4 Tickets Punched, 61 to go…

Posted by rtmsf on March 7th, 2009

We punched four RSVPs to the Dance in the last 24 hrs, so we thought it’d be worthwhile to show these guys a little love before they get crowded out by all the bigger leagues next week.

These Four Teams Got Their Dance Tickets

These Four Teams Got Their Dance Tickets

#1 – Cornell (21-9, 11-3 Ivy). Your back-to-back Ivy League champion dominated Penn 83-59 last night to clinch the Ivy again.  The Big Red fans were so excited that they RTC’d and “demolished” a computer that ran the scoring system.  Believe it or not, the o/u for that game was 142 – maybe the students knew that.  Cornell lost to Stanford by 24 in last year’s first round.

Projected Seed: #14

Something to Remember: Cornell is the nation’s fifth best three-point shooting team (41%).  You’d better close out on their shooters.

#2 – Radford (21-11, 15-3 Big South).  VMI was the team with the better storyline, but Radford was the top seed in the Big South Tourney as the regular season champion.  They played VMI’s game today and beat them at it 108-94 behind Artsiom Parakhouski’s ridiculous 26/18 today. Radford has one  prevoius NCAA appearance, a 1998 thrashing at the hands of Duke.

Projected Seed: #15

STR: Get after it on the glass – Radford is the nation’s sixth best rebounding team in total boards (37.3 rpg) and twelfth best in rebound pct (55.8%).

#3 – East Tennessee St. (23-10, 14-6 A-Sun). ETSU is old hat at this, winning today against Jacksonville 85-68 to earn a bid to its seventh NCAA Tourney.  Mike Smith had 22/12 to help pick up for teammate and star guard Courtney Pigram, who was 3-12 for 9 pts today.  ETSU has a strong NCAA history, having three 3-pt losses and a 7-pt win over higher seeds in their last four appearances.

Projected Seed: #14

STR: With three legitimate scorers (Smith, Pigram, Kevin Tiggs) plus their NCAA history of being a thorn in the side of higher seeds, nobody will want to see ETSU in their bracket next Sunday.

#4 – Morehead St. (19-15, 12-6). Best game of the day, as MSU rode its workhorse Kenneth Faried and his 15/10/3 blks to a double-OT victory over Austin Peay, 67-65.  The Eagles put all five starters in double figures, but it was a reserve named Steve Peterson who knocked down the 12-foot baseline jumper to give Morehead St. its first NCAA bid in 25 years.

Projected Seed: #15

STR: MSU is susceptible to pressure teams because they turn the ball over a lot – ranking #276 in the nation in turnover pct. at 15.1 per game.

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.07.09

Posted by nvr1983 on March 7th, 2009

dynamite

We’re back for the final weekend of regular season Boom Goes the Dynamite for this college basketball season. The highlights of the weekend are obviously the two top 10 match-ups (in Pittsburgh on Saturday and in Chapel Hill on Sunday). We would love to provide you with another RTC Live from those site, but apparently we’re not big enough for them yet. (The onus is on you to spread the word.)

In any event, we’re going to make lemonade out of those lemons so we’ll be providing coverage from our bi-coastal offices covering all the action. Today is loaded with 15 of the top 25 playing with the other 10 playing on Sunday. We will be trying out best to provide you with wall-to-wall coverage of the top teams in action as well as RTC Live from several different locations:

In addition to our on-site correspondents we will be focusing in on a few key games for the majority of the day while also channel surfing over to the other games when the situation merits it. Here are the primary games that we will be covering today:

  • #1 UConn at #4 Pittsburgh at Noon on CBS
  • Michigan at Minnesota at Noon on ESPN and ESPN360.com
  • #25 Syracuse at #15 Marquette at 2 PM on ESPN360.com
  • #12 Missouri at Texas A&M at 2 PM on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com
  • California at #21 Arizona State at 2 PM on CBS
  • Oklahoma State at #5 Oklahoma at 3:30 PM on ABC
  • Texas at #9 Kansas at 4 PM on CBS
  • Washington State at #13 Washington at 5:30 PM on CBS
  • Wright State at #22 Butler at 7 PM on ESPNU
  • #6 Louisville at West Virginia at 9 PM on ESPN and ESPN360.com

As you can tell it’s a pretty ambitious schedule so we are asking you, our loyal legion of RTC followers, to help alert all of us if something interesting is happening. You can contribute by leaving a message in the comment section so we all can follow it.

One piece of RTC breaking news, UNC point guard Ty Lawson injured his left big toe yesterday in practice.

