Wisconsin’s Leuer Breaks Wrist, Out Indefinitely

Posted by jstevrtc on January 11th, 2010

The hallmark of Wisconsin basketball is efficiency, and they just lost their most efficient player.

It’s an instinctive thing to put your arms and hands out in front of you during a fall, because you want to use them as shock absorbers and cushion the blow.  Sometimes, the price for saving your head, neck, or chest is a broken bone in one of the upper extremeties if the fall is fast or awkward (or both).  Wisconsin junior forward Jon Leuer knows a little about this concept, learning about it on Saturday during the first half of the Badgers’ win over Purdue.  Attempting to reduce the impact from a fall, Leuer broke his left wrist, and there is no mention anywhere of when he might be able to return.

Leuer is the leading rebounder and shot-blocker for the Badgers, snagging 6.0 RPG and adding 1.1 BPG.  He has almost doubled his scoring output from last season, going from 8.8 PPG to this year’s 15.4 PPG, which is second on the team (Trevon Hughes averages only 0.4 PPG more).  His absence, though, will be felt in a slightly more subtle way.  If you’ve seen Wisconsin play, you know that they are the Ivan Lendl of college basketball.  Not a single movement is wasted, and they’re more than content to sit back and take their time, slug it out with you, wear you down with their physical and mental toughness, induce you into mistakes, then beat you with a mixture of power and intelligence.  Efficiency is the Bo Ryan mantra.

The problem for Wisconsin is that Leuer leads his team in just about all of the efficiency statistics.  Out of 345 Division I teams, Wisconsin ranks 337th in possessions per 40 minutes (62.5).  This is by design, but you can see how important it is that they score when they get the chance.  Wisconsin is good at this, ranking 15th nationally in points per possession (1.12).  Leuer averages 15.4 PPG but only plays 27.9 minutes in a game, on the average.  Extrapolating it out, Leuer averages 22.1 points for every 40 minutes he plays, a full two points higher than Hughes, who is second.  His overall efficiency rating and efficiency per possession numbers are also tops on the Badgers.

Wisconsin only turns the ball over an average of 9.2 times a game, second in the nation.  A team that prides itself on control and economy of this magnitude can only suffer when they lose the one player that basically embodies the style of the team.  While Leuer is on the shelf, Coach Ryan will have to try to find ways to squeeze even more points out of every precious possession but still take extra care of the basketball.  Most of all, he (and about every UW supporter) will be hoping that Leuer’s bones knit quickly.  Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, but there’s been no mention of a timetable or even which bones were broken, so it’s tough to say how bad this is right now.  The only good thing is that…well, Wisconsin is the Dairy State, so there’s no shortage of calcium for those bones.

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From the Student Section: Wisconsin Badgers

Posted by rtmsf on December 19th, 2009

Contributing writer Kevin Chupka will periodically interview a rabid student fan about all things basketball on the court and in the stands… a view from the student section.

College basketball has its casual fans just like any other sport.  There is one group however that elevates it above all else by taking “fandom” to new heights.  A group tasked with truly being that sixth man on the court.  Sure the alumni can open up wallets full of cash from the real world and they can drink their fancy imported beer but the lifeblood of any great team inside the many arenas of division one college basketball are the students.  There are always exceptions (yours truly and Dick Vitale to name but two) but by and large students are the ones who live and breathe based on their team’s fortunes.  And so I sought to find some of those rabid fans.  The ones that paint their bare chests bright red or blue or orange.  The ones that lead the student section in chants that lift up their team and dash the dreams of the other.  In the weeks that follow we’ll get the dirt from inside the foxhole as we pick the brains of those who know their team best.

People like Michael Bleach, the beat writer for The Badger Herald, the paper of record at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The senior journalism major has his finger on the pulse of the basketball Badgers; and while he and many in town were still streaming into Camp Randall Stadium to cheer on the gridiron Badgers, Michael was also looking closely at a basketball team that the mainstream media saw clawing for notoriety in a strong Big Ten conference.

