Morning Five: 03.07.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on March 7th, 2011

  1. One of the great stories of this season has been the return of St. John’s to the center of the national hoops stage, there’s no doubt about it. They said goodbye to ten players during their Senior Night festivities on Saturday, and this article from the New York Post uses exclusive testimonials from each of those ten departing fellows to illustrate why, as writer Lenn Robbins puts it, “there might never have been a more emotional, more meaningful Senior Night in St. John’s basketball history.”
  2. The day that Washington State’s Klay Thompson was charged with possession of marijuana, his father (and former Laker) Mychal Thompson was scheduled to substitute for Max Kellerman on a Los Angeles sports radio show. Not only did Thompson keep his hosting commitment, he openly addressed and answered questions about the topic of his son’s mistake with straightforward, honest talk. An interesting summary, this, from T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times.
  3. Jim Les played for Bradley in college, and was hired as the Braves’ head coach in 2002. He had BU in the Sweet 16 as recently as 2006. He’s posted a 154-140 mark at the school. During one three year stretch, his teams won at least 21 games a season. It wasn’t enough. The school relieved Les of his coaching duties on Sunday, two days after the Braves lost in their second game of the MVC Tournament to Wichita State.
  4. Hey, Notre Dame backers — how proud of your team are you? Few pre-season prognosticators predicted a year like this for you, and zero predicted that you’d be in the running for a 1-seed in the Tournament. The Chicago Tribune gives the Irish their props and discusses what they have to do to lock up a #1.
  5. Where do you stand on the Brandon Davies/BYU drama? Well, we now know where Tim Tebow (a name we never thought would appear on this site) and Amare Stoudemire stand: they’re behind Davies and want him to play. Stoudemire leaves NO doubt where he stands (wow, Amare!) but we especially loved the end of Tebow’s comments: “I don’t know. I don’t even know the situation, but I just always think about giving people a second chance. Maybe he deserves one, but I don’t know the situation.” Gotcha. Thanks, man.
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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 12.12.09

Posted by nvr1983 on December 12th, 2009

boomdynamite

We are back with our first Boom Goes The Dynamite of the season (not counting our coverage of ESPN’s 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon). For those of you who are not familiar with this feature, we will be covering all of the important college basketball being played today in a live blog. So for those of you who love college basketball, we invite you to spend part (or all) of the day with us. If you’re still getting back into college basketball after spending the fall following a sport that does not let an undefeated team play for a title, here is a quick rundown of the major games that we will be following throughout the day:

  • Noon: #4 Kentucky at Indiana on CBS
  • Noon: #15 Ohio State at #20 Butler on ESPN and RTC Live
  • 2 PM: #13 Georgetown vs. #16 Washington on FSN and RTC Live
  • 2 PM: La Salle at #1 Kansas on ESPN
  • 4:30 PM: Mississippi State vs. UCLA on FSN and RTC Live
  • 5 PM: Marquette at #23 Wisconsin on ESPN2
  • 6 PM: New Mexico vs. #18 Texas A&M on Fox Sports Southwest
  • 7 PM: Kansas State vs. #17 UNLV on ESPN Full Court
  • 9 PM: #5 Purdue at Alabama on ESPN2

Noon: And we’re live. Like we noted earlier there are 2 big games to watch in this TV session. We’re expecting Kentucky to destroy Indiana, but Ohio State-Butler promises to be much more interesting especially with the absence of Evan Turner.

12:10 PM: Agree with Greg Anthony. DeMarcus Cousins is the key for Kentucky’s title hopes this season. John Wall and Patrick Patterson are almost a given. If Cousins can play consistently (and the Wildcats play a little D), they have a great shot at a NCAA title.

12:12 PM: Phenomenal start for Indiana. Tom Crean could not have asked for anything more than a 12-4 start. Is it possible that Kentucky could have overlooked Indiana. I know the Hoosiers are down, but you have to get up for a trip to Bloomington, right?

12:15 PM: For those who caught that discussion about the relative scoring ability of Matt Howard and Jay Bilas. Here are Jay’s numbers from his time at Duke.

12:20 PM: Kentucky looks really sloppy right now. Have the Wildcats been listening to all the hype?

