Big East Opening Weekend: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Posted by mlemaire on November 12th, 2012

College basketball tipped off Friday and as the weekend drew to a close, all but two Big East teams have played and only two of them lost. From Connecticut’s shocking win over Michigan State to South Florida’s disastrous debut against Central Florida, Big East fans who weren’t able to get to their televisions this weekend missed a lot of good action. Rather than recap each game individually or only focus on some of the games, we figured the best way to get the uninformed up to speed was with a broad look at some of the best and worst from conference programs this weekend.

The Good

UConn’s Surprising Victory in Germany Represented a Big East Highlight of the Weekend

  • Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie’s debut. The first year coach couldn’t have scripted a better start to his career than his team’s gritty 66-62 win over No. 14 Michigan State in Germany. Not only did the rookie head coach beat a legend in Tom Izzo, but his team played with passion and determination, especially considering they don’t have a postseason to look forward to. The good Shabazz Napier (25 points and zero turnovers) showed up for the Huskies and the defense held the Spartans to just 37.5 percent from the field for the game. Ollie isn’t going to earn a long-term contract after one game, but if he can get his team to play that hard all season, he may win over the decision-makers in Storrs.
  • Jack Cooley’s first game as Notre Dame’s offensive focal point. The team effort wasn’t great and if it wasn’t for the all-around performance of Cooley (19 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks) the Fighting Irish may have lost their season opener to Evansville. The obvious elephant in the room is that the Aces didn’t have anyone in their frontcourt remotely capable of dealing with Cooley’s size and strength, and that will definitely not be the case every week. But Cooley was ruthlessly efficient, active defensively and on the glass, and smart with the ball in the post. The Fighting Irish will need to be better on the perimeter if they want to meet expectations this season, but it is always nice to have an anchor in the post if they need it. Read the rest of this entry »
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Cards Roll After Slow Start: Notes and Observations

Posted by Will Tucker on November 11th, 2012

Will Tucker is an RTC correspondent and a Big East microsite writer. He can be found on Twitter @blrdswag

The Louisville Cardinals officially kicked off their season this afternoon with a decisive victory over Steve Masiello’s shorthanded Manhattan team. There were several intriguing narratives heading into today’s game, in which Rick Pitino’s squad sought to validate their lofty preseason ranking and answer some lingering questions about their player rotation and offense. Here are a handful of the most compelling storylines and some conclusions we can draw from the Manhattan game:

The Cards Scrapped Their Way to a Big Victory on Sunday

  • Manhattan’s odds of pulling off an upset in Louisville took a major blow hours before tip off, when it was revealed that star senior George Beamon (19 PPG) would sit out today with an ankle injury. This made it even more difficult to gauge the Cardinals. The overwhelmed Jaspers turned it over 27 times under the duress of Louisville’s athletic full-court press –– the most Louisville has forced since 2004. Masiello admitted after the game that even had Beamon played and everything had gone right for them, his team would have still lost by a comfortable margin.
  • The most anticipated competition heading into the season was at the power forward position, where embattled sophomore Chane Behanan returned today after serving a suspension for both of Louisville’s exhibition games. Pitino opted to start promising freshman Montrezl Harrell, who played extremely well in both preseason contests, but both players split minutes and spent much of the first half on the court at the same time after Gorgui Dieng picked up two fouls in the first two minutes. Harrell certainly didn’t appear eager to forfeit his place in the starting lineup, recording six points, four rebounds, a block and a steal, all the while exhibiting the unrelenting motor that recruiting analysts had raved about during his high school career. For his part, Behanan seemed to respond well to the challenge, grabbing a team-high nine rebounds, eight points, and a career-high three steals in 24 minutes. The game didn’t definitely determine the picture at the four spot going forward, but it seems unlikely Behanan, the MVP of last season’s NCAA Tournament West Regional, will tolerate the indignity of being displaced by a freshman for long. That kind of motivation can only be a good thing for Louisville fans. Read the rest of this entry »
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2012-13 RTC Conference Primers: MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 10th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC.

Top Storylines

The Redshirts: We are not talking about individual players but a program. In the latter part of the summer, Loyola announced its intention to exit the MAAC for the Patriot League. The Greyhounds captured the postseason title this past March. Coach Jimmy Patsos has another very strong group on hand. The interesting thing is how will the last run through the MAAC affect Loyola’s play. The guess here is not too much. Caution is needed however as the MAAC contingents would love nothing to upset the Greyhounds as a ‘going away present.’