In a column previewing the season Michael wrote: “the national media (AP Top 25) has determined the Badgers will finish behind Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois and Minnesota. Michigan State and Purdue I will give you. As for the rest of the teams on that list, however, they haven’t invented a word strong enough for me to express my disbelief. I am colossally baffled.”  Baffled he told me because “The team has no holes in the starting five — with everyone on the floor able to shoot from beyond the arc — and it is a Bo Ryan team, so you know they will play strong defense. They have two strong subs coming off the bench in Jordan Taylor (sixth man of the year candidate) and Ryan Evans (typical athletic, defense, hustling guy).”

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Checking in on… the Big Ten

Posted by rtmsf on December 15th, 2009

checkinginon

Jason Prziborowski is the RTC correspondent for the Big Ten conference.

Three things from the past weekWisconsin loses to Wisconsin-Green Bay. The second thing is Ohio State loses without Evan Turner. The third thing is freshman Maurice Creek from Indiana and Drew Crawford from Northwestern are filling it up with more 30 points in their last games. Now three Big Ten teams are in the top 25: #4 Purdue, #12 Michigan State, and #18 Ohio State.

Standings

  1. Purdue 9-0
  2. Northwestern 7-1
  3. Illinois 8-2
  4. Michigan State 8-2
  5. Ohio State 7-2
  6. Wisconsin 7-2
  7. Minnesota 7-3
  8. Penn State 6-4
  9. Michigan 5-4
  10. Indiana 4-5
  11. Iowa 3-7

Top Storylines

  • Can Purdue win on the road against top teams? Purdue had to use the whole game to polish off Alabama down in Tuscaloosa. Granted that Alabama team is now 6-3 and beat Michigan earlier in the year, but still, Alabama is no Wisconsin in Madison. That will be Purdue’s first difficult road test, and a good one at that, as Wisconsin is practically unbeatable in the Kohl Center under Bo Ryan.
  • Was Butler a fluke or is Ohio State on the verge of dropping out of the top 25?  Butler is definitely on the way back up, but I am questioning whether OSU has enough in its tank to make up the difference. William Buford, who is averaging 12/4 on the year, stepped up for 20/7 for the Buckeyes. David Lighty, who is 12/5 on the year, went for 16/7 against the bulldogs. OSU is averaging 85.4 points per game this season, and scored just 66 against Butler. That’s about the gap of one Evan Turner.
  • Is Illinois as good as their record suggests? It’s hard to say, but after their big Clemson upset, they haven’t played anybody too great. Yes, you could argue that Vandy is tough, but you definitely can’t make the case for Western Michigan. If you play Illinois, just don’t do so at their place. They are 8-0 at Assembly Hall in Champaign. A big test will be against Northwestern on December 30th at home.

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Checking in on… the Big Ten

Posted by jstevrtc on December 8th, 2009

checkinginon

Jason Prziborowski is the RTC correspondent for the Big Ten Conference. 

Standings:

  1. Purdue  7-0
  2. Ohio State  7-1
  3. Northwestern  6-1
  4. Wisconsin  6-1
  5. Illinois  6-2
  6. Michigan State  6-2
  7. Minnesota  5-3
  8. Penn State  5-3
  9. Michigan  4-3
  10. Indiana  3-4
  11. Iowa  3-5

Four things from the past week:  Big Ten beats the ACC (6-5) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the first time in 11 years.  The second thing is Wisconsin knocking off #5 Duke.  The third thing is Illinois coming from 23 down to beat #19 Clemson.  Last but not least, Evan Turner goes down with a fractured back and will be out for a minimum of eight weeks.  That cost OSU not only a strong leader but over 20 PPG to their stat sheet.  Now four Big Ten teams are in the Top 25:  Purdue #5, Michigan State #12, Ohio State #13, Wisconsin #20.

