Morning Five: 03.06.14 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 6th, 2014

morning5

  1. When we saw a story on ESPN.com about Dean Smith we were tempted to overlook it particularly after the John Feinstein story that we linked to on Monday. We are glad that we did because Tommy Tomlinson’s article on Smith, his failing memory, and the people who stand by him is probably the best thing you will read all day. As we mentioned on Monday, we cannot remember anybody saying something negative about Smith on a personal level. If you were not aware of why that is, this article and the anecdotes within it should explain it.
  2. With Wichita State finishing the regular season undefeated, Matt Norlander decided it was time to compare this Wichita State team to the 2004 St. Joseph’s team, which was the last to go undefeated in the regular season. That 2004 team, which was led by Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, ended up losing a game in their conference tournament so Wichita State could make it a step further than them by the start of the NCAA Tournament. While it might be interesting to compare the two teams numerically they are very different teams. The Shockers certainly have their share of well-known players, but are overall a much more balanced team that that St. Joe’s team. In the end, the way that most people will remember this Wichita State team will be scripted in the next month.
  3. We already read Mike DeCourcy’s response to Mark Cuban and now Larry Brown, a man who has plenty of experience at both the college and professional level, has decided to respond to Cuban’s comments that the NBDL would be better for player development than the NCAA is. Brown, who is actually based in Dallas now as the head coach at SMU, strongly disagreed with Cuban and said that the coaching players get at the NCAA level is vastly superior to what they would get in the NBDL. We can certainly agree with that assessment at SMU under someone like Larry Brown although we would not be quite as sure about that at some other colleges.
  4. We are getting to the point in the season where people are starting to seriously look at end of season individual honors. Some awards like National Player of the Year are all, but locked up (the flight attendants on planes going to Omaha might want to start making space in the overhead bins). Most of the others are up in the air. With that in mind, Seth Davis took a look at the races for player/coach/freshman of the year in each of the major conferences. We tend to agree with Davis’ picks here, but we wouldn’t be surprised if there were some differences in the final decisions on some of these awards.
  5. Some of you may remember Russ Pennell from his brief stint as head coach at Arizona when he took them to the Sweet 16 in 2009. Since that time Pennell served as head coach at Grand Canyon State University (yes, the one that caused the uproar recently) and the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA. Now, Pennell is returning to Central Arkansas, where he played in college, to become the team’s new head coach. If you seem surprised that the name of a Southland Conference team seems familiar is because you may have heard of them when Corliss Williamson was briefly the coach there. Or perhaps you may have heard of one of their former players–Scottie Pippen.
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USC Hires Kevin O’Neill

Posted by nvr1983 on June 20th, 2009

I’m beginning to think that there is some bizarre Arizona-USC connection going on after USC announced that former interim Wildcat  coach Kevin O’Neill was going to take over as the Trojans new head coach. You may remember O’Neill from the Lute Olson fiasco after the 2007-2008 season, but O’Neill also has prior coaching experience at the college (171-180  in 12 seasons) and pro level (helpful if you’re running a program like the one Tim Floyd apparently ran in LA the past few years).

kevin o'neill

To recap the action at Arizona and USC the past two years:

  • O’Neill takes over for Olson on an interim basis, but then Lute stabs him in the back and comes back for a short period before eventually retiring. O’Neill goes to work for the Memphis Grizzlies for a season.
  • Arizona hires Russ Pennell to take over for Olson after O’Neill is let go.
  • Tim Floyd guides the Trojans to respectability before O.J. Mayo comes to town. The Trojans manage to make it back to the NCAA tournament the year after Mayo leaves.
  • Arizona decides not to renew Pennell’s contract and starts searching for big name to take over. They decide on Floyd, who briefly decides to take the job before changing his mind. Arizona eventually hires Xavier head coach Sean Miller.
  • Floyd resigns leaving USC scrambling to find a head coach as it loses multiple recruits who decide to go to other programs. USC gets turned down by several big names including Jamie Dixon and Reggie Theus before selecting O’Neill.

O’Neill led the Wildcats to a 19-15 record and yet another NCAA tournament bid in his single season in Tucson, but according to some sources had difficulty connecting with the Wildcat players. While that may be a problem at some programs, I’m sure that the administration at USC will appreciate having a coach of one of their two major programs who follows the rules. While we would normally consider USC one of the best positions in the country, O’Neill has his work cut out for him with recruits leaving in droves and NCAA sanctions on the horizon.

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04.09.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 9th, 2009

Would the word flood be an appropriate representation?

