Big Ten M5: 12.16.13 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti (@dee_b1g) on December 16th, 2013

morning5_bigten

  1. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has suspended redshirt freshman forward Kenny Kaminski indefinitely. Izzo had already suspended the freshman earlier this season, but this time there is no timeline for the return. After a close win over Oakland on Saturday, Izzo said, “Kenny Kaminski’s got to grow up, he’s just got to grow up. And I’m gonna keep suspending him or sitting him out until he takes care of all his business that he’s got to take care of, whether it’s in school, off the court.” Regardless of Kaminski’s playing time, the Spartans need to make sure they enter the Big Ten season with good chemistry, and most importantly, good health. If Izzo can get a healthy Gary Harris back in the lineup, his team should be in good shape to contend for the Big Ten title.
  2. Before writing about college basketball for Grantland, Mark Titus rode the bench at Ohio State during the 2006-07 season when the Buckeyes made it to the national title game. Titus was a walk-on who didn’t play much during his time at Columbus, and Thad Matta doesn’t want Jake Lorbach, another walk-0n, to play like Titus. “He [told me], ‘I don’t want another Mark Titus. So just try not to do that.’ But sometimes you can’t help yourself,” Lorbach said. The 6’7″ forward has averaged only 1.5 PPG and is not expected to contribute immediately, but after a year under his belt, he may be able to play a reserve role on the team.
  3. After a tough loss to Notre Dame at the Crossroads Classic on Saturday, Indiana still hasn’t secured a marquee win during the non-conference season. Inside The Hall‘s Jordan Littman discusses the Hoosiers’ ongoing search for an identity. After the game, Tom Crean said, “Our identity has got to be in the fact that going into the game, we were fifth in the country in field goal percentage defense, we were No. 1 in the country in rebound margin, we were way up in the country in getting to the free throw line.” Noah Vonleh needs to learn how to stay out of foul trouble against tougher opponents because his time on the court is too valuable. When he is on the court, the Hoosiers can rebound with reckless abandon, but without him out there, they lose their only strength at this juncture of the season.
  4. John Groce’s Illini lost a close one to Oregon over the weekend, but the Illinois fan base did an excellent job of representing its team on the west coast. According to Illiniboard, 15 percent of the 10,000 fans in the arena were supporting the Illini, which is pretty impressive for a road game taking place in Portland. Groce’s squad led for most of the game in front of the raucous crowd, but it couldn’t find any kind of offense over the past five minutes of the game when the Ducks were able to get to the free throw line consistently. After two close losses to Georgia Tech and now to Oregon, the Illini need a win over Missouri next weekend before beginning conference play. The annual “Bragging Rights” game will take place on Saturday in St. Louis.
  5. One more shot against Arizona and Michigan could have erased its disappointing non-conference season, but the Wolverines will need to wait a bit longer to regain their confidence. John Beilein’s team almost pulled off the victory over #1 ranked Arizona on Saturday afternoon, but it couldn’t close the deal over the last minute. When asked about beating good teams afterward, Beilein said, “The devil’s in the details.” Despite the loss, Caris LeVert continued to impress with 15 points, but he and his teammates couldn’t handle Arizona’s size and athleticism at the end of the day. After a tough first month of action, the Wolverines won’t have it easy against conference competition because the tougher defensive units in the Big Ten have traditionally given Beilein’s offense trouble scoring.
Share this story

Big 12 M5: 11.13.13 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 13th, 2013

