Morning Five: 11.02.10 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on November 2nd, 2010

  1. The NCAA ruled on Monday that there would be no penalty forthcoming as a result of Kutchergate at the University of Iowa. We use that portmanteau in jest, of course, since there was never really any chance of the NCAA seeing anything sinister about what they agreed was an “unintentional and incidental” encounter. Still, we think that if Iowa’s going to have celebrities from their state visible at Hawkeye athletic events, they might want to take steps to keep it on the level of, say, Tom Arnold, or even Cloris Leachman. That way, there’s less chance that visiting high schoolers will end up talking about it in the papers or show up in a tweeted photo.
  2. Tom Izzo has suspended Korie Lucious for Michigan State’s exhibition against Saginaw Valley State tonight and the November 12 season-opener versus Eastern Michigan as a disciplinary action for Lucious’ DUI arrest back in August. Lucious eventually pleaded guilty in September to misdemeanor reckless driving. It’s obvious that he’d rather be playing, but at least he’ll have that much longer to rest that surgically repaired left knee.
  3. We were at Rupp Arena last night for Kentucky’s exhibition game against in-state NAIA opponent Pikeville College, and even though it was an exhibition it still got our juices flowing to commense our travels this season. Less excited about the whole affair was UK head coach John Calipari, who, despite a 97-66 victory and a 22-point performance from new floor general Brandon Knight, lamented his team’s lack of toughness and energy, noting in the post-game presser that right now his players “don’t get it yet; we need to get more physical…the guys are going to have to accept it.” While praising Pikeville’s effort and confirming that the NAIA squad “outworked” his team, Calipari (who coached this one sans necktie, oddly) drove home his frustration with his players seeming lack of interest by adding, “this isn’t about cool, this isn’t about style points,” and insinuated that Tuesday’s practice might divide the men from the boys.
  4. As of yesterday, a pair of schools “be gettin’ over in the Big Sky Coun-try…” OK, if you can’t tell by the lyric, the Big Sky Conference just got bigger. It announced yesterday that it will add Southern Utah and North Dakota to its roster starting with the 2012-13 season. While the decision was motivated largely by something called “football,” it shouldn’t be ignored that the revenue sharing bonus nets each athletic team at the schools an extra $135,000. And you thought conference realignment was all through.
  5. Is it possible that West Virginia’s Kevin Jones rebounded 12% of all shots missed by the Mountaineers last season? And that WVU rebounded 41.8% of their misses as a team?!? Both of those are staggering figures, and just part of the reason you should check out this article from’s Luke Winn as he crystal balls the Big East. Six days until the first games, people…
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RTC Live: South Carolina @ Kentucky

Posted by jstevrtc on February 25th, 2010

Is this a revenge game for Kentucky?  You recall that it was South Carolina that beat Kentucky on ESPN near the end of January, giving UK their only blemish on the season and removing them from the #1 ranking to which they had ascended merely days beforehand.  The UK players and coaches downplay the revenge factor a bit, but you can’t help but think that the Wildcats would LOVE to get the Gamecocks back…especially after the USC Student Senate sent a rather boastful message to Kentucky after that game. USC is here to prove that first one wasn’t a fluke, and Devan Downey relishes these spoiler roles.  He has his critics (is USC really 6-0 when he takes less than 14 shots?), but he’s certainly exciting, and God only knows what the Rupp Arena crowd has in store for him tonight.  Should be fun.  ESPN2’s got this one at 9pm, and we’ll be there as well.  Join us, and join the discussion this evening.

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RTC Live: Alabama @ Kentucky

Posted by jstevrtc on February 9th, 2010

Tonight we return to one of the hallowed buildings of our sport.  Rupp Arena sits at the edge of what is right now a snowy downtown Lexington, but we bet it’ll be warm inside, because the importance of this one is surely not lost on either squad.  Alabama is fourth in the SEC West but only a game and a half behind Arkansas (yes, Arkansas), and Kentucky is only a game ahead of Vanderbilt and Tennessee in the stacked SEC East.  These guys know that every win is vital, especially heading down the stretch.  We’ll be having a little bit of extra fun with this, too; DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most efficient players in the nation, largely because he’s fantastic at taking contact (of which he takes a LOT) and getting to the line for a traditional three-point play.  We’ll be counting those for DeMarcus tonight.  Interestingly, Alabama hasn’t trailed at halftime in any of their SEC games this year, so we’ll see what Kentucky thinks of that.  This one starts at 9 PM ET on ESPN-U, and we hope you’ll tune us in and tell us what you think.  See you then!

