The Other 26: Week 13

Posted by KDoyle on February 11th, 2011

Kevin Doyle is an RTC contributor.

Introduction

In last week’s article I touched on the notion of parity and how great it is within the world of sports. After analyzing many of the Other 26 conferences this week, I could not help but notice how in several of the conference there is not one team that has distinguished themselves from the pack yet, and we are already nearing mid-February. In some cases, there are not even two or three teams that are running away with the league. Competitiveness or mediocrity? Well, does it really matter? All this means is that conference tournament week becomes that much more unpredictable and exciting. Here are a few of the conferences that are still completely wide open:

  • Atlantic 10: Four teams—Xavier, Duquesne, Temple, and Richmond—have records between 8-2 and 8-1.
  • CAA: Four teams—George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion, and Hofstra—have records between 12-2 and 10-4.
  • The A10 and CAA are both very similar as each have four teams in legitimate contention, and both appear to be two-bid leagues at the moment.
  • Conference USA: Six teams—UTEP, Southern Mississippi, UAB, Memphis, SMU, and Tulsa—have records between 6-2 and 7-3.
  • Horizon League: Five teams—Valparaiso, Cleveland State, Wright State, Butler, and Wisconsin Milwaukee—have records between 10-3 and 9-5.
  • MAC: Eight teams—Kent State, Buffalo, Miami (OH), Bowling Green, Akron, Ohio, Ball State, and Western Michigan—have records between 7-2 and 5-4.
  • Southern Conference: Four teams—Charleston, Furman, Wofford, and Chattanooga—have records between 11-2 and 10-3.
  • Southland Conference: Nine teams—Northwestern State, McNeese State, Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State, Texas State, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, UTSA, and Texas Arlington—have records between 7-3 and 5-4.

Very elaborate, I know. But, it is pretty remarkable the balance in the leagues. Of these seven conferences, there are a total of 40 teams who can still say they are capable and have a legit shot at winning their conference. What does this all mean? A great week of basketball during the conference tournaments, followed by more weeks of deliciousness during the NCAA Tournament. Enjoy.

The Other 26 Rankings

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Around The Blogosphere: December 21, 2010

Posted by nvr1983 on December 21st, 2010

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

Top 25 Games

  • #4 Syracuse 97, Morgan State 55: “Sure, the way this game went you’d pretty much be disappointed if Southerland hadn’t set a career-high with eighteen points (12 of which were on three-pointers). Still, couple that with his five rebounds and you’d be remiss not to appreciate what Southerland did during his audition for a spot in the Big East rotation in 12-0 Syracuse’s 97-55 romp over Morgan State (4-5).” (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)

Pre-Game Analysis

  • Preview: UNC-Ashville at #2 Ohio State: “Fresh off a 79-57 stomping of South Carolina behind 30 points and 19 boards from Jared “Big Ten Freshman of the Week” Sullinger, the Buckeyes welcome UNC-Asheville to the Schott for the third time since 2008, beginning a stretch of three games in seven days to finish up the non-conference slate.” (Eleven Warriors)
  • Know Your Braggin’ Rights Rival: Illinois: “Braggin’ Rights is upon us once again, though both teams stumble into St. Louis a bit. Illinois fell into a small funk that culminated in a shocking loss to Illinois-Chicago on Saturday; meanwhile, Mizzou was playing much, much better but has to deal with more adversity, this time in the form of an injury to Phil Pressey. Illinois is a thin team anyway, and it appears Mizzou will continue to play with a shorter bench than Mike Anderson would prefer. Of course, Illinois was thin last year and Mizzou was dealing with injury (okay, illness) then too, and that turned out pretty well for Mizzou, right?” (Rock M Nation)
  • Sizing Up the Bears: “The Jayhawks wrap up their Pac10 tour this week against the Golden Bears of California. The Bears are picked to be a middle of the pack team in their conference, behind three teams Kansas has already beat and the two Washington schools. That’s not to say this game is going to be a cakewalk. All three games against the teams from out west this year have been far from smooth and the Jayhawks benefited from having two of those at home. This game comes at a time when Kansas seems to be struggling a bit and it is their first true road game of the season.” (Rock Chalk Talk)
  • UCLA v. MSU Preview: “Don’t think it will ever happen again”: “UCLA plays Montana State tonight at 7:30 Pacific.; All you local fans better go to the game as it will only be on Bank West (Jumbotron) Bruin TV. Montana State(MS) has lost four of their last five, with their only win in that span coming against Johnson and Wales a law firm NAIA school. Montana State has also not won on the road this year. So this game should be a cake walk right?” (Bruins Nation)
  • Sleeping With The Enemy: The Tigers of Memphis: Putting the spotlight on the Memphis-Georgetown game. (Casual Hoya)