11:30 PM: ESPN GameDay is live from Morgantown, WV and they’re doing their own version of Make Your Case. I feel a little bit like Bill Simmons after ESPN stole his Mount Rushmore, but they aren’t paying me a million dollars a year.

11:45 PM: A couple pieces of NCAA tournament news to wrap-up before we focus on our TV for the next 12 hours: Cornell became the first team to officially get into the tournament last night by winning the Ivy League title and 3 others will join them when the Atlantic Sun, Big South, and Ohio Valley have their championship games today.

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OVC Season Wrap & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 2nd, 2009

Greg Miller of WPSD Local 6 is the RTC correspondent for the OVC.  The OVC Tournament begins at on-campus venues on Tuesday before moving to Nashville, TN, for the final two rounds.

Regular Season Wrap-Up

How can you not be happy for UT Martin’s Bret Campbell?  After years and years of finishing at the bottom of the OVC, Campbell has led the Skyhawks to the top of the OVC.   Martin’s 79-65 win over Morehead State on Saturday night clinched the school’s first-ever OVC title and just the second 21-win season in school history (first-ever in Division One.)

Campbell is really one of the good guys in college coaching.  He’s paid his dues and at times really struggled to get the UTM program growing.  He caught a real break when he was able to land a talent like Lester Hudson and caught another break when Hudson decided to return for his senior season.  Campbell was able to go out and find a great supporting cast and now UTM is on the verge of making their first-ever NCAA Tournament if they can capture the OVC Tournament title this week.

That will be much easier said than done.

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Weekly Bracketology – 02.09.09

Posted by zhayes9 on February 8th, 2009

A few notes:

  • As you’ll notice, I included a comment about each and every team in the bracket. I’ll be doing this in each of my final four brackets (2/16, 2/23, 3/2 and 3/7) as we head towards Selection Sunday.
  • Expect a Bubble Watch post from me on Thursday updating the current bubble picture, a feature that will run very similar to ESPN’s weekly bubble watch.
  • As always, any questions/comments/complaints about this week’s bracket, feel free to comment.

Automatic Bids: Boston University, Xavier, North Carolina, East Tennessee State, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Weber State, VMI, Michigan State, Long Beach State, Northeastern, Memphis, Butler, Princeton, Siena, Buffalo, Morgan State, Northern Iowa, San Diego State, Robert Morris, Morehead State, UCLA, Holy Cross, LSU, Davidson, Sam Houston State, Alabama State, North Dakota State, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Utah State

Last Four In: Arizona, Miami, Nebraska, Michigan
Last Four Out: Wisconsin, BYU, UNLV, Kansas State
Next Four Out: Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Providence, Penn State
Also Considered: Georgetown, Texas A&M, Baylor, Creighton, Maryland, Saint Mary’s, Northwestern, Tulsa

020809-bracketology

1 Seeds

  • Connecticut- The #1 overall seed and #1 team in the polls, Connecticut boasts 6 wins against the top 50 and still has two contests against Pittsburgh remaining on the schedule.
  • Oklahoma- The Sooners have the most wins vs. the top 100 (15) of any team, but only 1 of those victories has come vs. the top 25. They’re the #2 overall seed.
  • North Carolina- The projected ACC champion has continued to win while Duke and Wake Forest slipped up multiple times. The showdown with Duke on Wednesday is for a #1 seed.
  • Pittsburgh- Despite two conference losses, Pitt garners the final #1 seed due to their #2 RPI, 4 wins vs. the top 25 and a much stronger non-conference resume than Louisville.

2 Seeds

  • Duke- Despite the throttling by Clemson, Duke still owns the top overall RPI and have 7 wins against the RPI top 50. They can reclaim the ACC automatic bid this week.
  • Louisville- A sexy 9-1 Big East record and 4 wins vs. the RPI top 25 keep Louisville a comfortable 2. They should watch out for pesky Notre Dame this week.
  • Michigan State- The projected Big Ten champion has stayed the same all season- Michigan State. A 7 RPI, 6 SOS and comfortable lead over Ohio State and Illinois means they should stay there.
  • Marquette- The final #2 seed goes to the fourth Big East team in the field already- Marquette. They slipped in Tampa but still 9-1 and 20 wins overall is enough to grab the honor.

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Checking in on the… OVC

Posted by rtmsf on January 13th, 2009

Greg Miller of WPSD Local 6 is the RTC correspondent for the MAC and OVC Conferences.

