08.11.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 11th, 2009

With the rate of news coming out these days, this’ll feel a little more like slow breaks…

  • Academic Headstart.  This got almost no play over the weekend, but it should have because it has the smell of something that ends up being more important than anyone previously thought.  The NCAA Basketball Academic Enhancement Group (chaired by Derrick Rose?) recommended a requirement that each school should make an academic assessment of its incoming freshmen each season to determine whether the student-athlete is adequately prepared for college-level schoolwork.  If they are not (presumably using some objective measure other than the Jim Harrick, Jr., test), then they’ll be required to take six hours of classes over the summer (‘bridge’ summer coursework data shows a higher incidence of long-term academic success).  The big carrot is that, while they’re in summer school (and all players can attend if they like), they can work out for up to eight hours/week in athletic activities.  The catch, however, is that they must pass at least three of those hours to gain eligibility for the fall semester.  Should this recommendation come to pass (and it probably will), each school will have to balance a  fine line between the player assessment and player eligibility.  God forbid that the next Michael Beasley gets his high school grades and test scores in order, shows up at his school amidst great fanfare, only to fail college algebra over the summer and have to sit until December because the coach wanted those eight hours per week of court time.  It’s an interesting dilemma and it imposes a certain level of accountability on the schools themselves to take the academic side of things more seriously, which is a good thing.  Props to the NCAA for getting creative here. 
  • Vegas Watch ACC Preview.  We’ll be sure to come back to this when we put up our conference previews later this fall, but we wanted to make sure that you guys alll have a chance to read the first installment in a really innovative series of posts breaking down each of the BCS conferences.  VW ran several regressions on the last three seasons to determine a fairly accurate predictor for future success using Pomeroy ratings, returning minutes and production and incoming recruiting rankings.  Looking at the projected 2010 rankings, it appears that those riding the Terrapin bandwagon have reason to believe, as Maryland is projected third, while those of us who were high on Georgia Tech (even prior to losing K. Holsey) may want to re-think that a little bit before October.  Keep an eye on this series because it’s fascinating stuff. 
  • Deron Washington Hurdles into Eternity.  If, for some reason, you haven’t seen what Virginia Tech has done with its new practice facility yet…  It’s really too bad that Syracuse football doesn’t play Virginia Tech this year, or Paulus would have a fair opportunity to exact some revenge (he’s the third-string QB for the Orange as of this week). 

deron washington over paulus

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Checking in on the… ACC

Posted by rtmsf on November 24th, 2008

check_in41

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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11.14.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on November 14th, 2008

Well, if we can get our ESPN Full Court package to work tonight, we might actually get to watch some games…  don’t hold your breath on Comcast actually coming through at the casa de RTC, though… 

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10.21.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 20th, 2008

Let’s see if we can get through some of the news piling up…

  • CHN averages the rankings from the three preview magazines that are already out (Athlon, Lindy’s and TSN/S&S).  UNC still #1.  CHN gives us the mid-majors to keep an eye on this season as possible NCAA Cinderellas.  And here’s your EA Sports NCAA Basketball 09 Top 25 (now partnered with Blue Ribbon).  We know you were waiting for it.
  • Hahahahaha, so it appears the ACC is cooking the books Wachovia-style in an attempt to act like it has more televised games this year than it actually has. 
  • North Dakota Fighting Maize?  According to the North Dakota state legislature, the Fighting Sioux are out
  • Syracuse had best hope that Jonny Flynn doesn’t get hurt this season, as the Orange’s backup PG Scoop Jardine is redshirting.
  • Nevada starting guard Brandon Fields and two freshmen were charged with petty larceny last week, and suspended indefinitely.  Brilliance.  Oh, and Fields was all-academic WAC, proving that good grades doesn’t necessarily mean you have a brain. 
  • Seth Davis asks twenty questions as we get started with the 2008-09 season.  Gary Parrish has 24 things that he can’t wait to see this season, and his Top 26 teams.  Mike DeCourcy offers five things he hopes to see this year.
  • Katz hints on our issue with UConn as a F4 threat (zero postseason wins since 2006) in this story about Stanley Robinson.   He also provides us with a nice update of open questions as we head into the first week of practices. 
  • Yep, this is going to get old real, real fast.  Tyler Hansbrough, the symbol of all things good and merciful.   
  • Dan Hanner over at YABB throws us some love (thanks, Dan!), and does a breakdown of the preseason tournaments by school participation – cool concept. 
  • Truly, the most Epic Post of all-time.  Maybe the author wants to be an RTC correspondent???  Our fave blurbs were Florida and Colgate, fyi.
  • Being Cinderella (Davidson) can pay dividends.
  • This is pretty awesome over at STF – Drake U’u and Da’Veen Dildy are our favorites.  Honorable mention to An’Juan Wildnerness (isn’t that in Alaska?).
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10.15.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 14th, 2008

