Checking in on the… MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on January 30th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC Conferences.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ –

Standings as of January 30, 2009

  • Siena        10-0
  • Niagara    6-3
  • Rider        6-3
  • Fairfield    5-5
  • Manhattan    5-5
  • Iona        5-5
  • Loyola        5-5
  • Marist        3-7
  • Canisius    2-8
  • St.Peter’s    2-8

Player of the Week : Ryan Rossiter, Siena. The sophomore forward sparkled in a big win over Niagara with an 18 point,12 rebound, 5 block effort.

Rookie of the Week : Novar Gadson , Rider. The 6-7 swingman averaged a double double, 19 points, 10 rebounds in a2-0 week for the Broncs.

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ATB: Turkey Weekend Wrapup

Posted by rtmsf on December 2nd, 2008

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And we’re back… We hope that our fair readers had a luckier Thanksgiving weekend than we did.  Due to substantial computer issues, we were unable to keep the site updated over the weekend.  But we managed to watch a fair number of the multitude of games this weekend, so rather than recapping what has effectively become stale news, we’ll instead offer our observations.

What We Learned.

Old Spice Classic.

  • Maryland is equally as likely to pull a major upset as to lay a gigantic egg (beating Michigan St. by 18, then losing by 22 to Gonzaga and 27 to Georgetown).
  • Michigan St. isn’t going anywhere without a healthy Delvon Roe/Goran Suton and learn to make its FTs (49-84, .583 for the tourney).
  • A Gonzaga team that actually defends (with a healthy Josh Heytvelt) is a dangerous one.  Oklahoma St., Maryland and Tennessee shot 36.7%/29% against the Zags.
  • Georgetown is going to be dealt with.  With tremendous balance between their inside/outside players, the Hoyas should only get better as the year (and Greg Monroe) progresses.
  • Tennessee is far and away the best team in the SEC, and the Bobby Maze experiment at PG appears to be working (so far).

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Weekend Tourneylicious…

Posted by rtmsf on November 27th, 2008

So the Maui Invitational ends tonight in an early-season blockbuster game – Notre Dame vs. North Carolina – and the CBE Classic and Paradise Jam are already finished, but fear not, hoopheads, there’s plenty more on the way this week..

Continuing tonight in MSG, we have the semifinals of the Preseason NIT.  The finals will be on Friday night.  Although the marquee teams aren’t as illustrious as some of the other names we’ll see over the next few days, the PNIT still holds a certain aura in terms of its prestige and respect among college fans.  We like Purdue to wear down a spirited BC squad in the first game tonight, and Oklahoma to outlast Robert Vaden’s UAB team in the second game (Blake Griffin will have another monster game against UAB’s soft interior), setting up a top 10 showdown on Friday night between teams that you may not get to see much of this year (definitely  must-see tv on Black Friday night). Read the rest of this entry »

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Checking in on the… Big 10

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2008

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Josh & Mike at Big Ten Geeks are the RTC correspondents for the Big Ten Conference.

Looking Back

The team that’s made the most noise in the Big Ten so far this season is Michigan.  The Wolverines defeated UCLA 55-52 on their way to the Coaches vs. Cancer final, where Duke ran away in the second half.  But it’s a long season, and we still can’t really say if Michigan is that good, or if UCLA is just that bad (probably a bit of both).  What is encouraging, however, was the turnover situation for Beilein’s crew.  The Wolverines have been forcing TOs while taking care of the ball on their end of the floor in this early part of the season, and what’s more, that trend continued against Duke, which is a difficult thing to do (last year, Duke was among the nation’s elite with respect to TOs on both sides of the ball).  This was a staple of Beilein-ball when he was at West Virginia, so it’s more evidence that the players are adjusting to his system.

Oh, and Manny Harris has been unstoppable.  He’s been taking about 29% of Michigan’s shots so far this season, and despite that high shot diet, he has maintained a superb efficiency (96 points on 49 shots).  He’s also been rebounding like a SF and dishing assists like Mike Conley.  He can’t, of course, keep this up.  But the Big Ten is on notice – Manny is now MANNY.

Wisconsin has had a rough go of it early in the season.  While they haven’t lost, they struggled more than they should have against Long Beach State, and Iona took them to overtime.  There hasn’t been a glaring root cause, so this is probably not something to get too worked up over, but this is probably not a 30-win team.

Purdue and Michigan State have coasted in their early season schedules, but things will get more interesting soon.

