Set Your Tivo: 03.09.11

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 9th, 2011

***** – 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 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.

Only two auto-bids go out tonight, but a couple of interesting games from the Big East are also on the slate. All rankings from RTC and all times Eastern.

Big East Second Round (at New York, NY): #18 Connecticut vs. Georgetown – 12 pm on ESPN (***)

He and His Droogs Dispatched DePaul Last Night; Tonight, Alex Descends Into MSG For a Battle With the Hoyas

The Huskies drew a pretty good bracket by Big East standards, getting bottom feeder DePaul in the first round and a depleted Georgetown team this afternoon. Connecticut ended its winless drought in this tournament, blowing out DePaul yesterday for their first Big East Tournament win since 2005. Alex Oriakhi had 13 points and 19 rebounds, making his presence known at the start of the tournament after a regular season full of inconsistency. Kemba Walker added 26/7/5 as the Huskies cruised. Things get considerably tougher today against Georgetown, but the Hoyas are a reeling squad. They’ve lost four of their past five games, including a loss to UConn, and have not looked competitive since senior point guard Chris Wright went down with a broken hand. The Hoyas haven’t scored more than 51 points in three games without Wright and will have to play a strong defensive game if they want to knock off the Huskies.

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ATB: Montana Climbs the Mountain Behind AJ’s Perseverance

Posted by rtmsf on March 11th, 2010

Two More Cards Punched.  More great theater tonight, as we now have fourteen auto-bids handed out, nearly half the total allotment.

  • Big SkyMontana 66, Weber State 65.  It was pure Hollywood, a rags-to-riches type of story that when you see it in the theater just know has been embellished because it’s too good to be true.  Otherwise, how else to explain the phenomenal story that is Montana’s Anthony Johnson?  From the hard-knock life growing up, to the junior college tryout that his then-girlfriend/now-wife negotiated for him, to the unexpected national championship in Yakima, to the repayment of the favor  for his wife when tables turned and he was the big shot recruited to Montana, to the cool and steady rise during his two-year career in Missoula, to the snub in this year’s conference POY race, to the 42-point explosion to bring his team back from twenty down at the half when it mattered most.  Tonight Anthony Johnson just became the new favorite player of every kid in America and his Grizzlies became the top upset special in next week’s brackets.  If we were twelve again, the U of M sweatshirt would already be ordered, and the lunchroom quarrels about who ‘claimed him’ first would already be planned.  That’s what happens when you illustrate why March is a form of certifiable insanity, the kind that makes you giddy with amazement with each passing shot.  Jumpers, floaters, runners, foul shots and bombs — Johnson showed through a 13-22 FGs (14-14 FTs) shooting exhibition, including the final 21 points of the game for his team, what is possible if you keep your head up, work hard to improve yourself, and believe in your abilities.  Montana is now moving on to the NCAA Tournament because the player they call AJ walked down that road, saw what he liked, and decided to keep moving forward.

Everyone's New Favorite Player (Deservingly) (D. Pizac)

  • NECRobert Morris 52, Quinnipiac 50.  The best two teams in the NEC faced off in Connecticut tonight on QU’s home court, yet it was the Colonials of Robert Morris who walked away with the trophy and the golden ticket to the NCAAs for the second consecutive season.  RMU head coach Mike Rice preached after the game that the only way to win one-bid leagues such as the NEC is through hard-nosed team defense like he learned as an assistant at Pittsburgh across town, and in another low-scoring affair tonight it was senior forward Dallas Green who manifested that ethos by deflecting a potential game-winning shot by Quinnipiac and then hitting two FTs to seal the game.  Last year Bob Morris received a #15 seed and played eventual national runner-up Michigan State tough for a half.  That was a poor matchup for the Colonials, but if they could get a more finesse-oriented team this year in the first round, they’d have a better shot at springing a gigantic upset.

What About Bob? (AP/T. Cain)

Conference Tourneys.  For additional information on the Big East Tournament and Big 12 Tournament from our correspondents at the scene, check out their daily diaries.

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