Pac-12 Weekly Five: 06.01.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on June 1st, 2012

  1. UCLA and Arizona have their 2012 blockbuster recruiting classes all sewn up, with up  north, Washington mostly struck out. But all eyes begin to turn to the 2013 class, and it could be Lorenzo Romar and the Huskies who are in a position to score big. Romar landed his first verbal commitment this week as 6’3” guard Nigel Williams-Goss, regarded as a four-star prospect, chose Washington over UCLA, Oregon  State, and UNLV (a school he once committed to prior to head coach Lon Kruger’s defection to Oklahoma). While one four-star guard does not a recruiting class make, Romar still has his eyes on players like Jabari Parker (the number one overall prospect), Aaron Gordon (the number two rated power forward), Jabari Bird (the fourth rated off-guard), and Isaac Hamilton (the fifth rated off-guard) among others.
  2. Aside from offseason trouble, some typically minor tweaks to rosters and the shaping of the 2013 recruiting class, the other big news that can be expected throughout the summer is the trickling out of teams’ 2012-13 schedules. UCLA’s calendar dropped on Thursday, with the highly-regarded Bruins reopening Pauley Pavilion on November 9 with a visit from Indiana State. Ben Howland’s club will also host Long Beach State and Missouri (along with a handful of low-major schools), play San Diego State in the Wooden Classic in Anaheim, and participate in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with potential matchups against Indiana, Georgetown, and Georgia. Here’s hoping the Bruins find matchups with both the Hoosiers and the Hoyas awaiting them in New York.
  3. Elsewhere around the conference, schedules are starting to take shape. Late last week, it came out that Colorado after a year away, would be renewing its competition with long-time opponent Kansas. While nothing is official yet, both schools have confirmed that an agreement is in place for the Buffaloes and Jayhawks to schedule a home-and-home series in each of the next two seasons. It’s unclear yet exactly where the 2012-13 edition will be played, but while Kansas has had Colorado’s number on a regular basis in their meetings, head coach Tad Boyle certainly has the Buffs on the upswing and his squad should be able to give the Jayhawks a couple interesting games. Down south, Arizona has added games with Charleston Southern, Long Beach State and Southern Miss. While none of those three teams is a huge name, both Long Beach State and Southern Miss made the NCAA Tournament last year and should provide solid challenges for an already strong Arizona schedule. The Wildcats are still looking to add two more games, both of which are expected to be home-and-home series’.
  4. Continuing our tour around the conference, Oregon State is on the verge of breaking ground on a new basketball practice facility. The structure will be a four-story structure with a couple different regulation-sized basketball courts layer in with locker rooms, support areas, offices and an entrance to the facility that will feature an Oregon State basketball hall of fame. With the upgrade in facilities, head coach Craig Robinson hopes to be able to induce a higher caliber of recruit to Corvallis.
  5. Lastly, last week Pacific Takes unveiled a feature on the ten best sleeper recruits in the last decade, with Kyle Weaver of Washington State leading the way. Interesting to note that of the 14 players on the list (including a four-man honorable mention), six of the players (Weaver, Derrick Low, Brock Motum, DeAngelo Casto, Robbie Cowgill and Reggie Moore) matriculated to Washington State. This speaks well for the Cougar coaching staffs’ (beginning with Dick and Tony Bennett and continuing to current head coach Ken Bone) ability to target under the radar players and develop the talent once it arrives on campus. Given that five-star recruits are rarely going to find their way to Pullman, that is a must for the Cougs.
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Pac-12 Morning Five: 03.09.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on March 9th, 2012

