Morning Five: 05.22.14 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 22nd, 2014

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  1. As we head into Memorial Day weekend, the long summer of college basketball purgatory awaits — June, July and August are fun months for many other reasons, but getting your college hoops fix isn’t one of them. Message boards and social media will remain active, of course, and we’ll do our part here from time to time as well, but at the end of the day, we’re all daydreaming about how next season will play out. The Sporting News waited a little longer than most outlets to release its post-early entry Top 25 for the preseason, but the timing works because it gives us something to chatter about. Perhaps the most surprising selection here is that TSN went against the grain in choosing a team not named Kentucky as its overall #1 team, but there are a few other surprises scattered about the list (particularly at #5). If you need a comparison Top 25, here’s RTC’s version from about a month ago.
  2. One of the teams looking to reload after losing Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins to next month’s NBA Draft will be Kansas. With another elite recruiting class headed to Lawrence, however, headlined by star forwards Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre, the Jayhawks populate most pundits’ preseason top 10s. Bill Self’s squad might find itself rising in everyone’s mind by October, as Kansas on Wednesday added another impressive piece to the class in Ukrainian guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk – good luck pronouncing that one — a tall but talented shooting guard who has been favorably compared with former Michigan star Nik Stauskas. With a ton of frontcourt talent on board as well as Wayne Selden and now Mykhailiuk joining the program, Self only needs to figure out his point guard situation in order to roll out another big-time National Championship contender.
  3. Speaking of one-and-dones, seemingly everyone who has a stake in the game is sick of them. Whether you’re in favor of going back to the preps-to-pros of the multi-year NFL model, people seem to agree that something needs to change. For the good of the game and all that. The Pac-12 on Wednesday took its own shot across the bow of the NBA’s dominion by releasing a letter addressed to ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC schools suggesting as one of its key reforms the following admonition: “Address the “one and done” phenomenon in men’s basketball. If the National Basketball Association and its Players Association are unable to agree on raising the age limit for players, consider restoring the freshman ineligibility rule in men’s basketball.” Of course, the NBA, under the new leadership of Adam Silver, appears to have prioritized a two-and-through model for its next round of player negotiations, but there’s certainly no guarantee that such a change in rookie eligibility will occur. But freshman ineligibility as a measure of pushback? It would only serve to further marginalize college basketball as a major American sport. 
  4. Remember Julie Roe Lach, the NCAA’s former VP of Enforcement who was run out of the organization on a rail after the disastrous investigation of Miami (FL) athletics and the influence of Nevin Shapiro? After a 14-month hiatus doing consulting work, she’s back in college athletics, now as the new Deputy Commissioner of the Horizon League. Her new responsibilities will include oversight of the league’s 19 championships, student-athlete development, finances, corporate sponsorship and branding, all interesting and important aspects of an organization that has little to do with her previous role involving enforcement. Still, her breadth of experience and without question also her ties to the inner workings of the NCAA right down the street from HL offices are attractive qualities, and everyone deserves a second chance to prove their value and integrity. We wish her and the conference well on their new endeavor.
  5. Some transfer news from the midweek: Creighton picked up Cal transfer Ricky Kreklow; Michigan State’s Russell Byrd plans to play at NAIA school Master’s College; and the nation’s top returning scorer, Niagara’s Antoine Mason, is on the move for his final season of eligibility. All three will be eligible to play next season (Kreklow and Mason are set to use the graduate transfer exception next season, while there is no transfer penalty for Byrd to drop to the NAIA), but it is the free agency of Mason that might be the most interesting of this group. The 6’3″ guard and son of former New York Knick Anthony Mason will no doubt be a hot commodity in coming weeks for schools seeking to add some immediate scoring punch to their backcourts. The caveat with Mason, of course, is that he’s a high-volume, low-efficiency guy who took as many shots as he liked for a 7-26 MAAC team last season. If a high-major coach can get through to him to cut way back on his three-point attempts (28.6% on 168 attempts last season) and focus on driving the lane to draw fouls and get to the line (where he shoots a much nicer 72.8%), then Mason could become a key contributor on a contender next season.
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Running Down Our Big Ten Preview Posts

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on November 8th, 2013

Folks, the season is finally here! With three ranked teams in the top-10 of the national polls, the Big Ten is ready to once again make its case as the deepest conference in college basketball. Over the next five months, our team of Big Ten writers – Jonathan Batuello, Brendan Brody, Deepak Jayanti, Max Jakubowski and Alex Moscoso — will provide our insights about the conference we love. To prepare you for the season, we’ve outlined all the posts we’ve written about each of the 12 teams in the league, listed below (sorry, Minnesota, we owe you one).

