Introducing RTC’s Big East Microsite…

Posted by rtmsf on November 16th, 2011

Act V of our six-part microsite release is now here. Today we’re pleased to announce the launch of our Big East Conference microsite to join the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. It’s no secret that the 16-team monster of a league has been top to bottom the best basketball conference in America the last few years, and it appears that will likely hold true for at least one more year until powerhouses Syracuse and Pittsburgh alight for a different league.

Like the other four existing microsites, our two new staffers, Pat Prendergast and Mike Lemaire, will bring you daily news, analysis and commentary on the state of Big East basketball from Tampa to Milwaukee to Providence and everywhere in-between. The usual ways to find the microsite are in effect: the little button in the top right hand corner of the site, the direct link, or just add big-east to the end of rushthecourt.net/. You can reach both of them via their contact information over on the microsite.

Finally, we’re still taking applications for our Big Ten microsite, which we hope to roll out in the next several weeks. Send us a writing sample and some information about yourself to rushthecourt@yahoo.com as soon as you can.

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Welcome to the Big East Microsite!

Posted by rtmsf on November 16th, 2011

It’s been a while since we’ve opened this door, but it’s now time for Act V: Welcome!

Meet Mike Lemaire and Pat Prendergast, your Big East microsite writers. These guys were selected from a number of talented candidates to take on the herculean task of keeping up with the 16-team behemoth of a basketball conference known as the Big East. In fitting with the expansiveness and power of this league (and its continuing push west), they’ll be coming to you from opposite coasts. But that doesn’t mean they can’t keep up with everything going on this league on a daily basis. We encourage you to contact them at rtcbigeast@gmail.com or @rtcbigeast on Twitter, press them, and join the lively discussion that is sure to ensue for a league whose traditional footprint lies in the bombastic Northeast. Thanks for stopping by.

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Introducing RTC’s Pac-12 Microsite…

Posted by rtmsf on October 24th, 2011

Ready for Act IV in our unbridled attempt to never sleep again?  We are, as today we’re pleased to announce the launch of our Pac-12 Conference microsite to join its older brothers and sisters, the ACC, Big 12, and SEC.  And yes, it’s going to take a long while to get used to writing that “12″ instead of “10″ — in fact, we’re counting on making that mistake at least once a day for the next two months.  Nevertheless, even though the league often tips off after those in the east’s bedtime, the only major conference playing basketball west of Denver appears to be on an upswing.

Sean Miller is quickly revitalizing Arizona into national powerhouse status, and UCLA seems to be on the verge through Ben Howland’s recruiting of perhaps putting together another string of Final Four runs.  Washington remains a tough match-up with its line of talented athletes from in and around the Emerald City, and does anyone doubt that Phil Knight’s dollars will allow well-funded Oregon to stay down for very long?  The league has already signed a deal with ESPN and Fox Sports to allow more people around the country to watch its games, and with increased exposure comes additional recruiting opportunities.

Like the other three existing microsites, our two staffers, Drew Murawa and Connor Pelton, will bring you daily news, analysis and commentary on the state of Pac-12 basketball.  The usual ways to find the microsite are in effect: the little button in the top right hand corner of the site, the direct link, or just add pac-12 to the end of rushthecourt.net/.  You can reach both of them via their contact information over on the microsite.

Finally, we’re still taking applications for our Big East and Big Ten microsites.  Send us a writing sample and some information about yourself to rushthecourt@yahoo.com as soon as you can.  The season is only two weeks away!

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Introducing RTC’s SEC Microsite…

Posted by rtmsf on October 17th, 2011

After two weeks of rolling out our first two microsites for the ACC and the Big 12, we’re back today to proudly announce our third in the series, the SEC.  Even though most fans of the Southeastern Conference are focused exclusively on the initial BCS rankings that were released Sunday, they play a little roundball in this league too, as having three schools ranked in many preseason Top 10s will attest.

As we stated when we launched the ACC and Big 12 microsites, the premise behind these things is rather simple. By focusing separately but comprehensively on these six individual conferences, we hope to provide a more targeted user experience without marginalizing the quality of commentary and analysis that our readers have come to expect from the national site. As always, we expect that you’ll tell us if we’re not realizing that goal.

How to find it? Just like the others, you can locate the SEC microsite by simply adding sec to the end of rushthecourt.net/. Or you can click on the SEC microsite button above at the top right (in the bottom right corner). Our two SEC staffers, Gerald Smith and Brian Joyce, are chomping at the bit and ready to go. If you’d like to reach them with questions and ideas of your own, their contact information is available over there.

As mentioned last week, we’ll be rolling out all six of these gradually, but we’re still taking applications for writers for both the Big East and Big Ten conferences, so please contact us at rushthecourt@yahoo.com with a writing sample if you’re interested in either one.

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Welcome to the Big 12 Microsite!

Posted by rtmsf on October 10th, 2011

Welcome to RTC’s Big 12 microsite.