  • Early Entry Fatigue.  LSU’s Tasmin Mitchell will test the waters, but he won’t sign with an agent.  Ditto for Memphis’ Shawn Taggart.  And Miami (FL)’s Dwayne Collins has the same idea.   UCLA’s Jrue Holiday is a bit of a surprise given how he struggled at the end of the season, but he too will take a dip
  • Curry Watch.  One player who has yet to throw his hat in the ring is Davidson’s Stephen Curry.  Will he be back to make a run at Pete Maravich’s all-time scoring record next season?
  • Nice raise.  Alabama’s new coach Anthony Grant will earn $1.8M annually through the term of his seven-year contract.
  • Nobody?  It’s really hard for us to believe that nobody currently in D1 wanted this guy after he did a pretty good job keeping the Arizona program together this season. 
  • Xavier Coaching Search.  Word is that assistant coach Chris Mack is the most likely candidate to take over for the departed Sean Miller. 
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Tim Floyd to Arizona

Posted by nvr1983 on April 1st, 2009

Update: Apparently, the mainstream media is no more reliable than blogs as ESPN was completely wrong about Floyd accepting the Arizona job. Instead, he has decided to stay at USC perhaps comforted by the fact that he has Mike Dunleavy coaching in the same city to make him look like a coaching genius.

After unsuccessfully trying to woo Rick Pitino and reportedly going after Mark Few and Jeff Capel, Arizona is set to name Tim Floyd as its new head coach according to reports. In the wake of the Lute Olson fiasco last off-season, the Wildcats turned to Russ Pennell to lead the team as an interim head coach. Along with Mike Dunlap, who acted as a co-coach, Pennell guided the Wildcats to their nation-leading 25th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance (if you ignore trips that were later vacated). The Wildcats, who in the eyes of many had underachieved all year long with one of the nation’s most talented trios (Nic Wise, Chase Budinger, and Jordan Hill), managed to get to the Sweet 16 with victories over Utah and Cleveland State before getting crushed by Louisville by 39 points to end the season.

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Floyd built his coaching reputation at Iowa State where he is the only coach in the program’s history to lead them to 3 consecutive 20-win seasons as he finished his 4 years there with a 81-49 record. However he is most well-known nationally for picking up the scraps of the Chicago Bulls team following the departure of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson, has only been moderately successful at USC making it to the NCAA tournament his past 3 years including a trip to the Sweet 16 two years ago.

Floyd’s first order of business when he takes over in Tucson will be to try to convince his 3 stars to come back next year. If he is able to do that, the Wildcats should be able to make the NCAA tournament. Once he does that he will need to start recruiting again as the Wildcats’ recruiting has fallen off considerably with all the uncertainty regarding their coaching situation the last 2 years.

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Official Word: “The Squid” to UK…

Posted by rtmsf on March 31st, 2009

(h/t to L4B for Calipari’s new nickname… but, um, will it stick?)

John Calipari Headed to LexingtonOfficially.  What does this hire by Kentucky (at a reported $5M+ per year) do?  It makes the Wildcat program nationally relevant again.  Instantly.  With a single stroke of the pen (still pending), every major recruit from 9th to 11th grade (and several in the 12th) who has visions of wearing a hideous suit to meet David Stern on Draft Day suddenly has Kentucky back on their radar screens.  At the McD’s game practice today, Xavier Henry has already made it clear that his recruitment is open “to everybody and anybody.”  Another Memphis commitment, DeMarcus Cousins, may feel the same way, and who knows where this leaves John Wall (a strong Memphis lean)?  With arguably the strongest recruiter this side of Roy Williams and Ben Howland vacuuming up numerous kids with serious dreams of the L, and the commitment to resources that a school like UK brings to basketball, is there any doubt whatsoever that The Squid will have the Cats hunting for Final Fours again very soon?  The pressure to win and win big will be gargantuan, but Calipari is one of the few coaches with enough ego to handle it. 

Coach, this is Jeff from down in Hyden.  Now, about the team’s free throws…

calipari2

Domino, Motha____ers!  And like Doughboy so eloquently stated in BnTH, the dominoes are already falling elsewhere.  Georgia reportedly offered over $2M per year to Missouri’s Mike Anderson (although others dispute that) to take over the chronically underachieving Bulldog program, but now there is chatter that Anderson might have an interest in the newly-opened Memphis positionUpdate: Anderson is staying at Mizzou for a payday nearly doubling his annual salary.  Some other names being thrown around for the Memphis job are Tony Barbee from UTEP (former Calipari assistant) and even former Arkansas Razorback coach Nolan Richardson, who regularly mined the playgrounds of Memphis for his stellar 40MoH teams.  Whoever takes over this job, a top 20 destination, will be without the services of Tyreke Evans, who also announced his decision to go pro today