Which Big Ten Team Will Be Playing Into April Like Michigan Was Last Year?

Which Big Ten Team Will Be Playing Into April Like Michigan Was Last Year?

Overall League Coverage

Michigan State

Read the rest of this entry »

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The RTC Podcast: 2013-14 Opening Weekend Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 7th, 2013

seasonpreview (1)

That little countdown clock in the uppper left of this site says it’s about 24 hours from the return of the college hoops. We’ve got you covered. Throughout this preseason, the RTC Podcast has been putting in some serious recording work. Led by hosting and producing stalwart Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114), we have now dropped a total of two preseason podcasts (Part I, recorded in mid-October and featuring guest Mike DeCourcy, can be found here) and seven conference-specific podblasts (listed below).

Today’s Part II of the national preseason podcast is a festive one. Anything is possible! Perhaps an All-America team that will look nothing like the postseason version. Perhaps a trip to the Final Four from a school that was last seen running Steve Alford out of town (no, not that one, keep thinking). Maybe even a new bandwagon to replace the Maize and Blue (alright, not really to replace… more like supplement). There might even be a t-shirt contest in this week’s edition. The point is that we’re all in a great mood with real, live games starting very soon, and we hope you’ll join us for a listen.

Keep in mind that from now until the second week in April, the podcast will publish once early in the week with a review of all the big weekend action, and the RTC Podblast, a much shorter 15-20 minute quick hits version, will publish late in the week reflecting on all that week’s action. As usual, the rundown is below if you’d like to skip around to the most interesting parts. Make sure to add the RTC Podcast to your iTunes lineup so that you’ll automatically upload it on your listening device after we record. And feel free to contact us through Twitter or email — we’re listening.

  • 0:00-1:45 – Open
  • 1:45-3:40 – ACC Preview Takeaway
  • 3:40-5:00 – AAC Preview Takeaway
  • 5:00-6:25 – Big East Preview Takeaway
  • 6:25-7:28 – Big 12 Preview Takeaway
  • 7:28-8:21 – Big Ten Preview Takeaway
  • 8:21-9:15 – Pac-12 Preview Takeaway
  • 9:15-10:40 – SEC Preview Takeaway
  • 10:40-16:47 – Randy Officially Picks a New Bandwagon
  • 16:47-27:18 – Rush the Take with Chris Johnson
  • 27:18-33:14 – All-America Discussion
  • 33:14-45:16 – You, Me and the AP: Top 25 Talk
  • 45:16-50:43 – Opening Weekend Preview
  • 50:43-57:11 – Final Four Picks/Wrap
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The RTC Podcast: 2013-14 Preseason Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 17th, 2013

seasonpreview (1)Welcome back to the third season of the RTC Podcast. From now until the second week in April, from Midnight Madness to March Madness, from the upstart American Athletic Conference to the venerable Atlantic Coast Conference, podcast host Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) will guide the RTC editors, microsite correspondents and even some special guests through more college basketball discussion than anyone could possibly listen to in a single sitting. We hope you’ll try, though.

This preseason edition of the podcast is meant to get things started, to tease the season out from a view still several weeks away from opening night. Over the course of the next three weeks, we will drop a preseason RTC Podblast for each of the seven major basketball conferences before turning back to the national picture in early November with a second preseason edition. After that, we’ll be back to the normal weekly schedule of a full podcast in the first half of the week with a shorter podblast reviewing that week’s action at the end.

