ATB: Elite Teams Make Statements On Big Monday

Posted by rtmsf on February 8th, 2011

The Lede.  It’s Rivalry Week on ESPN, and the World Wide Leader has reminded us of it, oh, about every third commercial tonight.  Not to mention that anytime you stumble across games from the mid-90s involving Duke and Carolina in a marathon on ESPN Classic, you have a good idea what time of year it is.  Seriously, though, do they not have any other classic game tapes lying around the Bristol vaults?  We recognize that the Tobacco Road rivalry is the best in the nation, but it’s not the only one by a long stretch — how about mixing it up with a few other big-timers?  Bring back a few classics from the rivalry games tonight, for example — we’re pretty sure they could find a couple of great Kansas-Mizzou and WVU-Pitt battles if they spend a few minutes searching through the shelves in the back.  Speaking of those two games…

Pitt Showed Poise in the Backyard Brawl (AP/J. Gentner)

Your Watercooler MomentBig Time Wins By Big Time Teams. There were really only a couple of games tonight worthy of discussing, and both results were worthy of two teams who just five weeks from Selection Sunday have designs on #1 seeds for March Madness.  In the Backyard Brawl between WVU and  #4 Pittsburgh, the Panthers entered tonight’s game already with a disadvantage by virtue of a knee injury to its star, Ashton Gibbs.  Didn’t matter.  After a slow first half from both teams, Pitt rocked the home team through complete ownership of the offensive glass (18-6) and hot shooting (61%) in the second half, ultimately pulling away to win its tenth Big East game, 71-66.  Even though WVU has been up and down this year, this was an impressive win for the Panthers, especially considering that its best perimeter player was on the bench tonight.  With a solid two-game lead over Notre Dame, Villanova and Louisville in the loss column, Jamie Dixon’s team with a win on Saturday at The Pavilion, could be positioned to run away with the regular season title to the best conference in America.  Meanwhile, out in the heartland of America, #3 Kansas hosted old border rival #15 Missouri in Phog Allen Fieldhouse, and for a while tonight it appeared that Mike Anderson’s Tigers were going to be able to play with the Jayhawks.  That is, until early in the second half when KU went on a run to push their lead from two to ten in what seemed like a split second, then on to fifteen and coasting home from that point on.  KU scored 103 points, an easy enough task when you’re hitting 61% of your shots, but what’s being left unsaid is that the Jayhawk offense seems to flow much more smoothly without Josh Selby in the lineup (he was out with a stress reaction in his right foot).  The Morris twins were everywhere as usual, combining for 38/15/7 assts/3 blks, and both Mario Little and Travis Releford came off the bench to contribute double figures (17 & 10 pts, respectively).  The lesson from these two Big Monday games tonight is thus: both Kansas and Pitt were without a significant starter in playing a bitter rival, but they did what they had to do to win the games and keep their lofty rankings and resume for a #1 seed intact.  KU appears to have recovered nicely from the loss at home to Texas a few weekends ago, and Pitt’s home loss to Notre Dame appears more and more to be an anomaly.

And Then There Was This.  Matt Howard looked like something out of that new TNT show, The Walking Dead, tonight as he took a nasty elbow to his forehead in a scrum under the basket heading into the half tonight of a game Butler eventually won, 72-65, over Illinois-Chicago.  Since we’re a family-friendly site around here, we suggest you take the jump if you want to see this thing, as it’ll scare the bejeezus out of ya, for certain.  Howard did not return to the game this evening, and he’ll be treated for concussion symptoms as a result of this, but hey, at least Butler is only two games back in the Horizon League standings now, right?  (h/t The Dagger)

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Set Your Tivo: 02.07.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on February 7th, 2011

***** – 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 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

Two of the top teams in the country are each without a key player tonight, plus one is on the road. How will the personnel losses affect these two deep teams? All rankings from RTC and all times Eastern.

#4 Pittsburgh @ West Virginia – 7 pm on ESPN (****)

The Panthers Will Have To Learn to Live Without Gibbs For a While

The Backyard Brawl, hoops edition, tips off for the 181st time tonight in Morgantown with West Virginia owning a 95-85 series edge. However, Pittsburgh has won seven of the last ten meetings with Jamie Dixon’s program reloading every year of late. This evening the Panthers will be without a key cog in their offense, itself ranked #2 in efficiency. Ashton Gibbs, Pitt’s leading scorer and best three point shooter, is out with a knee injury and will miss up to two weeks. That means Travon Woodall will start at the point guard position and the Panthers’ outstanding depth will be put to the test.