  1. Once again this morning, since we have got a couple other correspondents writing about the actual games at the Pac-12 Tournament, we will be focusing just on some off-the-court stuff in the Morning Five. For instance, in the wake of Josiah Turner’s indefinite suspension at Arizona, the question needs to be asked: is he ever going to be invited back? Turner picked up a first strike early in the season for being late to a team walkthrough, then was suspended for a single game and left behind from the Wildcats’ trip to Florida in December for strike two. With strike three coming at such an important time for the team, there’s a strong chance that head coach Sean Miller will find that it is time to cut bait on the talented young point guard. And if Miller doesn’t make that decision, maybe Turner, who played at multiple high schools, might make it himself.
  2. One guy who is coming back, apparently, is UCLA sophomore center Joshua Smith. Smith told reporters after the Bruins’ quarterfinal loss to Arizona that he would be returning to the school for next year rather than entertain thoughts about the NBA Draft. While some have made fun of Smith for making this statement, since he is unlikely to draw much interest from NBA scouts due to his inability to get in shape and his limited production as a result, it seems to me that the blame lies more with whichever reporter had the audacity to suggest that Smith might be in a position to leave for the professional ranks. However, Smith seems to recognize that in order to live up to his potential, he needs to shed significant weight and get into prime physical condition. Whether or not he does it remains to be seen, but he has been speaking with former Bruin Kevin Love, who drastically reshaped his doughy body since his high school days.
  3. Kevin O’Neill is also coming back. It hasn’t exactly been a secret, but USC athletic director Pat Haden made it clear on Thursday that O’Neill, whose team endured a 6-26 season, would still be the school’s head basketball coach going forward. With loads of players due back from injury next year and a couple of newly eligible Division I transfers, expect the Trojans to compete for an NCAA Tournament bid next season.
  4. In the wake of Washington’s quarterfinal loss to Oregon State on Thursday, Lorenzo Romar and his squad are left to play the “waiting game,” needing to wait until Sunday’s Section Show to find out if they make the final NCAA Tournament bracket or not. Despite winning the Pac-12 regular season title, the Huskies have a sub-par RPI of 57 and just one win over a top 50 RPI team (Oregon – a team who is currently ranked #49 and may drop out of the RPI top 50). Meanwhile, Tony Wroten, who missed four free throws down the stretch in that loss to Oregon State, deleted his Twitter account in the wake of the loss, after retweeting multiple terrible messages that he received after the game. The fact that supposed “fans” would do this kind of stuff to any 18-year-old kid is just sick. But it should also be noted that the Huskies would never have even been in position to lose that close of a game without Wroten’s career-high 29 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. I have been a critic of Wroten’s game throughout the season, but the kind of hateful, negative comments directed at him in the wake of a heartbreaking loss are disgusting.
  5. Lastly, a quick look ahead to some early-season tournament matchups for next season that have been announced in recent days. First, UCLA will be one of the regional hosts for the 2012 Legends Classic, along with Georgetown, Indiana, and Georgia, with all four of those teams guaranteed passage to the semifinal round at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Also, Oregon State will be one of the regional hosts for the 2K Sports Classic, along with Villanova, Alabama, and Purdue. Like the Legends Classic, the hosts of the early round games in the 2K Sports Classic will also earn automatic advancement to the semifinal round, with those games being held at Madison Square Garden.
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Pac-12 Early Season Tournament Round-Up/Preview

Posted by AMurawa on November 22nd, 2011

It’s a great time to be a college hoops fan. This week in college basketball is arguably the fifth best week in the season, you know, right behind the three weeks of the NCAA Tournament and the week of the conference championships. We’ve got a chance to see teams, often for the first time, matched up with other schools from disparate corners of the country in tournament play, with the opportunities for teams to snag resume-boosting wins in rapid-fire fashion. Sure, we’ve already got a few tournaments wrapped up, and there are even a handful that come along later, but for the most part we’re right in the wheelhouse for the early season tournaments. So, we’ll take a quick look at all the Pac-12 teams and either preview or review the early season tournaments that each team is participating in.

