Set Your Tivos: Week 2

Posted by nvr1983 on November 16th, 2008

Our new and improved Set Your Tivos is in the format that we expect this feature to take for the rest of the season. It will feature our top games of the week and leave the daily TV schedules to After the Buzzer. Now the top 7 games (add 3 for a few of the late round games in some of the random tournaments to make a top 10 if you want) in reverse order. . .

Courtesy: www.jakeludington.com

7) Illinois at Vanderbilt–Thursday, 8 PM on Fox Sports South, ESPN Full Court, and ESPN360.com: Our only featured game involving two unranked teams. We’ll be watching to see if Bruce Weber has recovered from losing out on Eric Gordon, who would have left Illinois by now anyways even if Kelvin Sampson hadn’t stolen him before destroying Indiana’s basketball program. On the other side, Vanderbilt will be trying to recover from last year’s embarrassing first round loss to Siena in the NCAA tournament after a trip to the Sweet 16 the year before that ended with a close loss to Georgetown.

6) Southern Illinois vs. #5 Duke–Thursday, 7 PM on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com:The Salukis look to recover from last year’s 18-15 season after six consecutive NCAA tournament bids against everyone’s favorite villain Duke. I’m sure most of you would like nothing more than seeing Duke lose in Madison Square Garden against a mid-major, but that’s not happening here. Watch it to see if Southern Illinois will be challenging for the MVC title this year and if Duke is going to try to develop an inside game this year.

5) #4 UCLA vs. Michigan–Thursday, 9 PM on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com: The more interesting of the Coaches vs. Cancer games will feature two of the most prestigious programs in the country with one (UCLA) coming into the season with high expectations following 3 straight Final 4 trips while the other (Michigan) has become a source of humor for visitors to this site. Both teams struggled in the early rounds, but the Bruins will be overwhelming favorites and should advance unless the freshman get caught up in the bright lights of MSG and/or start looking forward to playing Duke in the championship game.

4) Kentucky at #1 UNC–Tuesday, 9 PM on ESPN and ESPN360.com: This game, which was once billed as one of the premier early season games, has lost much of its luster with Kentucky’s opening loss to VMI and the absence of Tyler Hansbrough (and his fellow pool-jumping “Golden God” Bobby Frasor). This game will be more of a barometer for Kentucky than the injury-depleted Tar Heels. A Kentucky win would give Billy Gillispie a temporary reprieve from Wildcat fans who are undoubtedly livid after another embarrassing season-opening early-season loss. If the Wildcats want to do that, they will need to utilize Patrick Patterson much more than they did against VMI.

3) Massachusetts at #12 Memphis–Tuesday/Wednesday at midnight on ESPN and ESPN360.com: Our first look at this year’s Tigers will be a relatively challenging game against John Calipari’s old school. While Tyreke Evans might be one of the top players in this year’s freshman class, he will be a significant drop-off from Derrick Rose. The Tigers may be able to adjust to that, but they will be hard-pressed to replace the veteran leadership and all-around play of Chris Douglas-Roberts. We will be interested to see if the Tigers worked on that small issue of free throw shooting that reared its ugly head at the most inopportune time last year. 

2) Miami (OH) at #6 Pittsburgh–Monday, 7 PM on ESPN Full Court and ESPN360.com: While this might not seem like an interesting game to most of you, I think it will give us a good idea of how good/bad UCLA is given the fact they narrowly held off the Redhawks 64-59 and whether or not Doug Gottlieb is an idiot. Given that we think it’s definitely worth watching and should be a good lead-in to Monday Night Football.

1) 2K Sports Classic Championship Game (if it is #4 UCLA vs. #5 Duke)–Friday, 7 PM on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com: As noted this is only if we get our first top 5 (or top 25) match-up of the season. Both teams should be able to navigate their semifinals despite the fact that the Bruins struggled against Miami (OH) last week. Duke will probably win this game as they tend to dominate early season tournaments and the Bruins are still very green, but the Bruins young talent and Darren Collison will give Coach K and the Blue Devils a stiff challenge.

If I missed any good games and I’m sure I did, tell me about it in the comments and I’ll update the list.

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Set Your Tivos: Week 1

Posted by nvr1983 on November 10th, 2008

As part of our attempt to improve Rush the Court and make it the premier college basketball blog, we’re introducing a series of new features. Some will be daily (we’re bringing back our recaps on nightly action called After the Buzzer), weekly, and others will be a little more random (the Brandon Jennings Watch or the long-awaited RTC Prestige rankings). One of these features will be the RTC “Set Your Tivos” feature previewing the week ahead and giving our loyal readers a heads-up as they plan their lives around college basketball (all times EST). Without further ado, your Week 1 Set Your Tivos. . .

tivos

Normally, I would be going through a more extensive analysis of the day’s offerings, but this week the pickings are pretty slim so you’re essentially getting every game that I know is on TV.