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Around The Blogosphere: A Night At Madison Square Garden

Posted by nvr1983 on November 19th, 2010

Most of the nation had its eyes fixated on Madison Square Garden even though the people of New York City did not feel like actually going to the games, but there was also some action outside of the Manhattan area. Once again, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Top 25 Games

  • #5 Pittsburgh 79, Maryland 70: “Maryland might not’ve won, but the Terrapins went toe-to-toe with the #4 team in the country with the score just two possessions apart in the final two minutes. In the end, Maryland missed more and more free throws and gave up more and more rebounds to let Pitt pull away, stretching the lead to the final margin of 79-70. In the end, it’s still the most encouraging loss I’ve seen in a very long time.” (Testudo Time: Part 1 and Part 2)
  • Texas 90, #16 Illinois 84 (OT): “The Texas Longhorns (3-0) rode Tristan Thompson’s breakout party to hold on for a 90-84 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini (3-1). Behind Thompson’s 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 blocks, along with 25 points from rejuvenated sophomore Jordan Hamilton, Texas won the most entertaining and well-played basketball game of the young 2010 college basketball season.” (Burnt Orange Nation)
  • #17 UNC 107, Hofstra 63: “I’ve tried very hard to tamp down my expectations for this team, and I really don’t want to draw conclusions from games against Lipscomb and Hofstra. (Especially since the Lipscomb game wasn’t very good.) But for the first time since the championship team, watching a Carolina game was fun. There was no pit in my stomach, no anticipation of disaster. Here’s to more games like this moving forward.” (Carolina March)
  • #18 Georgetown 80, Coastal Carolina 61: “Georgetown went down to Charleston and absolutely destroyed the Coastal Carolina Chicklets or whatever they are called. 80-61 is the right final score for a game that was never in question. The Hoyas made 32 field goals on 25 assists and were led by the three guards who are making an early season case for the best backcourt in the country.” (Casual Hoya)

Other Games of Interest

  • Minnesota 95, Western Kentucky 77: The Gophers knocked off the Hilltoppers, but their next opponent (UNC) and uber-freshman Harrison Barnes should provide a more formidable challenge. (Gopher Nation)
  • Providence 77, Morgan State 55: “After three games of great intensity and great results on defense, is it too early to say they are showing amazing improvement? Sure, the offense has some issues, and the Friars will be lucky to win another game shooting SIX POINT THREE PERCENT from downtown. As the competition increases, PC will surely start letting up more points and higher shooting percentages. For now, I don’t want to worry about that just yet. The most important takeaway is that the effort is there and the team is improving. Incredibly refreshing if you ask me.” (Friar Blog)

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Starting Tomorrow, We’re Talkin’ About Practices

Posted by jstevrtc on October 14th, 2010

Fall is the most appropriately named season. It is called that because the sun is falling below the celestial equator, for you amateur astronomers out there, but poets and writers far better than this one have described so many other reasons throughout time to illustrate why fall is known as the “season of descent”  — the decreasing number of daylight hours, the leaves, the mercury in your thermometer, the amount of filler material on SportsCenter. Of the few things that do indeed rise at this time of year, one of them has become one of surest signs that fall has arrived…

When the Tents Sprout in Lexington for Big Blue Madness Tickets, You Know That Fall Is Here.