The Other Ego in Kentucky.  Louisville figures to be impacted heavily by the arrival of Calipari at Kentucky, if for no other reason than to escalate a rivalry between coaches that goes back to the early 90s and into the NBA (Celtics vs. Nets).  Can you believe that two titans of ego coaching such as Pitino and Calipari – both hot-blooded Italians – will be battling for bragging rights in the same basketball-nutty state?  Still, if you believe in rumors that won’t die, there is speculation that Rick Pitino is a legitimate candidate for the open Arizona job, vacated by Lute Olson and seat-warmed by Russ Pennell this year.  Seth Davis wrote today that he doesn’t believe this rumor for a second, and neither do we, but we could definitely see the other name mentioned for this job, Gonzaga’s Mark Few, getting into the mix down in the desert. 

Final Question.  It’s not like Billy Gillipie was completely shamed out of Lexington, although it certainly played out so.  Still, the guy has a relatively strong coaching resume, and unlike some other epic failures at regal programs (Matt Doherty at UNC; Steve Lavin at UCLA), he’s proven that he can build a program and recruit players to fill those spots.  So where will Billy Clyde end up?  You have to figure that he’ll be back in coaching next year, and if you saw his interview on ESPN with Jimmy Dykes yesterday, it was painfully apparent that he’s angling for another position with the ‘aw shucks’ persona.  Just so long as he doesn’t have to give any advice, cuz, you know, he’s not an advice-giver. 

Dykes: Do you think not signing a 30-page contract is gonna affect what you feel is fair to you at this point?

Gillispie: Oh, I have no idea. I mean, I think it’s all gonna work out fine, and I’ve never been involved with too many things that didn’t.

Dykes: What advice would you give to John Calipari if the deal goes down?

Gillispie: I’m not an advice-giver. I heard a long time ago, “The worst advice is bad advice … or giving advice.” And so, I don’t really have a whole lot of advice.

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03.05.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2009

Just another night of highly ranked teams playing as if they don’t want to be a high seed. However, I am always on top of my game and I bring 110% to the Fast Breaks everyday. So sit back, relax, and let me do the work for you.

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03.03.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on March 3rd, 2009

Hey all, its your faithful intern here trying to bring you the best reading material from across the interweb. You may not have noticed, but there was no Fast Breaks yesterday, so today’s will be longer and will dip into yesterday’s stories as well…Enjoy!!

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Checking in on the… Pac-10

Posted by nvr1983 on February 26th, 2009

Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 Conference.

News & Notes

  • Lute Olson compiled a 43-6 record against Arizona State. Since he took a leave of absence last year, Arizona is 0-4 against the Sun Devils.
  • Against ASU, Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, and Nic Wise all logged 40 minutes. For the year the three are each averaging over 35 minutes a game. They are the only team in the Pac-10 with three players averaging over 35 minutes a game. Come Pac-10 tournament time these three horses have to be tiring.
  • Oregon State swept the season series against Cal for the first time since the 1994-95 season.
  • Jerome Randle has 59 three-pointers this season putting him 9 shy of the school season record 68 set by Ryan Drew in 1990. With four games left and Randle averaging over two a game he stands a fighting chance at overtaking Drew.
  • Washington State’s win at UCLA last week was only their second win in their 53 games at Pauley Pavilion.
  • The battle for coach of the year in the Pac-10 has four solid candidates. With the jobs Mike Montgomery, Russ Pennell, Craig Robinson, and Lorenzo Romar have done, there is an excess of candidates to choose from.
  • Pennell is the front-runner right now in my mind. He turned this Arizona team around and has them at 8-6 in the Pac-10 and 18-9 overall. He was the second choice for interim coach in late October. Last year he did color commentary for Arizona State radio network.
  • Jon Brockman is the only mid-season candidate for the Naismith trophy from the Pac-10.

Player of the week: Taylor Rochestie
Rochestie scored 24.5 points a game for Washington State this week. Rochestie also averaged five rebounds and four assists a game. Rochestie scored 33 points in WSU’s upset of UCLA. He shot 5-for-7 from three-point range and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw stripe.

Honorable Mention: Darren Collison and Rihards Kuksiks
Collison scored 18.5 points and averaged 6.5 assists for UCLA this past week. Collison went a perfect 7-for-7 from the line in the two games. Kuksiks scored 17 points in Arizona State’s win this week. Kuksiks scored 15 of those on five three-pointers.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Jamelle Horne Joins Bonehead Pantheon

Posted by rtmsf on January 20th, 2009

Quick… what’s the term for the opposite of good basketball IQ?  A Stephon Marbury?  What do you call a player who consistently makes abominable, indefensible and atrocious decisions on the court?  A Derrick Coleman?  Well, step aside Bonehead Brethren of Years Past, because there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Jamelle Horne.  The Arizona sophomore, through his complete and utter obliviousness at the end of two key games this year, may have singlehandedly ensured that his school will not play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a quarter-century. 