morning5_big12

  1. West Virginia‘s lack of depth came back to bite them Tuesday afternoon as Virginia Tech overcame a 17-point deficit to top the MountaineersJuwan Staten played 39 minutes despite a ghastly 3-of-12 shooting day and fellow guard Eron Harris was allowed to log 38 minutes of his own while going 4-of-17 from the field. Five of the nine players that saw the floor for Bob Huggins tallied at least four fouls, compounding WVU’s issues. Despite having a future Hall Of Famer on its sideline, West Virginia could be facing a long winter for the second straight year. This will likely go down as a “bad loss” in the tournament committee’s mind, and there aren’t many opportunities on the Mountaineers’ non-conference schedule for Huggins’ team to neutralize Tuesday’s effort.
  2. When we laid out a possible road to redemption for Rick Barnes and Texas last month, we didn’t foresee South Alabama giving the Longhorns a scare. Boy, were we wrong to overlook Brad Stevens’ protege, Matthew Graves. His Jaguars raced out to a 15-6 lead and almost handed Texas one of its worst losses under its beleaguered coach, but the Longhorns dug out of a 14-point halftime deficit thanks to big second halves from Jonathan Holmes and Isaiah Taylor and went on to dispose of the Jaguars. 
  3. Another Big 12 team that is probably thankful that the Champions Classic received all the attention Tuesday is TCU, which dropped a stunner to Longwood in Fort Worth last night. Trent Johnson‘s team continues to fight the injury bug and had four players sidelined for this one, but that’s no excuse for a team playing a squad that is only in its second season of  Division-I conference affiliation. Those hoping for a quick rebuild will probably need to adjust their expectations if they haven’t already.
  4. Former Ohio State walk-on Mark Titus, who contributes for Grantland, released his Big 12 outlook yesterday, and like most things Titus writes, it’s an interesting read. From his entertaining superlatives (“Best Senior With A Slim Chance At An NBA Career”) to his ruminations on whether Kansas extends its streak of conference titles, we definitely recommend you take a look.
  5. This time of year, the competition has to be taken into account, but Iowa State put forth a promising defensive effort against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Tuesday night. The Cyclones held the Islanders to 28.6% shooting from the floor and rebounded 76.9% of their misses. The biggest question surrounding Fred Hoiberg’s team is whether they will defend well enough to support its outstanding offensive potential. A bigger test looms Sunday, when Michigan pays a visit to Hilton Coliseum.
Share this story

Big 12 Morning Five: 11.09.11 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on November 9th, 2011

  1. The early signing period for college basketball begins today, and that obviously has major implications for every Big 12 team. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the storylines for each team, but Rivals does a solid job outlining the national issues. Interestingly, the Big 12 doesn’t appear to be involved in many of the top unsigned recruits this week. Kansas State, however, just received a visit from center Robert Upshaw, ranked in the top-50 by Rivals and in the top-10 for his position. The Wildcats have a lot of competition for the seven-footer out of California, including Rick Pitino at Louisville.
  2. Everybody loves Mark “The Shark” Titus. The operator of the famous blog “Club Trillion” is now previewing college basketball on the web. On Tuesday, he covered the Big 12, choosing Kansas as both the Best Team and Most Overrated Team. Not confusing at all, right? Titus also chose Missouri as a sleeper and Thomas Robinson as the easiest player to root for (more on that below). Although Titus enlightens us with his patented one-liners, he actually breaks down the conference quite thoroughly. And after months of hardcore previews with tempo-free statistics and god knows what else, it’s nice to read something fun for a change. It’s just basketball, after all, not NASA.
  3. We’ve covered the Missouri/Kansas rivalry crisis extensively this week, but here’s more news from ESPN.com — this time, from the MU side. Coach Frank Haith said he’d like to play a home-and-home with the Jayhawks, but at this point, the rivalry falls in the hands of Kansas. Haith also made some other interesting comments in the ESPN article, especially with regards to recruiting. Haith said the SEC will open up new avenues in the South, but he said he’d still like to maintain a base in the Midwest. Haith already has all sorts of ties in Texas and Miami, so he’ll now be able to hit up Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and other southeastern states for prospects.
  4. Thomas Robinson played terrifically in limited minutes in 2010-11 on the court, but as you probably already know, he suffered through tragedy in his personal life. His grandmother, grandfather and mother all died in the span of a month, and it’s unbelievable that Robinson played as well as he did through all of that anguish. Sometimes, outlets like ESPN can overdo the tragedy angle in sports, but Tom Friend is one of the best in the business– and he’s not overdoing anything here. Robinson’s story is heartbreaking, and as we head into a new season where big things are expected from the junior, his story deserves to be re-told.
  5. And finally, though you’re likely sick of realignment talk, here’s a critical look at the effect of Missouri‘s departure on the Big 12. This particular writer won’t seem to miss the Tigers much, arguing that their breadwinning sports (football and basketball) aren’t as prestigious as those at West Virginia. He’s got a point: in looking at the statistics, WVU’s probably the more successful athletic program during the past decade or so. Still, even if the Big 12 won’t crumble without Missouri, it’ll have to make some major adjustments, especially geographically.
Share this story

Morning Five: 11.08.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 8th, 2011