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Set Your Tivo: 01.21-01.23

Posted by Brian Otskey on January 21st, 2011

***** – 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 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

Almost all of the action is on Saturday but what a day it will be. A couple of huge games start us off right away at noon but the rest of the day will not disappoint. It’s very unfortunate but #21 St. Mary’s @ #23 Vanderbilt is not on television and neither is Belmont at East Tennessee State on Sunday, a battle for first in the Atlantic Sun. You obviously won’t be able to watch those games unless you’re attending but definitely check and see how they play out. All rankings from RTC and all times eastern.

#1 Ohio State @ #18 Illinois – 12 pm Saturday on CBS (****)

Sylvester and the Buckeyes Had the Last Laugh When Illinois Was #1 in 2005

It should be a crazy environment in Champaign on Saturday when the #1 team in the land pays a visit. Illinois is having a good year but probably not as good as some of the more optimistic Illini fans would have hoped. That can change in a big way with a marquee win over the Buckeyes. You’ll recall what happened almost six years ago in Columbus. Illinois was #1 at 29-0 on the last day of the regular season and lost on a Matt Sylvester three with five seconds to play as the unranked Buckeyes knocked off the eventual national runner up. By the way: Gus Johnson was working that one in 2005 and he’ll be in Champaign on Saturday if you even needed another reason to tune in.

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BCS 2011: Week of January 17, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on January 18th, 2011

A few weeks ago we reintroduced out BCS rankings that tried to figure out what college basketball would look like if it adopted a system similar to what college football presently has. We also listened to our readers and incorporated many of their suggestions for potential computer rankings to reconfigure our rankings. We now have five computer polls included and were able to throw out the highest and lowest computer rankings for each team. We wanted to go to six computer polls to mirror the BCS, but neither Colley nor the Bradley-Terry rankings were out by noon and frankly by the time they were updated another set of games would probably have been played. The human polls are all from Monday and the computer polls are all from today. For the human polls were used the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls. For the computer polls we used the following polls:

We used the same basic rules as we had listed in our reintroduction post with the exception of adding more computers allowing us to drop the highest and lowest scores.

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Set Your Tivo: 01.17.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on January 17th, 2011

***** – 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 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

The first official ESPN Big Monday of the season tips off with two top ten clashes in the Big East and a couple of nice matchups from the Big 12. Park yourself on the couch from 3:30 until about 11:30 and you’ll be just fine. All rankings from RTC and all times eastern.

#7 Villanova @ #9 Connecticut – 3:30 pm on ESPN (*****)

Jay Wright's Name Belongs in Any Conversation About Elite Active College Coaches

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The Week That Was: Jan. 4-Jan. 10

Posted by jstevrtc on January 11th, 2011

David Ely is an RTC Contributor

It wasn’t the best of weeks for TWTW. Notre Dame and Kentucky failed to live up to TWTW’s lofty praise heaped upon them. Notre Dame’s defense allowed Marquette to shoot 53.1% from the field and 70.6% from three in a 22-point loss, and the Wildcats lost their SEC opener after TWTW proclaimed them a sure-thing to come close to running the table in conference.

What will TWTW say this week that in seven-days will seem ridiculous? Let’s find out…

What We Learned

Walker Is Still Your Leader In the POY Race. (P. Raycraft/Hartford Courant)

Connecticut probably wasn’t quite in panic mode yet, but no team scored a bigger win than the Huskies with their road win at Texas on Saturday. After a 12-0 start to the regular season, the Huskies stumbled to a 1-2 start in the Big East. UConn barely beat USF at home on Dec. 32, and that game was sandwiched between road losses at Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. Considering how young the Huskies are (they play six freshmen) and their dependence on Kemba Walker, the slump definitely cast doubts on the Huskies’ bona fides as a national contender. UConn seems to have its mojo back now, as other players proved they can step up in big games. The Huskies received a tremendous effort from Alex Oriakhi (11 points, 21 rebounds), while Roscoe Smith and Shabazz Napier contributed 13 and 15 points, respectively. UConn even survived one of the most mind-boggling shots in recent history: Smith’s full-court heave with more than 10 seconds left in regulation. If you can win in spite of a play like that, you have to think you’re destined for big things this season.

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ATB: Upset Weekend or Just Conference Play?