Monday, November 10, 2008Presbyterian at #5 Duke, 7 PM (ESPNU): College basketball officially gets underway with a cupcake. While it will be interesting to see if Coach K has brought any new wrinkles into the Duke offense from Beijing, I don’t think he’ll be revealing it against Presbyterian. If you want to see if Duke has regrouped from its poor performance last March (barely beating Belmont and getting thumped by Joe Alexander and West Virginia), you’ll have to wait until Friday because this is going to be a beatdown.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008Michigan Tech at Michigan, 7 PM (ESPNU): The Wolverines are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2007-08 campaign under former Mountaineer coach John Beilein. What is it with Michigan’s athletic department poaching all the coaching talent in Morgantown? If they have any shot of returning to respectability they should crush Michigan Tech. They should be able to do the latter, but I doubt they will be respectable this season unless you consider battling for a NIT bid respectable.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008Prairie View A&M at #4 UCLA, 10 PM (ESPNU): The big question for Ben Howland will be if he can guide the Bruins to Detroit for their 4th consecutive Final 4 (the last 3 ended with losses). This game will not answer any of the questions the Bruins have. Are you sensing a pattern here? So Bruins fans, enjoy the exhibition against a school that is most well-known for its incompetence on the football field.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 – Nothing. Catch up on the rest of your life since you’ll be busy until early in the morning on April 7, 2009.

Friday, November 14, 2008Toledo at #19 Florida, 6 PM (ESPNU): After a rebuilding campaign following their back-to-back national titles, Billy Donovan’s Gators look to rebound and make a run in March. Tonight will be a big first step in showing the nation they can do that even with the recent departure of last season’s starting PG Jai Lucas.

- Fairleigh Dickinson at #6 Pittsburgh, 7 PM (CBS College Sports All-Access): Our first look at one of the Big East powers, this won’t necessarily give us a good indication of how strong the Panthers will be this year, but it could be a potential 1 vs. 16 or 2 vs. 15 match-up in March.

- North Carolina Central at #24 Wake Forest, 7 PM (None): This may be the most interesting of the games tonight as Wake is a team with “tremendous upside potential” (see Brown, Hubie). Dino Gaudio managed to bring in the best recruiting class in the ACC (h/t to the late Skip Prosser) and will be poised to put a scare into some of the top teams in the country later in the year. This game may just give us a glimpse of how scary the Demon Deacons could be.

- Western Carolina at #2 UConn, 7:30 PM (ESPN360): The Big East favorites open up with a cupcake. Not much to see here. The Huskies won’t be at full-strength yet, but it shouldn’t matter. We’ll be interested to see if Hasheem Thabeet has progressed any since last season.

- Stetson at #8 Texas, 8 PM (ESPN Full Court & ESPN360): The Longhorns return 4 of 5 starters from last season’s Elite 8 team, but will have a big hole at the 1 with D.J. Augustin’s early entry into the draft. Rick Barnes will have to find a way to replace Augustin (last seen getting punked by Derrick Rose) in much the same way as he built last year’s team after the early entry of Kevin Durant (last seen leaving the city of Seattle in tears). If Barnes is able to pull that off, the Longhorns should have a good shot at a #1 or #2 seed. By the way, this game won’t give us any indication if that is the case.

- American University at #14 Oklahoma, 8 PM (ESPN Full Court & ESPN360): The Sooners are loaded this year and some are even picking them to win the Big 12. Blake Griffin will be leading the way, but will need solid support from diaper dandy Willie Warren and UCLA transfer Ryan Wright if they are going to challenge Texas. While Jeff Capel still has some work to do to match his predecessor’s level of success, we’re pretty sure he will be slightly less controversial. I’d watch this game more to see how good Capel’s new recruit and transfer are rather than using it as a gauge of how good his team is.

- Albany at #25 Villanova, 8 PM (Nova Nation All-Access):  A first look at Jay Wright’s team against a solid program from the Am East.  Will Wright go with the four-guard set that’s been rumored?  A lineup of 6’2 Scottie Reynolds, 6’1 Corey Fisher, 6’0 Malcolm Grant and 6’5 Corey Stokes wouldn’t get many rebouds, but would cause quickness mismatches all over the court.  Should be fun to watch. 

- Houston Baptist at #17 Marquette, 8:30 PM (Time Warner Cable Sports 32 locally in Wisconsin):  The seventh-year trio of Wesley Matthews, Dominic James and Jerel McNeal all return for the Warriors Golden Eagles, but Tom Crean doesn’t.  New coach and former assistant Buzz Williams has a talented, experienced team returning that probably should have made the Sweet Sixteen last year (but for the Lopez Roll).  In other words, he’s in a much better position than his predecessor will be this season several hours south down in Bloomington. 

- Detroit at #10 Purdue, 9 PM (ESPN360):  Purdue shouldn’t have much trouble with the team picked by RTC to finish dead last in the Horizon.  E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummell are worth sitting at home watching your computer on a Friday night, trust us. 

- Mississippi Valley State at #15 Arizona State, 10 PM (Fox Sports Arizona & Fox College Sports Pacific):  MVSU should be one of the better teams in the SWAC this year, but that doesn’t mean this will be a good game.  The more we think about ASU, the more we believe that they’re in for a big season.  James Harden is just that good, and Sendek has had enough time to get buy-in from his players for his system (which generally works). 

*h/t to Patrick Marshall (see below)

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