CIO… the Atlantic 10 Conference

Posted by CNguon on February 20th, 2013

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Joe Dzuback is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference. You can also find his musings online at Villanova by the Numbers or on Twitter @vtbnblog.

*Ed. Note: the statistics in this column were aggregated prior to Tuesday night’s St. Louis-VCU game.

Looking Back

Difference Margins in Conference Games: The offense/defense difference margins are beginning to “behave” as teams with winning records (Charlotte and Temple excepted) have positive difference margins, while teams with losing records (Dayton excepted) have negative difference margins. Temple, with a 5-5 record, has a -0.001, just two one-thousandths under “positive.” Tiers within the winning and losing groups continues to be messy, and occasionally explains why a team is succeeding or failing.


Looking over the “standings” this week a few things jump out…

  • Fordham and Duquesne are losing contact with the rest of the conference, and that includes 3-8 Rhode Island. For the Dukes, with a new coach and a program in disarray, the trend is not surprising as wins are hard to come by. Fordham, coming into the season with senior all-conference forward Chris Gaston and a promising young backcourt, has to be a disappointment to fans and university administrators. Granted, Gaston has struggled with injuries and extended absences, but the current late season fade continues a pattern established over the last five seasons.
What's that you say? Jim Crews and Saint Louis is running away from the rest of the conference. (AP)

What’s that you say? Jim Crews and Saint Louis are running away from the rest of the conference. (AP)

  • Saint Louis appears to be running away from the rest of the league. If the Bilikens’ numbers hold up over the course of this week (they play Butler next, after eviscerating VCU last night), expect coach Jim Crews’ squad to emerge with the #1 seed going into Brooklyn and up in the NCAA field where they are currently seeded in the #9-#11 range.
  • Temple’s -0.001 efficiency margin reflects the fact that the Owls have had a series of one-point decisions (more in Temple’s team report below) against both stronger teams (Charlotte) and weaker teams (Duquesne).

Going, going… The topic touched on during virtually every Division I basketball game over the last week is “Who is in?” usually accompanied by a discussion of bubble teams – right side/wrong side, S-curves and “What happened to…”. Alhough the field is still under construction and opinions vary as to whether the Atlantic 10 will have six bids (Jerry Palm as of February 17) or four (Joe Lunardi and RTC’s own Daniel Evans), there is an emerging consensus that several preview “contenders” are in the field, somewhere on (or near) the bubble and clearly out of the conversation entirely. Some quick takes on the “bubble… sort of’s” and those who are “out”:

  • Charlotte – Jerry Palm lists the 49ers as a #11 seed and well beyond the “Last Four In” category. Daniels lists them on his bubble watch of February 18 while Lunardi remains silent. Can good conference wins versus Butler and Xavier really negate double-figure losses to Richmond, George Washington and Saint Louis? More than any A-10 team not named Temple, winning their last five games going into the conference tournament will make or break this resume. Read the rest of this entry »
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Morning Five: 08.15.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 15th, 2011

