Rushed Reactions: #1 Indiana 58, #9 Temple 52

Posted by IRenko on March 24th, 2013


I. Renko is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report from Dayton after Sunday’s Third Round game between #1 Indiana and #9 Temple. Follow him on Twitter @IRenkoHoops.

Three Key Takeaways:

Victor Oladipo Did What NPOYs Do...

Victor Oladipo Did What NPOY Candidates Do…

  1. Victor Oladipo Won This Game — The stat sheet won’t tell you what Victor Oladipo means to Indiana, because it offers no metrics, advanced or otherwise, for heart and soul. Oladipo took this game over down the stretch at both ends of the floor. Indiana had used a number of defenders to try to slow Khalif Wyatt (more on him later), but it was Oladipo’s shut-down, ball-denial, in-your-grill defense in the closing minutes that prevented Wyatt from carrying his team across the finish line. With the game tied at 52 and under two minutes to play, Oladipo harassed Wyatt into a missed three, grabbed the rebound, and drew a Wyatt foul while pushing the ball up the floor. On the next possession, Oladipo denied Wyatt the chance to even get the ball, forcing Temple to burn a timeout and the entire shot clock before Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson missed a jumper. Oladipo then promptly ran down to the other end of the floor and drained his one and only three-pointer of the game to clinch the win for Indiana.
  2. Indiana Scored 58 Points — And Won — Indiana scores north of 1.15 points per possession, but they looked largely ineffective against Temple for two reasons. First, Temple’s tough interior defense. The best way to slow the Hoosiers is with physicality, and the Owls brought plenty today. They bodied Cody Zeller and Christian Watford in the post, swarmed Oladipo on his drives, and pushed the Hoosiers around on the glass. Zeller and Watford combined to shoot 6-of-17, Zeller committed six turnovers, and the Hoosiers rebounded less than 20 percent of their own misses. Second, the Hoosiers went cold from three-point range, missing eight of their first nine long-distance attempts. They got hot late just in time to push themselves over the top, but credit Temple for nearly stopping the nation’s most efficient offense in its tracks.
  3. A One-Man Offensive Band — This game was an almost comical display of the extent to which Temple relies on Khalif Wyatt offensively. The confident point guard has a tendency to rise to the occasion against the best of competition, and today was no exception. Relishing the role of the villain, taking on not just the quiet and unassuming Oladipo but a boisterous crowd full of Hoosier fans, Wyatt did his best to carry the Owls to the upset. Despite being the obvious focal point of Indiana’s defense, he managed to pour in 31 points — 60 percent of Temple’s total — on 12-of-24 shooting.  The rest of the Owls’ offense was dreadful, shooting 9-of-38 from the floor. Scootie Randall was the worst offender with an atrocious 0-of-12 night, and the team as a whole missed several makeable shots.

Star of the Game: So maybe the stat sheet does tell you a bit about how good Oladipo is. He led Indiana with 16 points on 7-of-12 field goal shooting and added eight rebounds and an assist.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

The Big Ten is Ready to End the Title Drought

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on March 21st, 2013

Deepak is a writer for the Big Ten microsite of RTC. Follow him for Twitter for more about B1G hoops at @dee_b1g. 

It all started in early November when three Big Ten teams — Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State — were ranked in the top five of the preseason polls. Expectations were set very high but the regular season arguably beat those as four teams finished ranked in the top 10 (adding Michigan State). Over the last few days, almost everybody involved in the college hoops world has discussed the pressure on these B1G teams to get to the Final Four and for one to cut down the nets there. The following are three reasons why the league will break its 13-year national title drought this year in Atlanta.

