The RTC Interview Series: Pac-12 Preview with Don MacLean and Miles Simon

Posted by Walker Carey on November 6th, 2013

Rush The Court is back with another edition of One on One: An Interview Series, which we will bring you periodically throughout the offseason. If you have any specific interview requests or want us to interview you, shoot us an email at

With the college basketball season nearly upon us, we thought it would be a good idea to gather some expert opinions on the nation’s major college basketball conferences. To read through the entire 2013-14 preseason interview series, click here. As part of our national preview with the Pac-12, RTC correspondent Walker Carey recently had the pleasure of speaking with two Pac-12 experts in Pac-12 Network analyst and former UCLA star, Don MacLean, and ESPN analyst and former Arizona star, Miles Simon. (Ed. note – we spoke to each individual separately, but for the sake of expediency, combining their answers into a round table format made the most sense.)

Don MacLean and Miles Simon Shared Their Pac-12 Thoughts With Us

Don MacLean and Miles Simon Shared Their Pac-12 Thoughts With Us

Rush the Court: Arizona is the overwhelming preseason favorite in the league. What is it about Sean Miller’s team that has expectations so high in Tucson?

Don MacLean: The talent level there is very high. Sean Miller has brought in some very high-level recruits. Aaron Gordon brings another dimension for the team with his great athleticism and versatility to play inside and on the perimeter. T.J. McConnell is going to be great for the team. I worked the exhibition game last week and I was really impressed by McConnell. I think he is really good. He is the first true point guard that Sean Miller has had since he has been at Arizona. When you have all that talent, you need a pass-first guy to spread the ball around. From what I have seen, McConnell seems to be that guy. Sean Miller is also a great coach. With this roster, the depth that the team has, and Miller’s coaching, I think it is warranted to put Arizona as the best team in the league right now.

Miles Simon: Sean Miller obviously brought in a tremendous recruiting class. Getting Aaron Gordon, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Elliott Pitts to come in is a good place to start with this team. Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell is going to be an excellent addition for the team at point guard. When you look at this team, it is just so long and athletic. I think defensively, this might be the best group that Sean Miller has had since he has been at Arizona. There are just so many positives with this team going into the season.

RTC: Oregon made a surprise trip to the Sweet Sixteen last March after pulling off upsets over Oklahoma State and Saint Louis. Gone from last season’s team are Arsalan Kazemi and E.J. Singler, but the Ducks did secure the services of UNLV transfer Mike Moser. With Moser joining a team that has the talented backcourt of Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson returning, should Dana Altman’s squad take a step forward in the Pac-12 this season and should another NCAA Tournament run be expected?

MacLean: You can never expect an NCAA Tournament run, but I think the team should be just as good. Do not forget that Oregon also added Joseph Young, the transfer from Houston. Adding Mike Moser as a fifth-year guy is an important piece and Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson will be better as second-year players. With what Dana Altman does with his style of play and the way he changes up defenses, I think the Ducks will be as good as they were last season.

Simon: I think Oregon will get back to the NCAA Tournament. It really has some nice pieces, but when you lose guys like Arsalan Kazemi, E.J. Singler, Tony Woods and Carlos Emory, you are losing what was the heart and soul of your team. A lot of leadership and toughness left with those guys. If Mike Moser is able to return to where he was with UNLV two years ago, he will be excellent. The backcourt of Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson should be explosive and one of the best in the league. Johnathan Loyd is the third guard and he has some experience because he had to play a lot when Artis was injured last season. When you consider these pieces, this is a team that should get back to the NCAA Tournament and finish in the top half of the Pac-12.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.26.11

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 26th, 2011

Throughout the NCAA Tournament, we’ll be providing you with the daily chatter from around the webosphere relating to what’s going on with the teams still playing.


  • Kentucky/North Carolina is a power matchup in the Elite Eight. The Tar Heels defeated the Wildcats in their showdown last December. Since then, both teams have matured, thus setting the tone for a battle of epic proportions.
  • Ohio State big man Jared Sullinger said he will return to Columbus for his sophomore season. This is a bit of news that we will not believe until it is set in stone. Ask again in a month or so as the draft entry deadline nears.
  • Against both Princeton and Ohio State, Kentucky guard Brandon Knight struggled mightily with his shot, but came up big when it mattered most. We would imagine that the Wildcats will need a much more consistent performance from Knight if they wish to get past North Carolina.
  • Marquette showed some fight in the second half of Friday’s game against North Carolina. It was too little too late, as the Golden Eagles had a terrible first half in which they scored only 15 points.
  • Despite early season struggles, North Carolina center Tyler Zeller believes that the Tar Heels knew they could get deep into the tournament all along. Zeller and his teammates will need this confidence, as they are slated to face a red-hot Kentucky squad on Sunday.