True, in the Driesellian sense, nobody has true “Midnight Madness” anymore. And there’s so much more interaction now between coaches and players that happens prior to that circled mid-October day where once none was allowed. It doesn’t matter, because the psychosis to which college basketball aficionados across the nation willingly give in is real, and it arrives tomorrow.

That’s right, tomorrow. A big black “x” in the October 15th square on your wall calendar means that hoopheads are celebrating their own national holiday, which, inasmuch as it isn’t real Midnight Madness, we’ll call the First Official Day of Practice (FODP). Like it or not, the NCAA still calls the shots, and if they say that that particular day is open season for full-squad, you-can-use-a-ball workouts to begin, then celebrate we will, for the season is short but sweet for certain (apologies to Dave and the boys).

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West Virginia Loses Darryl Bryant To Broken Foot

Posted by jstevrtc on March 24th, 2010

West Virginia will be without starting sophomore point guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant for the rest of the NCAA Tournament.  X-rays taken on Tuesday revealed that Bryant has fractured a bone in the fifth toe of his right foot.  It’s not exactly clear when Bryant sustained the injury, but the cited ESPN.com report above says that he had noticed increased pain in the foot during a recent practice, then today’s imaging showed the broken toe.

The Mountaineers are famous for being chock-full-o-forwards, often playing four forwards and a guard at any given time (they have no true center).  Bryant — who averages 9.3 PPG and 3.1 APG in 24.3 MPG — will most definitely be missed, but he’s not a traditional dime-dishing point guard.  He’s known more for the mental and physical toughness he brings to the table for his team, not so much for his high yield in terms of assists or forcing turnovers.  Da’Sean Butler, Kevin Jones, and Devin Ebanks — the only three Mountaineers who average more than 30 minutes per game — do most of the ball-handling, and will only see a slight increase in touches, which they probably won’t mind.

The Truck, unfortunately, has a bum wheel. (AP/Mel Evans)

WVU also has a ready replacement in Joe Mazzulla, a 6’2 junior point guard averaging 2.2 PPG and 2.3 APG.  Mazzulla redshirted last year after injuring his shoulder, but has seen steadily increasing minutes throughout the season.  Mazzulla actually played more minutes than Bryant in the Mountaineers’ second-round game against Missouri, and the two had no problem with the Tigers’ vaunted full-court press.  His assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.5 is higher than Bryant’s 1.5, though Mazzulla did average ten fewer minutes per game.  Any further minutes at the guard position will go to 6’4 junior Casey Mitchell (3.8 PPG, 0.4 APG in 8.3 MPG), who only played three minutes against Missouri but did contribute six points, four assists, and two steals with only one turnover in 11 minutes in WVU’s first round 77-50 win over Morgan State.

There’s been no mention of how severe Bryant’s injury is, but most fifth metatarsal fractures do not require surgery and heal on their own over time with the “conservative” therapies — ice for swelling, no weight-bearing on the foot, and immobilization with a splint or cast.

WVU chief Bob Huggins is certainly no stranger to tournament-time injuries when he’s got a team poised for big things.  Back in 2000 — another year in which the Final Four was held in Indianapolis — his #2-seed Cincinnati squad was a favorite to win it all before Kenyon Martin broke his leg in the Conference USA Tournament, and the Bearcats were subsequently dispatched in the second round by Tulsa.  The next time the Final Four is in Indianapolis and Huggins has a highly rated team, don’t blame the man if he sequesters his whole team in a padded room and locks the door, opening it only for games.

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RTC Bracketology Seed Update: 03.14.10

Posted by zhayes9 on March 14th, 2010

From today until Selection Sunday, keep checking Rush the Court for updates on who’s in, who’s out and seeding.

UPDATES ALL DAY TODAY. FINAL BRACKET REVEALED JUST BEFORE 6 PM ET.

(Note: each of the four teams in one seed grouping is listed in pecking order in terms of who is closer to moving up a seed line. This is used to determine game location and matchups similar to Joe Lunardi’s S-Curve listing).

Also: play the NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday challenge at NCAA.com to be your own Bracketologist.