Top Storylines:

  • Who will lead OSU?  Turner is down for the count with a fractured back, which is really unfortunate, as he was on pace to set a new record for triple-doubles in a season, and continued to put up ridiculous numbers.  With Turner sidelined, who will step up?  Their blowout of Eastern Michigan definitely didn’t test OSU, but their other players should have plenty of opportunity soon to demonstrate leadership.
  • Should we stick a fork in Michigan?  Michigan is near the bottom of the Big 10, losing to average teams.  Will they come back strong, or is this the beginning of a downward spiral that might last all year?
  • Is Minnesota, dare I say, average?  It looks to be that way after losing to Miami to complete their third loss in a row to somewhat average teams.  They blew out Brown, but then again, what decent team doesn’t?  Minnesota also hasn’t demonstrated that they can win on the road, so that will be a challenge all year.

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ATB: Big Ten Victorious on Comeback Wednesday

Posted by rtmsf on December 3rd, 2009

atb

Wisconsin: First RTC of the Season? If anyone knows of another one, let us know.  But this is the first one we’ve seen this year.  But c’mon Musberger, get it right!  RUSH.  THE.  COURT.  (Ed. note – apparently UNLV fans RTC’d on Saturday after defeating Louisville, which is about as unjustified of an RTC as we’ve ever heard of… goodness gracious, folks, it’s Vegas.  And beating an overrated Louisville team excites you?)

Story of the NightBig Ten Finally Gets Monkey Off Its Back.  It didn’t turn out the way we thought it would tonight, but it did end up as a 6-5 victory for the Big Ten schools over their ACC counterparts.  Two unexpected events conspired to make this possible — Illinois’ inspirational comeback win at Clemson after being down by as many as 23 points in the second half, and Wisconsin’s home victory over Duke in the type of game the Blue Devils always seem to win (because, well, they do — Duke was 10-0 in the ACC/B10 Challenge prior to tonight).  These two surprises combined with Ohio State’s expected win over Florida State at the end of the evening resulted in three straight victories at the end of the Challenge to put the midwesterners on top for the first time EVER.  So what does that mean?  Does it prove once and for all that the Big Ten is better than the ACC this year?  Well, not at all.  In fact, if anything, this year’s Challenge has shown us that the middle of the ACC might be a tad bit stronger than we thought it was (Wake, Miami, BC, Clemson).  Now… about our predictions for tonight.  Regression to the mean is the lesson here.  After a perfect 6-0 start over the first two evenings of play, it all crashed and burned with a 1-4 record tonight.  But yeah, at least we called it, baby!  That’s all that matters!  6-5 Big Ten over the ACC, just like we said!*

*note – our Caribbean friends disagree with this assessment.

Game of the Night #1. Wisconsin 73, #5 Duke 69. Duke took its first ever loss in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge tonight for two reasons as we saw them.  First, their big men other than Kyle Singler (28/6/3 assts) were virtually nonexistent.  Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek and the Plumlee brothers combined for just six points and fourteen rebounds.  Compare that with 16/27 against UConn last week, and you’ll see that almost all of the scoring burden fell onto the Duke backcourt + Singler.  Second, Wisconsin’s Trevon Hughes was spectacular tonight.  The senior guard shredded the Duke defense for a career-high 26 pts, using an assortment of drives to the basket to go along with a solid outside stroke (4-7 threes).  After taking an 11-pt lead with five minutes to go, though, Duke guard Andre Dawkins nearly brought the Devils back all by himself, hitting three straight triples to cut the lead down to 2 with two minutes left.  It appeared that this was going to be one of those epic Duke comeback wins, but UW ran clock down the stretch (surprise) and when Singler missed a wild layup attempt off the bottom of the backboard with under thirty seconds left, it was clear the Badgers were going to take the win tonight.  One odd situation occurred in the very last few plays, when color commentator Bob Knight seemed to lose his mind for a moment as he stated that Wisconsin was “for sure” at worst going to overtime after only going up two with 4.9 seconds left (he clearly thought they were up three), and then contemplated whether Trevon Hughes should intentionally miss his second FT (again, thinking up three).  What’s that phrase coaches like to use?  Time and score? Can you imagine if one of Knight’s players had made a similar mistake at such a key juncture?  Maybe now we know why Texas Tech wasn’t nearly as good as Knight’s Indiana teams — he wasn’t paying attention!

