Morning Five: 11.17.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 17th, 2011

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  1. After Tuesday night’s embarrassing loss to Middle Tennessee State, UCLA fans were questioning what Ben Howland could do to resurrect the floundering program. Howland appears to have answered them by reinstating Reeves Nelson after suspending the junior for what has been described as “behavior issues”. While the decision certainly makes the Bruins a more talented team that does not appear to be UCLA’s primary problem right now. They certainly were not any less talented than Loyola Marymount or Middle Tennessee State even without Nelson, but still lost to both of those teams. Now, Howland will be using a point guard who was involved in a computer theft earlier this year, an incredibly overweight big man, and a player whom he appears to have brought back in a desperate attempt to save this season. As Jeff Goodman notes that this act screams of Howland putting winning above everything else. It will be interesting to see how this affect UCLA’s recruiting going forward. They already have signed Kyle Anderson, who appears to be sticking with UCLA although we would argue that he doesn’t have much choice after signing with them, but we imagine this turmoil might affect Shabazz Muhammad, who apparently was watching both UCLA and Kentucky on Tuesday night.
  2. The NCAA has a history of making interesting decisions and yesterday’s announcement that Joe Castiglione, the athletic director at Oklahoma, had been appointed to the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee appears to be another one of them. Castiglione replaces former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, a man whose career fell so precipitously in the past few months that he got his own fake Twitter account that has over 15,000 followers. Castiglione appears to have a solid resume, but the timing is a bit odd since his school was put on probation just a week ago and although it appears that Castiglione probably could not have stopped it the selection is an interesting one especially in light of the fact that Connecticut‘s Jeff Hathaway is also on the same committee and serves as chairman despite his school having to take a scholarship hit and potentially being ineligible to play in next year’s NCAA Tournament due to a low APR score.
  3. The Kentucky fans who showed up en masse at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night for the team’s resounding win over Kansas will get another chance to return New York next year, but will have to head over to Brooklyn instead of Manhattan as the Wildcats are scheduled to play Maryland in next year’s Barclay Center Classic. We don’t know who will be playing at Kentucky next season, but we expect that they will be very talented and there will be plenty of Wildcat fans at the game. The night’s undercard is Morehead State against Long Island, which might actually bring some fans to the game given the proximity of the school.
  4. With many of the top recruits in the country having already committed or in the process of committing to a school Basketball Prospectus took a look at “basketball recruiting royalty,” which they use to refer to Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky. While the article does take quite a few liberties in assuming why or even if those schools target certain recruits based on where they are ranked and consequently what type of player they will be, it is an interesting read. It also provides some interesting statistics on how often players ranked in each recruiting ranking range stay at a school they committed to before leaving either due to graduation, transfer, or to the NBA. We would love to see someone try a more formal approach to analyze this and see if there is a “sweet spot” for schools to recruit in although it would probably change whenever the NBA makes its decision on how long a player has to stay in college before turning pro.
  5. The ratings for last Friday’s Carrier Classic are in and they were excellent as we all expected. The telecast received a 2.7 rating (3.859 million viewers), which is the highest rating that ESPN has ever had for a November college basketball game (technically tied with a 1992 Preseason NIT game). The press release claims that this is ESPN’s most-watched college basketball game since March 2005 when 3.78 million watched Duke play North Carolina. We are assuming they are referring to the Nielsen rating because 3.859 million is certainly more than 3.78 million. Of course, before we start getting too excited about this rating we should point out that more people watched ESPN’s College Football Scoreboard on Saturday night (2.8 rating for 4.232 million viewers) than watched an actual college basketball game.
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Preseason Bracketology: 10.28.11 Edition

Posted by zhayes9 on October 28th, 2011

Zach Hayes is RTC’s official bracketologist.  He will periodically put together his latest bracket projections throughout the season.  Tell him where you agree or disagree @zhayes9 on Twitter.