  • Arizona – The Wildcats got things started right off the bat with an appearance in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament. After dispatching of Valparaiso and Duquesne in the first week of the season, they rallied from behind in the semifinal against St. John’s to advance to the championship game, but folded down the stretch there, losing to Mississippi State.
  • Arizona State – The Sun Devils are in Orlando over the Thanksgiving weekend for the Old Spice Classic. They’ll get things started with Fairfield, expected to battle Iona for the MAAC title this year, before facing either Dayton or Wake Forest on Friday.  Texas Tech, Indiana State, Minnesota and DePaul make up the other side of what looks to be a relatively weak bracket, but given ASU’s poor start to the season, expecting them to do much damage in Orlando seems to be a pipe dream.
  • California – The Golden Bears are in the middle of the CBE Classic tournament in Kansas City this week, where they will play Missouri tonight in the championship game at 7 PM PST. They got to the final by demolishing Georgia last night 70-46, after handling George Washington and Austin Peay with ease in Berkeley last week.
Brandon Smith, California

Brandon Smith And The Cal Bears Take On Missouri In The Finals Of The CBE Classic Tonight

  • Colorado – A seventh place showing in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off wasn’t what Buffalo head coach Tad Boyle had in mind, but that’s exactly what he got last weekend, after dropping the first two games of the week to Wichita State and Maryland in relatively close games before taking care of Western Michigan to avoid a winless trip to the tropics.
  • Oregon – The Ducks spend their tournament time in something called the Global Sports Hoops Showcase, December 20-22 in Eugene, with games against North Carolina Central, Prairie View A&M and Stephen F. Austin doing absolutely nothing to help their at-large chances. Read the rest of this entry »
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Pac-12 Morning Five: 11.22.11 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on November 22nd, 2011

  1. The Pac-12 announced their weekly honors on Monday, just as we here at RTC did, and clearly the choice this week was a no-brainer as Jared Cunningham nabbed his first conference Player of the Week honor. For the week, Cunningham was 24-41 from the field and 38-47 from the line in two games, setting a career high with 35 points against Hofstra and then breaking it the next time out with 37 against Texas. But back to that free throw number again – 47 free throws attempted over three games! While Cunningham has not been a consistent jump shooter over his career, he has been solid from the line (77.9% last year). If he can continue to get to the line with anything approaching that regularity, he’ll be a conference player of the year front-runner.
  2. Oregon State took Vanderbilt, the #17 team in the country according to RTC’s latest poll, down to the wire Monday night at the final of the Legends Classic in New Jersey. However, a Brad Tinsley jumper with five seconds remaining put the Commodores over the top and left Beaver fans cold. Vandy senior forward Jeffery Taylor harassed Cunningham all game long, limiting him to just nine field goal attempts, five trips to the line and nine total points, while forcing seven turnovers. Sophomore forward Devon Collier continued his strong early season efforts with 19 points, five rebounds and four blocks, but sophomore point guard Ahmad Starks went a little nuts, hoisting 20 shots on his way to 16 points. Nevertheless, OSU proved its mettle, showing that they are able to hang with Top 25 teams and looking for all the world like a potential NCAA Tournament team. Of course, there are still almost four months to Selection Sunday, so Craig Robinson’s team will need to continue to improve.
  3. Bummed that you had to hunt around to find that OSU game on television tonight? Well, this is the last year you will have to do that. The Pac-12 is in the final year of its current television contract, with its new multi-billion dollar agreement kicking off next year that will include a national network and six regional networks. The Pac-12 promises that every football and men’s basketball game will be televised nationally, meaning that next year if you’re just dying to watch Morgan State at USC on a Tuesday night in November, you will be able to find that game somewhere..
  4. After four games, USC is 1-3, despite the fact that they have held its first four opponents to 55.2 points per game, 31.3% shooting from the field (and to get a little bit more righteous with advanced stats, a 36% effective field goal percentage and 0.87 points per possession). However, the Trojans are lagging far behind on the offensive end, posting an eFG% of 41.2% (good for 291st in the nation), just 54.2 points per game (327th in the nation), 0.85 points per possession and an offensive efficiency rating that places them 274th in the nation. Obviously, head coach Kevin O’Neill is quite pleased with the defensive end of the court, calling it “about as good as it can be” and “some of the best in the country,” but they’ll need to come up with some kind of answers on the offensive end in order to start turning those losses into wins.
  5. The season isn’t even two weeks old, and already we’ve had a boatload of behavioral problems around the conference. There are the ongoing issue with Reeves Nelson (who had one points in 11 minutes in UCLA’s unimpressive Maui Invitational win against Chaminade), the defection of Oregon’s stud freshman Jabari Brown after just two games, and some immaturity with Arizona freshman point guard Josiah Turner that led to him being benched for the Wildcats’ third game. Well, apparently Turner’s problems aren’t the only ones in Tucson, as it was announced on Monday night that Sean Miller had suspended freshman center Sidiki Johnson indefinitely for violations of team policy. Luckily the Wildcats have plenty of depth, so Miller feels free to lay down the law with his freshmen, a step I wish more coaches would take.
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RTC Live: Legends Classic Finals & Consolation