Lori Sheply/LA Times)

"Oh No! I Did It Again!" (photo credit: Lori Shepler/LA Times)

Arizona now sits at 11-7 and eighth place in the Pac-10 (2-4) after getting swept by the SoCal schools over the weekend.  Their RPI is currently #52, the ship appears to be taking on water, and at this point it’ll take a herculean effort for Russ Pennell to get Arizona back into the mix as a realistic at-large candidate.  But what if instead of 11-7 (2-4), the Wildcats were currently sitting at 13-5 (3-3)?  You’d have to figure they’d be getting votes in both polls as well as being talked about as a dangerous team in the second half of the season. 

This is where Jamelle Horne comes in.  The Arizona wing was lambasted back in November for intentionally fouling a UAB player 60 feet from the basket in a game that was tied 71-71 with one second left.   UAB hit one of two free throws and won the game.  Flash forward to Saturday night at USC.  In a game where Arizona led most of the way, USC had clawed back to tie the score at 64-all when Nic Wise threw the ball away.  USC’s Daniel Hackett grabbed the errant pass and started upcourt.  From the Arizona Star:

Immediately after Hackett crossed the midcourt line, Horne ran into the USC guard with 1.2 seconds left. Having only a prayer of a chance at a game-winning field goal, Hackett instead was given two free throws. He made the first one and that was all the Trojans needed.

We were watching this game live, and let’s be a little clearer than the reporter’s account above.  Horne didn’t just accidentally “run into” Hackett.  He deliberately ran into Hackett in an attempt to cause the referee to blow the whistle.  It wasn’t an intentional foul in the sense that you grab a guy to impede his progress, but it was an end-of-game “intentional” foul designed to stop the clock and put the player on the line.  The kind of foul you only make when you think you’re behind and you need to get the ball back.   (we respectfully disagree with this UA blog’s assessment that the foul was ticky-tack)

Problem was, for Arizona and Horne, the game was (once again) TIED. 

If we were Russ Pennell, we’d strongly consider putting Horne through a battery of memory tests to determine if he has the mental capacity to remember something for longer than two seconds.  Either that, or just sit the kid down at the very end of his bench for the last minute of every game.  It’s simply astonishing that the same player could make such an egregious error twice in a single year, costing his team two Ls as a result.   Time and score, time and score, time and score…  how many times did we hear that growing up?   Either Horne really is not a very bright bulb… or he’s gotta have something else going on

note: we couldn’t find video of the incident, so this walkthrough vodcast will have to suffice.

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ATB: Memo to Arizona Players – Time and Score, Gents

Posted by rtmsf on November 18th, 2008

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As usual, we’ll start with some news from today…

  • The nation’s #1 shooting guard, Xavier Henry, announced to the world on Sportscenter during the 24HoCH that he will attend Memphis next season.  His brother, CJ Henry, is already a Tiger.  This is very good news to Calipari, who watched his team clank three after three last night (2-19) in their game against UMass, because Henry’s range easily extends out to 22 feet.  Additionally, it shows that for elite guard prospects, Memphis has become the NBA stopover de rigeur.
  • The 2012-16 Final Fours will be chosen from these ten locations tomorrow: Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, North Texas, Phoenix, San Antonio and St. Louis.  North Texas?  Is that supposed to mean Amarillo?  Texarkana?  Paris?
  • Finally, this guy over at USA Today has nothing on our John Stevens liveblog of the 24HoCH.
  • Oh, and Steve Lavin changed his haircut.

Game of the Night. UNC 77, Kentucky 58.  It wasn’t the GOTN in terms of play on the court, but it was definitely the game with the most attention (as it should be, given the historical importance of the two programs).  What was striking was just how overmatched Kentucky looked against Carolina’s defense.  Every pass was an exercise in precariousness, as UK often simply looked as if they were trying to hang onto the possession rather than actually running a play to score the ball.  UNC forced 17 turnovers in the first half, 28 for the game, and it honestly felt like more than that.  Part of the blame is on Kentucky’s huge gaping achilles heel – the lack of a competent point guard – but UNC clearly had a gameplan to cover those passing lanes and keep the ball away from UK’s only consistent scoring threat, Patrick Patterson.  Patterson ended up with 19/11, but that was mostly in the second half after the game was well in hand.  You may ask why we thought a game that was largely played in a 12-18 point range was ‘well in hand,’ but it was patently obvious to anyone watching that UK simply couldn’t put together enough good offensive possessions to make a serious run against the Tarheels.  Thing is, we didn’t feel that Carolina was all that great offensively.  They shot only 41% from the field, led by Deon Thompson’s 20/9, but their offense wasn’t as fluid as we would have expected from a team returning so many pieces.  Of course, we realize two starters are out injured, one of whom you may have heard of before.  When Carolina gets to full strength again, bad news for the rest of the ACC and the nation – Roy may indeed have his best team since his 2005 national champs.  For some further thoughts, check here for the UNC viewpoint and here for the Kentucky one.

