O26 Weekly Awards: Princeton, Augustine Rubit, Joe Scott & NDSU…

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on December 17th, 2013

It was final exams for many schools across the country this past week, meaning a relatively light college hoops schedule leading up to Saturday. But once the weekend kicked into gear, there proved to be plenty of intriguing match-ups, weird semi-neutral court games played in NBA arenas, standout performances and altogether surprising results to pass out weekly awards to deserving O26 performers. Heck, even the thinly-populated weekday slate offered up a noteworthy upset and a fine example of early-season coaching.

O26 Team of the Week

T.J. Bray and Princeton will be Ivy League contenders this season. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

T.J. Bray and Princeton will be Ivy League contenders this season. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

Princeton. It is official: the Ivy League has two legitimate contenders in 2013-14. For all the recognition Harvard has received nationally — which is certainly well deserved, considering the team’s loaded roster and excellent start to the season — there has been another Ivy squad lurking under the radar, playing great basketball and looking like a bona fide threat to challenge the Crimson this year. That team is Princeton, and last week was its ‘hello, world’ moment. It started Wednesday night in Piscataway when the Tigers took on Route 1 rival Rutgers, a team starving for a victory in the wake of three straight losses. After trading leads for much of the contest, Princeton took firm control of things at around the 10-minute mark by doing what it has done so often this season — calmly finding seams in the opposition, penetrating and kicking out for open threes on the perimeter. In all, the Tigers hit 16 of their 34 attempts from behind the arc, and T.J. Bray — the senior point guard who was suspended for the previous game — scored 15 of his 23 points in the final nine minutes to put the game away for Mitch Henderson’s seasoned group. The 78-73 victory was a nice one, moving Princeton to 7-1 and furthering its case as the best team in New Jersey. Yet, it was Saturday’s win at Penn State that turned the heads of many college basketball fans.

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Sizing Up Three Potential New Basketball-Centric Members for the ACC

Posted by Chris Johnson on September 13th, 2012

Chris Johnson is an RTC columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn.

If we’ve learned anything about the recent conference realignment craze, it’s that the two principles governing inter-league swapping – football, television rights deals and the thick crossover between them – have unintended and often detrimental consequences for the parties involved. Case in point: the Big East, unraveled at its foundational core by realignment forces, has seen itself morph from a tightly-knit group of basketball-oriented schools along the northeast corridor with legendary coaches and historic rivalries to a geographically disparate medley of culturally and academically incongruous programs, cobbled together in a last-ditch effort in the hopes of leveraging a lucrative media rights deal this fall. The deterioration has fueled the ACC – much like in the early 2000s, when it poached Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College from the Big East – into becoming one of Division I college athletics’ premier power brokers, along with the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12. More relevant to this space, the ACC, once all the moving pieces settle into their new league, is poised to field arguably the best compilation of hoops talent we’ve ever seen.

The ACC added a 15th basketball member in Notre Dame, but could No. 16 be on the way in the near future? (Photo credit: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

Commissioner John Swofford added another gem Wednesday in Notre Dame, who plans to join the ACC in all sports except football (the Irish will play five games annually against ACC gridiron competition, but maintain their independence). This addition brings the ACC to 15 teams, an unwieldy number that could have nightmarish scheduling implications. Swofford told ESPN.com that the league has no plans to add a 16th member, citing the disruption of football division equality, among other factors. Since the league isn’t divided into divisions for basketball, there is no immediate impetus to add another team, but it stands to reason that the ACC will eventually look to move to an even number of hoops teams, and what better place to address the problem than the beleaguered, battered, on-life-support (ok, maybe it’s not that bad) Big East? What follows is a brief analysis of a few potential candidates for that 16th spot, should it open up in the coming years, with an eye toward each team’s purported value from a hoops perspective.

*Unless Notre Dame decides to relinquish its football independence, it would seem unlikely that the ACC will take on another fully engaged football member so as to preserve its current seven-team divisional configuration. This analysis, therefore, is limited only to basketball-centric schools without major football programs.

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