Bracket Prep: South Region Analysis

Posted by KDoyle on March 18th, 2013


Throughout Monday, we will roll out our region-by-region analysis on the following schedule: East (9 AM), Midwest (11 AM), South (1 PM), West (3 PM). Here, Kevin Doyle (@kldoyle11) breaks down the South Region from top to bottom. Also, be sure to follow our RTC South Region handle on Twitter for continuous updates the next two weeks (@RTCsouthregion).

You can also check out our RTC Podblast with Kevin breaking down the South Region, which will drop both on the site and on iTunes Tuesday.

South Region

Favorite: #3 Florida (26-7, 16-5 SEC). A month ago, Florida looked like it was destined for a #1 seed and primed for a Final Four run to Atlanta. The Gators were dismantling SEC teams — albeit some very weak teams — and had their potent offense clicking on all cylinders. But then Florida lost at Missouri, and then at Tennessee, and then at Kentucky. Questions began to arise, and rightly so. A team of Florida’s talent and experience should not be losing to SEC teams that will not even make the NCAA Tournament. They seemed unbeatable in the 2012 portion of the schedule, but played down to their level of competition in the SEC. That being said, it would not be smart to pick against Billy Donovan. Donovan has led Florida to the Elite Eight the past two seasons, and done so with largely the same group he has this year. Two seasons ago it was a loss to Butler as a #2-seed and last year a loss to Louisville as a #7-seed. Of their eight impact players, seven are upperclassmen and have extensive experience in the NCAA Tournament. Veteran leadership and NCAA Tournament experience cannot be discounted, and Florida has both in spades. In the “for what it’s worth” department, Pomeroy has Florida ranked #1 overall in his season-long rankings (fifth in offensive efficiency and second in defensive efficiency).

Is the Third Time the Charm for Boynton and His Gators?

Is the Third Time the Charm for Boynton and His Gators?

Should They Falter: #2 Georgetown (29-5, 15-5 Big East). Recent history is not on Georgetown’s side as John Thompson III has made a habit of exiting the NCAA Tournament too early. In fact, in the six NCAA Tournaments that JT3 has led the Hoyas to, they haven’t made it past the first weekend four times. The Hoyas won’t win any style points, but that doesn’t much matter. What they lack in flash they have in tough defense and methodical but effective offense. Not to mention that the Hoyas are also fortunate to have Otto Porter, the Big East Player of the Year, on their side. The emergence of Markel Starks as a second dependable scorer adds another dimension to the offense beyond him, though. Their adjusted tempo ranks 313th in the country — in other words, a snail’s pace — and inability to score in stretches on the offensive end doesn’t make them a sexy team to watch, but Georgetown is very comfortable playing grind-it-out kind of games making them an apt postseason team.

Grossly Overseeded: #7 San Diego State (22-10, 10-8 Mountain West). The Aztecs began the season with a 14-2 record and a 2-0 mark in Mountain West play, and appeared to be the class of the league alongside New Mexico. Since that blistering start, San Diego State is a pedestrian 8-8 and finished 9-7 in the MW. It is almost unfathomable that the Aztecs earned a much better seed than Pac-12 champion Oregon — prepare yourselves to hearing a lot about the Ducks’ seed in the coming days —and even a higher seed than fellow Mountain West member Colorado State. SDSU benefited from having a strong RPI (#28) and a challenging schedule which ranked in the top 20, but many prognosticators had them wearing road jerseys in their opening round game, not home whites.

Grossly Underseeded: #8 North Carolina (24-10, 14-7 ACC). After getting embarrassed by Miami and then suffering a tough road defeat to Duke, North Carolina looked like it was headed to the NIT; the Tar Heels had a 16-8 record and were just 6-5 in the ACC at the time. Roy Williams’ young group may have had unfair expectations placed on it in the preseason, but there is little doubt that they should be an NCAA Tournament team now. Their talent and maturation as a team began to show in the second half of ACC play by winning eight of their last 10 games including a narrow loss to Miami in the ACC Tournament Championship. North Carolina’s seed was hurt by having a 2-9 mark against the RPI top 50, but the way in which Carolina concluded the regular season shows that it was playing closer to the caliber of a #5 seed and shouldn’t be marred in the dreaded #8/#9 match-up with the top seed looming.

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Award Tour: Huge Week Carries Otto Porter to the Top of the NPOY List

Posted by DCassilo on March 1st, 2013


David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

As we hit March, the NPOY race looks like it’s down to four players: Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo, Mason Plumlee and Otto Porter Jr. While it’s almost certain that one of those four will take home the hardware, it’s almost impossible to decide on a clear front-runner. Look around the Internet, and you’ll see each of those players No. 1 somewhere. In a season with no clear-cut best team, a race like this for Player of the Year is fitting. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out over the next 17 days.