Italics indicates conference leaders/champions.

Last update: 03/14, 3:50 PM ET.

#1 Seeds: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, West Virginia

#2 Seeds: Duke, Ohio State, Kansas State, Georgetown

#3 Seeds: New Mexico, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Purdue

#4 Seeds: Baylor, Wisconsin, Temple, Tennessee

#5 Seeds: Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Michigan State, BYU

#6 Seeds: Maryland, Butler, Richmond, Xavier

#7 Seeds: Gonzaga, Northern Iowa, Texas, UNLV

#8 Seeds: Notre Dame, Marquette, Clemson, Oklahoma State

#9 Seeds: Florida State, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Missouri

#10 Seeds: UTEP, Old Dominion, Saint Mary’s, San Diego State

#11 Seeds: Wake Forest, Washington, California, Siena

#12 Seeds: Utah State, Minnesota, Cornell, Illinois

#13 Seeds: Murray State, New Mexico State, Oakland, Houston

#14 Seeds: Wofford, Sam Houston State, Ohio, Montana

#15 Seeds: Morgan State, UC-Santa Barbara, North Texas, Vermont

#16 Seeds: Robert Morris, East Tennessee State, Lehigh, Winthrop, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Last Four In: California, Utah State, Minnesota, Illinois

Last Four Out: Mississippi State, Florida, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall

Bids per conference: Big East (8), Big 12 (7), Big Ten (6), ACC (5), Mountain West (4), SEC (3), Atlantic 10 (3), Pac-10 (2), West Coast (2), WAC (2), C-USA (2).

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Set Your Tivo: 03.13.10

Posted by THager on March 13th, 2010

***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

CUSA Championship – UTEP vs. Houston – 11:30 am on CBS (***)

The Miners have been one of the most underrated teams in the country this season, but if they can finish their run through the Conference USA tournament, they could be looking at a #5 of #6 seed in the NCAA tournament.  They have now won 16 games in a row, and they will face a mediocre Houston team that is just 18-15 on the year.  UTEP is the more talented team, as they rank twelfth in defensive efficiency, but they have had some trouble against the Cougars this year.  The Miners won the most recent matchup, but finished the game just 2-18 from the three-point line.  In the first contest in January, Houston actually won 75-65 thanks to 11-20 shooting from beyond the arc.  UTEP’s Achilles heel has been their free throw shooting, and if Houston doesn’t beat up on themselves (they have a 1.4/1 assist to turnover ratio) the Cougars have a chance to steal a bid.

America East Championship – Boston University vs. Vermont – 12:00 pm on ESPN2 (***)

A few weeks ago, Boston University looked as if they had no business being in the NCAA tournament.  At the end of January, the Terriers stood at just 11-11, and were struggling in the America East conference.  However, BU won eight of their last nine games, and has earned a shot to dance with a 70-63 upset over top seeded Stony Brook in the semifinals.  There has been a few days rest from the semifinal game until today, so they will be more rested than most teams during championship week.  Vermont is an equally hot team, as they are 10-1 in their last 11 games, but they have had close calls against the Terriers this season.  In February, Vermont won in Boston 76-75, and it took Evan Fjeld’s layup with nine seconds left to seal the victory.  The largest lead for either team in the second half was just five points, and Vermont could not stop John Holland, who finished with 29 points.  Holland shoots 85% from the line this season, and if the Terriers can grab a lead heading into the closing minutes, free throw shooting could become a factor.  However, in their first matchup, BU got five points from their bench, while six Catamounts combined for 22 points, and Vermont ran away with a 20 point victory.  Vermont is 9-2 at home this year, and they look strong heading into this game.