Upset of the Night. UAB 72, Arizona 71. Very mild upset, but beating Arizona at home still qualifies.  An extremely entertaining game, it had one of the more bizarre endings you’ll ever see.  Is Russ Pennell already on the hot seat at Arizona?  A few more unconscionable mental lapses by his players in late-game situations and he will be.  UAB had blown a 14-pt second-half lead when Arizona rebounded a FT miss and put it back in to tie the game with 0:27 left.  That’s when freshman Kyle Fogg inexpicably decided to foul a UAB player!  Keep in mind that the game was TIED.  Clearly he had forgotten that minor fact.  So a timeout ensues and then UAB predictably goes to the line and misses the front end of the 1-and-1.  Arizona misses a contested shot, UAB gets the rebound, and this time, Jamelle Horne (a sophomore) chases down Paul Delaney III and INTENTIONALLY FOULS him at 0.8 seconds as he’s running upcourt.  AGAIN, THE GAME IS STILL TIED.  Delaney hits one free throw and effectively finishes a game that should have been going to overtime.  Are the Arizona players this dumb or is Pennell not telling them to keep the score in mind while they’re playing??? (be sure to check John Stevens’ liveblog comments on this here)  Chase Budinger played solidly, leading Arizona with 27/5, while Jordan Hill came off the bench for 13/22.  UAB’s Robert Vaden had 20, including four of their thirteen threes, in the winning effort.  UAB now moves on to MSG to play Oklahoma next Wednesday night.

NIT Action.

  • Oklahoma 82, Davidson 78. How ridiculous is Steph Curry?  He had an off night (12-29 FGs) and he still dropped 44 on a good Sooners defense designed exclusively to contain him.  Does anyone not enjoy watching this kid play?  Just as soon as he throws up a tired, forced jumper that goes wide left by three feet, he’ll turn right around and drop a 25-footer right in someone’s grill.  This seems to be the Davidson MO – play major conference teams tough on the road in Nov/Dec, then beat them at neutral sites in March.  As for Oklahoma, the Griffin boys combined for 41/27, but really we just have one question – what’s going on with Blake Griffin’s eyes?  He looks more crosseyed than Stuart Scott at a Carolina sorority party, but his game doesn’t seem affected by it.  OU actually had a 21-pt lead with 12:53 remaining, but they were able to hold on largely because of great foul shooting (26-31).  Oklahoma will bring the Griffin dunking show to MSG next week, where they will play UAB.

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  • Purdue 78, Loyola (IL) 46. All you really need to know about this game is that it was 40-14 at halftime.  We’re sure Loyola was content to leave the NIT with its upset over Georgia in tow, but Purdue is a really good team.  E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummell led the way with 14 and 13 pts, respectively, but it was a solid team effort from the Boilers, placing five guys in double figures.  Purdue will play BC on Wednesday night.
  • Boston College 82, St. John’s 70. The Johnnies won’t get two more games at “home” in MSG next week, after losing to BC, who we are officially adopting as one of our surprise teams in the ACC this season.  The addition of Vermont transfer Joe Trapani (19/4/3 blks) has really improved this team, which already had an all-conference performer in Tyrese Rice (28/5/9 assts).

Midnight in the Garden of Memphis and Moraga. Ok, actually 11pm tipoffs locally in both places, but the ESPN 24HoCH kicked off last night with two entertaining games, and not one BCS school was involved!  Check JS’ liveblog of these games, but these were our thoughts.

  • St. Mary’s 99, Fresno St. 85. In a last-minute moment of clarity, we actually threw caution to the wind and drove over to this game last night.  God, how great would it be to go back to college??  Patty Mills was typically awesome, but his show-stopping speed didn’t come through live as much as we thought it would.  He was still money, though, going for 27/5/6 assts with 19 of those points coming in the first 17 minutes of the game.  St. Mary’s played well, but they were never able to completey finish off Fresno – their defense and shot selection looked a little suspect at times.  Diamon Simpson didn’t have his best game, but he still ended up with a dub-dub (10/10) and a couple of nasty blocks in the interior.  St. Mary’s will be heard from this season.  The play of the day week month year decade century millenium epoch occurred halfway through the first half, when Fresno’s Paul George (25/10) took one hard dribble from the right wing and seemingly cocked his arm back into the 1980s before throwing a hellacious dunk over everyone on earth.  Seriously, the entire arena breathlessly gasped for air after that throwdown.  We’ve attended hundreds of games in our life – mostly college, but some pro – and that dunk ranks in the top three we’ve ever seen in person – it was utterly superbulous.

