Circle of March, Vol. XVIII

Posted by rtmsf on March 26th, 2012

And then there were four. After 28 days of eliminations, the Circle of March is now in its 18th iteration, and there will be only two more versions until one team is left standing. Over 315 schools have been eliminated from national title contention, and the four that remain are some of the bluest of bloods in college basketball history. Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State, and Louisville will play on the sport’s grandest stage in New Orleans next weekend in what is certain to be one of the most highly anticipated Final Fours in history. Is it Saturday evening yet?

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ACC Morning Five: 03.20.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 20th, 2012

  1. Miami Herald: In case you missed it, Miami‘s season ended with a bunch of bricks and a quiet crowd of 1,649 people ready to watch in person. The Hurricanes got throttled by Minnesota, giving up easy baskets on one end before settling for low-percentage jumpers on the other. There’s always a danger in the NIT that teams won’t get up for the games, but I thought Miami had something to prove after narrowly missing the Big Dance. Instead, Kenny Kadji played horribly (he’s combined to go 5-27 from the field in the postseason), Reggie Johnson only managed to grab two rebounds, and only Rion Brown provided much energy. Assuming everyone returns and stays eligible, next year is Miami’s year.
  2. Oxford Public-Ledger: This article does a great job capturing the ups and downs of March Madness, juxtaposing the NCAA’s money-maker and its suddenness with the journalists hoping to cover it. Austin Rivers‘ quotes from after Duke’s loss to Lehigh are tough to read. This is a unique article and is worth a read.
  3. Independent Weekly: For a more long-winded take on the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and media involvement, look no further than Adam Sobsey. He captures the rollercoaster of emotions the North Carolina team rode following its easy win over Creighton. He also rips the NCAA’s media policies and rightly so. After opening the North Carolina locker room to the press, Roy Williams sent the media out to tell the team about Kendall Marshall‘s injury. Needless to say the group was shell-shocked. But because of the NCAA rule, Williams had to re-open the locker room to the “vulturous mob rapacity” (Sobsey’s style is always easy to spot) for another 10 minutes.
  4. TarHeelBlue.com: Speaking of Marshall’s injury this article offers a great tribute to the Tar Heel point guard.

    It’s more than that because it impacts a person we’ve grown to love. It helps that he throws head-shaking passes, but that’s not all of it. He’s someone who occasionally hangs out in the Carolina Basketball Museum, just to soak in some Tar Heel history. He signs every autograph after every game at every hour into the night, and somehow even seems to enjoy it. He came to Carolina basketball camp as a kid and cherished the pictures, just like so many of us have done. We know we can’t pass it like him. But maybe, watching the way he plays, you can believe that we might appreciate it like him, if we were wearing that jersey.

  5. Associated Press (via Washington Post): The news isn’t directly related to the ACC anymore, but former Georgia Tech great Bobby Cremins announced his retirement from the College of Charleston. Earlier this year, he took an indefinite medical leave for exhaustion. Coaching always took a toll on Cremins, which likely led to the six-year hiatus he took between being pushed out at Georgia Tech and returning to the Southern Conference for an encore (he started his coaching career at Appalachian State).

EXTRA: Joe Posnanski took some time to absorb the first weekend of the NCAA tournament from the neutral confines of Las Vegas. He chronicles one of the two biggest events (with the Super Bowl being the other) for most sports books, talking with oddsmakers and bettors alike.

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Circle of March, Vol. XVII

Posted by rtmsf on March 19th, 2012

Three weeks ago today we started March Madness with over 320 teams dreaming of a national title. We’re now down to only 16, and four of those are from the great state of Ohio! The power conferences represent well, with the Big East and Big Ten each putting four teams into the regional semifinals, and the ACC, SEC, and Big 12 adding two more each. The Atlantic 10′s Xavier and MAC’s Ohio are the two strangers at the party.