Sporting News/Big Ten Network's Mike DeCourcy Joined Us This Week

Sporting News/Big Ten Network’s Mike DeCourcy Joined Us This Week

Now, about those guests… This week we’re thrilled to introduce a new segment to the podcast called Rush the Takes. In each of these weekly segments, we’ll invite a prominent college basketball analyst or personality to join the discussion for a bite-sized morsel of a chat about what’s happening in the game. This week we’re happy to announced that venerable Sporting News columnist and Big Ten Network analyst Mike DeCourcy (@tsnmike) took some time out of his busy schedule to join us. You’ll definitely want to hear his specific observations on the freshmen class at Kansas, beyond Andrew Wiggins — it’s well worth your time.

As usual, the rundown is below if you’d like to skip around to the most interesting parts. Make sure to add the RTC Podcast to your iTunes lineup so that you’ll automatically upload it on your listening device after we record. Feel free to contact us through Twitter or email — we’re listening.

 

  • 0:00-2:06 – Introduction
  • 2:06-5:54 – Offseason Recap
  • 5:54-13:30 – Let’s Talk 2014 Title Contenders
  • 13:30-19:27 – This Year’s Diaper Dandies
  • 19:27-22:46 – Is the ACC Getting Overhyped?
  • 22:36-33:32 – Rush the Takes – Interview with Mike DeCourcy
  • 33:32-45:27 – “Listener” Emails and Podcast Wrap
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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week One

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 14th, 2011

Here’s a look at the power rankings that Drew and I have compiled after the first week of games. Here we go!

1. California, 2-0: The preseason favorite Golden Bears rolled in their first two games of the season. On Friday night they faced an overmatched and undertalented UC Irvine team where Allen Crabbe led California with 24 points. Last night they faced George Washington in the regional round of the CBE Classic, thrashing the Colonials for an 81-54 victory. Up Next: 11.15 vs Austin Peay

Crabbe led all Golden bears with 24 points in Friday's win (credit: Jeff Gross)

2. Arizona, 3-0: After a loss and a closer-than-comfort win in its two exhibitions, all eyes were on Tucson this week to see how the Cats would perform in their first three games. They didn’t overwhelm any of their mid-major opponents by any means, but eight-, nine-, and ten-point victories over some reasonably solid competition earns them the second slot in our power poll. Up Next: 11.17 vs St. John’s in New York City

3. Washington, 2-0: The Huskies have won the first two games of the World Vision Classic and will go for the sweep tonight. Shooting guard C.J. Wilcox has led the team in both of its victories, going for 22 points against Georgia State and 19 points against Florida Atlantic. Combo guard Tony Wroten, Jr., as expected, has led the plethora of newcomers with 12.5 PPG. Up Next: 11.14 vs Portland

4. USC, 1-0: Despite only defeating a bad Cal State Northridge by seven points on Friday night, the Trojans come in at fourth in our power rankings. Three players, Aaron Fuller, Dewayne Dedmon, and Maurice Jones all led SC with 16 points a piece. Dedmon had the most impressive performance though, adding eight blocks and three rebounds to his stat line. Up Next: 11.14 vs Nebraska

5. Stanford, 1-0: The Cardinal gave Central Arkansas a rude awakening in their first game as a fully eligible Division I team, drilling the Bears 91-52. Aaron Bright led five Cardinal players in double figures with 16 points and four assists. Up Next: 11.14 vs Fresno State

T6. UCLA, 0-1: UCLA had a terrible loss to open up the season, a 69-58 defeat at the hands of Loyola Marymount at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The Bruins looked inept on offense but the defense was even worse, letting LMU shoot 66.7% (10-15) from behind the arc. If the Bruins want to live up to the expectations that have been set for them, they need to improve that perimeter defense. Up Next: 11.15 vs Middle Tennessee Read the rest of this entry »

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Recapping the Pac-12 Preview

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 14th, 2011

Before we get too deep into the first few weeks of the season, let’s take a quick look back at our preseason coverage here on the Pac-12 microsite.

All-Conference Teams

  • All-Newcomers – Washington freshman Tony Wroten, Jr., and USC junior Aaron Fuller highlight the list Drew and I compiled. Highly touted guards Josiah Turner (Arizona) and Jabari Brown (Oregon) round out the cream of the crop in this feature.
  • All Pac-12 – Four out of the five players (Gutierrez, Cunningham, Kamp, and Crabbe) on our All Pac-12 team were the easy, traditional picks, but Arizona State forward/guard Trent Lockett got the surprise final place instead of UCLA’s Nelson.