  • Memphis 90, UMass 68. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.  The bricks thrown up in the first ten minutes of this game rivaled anything we’d seen in a while (see shot chart below – bricks are in red font).  Maybe it was the combined 7-43 (16%) three-point shooting that put us in a bad mood, but we got so fed up with this game that it inspired us to make the drive to Moraga instead of watching the second half.  Things heated up in half two, at least for Memphis, who were led by Antonio Anderson’s 15/12/5 assts.  The Tigers began pulling away from UMass on the basis of continued poor shooting by UMass, and eventually Memphis’ athleticism and size put down the Minutemen.  It says something about Memphis in that they were able to win so convincingly despite only shooting 39% for the game, only hitting two threes and getting outrebounded.

memphis-umass-shotchart1

Other Games of Interest.

  • Georgia 61, E. Michigan 60. Dennis Felton saves his job for another day.  The Dawgs were down by as many as 11 pts in the mid-second half before rallying to nip the Eagles
  • Baylor 90, Centenary 55. Baylor hit an absurd 64% in a romp over Centenary.  JS in the liveblog had a lot of good things to say about the Bears.
  • USC 73, New Mexico St. 60. Taj Gibson had 22/10/5 blks to lead the Trojans to a 2-0 star.  Demar DeRozan had a disappointing night with 7/6.
  • Ole Miss 89, South Alabama 71. Ole Miss rallied from the bad news that it had lost its best defender today (Eniel Polynice) by pulling away from South Alabama, led by David Huertas’ 27 pts.
  • San Diego 65, Nevada 51. USD’s Rob Jones led the way with 23/5 on 10-12 shooting, and teammate Gyno Pomare had 12 pts in his first game back.  Nevada freshman Luke Babbitt had 20/12 in his debut.
  • Indiana 60, IUPUI 57. For what it’s worth, Tom Crean has already earned his salary by going 2-0 this year.
  • Gonzaga 80, Idaho 46. We swear we saw a score on the bottom line that said Gonzaga 17, Idaho 1.  Things did not improve.
  • Tennessee 91, UT-Martin 64. We were excited to see Lester Hudson in this one, but UT held him in check (20/4/5 assts on 7-22 shooting).  Backup center Brian Williams dropped 21/12 on the visitors.
  • Syracuse 76, Richmond 71. It took everything Syracuse had to avoid the upset at home, but starting backcourt Jonny Flynn and Eric Devendorf combined for 49/6/7 assts in the game, which was tight throughout.
  • Texas 76, Tulane 51. Damion James with 16/8 as Texas rolled, holding Tulane to 31% shooting and putting five players into double figures.
  • Arizona St. 59, San Diego St. 52. Tough loss for SDSU, as they led much of this game behind Kyle Spain’s 17 pts.  ASU’s James Harden had 18/5 as he keyed his team to a late 18-8 run to win the game.

On Tap Wednesday (all times EST).

  • Wake Forest (-18) v. UNC-Wilmington – 7pm
  • Villanova (-19) v. Niagara (ESPNU) – 7pm
  • Butler (-15) v. Ball St. – 7pm
  • Michigan St. @ IPFW – 7pm
  • Auburn v. Mercer – 8pm
  • UIC (-5.5) v. N. Iowa (ESPN FC & 360) – 8pm
  • Alabama v. Florida A&M (ESPN FC & 360) – 9pm

 

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ATB: Quiet Before the Storm

Posted by rtmsf on November 18th, 2008

afterbuzzer1

News & Notes. We’d like to take a moment at the beginning of tonight’s ATB to honor former Cal head coach and legendary big man guru Pete Newell, who died today at the age of 93.  He led Cal to its only national championship in 1959, won a gold medal as the US Olympic team coach in 1960, and was elected to the basketball Hall of Fame in 1979.  Although he was before our time, we’ve heard the stories of his legend and he is considered one of the most influential figures in basketball history.  May he rest in peace.

pete-newellPhoto Credit:  LA Times

Game of the Night. UAB 64, Santa Clara 61. We’re throwing some love to the mid-majors tonight with this one, but we expected this game to be a dandy, and it was.  Santa Clara led most of the game, but UAB made a valiant comeback in the second half to tie the game with three minutes remaining and held on to win   Robert Vaden had 23/9 and Paul Delaney III had 20/5 for UAB, who didn’t get much production from anyone else.  SC’s John Bryant had a huge 17/15 performance, but it wasn’t enough.  In an interesting sidenote, the game tipped off with 100 people in the stands at the McKale Center in Tucson.  People are really excited about basketball in Arizona right now.