Game of the Night #2Illinois 76, #19 Clemson 74. What can you say about Bruce Weber’s young backcourt of Brandon Paul and DJ Richardson tonight other than we’re extremely impressed.  There is absolutely no way that Clemson should have lost this game.  The Tigers ran out to a 20-pt halftime lead, pushed it up to 23 early in the second half, and had Littlejohn rocking.  But Weber’s kids dug deep, showed the kind of composure that belies their age, and dropped a combined five threes in the next ten minutes of a 35-10 run that got the Illini back into the game and ultimately allowed them an opportunity to steal this one away from Clemson and the ACC.  The Clemson players suggested that they relaxed after getting such a big lead, and from our viewpoint, there’s probably something to that.  It certainly appeared that Illinois was the team with the drive and moxie throughout most of the second half, and when it came down to Demontez Stitt’s driving layup attempt at the buzzer, we just had a feeling that it wasn’t going down.  It didn’t, and Illinois has a rallying cry for the rest of this season no matter how badly they’re playing.  Mike Davis had 22/9 for the Illini, but as mentioned above, it was the youthful backcourt of Paul and Richardson (34/8/5 assts) that made tonight happen.

Game of the Night #3.  #21 UNLV 74, Arizona 72 (2OT).  The Runnin’ Rebels justified their shiny new Top 25 ranking by taking to the road for the first time this season, heading down to Arizona, and knocking off the Wildcats in double-overtime.  Despite poor overall shooting from both teams (UNLV 39.7%, UA 36.5%; both teams less than 20% from three!) this one was neck-and-neck from the tip, as neither team ever led by more than six points the whole way.  Arizona got up three in the second OT but UNLV’s Derrick Jasper (12/7/5/3 stls) hit one from deep to tie it at 70, and the Wildcats never led after that.  Tre’Von Willis continued to carve his name out on the national scene with 25/4 for the Rebs, and Arizona got a huge game from freshman forward Derrick Williams with 28/5 on 10-15 shooting.  This kind of win in such a difficult and hostile setting can only help Lon Kruger’s club, which has a few easy ones coming up except for a home game against Kansas State thrown in there on 12/12.  If they can get by those Wildcats, there’s a very good chance UNLV will be 12-0 going into a pair of tough road games in early January at BYU and at (currently undefeated) New Mexico. 

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Checking In On… the Big Ten

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2009

checkinginon

Jason Prziborowski is the RTC correspondent for the Big Ten Conference.

This past week was like March Madness in November for the Big Ten. The Big Ten is glad it isn’t though, as all but a few would be left standing with upset after upset bringing down the big and mighty. Those who fell this week include: Michigan State, Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan. The Big Ten started last week with 6 teams in the AP’s top 25, and only 3 remain in Purdue (#6), Michigan State (#9), and Ohio State (#15). The only unbeaten team in the Big Ten is now Purdue.

Standings

  1. Purdue 5-0
  2. Michigan State 5-1
  3. Ohio State 5-1
  4. Northwestern 5-1
  5. Wisconsin 4-1
  6. Penn State 5-2
  7. Illinois 4-2
  8. Minnesota 4-2
  9. Michigan 3-2
  10. Indiana 3-3
  11. Iowa 2-4

Top Storylines

  • Evan Turner, oops he did it again. That’s right folks, Evan Turner from Ohio State pulled off another triple double this week, becoming just 1 of 34 NCAA athletes to pull off multiple triple-double games in a single season.
  • Michigan State falls to Florida, ending their unbeaten streak. Turns out that Florida is legit again this season, moving up to #17 in the AP. Michigan State was sloppy and Florida made them pay, even though the game was a nailbiter.
  • Remember the name: John Shurna. The sophomore forward poured it on in the Chicago Invitational to take down Notre Dame and Iowa State, earning MVP honors over the likes of Craig Brackins and Luke Harangody, both household names.
  • Last but definitely not least, the first signs that Minnesota’s off the court troubles finally affected their on the court performance this week when they lost to Texas A&M after sitting Lawrence Westbrook and Al Nolen for disciplinary reasons. Westbrook and Nolen combine for over 19 points per game, and they lost by 1 point. That time sitting on the bench was definitely worth more than a point.