MEAC Championship – South Carolina State vs. Morgan State – 2:00 pm on ESPN2 (***)

Morgan State is by far the best team in the MEAC, and the most likely candidate to pull off an upset in the tournament this season.  Nevertheless, they are going to have to get past a dangerous SC State team before they can secure their bid.  The Bulldogs were just 18-13 on the year, but they actually beat Morgan State on the road in their most recent matchup.  The Bears shot just 22% from the three point line, and SC State’s Jason Flagler had 24 points in the 71-68 victory.  The first game was a different matter, as Morgan State won by 15 points despite another poor shooting performance.  The Bulldogs do not rank among the top 250 teams in either offensive or defensive efficiency, while Morgan State ranks a relatively high #125 in offensive efficiency.  If South Carolina State continues to have more turnovers than assists, as they have this whole season, they have no chance of winning this game.

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Boom Goes The Dynamite: 02.27.10 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on February 27th, 2010

Now it’s getting serious.  College basketball teams across the country now fall into one of four camps: bored, because they know their NCAA bid is secure; resigned, because they’ve known for a long time that they’re out; relieved, because they think they’ve played their way in; and downright antsy, because they’ve still got work to do.  That last group are the most interesting ones at this time of year, and there are plenty of them out there.  We’ll be keeping an eye on all of those games and, of course, commenting on any game we can find on the tube in today’s three-man weave version of BGTD.  We hope to hear from you while we’re at it.  Here are the games on which we’ll definitely be keeping tabs, though we’ll probably find more throughout the day:

  • 12 PM – Notre Dame @ #13 Georgetown on CBS (regional) – RTC Live
  • 12 PM – #2 Kentucky @ #17 Tennessee on CBS (regional)
  • 12 PM – Michigan @ #9 Ohio State on ESPN
  • 12 PM – Northeastern @ George Mason on ESPN2
  • 2 PM – North Carolina @ Wake Forest on CBS
  • 2 PM – #21 Texas @ #23 Texas A&M on ESPN
  • 2 PM – Mississippi @ Arkansas on ESPN2
  • 4 PM – #1 Kansas @ Oklahoma State on CBS
  • 4 PM – Florida @ Georgia on SEC Network
  • 6 PM – Mississippi State @ South Carolina on ESPN
  • 8 PM – Illinois State @ #22 Northern Iowa on ESPN2
  • 8 PM – Missouri @ #6 Kansas State on ESPN-U
  • 8 PM – Southern Miss @ Memphis on CBS College Sports
  • 9 PM – #8 Villanova @ #4 Syracuse on ESPN

We will start with our coverage at 11 AM. Feel free to drop by throughout the day and ask questions/comment on anything that is happening in the world of college basketball.

11:05: Well it certainly is very orange in Syracuse. And Bob Knight with the first shot of the day mocking fans who would pay $750 to watch this game. Nice. Evan Turner just signed a “Evan Turner” home-made trophy being held by some kid wearing a home-made “Villain” t-shirt.

11:06: Knight just admitted he is rooting for Steve Alford and New Mexico tonight. Not a surprise, but still amusing. I’m sure the BYU players will have something to say to the media after the game.

11:10: We would love to interview the fan who sits in that seat or the row of seats that Erin Andrews just featured. The almost looks like Final Four type seating or what we saw earlier this year for the game at the new Cowboys stadium.

11:17: Hubert Davis calling out the Mountain West and BYU. Can we get Shawn Bradley on the phone to mock UNC? Jay Bilas comes to BYU’s defense by comparing them to and crushing Virginia Tech. He’s not going to be a popular guy the next time he visits Blacksburg. Digger makes the best point of the entire discussion by saying that the reason we are talking up the mid-majors is because the PAC-10 is awful this year.

11:20: “This is the weakest at-large field ever. The weakest at-large field ever.” – Jay Bilas. He should be fun on Selection Sunday.

11:21: Does Digger have a yellow highlighter today? Is this the first time he has went with the traditional yellow for his highlighter?

11:35: Nice feature about Hank Gathers. I still remember hearing about it the day it happened on SportsCenter the night it happened. Still jarring to see the video. Nice shout-out to RTC fan Jeff Fryer. It’s too bad they ran into the buzzsaw that was the 1990 UNLV team. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing that “30 for 30″ documentary.

11:45: I love seeing the replay of the Scottie Reynolds shot. Not because I root for Villanova, but because it is the craziest basketball moment I have ever seen in person. Just the ecstasy of the Villanova fans that followed their utter despair after they had almost blown the game moments before.