  1. Paul Hewitt hasn’t coached his first official game at George Mason, but he already has his first minor crisis to deal with as senior guard Andre Cornelius was suspended 10 games by the school for his role in a credit card fraud case in which he was arrested in September. Cornelius, who started every game last season for the Patriots and averaged 9.5 PPG as a junior, pleaded guilty to credit card fraud, a misdemeanor, and received a six-month suspended sentence, but had a felony larceny charge dropped. Cornelius will be allowed to practice with the team, but not play in games for them until the fall semester is complete (December 20), which would allow him to return for the game against Duquesne the following day. In the meantime, Hewitt will have to find someone to replace Cornelius and his outside shooting and veteran presence.
  2. Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy, who recently announced that he would be taking time off to deal with his new diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, has not set a timetable for his return yet according to interim head coach Glynn Cyprien. However, Cyprien noted that Kennedy has been stopping by to watch practices and even attended a team meeting yesterday. With no date set for Kennedy’s return, we expect that Cyprien will be coaching the Aggies in their season opener against Liberty on Wednesday. When Kennedy returns (and we expect that he will based on what we have heard) it should be a big boost for the spirits of this team and could help them go on a quick run.
  3.  As part of its ongoing college basketball preview, Grantland asked Mark Titus to preview the Big East. It is a sort of odd selection since Titus “played” at Ohio State, but he knows basketball and it is a solid preview even if we disagree with his selection of the conference champion. He does make a good point about how we may be viewing Connecticut incorrectly based on how they ended last year on a hot run rather than considering the entirety of their season. Overall, it is a solid primer for the non-hardcore college basketball fan, who Titus notes he is aiming for in the post.
  4. We have already shared our thoughts on Tyshawn Taylor and Kansas with regard to his potential as a leader. The fine gentlemen over at Basketball Prospectus put together an interesting analysis on Taylor and how he has evolved during his first three years in Lawrence by looking at how he is portrayed in articles by comparing the ratio of positive to negative words used to describe him. We are sure that someone will criticize the methodology and we certainly don’t consider this a rigorous analysis by any means, but it is interesting to see how the perception of Taylor has changed over the years. We would be be more interested in seeing a similar analysis of another player who was controversial or had legal issues, but ended up playing well for his team later in his career just to see if a bad reputation can be changed in the media by playing well and staying out of trouble.
  5. One of the more interesting aspects of college sports is the passion of the fans particularly the student sections. No group of fans is more well-known for this than college basketball fans, who thanks to the the seating arrangements of most college arenas can play a surprisingly big role in the game by throwing off the opposition. Over the years fans have offered up some rather amusing taunts and today’s students are no exception. The first example of the season came from Ohio where Ohio University-Zanesville was taunted by fans of opposing Mount Vernon Nazarene University as the fans dressed up as exotic animals and sheriffs in reference to the surreal event in Zanesville, Ohio last month. While some may question the taste of the taunts, you have to admit it is fairly creative.
Share this story

Morning Five: 05.25.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on May 25th, 2011

  1. Could have sworn there was a thunderclap after we first read this one. Jim Calhoun’s prediction for the Big East is that “I think you’ll see a separation” of the conference along the fault line of those BE schools that play football and those that play everything but football. Also interesting is that he thinks it’ll happen “within the next couple of years, four or five years down the road,” and adds, “I don’t think I’ll see this.” Calhoun leaving Connecticut in that time frame wouldn’t surprise anyone, but it’s still odd to conceptualize.
  2. A day after Ed DeChellis said adios to Penn state, PSU athletic director Tim Curley began the (not at all expected) search for a new head coach. For you speculating Nittany Lion backers, put names like Brad and Shaka out of your minds. Fran Dunphy would be a total coup and ain’t gonna happen, either. Curley says DeChellis left the program in an “excellent state,” but there’s no doubting he needs a name, here, or at the very least a young shark to get the student body excited. So, place your bets: Pat Flannery? Bruiser Flint? Ron Everhart? Joe Paterno?
  3. Mark Titus became a pretty famous guy a few years ago with the website Club Trillion, his blog about his adventures as a last-man-on-the-pine walk-on on the Ohio State basketball team. Regarding the recent allegations involving the football team and Jim Tressel, Titus recently posted on his site that he noticed how cars driven by football players were always nicer than those driven by basketball players, leading him to deduce that either the football players were awarded larger stipends, were better at managing money, came from wealthier families, or “received discounted and/or free cars.” The OSU faithful, many of whom were probably once Titus’ biggest fans, aren’t happy, as evidenced by the comments section [h/t: Lost Lettermen].
  4. Arik Armstead is the #1 high school football player in the country, according to Scout.com. He’s verbally committed to play at USC. So why is he making a visit to the University of Nevada with an eye toward playing college basketball? Well, he says he’d rather play hoops, and ESPN.com says he’s the 33rd best power forward in the country. And his father is good friends with Wolf Pack head coach David Carter. USC says he can also play basketball for them if he wants, and having the Song Girls cheer for you in two sports is a preposterously enticing deal, but Armstead throws in a quote at the end that makes us think he may actually be considering the roundball.
  5. Gentlemen of Villanova, get your passports ready. Jay Wright’s going all Clark W. Griswold on us and taking his team on a ten day European vacation in August. Because Wright has only two starters returning next season, it’s a good chance for the Wildcats to bond while playing some quality clubs just ahead of their 2011-12 campaign and after two straight years of disappointing NCAA Tournament results. Make sure to look both ways twice when crossing those streets, fellas.
Share this story