Posted by rtmsf on January 10th, 2011

The Lede. Despite the constant presence of NFL football, this weekend just felt like the first “real” weekend of college basketball around the country.  Conference play was in effect almost everywhere, with the three holdout power conferences (ACC, Big 12, SEC) finally jumping headfirst into the family pool.  The takeaway from this weekend’s action is clear — there are no dominant teams.  If Duke gets Kyrie Irving back into the fold, we’ll be happy to re-visit this statement, but each of the top three teams were seriously challenged by up-and-comers and a host of other ranked teams took losses against unranked foes.  This weekend could have been simply an anomaly; or, it could portend that we’re in for a rather wild ride over the next eight weeks of the regular season.  In comparison with last season, the quartet of Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Duke stayed near the top of the polls from early January onward — will this year’s group of Duke, Ohio State, Kansas and Syracuse enjoy a similar track?  For reasons we can’t yet explain, we don’t think so.

Walker Converted When It Mattered Most Saturday (H-C/P. Raycraft)

Your Watercooler MomentEverybody’s Vulnerable.  Saturday was one of those days where we realized once again (it happens every year) that the margins between teams with a little number beside its name and those without really aren’t that far when you get to conference play.  It’s sometimes easy to forget this maxim of college hoops during November and December when teams roll up vastly inferior teams without breaking much of a sweat, but when we get to a day like Saturday where eight ranked teams lose, we’re reminded that the beauty of this sport is in its relative parity among the top 50-75 teams.  “On any given night” and all that.  Even the most elite teams were not immune — on Sunday the top three teams, all unbeaten, were taken to the wire by schools that on paper didn’t look capable — Duke vs. Maryland, Ohio State vs. Minnesota and Kansas vs. Michigan (you can also include Syracuse vs. Seton Hall on Saturday to bolster the point).  The Terps gave Duke all it wanted  in Cameron Indoor for 38 minutes; the Gophers had a shot in the air to tie OSU at the buzzer; and, Kansas was forced into OT at Michigan.  All of them pulled through to stay unblemished, but our sense after watching these games is that each of these teams is going to suffer a few Ls before March roars into our lives.

For our BGTD analyses of Saturday’s full slate of games, here’s Part I (early afternoon), Part II (late afternoon), and Part III (evening).

This Weekend’s Quick Hits

  • Kemba Walker’s Heroics.  Saturday’s game between UConn and Texas had a little bit of everything: fantastic athletes, big-time shots, powerful finishes, boneheaded plays and a raucous home crowd in Austin to take it all in.  It also had another superb game-winning performance from a guy named Kemba Walker.  His crossover leading into a step-back jumper over an excellent defender in Dogus Balbay was NBA-quality in its execution, and even though he had previously missed two shots for every one that he’d made, it didn’t detract from his confidence to take and make the game-winner.  UConn’s having a gamer like Walker in the clutch cannot be overstated; the Huskies are not good enough to blow many other quality teams out this season, but if they can hang around until the last five minutes of the game, they have arguably the best player off the bounce in college basketball capable of getting points in many different ways.  Walker’s already shown against Wichita State and Michigan State that he can take games over down the stretch, and so long as he doesn’t wear out (34 MPG), Jim Calhoun has at his disposal something that few other teams can boast.

  • Maryland, But Be Careful With the Terps.  We’ve been down this road with Maryland before.  They play great against Duke — either beating or nearly taking down the Devils — and everyone jumps on the bandwagon and expects them to push for an ACC title and make a big run into March.  And then they turn around and lose to someone like Miami (FL), causing Gary Williams’s head to turn purple and nearly explode.  Even though the Terps look great on paper — they defend well and have a beast like Jordan Williams inside to get points and rebounds (23/13 tonight) — we just want to warn you to be careful with this team.  They are prone to offensive troubles when Williams is having an off night, and the best team they’ve actually beaten this year is Penn State (with losses to non-slouches Pitt, Illinois, Temple and BC).  The Terps have the talent to make a run at second place in the ACC, but we’ve said that many times before only to watch them bob and weave to an 8-8 (or thereabouts) league record.  And don’t forget they’re already 0-2 this season.
  • Well, Hello, Mr. Singler.  No team has more offensive weapons than Duke, and luckily for Coach K’s 25-game winning streak, it was Kyle Singler’s turn to step up tonight against Maryland.  His 25/10 represents his best performance of the season against quality competition, and with midseason NPOY candidate Nolan Smith cold on this evening (5-18 FG), Duke needed the preseason NPOY candidate to amp up his game.  We still have issues with Duke’s complete lack of consistent inside play, but they proved last year that in the college game it’s not necessary to have an elite post man anymore.

and Misses.