How Will Jimmy Patsos Handle the Last Go-Round the MAAC? (AP)

Master Builder: When Canisius hired Jim Baron last spring they not only got a veteran coach with a proven track record, but the Buffalo-based school hired a coach who rebuilt situations at three different schools. First was St. Francis (PA). Next, his alma mater, St. Bonaventure, and most recently, Rhode Island. Baron brought St. Francis and St. Bonaventure to the NCAA Tournament in his careers there. He also had a few NITs under his tutelage but couldn’t get on the board during Selection Sunday while at URI. Make no mistake, though, Baron knows Canisius’ status and what needs to be done to succeed there. Word here says he goes ‘four for four’ in reclamation projects.

Must-See: A few of the notable matchups in the MAAC include…. On January 27, Iona hosts Loyola and visits the Greyhounds on March 1. The latter game could decide the regular season champion and have a strong bearing on final conference seeds for the postseason tournament. A few other notable games:

  • November 11 – Manhattan at Louisville – Steve Masiello ducks no one and heads south to face a powerful Louisville team and his former boss (mentor), Rick Pitino.
  • November 22 – Marist vs. West Virginia in the MAAC sponsored Old Spice Classic in Orlando. The field also includes the likes of Clemson, Davidson, Gonzaga, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt.
  • January 6Iona hosts Manhattan, and more than rivalry bragging rights are at stake.
  • January 25 – Loyola visits Manhattan, another huge midseason contest.

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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 24th, 2012

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

Reader’s Take

 

Opening Tip

  • Iona holds a slim lead and finishes the regular season at home with meetings against Fairfield and St. Peter’s. Regardless of how the top four play out, they are all very much in the hunt. Loyola’s final game at Manhattan on Sunday guarantees that a fair amount of scoreboard watching will be in vogue.

Player of the Week

  • Scott Machado, Iona, 6’1″, Sr. G – Averaged 14.5 points, 12 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 3 steals for the week. The versatile  Machado had 16 points in a win at Rider, hitting all ten of his free throw attempts.

Co-Rookies of the Week

  • Chavaughn Lewis, Marist, 6’5″, Fr., G/F - A starter for three weeks now, Lewis has 14 double figure games to his credit. Against Maine, Lewis recorded career highs in points (24), rebounds (9) and assists (5).
  • Evan Hymes, Siena, 5’8″, Fr., G – Outstanding in a 21-point, 7-assist showing in the upset of Manhattan. Playing 40 minutes for the 14th time in 16 games, Hymes averaged 13.5 points per game for the week.

Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record:

1. Iona 13-3, 22-6
2. Loyola (MD) 12-4, 20-7
3. Fairfield 12-4, 17-11
4. Manhattan 11-5, 19-10
5. Rider 8-8, 11-18
6. Niagra 7-9, 12-17
7. Siena 7-10, 12-16
8. Marist 6-11, 12-17
9. St. Peter’s 4-12, 5-23
10. Canisius 1-15, 5-22

Team Rundown

  1. Iona- Won on the road at Rider before coming home to defeat Nevada in the Bracketbusters. Sean Armand led five double figure scorers for the Gaels with 22 points against Rider. Armand was 7 of 13 from three-point range. Against Nevada, a 90-84 victory,  Lamont Jones paced Iona with 18 points. Five Gaels were in double figures and Scott Machado handed out 15 assists.

    Michael Glover and Iona Are The Team To Beat In The MAAC Tourney (AP)

  2. Loyola – Lost at Marist before defeating Boston University in the Bracketbuster. Shane Walker had a 16-point, 12-rebound night in the losing effort at Marist. A team with a defensive efficiency of 96 during the MAAC season, Loyola allowed Marist a huge 114 rating in their 72-54 loss. Four Greyhounds hit double figures against BU with Robert Olson’s 17 points leading the way. Olson added 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 10th, 2012

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

Reader’s Take 

 

Leading Off

  • Iona avenged a tough defeat in New Rochelle by knocking off Manhattan on their home floor, 85-73. The consensus around the league is that the two teams is will meet again later on down the road. In likelihood, the pair could very well tip it off in March at Springfield with a whole lot at stake.
  • In the meantime, don’t discount Loyola, who keeps on winning and is playing some outstanding defense.