 There’s a lot of news out there today…  which only means one thing…

  • Goodman continues on his crusade to expose the underbelly of the game with today’s lead – the father of UK’s new hotshot recruit, Daniel Orton, was paid three times over the summer to give talks at Billy Gillispie’s camp.  This is completely legal, by the way.  Discuss. 
  • Too many preseason/holiday tourneys?  ESPN announced today that the Diamond Head Classic will begin in 2009 at the University of Hawaii.  It will finish up on Christmas Day, which will provide a nice collegiate alternative to the annual Shaq-Kobe matchup in the NBA.
  • Please read this, “conference fans.”  It’s even truer in basketball.
  • Is it sad or compelling that this endorsement could tip North Carolina to Obama in three weeks? 
  • Ok, great.  Players are graduating more than they used to.  But is that because they’re committed to the degree program or schools are making it easier to get that degree?
  • A quick Class of 2009 recruiting update from NW Wins, as well as a nice overview of the likelihood of Carolina running the table in the regular season this year.
  • WAC coaches pick Nevada to win their conference, while Big South coaches/media picked Winthrop to win it again. 
  • NBCSports picks AJ Price, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Tyler Hansbrough and Luke Harongody as its all-americans.  We’re just not feeling Price, sorry UConn fans.
  • Parrish thinks that this year’s Florida squad will be quite a bit better than last year’s, and we can’t say that we really disagree with that.
  • Andy Katz assures us that KU’s 2008 national title is safe in light of the re-opening case of Darrell Arthur’s HS transcripts.  You know, because we were worried, or something.
  • He also gives his preseason view of 37 teams that he thinks can make a run next March.
  • Hey, we’ve always been Stacy Dales fans, BC!  Even when she was married to someone named Schulman.  Looks like we may not be able to root out Psycho T for her attention, though. 

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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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Quite Possibly the Most Ridiculous Thing We’ve Ever Seen

Posted by rtmsf on October 2nd, 2008

Today we were doing some background work on some of the preseason tournaments – you know, the Maui, the PNIT, the Coaches v. Cancer, the CBE (formerly Guardians) Classic, etc. – and we came across some information that absolutely floored us.  Seriously – like a-George-Mason-administrator-who-also-happens-to-be-a-college-football-referee-selling-his-F4-rings-on-Ebay (h/t GMB) floored us.

Photo Credit: LA Times

When we started researching the CBE Classic and the Legends Classic, both tournaments put on by The Gazelle Group organization, we discovered very quickly that we couldn’t find a complete bracket for these tournaments.  Instead, all we located was a weird one-page listing of matchups on the CBE site, and a similar listing in addition to a four-team “Championship Bracket” on the Legends site.  As we floundered wondering what the hell was going on with these tournaments, we noticed an interesting little phrase tucked into the middle of the page of the CBE site (emphasis added). 

This year, the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic will be played under a new format…

- Regional hosts automatically advance to the Championship Rounds in Kansas City regardless of the regional results.

- All other participants will advance to play a round-robin series at one of two other sites. Thus, every participating team will be guaranteed four games.

Ummmmm…. whaaaaaaattt??? 

Is this some kind of a joke?  Does The Gazelle Group think that we, the college hoops public, are complete effing morons?  How can they get away with this???  One of the ironclad bastions of basketball at every level from peewee league up to the pros is the idea of tournament play – you win, you advance.  You lose, you go home.  And here we have the first instance we’ve ever seen where that rule of basketball law is being fixed supplanted so that the money teams get to keep playing irrespective of their on-court performance.

Oh, but RTC, Kansas, Florida, Washington and Syracuse are going to win those CBE Classic games against a couple of nobodies anyway.  Same for Wazzu, Mississippi St, Pitt and Texas Tech in the Legends Classic.  No harm, no foul, right? 

Where’s My Shotgun?

Well, here’s a reminder for those of you with that clouded mentality – Gardner-Webb.   Does that name ring a bell from last year’s CvC Classic?  In the subregional round, the little school from outside of Charlotte shocked the basketball world by defeating mighty Kentucky in its worst home loss in almost two decades.  In the middle of football season, that loss earned far more attention in the national media (PTI, Sportscenter, etc.) than whoever won that tournament actually got.  But the problem, apparently, was that the Kentucky loss resulted in G-W and its dozens of fans going to NYC to play in Madison Square Garden rather than the Big Blue and its legions of fans (and dollars).  So this year the Gazelle Group has managed to rig the system in two of its sponsored tournaments so that the marquee names have a 100% chance (as opposed to the 99% chance they previously had) of getting to the semifinal round. 

Sorry Fairleigh Dickinson, Eastern Kentucky, North Alabama and Akron (among others), The Gazelle Group doesn’t have room for you on its dance card this year.  But hey!  At least you’re guaranteed four games, right?  That’s just as good as playing in a big-time arena on ESPN, right?

Memo to TGG for next season – why don’t we just take a vote of 12 random teams and declare it the champion of the tournament?  That way we can simply do away with the tedium of getting teams to the various locations, televising the games, and actually worrying about who will advance to the next round!  You can run ads on ESPN for a month given all the money you’ll save!  As for your judges, we hear that there’s a former French Olympic judge available to serve on your panel, and Katherine Harris is always around for this sort of thing…

What a stinking, heaping, vomit-inducing pile of abomination. 

Please tell The Gazelle Group how much they suck at: gazelle@gazellegroup.com.

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