  • Roscoe Smith.  “Oh God, Roscoe…” was the phrase on everyone’s mind, according to teammate Shabazz Napier, when the UConn freshman corralled a Texas miss with 11 seconds to go in regulation and took one dribble before mis-reading the clock and throwing up an 80-footer that finally came out of orbit with 7.5 seconds still remaining on the game clock.  The boneheaded play was one of the most hilarious mistakes we’ve ever seen in this game — and we’ve watched a lot of basketball over the years — although it was none too funny for UConn fans who were hopeful that the Huskies would have a chance to win in regulation.  We literally had to rewind this play and watch it a dozen times for maximum comedic effect; it’s doubtful we’ll ever see something quite so ridiculous again.  Luckily for Smith, UConn won the game in overtime in no small part due to his contributions (13/6).

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Set Your Tivo: 01.07-01.09

Posted by Brian Otskey on January 7th, 2011

***** – 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 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

The first big hoops weekend of 2011 features many important games across the land. Here are five key games followed by a host of others. All rankings from RTC and all times eastern.

Cleveland State @ Butler – 7 pm Friday on ESPNU (****)

With Butler’s loss at Milwaukee on Monday, folks in the Horizon League used to the Bulldogs’ dominance are excited that this may be the year someone else takes the title. Cleveland State leads the league by a game over Detroit and Wright State while holding a one and a half game lead over Butler heading into tonight’s game. Should the Vikings win on the road tonight and plow through the rest of their Horizon schedule, expect to see Cleveland State win the league. Obviously we’re a long way off from that but CSU is currently in a nice position. Butler’s problems have been on the defensive end. The Bulldogs have given up an average of 73.6 PPG in their losses while their defensive efficiency has dropped significantly from their top five ranking of a year ago.

The Bulldogs Need Mack Back On Track Tonight, And From Now On

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The Week That Was: Dec. 28-Jan. 3

Posted by jstevrtc on January 4th, 2011

David Ely is an RTC Contributor

Introduction

Happy New Year everyone! TWTW hopes that you all had a great and safe NYE and then had a better time recovering on your couch over the following couple of days with some college hoops on the flat screen. And TWTW won’t judge if your condition forced you to watch said games on mute — that’s just a casualty of the season.

What We Learned

Harrellson Is Most Valuable As a Glass Cleaner, But Has a Solid Stroke As Well

It looks like Kentucky is headed toward another 14-2 type run through the SEC this season, and a perfect 16-0 record in conference play isn’t out of the question. That statement isn’t as much based off of how the Wildcats are playing (though TWTW was very impressed with how UK dismantled Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center on New Year’s Eve) but it’s a reflection of just how putrid the rest of the conference seems at this point. The Wildcats are the only SEC team ranked in the AP Top 25. Tennessee’s reputation has dropped faster than Goldman Sachs’, going from a chic dark horse Final Four pick to a team on the bubble. Losses to Oakland, Charlotte and College of Charleston coupled with unimpressive wins over Belmont and Tennessee-Martin will do that to you. Now the Vols face Memphis in their last game before Bruce Pearl’s eight-game suspension. Cross Tennessee off your list of possible teams that could challenge Kentucky. That leaves us with Florida and Vanderbilt as Kentucky’s top competition. TWTW is not a fan of Florida, who recently lost to Jacksonville, so if we were to circle a possible first conference loss for Kentucky we’d have to choose Feb. 12 at Vanderbilt. That game is the last of a three-game stretch in which the Wildcats travel to Florida and host Tennessee. Vandy took Missouri down to the wire in an overtime loss on Dec. 4 and the Commodores beat North Carolina during the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Don’t be shocked if Vanderbilt hands Kentucky its first conference loss that night.

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NCAA Basketball 2011: BCS Version – Introduction

Posted by nvr1983 on December 30th, 2010

For the past two years we’ve taken a look at what NCAA basketball would be like if the powers that be decided to adopt the antediluvian BCS system. In 2009 it would have yielded a championship game between UNC and Louisville along with several other less desirable match-ups. In 2010 it would have led to a championship game between Kansas and Kentucky, which could have been an interesting match-up, but both teams showed severe flaws that led to their elimination well short of the final Monday night game in April.