  • Last Four In: Drexel, Illinois, Kansas State, Notre Dame.
  • First Four Out: Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Oregon, Minnesota.
  • Next Four Out: Northwestern, BYU, Princeton, Oklahoma State.

Click to Enlarge Bracket


  • This was the most clear-cut foursome for the top line that I can recall during any previous preseason bracket and all four deserve to be anointed Final Four teams here in October.
  • Maybe a bit of a surprise in both instances, but I’m taking Texas A&M and California to win their respective leagues. Maybe their talent level is not up to par with the likes of Kansas and UCLA, but I like their stability, coaching and players like Khris Middleton and Allen Crabbe are primed to explode.
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RTC Conference Primers: #20 – Northeast Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 17th, 2011

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC.

Reader’s Take I

Top Storylines

  • Coaches Enjoy Honors: In September, Mount St. Mary’s coach Robert Burke coached in the Congressional County All-Star Classic. Burke coached a team of members of Congress while George Washington mentor Mike Lonergan guided a team of lobbyists.  The game was at GW’s Smith Center. Hopefully Burke did not allow his ‘club’ a lengthy recess. In other news, Wagner assistant Bobby Hurley was inducted into the Duke University Hall of Fame in September. Hurley scored over 1,700 points, handed out an NCAA record 1,076 assists and led Duke to two national titles during his playing days (19989-93).
  • A Long-Awaited Repeat In The NEC? Long Island is attempting to become the first NEC school in nearly two decades to successfully defend its conference title. The last? Current  MAAC  member Rider, which captured the NEC crown in 1993 and 1994.

Can LIU Capture the Blackbird Magic Again? (credit: NY Post)

  • The Numbers Game: Among starters lost, FDU and Quinnipiac lead the way with three each. It’s a matter of perception. FDU, coming off a five-win season, can look at this as a fresh start. Quinnipiac, a 22-win team from a season ago, has spots to replace. Tom Moore has options as he has the Bobcats primed for another run. The program with the least amount of starters lost? Wagner. The Seahawks, coming off an encouraging 9-9 conference slate good for a sixth-place tie, have every starter back on board.
  • Sacred Heart Mourns Loss Of Former Star: On a sad note, Sacred Heart is mourning the passing of Chauncey Hardy, a prolific player for the Pioneers from 2006-10. Hardy scored over 1,200 points during his Sacred Heart career and was playing professionally overseas in Romania at the time of his tragic death, which came after Hardy was assaulted in a pub.

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RTC Summer Updates: Northeast Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 19th, 2011

With the completion of the NBA Draft and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. Our latest and final update comes courtesy of our NEC correspondent, Ray Floriani.

Summer Storylines

  • Monmouth Makes Noise – First came the hiring of King Rice to take over for Dave Calloway. Rice promises a significant upgrade, change in culture and return to winning ways for the New Jersey Shore-based school. To beef up its revenue stream, the university recently announced a partnership with New Jersey’s Millennium Radio Group. As part of the deal, all Monmouth games will be aired on WOBM-AM for the next three seasons. Each Monday, the King Rice Show will also be broadcast on the station. Finally, Monmouth accepted a bid to play in the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Hawks will face Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in the East Regional. Other teams in that group are George Mason and Florida International.
  • Phenomenal Phelan: NEC Hall of Famer Jim Phelan will receive the Lapchick Character Award at Madison Square Garden. The former Mount St. Mary’s mentor joins Hall of Famer Pete Carril and Virginia women’s coach Debbie Ryan in receiving this year’s honor. The trio has enjoyed wonderful and winning careers punctuated with loyalty, longevity and success.
  • Red Flash Commemorates History: St. Francis (PA) looks to improve and be competitive in the NEC, but not without forgetting its past. St. Francis will honor the “Golden” basketball legacy between 1940 and 1970. Players from that area will be nominated and reviewed by a selection committee to be included in an extended wing of the St. Francis Hall of Fame. As 1970 alumnus Bob Moore said, “Small Catholic colleges, particularly in the East, ranked among the nation’s collegiate powers.  To pay tribute to those early players and the teams St. Francis produced is long overdue.”
  • Hurley Hunkers Down: Wagner head coach Danny Hurley is getting his teams exposed to the highest level and toughened up for league play. His Wagner club will visit 2011 NCAA Tournament representatives Princeton, UConn and Pittsburgh on the road.  The Seahawks will also travel to the Cable Car Classic out west in December. Wagner opens that tournament with Air Force before facing Santa Clara or Eastern Michigan in the next round.
  • More of Moore: Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore was awarded a well-deserved extension through the 2015-16 season. Terms of the pact were not disclosed. Moore led Quinnipiac to 23 victories and a NEC regular season title in 2010.