Illinois posted a road win against Vanderbilt, and while the Commodores likely aren’t an NCAA team, the Illini weren’t exactly flush with road wins last season.  One number that has been of great comfort to Illini fans is the 77% free throw shooting so far this season.

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Checking in on the… ACC

Posted by rtmsf on November 24th, 2008

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Zach Smith of Old Gold & Blog and DeaconsIllustrated is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

Power Rankings (Record):

  1. North Carolina (3-0)
  2. Duke (6-0)
  3. Wake Forest (2-0)
  4. Florida State (4-0)
  5. Clemson (5-0)
  6. Miami (2-1)
  7. Maryland (3-0)
  8. Virginia (3-0)
  9. Georgia Tech (2-0)
  10. NC State (2-0)
  11. Boston College (3-1)
  12. Virginia Tech (3-2)

Impressive Wins

Duke – I’m not convinced this year’s Duke team is going to be all that impressive, but it’s difficult to argue with their early performance. Other than a surprisingly close game with Rhode Island (82-79), Duke cruised through the 2K Sports Classic on their way to this early 6-0 record. Forward Kyle Singler is averaging 17 points and 7 boards a game, guards Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith are both averaging 13, and forward Gerald Henderson is averaging 12. The Blue Devils made the decision early on to bring Greg Paulus off the bench, which seemed to be working well so far. However, he suffered a “right forearm contusion” and did not play Sunday against Montana. His status is currently unknown.

North Carolina – The Tar Heels have looked pretty good to start the season, which is no surprise. Tyler Hansbrough returned to action for the first time on Friday against UCSB and contributed 13 points. It looks like he has recovered fully and is unlikely to be bothered by the injury going forward. Despite that good news, North Carolina received some very bad news in an impressive 77-58 rout of Kentucky. Highly touted freshman Tyler Zeller came down awkwardly on his wrist after going up for a layup in the second half. The wrist is broken and Zeller is likely out for the season.

Wake Forest – Despite the fact that the Demon Deacons have only played two games, they’ve looked very good in both. Through those two games Wake has won by an average of 39 points, and scored 120 against UNC Wilmington. Guard Jeff Teague is averaging 22.5 points, forward James Johnson is averaging 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, and freshman Al-Farouq Aminu is averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds. It is clear the Deacs are going to make their presence felt this season.

Early Disappointments

Virginia Tech – After starting the season with three straight wins, the Hokies have dropped back to back games, first on an overtime buzzer-beater against Xavier (62-63) and then against Seton Hall (73-77) in the third place game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off. Both of those losses came against pretty good teams, but the Hokies will need to be able to win those kinds of games to compete in the ACC this season. Forwards Jeff Allen and A.D. Vassalo, as well as guard Malcolm Delaney have looked good early for Virginia Tech, however they are not getting much production from anyone else.

Boston College – Despite a good win against St. John’s, the Eagles looked very poor against St. Louis on Saturday. They managed only 50 points in the 53-50 loss, shooting only 33% from the field. It’s going to take more than that for Boston College to make any noise this season.

Looking Ahead – Thanksgiving Tournaments

Despite the loss to St. Louis, the BC Eagles have a chance to redeem themselves in the Preseason NIT. They face Purdue in the semifinals on Wednesday, and could advance to face Oklahoma in the Championship with a win. A couple of good games could quickly right the ship for Boston College.

North Carolina begins the EA Sports Maui Invitational today against Chaminade, and will have to face some pretty good teams in one of the premier pre-season tournaments. They’re likely to face Alabama in the second round (unless Oregon beats them) and then Texas or Notre Dame in the Championship. It should be a good early barometer for the Tar Heels.

Maryland will also face some solid opponents in the Old Spice Classic at Disney World in Florida. They play Michigan State in their first game, Oklahoma State or Gonzaga in their second, and could potentially play Tennessee or Georgetown in the future. The Terrapins have a chance to make an early statement with a good showing.

Wake Forest gets to face off against some other up-and-coming teams in the 76 Classic, played in Anaheim, CA. They first face Cal State Fullerton before a likely game with St. Mary’s. A good performance in those two games puts them in the championship, likely against Baylor, although other potential opponents include Arizona State, Providence, and Charlotte. Either way these games are sure to provide some much-needed experience for a young Wake Forest team.