Upset of the Night. Oakland 82, Oregon 79 (OT). We really feel like you could throw Ernie Kent, Mark Gottfried, John Brady, Dave Odom, and a few others into a jar, shake them up and let them float to any school in America, and you’d end up with the same mediocre programs wherever they land.  Not much was expected from the Ducks this year (heck, ATQ doesn’t even have commentary on the game yet), but they could usually count on their home court for the push to win most of their OOC games.  No longer.  Oakland’s Johnathan Jones dropped 32/7 on the Ducks, (10 in OT, including the decisive bucket with seven seconds left) who were outshot from the floor by their visitors (43% to 39%).  Joevon Catron (13/11) and Michael Dunigan (15/10) both contributed double-doubles in the losing effort.  So far, the Pac-10 is not looking too impressive.

Preseason NIT Action.

  • Davidson 99, James Madison 64. Stephen Curry is just ridiculous.  33/9 assts/4 stls on 14-19 shooting.  The Wildcats got off to an 11-0 start and never looked back.  They’ll face Oklahoma tomorrow night.
  • Oklahoma 94, Miss. Valley St. 53. This OU team has looked scary in two games thus far.  Blake Griffin dominated inside, with 20/19/6 stls.  MVSU more than doubled its output from Saturday night against Wazzu, but they looked completely overmatched in this game.
  • BC 90, Loyola (MD) 57. Vermont transfer Joe Trapani led the Eagles with 20/4 as Tyrese Rice came back from suspension to contribute 16/6 assts.  BC might be better than people were thinking, folks – they will play Cornell in round two.
  • St. John’s 86, Cornell 75.  The Johnnies, led by Anthony Mason Jr.’s 24 pts, held off a late Cornell rally that had cut the lead to 80-75.  Cornell was led by Ryan Wittman’s 25/4.
  • Purdue 87, E. Michigan 58. Purdue shook off a slow start to go on a 26-6 run to put this game away by the mid-first half.  E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummell combined for 35/8/8 assts in the win.  Purdue will play Loyola (IL) next.
  • Loyola (IL) 74, Georgia 53.  Let’s just go ahead and fire Dennis Felton right now and avoid this lame duck nonsense for the next four months.
  • Arizona 75, Florida Atlantic 62.  Get used to this – Budinger, Wise and Hill scored 52 of Arizona’s 75 points tonight.  The Wildcats never really pulled away from FAU – we remain unconvinced.  UAB will beat this team tomorrow night.

Big East Tuneups.

  • Marquette 106, Chicago St. 87. Are teams hitting the century mark more often this year?  Wesley Matthews led Marquette with 26/9/3 assts, but new coach Buzz Williams was largely disappointed with his defense for allowing 51 second-half points to Chicago St.
  • Villanova 107, Fordham 68. Wow, Dante Cunningham absolutely dominated the interior (31/11) as Villanova rolled up Fordham, shooting a blistering 58% with all five starters reaching double figures.
  • Georgetown 71, Jacksonville 62. Freshman center Greg Monroe’s debut at Georgetown went well (14/7), even though the Hoyas struggled to put away Jacksonville.  Georgetown needs to shore up their three-point shooting (5-23), but their defense was typically solid, holding Jax to 35% for the game.
  • Pittsburgh 82, Miami (OH) 53. Miami head coach Charlie Coles gave the nod to Pitt as the better team between the Panthers and UCLA at this juncture in the season.  Levance Fields is just so important to this team, getting 12/12 assts as every starter reached double figures.
  • Connecticut 99, Hartford 56. With 14:30 to go, this was a three-point game.  UConn then went on a late 54-12 run to put this one away.  AJ Price was on the bench for being a knucklehead with a sprained ankle, but Craig Austrie and Kemba Walker both had 21 to make up the slack.  Hasheem Thabeet had a somewhat disappointing 9/8/2 blks.

Other Games of Interest.

  • Xavier 81, Toledo 65. Xavier enjoyed a comfortable margin throughout the second half, but the story of this game was returning MAC scoring leader Tyrone Kent’s 37 pts.  He even went 10-10 from the line – true scorers understand that’s where the easy points are.
  • Austin Peay 86, Belmont 84. Drake Reed’s two FTs with 0.2 showing on the clock sealed a comeback win for Austin Peay over Belmont.  He contributed 24/9 in the win, along with Wes Channels, who put up 25 pts.  AP shot 58% in the second half to come back from 12 down at halftime.
  • Penn St. 74, NJIT 47. NJIT now holds the record for college basketball futility with 35 Ls in a row.  Another 26% FG shooting night.  Can we send them back to D2 now?