This season we decided that we would expand things a bit by offering our RTC/BCS college basketball rankings using a formula similar to what they use to determine the BCS rankings in college football on a weekly basis. As the season progresses, you can see how certain teams rise from relative obscurity and into the BCS picture while other teams fall from prestigious BCS games down to what would be the equivalent of pre-New Year’s Day games. With conference play about to start we thought that this would be the ideal time to start looking at the potential match-ups.

We kept the same basic rules as we used in previous years:

  1. We are following the BCS Football guidelines as closely as possible, but 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. The AP and ESPN/USA Today polls are used as the human polls and ESPN.com’s InsiderRPI, KenPom.com, and Sagarin’s ratings as the computer polls. We are not including six computer rankings and dropping the highest and lowest like they do in the BCS because frankly we are not familiar with six reputable computer ranking systems. If you know of any other computer rankings leave a comment below and we might include them in the next installment of our rankings.
  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.

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The Week That Was: December 18-27

Posted by rtmsf on December 28th, 2010

David Ely is an RTC Contributor

It’s that time of year again: Conference season. UConn and Pittsburgh opened up the Big East slate Monday night with the first of what will be many highly-anticipated conference matchups over the next couple of months. It won’t be much longer until we get Pitt-Georgetown, Duke-Maryland, Washington-Washington State, Ohio State-Purdue and plenty over other mouth-watering games. It’s definitely a more appealing prospect than watching Kentucky pummel Winthrop or Texas beat down North Florida.

What We Learned

Taylor & Pitt Easily Ripped UConn

  • It might have been wise for Jim Calhoun to schedule some true road games for his young UConn squad before its Big East opener at Pittsburgh. The Huskies certainly played as though they weren’t prepared for what was waiting for them in the amped up Peterson Events Center. But honestly, there was little reason to think that this game was going to be anything other than a wakeup call for UConn. The Huskies boast seven freshmen, and only three players in its rotation that had ever played at that venue. No surprises here that the Panthers jumped out to an early double-digit lead and cruised to a 78-63 win. At least the Huskies can take solace in the fact that they don’t have to face Pittsburgh again until possibly the Big East Tournament. The Panthers’ length along the perimeter makes them a tough matchup for Kemba Walker, who needed 27 shots and 11 free throws to score 31 points against the likes of Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker.
  • After a less-than-stellar start to its season, in which Butler got smoked by Louisville and lost in overtime to Evansville en route to a 4-4 record through its first eight games, it now looks like Brad Stevens’ squad has righted the ship. The Bulldogs have won five in a row and just beat Washington State on Christmas Day to win the Diamond Head Classic. Key to the Bulldogs recent surge has been their improved play on the defensive end. Butler has not allowed more than 68 points since Mississippi Valley St. put up 71 on Dec. 11, and in their last four wins, the Bulldogs have allowed their opponents to shoot the following percentages: Stanford, 31.4%; Utah, 39.6%; Florida State, 38%; and Washington State, 40.7%. The Bulldogs’ defensive numbers still aren’t great, they rank 48th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings and they’re #272 in turnover %, but they’re on their way back to being a squad that can win games on the defensive end. As the schedule shifts to Horizon League play, the Bulldogs again are a safe bet to claim another conference championship.
  • When we last checked in with Tennessee, the Vols just had erased most of the momentum gained from a win over Pittsburgh with a home loss to Oakland (nothing to be embarrassed about, but not what we like to see from one of our top-10 teams). As it turns out, that loss to the Golden Grizzlies was a harbinger for what turned out to be a very unhappy holiday season for Bruce Pearl. The Vols lost their next two games, both to unranked opponents. Tennessee lost 49-48 to a Charlotte squad without leading scored Shamari Spears, who was kicked off the team a few days earlier. Then the Vols lost again by one point, this time to USC. To make matters worse, their win to halt the three-game skid did little to make people believe the Vols aren’t in the middle of a tailspin. Tennessee blew a 13-point lead to Belmont and needed a layup from Scotty Hopson with 5.7 left to escape with a 66-65 win. Despite his last-second bucket, Hopson’s recent play has been a major reason for the Vols’ struggles. Hopson scored a combined 28 points his losses to Oakland, Charlotte and USC on 8-31 shooting. He rebounded to score 19 points against Belmont, but he’s still suffering from a shooting slump. Hopson is 2-14 from three in his last four games.
  • TWTW isn’t a huge fan of making sweeping proclamations before conference play begins, nor do we like to divulge its national championship favorite until the most opportune moment. (Personally, TWTW prefers to wait until about 10 seconds left in the title game to announce who we think will win it all). But if TWTW was forced to name a team it would be Ohio State. UConn, Duke, Syracuse and Kansas are all fine choices, but there’s something about the Buckeyes that separates them from the pack. Everything starts with Jared Sullinger, who is first on the team in points (17.5) and rebounds (10.1) and is the clubhouse leader for national freshman of the year. Sullinger has owned the paint from Day 1 and has shown a knack for dominating games like few other big men this year (see his 40/13 against IUPUI and his 30/19 against South Carolina). What’s remarkable about Sullinger, though, has been his ability to avoid foul trouble. Sullinger hasn’t fouled out of one game this season and only has one game (his first) in which he had four infractions. But OSU isn’t just limited to Sullinger. The Buckeyes boast five players who average at least 10 points a game. They can beat you just as easily outside as they can inside with shooters like David Lighty and Jon Diebler, who shoot 45.5% and 47.4% from three, respectively. And freshman Deshaun Thomas is the kind of athletic wing that can score in bunches off the bench. Could Ohio State be better without Evan Turner? TWTW thinks so.
  • People wondered how Kansas would be able to integrate freshman phenom Josh Selby into its rotation once he returned from his NCAA-imposed nine-game suspension, the question being whether Selby’s presence would disrupt the Jayhawks’ chemistry from their 9-0 start. After two games, two wins and two electric performances by Selby, it’s obvious there was never a need to worry whether his addition would be anything but welcome. In his debut against USC, Selby scored 21 points and drilled a go-ahead three with 26 seconds ago to lead the Jayhawks to 70-68 win. There was no need for any late heroics in his second game, but Selby still made his presence felt, to the tune of 18 points and a 3-4 shooting night from beyond the arc. Selby’s already established himself as one of Kansas’ go-to scorers, and the fact that Bill Self had Selby not only on the court in the waning seconds against USC but shows how important Selby will be to any title run for KU.