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RTC 2009-10 Impact Players – Wrap-Up

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2009

impactplayersOver the course of the last ten weeks we’ve broken down sixty players from around the country whom we expect will have the biggest impact on college basketball this season.  We performed this exercise geographically, choosing five high-major and one mid-major player from each of the somewhat arbitrary ten regions of the country.  If you’d like to read through the individual regions (and we highly encourage that), you can check all ten here.

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If you don’t have the time or inclination to read through all of the previous posts, we’ll summarize here for you by rating the strongest to the weakest regions.

(ed. note: we started this so long ago that Binghamton still had a promising basketball program, and DJ Rivera still had a place to play)

1.  Lower Midwest Region (OH, IN, IL, IA, NE, KS)

lower mw summary

Overview. This seemed pretty clear just at a first glance.  Aldrich, Collins and Harangody are three of the 1st team AAs on the RTC preseason list, and Brackins and Turner are on the 2d team.  This group has unbelievable scoring ability, size and experience.  The only weak link is the mid-major inclusion of Eldridge, who is a fine player, but not in the class of the rest of these superstars.  The nation’s heartland is the epicenter of college basketball talent this year.

Best Players Left Out. Where to start?  The depth in this region is incredible.  Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard at Butler, Robbie Hummell and E’Twaun Moore at Purdue, even Lance Stephenson at Cincinnati.  The #6-10 players in this region would probably be better than all but a few of the other regions.

2.  Mid-South Region (KY, TN, MO, AR, OK)

mid-south summary

Overview.  It was a very close call between this region and the South Atlantic, but we felt that the guard play of Warren and Wall with Anderson on the wing would compensate for what this team gives up in size.  And it doesn’t give up much, considering Patterson, Smith and Jordan are all exceptional inside.  Tough call, but Wall is the likely #1 pick, so he’s the x-factor.

Best Players Left Out.  Plenty of raw size here, including Samardo Samuels at Louisville, Michael Washington at Arkansas and DeMarcus Cousins at Kentucky.  Throw in the skilled size of AJ Ogilvy at Vanderbilt and Wayne Chism at Tennessee and this area will punish you on the interior.

3.  South Atlantic Region (DC, VA, NC, SC, GA)

s.atlantic summary

Overview.  This is the third region that’s chock full of NBA talent – each of the rest below have smatterings of it, but not nearly as much.  Aminu, Booker and Singler all define skilled versatility, while Monroe could end up the best big in the entire country if he wants it enough.  Sanders is a little undersized but relentless as well.

Best Players Left OutEd Davis at UNC was a lighting rod topic, as some felt that he’d be an all-american this year with his length and skill set.  Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal are two others.  A good argument could be made that this region had the best players left out, but it sorta depends on how this year plays out due to their relative youth and inexperience.

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RTC 2009-10 Impact Players: Upper Midwest Region

Posted by rtmsf on October 21st, 2009

impactplayers

Ed. Note: the previous posts in this series (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Atlantic South, Deep South, Mid-South and Lower Midwest) are located here.

It’s time for the seventh installment of our RTC 2009-10 Impact Players series, the group of very cold, very northern states that we’re calling the Upper Midwest.   Each week we’ll pick a geographic area of the country and break down the five players who we feel will have the most impact on their teams (and by the transitive property, college basketball) this season.  Our criteria is once again subjective – there are so many good players in every region of the country that it’s difficult to narrow them down to only five  in each – but we feel at the end of this exercise that we’ll have discussed nearly every player of major impact in the nation.  Just to be fair and to make this not too high-major-centric, we’re also going to pick a mid-major impact player in each region as our sixth man.  We welcome you guys, our faithful and very knowledgeable readers, to critique us in the comments where we left players off.  The only request is that you provide an argument – why will your choice be more influential this season than those we chose?