CCSU's Ken Horton Leads The Charge For The Blue Devils. (

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Morning Five: 06.14.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on June 14th, 2011

  1. In one of the more ridiculous controversies that we can remember the NCAA has apparently notified Kentucky that it was unhappy with the school’s decision to honor John Calipari for winning his 500th game on February 26th after beating Florida. Calling the ceremony “troubling”, “extremely troubling”, and “very troubling” the NCAA asserted that because Calipari’s 1996 NCAA Tournament run with UMass and the entire 2007-2008 Memphis season were vacated he actually has 42 less wins than the school claims he has. The entire debate is sort of boring on its face, but you can be sure that Wildcat fans will use it as ammunition for their claims that the NCAA is out to get their program.
  2. The announcement by NCAA President Mark Emmert that he would be convening a retreat for around 50 college presidents to discuss the current state of the intercollegiate athletics might not generate a lot of buzz right now, but you should definitely keep an eye on it because there is a chance we could have some monumental decisions come out of that meeting. Normally I think these type of retreats are useless and essentially function as a big tax write-off, but in light of some recent proposals (particularly the discussion by the Big Ten to pay some student-athletes) and some major scandals (first at USC and now at Ohio State) the stage is certainly set for the NCAA and the universities to make a stand. Given their track record they probably won’t, but now would be a great time to start.
  3. Dana O’Neil published a piece over the weekend about the lives of NCAA assistant coaches and the sacrifices that they have to make while trying to climb up the coaching ladder. While most of the news about basketball coaches is about the huge contracts or the NCAA violations in reality most of them are working very hard for a lot smaller sums than many would expect even if we wouldn’t claim that they are struggling to survive. It is an interesting look at their day-to-day lives and is definitely worth a read.
  4. One of the reporters from Scout caught up with UNC point guard Kendall Marshall at Chris Paul’s CP3 Elite Guard Camp and got a pretty good interview with the rising sophomore. Outside of the usual stuff (how long it took to get over the UK loss, wanting to win a title, etc) the thing that caught our eye was that Marshall claims that Harrison Barnes has shown the most improvement of any of the UNC players over the offseason. If that is true and Barnes can come close to being as good as he was hyped as being, the Tar Heels could be even more ridiculous than we expect them to being coming into the season.
  5. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the field and game times for its 2011 Tip-Off Tournament that will feature Kentucky, South Florida, Penn State, Old Dominion, Vermont, Long Island, Marist, and Radford. The Tournament features a pretty odd format that is built around a set of games on the weekend of November 19th-20th, but also features games during the week preceding and following that weekend. It all seems very complicated, but let us simplify it for you: Kentucky should crush all of these teams.
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Weekend NCAA Diary From Charlotte

Posted by rtmsf on March 22nd, 2011

As you’re no doubt aware, we’ve had our cadre of correspondents traveling around the country to each of the eight NCAA sites over the weekend. We’ve asked the guys to produce a weekend diary of the games they witnessed including analysis, commentary and opinion concerning the sights and sounds at their venues. Our hope is that the diaries will give you insights into the games that you may not have otherwise had from watching them on television or catching the highlights package afterward. Let us know how we do…

Note: for all of the opening weekend diaries, click here.