On Tap Tuesday (all times EST):

  • 24 Hour Marathon of College Hoops – see separate post here for schedule and times.
  • Indiana v. IUPUI (BTN) – 6:30pm
  • Bucknell v. Boston U. – 7pm
  • Tennessee (-25) v. UT-Martin (ESPN FC & 360) – 7pm
  • Ole Miss (-10) v. South Alabama – 8pm
  • Texas (-22) v. Tulane (ESPN FC & 360) – 8pm
  • USC (-16) v. New Mexico St. – 9pm
  • Gonzaga (-27.5) v. Idaho (FSN) – 9pm
  • San Diego (-5.5) v. Nevada (ESPN FC & 360) – 10pm
  • Arizona St. (-3) @ San Diego St. (CBS CS) – 11pm
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Preseason NIT Breakdown

Posted by rtmsf on November 17th, 2008

(ed. note: if you’re looking for the 2009 NIT Bracket, click here.)

The Preseason NIT, the Granddaddy of all the Preseason Tourneys, begins tonight, with all sixteen teams in action at four regional pods (Chestnut Hill, MA; W. Lafayette, IN; Norman, OK; Tucson, AZ).  Unlike many of the D2 and whatever-else teams thrown into the pods of the CvC last week, the PNIT at least uses all D1 teams for its sacrificial lambs.  A new feature is that each of the sixteen teams was seeded, although we’re not sure how BC and Arizona ended up with protected seeds over Davidson (also, why isn’t #1 Purdue playing #16 Miss. Valley St., and #2 v. #15, etc.?).  We suppose BC fans would buy more tickets in Manhattan next week?  Whichever.   Below is the regional bracket, and our thoughts and picks follow.

Best first-round game. #8 St. John’s v. #9 Cornell.  You don’t think that Big Red is looking forward to sticking it to their Big East brethren to the south?  Click here if you don’t believe us.  These two NY teams have never played, but we’re thinking that Cornell will ride its three-point shooting to the upset win in Chestnut Hill tonight.

Other Upset Possibilities. Keep an eye on these two games in the Tucson regional:

  • #3 Arizona v. #15 Florida Atlantic.  Nobody has a clue how Arizona is going to respond to all of its turmoil from the offseason, or whether half of its players will even be available tonight (apparently so), but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about college basketball and despite trite cliches to the contrary – adversity generally does NOT end well.  New FAU head coach Mike Jarvis knows how to coach up a team for one game, and this could be a rude awakening for Russ Pennell as a D1 coach.
  • #7 UAB v. #11 Santa Clara. The recipe for an upset here is clear.  WCC talent is generally underrated.  This is a west-coast team playing an east-coast team in the Pacific time zone.  John Bryant inside the paint.  Robert Vaden may still be feeling the effects from his recent arrest hanging over his head (4 pts last game on 2-13 FGs).  UAB head coach Mike Davis has been known to lay an egg or two in his career.  UAB will have no answer for Santa Clara big man

Will MVSU Break 30? #2 Oklahoma v. #16 Mississippi Valley St. Knowing what we know about Oklahoma’s defense, and knowing also what we know about MVSU’s inability to score the basketball, we foresee something along the lines of 75-35 in this game.

They Should Roll. BC at home v. Loyola (MD).  Purdue at home vs. Eastern Michigan.  And Davidson in Norman vs. James Madison.  No way any of these three loses tonight.

Two Evenly Matched Bad Teams. #6 Georgia v. #10 Loyola (IL). Wow, the PNIT should commend itself for getting two Loyola into this tournament.  Was Loyola Marymount not available?  No further comment on this game, other than to say either team could win, and Purdue will blast said winner tomorrow night.

Regional Picks. We’ve got BC, Purdue, Davidson and Santa Clara (taking advantage of the FAU upset).  We really didn’t want to pick against Oklahoma at home, but then again, how do you justify picking against Stephen Curry?  If the Wildcats can contain Blake Griffin inside, they can win that game and head to MSG.

Enough with ESPNU!!!! Three of the four televised games tonight in this tournament are on the U.  Look, we understand why the games are on there.  But why not also put them on the ESPN Full Court package so that those of us held completely hostage by our cable companies can actually take advantage of those games as well?  We already pay for the FC service, so what possible harm could it do to expose more paying customers to your product?  Make us pay $10 if you like, but just give us access to it!

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