Posted by rtmsf on November 21st, 2011

RTC Live is back at the IZOD Center this evening for another double-header involving four teams with a lot on the line in the early going of this season. In the third place game, Texas will face NC State, followed by the championship game featuring Vanderbilt and a surprising Oregon State squad.  Join us for the conversation on a busy Monday of Feast Week, after the jump.

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Pac-12 Morning Five: 11.21.11 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on November 21st, 2011

  1. Let’s face it. It has been an ugly start to the season for the Pac-12 conference. Bad losses have been piled upon off-the-court problems and injuries to create some struggles out of the gate. The UCLA losses are the poster children for this epidemic, while Utah and Arizona State, to name just two, haven’t done much to help either. All that being said, Saturday night’s USC game was a new low. It’s not just that the Trojans lost to Cal Poly, a team that is a halfway-decent, middle-of-the-road Big West team. It is the manner in which the Trojans lost. They scored 36 points in the game. They scored 16 points in the second half (which, really, was only slightly worse than the first half). It’s not like they had a ton of possessions (roughly 54), but still, that works out to 0.67 points per possession. They turned the ball over on 22% of their possessions, and when they didn’t turn it over, they posted a 32.9% eFG. They only grabbed 65.7% of available defensive rebounds and just 16.7% of available offensive rebounds. Their best player, sophomore point guard Maurice Jones hit just one out of 11 field goal attempts, and now has just a 29.7% eFG this season. The good news is that there are some good young players on this USC squad which should provide a good foundation upon which to build this program; the bad news is, Trojans fans might need eyeball replacement surgery if they watch too much of this team this season.
  2. Washington had a bad day from start to finish on Sunday. It started out with the Huskies getting absolutely taken apart by Saint Louis in the morning, a game in which they fell behind by 25 points at the half before making a bit of a run at the end to only lose by 13. While the Billikens are a very good team and played a terrific game Sunday morning, the Huskies were exposed in their first loss. First and foremost, the relentless ball screening by SLU caused Washington all sorts of problems defensively, creating wide-open looks for threes and clean entry passes into the post. Secondly, because the Huskies were forced to take the ball out of the net so many times, they were forced to play a lot of halfcourt offense and struggled to get good looks out of their sets. Really, we know that the Huskies are going to improve as the season goes on and SLU is some good competition so this is by no means a crushing loss, but it does mean that the Huskies will be working their tails off in practice this week. Still, the long day wasn’t done for the Huskies when the final whistle blew because their flight back to Seattle was forced to make an emergency landing in Spokane and wait for an hour for the next jump back home.
  3. Colorado wrapped up their disappointing weekend in Puerto Rico on Sunday by salvaging seventh place in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off with a win over Western Michigan. The Buffaloes were able to seal the win despite playing much of the game without sophomore forward Andre Roberson, who fouled out in just 11 minutes of game action. Senior forward Austin Dufault and sophomore center Shane Harris-Tunks picked up the slack for Roberson on the glass, each snagging eight rebounds, while senior wing Carlon Brown did the bulk of the scoring, hitting  eight of his 14 field goal attempts for 23 points while adding six rebounds and four assists. The win sends the Buffs home with at least something to feel good about, despite dropping winnable games in the first two rounds against Wichita State and Maryland.
  4. Just when you thought the Reeves Nelson soap opera at UCLA was done (at least until the next thing goes wrong on the court), Nelson missed the team bus to the airport on Saturday for the team’s flight to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. He was allowed to take a later flight to Maui and is expected to play today when the Bruins start the tournament by playing the host, Chaminade. Head coach Ben Howland also confirmed on Sunday that the whole Nelson suspension thing was first started when he was late for a team meeting the day after the Bruins’ season opening loss to Loyola Marymount.
  5. Oregon State is in the middle of an 11-day, three-game east coast trip, and got their travels off to a good start on Saturday night with an overtime win over Texas in the semifinals of the Legends Classic. We’ll have more on the Beavers later today, but this morning we wanted to share with you a peek inside their program from the perspective of the players, specifically senior Kevin McShane and sophomore Roberto Nelson (collectively McBert, apparently) who are keeping a blog about their road trip. The first entry gives you a glimpse at the practice and travel schedule of college athletes, while the second captures the emotions following their big win on Saturday night. Great stuff from an otherwise dismal Pac-12 landscape this weekend.
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RTC Live: Legends Classic Semifinals