Morning Five: 11.23.10 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on November 23rd, 2010

  1. Seth Davis submits his annual predictions on who will be this year’s breakout sophomores, and even though that concept alone is enough to hook us, there are two other reasons that make this particular endeavor well worth a read. First, Davis disqualifies several low-risk examples (your Boyntons, Leonards, etc) from consideration and restricts himself to less obvious choices; second, he doesn’t just ask that you take him on faith. He revisits last year’s predictions to see how he did. We respect such honesty.
  2. Former Ohio State all-American (in terms of blogging, at least) Mark Titus may have graduated, but he and Club Trillion are still going strong. If you’ve ever read his site, you know how it is both fitting and funny that Titus writes a three-part college basketball preview…that finishes two weeks after the season’s already started. If you’re looking for in-depth conference breakdowns and NCAA Tournament prognostications, you might want to look elsewhere. If, however, you like to view college basketball through the twin lenses of professional wrestling and FIFA video soccer, then this is the link for you (it takes you to Part I). We think you’ll enjoy it (unless you’re a Duke or Kentucky fan).
  3. FoxSports.com’s Jeff Goodman writes that the sky is still in its rightful place in Chapel Hill, and that the, er, slow start by the Tar Heels is no cause for alarm, adding that by the end of the season the Heels should be “a legitimate Top 25 team.” We doubt UNC supporters will find that to be much confort, though. If you’re a North Carolina fan, we want to hear from you: we know it’s extremely early, but with this freshman class and specifically the arrival of Harrison Barnes, would Top 25 legitimacy by the end of the season represent the type of 2010-11 campaign you had in mind before it began?
  4. In case it slipped by you, we have to remind that what we had on Monday was a case of a team that won a “tournament” game a few days ago playing its subsequent game in a small-college gym in Ohio while the loser from that same tournament game “advanced” to play (and lose) in a huge arena on national television. San Diego State is just fine with obscurity, though, and invites the college basketball world to continue to look the other way.
  5. Mitch Buonaguro claims that in 15 tries as an assistant coach, he’s never beaten Butler (Ed. note: this may not be accurate). Now, Buonaguro is the head coach at Siena. Guess who’s coming to Loudonville, NY for a game tonight? You got it. In this piece from the Albany Times Union, you can see that Coach Buonaguro has nothing but respect and great things to say about his opponent. You can also tell how badly he wants that victory over them.
Share this story

Morning Five: 04.23.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 23rd, 2010