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RTC Live: Georgia @ Kentucky

Posted by jstevrtc on January 8th, 2010

College basketball has now entered its second act for this season, the days of conference play.  It’s all about the family from now through March.  In the three-act paradigm, the second act is where you find conflict and confrontation as things move toward the third act’s resolution.  Like characters in a play, it’s in this middle section where teams find what they’re made of.  It’s conference play that will determine how we (and the NCAA Selection Committee) as observers will judge them.  On Saturday afternoon, Georgia (8-5) comes knocking at Rupp Arena to face Kentucky (15-0) in the first conference tilt for both sides.  We all know about the Wildcats and what they bring to the table.  To keep this one interesting, Georgia’s going to have to do a couple of things.  First (and rather intuitively), they’ve got to step up the defense.  The Bulldogs rank 126th in the nation in FG% defense (42%) while Kentucky is shooting a blistering 50.2% (6th nationally).  Second, Georgia has to forget that they’re 8-5 (which isn’t bad, really) and that the Wildcats are 15-0, and concentrate on the fact that they’re both 0-0…in conference.  They must realize that the first game of the SEC season represents a new beginning, and come in with the mindset that they can play with anyone in the country.  It starts at 4pm ET, and we’ll start things off here about 15 minutes before tipoff.  We hope you’ll join us! Read the rest of this entry »

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The Race For 2,000 Wins

Posted by jstevrtc on November 12th, 2009

As I write this, the North Carolina men’s basketball team just finished off their second win of the 2009-10 season against North Carolina Central.  The University of Kentucky squad will play their first game this Friday, November 13th against Morehead State.  That means that as of right now, the UNC program has amassed 1,986 wins in its incredible history.  UK will start this season with 1,988.  From this, it looks like in the Race For 2,000, we have a real barnburner on our hands.

Well, if you’re a Tar Heel supporter and you’re reading this, I have some bad news.  We don’t.  To Wildcat fans:  you can fire up the sewing machines and start creating that banner.  Call the silkscreeners and start cranking out T-shirts.  I’m calling it.

The wins have occurred over time in such a way that both programs will get to the 2,000-win mark early in this season’s schedule, and we know the early part of any season is a time of the year when many teams load their schedule with a fair number of cupcakes and a few big non-conference names thrown in there for RPI/strength-of-schedule boosting.  UNC and UK have both done this for this season, and this is nothing new for anyone.  This season started with UK leading the race with 1,988 wins to UNC’s 1,984.  UNC’s early start this week pulls them to within two wins.  So let’s see how the rest of their schedules look up until December 5th, when Kentucky and North Carolina meet  up for a monumental clash at Rupp Arena:

North Carolina:  Valparaiso, Ohio State (in NYC), California OR Syracuse (in NYC), Gardner-Webb, Nevada, Michigan State.

Kentucky:  Morehead State, Miami (OH), Sam Houston State, Rider, Cleveland State, Stanford OR Virginia, UNC-Asheville.

For the sake of argument, let’s say both teams start the season perfectly up to this point.  That’s no guarantee; UNC-Ohio State, UNC-California/Syracuse, or even UNC-Nevada could be interesting.  Kentucky has it a little easier up to here, so we’re actually helping the Tar Heels by assuming a perfect start to the season.  But let’s say it happens — this would put the race at UK with 1,995 and UNC with 1,992 going into the head-to-head matchup.

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Morning Five: 11.10.09 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on November 10th, 2009


  1. Opening night went pretty much as predicted in terms of winners and losers, but we did see a couple of notable events.  Ohio State (16) rolled over Alcorn State 100-60 behind Evan Turner’s triple-double of 14/17/10; OSU’s only other trip-dub was in 1986 when Dennis Hopson drilled Ohio University with 27/11/10.  Elsewhere, Syracuse exorcised the Le Moyne demons and put Jim Boeheim into the 800-win club by beating Albany 75-43; California was up by as many as 18, then got a little more than they wanted from a very game Murray State squad, but the 13th-ranked Bears still prevailed 75-70; and defending champs North Carolina (6) started the celebration of their 100th year of college basketball by donning throwback uniforms (with red highlights!  *gasp!*) of the undefeated 1957 title team (a message being sent, there?) and spoiling Isiah Thomas’ coaching debut with Florida International by beating them 88-72.  If you need more information, we’ve got detailed writeups of each game in our After the Buzzer post from last night.
  2. You’ve heard enough from us — Luke Winn is all over last night with his Opening Night Impressions.  His points, as usual, are all right on the money, especially his concerns about Cal’s lackluster play and the “teams of November.”
  3. In the Syracuse win, guard Andy Rautins rolled his left ankle on an opponent’s foot and told the media afterwards, “It hurts.  I rolled it pretty good.”  He claimed that he would “take it day to day, see how it feels.”
  4. Seton Hall guard Keon Lawrence was arrested and charged with DWI and driving with a suspended license after crashing his car into another motorist while driving the wrong way just before 3 A.M. on Monday.  He and his passenger were taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries; although the exact value has not yet been released, his blood-alcohol level by blood testing was said to have been over the 0.08 legal limit.  Despite media reports of the DWI charge and the fact that he has been suspended from the SHU team, Lawrence is denying that either of those is true.
  5. With their win over FIU on Monday night, North Carolina (1,985) is within three games of all-time wins leader Kentucky (1,988).  Kentucky will get a chance to stretch the lead back out to four wins this Friday when they open their season against Morehead State in Lexington.  If both teams stay out of the loss column until then, they would be at 1,995 to 1,992 when they meet each other at Rupp Arena on December 5th.
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ATB: Worst UK Loss in 18 Years