Posted by rtmsf on November 19th, 2011

It’s Feast Week around the hoops nation and RTC Live is in New Jersey tonight for the semifinal round of the Legends Classic. Interestingly, the only team with a loss is the only ranked team here, but Vanderbilt vs. NC State followed by Texas vs. Oregon State should make for a great evening of college hoops. Join the conversation from the Izod Center, after the jump.

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Pac-12 Morning Five: 11.17.11 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on November 17th, 2011

  1. The Reeves Nelson suspension lasted a total of one game, as the mercurial junior power forward was reinstated on Wednesday after having missed UCLA’s Tuesday night loss to Middle Tennessee State. He’ll practice with the team today and travel with the team to play in the Maui Invitational early next week. In a statement announcing the decision, head coach Ben Howland said that Nelson “expressed to me in our meeting earlier that he desires to be a better person and better teammate going forward and, given that, I feel as though I should give him that opportunity.” Nelson issued his own statement saying that he is “grateful to Coach Howland to have this opportunity to improve and work on being a positive force for our team.” With all the negativity surrounding the Bruin program in recent days, it remains to be seen just how long this kumbaya moment will last.
  2. Utah played its first real competition of the season on Wednesday night when it traveled to Boise State, and not surprisingly, the young Utes (I can’t type that phrase without thinking of Joe Pesci) struggled mightily, losing by 21 points to a similarly inexperienced Bronco squad. In looking for a bright spot for Larry Krystkowiak’s team, one might point to either freshman guard Anthony Odunsi (14 points, four assists, three threes) or junior college transfer Dijon Farr (12 points, five rebounds), but the fact is that Utah turned the ball over 19 times on roughly 69 possessions, grabbed just 16% of their offensive rebound opportunities and didn’t do a great job on the defensive glass either (63.3 DR%). Single digit wins on the season are the unfortunate likelihood for Utah.
  3. Things went much better for Oregon State in the final regional game of the Legends Classic pseudo-tournament, as the Beavers outlasted Hofstra behind a career-high 35-point performance from junior guard Jared Cunningham. Sophomore forward Devon Collier also posted a career-high with 25 points, and junior center Joe Burton continued his strong start to the season with five points, ten rebounds and a career-high of his own in assists, with 11. OSU now heads to the Meadowlands for the championship rounds of the tourney, with a matchup with Texas awaiting in the semifinals on Saturday and either Vanderbilt or North Carolina State in the next round on Monday.
  4. With the early signing period now officially closed, every school in the conference has at least one 2012 recruit committed. Every school save for Washington, that is. But Lorenzo Romar still has a couple lines in the water, with Anthony Bennett and Zena Edosomwan a couple of top 100 recruits still on the Huskies’ radar. On Wednesday, another name reappeared as a possibility for Romar again, as former St. John’s commitment Norvel Pelle, who was unable to qualify immediately for the Red Storm, officially de-committed and reopened his recruiting. The 6’10”, 210-pound power forward originally chose St. John’s over Washington, so as long as he can get his academic house in order, it seems like the Huskies would have a good shot at landing him the second time around.
  5. We started in Los Angeles at the top of the Morning Five, and we’ll wind up there again as I want to take a moment to highlight one of my favorites youngsters thus far in the season: USC’s freshman wing Byron Wesley. Wesley has been compared to last year’s senior defensive stopper Marcus Simmons repeatedly by head coach Kevin O’Neill, and he’s been a stalwart already on the defensive end in just his first two collegiate games. His offensive game is still very much a work in progress, but he’s got a strong frame that belies his youth and a motor that does not stop. If Wesley can carry over the work ethic he displays during games to practice and beyond, he has the ability to be an all-conference performer on both ends of the floor by the time he is an upperclassman.
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RTC Live: Legends Classic Finals