Location: Charlotte, NC
Round: Third
Teams: Duke, Michigan, North Carolina, Washington
Date: 20 March 2011
Correspondent: Frank Barrows

Tar Heel Fans Get Into It vs. Washington Sunday (CO/D. Foster)

I spent the weekend covering the NCAA tournament games in Charlotte. When I trudged out of the arena Sunday night, my briefcase bulging with hundreds of pieces of paper — stat sheets, team brochures, transcripts of interviews, rosters, etc. — that I had acquired over four days, here’s what I was thinking about:

* A year ago, Kyrie Irving and Harrison Barnes were two of the country’s very top high school basketball players, Nos. 1 and 2 or Nos. 2 and 1 in the eyes of many, excepting the Jared Sullinger partisans.  However, both had rocky starts to their college careers. After eight excellent games for Duke, Irving injured a ligament in his right big right toe and was put in a cast. From the outset, Barnes shot poorly, as if he hadn’t worked on his jumper for weeks before enrolling at North Carolina, and, worse, he played with neither assertiveness nor confidence. The only consolation for Blue Devils’ fans who were mourning the loss of Irving was that Barnes, who had famously and surprisingly chosen North Carolina over Duke in a photo-finish announcement on national televison, was playing so badly. They drowned their sorrows in schadenfreude.

Now, unimaginable as it was at the end of December, Irving and Barnes are central figures, perhaps their team’s central figures, in the week of the Sweet Sixteen.  Irving, a 6’2 point guard, played for the first time in months in the Charlotte NCAA rounds and has recaptured his form nearly as quickly as his slashingly acrobatic drives carry him from beyond the key to the rim.  In total, in the two games, he was on the court for 41 minutes, scoring 25 points and sinking all but one of 14 free throws. He hit the game-winning basket with 19.3 seconds left as Duke downed Michigan 73-71 Sunday, a close-in driving bank shot as he slipped along the baseline with the Blue Devils leading by just one. He appeared to suffer no lingering effects, physical or psychological, from his injury. He was more than fit as a fiddle; he looked like a Stradivarius.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had lots to say about Irving. Listen to some remarks from his post-game interview: “We wouldn’t be going forward if he didn’t play. … Kyrie is a heck of a pentrator. … If he plays the whole year, he might be the best player in college basketball. … I think a real big reason why we won today is that he got 20 in (the Hampton game). … You’ve got to get back on stage. I don’t care how much you practice, you got to get back on stage and then do your dancing and singing or whatever … in front of people … We now know that Kyrie will play, and he can play extended minutes. We knew he could play; we didn’t know rusty he would be. … He kept getting better, hit the big shot, and we know that he wants to be there with pressure. That’s a big thing, going forward.”

Barnes, a 6’8 forward, has improved steadily over the course of the season. He started taking important shots in the middle of January, then began making them more and more consistently and spectacularly, and, recently, peaked with such demonstrations as a 40-point showing in the ACC tournament against Clemson and a 24-point-and-16 rebound effort versus Long Island in the Tar Heels’ second-round NCAA matchup. His field-goal percentage, once as low as a good batting average, is now up to 42.3 and rising. The tentativeness that marked his game early in the season is gone, replaced by something that is as far short of swagger as it is well above hesitancy. For example, with North Carolina ahead of Washington 84-80, he missed a jump shot and a drive with in a few seconds; in December he wouldn’t have attempted the second after missing the first.

Barnes, averaging a team-leading 15.5 points, is the best three-point shooter in the Tar Heels’ starting lineup, and because outside scoring is their weakness, he is indispensably vital. Irving, despite the presence of the always remarkable Nolan Smith and the often remarkable Kyle Singler, is, as Krzyzewski pointed out, a guy who wants the ball in the waning minutes. What’s more, even if he continues as a substitute, he gives the Blue Devils a depth they have been lacking for months.  Plus, as his team’s most instinctive playmaker, he can help overcome the late-game problems Duke encountered with Michigan’s 1-3-1 zone, difficulties that surely have been replayed on tape in the offices of every coach who might face the Blue Devils the rest of the way.  For Irving and Barnes, that rest of the way, their path to the Final Four, is growing shorter and shorter.