Cody Zeller and Trey Burke may be the best players in the Tournament which should help the Big Ten end their title drought. (AP Photo/D. Cummings)

Cody Zeller and Trey Burke may be the best players in the Tournament which should help the Big Ten end their title drought. (AP/D. Cummings)

  • Somebody needs to tell Charles Barkley that the Big Ten has plenty of individual talent this season: A few minutes into the Selection Show on Sunday, Barkley called the Big Ten overrated because they “don’t have a bunch of great players.”  He wasn’t way off in his comment because the conference hasn’t had many players picked highly in the NBA Draft over the last few years (and that’s under the assumption that NBA scouting is a good gauge to judge collegiate talent), but that argument deserves a separate discussion altogether. The Hall of Fame forward is wrong because among the favorites, there are several great individual players, such as Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Trey Burke and Deshaun Thomas. Those four are arguably among the top 10 players in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Even though Michigan State is still known for their being, well, Michigan State, they still have athletic wings such as Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson who are great within isolation plays as well as half-court sets.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

The Official RTC Bracket: South and East Regions

Posted by KDoyle on March 20th, 2013


With the NCAA Tournament officially underway as of last night’s game between North Carolina A&T and Liberty — although, let’s be honest, things don’t really begin to heat up until Thursday afternoon — we are unveiling the Official RTC Bracket today. Up first are the South and East Regions with the Midwest and West Regions to follow later this afternoon. Prior to revealing the picks, some quick analysis, and four questions to our bracket experts, here’s our methodology.

The inspiration behind the bracket largely comes from our weekly Blogpoll where a number of ballots from key contributors are combined to form a single Top 25. Rather than have eight people put their heads together and collectively fill out the bracket, we asked each to select their own bracket. Afterward, those selections were tallied up and the team with the majority vote in each slot is the one picked to advance below. As an example, you will notice that in the #8 vs. #9 game in the South Region, North Carolina was picked to advance in seven of eight brackets — hence the 88% tally next to the Tar Heels’ name. Deeper into the bracket, you may wonder how it’s possible for Kansas to advance past Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen with just 50% of the brackets choosing the Jayhawks, but that’s because three brackets had Michigan and one bracket had VCU, thereby giving Kansas the edge.

Here’s the first half of the 2013 Official RTC Bracket:


South and East Regions

Quick Hitters From the South Region

  • Advancing to Atlanta: #3 Florida
  • Round of 64 Upset: #11 Minnesota over #6 UCLA
  • Later Round Upsets: #3 Florida over #2 Georgetown in the Sweet Sixteen and #3 Florida over #1 Kansas in the Elite Eight
  • Three Most Disputed Games: #11 Minnesota over #6 UCLA, #4 Michigan over #5 VCU, #1 Kansas over #4 Michigan

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Bracket Prep: East Region Analysis

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 18th, 2013


Throughout Monday, we will roll out our region-by-region analysis on the following schedule: East (9 AM), Midwest (11 AM), South (1 PM), West (3 PM). Here, Brian Otskey (@botskey) breaks down the East Region from top to bottom. Also, be sure to follow our RTC East Region handle on Twitter for continuous updates the next two weeks (@RTCeastregion).

You can also check out our RTC Podblast with Brian breaking down the East Region, which will drop both on the site and on iTunes Tuesday.

East Region

Favorite: #1 Indiana (27-6, 14-5 Big Ten). Ranked No. 1 in 10 of the 19 AP Top 25 polls this season (through last week), Indiana is the strong favorite in this region. The Hoosiers won the Big Ten regular season title but fell to Wisconsin in the conference tournament semifinals this past Saturday. Indiana fans are definitely bummed that their team won’t be playing in the Indianapolis regional but they will still show up. IU fans travel as well as any school in the country.

Cody Zeller and the Hoosiers earned the top seed in the East region (Photo: Andy Lyons)

Cody Zeller and the Hoosiers earned the top seed in the East region (Photo: Andy Lyons)

Should They Falter: #2 Miami (27-6, 18-3 ACC). It has been a dream season in Coral Gables as Miami won both the ACC regular season and tournament titles. History, however, is against this team. Miami has made only one Sweet Sixteen appearance (1999-2000) in program history, representing the furthest this program has ever ventured into March. Also, nobody on the roster has ever played in an NCAA Tournament game. There are positives, though. Head coach Jim Larranaga obviously had a memorable run with George Mason in 2006 and most of Miami’s major contributors are older, veteran players. It’s much easier to win when you’re coaching 22- and 23-year olds rather than 18- and 19-year olds.