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Circle of March, Vol. XVI

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2012

Are you exhausted, exhilarated, enchanted? You should be, as the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend is NEVER less than all of those things. It’s the biggest lock in all of sports, and that’s why we love it. Two days and the CoM has seen its contenders cut in half, but unlike Zeno’s Paradox, we’ll eventually get to one and one alone. Does anyone else find the clustering of teams kinda cute and also hilarious… yeah, that’s just us. Gotcha.

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ATB: Big Dance Day One Roundup — Two Upsets, Top Four Seeds Roll, Defending Champs Are Gone…

Posted by EJacoby on March 16th, 2012

Tonight’s Lede – It’s madness, baby!!! The real start of the NCAA Tournament arrived on Thursday afternoon, as did the collective drop of productivity from employees across the country. March Madness brings the best sick days, mobile apps, and computer split screens out of us, in the pursuit of tracking our brackets and following our favorite teams throughout the day. This Thursday is always special; the mark of the most exciting postseason in sports, and this year was no different. Despite the lack of buzzer-beaters and major upsets, day one was still a fantastic day of college basketball with plenty of key storylines. More fascinating finishes and thrilling games are surely on the way, but let’s take a look at all the action from the first half of the round of 64…

Your Watercooler Moment. #12 VCU Pulls Another Shaka.

Wichita State Was Devastated After Shaka Smart's Boys Pulled Another Upset (US Presswire)

It was just last year when Shaka Smart’s VCU Rams pulled off one of the all-time great Cinderella runs in NCAA Tournament history, winning five games as a #11 seed to go from the First Four to the Final Four in the 2011 Big Dance. In 2012, things were expected to be different — VCU is no longer a sleeper, the Rams were stuck with an even worse seed, and they had to take on a fellow strong mid-major team with Sweet Sixteen aspirations of their own. But the VCU boys did it again, or at least completed stage one of another improbable run. The #12 seed Rams defeated #5 Wichita State in a thrilling game, 62-59, for the biggest upset of day one. VCU jumped to a quick advantage and led by nine at halftime, but a late run by the Shockers gave WSU the lead with about two minutes to play. Bradford Burgess, the lone returning starter from last year’s Final Four team, answered with the biggest shot of the night — a three from the corner that would give VCU a lead that it did not relinquish. Joe Ragland and Toure’ Murry did their best to keep Wichita State’s dreams alive, but VCU was not to be denied on this day. Burgess finished with 16 points, five boards, four assists, and two steals in the win, which sends VCU to a date with #4 Indiana on Saturday.

Also Worth Chatting About. #16 UNC Asheville Nearly Makes History. #16 seeds were 0-108 all-time in the NCAA Tournament coming into Thursday, but nobody told the Bulldogs, a senior-laden team that was fired up to take on a reeling Orange team after word that their center Fab Melo would be ineligible for the Tournament. Without Melo, Syracuse was completely out of sorts, though the player’s absence was no excuse for the rest of the team to play so poorly on both ends. ‘Cuse survived and will move on to Saturday while putting this game behind them, but the story was UNC Asheville’s incredible effort to nearly win this game. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime and hung tough for the entire 40 minutes despite leading scorer Matt Dickey only shooting 1-13 with five points! Asheville got 18 points from J.P. Primm and all of the team box score statistics were very similar in this game, but Syracuse’s late-game execution proved to be too much. Plenty of fans and media members will say that poor officiating was a large factor in the outcome, as UNCA may have gotten jobbed on several calls in the final four minutes. There was one undoubtedly awful call against Asheville that should have resulted in a Syracuse turnover, but blaming the loss on the referees is not something coach Eddie Biedenbach would do. It was a valiant effort by the Bulldogs that just came short, ending in a seven point win for Cuse. The Orange survive to play #8 Kansas State in the next round on Saturday.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Circle of March, Vol. XV

Posted by rtmsf on March 15th, 2012

And now it gets really interesting again. With California and Lamar now summarily dismissed from the CoM, we’re down to the traditional group of 64 teams — win six games from this point and you’re the last team standing. Sixteen more schools will be eliminated by just after Midnight ET tonight.