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NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.19.2011

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 19th, 2011

Throughout the NCAA Tournament, we’ll be providing you with the daily chatter from around the webosphere relating to what’s going on with the teams still playing.


  • George Mason took out a fizzling Villanova in the first round, and continues to carve its own identity separate from the 2006 Final Four squad. The Wildcats’ season is over, and considering it lost 11 of its last 16 games, including its final six, perhaps it’s for the best.
  • The blistering performance Marquette put on Xavier Friday night sent a big message to its doubters. The Golden Eagles shot 57% on their end, and put the clamps on star Musketeer Tu Holloway. Next for Buzz Williams‘ team is Syracuse, a team Marquette beat earlier this season.
  • The Tar Heels broke out in the second half to pull away from Long Island. The high-scoring final outcome, 102-87, didn’t take long to become a polarizing talking point between tempo-free stat-heads (UNC gave up 0.89 points per possession) and traditional analysts (87 points allowed to a lower-tier mid-major)
  • Syracuse stuck to its game plan of feeding Rick Jackson and polished off Indiana State. The game ended at 12:41 AM local time in Cleveland (more on this later), and set up an intra-conference battle with Marquette on Sunday (this too).
  • For Lorenzo Romar and company, winning away from home has been a large concern, but it shook off the stigma, if only for one night, in their win against Georgia. Is it open season on Bulldogs head coach Mark Fox?
  • West Virginia may mix in a 1-3-1 look on defense today when the Mountaineers clash against Kentucky. The game is a rematch of last season’s regional final in Syracuse, when WVU bested John Calipari‘s team in the Carrier Dome.


  • The Southeast region has a full slate on Saturday, including a battle between Florida and UCLA. Though the rosters have turned over, UCLA can exact revenge from elimination at the hands of the Gators in the 2006 and 2007 Final Fours.
  • Gonzaga faces the same question posed to the 35 teams on BYU‘s schedule to this point – how do you stop Jimmer Fredette? It seems like there’s nothing out of the realm of possibility from 30 feet in for Fredette, so Gonzaga’s defenders need to be on high alert.
  • Free throw proficiency has been a major factor to Wisconsin‘s success this  season, which is on the line in Saturday’s game against Kansas State. The Wildcats need to show patience in defending Wisconsin’s attack, and play smart defense.
  • Butler guard Ronald Nored had to swallow his pride and accept a late-season move from a starting to role to a contributor off the bench. Will he provide a spark against the top-seeded Pittsburgh Panthers?
  • For all the attention Jacob Pullen receives (and deservedly so), Rodney McGruder is one of Frank Martin‘s more underrated players. Six-foot-four guards who average six boards a game don’t fall out of the sky.

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Around The Blogosphere: March 18, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on March 18th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to and we will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

Game Recaps

  • [EAST] #4 Kentucky 59, #13 Princeton 57: “I have rarely been so concerned about a game going into it, and every single one of those fears were justified. Fortunately, the Kentucky Wildcats found a way to win a grind-it-out game against a team that was playing the best basketball of their lives. The Princeton Tigers played more like a 7 against a 10 or an 8 versus 9 than a 13 versus a 4, and Kentucky stared long into they abyss of a first-round exit before Brandon Knight made his only basket of the game — a shot that ranked about 20 on a 10-point scale of degree of difficulty.” (A Sea of Blue)
  • [SOUTHWEST] #13 Morehead State 62, #4 Louisville 61: “Game over. Tournament over. Season over. And…Preston Knowles’ career over. It hurts. No matter when and where this ride ended, we knew it would, to some degree. But not this bad.” (Card Chronicle)
  • [SOUTHWEST] #11 Gonzaga 86, #6 St. John’s 71: “When the St. John’s draw was first announced last Sunday, Camp Zag salivated for multiple reasons, not the least of which was the differential in height between the two teams. We figured we could exploit St. John’s relatively small post men, but secretly we were hoping for an overall strategic whipping on our part that took a member of the over-congratulated Big East to task – physicality inside, rebounding, 2PT shot defense, alertness and speed to break the three quarter court trap. Those were our wildest dreams. Last night’s game exceeded them.” (Zagacious)