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2007

ATB v.4

Upset of the Year? We had a lot to say already on the UK upset at the hands of Rick Scruggs’ Gardner-Webb squad, but we didn’t really discuss the numbers behind an upset of this magnitude. Obviously, not much went well for the Cats – they shot a tepid 36% while allowing 53% (god only knows the last time an opponent shot that well at Rupp Arena) and they were outrebounded by eight. The dearth of any noticeable inside game aside from Patrick Patterson (12/12) is obvious – one night after Mark Coury pulled a double-double, he followed it up with 2/4. The two “stars” of this team, Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford, combined for 6-21 shooting and it appears at first blush that UK will only go as far as the offense of these two (+ PP) will take them. Which means… probably not very far. The one other bright spot for the Cats was freshman Alex Legion, who came off the bench for 13 pts. Gardner-Webb has a lot to be proud of, and they can ride a win like this to far greater heights than expected in the Atlantic Sun. With four starters in double figures, great shot selection and patience with the ball, they very well may be a team to watch this season in that league.

Connecticut 69, Morgan St. 65. Before the Gardner-Webb upset, we were all set to discuss how overrated UConn was again this year, and how excited we were to see read about the big intra-sectional matchup tomorrow night between the Huskies and Holy Cross. Oh wait, Jim Calhoun don’t play like that. No offense to Todd Bozeman’s Morgan St. squad, but we’ll just have to settle for UConn being overrated. What’s not to like? Well, for starters, the Huskies are having trouble shooting the ball again, going a mere 3-15 from behind the arc. And while the nation’s #1 defensive fg% team last year held MSU to 35% shooting, they might want to concentrate a little more on stopping the long shots (11-22 from downtown). Jeff Adrien (12/10/7 blks) and Jerome Dyson (20/2) carried the Huskies, but 7’3 Hasheem Thabeet (3/6/2 blks) continues to underwhelm us. It seems as if UConn has a long way to go if they want to get back to the NCAA Tournament this year.


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Other Games: Buffalo 89, Ohio Valley 82. What is Ohio Valley and why is it playing in this tournament?

On Tap Tonight (all times EST). The Storrs Regional continues and the Norman Regional gets started.

  • Denver (NL) v. East Central Oklahoma 5:30pm – gotta love multi-directional D2 teams.
  • Oklahoma (-16) v. San Francisco (ESPNU) 8pm – interested to see how Blake Griffin starts his career at OU.
  • Connecticut (-17) v. Buffalo (ESPNU) 9pm this is the only time all season Buffalo will have a winning record – enjoy it, Bulls.
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10.28.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 28th, 2007

We’re counting down – just over one week until the first tipoffs…

  • Didn’t Coach K wait a couple of years after winning B2B titles before using the back excuse? Whatsup Billy D, we realize your team is young, but come on!
  • Georgia’s Dennis Felton is officially screwed – he just kicked leading scorer Takais Brown off the team. AOL Fanhouse wonders why UGa players are being charged $10 cashmoney for missing classes – we wonder the same thing.
  • One week later, Mizzou’s Darryl Butterfield is at it again.
  • Bill Self is in tight with half of the top 15 in the class of 09… will they beat Bucknell in 2011?
  • More brilliance from BBall Prospectus – how similar is one player to another?
  • Faustian bargains – why you should never marry a rival fan.
  • Plissken takes a sensible look at why student-athletes shouldn’t be paid for their services.
  • Will Kentucky build a new Rupp Arena?
  • Duke and Carolina have special water needs.
  • Speaking of special needs, Basketball Times chose Duke as the top program of the last decade.
  • We don’t even know what to make of this ridiculous thing.
  • Preseason Materials by Conference –
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