Grossly Overseeded: #4 Syracuse (26-9, 14-8 Big East). Despite advancing to the Big East championship game and playing better than Louisville for 24 minutes in that game, Syracuse’s overall profile looks more like a #5 or #6 seed rather than a #4. The Orange were just 5-5 in true road games, under .500 against the RPI top 50 and only 12-9 against the top 100. Before the Big East Tournament run, Syracuse had lost seven of its last 12 regular season games. There’s no doubt the week at Madison Square Garden helped Jim Boeheim’s team (as it historically has), but Syracuse is still too high for my liking.

Grossly Underseeded: #14 Davidson (26-7, 20-1 Southern Conference). Stephen Curry put Davidson on the map with a magical run to the 2008 Elite Eight, the only NCAA Tournament victories for the Wildcats since 1969. This year’s edition is pretty good in its own right. Coached by Bob McKillop, who has now made a respectable seven NCAA Tournament appearances in his 24 years at the small school near Charlotte, North Carolina, the Wildcats won 26 games and lost only once in conference play. Davidson challenged itself in the non-conference, playing the #20-rated schedule that included games against Gonzaga, Duke and New Mexico. Davidson has just two top 100 wins but we figured a 26-win team that scheduled up would have been rewarded with something other than a #14 seed. Ken Pomeroy’s rating projects only a four-point loss to Marquette so it’s clear that the Wildcats are capable of winning a game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Rushed Reactions: #3 Indiana 80, Illinois 64

Posted by WCarey on March 15th, 2013


Walker Carey is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report from the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center following Friday’s matchup between Indiana and Illinois. You can follow him at @walkerRcarey.

Three Key Takeaways:

  1. Cody Zeller was dominant. The All-American big man picked up where he left off after a sensational performance in Sunday’s victory over Michigan. Once again, Zeller was the go-to guy for the Indiana offense against Illinois, as he finished the afternoon with 24 points and nine rebounds. With the ball in his hands on the low block, the talented sophomore was able to do pretty much whatever he wanted against the Illini interior for the duration of the game. Zeller’s presence on the defensive end of the court was also quite notable as he anchored a Hoosiers’defense that did not let anything come easy for the Illinois offensive attack. There have been instances this season where Zeller’s production has not matched his level of talent, but if he can continue to put forth performances like he has in his last two games, there will be no ceiling on Indiana’s postseason hopes.
  2. Indiana’s defensive effort in the first half was phenomenal. ESPN analyst Dan Dakich tweeted at halftime that he and legendary Indiana radio announcer Don Fischer believed that the first half against Illinois was the best defensive half that the Hoosiers had played all year. The two men had a point as the Hoosiers were just suffocating on that end of the court for the first 20 minutes. The Illini were held to just 25.9% shooting in the first half and had to settle for many difficult looks due to the intense defensive pressure. The Hoosiers also forced Illinois into eight first half turnovers – many of which resulted in great transition opportunities. Illinois guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson were a combined 3-of-13 from the field and by containing the Illini’s two best scorers, Indiana was able to open up a 14-point halftime lead. Victor Oladipo rightfully gets most of the credit for Indiana’s strong defensive performances, but the Hoosiers have really made strides as a team in-terms of their defensive effort.
    Cody Zeller was all over the court Friday afternoon. (AP)

    Cody Zeller was all over the court Friday afternoon. (AP)

    Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Ten Tuesday Scribbles: On Virginia, Middle Tennessee, Stony Brook and More…

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 12th, 2013

tuesdayscribblesBrian Otskey is an RTC columnist. Every Tuesday during the regular season he’ll be giving his 10 thoughts on the previous week’s action. You can find him on Twitter @botskey

  1. Does Virginia want to make the NCAA Tournament? Since beating Duke almost two weeks ago, the Cavaliers have lost to Boston College and Florida State and barely escaped Maryland in overtime on Sunday in a game that each team tried to give away multiple times. The more and more I look at Virginia’s resume, the more I think this team will be in the NIT. It has gotten to the point where there are too many bad losses to overcome, barring a run this week in the ACC Tournament. The Hoos have a couple things going for them, mainly the win over Duke and the victory at Wisconsin in November. Home wins over North Carolina, NC State and bubble buddy Tennessee also help but Tony Bennett’s club has a stunning EIGHT bad losses on its resume. Virginia went 11-7 in the ACC but went 0-3 against Colonial Athletic Association teams. Go figure. From an efficiency perspective, this is a strong team that plays stifling defense, has a couple of great players in Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell to go along with a solid supporting cast. The resume lacks some punch though and Virginia has a lot of work to do this week in Greensboro. The Cavs will likely open with NC State on Friday, a game they really need to win.