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Around The Blogosphere: On The Eve Of The NCAA Tournament

Posted by nvr1983 on March 17th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to We are talking a slightly different approach to this post today due to the nature of the NCAA Tournament, but we will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

East Regional

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The Other 26: Bracket Analysis Part I

Posted by KDoyle on March 15th, 2011

Kevin Doyle is an RTC contributor.

By now, we have all read, watched, and heard the breakdown of those teams fortunate enough to have earned a top seed in this year’s Tournament. We know Pittsburgh has the easiest road to Houston of the four #1 seeds—or do they? Georgetown, with Chris Wright returning to the lineup, is poised to make a run to the second weekend. Ohio State and Kansas are the favorites to advance to the Final Four according to many of the so-called experts. They can only review so many times how teams with Tournament experience traditionally perform well, and that having a formidable frontcourt is essential to reaching the Final Four. But, what about those pesky teams from the Other 26 conferences? While there are several popular teams that have the capability of playing the role of Cinderella this year that have received ample coverage—Belmont, Utah State and Oakland just to name a few—let’s dive in and investigate the fifteen O26 teams on the left-hand side of the bracket: the East and West Regions. Yes, even you, Texas-San Antonio and Long Island, are getting some love here.

I elected to break down the 15 teams by inserting each into one of the four categories: 1) Have a legitimate shot at actually advancing far into the Tournament; 2) Can win a game, but not much more; 3) If their shots are falling and their opponents are not, they have an outside shot; and, 4) We are just happy to be here

Ability to advance to the second weekend

(6, East) Xavier—Despite a setback to Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, Xavier breezed through their conference schedule with their only loss coming to Charlotte. Subsequently, they are one of the hotter teams entering the Tournament and possess one of the most dynamic and potent point guards in the country in Tu Holloway. The Musketeers’ date with Marquette in the first round is one of the most intriguing early match-ups of the tournament. Getting by the Golden Eagles would undoubtedly give them confidence against another Big East foe in Syracuse in the following round. Bare in mind, Xavier has reached the Sweet 16 in the past three NCAA Tournaments.

Tu Holloway Makes the XU Offense Go

(2, West) San Diego State—The Aztecs are one of the best feel good stories of the entire year. They have a very likable team with guys like D.J. Gay and Kawhi Leonard being the face of the program, and Steve Fisher’s journey back to the top of the college basketball world has been great to watch. San Diego State sprinted through their entire regular season schedule with their only two blemishes coming at the hands of Jimmer Fredette and BYU. The play of Gay in the backcourt and Leonard in the frontcourt makes it hard for any opponent to cope with. SDSU will look to avenge their first round loss to Tennessee in last year’s tournament with a much deeper run this year.

(7, West) Temple—In the illustrious career of Fran Dunphy, the longtime coach has never won an NCAA Tournament game. After a strong non-conference performance that translated to a 14-2 record in the Atlantic 10, Temple seems poised to give Dunphy that first “W.” The Owls are one of the best defensive teams in the tournament, which will suite them well for Penn State’s hard-nosed and methodical offense. The match-up featuring Ramone Moore and Talor Battle will no doubt be a great one that may determine the outcome of the game.

Can win a game

(8, East) George Mason—The nation is finally witnessing the highly touted recruits that Jim Larranaga attracted to George Mason following their magical Final Four run back in 2006. The play of Ryan Pearson and Cam Long has been nothing short of exceptional during the second half of the season as GMU won 16 consecutive games. The streaking Patriots will take on the slumping Villanova Wildcats in the first round who have lost five straight games and 10 of their last 15. While the Nova backcourt is one of the best around with Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes, GMU is playing with confidence and swagger that Villanova seems to have lost. I’ll take the hotter team in this one.

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