  1. The talk of the college sports universe throughout the weekend involved the notion of Texas A&M bolting the Big 12 for the (supposedly) greener pastures of the SEC.  On Friday afternoon, it seemed to be nothing more than some wishful thinking on the part of the Aggies.  By Saturday, though, ESPN was reporting that such a move was a done deal and that it could occur as soon as next summer.  Then on Sunday, the SEC pulled the chair out from under its latest paramour, announcing that its committee of presidents and chancellors had met and “reaffirmed [its] satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment.”  So what the hell happened here?  How could A&M have been so confident in a place at the table so as to leave itself open to a very public rejection from the SEC, furthering the shame and feelings of inadequacy the school already suffers as a result of the monolithic school 100 miles to its west?  Well, if you read between the lines of the SEC’s statement, you’ll see that the organization carefully left open the possibility of expansion in a way certain to satisfy the legal department.  If TAMU’s Board of Regents approves exploration of such a move on Monday, expect to see things to continue toward the direction of the Aggies to the SEC in relatively short order.  This isn’t over.
  2. North Dakota took its half-decade long fight over its nickname, the Fighting Sioux, to the top of the NCAA food chain on Friday, and still came away with the same result.  The school will have to change its nickname or face banishment from hosting NCAA tournament games in any sport and cannot use the nickname at any NCAA-sponsored events.  Additionally, the Big Sky Conference, which North Dakota hopes to soon join, has made it clear that refusal to change its nickname could jeopardize the school’s consideration for that league.  Today — August 15, 2011 — is the court-imposed deadline put forth by the courts for UND to receive approval from the two Sioux tribes located in the state to justify keeping the name.  Only one of the two gave its approval, and now the school will have to make other arrangements.  For us, it comes down to the two afflicted parties.  If both Sioux tribes were on board with it, we wouldn’t have a problem either; but, apparently, the Standing Rock Sioux were always against the nickname, so we agree with the NCAA and Mark Emmert that it’s probably for the best to scrap it going forward.
  3. We mentioned last week that Virginia Tech refused to clear junior forward Allan Chaney to play next season because of an affliction called viral myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that can cause scarring.  Despite significant testing at Penn and Virginia hospitals that led to team physicians at VT to state that Chaney has “persistent complications” from the disease, Chaney believes that he can find another school that will let him play.  The option of wearing an internal defibrillator to monitor his heart harkens back to the scary collapse and near-death of former Tennessee forward Emanuel Negedu from a heart condition in 2009.  UT would not allow him to play, but Negedu eventually got another chance at New Mexico last season before retiring from the sport permanently in April.  Chaney mentions only a “2% risk” in his comments about health, but how many of us out there are willing to take a 1 in 50 shot on our mortality every day we step onto a basketball court?  We certainly understand that it’s difficult to give up something that you love to do more than anything else in the world, but we  sincerely hope that he finds peace on this issue and will not push himself toward an outcome that everyone will ultimately regret.
  4. A little transfer news not involving life-threatening heart conditions…  LSU sophomore forward Matt Derenbecker announced over the weekend that he will be transferring to Dayton University, sight unseen.  Derenbecker was a promising player in his only year at LSU, averaging 7/2 in 23 minutes per game for the Tigers.  He becomes the third player to leave Trent Johnson’s program this offseason, though, which begs the continuing question as to whether the former Stanford coach will be able to get it done in Baton Rouge.  After an outstanding first season where his team won the SEC and went to the  Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, his last two years have been unmitigated disasters, having won only five conference games and 22 overall.
  5. The story of how former Kentucky center Josh Harrellson went from a benchwarmer to a key contributor on a Final Four team and an NBA Second Round draft pick is a well-known one, but you can also add citizen sheriff to the list of roles of which we never thought he was capable.  According to WKYT-TV in Lexington, Harrellson and several of his friends encountered a drunk driver in a parking lot over the weekend who was so sloppy that he hit several vehicles trying to get his truck out.  Realizing the danger of having such a person on the road, they leapt into action by jumping onto the moving truck and forcing the driver to stop so that they could take the keys out of the ignition.  It’s an amazing story of heroism on those facts alone, but here’s the clincher — after the truck stopped, they realized that there were young children in the back seat of the vehicle.  Forget playing Jared Sullinger straight-up in the NCAA Tournament — Harrellson and his buddies deserve a medal.
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Morning Five: 08.09.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on August 9th, 2011

  1. It looks like you’ll have to go the rest of your life without any new rhymes from Tennessee senior forward Renaldo Woolridge, or at least until he decides to make his (inevitable) comeback. Going by Swiperboy as far as his rap, er, career is concerned, Woolridge has decided to pull the plug on his mic because he doesn’t get why other, lesser-talented rappers have achieved record deals while he remains unsigned, a common lament among countless rappers, garage bands, prog rockers, et al. We’ve been asking questions about the rules on this for a long time, by the way, without a satisfactory reply. Woolridge (1.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.5 APG last season) will be one of only two UT seniors in the upcoming season.
  2. “I look into the hills, whence comes my help,” was a scripture Adolph Rupp once quoted regarding his in-state recruits who eventually became wearers of the Kentucky blue. One former Wildcat who knows something about coming from the hills is Richie Farmer, a sharpshooting high school legend from the middle of nowhere in the 1980s who ended up not just donning the UK uniform, but found himself in the spring of 1992 playing in what most people still feel is the greatest college basketball game ever played.  RTC alum Josh Weill takes an enjoyable look back and also has the latest on this man whose name will always be associated with bluegrass basketball legend more than the bumpy political career that followed his time in Lexington.
  3. Andre Drummond. The top recruit in the 2012 high school class. Or is it 2011? Is he staying or going? Or staying in high school but going elsewhere? Drummond says he could enroll in college this year, but has considered staying in prep school another year. His coach says probably not. What’s going on, here? Is Drummond planning to go to prep school for another year and then enter the NBA Draft by the age limit rule? Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy examines the Drummond question and explains why that plan would certainly not be in the best interests of the young man.
  4. Considering the last two seasons, we almost don’t want to say anything out loud or write it anywhere on this site, lest something bad happen and we lose all of our Purdue readers, not to mention the chance to watch the young man play again…but Robbie Hummel is good to go. In case you missed his tweet on Friday, Hummel claims that he “passed all his tests.” If you’re not following him, that link takes you to his account, so now you’re out of excuses. How he comes back will be one of the most intriguing storylines of the early part of the 2011-12 season.
  5. LSU’s Matt Derenbecker would have been a sophomore for the Tigers this year, but, as he explained to, he will be withdrawing from LSU immediately to “address some personal matters.” Derenbecker played in all 32 of the Tigers’ games last season and averaged a pretty healthy 22.6 minutes per contest, putting up 6.5 PPG and 2.1 RPG. He was a two-time high school POY in Louisiana, and despite some growing pains as a freshman, we (and probably many LSU fans) were looking forward to seeing how his game progressed. Whatever he’s going through, we hope he comes out fine on the other end and is back playing basketball somewhere soon.
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RTC Conference Primers: #5 – Southeastern Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 2nd, 2010