  1. Today’s comings and goings were actually very limited for the first time in two weeks.  The biggest news in this regard was that Arkansas sophomore guard Courtney Fortson, projected as undrafted in June, has signed with an agent and will not return to school next year.  We’ll never quite understand the self-deception that guys such as Fortson must enable to convince themselves that they’re ready for the NBA by giving everything up to chase that dream.
  2. Now that Mark Titus‘ career at the end of the bench at Ohio State is over, he ruminates about what the future holds for his phenomenal blog Club Trillion.  We’re sure whatever he does with it, it’ll be hilarious.  And Mark, if you ever need a side gig, give us a tweet.
  3. The state of Arizona’s new proposed anti-immigration legislation (SB 1070) that will potentially open the door to racial profiling of Latinos by law enforcement may threaten to diminish the Phoenix area’s chances at obtaining major sporting events in the future, including the Final Four.  Stupid is as stupid does, we guess.
  4. Sign of the (hard) times or something deeper?  The ACC Tournament, long considered the toughest ticket in the conference postseason hierarchy, had trouble selling out its games this year.
  5. Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson joined the Colbert Report on Wednesday night.  Yeah, we know he’s the first bro-in-law, but it’s been two seasons at OSU now, and we’re starting to tire of the same old questions.  Although Colbert is funny, as usual.
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Craig Robinson
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News
Share this story

NCAA Basketball 2010: The BCS Version

Posted by nvr1983 on April 2nd, 2010

With all the talk about the coming 96-team tournament, many in the sports media have forgotten that there is already another ridiculous major college sport championship in place: the BCS. We took you through this process in a post last year, but it’s worth going over again as the blogosphere is ablaze with opinions on changing our beloved NCAA Tournament.

Here are the basic ground rules:

  1. We are following the BCS Football guidelines as closely as possible. Obviously there are some differences. A college basketball team is expected to win more than 9 games (we kept a cut-off at a 75% winning percentage). We replaced the Notre Dame rule with the Duke rule since they both have sketchy TV contracts (Notre Dame with NBC and Duke with ESPN).
  2. I used the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls as the human polls and ESPN.com’s InsiderRPI, KenPom.com, and Sagarin’s ratings as the computer polls. The computer polls include data from the NCAA Tournament, but as you will see it didn’t affect the results that significantly.
  3. We used the traditional BCS calculations for determining each team’s score weighing the two human polls and the combined computer poll average as 1/3 of a team’s total score each.

Here are the results:

We will let you digest that for a minute and will provide more information/analysis and the BCS Bowls after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Rush the Shirt Contest – Official Rules

Posted by jstevrtc on January 29th, 2010

Looking for that last piece to complete your winter wardrobe?  Maybe you should try a sweater or at least something with long sleeves.  But, if you need something to wear UNDER that, look no further.  It is with immense pride that we introduce to you… the official RUSH THE COURT t-shirt.  It’s got our name on it, a cool slogan, and a shoeprint design on the back along with the site’s URL.  That’s pretty much the only ways in which it’s different than every other shirt you own.  Oh, and it’s freaking awesome.  You can order yours at our CafePress showcase here (priced between $11-$24).

Suffice to say, we’ve got just about every school color combination there is.  We don’t do custom orders, but tell us if you want a color combo we don’t offer and if there’s enough demand, we’ll see what we can do.  ALSO, because we’ve been inspired by the recent generosity of various basketball programs who have raised aid money for earthquake relief in Haiti, AND by the Mark Titus blog Club Trillion, we’re donating all profits we make to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

But there’s more to this.  Even though your coolness factor and college hoops insider status will take off faster than a  Jeremy Hazell jumper as you wear your RTC T-shirt, we’re not just doing this so we can use you people as walking billboards for us (though we do appreciate it).  We’re going to have a little contest along with our T-shirt promotion.  We want to see these things in action.  And when we say that we want to SEE them… we’re quite serious.

Here’s the deal — send us a photo of yourself wearing the RTC t-shirt , and we’ll enter you into a lottery for one of  two prizes:

  • First Prize Two (2) Tickets to a 2010 NCAA First/Second Round Venue of Your Choice
  • Second Prize$50 Visa Gift Card

The number of chances you actually GET in the drawing is determined by the situation in which you are wearing your RTC shirt.  Our committee of judges will review each photo as it’s received, assigning it a point value which will correspond to the number of chances you get in the drawing.  For example: a photo of a person wearing an RTC shirt  generates one chance.  You take it from there.  We’ll assign points based on how creative you get, where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with, etc.  Also, if one of our correspondents or editors sees you anywhere while wearing the shirt (at the supermarket, at the gym, at a game, etc.), you’ll be given an extra ten entries (the correspondent/editor must approach you — do not make a spectacle of yourself).  We’ll occasionally post our favorite photos on the site.

Send the photos to RTCShirtPhotos@gmail.com.  The drawings will occur on the Monday AFTER Selection Sunday and we’ll announce the results here after we’ve notified the winners.  The photos must be sent from the email address from which you want to be contacted if you win one of the prizes or if we need to get in touch with you.  Don’t worry… we’re not going to put you on any mailing lists or anything.

