ACC Snubs Fill Up the NIT

Posted by KCarpenter on March 19th, 2013

The cases for Virginia and Maryland were always tough to make. Both teams were able to hang their hats on seriously good wins, yet both also had some of the ugliest losses on the bubble. That these two teams found themselves on the wrong side looking in Sunday evening isn’t all too surprising. Yet, they move on. Along with Florida State, these ACC teams are set to play in that other national tournament, starting this evening. So if the First Four match-ups aren’t to your taste, there is some fine basketball scheduled for the NIT involving ACC teams tonight.

Virginia and Maryland Have a Shot at Another Tussle in the NIT

Virginia and Maryland Have a Shot at Another Tussle in the NIT

Niagara at Maryland at 7:00 PM

Maryland got a # 2 seed in the NIT and drew a team that won its conference regular season but flopped in the conference tournament. The MAAC’s Niagara is a run-and-gun team that makes up for it’s relatively pedestrian team three-point shooting with skilled ball-handlers who rarely turn the ball over. T.J. Cline is usually the biggest man on the court for Niagara, and he measures out at only 6’8″. However, like the rest of the team, he is a gleeful participant in the perimeter-based attack and has attempted 112 threes this season (leading his team with a 33.9% mark). On the defensive end, the team is effective at forcing turnovers, critical considering Maryland’s difficulty in hanging on to the ball. Of course where Niagara has a fast, agile attack, Maryland has size. No one on the roster can match up with 7’1″ Alex Len, and the trouble that Niagara has in terms of rebounding is a serious problem against an elite offensive rebounding team like Maryland. If the Purple Eagles can scramble and keep forcing turnovers on the defensive end while getting open perimeter looks (Maryland has done a good job contesting threes all season), Niagara has a shot at the upset. Without this, however, Alex Len is well-equipped to dominate this game on both ends.

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RTC Summer Updates: Western Athletic Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on July 15th, 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 newest update comes courtesy of our WAC correspondents, Sam Wasson of Bleed Crimson and Kevin McCarthy of Parsing The WAC.

Reader’s Take

Summer Storylines

Revolving Door.  The revolving door in the WAC consists of schools, coaches and players.  Last summer, it was the defection of four schools to the Mountain West and the addition of three schools (Denver, Texas State and UT-San Antonio). This summer, there are no more defections (thankfully) but there have been additions.  Seattle University will join the WAC for basketball starting in the 2012-13 season and the latest development has UT-Arlington joining their old Southland Conference brethren, Texas State and UT-San Antonio, in the WAC for the 2012-13 season.  While it’s still one full season away, the signs are pointing to an eventual East/West split of the WAC.  A pair of hopefuls in Utah Valley and Cal State-Bakersfield could bring the basketball league to 12 teams, but whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen.

Early Entries.  On the personnel front, the WAC once again saw several underclassmen declare for the NBA Draft, but unlike last season, which saw four get drafted, none of the 2011 early entries were selected.  New Mexico State scoring leader Troy Gillenwater was one of those who opted to enter early but he withdrew his name from the draft.  However, he will not be returning to New Mexico State after hiring an agent and will likely seek out options in either the NBDL or overseas.  Greg Smith from Fresno State opted to leave the Bulldogs after just two seasons but the 6’9″, 250-pound center did not hear his name called.  One other big name is no longer with his team and that is Louisiana Tech‘s Olu Ashaolu who has transferred to the University of Oregon.  Ashaolu averaged 14.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game last season for the injury and suspension-depleted Bulldogs and was one of the conference’s top talents.  Ashaolu will be eligible immediately for the Ducks as he earned his undergraduate degree from LA Tech and because Oregon offers a graduate program not available there.

Coaching Carousel.  For coaching changes, it was a busy offseason for a few teams as Fresno State and Louisiana Tech both opted for a fresh start, hiring new head coaches. Both schools drew high praise for their hires.  The Fresno State Bulldogs lured Texas assistant Rodney Terry to Fresno while their namesake counterparts in Louisiana, the LA Tech Bulldogs, hired Ole Miss assistant Michael White. At just 34 years old, White is one of the youngest head coaches in the country joining familiar names Josh Pastner (Memphis) and Brad Stevens (Butler) at that age.  New Mexico State also saw some major turnover in their staff as the Aggies lost a pair of assistants in Mick Durham, who took the head men’s basketball position at Division II Alaska-Fairbanks, and assistant Gerald Lewis, who returned to his alma mater, SMU, as the Director of Basketball Operations.  The Aggies filled one of the two assistant positions by hiring former Kentucky standout Tony Delk who spent the past two seasons at his alma mater alongside John Calipari and staff in a non-coaching role.  Delk figures to have an immediate impact on recruiting, having played in the NBA and also owning a national championship ring while with the Wildcats.

The Dee Glen Smith Spectrum will have to rock even harder than usual in 2011-12 after Utah State lost several contributors from its sterling campaign last season.

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RTC Official Bubble Watch: 01.28.10

Posted by zhayes9 on January 28th, 2010

RTC contributor and official bracketologist Zach Hayes will update the bubble scene every week until Madness ensues.


