they will struggle to stay out of the bottom third of the conference. The Bulldogs (7-3) are also off to decent start, but may be without coach Rick Stansbury who was admitted to a local hospital for new-onset migraines (the administration expects him to be able to coach that night). The Bearcats will have their handful trying to score inside with “The Human Eraser” Jarvis Varnado who comes into the game with a 6.2 blocks per game average.

- Evansville at #1 UNC at 7 PM on ESPN and ESPN360.com: I’m expecting the line for this game to be UNC by 20, but don’t sleep on Evansville. They come into the game with a 7-1 record including a 32-point win over a Western Kentucky team that handled preseason Final Four favorite Louisville its only loss. The Tar Heels may also be a little off their game if they start buying into the hype (we aren’t) or if they continue to have late-night trysts with America’s sideline princess.

- Mississippi at #9 Louisville at 9 PM on ESPN and ESPN360.com: The Rebels shouldn’t really present a challenge Louisville, but I haven’t bought into Rick Pitino’s Cardinals yet. In their only game that could be considered moderately challenging, they fell apart losing to Western Kentucky. If Pitino hopes to contend for a national title this year, his team needs to be able to put away teams like Mississippi early. We’ll also be watching to see Samardo Samuels, who is playing like the best freshman in the country right now.

Friday
- Get some sleep or go get some sun because you’re going to be glued to your couch all day tomorrow.

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Perspectives on an Epic Title Game

Posted by nvr1983 on April 8th, 2008

I provided my instant (revised) analysis very early this morning and rtmsf will be providing his a little later today. I thought I would provide you with some of the thoughts of various other sportswriters.

-At the Alamo, this was one to remember: Bob Ryan, who most of you may know from his frequent appearances on ESPN, offers his thoughts on the game and the Kansas team, which may get lost in all the talk about missed FTs and Chalmers huge shot.

-It takes more than talent: Stewart Mandel on one of the biggest title game collapses ever.

-The Shot Heard ‘Round the World: RTC’s most well-known fan (and SI writer/CBS college basketball studio analyst) Seth Davis provides a short Q&A in between the game and his early-morning wakeup call to be on Mike & Mike.

-Chalmers, Kansas get One Shining Moment: Pat Forde on the defining moment of the tournament (with apologies to the Davidson fans).

-Calipari: We let national title ‘slip out of our hands’: Andy Katz with one of the million columns on how Memphis let the title slip away.

-Chalmers’s Effort on Both Ends Keys Jayhawks’ Win: Camille Powell credits Mario Chalmers’s play on both ends for the title, which most writers missed because everybody has focused so much on his 3 with 2.1 secs left.

-Plenty of Twists, One Final Turn: John Feinstein, author of the famous “Season on the Brink”, offers his perspective on the title game.

-Without Collins, there are no Chalmers heroics: Dana O’Neil credits Sherron Collins with keying the Jayhawks’ win on Monday night.

-Self should ignore the dollars and stay at Kansas: Gene Wojciechowski implores Bill Self not to leave Kansas for Oklahoma State and Boone Pickens’s money.

-Sharp Defense Gives Jayhawks Edge in Matchup of Top Guards: Joe LaPointe argues that it was defense that led Kansas to victory. We agree although the missed Memphis FTs didn’t hurt. . .

-A Dominant Half by Rose Falls Short by One Shot: Thayer Evans breaks down Derrick Rose’s performance that was one shot (either Chalmers’s 3 or a made FT by either Rose or Chris Douglas-Roberts) away from being named MOP.

- Mario’s Miracle: Kansas Is The Champ: Luke Winn breaks down the Jayhawks’ comeback/Tigers’ collapse and Chalmers’s huge shot.

- Rock Chalk, Champions: Grant Wahl offers his extensive analysis of the Jayhawks victory. This is probably the most thorough piece we have seen on the championship game so far.

- What is the Best Shot in NCAA Tournament History?: SI’s Andy Gray offers his take on the top 5 shots in NCAA tournament history. We’d be interested to hear where you think Chalmers’s shot ranks.

- NCAA Championship Grades: It seems fitting to end our link post with title game grades (courtesy of Bill Trocchi) for the student-athletes.

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05.30.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 30th, 2007

A lot of piled-up news to get to today…

  • The biggest story: Brandon Rush tore his ACL, withdrew from the NBA Draft, will have surgery this week, and will likely be ready to play at KU next season. The 07–08 Jayhawks just got a lot better.
  • Florida A&M’s coach Mike Gillespie was placed on paid leave after his recent arrest on misdemeanor stalking charges. Wait, the FAMU coach is white??
  • Apparently Glen “Big Baby” Davis has slimmed his way to 280 lbs for the NBA Draft workouts… begging the question, why wasn’t he using this regimen throughout his career at LSU?
  • Greg Oden and Kevin Durant were asked to join Team USA – size up your bronzes now, boys.
  • Dane Bradshaw wrote a book (“Vertical Leap“) about his senior season at Tennessee, which of course presupposes that Vol fans can actually read the thing.
  • In an espn.com piece by Pat Forde, we learned that Arkansas is actually paying three head basketball coaches at the same time. Does George Steinbrenner run the Hawgs now? Nah, just the very recently retired Frank Broyles, another senile 80-year old.
  • After years of vile homerism, John Feinstein commits treason in Monday’s Washington Post – Coach K’s dark angels are already moving into the DC area on a seek-and-destroy mission. A must-read for all Duke haters.
  • Oh, and Maryland fans hate Duke also. We particularly enjoyed the Jon Scheyer portion.
  • Some industrious UCLA fans paid homage to uber-scrub Michael Roll in an epic video.
  • Finally, we reserve a moment of silence for the Charlotte Coliseum, the site of many outstanding ACC Tournament battles as well as the 1994 Final Four. It will be destroyed on Sunday.
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