12:25 PM: Great start for Butler. Up 24-14 midway through the 1st half. William Buford answers a bucket but misses the free throw. Wow. That’s a ridiculous class for Ohio State, but like Bilas mentions how long will they stay there. Gordon Hayward almost converts a ridiculous alley-oop from Shelvin Mack.

12:30 PM: Wow. Bilas thinks Northwestern is still a NCAA Tournament team even without Kevin Coble. I’m not so sure about that. I guess there is a lot of Big 10/11 basketball to be played.

12:32 PM: And Kentucky has taken the lead at 21-19 thanks to a 12-2 run. It figured it would only be a matter of time before they came back, but this is pretty quick. The question is whether the Hoosiers can respond and keep this game tight. If they keep it within 10 at half, the crowd should still be into it.

12:35 PM: Did they just say that Wall has a 3.8 GPA? Has Kentucky’s semester already ended or is that his high school GPA? I have heard it was closer to 2.6 in high school. Is this another Tim Tebow situation?

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.01.09 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 1st, 2009

dynamiteWell it’s finally here. The month of March is upon us. Here at RTC, we’ll be coming up with a ridiculous number of posts (I’m not sure how we will be able to do it with our other “lives”) so be sure to check back throughout the month as we will have posts for conference recaps, our unique bubble watch, frequent bracket updates by our resident bracketologist Zach, our favorite NCAA tournament memories, and the most comprehensive NCAA tournament preview anywhere. Ever.

11:00 AM: Just to set the table for today (and before I run out to grab some lunch before the games start), we’ll be following all three of the major games today, which will all be on CBS. At noon, Dominic James-less #10 Marquette will travel to #6 Louisville. Then at 2 PM, #8 Missouri will travel to Lawrence to take on the defending national champs, #15 Kansas. (CBS will also be airing the Tennessee-Florida game at 2. We will be very unhappy if we end up with that game instead.) The last time these teams met, Missouri shocked the Jayhawks with a Zaire Taylor 10-footer to hand Kansas its only loss in their last 13 games. A win here for Kansas would essentially seal the Big 12 regular season title for Kansas since they own the tie-breaker over Oklahoma (thanks to Blake Griffin‘s absence). Finally at 4 PM, #9 Michigan State will go to #20 Illinois. Like the preceding game, a win here would essentially clinch the Big 10 regular season title for the Spartans. In addition, we will be following the aforementioned UT-UF game (hopefully online instead of on our TVs) as well as a handful of bubble match-ups (Providence at Rutgers, Cincinnati at Syracuse, Michigan at Wisconsin, and West Virginia at South Florida).

11:50 AM: If any of you are wondering if I might decide to ditch this and go outside to enjoy the beautiful March weather, here’s your answer. On a side note, I just saw myself on ESPN for the second time this season (thanks to the miracle of HD).

11:55 AM: Wow. I just saw the Blake Griffin play from yesterday where we went over the scorer’s table. Pretty impressive after his concussion against Texas.

Noon: CBS just announced they will be have an interview with Jamie Dixon at halftime. So the Pittsburgh fans might want to tune in for that if a top 10 match-up in their own conference wasn’t enough.

12:05 PM: Rick Pitino is wearing his Colonel Sanders suit for the white out. As the CBS guys mentioned, last year he had to switch at halftime. Let’s see if it is more effective this year.

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Getting Off Dickie V’s Back (For Now)

Posted by jstevrtc on January 20th, 2009

John Stevens is a featured columnist for RTC.  His columns will appear on Tuesdays throughout the season.

This past Saturday I was watching the North Carolina vs Miami (FL) matchup and simultaneously checking out nvr1983’s live press-row blog of the event.  Just before the second half started, ESPN’s Dick Vitale started talking about his favorite subject, the Duke Blue Devils.  No surprise there, right?  Well, this time he prefaced it by saying, “I know people don’t like it when I talk about Duke, but I’m gonna talk about them!” or something close to that (I don’t have video of this, but if you do, put a link in the comments section and I’ll add it to the post and credit you). 

daylife.com and Getty Images)
Why is that man smiling? Forget it. We know why. (photo credit: daylife.com and Getty Images)

This tells us that it’s obvious that Vitale is very much aware and maybe even a little sensitive about how the college basketball-loving public perceives him as favoring the Blue Devils.  Heck, I admit, in the past I’ve been quick to jump on the guy with both feet about this.  I’ve rolled my eyes and shaken my head like so many others when he, in a non-Duke basketball game, starts prattling on about Duke like a lovesick 6th-grade girl who has a crush on a boy and wants to talk about it endlessly.