Upper Midwest Region (MI, WI, MN, SD, ND)

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  • Manny Harris – G, Jr – Michigan. The mastermind behind the turnaround of Michigan’s basketball program may be John Beilein and his 1-3-1 zone defense, but the catalyst has to be Beilein’s explosive 6’5 scoring guard/forward, Manny Harris. The lone bright spot in a 10-22 campaign in 2007-08 was the freshman Harris and his 16.1 PPG, strong enough to garner All-Big Ten Second team honors. Much like Beilein’s other reclamation projects, the Wolverines, and Harris, improved drastically in their second season under the former West Virginia head man. While his scoring average didn’t even jump a full point, it was Harris’ all-around production and on-court leadership that propelled Michigan to a 13-3 start, respectable Big Ten record and second-round NCAA tournament appearance, their first in 11 seasons. 6.8 RPG for a 6’5 guard is an accomplishment that cannot be overstated, a mark that tied forward DeShawn Sims for the team lead. Harris led Michigan in assists by a wide margin at 4.4 APG, upped his FG% from 38% to 42% and played nearly 33 MPG to lead the Wolverines. Harris has also become a much more efficient playmaker for Beilein, increasing his assist and scoring rates (even while attempting and making over 20% of Michigan’s shots) while his turnovers have dipped. One area where Harris must improve is outside shooting, which jumped from 32% to 33% behind the arc a year ago. With Harris’ tremendous penetration ability and explosiveness to the rim, making opposing defenses respect his outside shot will only enhance an already lethal game. The All-Big Ten first teamer is the straw that stirs the Michigan drink, having started 67 games in a row for Beilein. Should he improve his defense, Harris’ draft stock will shoot up in a season that could be full of accolades, and, for the first time since the Steve Fisher era of the 90s, a legitimate chance to lead Michigan deep into March.
  • Lazar Hayward – F, Sr – Marquette. Lazar Hayward’s role on this year’s Marquette squad should not be understated. Three guards and team leaders through the Tom Crean and Buzz Williams eras – Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews – saw their illustrious college careers end in the second round last March, leaving the program in the hands of Williams’ outstanding recruiting efforts off the court and Hayward’s all-around play on the court. The 6’6 multi-dimensional forward is now the face of a proud basketball school that may take a step back this season with the losses of those three guards that starred for four full seasons in Milwaukee. But it’s unlikely that Hayward will take a step back. Often overshadowed and underappreciated, Lazar averaged 16.3 PPG and 8.6 RPG as a junior last season while shooting 36% from three and 82% from the line, offering another outside threat to go along with McNeal and Matthews. In fact, Hayward finished in the top ten in a historic Big East in scoring, rebounding and free throw percentage last year. He even refined his game on an international stage over the summer, averaging 9.3 PPG and 5.6 RPG on the bronze medal-winning USA team at the World University Games. Hayward is now the face of the Marquette program for his senior season. While the Golden Eagles could struggle, Hayward must step into the departed guards’ shoes as team leader for the junior college and freshman influx headed to the Bradley Center in 2009-10, not only to facilitate success this season, but also for the future.

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: NCAA Tournament Day Two

Posted by nvr1983 on March 19th, 2009

dynamiteWe’d like to apologize for our coverage yesterday. We had some technical/communication issues regarding the post yesterday, but I’ll be back covering the games today so everything should be back to normal. Here’s a quick rundown of the games we’ll be covering today:

Early Games

  • 12:15 PM: #14 Stephen F. Austin vs. #3 Syracuse
  • 12:25 PM: #9 Tennessee vs. #8 Oklahoma State
  • 12:30 PM: #11 Utah State vs. #6 Marquette
  • 12:30 PM: #14 North Dakota State vs. #3 Kansas

Afternoon Games

  • 2:45 PM: #11 Temple vs. #6 Arizona State
  • 2:55 PM: #16 East Tennessee State vs. #1 Pittsburgh
  • 3:00 PM: #14 Cornell vs. #3 Missouri
  • 3:00 PM: #11 Dayton vs. #6 West Virginia

Evening Games

  • 7:10 PM: #16 Morehead State vs. #1 Louisville
  • 7:10 PM: #12 Arizona vs. #5 Utah
  • 7:20 PM: #10 USC vs. #7 Boston College
  • 7:25 PM: #13 Portland State vs. #4 Xavier