One prize per person.  No obscene or illegal material, please.  Photos of that nature will be discarded without consideration.  Contest ends at 12 midnight the MORNING of Selection Sunday.  Photos submitted after then will not be considered for the drawings.

So grab a shirt or five, and start racking up points.  Most importantly, enjoy the rest of the season.  We’ll be looking for you!

(RTC dudes and their relatives aren’t eligible to win.  We promise.)

Share this story

Morning Five: 12.28.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 28th, 2009

  1. Yep, Kentucky fans are like elephants.  Big, smelly, fat and with long trunks.  Oh, and the memory thing too.  As for this weekend’s tilt against Pitino’s Louisville, we expect the signs to be off the charts funny.  RTC will send $25 (hey, we’re cheap) to the most clever sign-holder we see this weekend (standard liability disclaimers apply).
  2. Mark Titus – if you didn’t already know him, you should now.
  3. Celebrating Helms Titles – apparently UNC and Kansas are the only two major programs who do so.  Where do you stand on this issue?
  4. Looks like K-State’s Frank Martin is proving all the naysayers wrong after all.
  5. Wichita State — a mid-major we should all be watching this season.
Share this story

Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.14.09

Posted by nvr1983 on March 14th, 2009

dynamiteWelcome back to the weekend edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite. First off I’d like to commend rtmsf for his strong work on yesterday’s BGtD. You guys really have no idea how exhausting it is doing a full day’s worth of this is and he managed to do it with only a short break although it almost caused me to give up working on the site after being forced to endure the American-Holy Cross game yesterday. As he outlined in his After the Buzzer post last night/this morning, there are 12 conference championship games today. For the sake of maintaining our sanity and having enough energy in the tank for our huge March Madness preview, we’ll be taking multiple shifts but we promise to coordinate it so you won’t miss anything during our handoffs.

6:00 AM: Yes. That’s actually the time I’m starting this thanks to a “short nap” that ended up going from 9 PM to 5 AM. Obviously my posts will be infrequent in the early morning hours, but I’ll be passing along some news and links to you before the games start at 11 AM. The New York Times has been stepping it up with their college sports blog “The Quad” recently and has an interesting post on Louisville‘s Terrence Williams and his pre-game ritual of the giving himself a pep talk during the national anthem. Before anybody thinks this might be a Chris Jackson Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf situation, it should be noted that Williams actually stands during the anthem and is supposedly talking about family members that he has lost and asking that everyone on the court avoids injuries. Of course, we can’t verify this, but if we have any lip-readers in our vast legion of RTC readers, we would love hear your take on this particularly if you have seen this is in person.

7:00 AM: Before I head out for a few minutes to take care of some errands like stocking up on groceries for the coming storm where I probably won’t leave my apartment for 3 weeks. I thought I would pass along one of my favorite things we are doing at RTC right now. We enlisted the help of our correspondents and got them to send us their favorite March memories. We narrowed down the submissions to the 16 best entries and are counting down to #1, which will be revealed on Wednesday (the day before the tournament starts). I’d encourage you to check out the entries we have so far and keep on coming back throughout the day to see what they selected as their favorite March memories and then chime in with your memories on those moments.

8:45 AM: Ok. False alarm on that grocery run. Apparently Costco doesn’t open until 9:30 so after this post I’ll be on a short break. So today’s RTC East breakfast is brought to you by Flour Bakery and consists of their Bobby Flay-slaying “Sticky Buns” and a twice-baked brioche. Here’s a quick run-down of the games (title game in red–there’s a lot of red) that I will be focusing on today:

Early Games

  • UMBC vs. Binghamton at 11 AM on ESPN2 for the America East title
  • Memphis vs. #3 Tulsa at 11:35 AM on CBS for the Conference USA title

Afternoon Games

  • Mississippi State vs. #16 LSU at 1 PM on ESPN2 and Raycom in the SEC semifinals
  • #6 Michigan State vs. Ohio State at 1:30 PM on CBS in the Big 10 semifinals
  • #1 UNC vs. #22 FSU at 1:30 PM on ESPN and Raycom in the ACC semifinals
  • Tennessee vs. Auburn at 3 PM on ESPN2 and Raycom in the SEC semifinals
  • Maryland vs. #8 Duke at 3:30 PM on ESPN and Raycom in the ACC semifinals
  • #25 Illinois vs. #24 Purdue at 4 PM on CBS in the Big 10 semifinals