Media Blackout

The three pieces of news to know if you’ve been living in complete isolation all week.

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Morning Five: 12.28.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 28th, 2010

  1. The NY Daily News published an exclusive interview with Seton Hall star Jeremy Hazell, who, as you all have heard by now, was shot by a robber on Christmas night near his home in Harlem.  He describes in detail how the robbers approached him and how he pushed one and ran for his life before feeling the piercing bullet enter his side below his armpit and how he waved down a passing FDNY ambulance to get timely treatment from the paramedics.  Talk about the Christmas spirit!  This is a frightening story and we wish Hazell nothing but the best on his recovery, and if that means he doesn’t play again this season, we don’t think anyone would blame him.
  2. Marquette freshman guard Reggie Smith is transferring away from Buzz Williams’ program in a bit of a surprising twist, as the young player had started in five of MU’s games this season yet was apparently chafed at a perceived lack of playing time.  He was averaging 1.4 points in just under ten minutes per game, but clearly neither he (nor his stepfather) thought that was enough a mere six weeks into his playing career.  This is also the second year in a row that Marquette has lost a freshman at the semester break — last season Jeronne Maymon transferred to Tennesssee in December.
  3. Speaking of midseason transfers, BIAH has a pretty good rundown of who those key players are and how they’re doing thus far since becoming eligible.  The winners so far: Kansas’ Josh Selby, USC’s Jio Fontan and Creighton’s Gregory Echinique.
  4. Jeff Goodman does us the service of breaking down the six power conferences heading into the new year.  There’s an awful lot to like and agree with here, but for the sake of contrarianism, we’d probably have gone with Georgetown in the Big East at this point.  RTC is majorly crushing on the Hoyas.
  5. Last night’s big Connecticut-Pittsburgh game turned out to be a dud for the most part with the Panthers handling the Huskies (while we’re at it, check out how Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs gets open off of screens), but this little jewel of a memory passed along from the UConn Hoops Blog reminded us when and how the rivalry began between these two basketball powerhouses.  Khalid El-Amin’s mastery (and bombast) was the difference way back in 1998, so c’mon readers, let’s help them out by locating the specific photo of KEA they’re requesting.
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