So Vitale said a few things about Duke and that was that.  Big deal.  Big surprise.  But right as the second half began, I began thinking — this wasn’t his usual Thom Brennaman-Tim Tebow hyperbole about the Dukies.  It was — gasp! — actually relevant.  You see, it was the “I know people don’t like it” part that caught my attention, specifically.  That borders on an apology, or at least an acknowledgment of his Blue Devil affinity.  Now, like a lot of college basketball fans, I think, I don’t have a problem with the Duke program (I’m still deciding whether Coach K’s satellite radio show is fair or not) as much as I have a problem with Vitale (and certainly Mike Patrick) bringing it up when it has no relevance to what’s going on in front of him.  That’s the only time it ticks me off.

You know what it reminds me of?  When you’re talking to some girl and she does that “boyfriend” thing, meaning she inserts a random reference of the fact that she has a boyfriend into a conversation the FIRST chance she gets because 1) she really has one, or 2) she’s not interested and this is her way of telling you.  I think you know the conversation I’m talking about.  Who among us hasn’t been here:

Me:  I had a flat tire today.
Girl:  You know what?  My boyfriend’s car has tires.

Or:

Me:  That’s a heavy oxygen tank, there.
Girl:  My boyfriend breathes oxygen!

Or maybe:

Me:  Hi, I…
Girl:  Boyfriend.

I recall that great bit on Seinfeld where George was out on a date with a woman who does that little trick by telling George he has a nice watch, then says, “My boyfriend loves watches, he’s a real watch freak.”  When discussing it with Jerry, Jerry notes, “They just SLIP it right in there, like it’s all part of the conversation.”  Well, I think that’s kind of what Vitale does.  And I think it’s combined with a little bit of that schoolgirl thing I mentioned above.  Or perhaps in Mr. Vitale there’s a little bit of that guy who was affected so much by Star Wars as a kid that he’s never been the same.  You know the guy, the one who makes a Star Wars reference any time he can; the guy who filters his whole existence through that movie, seemingly asking himself at every moment of the day, “What does this have to do with Star Wars?  What possible link can I make between that movie and the things that happen in my life on a moment-to-moment basis?”  I think all of these are at the root of Vitale’s Duke-o-philia.

BUT, my dear readers, I caught myself on this occasion, before I started texting my friends and ripping Vitale.  There’s a difference, this year.  This season, Duke is relevant.  Because Duke is good.  True, Duke is usually good.  But this season is different. 

I see a different sort of energy around this particular Duke squad that I haven’t seen in recent years.  This is a team that has bought into the fact — one that coaches across the country at all levels try SO HARD to get into the collective consciousnesses of their teams — that defense creates offense, that the toughness of your defense will determine your success.  In addition to being 4th in the nation in scoring, themselves, Duke keeps their opponents at 39.6% shooting per game, and they are second in the nation in a statistic I consider very important and telling, that of Turnovers Forced Per Game (17.0!!).  So maybe Vitale, in his Duke love, is to be given a little leeway this year?

I admit, that’s going to be tough.  How many of you recall this incident from last year, where Vitale was calling a Duke game and this was shown:

misterirrelevant.com
The Vitale Grandkids (Photo credit: misterirrelevant.com)

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01.12.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on January 12th, 2009

A new set of Fast Breaks to get your “work” week off to a good start. . .