    Tony Bennett will sweat it out this week

    Tony Bennett will sweat it out this week

  2. One team fighting with Virginia for a tournament berth is Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders were eliminated from the Sun Belt Tournament by Florida International on Sunday and now have to sit and sweat out the next five days. Kermit Davis’s team finished with an impressive 28-5 overall record and lost just once over a 20-game conference schedule, on the road in overtime to Arkansas State (the next best team in the league). Davis has been with the program since 2002 and has built it up to respectable mid-major status. Is this a team worthy of a chance at a bid? Absolutely. The question is, will it get one? If I were on the selection committee, I’d probably have to say no unfortunately. Despite doing what it was supposed to do in its conference, Middle Tennessee didn’t do much out of conference. Yes, it beat two SEC teams (Mississippi and Vanderbilt), but neither of those teams is making the NCAA Tournament (unless the Rebels have a great conference tournament). But the real reason why I’d leave Middle Tennessee out is the fact that it was not competitive against Florida or Belmont, two of its better non-conference opponents. A competitive showing in either game would likely have changed my mind. In addition, the Blue Raiders lost a tough one in overtime to Akron. Those are missed opportunities that may end up costing this team a chance to dance.
  3. The fact that Stony Brook had to go on the road in the America East Tournament is a travesty. The Seawolves won the conference by three full games and their reward was a road trip to face #4 seed Albany in its own gym. It’s not right. I realize these smaller conferences don’t have the budgets that the power leagues do but would it be so difficult to host the tournament at whichever school wins the regular season title? Is that too much to ask? Instead, the America East picked Albany to host the quarterfinals and semifinals with the championship being hosted by the higher seed. The final part makes sense but the rest of it seems like bizarro world. Stony Brook had a stellar year, going 23-6 (14-2) in regular season play. Hopefully Steve Pikiell’s team will be rewarded with a nice seed in the NIT and maybe even a home game! Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

Award Tour: The Ballot Is In and the Best Player, Freshman and Coach are…

Posted by DCassilo on March 12th, 2013


David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

Believe it or not, when this all started guys like Mike Moser, Jamaal Franklin and Isaiah Canaan were in the top 10. But soon the top players in the country started to come into focus. Only four players (Trey Burke, Cody Zeller, Doug McDermott and Deshaun Thomas) stayed in the rankings all season, while only one freshman (Marcus Smart) could say the same. And finally, below, we have those few players that separated themselves from the pack. The best part of it all is that as fun as this regular season was, it will likely only provide a small percentage of what we remember about college basketball this year. But before we get to the best part, here’s who is taking home the hardware.


Otto Porter Jr. – Georgetown
Regular season stats: 16.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.0 SPG

Otto Porter Led the Hoyas to a Special Win (

Otto Porter Jr. has a lot to be excited about. (

In times of adversity, greatness rises, and that’s the primary reason Porter is the choice for the top spot. On January 8, the Hoyas’ second leading scorer, Greg Whittington, played his final game. It was a crossroads for Georgetown, who looked like they might be headed down the Big East standings very quickly. Instead, though, the team went 14-2 and grabbed the Big East title. Over those 16 games, Porter was unstoppable. He averaged 19.9 PPG and 7.7 RPG, while shooting at least 50 percent from the field in 10 of 16 games despite facing plenty of double-teams. And the Hoyas got the most out of their best player too. He played at least 39 minutes in each of his last five games.