Individual Standouts

  • Player of the Week: Lamont “Momo” Jones, Iona, Jr., G  – Averaged 30.5 points and five rebounds as the Gaels swept their two conference games. Jones shot 59.5% from the field and scored a Hynes Center record 43 points against Canisius.
  • Rookie of the Week:  Chavaughn Lewis, Marist, 6’7”  Fr.  G/F – Recently inserted into the starting lineup, Lewis averaged 13 points for the two games the past week. The freshman swingman proved versatile as well by averaging 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists to compliment his scoring.

Momo Jones Had A Huge Week For Iona (Iona Athletics)

Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record:

1. Iona 11-2, 19-5
2. Loyola (MD) 11-2, 18-5
3. Manhattan 10-4, 17-9
4. Fairfield 9-4, 14-10
5. Rider 8-6, 11-15
6. Siena 5-9, 10-14
7. Niagra 5-9, 10-16
8. Marist 4-9, 9-15
9. St. Peter’s 4-10, 5-20
10. Canisius 1-13, 4-20

 

Team Rundown

  1. Iona – Knocked off Canisius before earning a huge decision at Manhattan. Lamont Jones erupted for 43 points in the win over Canisius. Jones was 16 of 23 from the field (7 of 12 from three). Gaels enjoyed a 140 offensive efficiency rating in that contest. At Manhattan, the OE was another gaudy 123 for Iona. Four players were in double figures, led by Mike Glover’s 19 points.
  2. Loyola - Defeated Rider before winning at St. Peter’s to increase their win streak to six games. Outstanding defense has been the key during the winning streak. Rider was held to a 73 offensive efficiency. Erik Etherly scored 15 points and Shane Walker added 12 boards for Loyola. Against St. Peter’s, balance was a key as Roberton Olson led with 19 points while Etherley added 15 and Walker 14. Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on January 27th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences. The records listed are up to date, but the analysis is just through Wednesday’s games.

Reader’s Take 

 

Leading Off

A sobering, down to earth thought and time of reflection. Marist College cancelled last Sunday’s game with Fairfield and Monday’s Women’s contest against St. Peter’s. This came following a tragic fire in Poughkeepsie, NY that took the lives of three people, two of them Marist students. In a statement MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor said, “the MAAC member schools share in the grief of the Marist community and offers its condolences to the families of the students who died or were injured in this tragic fire.” Ensor also noted rescheduling of the games will be done later as the conference consults with the involved schools. Our thoughts and prayers are with those victims and their families as well.

The Week That Was

Player of the Week: Scott Machado, Iona, 6’1″, Sr., G – Posted an 11-point, 15-assist, 9-rebound effort in the win over Rider. Machado narrowly missed being Iona’s second triple-double performer in school history. Machado had only two turnovers in that win.

Iona's Scott Machado Has Been On Fire Lately

Rookie of the Week: Antoine Mason, Niagara, 6’3″, Fr., G – Averaged 20.5 points, 5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in a 1-1 week for Niagara. Mason has led Niagara in scoring the last three games. The highlight,  a 22 point effort in the victory over rival Canisius.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on January 12th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences. The records listed are up to date, but the analysis is just through Wednesday’s games.

Reader’s Take 

 

The Week That Was

  • The conference slate is already one quarter in the books. Throw away those predictions. At this juncture Iona is the team to beat. Inside play (Mike Glover), an excellent lead guard (Scott Machado), the go-to scorer (Lamont Jones), and perimeter threat (Kyle Smyth) all add up for the Gaels. Not to mention, the man on the bench, Tim Cluess, who knows his X’s and O’s, thank you.
  • Loyola, Fairfield, and Manhattan stay within striking distance. Slowly, Rider has got things straightened out and is much improved after an awful start. Regardless, the Gaels lead the pack. And will be tough to reel in.

Player of the Week

  • Mike Glover, 6’7″, Sr., F, Iona – Averaged 20 points, six rebounds and three blocks the last three games (all victories) for the Gaels. Shot 64.7% from the field and 80% from the line. Enjoyed a 31-point outburst in the win at Marist.