Evening Games

  • #23 Arizona State vs. USC at 6 PM on CBS for the Pac-10 title
  • Baylor vs. #15 Missouri at 6 PM on ESPN for the Big 12 title
  • Temple vs. Duquesne at 6 PM on ESPN2 for the Atlantic 10 title

Late Night Games

  • San Diego State vs. Utah at 7 PM on Versus for the Moutain West title
  • Morgan State vs. Norfolk State at 7 PM on ESPNU for the MEAC title (Periodic score updates for this one)
  • Buffalo vs. Akron at 8 PM on ESPN2 for the MAC title
  • #5 Louisville vs. #20 Syracuse at 9 PM on ESPN for the Big East title
  • Jackson State vs. Alabama State at 9 PM on ESPNU for the SWAC title (Periodic score updates for this one)
  • Utah State vs. Nevada at 10 PM on ESPN2 for the WAC title
  • Cal State-Northridge vs. Pacific at 11:59 PM on ESPN2 for the Big West title (This one is questionable)

10:55 AM: Ok. I’m back from my extended Costco run and have enough food to last me through the week. A quick summary on the early games. In the America East, Binghamton is a 5-6 point favorite (depending on your gambling establishment of choice). Honestly, I’m surprised that they aren’t bigger favorites since they come in at 22-8 while UMBC comes in 15-16 and the game is at Binghamton. It could be interesting though as they split the season series in the regular season with Binghamton winning the last game of the regular season at home against UMBC 71-51. I’m guessing the America East commissioner is rooting for UMBC to avoid the embarrassment of the CBS announcers having to explain why the conference’s regular season leading scorer (D.J Rivera) was left off the all-conference team. In Conference USA, Memphis is a 14-point favorite against Tulsa. Memphis might be playing for a #1 seed even with their ridiculously easy schedule. We’re hoping this game is more like the first time they met (a 55-54 Memphis win) rather the last time they met (a 63-37 Memphis win). I have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to be more like the latter, but we’ll be following it anyways to get a last look at Memphis before CBS’s new Billy Packer rips the NCAA selection committee for putting them over a Big East team.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Set Your Tivos: New Year’s Eve Spectacular

Posted by nvr1983 on December 30th, 2008

I’ll be honest with you. This doesn’t even come close to Super Saturday from a couple weekends ago, but it’s certainly better than watching all the specials about how your retirement account fell apart this year or some mediocre college football teams play in a meaningless bowl games that nobody has ever heard of. It certainly should be enough to distract Big Ten fans away from their teams getting blown out in the bowl games. In any event it will get the rest of you ready for Dick Clark at midnight. . .

http://www.museum.tv/
Credit: http://www.museum.tv/

Noon ET
#15 Michigan State at #21 Minnesota on the Big Ten Network: Both teams are riding high after impressive victories on Super Saturday. The Spartans (9-2) have rebounded from a slow start including a blowout loss to UNC (doesn’t seem that bad any more. . .ok losing by 35 in a virtual home game is really bad) to reel off 5 straight wins including a win against Texas on the 20th. Meanwhile, Minnesota (12-0) has been playing consistently good basketball–quality wins over Virginia and an overrated Louisville team–all year despite coming into the season with modest expectations from the media. While the Spartans are more of a known quantity with a number of marquee players, the Gophers are more of an unknown as their soft early season schedule (only Louisville was a RPI top 100) is the reason they are 12-0 yet only ranked #21 in the country. The key to this game will likely be Spartan sophomore PG Kalin Lucas who comes into the game boasting a better than 6.5:1 assist to turnover ratio. If he continues to play at that level, Tubby Smith will have a tough time matching Tom Izzo and the Spartans.

2 PM ET
#3 Pittsburgh at Rutgers on ESPN Full Court and ESPN360.com: The Panthers are heavy favorites in this game, but we’ll be more interested in how the Scarlet Knights are performing in the middle of the toughest 3 game stretch in college basketball history (#1 UNC then #3 Pitt then current #2 UConn in the same week). Jamie Dixon should have his guys ready for this game after UConn’s loss to Georgetown a couple night earlier, but you never know with college kids particularly ones who probably went home for the holidays and spent time around people who praised them even more than what they normally hear at school. This is definitely an “upset alert” game, but we think the UConn loss should be enough to keep Levance Fields and the Panthers on their toes.