Team Previews

  • Washington – The Huskies come into the season with one of the best four-guard rotations in the nation. Tony Wroten, Jr., and Terrence Ross lead the group with Abdul Gaddy and C.J. Wilcox close behind. Aziz N’Diaye and Darnell Gant balance the offense out in the post.
  • Washington StateThe Cougars have been picked to finish in the bottom half of the conference by almost all preseason publications because of the loss of guard Klay Thompson. However, Washington State still returns combo-guard Marcus Capers and point guard Reggie Moore, two of the best defenders in the league last season. With the additions of Mike Ladd and DaVonte Lacy at shooting guard, something tells us that they won’t miss Thompson as much as everyone is predicting.
  • OregonWhile Oregon returns key players like E.J. Singler and Tyrone Nared, it will be all about the newcomers in Eugene. Highly touted freshman Jabari Brown will make an immediate impact at guard, while Louisiana Tech transfer Olu Ashaolu should score major minutes with the departure of Joevan Catron.
  • Oregon StateFor the first time in his tenure in Corvallis, coach Craig Robinson says that he finally has the talent needed to compete in every game the Beavers play in. Combo-guard Jared Cunningham and small forward Devon Collier provide the most hope for Robinson, but he will need to do a better job of coaching in non-conference games if the Beavers want to improve their win-loss totals.
  • CaliforniaThe Golden Bears will be led by seniors Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp, two of the most respected players in the Pac-12. With the addition of Minnesota transfer Justin Cobbs at the point, opposing defenses will have a tough time covering all of the options.
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ACC Preseason All-Conference Teams

Posted by mpatton on November 8th, 2011

Now that our individual team previews are done, it’s time to look at individual players. With only five all-ACC selections from last season returning there are plenty of open spots to fill, so here are our Preseason all-ACC Teams for the 2011-12 season.

2011-12 Preseason All-ACC Teams

Looking at our projections, North Carolina, Miami and Duke lead the way with eight, six and five selections, respectively. No surprise with Harrison Barnes checking in as the consensus ACC Player of the Year, or Austin Rivers as the ACC Rookie of the Year (though Kellen wants to keep an eye on Maryland’s Nick Faust for the ROY award).

My personal honorable mentions are Virginia Tech’s Erick Green, Maryland’s Sean Mosley and NC State’s Richard Howell. I’m especially surprised Mosley didn’t show up on any of the teams, but his middling campaign last season probably did him in. Green appears to be in the right place to take over for departing Hokies Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen, but he’s got a ways to go based on the Virginia Tech games I went to last season. Finally, Howell had a sneaky good season last year for the Wolfpack and could be a great frontcourt presence alongside CJ Leslie.

My biggest reach was putting Terrell Stoglin on the first team. He was a decent player last year (who averaged over 20 points per game pro-rated at 40 minutes), but he’ll really need to make some waves if he wants to crack the first team this season. Malcolm Grant and Kendall Marshall are the safer choices for that final guard spot. My reasoning is that Marshall will be hidden statistically behind Zeller and Barnes. In general, Roy Williams point guards are under-appreciated because they don’t put up sick numbers, but with Marshall the case is a little different. He’s a very polished player, but I see him as the perfect complimentary player. North Carolina wouldn’t be nearly as good as a team without him, but by himself he’s not spectacular. Thus, I voted him onto the second team in favor of Maryland’s ascendent sophomore.

On the second team Kellen and I differed on power forwards: he chose Mason Plumlee; I chose Travis McKie. Again for me the key was relative importance. Mason Plumlee may be more talented than McKie, but I’ll be shocked if he’s as important for Duke as McKie is for Wake Forest (and really I’m not sold that McKie isn’t more talented). Duke’s bigs are certainly going to be critical this year, but I think the mere fact that there are three of them (Mason, Miles and Ryan Kelly) will dilute each one’s share of the limelight. I did include Miles on my third team because reports from Durham laud him as Duke’s backbone.

However, both of our teams (mine especially) did a lot of projecting for this season. The only locks feel like Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and Mike Scott (and it’s conceivable Zeller falls to the second team depending on his role). Player and coach turnover left the ACC relatively unknown this season, but Friday players start earning their spots.

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