Ohio Valley Conference Standings

  1. Austin Peay     5-1      9-7
  2. Morehead St.     5-1      8-9
  3. Eastern Illinois     3-2      6-9
  4. Tenn-Martin     3-3      10-6
  5. Eastern Kentucky     3-3      9-7
  6. Tennessee St.     3-3      5-11
  7. Jacksonville St.     2-3      8-6
  8. Tennessee Tech     2-3      8-7
  9. Murray St.     2-3      7-8
  10. SE Missouri St.     0-6      3-14

OVC league play is in full-swing and things couldn’t be more muddled.

At this point, here is what we know:

SEMO is the league’s worst team.  There’s no question about it.  EIU went to SEMO and won by 20 over the weekend.  Now let’s not come down too hard on the Redhawks.  They do only have seven scholarship players and went through an absolute mess with the whole Scott Edgar situation.  Zach Roman is doing a marvelous job just keeping this program’s head above water.  After understanding SEMO, this league is as up in the air as any league in the country.

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Bracketology- Never Too Early Edition III

Posted by zhayes9 on January 4th, 2009

Zach Hayes is RTC’s resident bracketologist.   He’ll be regularly out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the next three months.

Some notes before you check out the bracket:

  • You’ll notice I have Oklahoma, a 1-loss team from the Big 12, as a #1 seed over undefeated Wake Forest from the much more strong ACC. The reasoning for this is simple: 1) I take into account what will happen in the future in terms of conference champions, and I have the Sooners projected to win the Big 12 regular season and conference tournament, giving them a huge boost before Selection Sunday and 2) it’s simply unrealistic to have three #1 seeds from the same conference. Although Wake Forest is undefeated and Duke/UNC have 1 loss each, their SOS sits at a dismal #224 with their best wins vs. Baylor and @ BYU, while Duke and North Carolina have more quality wins and better computer numbers. If I’m ranking the top four teams in the nation, Wake is there. But a team finishing in third in the ACC (where I have them projected, could change) simply cannot receive a #1 seed. Sorry Deacon fans.
  • Once again, both Michigan State (#2), Tennessee (#3) and Memphis (#5) are slightly over-seeded for the same reason as Oklahoma. I have those teams winning their respective conference titles.
  • Hard to believe, but Mike Montgomery’s California Bears have earned the right to a #4 seed with their wins @ UNLV, @ Utah and home this week against Arizona and Arizona State. I spent like 15 minutes trying to find the last 4 seed.
  • Notre Dame took the hardest shot, slipping to a #7 seed with their bad loss at St. John’s. That Texas win looks excellent, but they need to take care of at home to avoid a 1-2 Big East start.Georgetown
  • Boston College‘s stunning upset of North Carolina launched them to a #9 seed from the Last Team In.
  • On my bracket, Syracuse and Louisville could meet in the second round. The committee would obviously not let that happen, but I’m leaving it to avoid switching teams to seeds they don’t deserve.
  • George Mason took over the Colonial bid from Virginia Commonwealth while Saint Mary’s (13-1) earned the automatic bid from the West Coast Conference (Gonzaga is still in the field). With Illinois State’s thrashing of Creighton, they claim the Missouri Valley auto bid and jump a few seeds, while Creighton barely misses the field. UNLV now has the Mountain West bid with BYU still making the field. Stephen F. Austin, Oakland, Pacific and Morehead State are also new additions. Arkansas jumps into the bracket with their outstanding record and huge home win over Oklahoma.
  • In the end, four spots remained for 13 teams. Edgar Sosa’s buzzer beater gave Louisville the very last spot, edging out Miami (lacked quality wins), Creighton, Oklahoma State (best win was Rhode Island) and, speaking of which, Rhode Island. Also in consideration were South Carolina (beat Baylor this week but still has a 304 SOS), Washington (lacked quality wins), Utah (bad losses) and Arizona (what happened?). USC almost sneaked into consideration before losing to Oregon State. Yikes.

Last Four In: Louisville, LSU, Missouri, Florida State
Last Four Out: Miami (FL), Creighton, Oklahoma State, Rhode Island
Next Four Out: Washington, Utah, South Carolina, Arizona

bracketology-010409

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Checking in on the… OVC

Posted by rtmsf on December 13th, 2008

Greg Miller of WPSD Local 6 is the RTC correspondent for the OVC and MAC Conferences.