Rookie of the Week

  • Evan Hymes, 5’8″, Fr., G, Siena – Averaged 15.7 points and 4.1 assists as the Saints captured two of their last three games. Led Siena with 22 points in a loss to Iona at Madison Square Garden. Ran the team extremely well, logging the full 40 minutes in both wins over Fairfield and Niagara.

Mike Glover Had A Big Week (AP)

Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record

1. Iona 5-1, 13-4
2. Loyola (MD) 4-1, 11-4
3. Manhattan 4-2, 11-7
4. Fairfield 3-2, 8-8
5. Sienna 3-3, 8-8
6. Marist 2-3, 7-9
7. Niagra 1-4, 6-11
8. Rider 3-3, 6-12
9. Canisius 0-5, 3-12
10. St. Peter’s 2-3, 3-13

Power Rankings

  1. Iona: Won three straight sweeping their two conference games the past week. Iona knocked off Niagara, 73-61, behind Mike Glover’s 19 points and seven rebounds. The Gaels then traveled to Marist, scoring a  100-76 victory. Offensive efficiency was a gaudy 127.0. Glover again was the leader with 31 points and seven boards. Kyle Smyth added 17 points on 5 of 8 shooting from three. Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on December 31st, 2011

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

Reader’s Take 

 

The Week That Was

  • Recapping: Now we can get on with the conference games. The early portion of the schedule gives you the opportunity to face local rivals in other leagues (Manhattan-Fordham for one) and the chance to visit different sections of the country. Frequent flier miles may be added by a visit a few time zones away. By this time, though, everyone is ready for conference play to begin. Two MAAC games per team are in the books. St. Peter’s is 1-1 and 2-11 overall. After Wednesday’s 76-67 loss to Lehigh, John Dunne spoke of his St. Peter’s team and their mindset. “We are young and early our kids did not know how to stay in games,” he said. “Now they can stay in but we have to learn about closing them and winning. It’s all a process.” Dunne pointed out the 1-1 MAAC record and the conference schedule provides a “second season. Our kids are upbeat and working,” Dunne said. “They take the MAAC schedule as a chance to start over again.” New Year’s brings new hope and resolutions. Into the MAAC schedule everyone goes, sharing those positive aspirations.
  • Player of the Week:  Brandon Penn, 6’8″, Sr., F, Rider – In a win at Monmouth, Penn tied a career-high with 26 points while setting personal bests of 15 rebounds and six 3-point field goals.
  • Rookie of the Week: Evan Hymes, 5’8″, Fr., G, Siena – Scored 22 points while handing out six assists in the Saints’ big win over Princeton.

Iona's Lamont "Momo" Jones Is A Strong Candidate For MAAC POY Honors (AP)

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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on December 16th, 2011

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

Reader’s Take

 

The Week That Was

  • The thinking coming into the MAAC season was that the conference title would be a race between Iona and Fairfield. Early returns, though, tell us not to discount Loyola (MD). Jim Patsos’ group owns a nice 8-1 record, including an upset win on the road over George Washington. Over in the Bronx, Steve Masiello is keeping his press conference promises. The Jaspers will be around for this race and have a serious impact.
  • On the negative side is Rider. The Broncs expected to be heard from and have been but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons, as they are struggling at 1-10 and looking for answers. Rider is ranked #97 in offensive efficiency and #116 defensively.

Player of the Week 

  • Dylon Cormier, 6’2″ So., G Loyola – Averaged 20.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in two Greyhound victories. Highlighted was a 26-point effort in an upset of George Washington.

Newcomer of the Week

  • Emmy Andujar, 6’5″ Fr., F Manhattan – Averaged 12 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in two game for the Jaspers. Won the Doc Johnson award as game MVP in the win against Fordham. Andujar had a 14-point, 7-rebound, 7-assist effort in that “Battle of the Bronx.”