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Circle of March, Vol. XIV

Posted by rtmsf on March 14th, 2012

It sure didn’t appear like it would end this way, but Mississippi Valley State and Iona were eliminated in dramatic fashion last night. From 68 to 66, with two more gone after tonight…

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RTC Tourney Podblasts: East Region & South Region

Posted by rtmsf on March 13th, 2012

In the vein of what we did last week with our conference tournament Podblasts, this week we’re supplementing our overall bracket Podcast with four region-specific podblasts utilizing each of our experts who will be reporting on different regions throughout the NCAA Tournament. Today we’ll be discussing the East Region with Brian Otskey and the South Region with Kevin Doyle, both of whom really know these brackets inside and out.

East Region Podblast

South Region Podblast

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RTC March Madness Giveaway: Win a 32″ Toshiba HDTV For Picking Thurs/Fri Upsets!

Posted by rtmsf on March 12th, 2012

RTC is pleased to announce a contest for this year’s NCAA Tournament that will result in one lucky winner receiving a 32″ Toshiba HDTV with 1080p and 3D capabilities. The MSRP on this thing is just under a cool grand ($949.99), but for the person who nails this week’s contest (or comes closest), he or she will get it shipped directly to their door for free. Enough about that — how do you win? The contest specs are below.

There are four steps to this contest, but they’re really easy and will only take you one minute or less to complete.

  1. To become eligible, you MUST LIKE our Facebook fan page. Only entrants who have liked our page by Thursday 3/15 at Noon ET will be eligible to win the TV.
  2. On the Facebook fan page on the timeline post announcing the contest, list your choices for the SIX LOWEST SEEDED TEAMS TO WIN A SECOND ROUND (THURS/FRI) GAME. A high seed is, for example, a #1 seed; a low seed is, for example, a #16 seed. ONLY list your six lowest-seeded picks — no more, no less.
  3. As a tiebreaker, also list your choice for the TOTAL NUMBER OF SECOND ROUND (THURS/FRI) UPSETS. An upset is defined as a lower seed beating a higher seed (even in a #8/#9 game).
  4. Once you’ve finished entering your selections, please SHARE your picks with your Facebook friends to spread the word.

DEADLINE: Noon ET, Thursday March 15. One entry per person. No exceptions.

That’s it. The The rest is up to how the ball bounces on Thursday and Friday — a BIG thank you to Toshiba for providing this prize, and GOOD LUCK!!!

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Circle of March, Vol. XIII

Posted by rtmsf on March 12th, 2012

And just like that, we are now down to 68 teams vying for a national title. By this time next Sunday, there will be only 16. We’ll continue to update the Circle of March as the remaining teams are eliminated.

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Bracket Prep: All 31 Automatic Qualifiers

Posted by rtmsf on March 11th, 2012

For the last week or so, we’ve been writing up brief descriptions of what to consider on each of the 31 automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Tournament. While it’s true that there are 37 other NCAA teams in the field, we’re going to bank on the fact that you already know most of those. This series will help you break down many of the smaller conference teams that you may not have seen play all season (or at most, once). And keep in mind that we’ll be coming hard with analysis on each region Monday and game-by-game breakdowns as well throughout the week. The best time of the year is here, folks — let’s enjoy it!

For the entire series of posts, click here. Otherwise find the team(s) you’re interested in below.

East Region

South Region

Midwest Region

West Region

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Circle of March, Vol. XII

Posted by rtmsf on March 11th, 2012

Twenty more eliminations on Friday and 10 more on Saturday means that there are now only 82 teams still alive with hopes and dreams of the 2012 National Championship. Of course, the actual number is somewhat less than that, but we’re not going to get in the business of predicting the whims of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee here — that’s for the bracketologists and others to do. Tomorrow’s four championship games won’t help solve that problem, but a certain television show that broadcasts on CBS at 6:00 PM ET certainly will. We’ll see you again when we have the 68 locked in…

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