Jared Quillen of is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish

SEC East

  • T1. Florida (11-5)
  • T1. Kentucky (11-5)
  • T1. Georgia (11-5)
  • 2. Tennessee (10-6)
  • 3. Vanderbilt (7-9)
  • 4. South Carolina (4-12)

SEC West

  • 1. Mississippi State (12-4)
  • 2. Mississippi (9-7)
  • T3. Alabama (7-9)
  • T3. Arkansas (7-9)
  • 4. LSU (4-12)
  • 5. Auburn (3-13)

All-Conference Team

  • G Brandon Knight – Kentucky
  • G Chris Warren – Mississippi
  • G Kenny Boynton – Florida
  • F Enes Kanter* – Kentucky (if eligible)
  • F Trey Thompkins – Georgia

6th Man

Travis Leslie – Georgia

Impact Newcomers

  • G Brandon Knight – Kentucky
  • G Gerald Robinson – Georgia
  • F Patric Young – Florida
  • F Tobias Harris – Tennessee
  • C Renardo Sidney – Mississippi State

Kentucky's Brandon Knight was a hot commodity as a late signee.

What You Need To Know

  • There are a few things that the casual observer of the SEC may not be aware of but should consider:  Mississippi State in November is not the same Mississippi State that you will see in December, nor the one that you will see in January.  The Bulldogs will play their first nine games without Renardo Sidney, who will have waited out a lengthy suspension by the time he plays his first game.  Then, after five more games, Dee Bost will return to the lineup. You recall that he declared for the NBA Draft, failed to pull out by the NCAA’s deadline, lost his eligibility, went undrafted, and subsequently was reinstated with a 14-game suspension.  Don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs drop a game or two early in the season to a team they should beat.  It means nothing.  This will be a very good team that will be fun to watch as the season progresses.
  • Florida brings back a lot of experience.  That would be all five of Florida’s starters, to be exact, plus they add the very talented McDonalds All-American Patric Young.  Young will provide the size inside that Florida lacked last year.  That said, count me as one who is still a little skeptical of Florida’s chances at winning the league.  Lest we forget, Florida was not one but two Chandler Parsons prayers from missing the NCAA Tournament for a third straight year.  Furthermore, Florida lost in the first round to a good but not great BYU team that played a good but not great game.  Will Florida be good?  Definitely.  Great?  Well, that remains to be seen.
  • For those expecting Kentucky to repeat what they did last year because they replaced four freshmen stars with four new freshmen stars — think again.  This team is even younger than last year’s and noticeably smaller.  Look for the Wildcats to play much faster than last year and shoot better.  But DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe, and John Wall are hard to replace.  If Enes Kanter becomes eligible (as most believe he will) by conference play, then they will challenge for the league title; if not, they fight for second or third in the SEC East.  It all comes down to Kanter.
  • The SEC East is going to be very good this year.  Mississippi State gets the nod as champion simply because the East teams are going to beat up on each other like no other group of six teams in America.  I could see any one of Florida, Kentucky, Georgia or Tennessee winning the East.  I hate predicting only seven conference wins for a talented Vanderbilt squad, but I just don’t know where to place them when they have to play eaach of Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky twice, plus Mississippi State.

Predicted Champion

Mississippi State (NCAA #2-Seed) – Mississippi State is the favorite by default as the East is going to be a bloodbath and the Bulldogs only play each Eastern division team once.  Playing in the weaker West division is certainly going to benefit Mississippi State as they won’t have to play Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and even Vanderbilt but once.  Renardo Sidney is going to be a force, especially in a conference light on dominant big men this year.  Add Dee Bost and Ravern Johnson in the back court to an improving Kodi Augustus and that’s a team that easily wins the West.  If the Bulldogs manage to win half of their games against the East, they probably win the overall league crown.

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