  • Congrats to Don Meyer for breaking Bobby Knight’s all-time NCAA win mark. I’m guessing this will get a 10 second mention on SportsCenter so we thought we would honor Meyer here.
  • The New York Times with an analysis of the coaching tenure by conference. It is interesting how much longer the ACC coaches tenure has been. The ACC number is obviously boosted by Coach K’s 28+ year run at Duke. I’m not sure if the difference are significant. Does this mean that ACC programs are more successful or that the administrators there are more lenient? Either way I don’t think a conference’s average length of tenure should matter as much to a recruit as a specific school’s track record.
  • Ohio State transfer Anthony Crater will be heading to Tampa to play at USF. A pretty big pick-up for a team that will likely finish DFL in the Big East.
  • RTC touched on academics and basketball a few months back, but a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution piece (h/t to The Big Lead for finding this) goes well beyond that (imagine that full-time journalists. . .) analyzing SAT scores of football players (it is a Southern newspaper) compared to their “classmates”. Anybody who went to school with big-time athletics programs realizes what a joke the term “student-athlete” often is. We’re planning on digging into this issue (with a basketball focus obviously) a bit more in the near future. It also makes you wonder what kind of grade inflation is going on if someone with a reported 890 SAT (I don’t care if that was as a 9th grader) can pull a 3.81 GPA.
  • A look at Belmont almost 10 months after they nearly knocked off Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament. I doubt Vince Gill goes to many regular season games.
  • A look at how Jamie Dixon is motivating Pittsburgh even after they rose to #1 in the polls. I guess I can see what he is saying since they are only the #3 team in Vegas.
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ATB: For God So Loved the World He Gave Us His One and Only Tebow

Posted by rtmsf on January 8th, 2009

afterbuzzer

From the “Is This Really Necessary?” Department.

AP/J.Pat Carter)

Tebow Wants to Meet a John in Stall 316? (photo credit: AP/J.Pat Carter)

Game of the Night. Washington 84, Stanford 83. This was an entertaining game that was decided when Stanford’s Landry Fields made one dribble after catching a perfect three-quarter court pass with 2.2 seconds left.  The problem was that the dribble was in traffic and the ball landed on someone’s foot and skirted out of bounds.  Replays showed that it likely hit a UW player’s foot, which would have given Stanford one last shot at the win, but home court ruled.  We watched a good deal of this game, and while both Stanford and Washington appear to be top-half Pac-10 teams, we didn’t see anything that would lead us to believe either of these teams would play more than one game in the NCAAs.  Anthony Goods provided 19 pts for the losing team, while Jon Brockman contributed a stellar 19/18.  Freshman Isaiah Thomas dropped 18 himself.

Other Scores on a Tim Tebow Kinda Night.

  • Arizona St. 69, Oregon St. 38.  Actually, we hope you didn’t tune in for this abomination.  ASU shot 16-18 for the second half and a scorching 65% for the game.
  • Butler 64, Wright St. 48. Butler really stuck it to the visiting Raiders in a game that Brad Brownell’s WSU squad legitimately thought they had a chance to win.  Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward combined for 26/14.
  • Minnesota 52, Iowa 49. Where’d this ‘typical’ Big 10 score come from?  Doesn’t everyone know that the Big 10 is an offensive conference this year?  Iowa had a 13-pt lead in the first half, but Minny fought back to win in Iowa City for the first time in its last five tries.
  • Xavier 70, St. Louis 44. Xavier’s Derrick Brown had a perfect night (6-6, 3-3 from three, and 5-5 from the line) for 20 pts in the blowout win, and we can’t help but wonder… isn’t SLU’s Rick Majerus a better coach than this?
  • Arizona 67, Oregon 52. In an ignoble stat, no Duck reached double figures in this game.  Arizona’s Chase Budinger hit for 20 pts and Jordan Hill had 9/12.
  • California 57, Washington St. 50. It’s simply astonishing to us that Cal lost two players to the NBA from a ninth place team, but is now 3-0 in the Pac-10 with three solid wins under its belt.  Right now, the Bears are arguably the third best team in that league.

On Tap Friday (all times EST):  there’s one game worth watching after your fifth gin-and-tonic tomorrow night.

