27 Down, 38 To Go…

Posted by rtmsf on March 14th, 2009

There are twelve automatic bids today, so we’ll be updating these as the day moves forward…

#16 – Binghamton (23-8, 16-3 Am East).  Binghamton took care of business today against upstart UMBC to win their eleventh in a row and earn the school’s first ever NCAA bid.  Reggie Fuller had 19/10 and alleged non-POY DJ Rivera added 16/5 in the RTC home win.  We had more coverage on today’s BGTD.

Projected Seed: #16

Something to Remember: Binghamton is um, size-challenged.  Their tallest starter is the 6’6 Fuller.  And have you heard that Tony Kornheiser has an affinity for this school for some reason?  Yeah, we hadn’t either.

tony-kornheiser-2

#17 – Memphis (31-3, 19-0 CUSA). 25 straight wins in a row.  61 CUSA wins in row.  Memphis just keeps on truckin’, with another stellar defensive performance in holding Tulsa to 26% from the field and 2-14 from three.  This was also the 135th win for the Tiger senior class, who is focused on getting to #141, according to Coach Calipari.  Robert Dozier had 18/14 and Tyreke Evans had 18/5/6 in the same-old, same-old for Memphis.

Projected Seed: #2

STR:  We’re going to be a little contrarian here, but we’re not buying that Memphis is a national title contender this year.  Are they better than anticipated?  Absolutely.  Are they on the same level as UConn, Pitt, Louisville, UNC, etc.?  No freakin’ way.  Their defense is outstanding, statistically the very best in the land.  And CUSA is a better league than people tend to think it is.  But the fact of the matter here is that Memphis is playing with house money right now.  They were beaten by Georgetown, Xavier and Syracuse in the pre-conference slate.  Tennessee took them down to the last possession.  They rolled up Gonzaga in their building, but the Zags wilted in the face of their athletic defenders.  Memphis is a very good team – but they’re not going back to the F4.  Remember that you heard it here first.

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Checking in on the… MEAC

Posted by rtmsf on January 9th, 2009

JC of HBCUSportsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the SWAC and MEAC Conferences.

Just seven days into the New Year, and the MEAC got its biggest win of the season courtesy of a lackluster Maryland Terrapins team. The Morgan State Bears, a favorite to win the conference in 2009, came into College Park as definitive underdogs. They were a team that hadn’t played up to the standard they set in last season’s 20-win campaign, going against a Terrapin squad that was playing much better than its disappointing 07-08 in which they dropped three games to mid-major conferences.

This one’s for you, Morgan State.

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ATB: Worst UK Loss in 18 Years

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2007

ATB v.4
11.07.07

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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After the Buzzer: Zone Offense

Posted by rtmsf on November 7th, 2007

ATB v.4

11.06.07

Well, we already covered the Ohio St. debacle. More CvC tonight…

Kentucky 67, Central Arkansas 40. Billy Gillispie debuted at Kentucky with the third highest victory total (27) for a coach’s first game in UK history (Rupp; Smith), while holding C. Arkansas to 20% shooting for the game, the lowest total against a UK team in 12 yrs. The Cats were paced by sometime-malcontent Joe Crawford, who was benched for the first 13 mins of the game before coming in to score 20 pts. Who is Mark Coury? The UK walk-on soph had a double-double (13/10), while Patrick Patterson, who looked great in the two exhibition games, got himself into early foul trouble and finished with four pts. Unless Patterson dominates and Carter gets healthy, inside play could be a season-long bugaboo for the Cats. For the definitive take on tonight’s action, check A Sea of Blue.

 

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Memphis 80, Richmond 63. After a performance last night against Maine last night that may have set the game’s evolution back a generation or so, Richmond decided to bring its game tonight. Or at least its zone defense, which seriously confounded the Tigers until a 14-2 run with 13 mins to go in the game finally put the Spiders away. Seriously, UM was only up one point at halftime, and by all accounts, looked confused. Once again, Derrick Rose was the story, with a line of 21/5 but only one assist. CDR also contributed 19/9 (on 5-14 shooting, though). Could zone be an achilles heel of the Calipari’s AASAA offense? Also, for the second consecutive night, someone went off on the Tigers, as David Gonzalvez blew up for 25 in a losing effort.

 

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Other Games: Gardner-Webb 69, Alabama A&M 55. So our SWAC predicted champion got beat, but how about our A&M boy Mickell Gladness? Nearly a trip-dub tonight, with 8/10/7 blks. G-W advances to play Kentucky tomorrow night.

 

On Tap Tonight. The Lexington Regional continues and the Storrs Regional gets started (aka the Regional that Holy Cross Can’t Play In).

  • #15 Kentucky (-25.5) v. Gardner-Webb (ESPNU) - We heart Mark Coury.
  • Connecticut (-26) v. Morgan St. (ESPNU) - Calhoun and Bozeman in a game of who is shadiest.
  • Ohio Valley (NL) v. Buffalo – Could you have handpicked two crappier teams, Calhoun?
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ESPNUSUCK.

