RTC 2009-10 Impact Players: Mid-South Region

Posted by rtmsf on October 7th, 2009


Ed. Note: the previous posts in this series (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Atlantic South and Deep South) are located here.

It’s time for the fifth installment of our RTC 2009-10 Impact Players series, the group of landlocked states that produce some really good basketball players – the Mid-South.   Each week we’ll pick a geographic area of the country and break down the five players who we feel will have the most impact on their teams (and by the transitive property, college basketball) this season.  Our criteria is once again subjective – there are so many good players in every region of the country that it’s difficult to narrow them down to only five  in each – but we feel at the end of this exercise that we’ll have discussed nearly every player of major impact in the nation.  Just to be fair and to make this not too high-major-centric, we’re also going to pick a mid-major impact player in each region as our sixth man.  We welcome you guys, our faithful and very knowledgeable readers, to critique us in the comments where we left players off.  The only request is that you provide an argument – why will your choice be more influential this season than those we chose?

Mid-South Region (KY, TN, MO, AR, OK)

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  • James Anderson – Jr, F – Oklahoma St. An obvious and unanimous choice for our Mid-South list, James Anderson cannot be blamed if he has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder right now.  Let’s see:  he’s the third-leading returning scorer in the Big 12  for the upcoming season; last year the guy averages 18.2 points, 5.7 boards, shoots over 48% from the field as well as over 82% from the line and 41% from beyond the three-point line… and he gets left off the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list.  Anderson has coolly acknowledged his surprise at this slight, and we think he’s well within his right to do so.  No doubt this will provide motivation for the versatile forward as he embarks upon his junior season for a Cowboys squad that needs him in the leadership role.  Gone are Byron Eaton and Terrel Harris, leaving only Anderson and Obi Muonelo in terms of returning double-digit scorers.  That’s over 27 points a game for which to compensate, so Anderson will get the touches, without question.  Last year was the first trip to the NCAA Tournament for Oklahoma State in the last four years, and despite the aforementioned losses, Cowboy fans are most assuredly expecting another bid this season.  If it’s going to happen, it will be on Anderson’s shoulders.  We know that making our Impact Players list for the Mid-South region isn’t the same as making the preseason Wooden Award Top 50.  But at least we can say… hey James… we got your back, man.
  • Patrick Patterson – Jr, F – Kentucky. Patrick Patterson didn’t need a ton of motivation to return for a junior season in Lexington. The potential NBA riches were surely enticing, but with the news of John Calipari’s hire and subsequent commitments of a recruiting class for the ages, Patterson found himself in a spot where another season at Kentucky may mean a national championship, a far cry from the tumultuous two campaigns he spent in the Bluegrass State under the tutelage of Billy Gillispie. Patterson is a physical specimen in the paint for Kentucky and coach Cal has to be absolutely salivating at the thought of pairing Patterson and diaper dandy DeMarcus Cousins there to complement John Wall, Darius Miller and Eric Bledsoe on the perimeter (just think if Jodie Meeks had stuck around). Patterson nearly finished with a double-double last season at 17.9 ppg and 9.3 rpg, including a dominant 22/15 performance at future #1 seed Louisville, a 19/16 vs. Miami and 21/18 vs. Auburn. In fact, Patterson led the SEC with 15 double-doubles in 2008-09 and was the only player in the conference to finish in the top five in scoring and rebounding. A wildly underrated part of Patterson’s game is his 77% ft to go along with an efficient 60% from the field overall. Most NBA scouts think Patterson will only get stronger and continue to improve with another season in college, a scary thought for opposing SEC coaches and forwards, and a delightful proposition for Calipari. The 6’8″ big man already possesses an NBA-ready frame, a beast on the blocks that loves to bang inside and fight for any rebound in his vicinity. If Patrick Patterson gets the ball deep, he will score. Period. And with John Wall, possibly the top point guard in the nation this season, making those entry passes, Patterson should be able to average a double-double for Kentucky, only adding to the 1,000+ points he’s already totaled as a Wildcat. Barring injury (which isn’t a certainty as PP battled a stress fracture in his ankle in 07-08), Patterson seems about as surefire as anyone in the country to earn national accolades this season. But with realistic hopes of a Final Four at Kentucky for the first time in Patterson’s career, it won’t be about personal accomplishments for the determined forward; it’ll be all about wins.

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RTC Mascot Death Match – Second Round (Sunday Matches)

Posted by rtmsf on March 23rd, 2009

Continuing on into the second round of the Mascot Death Match…  you can continue to vote on these throughout the early part of this week, and we’ll have the Sweet Sixteen Matchups up on Thursday. 