Late Night Games

  • 9:40 PM: #9 Siena vs. #8 Ohio State
  • 9:40 PM: #13 Cleveland State vs. #4 Wake Forest
  • 9:50 PM: #15 Robert Morris vs. #2 Michigan State
  • 9:55 PM: #12 Wisconsin vs. #5 Florida State

Quite frankly, today’s slate looks a lot more interesting than what was on yesterday. There are 3 games in each of the 4 groups that seem like they will be entertaining except for the afternoon set where only the 6/11 match-ups really catch my eyes. Feel free to leave your thoughts or questions on any of these games or the ones from yesterday in the comment section. I’ll be back around noon to cover the day’s action.

12:15 PM: Ok. We’re about to get underway. I was a little delayed by the fact that the bus to RTC East decided to pick up 3 people in wheelchairs, which slowed down my trip significantly (had to get them in/out during 6 stops). Is anybody rooting for Stephen F. Austin just because they can’t stand Eric Devendorf?

12:20 PM: “The best look the Lumberjacks have had so far”? That was only their 2nd possession of the game. The crows is awful in Miami. I know its early, but there is nobody there. I have to say the NCAA did a pretty poor job with their pod placement. I’ll have to double check, but Miami is probably the worst pod location in terms of distance from the participating schools (and the fact that they don’t care about sports in Miami).

12:30 PM: Rough start for Stephen F. Austin in Miami. Already down 10-2. Hopefully they can keep it close although this was probably the game that was the most likely to be a blowout in this group.

12:35 PM: Did anybody pick upsets in this group of games? I have North Dakota State and Utah State.

12:40 PM: Good game in Dayton (Ok State 14, Tennessee 13 with 12:20 left in the first half). In Boise, Lazar Hayward is up 7-5 on Utah State.

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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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Checking in on the… Big Ten

Posted by nvr1983 on February 25th, 2009

Josh & Mike from Big Ten Geeks are the RTC correspondents for the Big Ten Conference.

Looking Back
As Lester Bangs told William Miller, “you’ll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.” He could just as well have been talking to most of the Big Ten this season, as we now see 5 conference teams bunched up with 7 or 8 losses, all fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives. Penn State got a big boost from their ugly 38-33 victory at Illinois, then lost a winnable game at Ohio State to rejoin the masses. Penn State now has a 3-2 record against the top of the conference (Michigan State, Purdue, and Illinois), with a home game still remaining against the Illini. This ability to hang with the best of the conference is their sole basis for an at-large bid – their best non-conference win was at Georgia Tech (currently 1-12 in the ACC), so the Nittany Lions figure to need at least 10 Big Ten wins to even be considered.

Speaking of Illinois, they shook off the Penn State loss to get a nice road victory at Ohio State, putting them back on track for at least third place in the conference. Mike Davis continued his superb sophomore season, dropping floater after floater over Ohio State’s shot-blockers. Davis shot 11 for 14 from the field to finish with 22 points to go along with 8 rebounds and continues to lead the Big Ten in Defensive Rebound %.

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Checking in on the… Big 10

Posted by rtmsf on December 2nd, 2008

Josh & Mike of Big Ten Geeks are the RTC correspondents for the Big Ten Conference.

Looking Back

Feast Week was somewhat of a mixed bag for the Big Ten.  Illinois was the only team that captured the title of its tournament, taking home the South Padre Invitational title.  Big Ten Geek favorite Mike Tisdale was named to the all-tourney team.  Penn State, Wisconsin, and Purdue each finished runner-up in their respective tourneys.  So far this season, Penn State sophomore point guard Talor Battle has been ridonkulous – converting on nearly 50% of this three pointers so far this season.  That gives Battle an early lead on the other promising sophomore point guards in the Big Ten (Kalin Lucas, Demetri McCamey, and Michael Thompson).

Wisconsin didn’t look great in the Paradise Jam, looking outmanned against UConn.  So far this season, Wisconsin’s offense has been fine, but the defense is a signficant step-back from last year’s outstanding version.

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