Jim Patsos Has His Loyola (MD) Team Playing At A High Level (BaltimoreSun)

Power Rankings

  1. Fairfield (8-1, 2-0): Scored non-league victories over Old Dominion and New Hampshire. Derek Needham led the way with 19 points against ODU in the Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase.  Stags held ODU to an outstanding 80 efficiency on the defensive end in that victory.
  2. Iona (8-2, 2-0): Gaels took to the road winning at Denver in overtime, losing to Marshall and defeating Richmond. Iona’s win at Richmond was sparked by Michael Glover’s 24 points. A fast paced team, the Gaels average 76 possessions per outing. Their offensive efficiency is outstanding at 115 with a 101 on the defensive end. Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 3rd, 2011

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

Reader’s Take

 

On-Site: St. Peters vs. Siena

The conference’s two most recent champions, St. Peter’s and Siena, tipped off last Thursday night. Defending champion St. Peter’s hosted a Siena team trying to get through injuries and searching for their identity. Sophomore point guard Rakeem Brookins is out for the season. The Saints are still not getting the services of Owen Wignot, a good inside player. Early on, the Peacocks built a 21-7 lead as yet another slow start by the Saints put them in an early hole. Down nine at the half, Siena stayed tough. Even faced with a 16-point deficit on the road with fourteen minutes and change to play, Mitch Buonoguro’s group stayed focused. The lead was built courtesy of a tough man-to-man defense by St. Peter’s. Siena ws able to slowly get back in as their 2-3 zone and a St. Peter’s dry spell open the door. The Saints drew even late, but never get the lead, which Buonoguro later pointed out as very significant. Down the stretch, St. Peter’s nursed a slight five-point lead and with less than three minutes to play. Brandon Hall, who hadn’t hit a shot all night, buried a crucial three-pointer for the Peacocks. That made it a three-possession game and proved to be the dagger for Siena. “This was a tough game,” St. Peter’s coach John Dunne said afterward. “It’s the type of game you will see a lot of in this league.”

Accolades

  • Player of the Week: Scott Machado, Iona. The senior guard scored a career high 34 points in the Gaels’ 104-99 double overtime victory over St. Joseph’s. He is just the fifth MAAC player in history to record 1,200 and 600 assists.

Iona's Scott Machado Might Win Several of These

  • Rookie of the Week: Chavaugh Lewis, Marist. Lewis had a career high 23 points in Marist’s victory over Colgate. A freshman guard, Lewis averaged 15 points in a two-game stretch.

Power Rankings

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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 20th, 2011

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

Nonconference play is the norm and story around the country, but especially in the MAAC. Iona’s near-takedown of Purdue raised eyes and caught attention. The Gaels rebounded to defeat Western Michigan in the consolation round in that tournament in Puerto Rico, though, so not all is lost. On Thanksgiving, naturally Macy’s Parade and turkey are the order of the day, but the Old Spice Classic tips off as well with MAAC representative Fairfield entering the eight-team field as a viable threat.

Iona Was Very Close But Hummel Saved Purdue

MAAC Honors

  • Player of the Week : Maurice Barrow, 6’5″ So. F, Fairfield. Barrow scored 19 points while grabbing six rebounds in the Stags’ win over Quinnipiac.
  • Newcomer of the WeekDonovan Kates, 6’6″ Fr. G, Manhattan. Kates scored ten points, including two late threes to help the Jaspers edge NJIT at Draddy Gymnasium.

Power Rankings

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Washington Post: Beasley Lawsuit Claims Violations by Kansas State

Posted by dnspewak on October 27th, 2011

A countersuit filed by former Kansas State 1-and-done phenom Michael Beasley against an NBA agent suggests recruiting violations by Kansas State, according to an investigation by The Washington Post.  The Post‘s story centers more around the DC Assault AAU program, but the Kansas City Star does a better job explaining the KSU ties. Beasley’s civil suit alleges that an acquaintance of DC Assault president Curtis Malone provided funds to his mother, Fatima Smith, to pay for six months of rent in Manhattan, Kansas, as well as relocation costs. And this same man faces other allegations in the lawsuit– notably, that the agent, Joel Bell, told Beasley’s mother that her rent and car payments would be handled.

KSU's Michael Beasley Makes Some Bold Allegations Against KSU in a Lawsuit

Former KSU assistant Dalonte Hill, known for his ties to the DC Assault team, told the Post he did not know of any payments received by Beasley’s mother. Current KSU coach Frank Martin told the Star he also knew nothing about the lawsuit or the Post‘s investigation. Keep in mind that Bob Huggins was the head coach at the time of Beasley’s recruitment, though Martin was still on staff as an assistant. This could mean trouble for Kansas State, but the NCAA must prove two things before it can slam the Wildcats with any penalties. First, did these alleged payments even occur? And second, did any member of the K-State program know anything about them?

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