Posted by rtmsf on November 27th, 2010

Games #43-#44. Back in AC for an ACC/Big East Challenge of a different sort.

The Legends semifinals produced two terrific games as Syracuse and Georgia Tech won two very closely fought contest. They will compete for the Legends Classic championship at 7:30 tonight at the historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. Fab Melo may be a work in progress, but Kris Joseph, Rick Jackson, and Baye Keita are feeling very good after beating Michigan 53-50, and are ready to go. The young Orange backcourt will have to beat the veteran trio of Brian Oliver, Iman Shumpert and Mfon Udofia. For Georgia Tech, freshman Danny Miller gave the Jackets just enough in their 71-61 win over UTEP, but he will have to do better against Rick Jackson and Kris Joseph.

Michigan and UTEP get a second chance at redemption as they clash for third place at 5:30 today. UTEP’s Julyan Stone and Randy Culpepper talked about leadership in the postgame press conference. Against the inexperienced charges of Coach John Beilein they will get a chance to show they get it. Coach Beilein said playing the next day is better than spending days looking at film and practicing for the next game. Michigan versus UTEP barely 24 hours after the semi-inal tip-off will test Beilein’s theory. Join us at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for the consolation game and finals of the Legends Classic.

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RTC Live: Legends Classic Semifinals

Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2010

Games #41-#42.  We’re headed to AC for a little blackjack, craps and hoops with the semifinal round of the Legends Classic in store.

Each of the teams coming into Atlantic City this weekend to play in the Legends Classic has a tie or two to the New Jersey/Philadelphia/New York region. UTEP will bring first year head coach Tim Floyd to direct a veteran squad that won the CUSA regular season title in 2009-10 and participated in the NCAA tournament last March. Led by senior guards Randy Culpepper, who has averaged 19.0 points and 3.3 assists per game this season and Christian Polk, who has averaged 15.0 points and 4.3 assists per game will be complemented by senior forward Jeremy Williams, who has averaged 12.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game this season. For Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt, the trip to Atlantic City is a return to the area where he worked as an assistant on Steve Lappas’ Villanova teams in Philadelphia, and went on to head the Siena program in Albany, NY, before moving to Atlanta and coach the Georgia Tech team. The Yellow Jackets will be led by junior guard Iman Shumpert who has averaged 15.3 points and 3.3 assists per game this season and sophomore forward Brian Oliver who has averaged 12.0 points and 5.5 rebounds this season. The Miners and Yellow Jackets will meet in the first semifinal game at 5:30 pm on Friday, November 26.