On paper, this might seem like the same old Ohio Valley Conference.  But the league, in fact, is actually off to a pretty good start.  In Thursday’s RPI, the OVC had three teams in the top 116.  Last season, only two teams in the OVC finished in the top 200 (Austin Peay #64 and Murray State #179.)  I know it’s VERY early in the season, but Jacksonville State (#65) and Murray State (#93) are both top 100.  It might not be much to most mid-majors, but it’s a sign that OVC is moving in the right direction.  Baby steps.  But the reality check is Eastern Illinois is #343.  That’s #343 out of 343.  Dead last in case you’re still a bit confused.  Tennessee State is not much better at #333.  Like we said, baby steps.  As a league, they’re hovering around #23 in the RPI, which is a major upgrade from last year’s #28 finish.  In case you were wondering, the best the league has finished in the past decade was #18 in 2000 and 2001.  Murray State has had the highest RPI finish this decade at #58 in 2004, which was also the last year the league had two teams finish in the top 100 (Austin Peay #94).  Enough with the RPI, here are some quick hits from the past couple weeks in the OVC.

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2008-09 Conference Primers: #28 – Ohio Valley

Posted by rtmsf on October 12th, 2008

Ron Harris is the RTC correspondent for the Ohio Valley Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Murray State  (16-2)
  2. Austin Peay   (13-5)
  3. Tennessee-Martin  (12-6)
  4. Morehead State  (11-5)
  5. Tennessee Tech  (8-8)
  6. Tennessee State  (6-10)
  7. Eastern Kentucky  (6-10)
  8. Eastern Illinois  (5-11)
  9. Southeast Missouri State  (3-13)
  10. Jacksonville State  (1-15)

What You Need to Know (WYN2K):  Murray State and Austin Peay are the traditional powers in the OVC, winning six of the last nine championships. In the 90s MSU won the title nine times. This year the league’s marquee player will be Tennessee-Martin’s Lester Hudson, who dropped 35/10 on national runner-up Memphis last year and became the first D1 player ever to record a quadruple-double (25/12/10 assts/10 stls). Hudson initially declared himself eligible for the draft but pulled his name from consideration when it became obvious he would not be selected in the first round (see video below).

Predicted ChampionMurray State (#15 NCAA) returns four starters from last year’s team and adds combo guard Isacc Miles to the mix. Miles played as a freshman at Creighton two years ago and was named to the Missouri Valley Conference all-freshman team. The Racers also added the Florida 4A-5A-6A Player of the Year in 6’7 Ivan Aska. While MSU might not be as strong as they were in the late 90s, head coach Billy Kennedy is starting to get the kind of players that made the Racers the class of the league back then.

Others Considered.  You can never overlook Austin Peay. Head coach Dave Loos always has them ready to play and they have a former OVC Player of the Year in Drake Reed. On the other hand they lost three starters in Todd Babbington, Fernandez Lockett and Derek Wright.  Tennessee-Martin has the league’s best player in Hudson but last year was their first winning season (17-16) in what seems like a century. Marquis Weddle knocks down 3s when opponents double-team Hudson and the Skyhawks have a couple of big bruisers inside who sat out last season. But even head coach Brett Campbell says they lack offensive skills.  Morehead State is solid inside with Leon Buchanan and Kenneth Faried. But they lose point guard Nikoila Stojakovic who finished fifth in the nation in assists last year. Head coach Donnie Tyndal says they will replace him with a point guard by committee scheme. But the lead candidate for the job seems to be JUCO transfer Robert Murry who is a shoot-first lead guard.  The bottom line is: Murray State has the fewest question marks.

Important Games / Key Games / RPI-Booster Games.  The OVC has not had many marquee wins against non-conference opponents in recent years although Tennessee St. did win at Illinois last season. The best chance for a marquee win this year comes on December 13 when Murray State visits Missouri. The first league games are on December 4 and 6 when Murray State plays at Eastern Kentucky and Morehead. If they can sweep those two games it will validate their status as the favorite.

Neat-O Stat.  Did you know that former Murray State alum Joe Fulks was named the best player of the first 50 years of the 20th century and was called The Babe Ruth of Basketball? Fulks is credited by some with inventing the jump shot.

65 Team Era.  The era hasn’t been good to the OVC, as it currently stands at 19 first-round losses in a row.  But the league isn’t stuck in #16-seed land (only twice in the last 24 years) so the opportunities have been there.  The most recent upset attempts were in 2006 (#14 Murray St. pushed #3 UNC to the wire, losing 69-65) and 2005 (#15 Eastern Kentucky took in-state rival #2 Kentucky deep before succumbing 72-64). 

Final Thoughts.  If Murray State stumbles you have to like Austin Peay’s chances to win the championship. They have one of the league’s best coaches in Loos and they have tradition on their side. The Racers are the last current OVC team to win a game in the NCAA Tournament, having beaten North Carolina State in the first round in 1988. Look to their game against Missouri and their games in the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico against South Florida, Oral Roberts and Wright State as barometers of their ability to repeat that feat this year.

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