Posted by rtmsf on November 5th, 2007

The official start of the 2007-08 regular season isn’t until Friday, but the NCAA exempted the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament, which is starting tonight in Memphis and will run throughout the week at several other sites (Storrs, Lexington, Norman) before holding the championship rounds at MSG next week. ESPN and Comcast have ensured that we won’t be able to see any of this week’s games in our local viewing area – thanks, guys! But jeez, this seems really early – we just changed our clocks for chrissakes. Mike DeCourcy has the best take on the matter:

Once again, instead of the triumphant introduction to the season we have in such sports as NFL football and Major League Baseball, college basketball just sort of stumbles in and grabs a seat in the corner.

With college football and the NFL in full swing, it’ll take until Thanksgiving for anyone to notice that we’re already playing games, but that’s ok. It gives us a chance to bone up on early hits and misses (ahem, Michigan St.) while nobody’s watching.

Here’s the CvC bracket:

Coaches v. Cancer Bracket 07 v.1

A few comments:

  • Quick Rant. Why the hell aren’t ESPNU games part of the Full Court Package? That makes completely no sense to us as it seems a natural fit. And yes we’re extremely annoyed that Comcast will not offer ESPNU in our area.
  • Predictions. Memphis will roll through its regional, keeping the nation’s longest homecourt winning streak (32) alive. Kentucky will bomb Central Arkansas but struggle with Alabama A&M and shotblocker extraordinaire Mickell Gladness in the second round. UConn will get a game from Todd Bozeman’s Morgan St. squad before faltering, then destroy Buffalo in round two. Our possible upset alert is USF over Oklahoma. The Dons probably don’t have enough to pull it off, but we expect a close game there. Still, we expect Jeff Capel’s OU team to represent the Norman region at MSG next week.
  • Quick Fact. Kentucky is 0-2 in this event, with both losses coming in 2000 (UCLA, St. John’s) when it was a four-team tourney. Grab the ball, Tayshaun! That record will change this time around.
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Conference Primers: #30 – MEAC

Posted by rtmsf on October 2nd, 2007

Season Preview Banner 3

Predicted Order of Finish.

  1. North Carolina A&T (20-10) (15-3)
  2. Morgan St. (15-12) (13-5)
  3. Coppin St. (14-15) (12-6)
  4. Hampton (13-15) (10-8)
  5. Delaware St. (12-16) (10-8)
  6. Norfolk St. (14-15) (10-8)
  7. Bethune-Cookman (15-15) (8-10)
  8. Florida A&M (13-16) (8-10)
  9. South Carolina St. (9-18) (7-11)
  10. Howard (7-21) (6-12)
  11. Maryland – Eastern Shore (6-24) (6-12)
  12. Winston-Salem St. (5-23) (3-15)

MEAC Logo

WYN2K. As bad as the SWAC is as a conference, the MEAC is only marginally better. But make no mistake – it IS better. Computer rankings for the last three years reflect that the MEAC lords over the SWAC, as it has won over twice as many OOC contests (70-268; .261) than its sister conference over the last three years. Yet, the MEAC champion is still a play-in game stalwart, finding itself in three of the last four PiGs and entering the NCAAs as a #16 seed each of the last five years. Exhibiting the same problem with OOC “guarantee games” as the SWAC, only Florida A&M and Delaware St. had overall winning records last year. Now, if the league could only keep its coaches out of trouble… Morgan St.’s Todd Bozeman (yes, that Todd Bozeman), SC State’s Jamal Brown and FAMU’s Mike Gillespie have all experienced legal trouble in the last year (Brown and Gillespie were fired).

Predicted Champion. North Carolina A&T (#16 Seed NCAA). Aggie Pride is back, as former Louisville champion (1980) and current A&T head coach Jerry Eaves continues to rebuild a program that was an NCAA regular in the 80s/early 90s (ten trips from 1982-95). Lightning-quick PG Steven Rush leads the charge for the 27th quickest tempo in the nation, and it doesn’t hurt that he has F Jason Willis and a cast of five other senior regulars from a team that made a late push in the MEAC last season.

Others Considered. Todd Bozeman’s Morgan St. squad intrigues us because his team improved leaps and bounds over 2006 based largely on the attitude shift he instilled into the program. Plus, he’s bringing the best recruiting class into the league this year. Hampton is also a team to watch because of Rashad West, a 6’1 playmaker who is likely the best player in the league. Coppin St. returns all five starters from an underachieving squad last year.

Games to Watch. Similar to the SWAC, there’s only one game that will matter in the MEAC.

  • MEAC Championship Game (03.15.08).

RPI Booster Games. The MEAC plays 43 games against BCS conference opponents this year, and all but one is on the road. The key point here is that the home game is definitely winnable, as are a couple of other road games.

  • Colorado @ Florida A&M (11.15.07)
  • Hampton @ Virginia (12.19.07)
  • NC A&T @ Miami (FL) (12.23.07)

Odds of Multiple NCAA Bids. Zero. See SWAC.

Neat-o Stat. Don’t come to this league if you’re seeking beautiful offense. Nine of its eleven teams last year rated in the bottom 20% of teams nationally for offensive efficiency, and three of its teams (UMES, Howard, Norfolk St.) earned the ignoble distinction of being the least efficient defensive teams in the nation.

65-Team Era. Counting PiGs, the MEAC is 3-22 overall, with two trips to the second round – Hampton (#15) over Iowa St. (#2) in 2002, and Coppin St. (#15) over South Carolina (#2) in 1997. The MEAC is responsible for two of the only four #15 over #2 seed wins in history.

Final Thought. At least the MEAC isn’t the SWAC, right?

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