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 02.20.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 20th, 2010

Hello everybody, welcome back to another thrilling edition of Boom Goes the Dynamite.  If you haven’t noticed, we’re at the point of the season where every game has a little more intensity, a little more pressure, a little more edginess, as each team tries to attract the eye of the fickle Selection Committee.  Whether in an attempt to lock up a high seed or simply to make the darn thing, the next three weeks will present ample opportunities for every team to make its case, for better or worse.  As always, we’ll be right there with you throughout the day, checking in on the big games and others of varying importance.  While today isn’t a blockbuster day in terms of key games, there are always going to be a good number at this time of year.  Below are the ones we’ll be keeping an eye on…

11 AM: Siena @ #13 Butler on ESPN2 – RTC Live
12 PM: Florida @ Ole Miss on CBS
12 PM: Seton Hall @ #8 West Virginia on ESPN
12 PM: Morgan State @ Murray State on ESPNU
1 PM: Louisiana Tech @ Northeastern on ESPN2
1:30 PM: #22 Baylor @ Oklahoma State on ESPN360
2 PM: #17 Texas @ Texas Tech on ESPN
2 PM: Georgia Tech @ Maryland on ESPN360 – RTC Live
2 PM: Xavier @ Charlotte on CSS
4 PM: Illinois @ #4 Purdue on ESPN
4 PM: UTEP @ Tulsa on CBS CS – RTC Live
4 PM: Colorado @ #1 Kansas on ESPN360
6 PM: #2 Kentucky @ #19 Vanderbilt on ESPN
6 PM: #7 Kansas State @ Oklahoma on ESPNU
8 PM: Charleston @ George Mason on ESPN2
9 PM: UCLA @ Washington on ESPN
12 AM: Wichita State @ Utah State on ESPN2 – RTC Live

11:02: And we’re live with another BGTD. Interesting decision by ESPN to keep GameDay at 11 AM with the Siena-Butler game on ESPN2. We already have someone doing a RTC Live for the Siena-Butler game so we’ll focus more on GameDay than we otherwise would. Definitely check out our RTC Live of the game though.

11:07: The ESPN analysts are really going out on a limb saying the Big East Tournament will be the best of the conference tournament. Digger breaks with the group and goes with the Big Ten. Surprisingly Bobby Knight calls out the Big Ten saying the Big East would beat them head-to-head.

11:09: In another surprise, Jay Bilas goes against Coach K by saying that the conference tournaments effectively act as a huge NCAA Tournament and if you win you are into the real NCAA Tournament. Digger agrees with him while Hubert Davis attempts to make a ridiculous argument against the automatic bid saying it penalizes teams like Siena that dominate their conferences, but might choke in the conference tournament. Personally I think if you’re that good you can earn an at-large bid with your play throughout the season. Knight holds the coaching fraternity party line saying that he wants to expand the tournament. Translation: Nobody gets fired ever.

11:15: Just flipped over to ESPN2 where the announcers were comparing Gordon Hayward to Mike Dunleavy Jr. I’m not sure if they are talking about their games or the way they look. Where is the college basketball Spike Lee who will call out these announcers for comparing the two only because they are white guys who look fairly similar? For the record their games are pretty similar. Feel free to call me out in the comment section. . .

11:20: Knight wants “The Committee” to get an ex-coach on there (like him?) and the team’s last 18 games. I have no idea how he decided on 18. Why not 20? The other talking heads rip the RPI. Davis wants to take the strength of schedule component out of the RPI and wants to use an “eye test” to replace it. I’d like to see Professor Davis come up with a quantitative way to come up with the “eye test” score.

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Jinx Alert! Who Can Run The Conference Table?

Posted by jstevrtc on February 11th, 2010

Pardon the baseball reference, but we know that if a guy’s throwing a no-hitter you’re not supposed to talk to him about it.  In fact, you’re supposed to just stay away from him, let him sit in the dugout alone, and act like nothing special is happening.  We don’t go for such superstitions around here, so let’s check out the teams that are currently undefeated in their conferences, and who has the best chance to actually pull off a perfect conference campaign.