Michigan’s head coach John Beilein has coached teams up and down the east coast, from Le Moyne just outside of Syracuse, NY, to the University of Richmond in Virginia. During his stint at the Big East’s West Virginia Beilein clashed annually with Michigan’s opponent in the second semifinal game, Syracuse University. Beilein’s unique four-out one-in motion offense will go up against Jim Boeheim’s legendary 2-3 zone defense. The Wolverines will showcase nine players who average more than 10 minutes per game this season, five of whom average more than 20 minutes. Sophomore guards Darius Morris, who has averaged 14.7 Points and 8.1 assists per game and Tim Hardaway, Jr., who has averaged 14.3 points and 2.3 assists per game this season, form, along with red shirt freshman forward Jordan Morgan, who has averaged 12.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season will try to crack the 2-3 Orange zone. The Orange, led by juniors Rick Jackson, a forward who has averages a double-double 13 points and 13 rebounds per game and guard Scoop Jardine who has averages 12.8 points and 7.5 assists this season will have to figure out how to break Michigan’s 1-3-1 zone defense. Preseason Freshman of the Year Fab Melo, along with well regarded freshman guard Dion Waiters, a Philadelphia native, should see minutes.

Join Rush the Court for the 5:30 tip-off of these two Top 25 match-ups.

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Morning Five: 08.05.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 5th, 2010

  1. The University of Kentucky responded with some legal saber-rattling as a result of yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times article that alleged a $200,000 payment to super-recruit Anthony Davis.  In parsing the letter from UK’s attorneys to author Michael O’Brien, we find it notable that the second paragraph asserts that no member of UK or its athletic department “offered or paid any money or other illegal benefits to the [redacted] family.”  That’s all fine and well, but even the most naive of us knows that direct payments from universities to players is soooo ’80s.  All the money and illegal benefits run through runners and wannabe agents these days.  We’re not saying any payment of any kind was made to anyone in this case, and in fact it’s most likely that O’Brien simply soiled the bed here, but we do find it interesting how the UK legal team strategically phrased that paragraph.
  2. In the ongoing saga known as the trial of Karen Sypher, the defense rested yesterday without so much as calling a witness.  This is an interesting legal strategy, but it clearly represents that Sypher’s attorney believes that the prosecution didn’t meet its threshold of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The jury will now deliberate on what they’ve heard over the last two weeks and we should know the result presumably in the next day or two.
  3. The Legends Classic bracket was released yesterday, with Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Michigan and UTEP slotted into the semifinal round in Atlantic City, New Jersey during Thanksgiving weekend.  The Yellow Jackets will face UTEP in one semi, while ‘Cuse will play Michigan in the other.  Keep an eye out for the release of the bracket (featuring UConn, Michigan State, Kentucky and Washington) for arguably the best 2010 holiday tournament, the Maui Invitational, later this afternoon.
  4. Ready for a trip down memory lane?  This re-published Hartford Courant article from June 1986 discusses UConn’s fresh new hire, a fiery New Englander who goes by the name of Jim Calhoun.  The other two finalists for that (at the time) woeful job?  Fairfield head coach (and current Siena top dog) Mitch Buonaguro and Canisius head coach Nick Macarchuk.  Amazing.  Calhoun said that leaving Northeastern to take the UConn job was the hardest thing he’d ever done, a statement that seems borderline absurd colored by a quarter-century of history but made complete sense at the time (NE was in much better shape).
  5. This LA Times article about college basketball announcing icon Dick Enberg is mostly about his current gig doing local television games for the San Diego Padres, but there are several jewels in the piece relating to our game.  You can tell he has a deep fondness for the sport, referring reverentially to Final Four Saturday, John Wooden (“Other than my own father… the greatest man I have ever known.”), and Al McGuire throughout the article.  Great read; make sure to check it out.
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RTC Live: Legends Classic (Michigan St. vs. UMass)

Posted by rtmsf on November 28th, 2009

RTCLive

RTC Live will be back tonight from the shifty streets of Atlantic City to provide live coverage of #2 Michigan State vs. Massachusetts in the consolation game  of the Legends Classic at 5:30 pm ET.  As you know, MSU was upset last night by Florida 77-74 in the semifinals, and quasi-home team Rutgers took care of UMass in the other semi.  We imagine that Tom Izzo was not happy with his team’s performance last evening — especially the 20+ turnovers — so it’ll be interesting to see how the Spartans respond tonight.  Join us for another edition of RTC Live tonight.

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