When most people think about the Big 12 Conference these days, they probably think about The Red River Rivalry, conference realignment madness, Bevo, and lots of open space.  What they may not consider is just how good of a basketball conference this league is right now.  Yet, with the loss of two of its worst roundball programs to the Big Ten and Pac-12, the Big 12 may be in a position to put more than half of its members into next March’s NCAA Tournament.  Of course, even a season that sees all ten Big 12 schools reach the Dance may not save this staggering conference from the dustbins of college athletics history, but we’ll be there with it for as long as it still sits at the big boy table.

Our two staffers Danny Spewak (@dspewak) and Clark Williams (@clarkewilliams) are here to keep you up to date on the daily happenings in this league.  Let’s hope that it involves more than constant realignment chatter, and at some point settles down to actual games involving players on the floor.  Regardless, feel free to contact them directly by simply clicking on their names or following them at Twitter — they’re anxious to get going and we are too.  Thanks for dropping by.

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Introducing RTC’s ACC Microsite…

Posted by rtmsf on October 3rd, 2011

You’ve probably noticed that little countdown clock above tells us that we’re a little more than eleven days from the first official practices of the 2011-12 college basketball season.  In many parts of the country, the leaves have started to change, there’s a nip in the air, and Halloween candy has taken over the grocery store shelves. Today also marks the first day of the RTC 2011-12 Season Preview, where we’ll be previewing all 31 Division I conferences and bringing you comprehensive coverage of the upcoming season over the next five weeks until the first games tip off on November 7.  What better time to also introduce our newest and perhaps most ambitious idea, the RTC microsites. the first of which rolls out today with the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The premise behind the RTC microsites is rather simple.  The breadth, scope and influence of the six power conferences on the sport of college basketball only continues to grow.  As much as we all love the mid-major schools, the focus of most fans falls on one or more of these six leagues.  The RTC microsites will endeavor to spotlight each conference at a level of detail that goes well beyond what the national site can or should do.  Each microsite will be staffed with at least two writers whose sole responsibility will be to keep up with the stories within their particular conference.  Our intent is that the quality of commentary and analysis that our readers have come to expect on the national site will transfer over to the microsites, and we hope that you’ll let us know if we’re not keeping to that standard.

You can find the ACC microsite by simply adding the three letters acc to the end of rushthecourt.net/.  Or you can click on the fancy little ACC microsite button above at the top right.  Or you can simply click here.  However you decide to navigate there, we hope you visit and stay for a while.  Our two ACC staffers, Matt Patton and Kellen Carpenter, have been with RTC in several capacities in the past, but both fellas really know this league and will do a great job with it over there just as they’ve done over here.  If you’d like to reach them with questions and ideas of your own, their contact information is available on the microsite.

We’ll be rolling out all six of the microsites gradually over the next couple of months, and we’re still taking applications for writers for both the Big East and Big Ten conference microsites, so please contact us at rushthecourt@yahoo.com with a writing sample if you’re interested.

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Morning Five: 10.03.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 3rd, 2011

  1. Welcome to next year.  After six roiling months of will-he/won’t-he interspersed with typical summer drama and another session of non-apocalyptic conference realignment, it’s time to get back to basketball.  In a little over eleven days from now, official practices will commence around the country with Midnight Madness.  Three weeks after that, the first real games will tip off in Queens, Starkville and Tucson as the 2kSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic gets under way.  Basketball season is just around the corner, and starting today, we’ll be unveiling our 2011-12 Season Preview with comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 31 auto-bid Division I leagues and a number of other features.  We’re also proud to announced that our first RTC Microsite, featuring the venerable and historic Atlantic Coast Conference, will officially roll out a little later this morning.  The calendar may only say it’s a few days into October, but as far as we here at RTC are concerned, the season starts today.
  2. Fifteen Big East presidents met in Washington, DC, on Sunday to discuss the future of that league in the aftermath of Syracuse and Pittsburgh’s sudden departure a couple short weeks ago.  According to this Andy Katz report, the league brass unanimously authorized commissioner John Marinotti to “aggressively pursue discussions” with targeted schools that the league hopes to add to its lineup.  Several of the schools being mentioned as possibilities include Army, Navy, Temple, Central Florida, Air Force and SMU, with two of the service academies rumored as the top targets for membership as football-only institutions.  Connecticut’s future conference status is the biggest wild card right now, as its president Susan Herbst re-affirmed the school’s commitment to the league after the meeting, but it is widely regarded that the Huskies would quickly take an ACC spot if offered one.  In other words, not much has truly changed.
  3. One Big East team that is fighting for its legitimacy to remain a major college program in both basketball and football is Louisville.  Despite a $68M sports budget that would rate second only to Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 and the most profitable basketball program in America, the Cards are worried about being left out of the superconference picture if the Big East continues its degradation and the Big 12 eventually falls apart.  To put its athletic program in perspective, Eric Crawford at the Courier-Journal created three interesting tables showing the relative specs of the Big East, Big 12 and SEC (budgets, enrollments, expenditures, etc.).  He even adds an academic component (research and development) and each school’s Sears Cup placement from the 2010-11 academic year.  It’s worth a look.
  4. This is a somewhat dated story, but we hadn’t gotten around to mentioning it yet.  Last week Gary Parrish wrote about how two of Bruce Pearl‘s former assistants’ lives have been turned upside down in the intervening months since the whole house of cards came down at Tennessee.  We found the tone of the article to be somewhat sympathetic — perhaps too sympathetic — to the plight that the assistants now find themselves in, coaching at Northwest Florida State for salaries far below what they were making in Knoxville.  He makes the case that Steve Forbes and Jason Shay were in no-win situations where they faced punishment one way or another — either by ratting out their boss to the NCAA, or by failing to be forthright and going down with the ship as a collective.  Apparently a number of people took issue with Parrish’s stance, as he addressed it again in his Five For the Weekend column on Friday.  We’re of a similar mind with his critics — just because the assistants found themselves in a tough spot didn’t mean that both choices were equally meritorious, and Bruce Pearl’s own career trajectory should have taught them that.  He dropped dime on Illinois twenty years ago, and yet through his subsequent hard work and on-court success, he was able to become one of the highest-paid coaches in America despite for a long time suffering a reputation as a snitch.  Remember the tried-and-true lesson — the cover-up is always, always, always worse than the actual crime.
  5. Speaking of recruiting violations, this report by Pete Thamel at the NYT takes a look at one of the areas of college basketball recruiting that knowledgeable observers suggest is among the most abused: unofficial visits.  According to NCAA rules, an unofficial visit is one where a recruit visits a campus but pays his own way for all expenses related to travel, food, and lodging.  Using a Lane Kiffin allegation of a booster paying for a recruit’s unofficial visit at Tennessee as an example, the report suggests that there is little to no oversight or scrutiny focusing on how high school students are in fact paying for these visits.  Over half of this year’s top 100 seniors have already committed to schools without taking their official visits, so it’s clear that these players are getting to those campuses somehow.  Interesting piece.
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Different But Same: Welcome to the New RTC…