Last season, there were only two teams that streaked through their conference schedules without a blemish — Memphis went 16-0 in the CUSA, and Gonzaga tallied a perfect 14-0 in the WCC.  Memphis kept it going three games into this conference season, but back on January 20th UTEP showed the Tigers that they were having none of that, and snapped Memphis’ conference winning streak at 64 games.  The Zags stumbled ten days later at San Francisco after winning their first six WCC games this season.

Can Aldrich, Collins, and the rest of the Jayhawks run the conference table?

Right now (before Thursday night’s games), there are no less than eight teams with perfect conference records.  We list them here along with the next time they’ll put it on the line, and our prediction as to when they’ll drop their first conference game — if at all:

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Weekly Bracketology: 01.04.10

Posted by zhayes9 on January 4th, 2010

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

The biggest note: this is the most subjective bracket of the process. With RPI still evolving into a tool worth considering substantially, I had to construct this bracket primarily on 1) quality wins and bad losses in non-conference play, 2) non-conference SOS and 3) simple W-L record. Even conference RPI can’t be factored in yet because teams have played, at most, three conference games. With RPI rounding into form as January progresses, the bracket will switch from a more subjective process (had to use the eye test a few times, which I despise) to a more objective compilation.

  • The #1 and #2 seeds were fairly straightforward. Due to Syracuse tripping up at home to Pittsburgh Saturday, the process became much easier and the four undefeated teams remaining earned the #1 nod. Three Big East teams earned nods as a #2 seed, all with one loss: West Virginia, Villanova and Syracuse. Duke was the other obvious choice for the second line.
  • One of the more interesting cases was Ohio State. How much do I penalize them for the loss of Evan Turner? I was fairly harsh in the opening bracket following a discouraging defeat to Michigan and a blowout loss at Wisconsin. I’m fairly sure the Buckeyes will be moving further up the bracket when Turner is back in the fold a few weeks from now, but a #11 seed at 0-2 in the Big 10 and wins over California and Florida State seemed appropriate.
  • USC will not be included in any of my brackets this year. It’s a shame because they have strong computer numbers and are building a handful of quality wins including Tennessee and UNLV. Like the Pac-10 needed to be hurt any further.
  • Some notable snubs were Miami, Oregon and Saint Mary’s.  The point is pretty straightforward: I’m not going to reward you for playing a soft schedule. Miami is 14-1 but has the #85 RPI and #328 SOS in the nation with only notable wins against Minnesota and South Carolina. Oregon may be 2-0 in the Pac-10 but they have some BAD losses and need to do more to find their way into the bracket. The win at Oregon is looking stronger for St. Mary’s, but they still need to do more.
  • Since we’re so early, I did factor in “quality” losses for some teams. For example, Dayton lost by under 10 to both Villanova and Kansas State (both top-10 teams) and by 2 at New Mexico (top-20 team). They deserve some credit for those close losses.
  • Since we’re early in conference play, I determined the automatic bids among undefeated squads by which team had the highest RPI. I figured I should stay consistent with this throughout the season.

Last Four In: Northwestern, Richmond, Missouri State, Vanderbilt.

Last Four Out: Oklahoma State, Miami (FL), Saint Mary’s, Oregon.

Automatic bids: Vermont, Temple, Duke, East Tennessee State, Kansas, West Virginia, Weber State, Radford, Purdue, Pacific, William & Mary, UAB, Butler, Cornell, Siena, Western Michigan, Morgan State, Northern Iowa, New Mexico, Quinnipiac, Murray State, California, Army, Kentucky, Western Carolina, UT-San Antonio, Texas Southern, Oakland, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Louisiana Tech.

Bids per conference: ACC (7), Big East (7), SEC (6), Big 12 (6), Big 10 (6), Mountain West (3), Atlantic-10 (3), Pac-10 (2), Missouri Valley (2).

Next bracket: January 18

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