For the 2d Round Saturday Matches, click here

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Behind the Lines: NCAA Tournament Day One

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009


This edition of Behind the Lines is emanating from Las Vegas. The Obsessed With Sports crew will be enjoying the first weekend of the tournament from the sports betting capital of the world.

Thursday, March 19th

The 8 versus 9 games are very close, as they should be.

Butler (9) vs Louisiana State (8) -2.5

Behind The Line: Take a look at the over on this one–it’s at about 127. Butler has consistently been going over numbers in this area while LSU scores a lot more than other Horizon League teams.

Texas A&M (9) vs Brigham Young (8) -2

Behind The Line: Both teams have been very good as far as covering as of late. They are a combined 14-6 in their last 20 games. In this case, the spread might play a more minimal role.

Gonzaga is no stranger to being a double digit favorite.

Akron (13) vs Gonzaga (4) -12.5

Behind The Line: Gonzaga is 7-6 this season when they have been favored by double digits.

Connecticut is also familiar with large spreads.

Chattanooga (16) vs Connecticut (1) -20

Behind The Line: UConn is a misleading 3-7 when they are double digit favorites. I say this because a number of their non-conference games didn’t even have lines because they weer favored by so much. Also playing a large role is the competition in the Big East, against whom the Huskies were still favored by more than 10.

According to Bodog the longest shots to win the whole shebang are Binghamton, Morehead State, Morgan State, Radford, Robert Morris and Chattanooga at 1750:1, respectively.

More from Vegas as the week progresses!

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NCAA Preview: Morehead State Eagles

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

Morehead State (#16, Midwest, Dayton pod)
vs. Louisville (#1) having defeated Alabama State on 3/17/09 in the Preliminary Round.
Friday, March 20th at 7:10 pm
Vegas Line:  TBD

General Profile

Location: Morehead, Kentucky — approx. 50 miles east of Lexington on I-64
Conference: Ohio Valley Conference — Tournament Champion

Coach: Donnie Tyndall; hired 2006. MSU record 46-48
08-09 Record: 19-15 (12-6 OVC)
Last 12 Games: 7-5, Won 3

Best Win: at East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun tournament champion), 71-61 — 12/30/08

Worst Loss: vs Grambling State, 71-72 — 11/29/08

Off. Efficiency Rating: 101.1 (175th)

Def. Efficiency Rating: 101.4 (174th)

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player: Kenneth Faried, 13.9 ppg, 12.8 rpg (3rd nationally); 23 double-doubles this year

Unsung Hero: Leon Buchanan, 15.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg; 66.7% 3PFG (12th nationally)

Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Faried, currently a sophomore, is a future candidate.

Key Injuries:  No significant injuries.
Depth: 24.9% bench minutes (303rd nationally)
Achilles Heel: Guarding the three. Opponents shoot 36.7% (290th nationally)
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Faried, Buchanan, and Maze Stallworth can all achieve an Arceneaux-level of performance, now that the prelim is over.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: They play their usual game, and a miracle doesn’t happen.  No disrespect intended, but Louisville isn’t Alabama State.  Congrats to Morehead on getting an NCAA Tournament win, but the road likely ends here for the Eagles.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: 1984. Beat NC A&T (70-69) in the “Preliminary Round,” then lost to Louisville in Round of 64 (59-72).
Streak: Consecutive invites in 1956, 1957 and 1983, 1984.

Best NCAA Finish: 2-1 in 1956 (Lost in Sweet 16 and won Regional 3rd Place game)

Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): n/a


Six Degrees to Detroit: Junior guard Cecil Brown is from Grand Rapids, MI. The Eagles’ campus is 402 miles (6.5 hrs by car) from Detroit.

Distance to First Round Site: 193 miles

School’s Claim to Fame: One of only four US universities to offer a BS in Space Science. Also the alma mater of NPR personalities Steve Inskeep and Noah Adams, ESPN college football commentator Mike Gottfried, game show host Chuck Woolery.

School Wishes It Could Forget: Billy Ray Cyrus (of “Achy Breaky Heart” fame, and father of Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana) is an alum. The school doesn’t necessarily want to forget this…but a lot of people do.

Prediction: Lousville will be too much to handle, of course. It would take something even bigger than a Chaminade-like upset to get out of the official first round. This is a team that lost its last four games of the regular season before the OVC tournament and the play-in game. They deserve congrats for getting through the conference tournament, and I hope they enjoy the trip.

Major RTC stories: OVC Season Wrap & Tourney Preview; 4 Tickets Punched, 61 to go…
Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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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


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


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


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