Other Matchups This Week

  • Florida State @ Cincinnati – Friday 11/28 – Florida State has already won two games on the road this season, and a matchup with undefeated Big East team Cincinnati is a good early test for the Seminoles.
  • Virginia @ Syracuse – Friday 11/28 – Virginia is not expected to have a good season, but this game against Syracuse could prove otherwise, or indicate that the Cavaliers will indeed be bottom-dwellers this season.
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Preseason Tourney Brackets

Posted by rtmsf on October 10th, 2008

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive listing of the preseason tournaments, rather just the best ones, but if you feel like we omitted something relevant, link to it in the comments.  And against our better judgment, we’re putting those ridiculous CBE and Legends Classic “brackets” into the post as well.  Losers. 

The 2kSports Coaches v. Cancer tips off the season with games beginning on Nov. 10.  Duke, S. Illinois, UCLA and Michigan are expected to make it to the semis at MSG, but don’t sleep on UMass or Northeastern as spoilers.   

The Maui Invitational, on the Mon-Wed of Thanksgiving week, as usual, shouldn’t disappoint.  There are at least five NCAA teams here, and UNC-Notre Dame in the finals could be seen again in late March or early April. 

Another Thanksgiving week classic, the Preseason NIT, with the semis on the Wednesday prior to the holiday and the finals on Friday night, is a little weaker than normal.  But any chance to see Stephen Curry on the big stage at MSG is worth watching, so let’s all root for Davidson to pull off the second-round upset over Oklahoma.  A number of teams could win this tourney, but we guess Purdue is most likely?  Arizona?  Cornell?

The Old Spice Classic is a newer tournament also airing during Thanksgiving weekend, but what a great lineup!  There are literally no bad teams here – all eight could be playing in March Madness 2009, and it would be a huge disappointment if any fewer than six do.  We like Siena to pull the upsets to play Gonzaga in the finals there, with mid-major glory all around. 

The Anaheim Classic is another ESPN property airing during Thanksgiving weekend – the lineup is solid, although not as strong as the Old Spice.  We like the young Deacs to play run-n-gun Baylor in the finals. 

Sigh…  here is the “Championship Round” bracket for the Legends Classic.  Remember, each of these teams has already been slotted into these spots no matter what happens in the previous two rounds of this ‘tournament.’  So… disgustingly… weak.  Pitt should roll here no matter what happens in the other game. 

Along the same lines, the CBE Classic is so lame that they won’t even give us a bracket to put up for you.  The matchups aren’t bad, but we’re still bitter (see Legends Classic).  We like Florida and Kansas to play in the final, with UF taking the title. 

—CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS—


Semifinal Doubleheader
(November 24 – 7:30 ET)
Syracuse vs. Florida- ESPN2
Kansas vs Washington- ESPN2
Championship Doubleheader
(November 25 – 7:45 ET)
Consolation Game- ESPNU
Championship Game- ESPN2

Any others?  We’ll revisit these when they actually start, but we wanted to get them all in one post as part of the preview. 

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05.04.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 4th, 2008

Weekend kibbles n’ bits…

  • Bruce Pearl booted UT guard Ramar Smith and forward Duke Crews off the team, reportedly for failing drug tests.
  • New Hoosier head man Tom Crean refused to allow Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis back onto the team, while kicking DeAndre Thomas off the squad as well. This all occurred one day after the bizarre transfer of Eli Holman, leaving Indiana with only seven scholarship players for 2008-09.
  • Missisippi State’s Ben Hansbrough (little bro of Psycho-T) will transfer to Notre Dame next year, ostensibly because he didn’t like the MSU offense.
  • Speaking of impact transfers, Georgetown’s Vernon Macklin will end up at Florida.
  • Ohio State’s Kosta Koufos is one-and-done – he signed with an agent.
  • Coaching News – Bob Huggins got a raise ($1.5M) and an 11-year extension at WVU – guess he impressed them this year, eh? Their former coach, John Beilein, made the first payment on the $1.5M he owes WVU for breaking his contract last year when he left for Michigan. In a similar vein, former Ohio St. coach Jim O’Brien was paid $2.74M in back pay for being fired by the university even though he admitted to cheating. And Wazzu’s Tony Bennett got an extension through 2015 and a $200K raise, totaling his annual compensation to $1M per year (but no increase in his buyout clause).
  • Next year’s Thanksgiving-week Old Spice Classic will include Tennessee, Michigan St., Gonzaga, Maryland, Georgetown, Oklahoma St., Siena and Wichita St. In other words, loaded.
  • Here are some early entry analyses from Andy Katz and Jeff Goodman.
  • Dana O’Neil writes a compelling article on the uncertainty that programs must endure during the next six weeks of “testing the waters.
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