  • When Butler went through a swoon in January, head coach Brad Stevens called good friend Mark Few for advice to get his team through the tough time.
  • This Indianapolis Star columnist is not attributing Butler’s run as “magic,” but merely as the best team winning. The Bulldogs need to be on their game if they want to beat Florida to advance to their second straight Final Four.
  • Hailing from little Connersville, Indiana, Butler forward Matt Howard has been the heart and soul of the Bulldogs throughout this season. Howard has been so unselfish that point guard Ronald Nored has, at times, had to beg the big man to shoot more.
  • Florida guard Erving Walker has put the Gators on his back more than once this season. The junior from New York City stands much taller than his 5’8 frame would suggest.
  • Once an afterthought at Georgetown, forward Vernon Macklin has made a big difference for Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators. It is tough not to root for a kid like Macklin, who has battled adversity throughout his collegiate career.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Weekly Bracketology: 03.09.09

Posted by zhayes9 on March 8th, 2009

Update (03.09):  Zach realized that Butler and VCU were missing, so after we fished him out of the lake, he sent us a revised version.  Apologies to all Bulldog and Ram fans. 

Zach Hayes is RTC’s  resident bracketologist.  He’ll regularly be out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the next three months.

Next Four In: New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, UNLV
Last Four In: South Carolina, Providence, Penn State, Arizona
Last Four Out: San Diego State, Creighton, Maryland, Saint Mary’s
Next Four Out: Florida, Miami (FL), Virginia Tech, Auburn
Also Considered: Davidson, George Mason, Rhode Island, Temple, Nebraska, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Tulsa, USC, Kansas St.

Bids per conference: Big Ten (8), Big East (8), ACC (6), Big 12 (6), Pac-10 (5), Mountain West (4), SEC (3), Atlantic 10 (2), Missouri Valley (2).

Automatic bids: Binghamton, Xavier, North Carolina, East Tennessee State, Kansas, Louisville, Weber State, Radford, Michigan State, Cal State Northridge, VCU, Memphis, Butler, Cornell, Siena, Bowling Green, Morgan State, Utah, Northern Iowa, Robert Morris, Morehead State, Washington, American, LSU, College of Charleston, Stephen F. Austin, Alabama State, North Dakota State, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Utah State.

Next bracket: Saturday morning, March 14.

Final bracket: Sunday afternoon, March 15.


Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Your Bubble Has Burst: 02.19.09

Posted by zhayes9 on February 19th, 2009

Zach Hayes is RTC’s resident bracketologist.   He’ll be regularly out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the next three months.


Selection Sunday is sneaking up on us, folks. The conversations around college basketball are focused squarely on the bubble as we crawl closer and closer to March 15th and the unveiling of the new bracket. Whose schedule is looking favorable down the stretch? Which teams need to win out? Is the ACC approaching the Big East in terms of expected bids? Here’s your latest bubble update on Your Bubble Has Burst here at Rush the Court:

Note: all computer numbers prior to Wednesday’s games.

Atlantic Coast

Locks: North Carolina built a hefty lead in the ACC this week with their wins over Duke and Miami, while their rival Blue Devils have fallen in 4 out of 6 to drop 2.5 games behind the Tar Heels. Both Duke and Carolina, along with 7-4 Clemson and 7-4 Wake Forest, appear to be locks at this point. Despite Wake’s slip-ups to unranked ACC opposition, their home wins against Duke and North Carolina and road wins at BYU, Clemson and Boston College should be enough.

Comfortably in:
Sure, they laid an egg in Winston-Salem, but Florida State still sits in a nice position. A 21 RPI and 32 SOS with 2 wins against the RPI top 25 in the #1 RPI conference means Leonard Hamilton will finally lead his Seminoles to tournament action. The schedule down the stretch does provide room for a collapse, though, with a home-and-home against Virginia Tech, trips to BC and Duke and home contests vs. Clemson and Miami. No gimmes on that schedule.

Work left to do:
Those buzzer-beater losses to Xavier and Wisconsin would look very good as wins on Seth Greenberg’s resume right about now. Virginia Tech has done a nice job turning it around in ACC play to compile a 51 RPI, 49 SOS and wins at Wake and Miami. Still, the loss to Virginia hurts big and their non-conference wins are less than impressive. With @Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and two games vs. Florida State left on the slate, they are far from a sure thing. Boston College will probably hear their name called on Selection Sunday after the win against Duke on Sunday. They really only need to go 2-2 down the stretch and 9-7 should be enough. Their last three games are favorable: FSU, @NCST, GT. At 4-8 in the ACC, Miami needs to win out to get to 8-8. Period.

On the brink: Maryland’s throttling at the hands of halfway decent opponents in seemingly every game save Michigan State can’t impress the tournament committee. At 5-6, they’re still alive. They absolutely need to steal one of their three remaining home games with Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest while also knocking off NC State and Virginia on the road. It’s a tall task for coach Williams.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story