Posted by rtmsf on September 6th, 2011

Here’s hoping everyone had a superb Labor Day weekend to celebrate the end of summer and coming of fall.  It may have been college football weekend elsewhere across the sporting universe, but here at RTC we’ve been whiling ourselves thinking about the upcoming roundball season.  With that in mind, we’re pleased to announce a completely redesigned site, streamlining many of our existing features and adding a couple of new ones.  Our hope is that a simpler and sleeker interface will enhance the user experience while still offering the comprehensive commentary and analysis on college basketball news that we’re known for.

RTC Continues to Evolve...

The major changes to note are as follows:

  • The Independent Voice of College Basketball.  We’re not quite sure how it happened, but in the four-plus years since the debut of RTC we’ve evolved from a one-man showcase of college hoops opinion and nonsense to a 40-person team of extremely talented writers showcasing college hoops opinion and nonsense.  Although we have a very basic affiliation with Big Lead Sports to provide advertising, we are one of the few remaining college basketball sites free from corporate overlords directing our content and analysis.  We are proud of our independence in terms of creative control, and the day that we lose that here will also be the same day we shut the whole thing down.  You as the reader may not always agree with our opinions here at RTC, but you can rest assured that you’re getting a legitimate and honest take.
  • Conference Check-In Carousel/Nightly Nonsense Tabs.  This feature located at the top left of the site under the navigation bar will make it easier to keep up with our 31 conference correspondent updates (called Conference Check-Ins) during the regular season.  The most recent Check-In on a given day will post on the far left side under the “Latest Check-Ins” tab, and the carousel will allow readers to scroll back through the last 15 posts to find their favorite conferences.  Conference Check-Ins will resume weekly in mid-November.  On the right hand side of the carousel, you’ll notice a blue “Nightly Nonsense” tab, which will provide a daily listing of the key televised games of each day during the season for your viewing pleasure.  This feature will resume again in early November on Opening Night.
  • TumblRTC.  You’ll note on the right sidebar that there’s a new widget we’re calling “TumblRTC.”  Tumblr is a blogging platform that many folks have fallen in love with in the past year, and we’re planning to give it a shot too.  The best way to describe how we hope to utilize it is “RTC for Busy People.” It’s not meant in any way to replace our long-form content on the home page; rather, we intend for our TumblRTC posts to complement it.  TumblRTC will be heavy on photos, quotes, videos, links and any other media we find and think might be interesting to you guys, and it will also provide readers with an interactive way to provide some of their own content back at us.  You will be able to see the last few TumblRTC posts on the RTC home page (above right) or you can see our entire stream at rushthecourt.net/tumblr/.
  • RTC Microsites.  These six buttons for each of the power conferences currently sit at the top right of the page where the old Announcements box resided.  Over the next couple of months, we hope to start rolling out conference-specific ‘microsites’ focusing on all things college basketball within each of those six leagues — the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC (for as long as they exist).  Each microsite will have its own subdomain and dedicated writer(s), and the idea will be to cover those conferences with a depth of scope and analysis that is simply impossible on our nationally-focused home page.  Stay tuned on these — we’re very excited about them.  We’re still looking for talented writers to staff these six microsites, so please send us your information (i.e., area of interest, background, writing sample) to rushthecourt@yahoo.com if you think you’d be interested.

As always, none of this means anything if our readers don’t like what we’re doing, so feel free to share your feedback with us in the comments, via email or social media.  We’re always listening.

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