10. Jack Cooley – Notre Dame (Last week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 14.4 PPG, 11 RPG

Cooley & Martin Will Likely Be Overlooked Again (AP Photo/J. Raymond)

Cooley has had a lot to celebrate this season. (AP Photo/J. Raymond)

One of the few players from a major conference to average a double-double, Cooley has been a quiet force on an overlooked Notre Dame team. He’s not going to make any top 10 highlight reels, but he is going to be the reason the Irish win games. This week: March 2 at Marquette, March 5 vs. St. John’s

9. Deshaun Thomas – Ohio State (Last week – 8)
2012-13 stats: 19.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG

The Ohio State junior is what he is — a scorer who can do some rebounding. He does both every single night, regardless of defense. Thomas is a really good college player that is close to being a great one. This week: March 5 at Ohio State

8. Cody Zeller – Indiana (Last Week – 5)
2012-13 stats: 16.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG

Zeller has shown a knack for disappearing in big games, and Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota was no different. He went just 2-of-9 from the floor before fouling out with nine points. He can’t do that in March. This week: March 2 vs. Iowa, March 5 vs. Ohio State

7. Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga (Last week – 9)
2012-13 stats: 17.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG

As Gonzaga appears poised to grab the No. 1 ranking, Olynyk is on a tear. The junior has made at least 70 percent of his shots in his last four games. Regardless of competition, that’s pretty impressive. This week: March 2 vs. Portland

6. Doug McDermott – Creighton (Last week – 7)
2012-13 stats: 22.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG

At a time when his team desperately needed it, McDermott had one of his best games of the season on Wednesday for Creighton. The junior finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds against Bradley. He will need to do that routinely for this team to go anywhere. This week: March 2 vs. Wichita State

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Big East M5: 02.27.13 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on February 27th, 2013


  1. Jim Boeheim was saying things in front of a microphone again and, after a tough road loss to Marquette in which his team led for the better part of the game, he was entertaining as always. He was cranky with reporters and didn’t seem to like a few of the questions that were tossed his way. He had good reason for his attitude, too, as Jeff Goodman points out. The Orange have been erratic as of late and they don’t look like a team that is ready to challenge for a spot in the Final Four, so Boeheim isn’t necessarily keen on fielding questions about his team’s abilities and his coaching decisions. Of course Boeheim can get cranky with reporters all he wants but if Syracuse doesn’t find some outside shooting and consistent effort for 40 minutes, it will be the team and their chances for postseason success that will start to become the issue.
  2. Goodman clearly came correct in the last two days because his other story out of the Marquette and Syracuse tilt was also an excellent one. This one focused on how Marquette is tired of hearing about how hard they play, which struck a chord, because just yesterday I mentioned how the Golden Eagles owed much of their success to how hard they play. The fact of the matter is that Marquette doesn’t have NBA talent on its roster aside from perhaps Vander Blue, and they have wildly overachieved this season in a ruggedly competitive conference without their best two players and leading scorers from last season. They don’t have the talent to be this good, so they make up for it with heady play and excellent depth at multiple positions… oh, and how hard they play. Goodman makes sure to rightly give coach Buzz Williams much of the credit for the sustained success and the way the Golden Eagles play is really just an extension of the way Williams coaches — with intensity, competitiveness, and grit.
  3. Williams isn’t the only coach who deserves a fair amount of credit for helping his team overachieve this season. Georgetown has been another conference success story this season behind star player Otto Porter and a slew of useful role players who can step up in big moments, but a primary reason for their success has been the coaching job of John Thompson III. The Hoyas didn’t win pretty early in the season, but they won often, and when second-leading scorer Greg Whittington was suspended, the team was supposed to struggle but instead has gone 11-1. The lineup tinkering has worked, young players have developed on schedule, and the Hoyas are playing some of their best basketball of the season with a big assist from the man in charge of making all those things work.
  4. I said it yesterday and I will say it again, UConn is going to come to play tonight when they get a visit from Georgetown for what will be the biggest remaining game on their season. Huskies’ coach Kevin Ollie is yet another coach helping his team overachieve and he has done a masterful job keeping his team focused and motivated. Of course the players deserve some credit for the team’s success this season as well, and if they can’t get fired up to try and upset a Top 10 team, then they shouldn’t be playing this sport. The Hoyas will not be able to afford to come out flat, because Gampel Pavilion will be rocking and if the Huskies start fast and the Hoyas struggle to keep up, the team and the fans in the arena will quickly smell blood in the water.
  5. The best part about the Big East this season has been how evenly matched the top six teams are. At this juncture in the season, there are plenty of teams still mathematically alive in the hunt for the regular season title and one of those is Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish were a trendy pick to compete for the title this season because of their returning experience and despite some rough patches earlier in the season, they find themselves right in the thick of the race with just a couple games left. Now, their chances at winning the regular season title are quite slim, but that doesn’t mean the team isn’t committed to winning out and doing their best to keep the pressure on the teams above them.
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