- Wisconsin at #24 Michigan on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com: At first glance this would appear to be a mismatch with the Badgers being unranked and the Wolverines receiving a lot of attention from the media this year, but this game should be very close. Most of you know about the Wolverines (10-2) with losses to Duke (avenged) and Maryland, but the Badgers (9-3) come in with a pretty strong resume too–a blowout loss against UConn along with 2 close losses to Marquette and Texas (by a combined 8 points). Despite their strong starts, both teams still have work to do if they want to guarantee themselves a ticket to the NCAA tournament. As usual the Badgers come in without a true superstar, but have a very balanced attack with 5 players averaging between 7.8 and 12.6 PPG. The Wolverines rely on their stars–Manny Harris (19.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 5.1 APG) and DeShawn Sims (17.2 PPG and 9.2 RPG). I figure the Wolverine fans (and Manny Harris) should be enough to put their team over the top in the Big Ten opener.

4 PM ET
– Iowa at #23 Ohio State on the Big Ten Network: Unfortunately we don’t think we will be seeing Mr. Trillion (Mark Titus) make an on-court appearance because this also figures to be a close game. The Hawkeyes (10-3) haven’t been world-beaters, but they should put up a pretty good fight if Anthony Tucker can rebound from his recent suspension and play up to his early-season form. The Buckeyes looked absolutely awful in their last game a 76-48 loss to West Virginia, which dropped them 10 spots in the polls. If the Buckeyes expect to rebound and contend for a Big Ten title, which they have the potential to do, they will need freshman B.J. Mullens to start playing like the big-time recruit he was out of high school. At the very least, Thad Matta needs Mullens to start playing like the 7-footer that he reportedly is. Seriously, 4.0 RPG in 17.7 minutes per game against mediocre competition isn’t going to cut it for someone who has been hyped as a potential lottery pick. If Mullens can raise his game, he and Evan Turner should be enough to make them contenders for the Big Ten title.

6 PM ET
– UNLV at #18 Louisville on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com: I would use an “upset alert” on this one, but with the way Rick Pitino’s boys have been playing this year they haven’t played well enough for me to consider another loss an upset. Louisville has the talent to blow out UNLV, but to date they haven’t shown the ability to translate that talent into performance this season. UNLV certainly hasn’t been playing great this year, but their pressing defense has started to pay dividends recently with a big win over Arizona. Normally a team as talented as Louisville shouldn’t have trouble with a trapping defense of the level of UNLV’s (saw it on Christmas Eve on a replay of the Southern Utah game on Mountain TV–don’t ask), but it might just be enough pressure to rattle a team that appears to be as mentally weak as Louisville. My prediction: Let’s just say I have a strong suspicion that Rick will be giving another long speech after this one.

8 PM ET
#17 Gonzaga at Utah on CBS College Sports: As much as I would like to make this a game about 2 teams (sorry Utah), this game is really all about Gonzaga. The Bulldogs, who were ranked 4th in the nation a couple weeks ago, have lost 3 of 4. We’re willing to let the loss to UConn go (we called it the “Game of the Year (to date)” at the time, but neither team has done much lately to help with that claim), but losses to Arizona and Portland State have basically knocked Gonzaga out of contention for a #1 seed this year. However, Mark Few still has a chance at a #2 seed and spot in the West Region if Jeremy Pargo, Matt Bouldin, and company can get back in gear.

10 PM ET

-#1 UNC at Nevada on ESPN2. This is a true road test for the Heels, but it looked better on paper a month ago than it probably will be tonight.  The Wolfpack, with Luke Babbit, Armon Johnson and Brandon Fields, appeared to be ready to compete for another WAC championship and an NCAA bid coming into the season, but they have been nothing short of a disappointment so far, losing to pretty much every good team they’ve played.  Still, there is talent here, and if UNC is looking ahead to hanging out in the seedy casinos afterwards, Nevada could use their homecourt advantage to make a game of this one.  It’s worth keeping an eye on as you lift your glass to toast the new year in the east.

www.squaremeal.co.uk

Credit: www.squaremeal.co.uk

Share this story