Another week down, another Bubble Watch update, this time a day early…


Locks: Duke has rebounded nicely from their slip-up in Raleigh last Wednesday with two quality wins at Clemson and vs. Florida State. The Blue Devils appear destined to run the table at home and only have two difficult, yet winnable, road dates remaining at North Carolina and at Maryland. 11-5 in the ACC seems like a worse-case scenario for Duke, and even that record may be enough to win the league and garner a top-three seed in March.

Should be in: Wake Forest’s RPI has slowly but surely climbed into the 20-range heading into tonight’s important game at Georgia Tech. Even with a loss tonight, the Deacons next six ACC games (three road trips are at Virginia, Virginia Tech and NC State) are all very winnable. I wouldn’t completely eliminate Wake from the ACC title race if Ish Smith and Al-Farouq Aminu continue to play so well. Georgia Tech sits at a pedestrian 3-3 in the ACC but did defeat Duke and the Yellow Jackets have a chance to pick up another quality in-conference win tonight against Wake. Paul Hewitt’s team shouldn’t get too comfortable, though, with a challenging road slate still ahead. Florida State plays a crucial game at Boston College on Saturday. It’s a team that Noles should beat, but judging from their loss earlier in ACC play to NC State in Tallahassee and over the course of Leonard Hamilton’s coaching tenure, that doesn’t always equal victory. Lose to the Eagles and Florida State begins to trend towards the bubble.

On the bubble: Clemson still finds themselves on the right side of the bubble picture, but the Tigers are moving closer to the 9/10 seed line than 4/5 with their recent three-game losing skid. Luckily for Clemson, four of their next five are inside the friendly confines of Littlejohn Coliseum with their only road game at Virginia Tech. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Tigers reel off five consecutive in the win column here and firmly establish their bid. Maryland leads the ACC with a 4-1 mark but have benefited from a hospitable schedule. It becomes much more challenging right away for the Terps with two on the road at Clemson and Florida State. Split those two and the Terrapins remain in the field. The most crucial win of the week may have been North Carolina dispatching rival NC State in what could have been a disastrous outcome for the psyche of that basketball team. The Heels welcome Virginia to the Dean Dome next, but check out the next three: @Virginia Tech, @Maryland and vs. Duke. Frankly, neither 3-0 nor 0-3 would totally shock me.

Booker vital for the Tigers NCAA chances

On the fringe: Virginia Tech is going to have to win a lot of basketball games to overcome their #76 RPI and #270 SOS, two stats currently acting as a firm anchor on Tech’s NCAA hopes. Their next two roadies at Virginia and Miami both need to be won for the Hokies to squirm their way back into the field. It won’t be easy, though, as Virginia has knocked off Georgia Tech and Miami has beaten Wake Forest in their respective home buildings. Much like Virginia Tech, those teams desperately need wins and quickly.

Big East

Locks: The five locks at the top of the premiere conference in the land remain firmly entrenched in the field. This pack is led by Villanova at a sparkling 8-0 in the Big East. The reason why I favor Syracuse to win the league in the end is the clear scheduling advantage for the Orange. While the Wildcats have to travel to Georgetown, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the Orange only must go to D.C. and their next most challenging road games are at fringe-NCAA teams Cincinnati and Louisville. Regardless, both are clearly locks and #1-seed contenders. West Virginia picked up a bounce-back win Saturday over Ohio State and, despite their point guard woes, appear destined for a top-three seed. They have two great opportunities ahead with Pitt and Villanova coming to Morgantown. Despite a two-loss week, Pittsburgh remains safe. After a game at rival West Virginia on February 3, Pitt doesn’t play another NCAA team on the road the rest of the way unless Notre Dame makes it, plus they have that win at Syracuse in their back pocket. Georgetown was thumped at Syracuse Monday, but they’re more than fine. Beating Duke on Saturday would be enormous as far as seeding and portfolios are concerned.

Should be in: Just when you think Connecticut is back, they have the ultimate letdown performance at Providence yesterday where shooting and turnovers woes re-emerged. Still, the Huskies have an RPI in the 20-range and have played the most difficult schedule in the nation. Connecticut also doesn’t have a true road win in their portfolio this season with their next opportunity coming February 1 at Louisville.

Jerome Dyson's maddening inconsistency has drawn the ire of his coach

On the bubble: Louisville beat Cincinnati in an important bubble duel Sunday, but the Bearcats were in my bracket that same night while the Cardinals were left out because Cincy has a better overall resume. In fact, that very win might have been the best to date for Louisville this season. They absolutely must beat Connecticut at home and avoid an upset bid at St. John’s to re-emerge in the bracket. It’s fair to pontificate that Cincinnati peaked at Maui and their collapse at St. John’s certainly stings, but the Bearcats still have a decent chance with a #49 RPI and a #29 SOS. Their rematch at Notre Dame on February 4 looms large. Seton Hall carried home wins over Pitt, Louisville and Cincinnati into the back end of my last bracket. If they can go 1-2 on their upcoming three-game swing through USF, Villanova and Pitt, the Pirates may be able to earn a bid with a favorable schedule the rest of the way.

On the fringe: Could Notre Dame be staring at 9-4 in the Big East when they travel to Louisville on February 17? It’s entirely possible with their next five games at Rutgers, vs. Cincinnati, vs. South Florida, at Seton Hall and vs. St. John’s. Even if they just stand at 8-5, that’s still 8-5 in the #1 RPI conference. Still, they finish with a difficult last five and the quality wins are not there, meaning it’ll be difficult for the Irish to make the tournament.

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