  • St. Mary’s @ Santa Clara (ESPNU) – 11pm.  SC’s John Bryant is the story of the year nobody is talking about, averaging 18/12 after getting stabbed in Australia during the offseason.  Patty Mills has got SMC rolling , with ten Ws in a row.
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ESPN Gameday: 2009 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 9th, 2008

Yeah, we’re way behind on this story and everything else, but we finally extracted ourselves from under a wet blanket of indentured misery-tude and we can once again focus on what’s really important… like whether Jay Bilas will finally turn around and punch The Redundancy known as Digger Phelps in the schnozz…  or whether Hubert Davis’ high-pitched guffaw will cause rabid bats nesting in the arena rafters to attack the GameDay crew…  or whether Rece Davis’ hair will ever move… 

Still, in the three years that ESPN has been doing College Gameday, the on-air chemistry has steadily improved to the point where it has become must-watch tv for knowledgeable hoops fans throughout its Jan/Feb/March run.  We still can’t figure out why ESPN locks itself into games before the season even begins (unlike its CFB counterpart, whose venue changes on a week-to-week basis), but the majority of the time they pick a nationally relevant game (14 of the 31 games have involved two ranked teams, but last year involved a notable exception: last year’s S. Illinois – Creighton 48-44 stinker on Jan. 26 is one of a handful of games involving two unranked teams in the four-year history of GameDay), and some of the humorous bits are LOL-worthy (see Tebow clip below). 

Irrespective of all that jazz, ESPN released its schedule of 2009 sites recently, and it’s apparent that ESPN is looking to party in college towns aplenty this year – missing are some of the lamer venues such as Syracuse and Durham in favor of more traditionally collegiate beer and babes locales. 

January 17- Chapel Hill, NC (Miami-North Carolina)
January 24- South Bend, IN (UConn-Notre Dame)
January 31- Knoxville, TN. (Florida-Tennessee)
February 7- Spokane, WA (Memphis-Gonzaga)
February 14- Madison, WI (Ohio State-Wisconsin)
February 21- Austin, TX (Oklahoma-Texas)
February 28- Berkeley, CA (UCLA-California)
March 7- Morgantown, WV (Louisville-West Virginia)

Some quick thoughts -

Best Game.  We love the UConn-Notre Dame matchup in South Bend.  UConn should be close to all the way “back” this season, and Mike Brey will have a top 10 team possibly riding a near-50 game homecourt winning streak in South Bend on that night.  Plus we get to see Digger in his ridiculous green tie and marker ensemble.  This night has fun written all over it.  Our runner-up game to watch would be Memphis-Gonzaga in Spokane, a rematch of a fairly entertaining game from last January

Likely Stinker.  Nobody wants to watch Ohio St. and Wisconsin play bruiserball in Madison on Valentine’s Day, that goes without saying (coincidence?  we think not).  But the Miami-UNC game on Jan. 17 also has us shaking our heads a little.  If you’re going to show us the prohibitive favorites on GameDay, at least give us the courtesy of matching the Heels up with someone who can challenge them…  Miami?  Hmph – this has 30 point blowout written all over it, and Miami is a Top 25 team!

Who Knows Game.  The Feb. 28 game between UCLA and Mike Montgomery’s newly acquired California team would have been a blockbuster had Ryan Anderson stuck around for his junior season in Berkeley.  But we’re still intrigued to see what Cal can do in a “big” game like this one, exactly the kind of game that Monty built his rep on down at the Farm in the 90s. 

Missing Powers.  No Duke this year, which we really can’t believe since the Devils will be a top 5 team.  There’s also no sign of Bill Self’s national champion Kansas Jayhawks – instead we get a Big 12 matchup in Austin between Oklahoma and Texas.  For the first year in GameDay history, Kentucky will also not be involved in a game this season.   

Cult of Personalities.  GameDay loves to show certain coaches nearly every year.  We mentioned Roy Williams’ UNC squad, who will be making its fifth appearance.  Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals will also be making their fifth appearance, as will Rick Barnes’ Texas Longhorns.  As a brief sidenote speaking of personalities, the Mar. 7 game between Pitino and Bob Huggins could be exceptional.  Louisville should be absolutely loaded next season, and we only have doubts about WVU from their loss of the acrobatic Joe Alexander, but Huggins will have his team sky high for this one anyway.

The Tim Tebow GameDay Clip:

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