What Porter was able to accomplish with such a thin supporting cast was remarkable. There was no Cody Zeller down low like there was for Victor Oladipo, and the Hoyas finished first in the Big East, not fifth like Trey Burke did in the Big Ten. He was the best player on Georgetown, and everybody knew it, yet they couldn’t stop him. Now he’s the best player in the country.

First Team All-Americans

  • Otto Porter Jr. – Georgetown
  • Trey Burke – Michigan
  • Victor Oladipo – Indiana
  • Mason Plumlee – Duke
  • Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Handing Out the 2013 Big Ten Hardware

Posted by jnowak on March 12th, 2013

The best season of Big Ten basketball in recent memory blessed us with plenty of talented players, performances and games. So, without any further ado, our choices for this year’s Big Ten awards:

Player of the Year: Trey Burke, Michigan — Burke probably locked this up when he picked Keith Appling’s pocket in the closing seconds of Michigan’s narrow win against the rival Spartans in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago. It just goes to show you can never let your guard down against Burke, who nearly left for the NBA after his breakout season a year ago. He led the Big Ten in scoring during conference games, while leading the conference in assists (6.8 per game) by a long shot. He can put this team on his back and carry it deep into March.

What awards did Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo earn this year? (

What awards did Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo earn this year? (

All-Big Ten First Team

  • Trey Burke, Michigan — Directed the conference’s second-best offense, and narrowly missed the Big Ten scoring title. Sharp on defense, brilliant in the lane. An NBA point guard.
  • Victor Oladipo, Indiana — All aspects of the game considered, the most fun player in the Big Ten this season. Can rebound, drive, defend and lead his team to a title.
  • Cody Zeller, Indiana — Billed as the Big Ten’s top player entering the year, it’s incredible to think that this honor and 16.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG would be any kind of disappointment.
  • Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State — The conference’s leading scorer (19.7 PPG) and the player most valuable to his respective team in the conference.
  • Adreian Payne, Michigan State — His visible growth during conference play slides him into this up-for-grabs fifth spot on the first team.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Morning Five: 03.12.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 12th, 2013


  1. One of the undersold stories of March is that for every Cinderella that surprises in their conference tournament to earn an automatic bid there are nearly as many dominant teams that suffer crushing defeats that relegate them from being potential threats in the NCAA Tournament to the NIT. As Jeff Goodman points out there are a number of people who feel that the system is unfair. Goodman points to the example of top-seeded Middle Tennessee State (won its conference regular season by five games before losing in the conference tournament) and Stony Brook (won its conference regular season, but lost in the conference tournament playing a lower seeded team on the road). Although we can sympathize with these teams this sudden change of fortunes is part of what makes March so memorable and to undermine it with Goodman’s strategy of having the tournament champ play the regular season champ in a playoff undermines the appeal of March to a degree. Now if they want to offer the regular season champ more advantages such as hosting the conference tournament we would not mind that, but it should not take away some of the randomness that makes March so tantalizing.
  2. By now you have all seen and heard about Tom Crean‘s exchange with Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer (a former Indiana assistant under Kelvin Sampson) where Crean yelled “You helped wreck our program!” at Meyer after the game. Like everybody else we are all familiar with the back story of Sampson committing NCAA violations that put Crean in the place to rebuild Indiana. What we are not sure of is what triggered Crean to unleash his wrath on Meyer at this time. Crean and Meyer have since spoken on the phone about the incident and Crean apologized so it would probably be best to consider the incident closed, but it is unfortunate that this unseemly incident took away some of the spotlight from Indiana’s impressive road win (aided of course by some late mistakes by Michigan).
  3. Teams across the country may be fighting for spots in the NCAA Tournament, but at least the field for one tournament–the 2K Sports Classic (benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project–is set. The Gazelle Group announced yesterday that the semifinals (this is one of those fake tournaments where they have regional rounds where the winner does not necessarily advance) would feature IndianaConnecticutBoston College, and Washington on November 21 with the winners (we are going to pencil in Indiana and Connecticut even though we don’t know what the semifinal match-ups are) playing on November 22. The other 12 teams that will complete the 16-team regional rounds will be announced at a later date.
  4. With Victor Oladipo‘s rise from a complementary piece in Indiana’s machine to a legitimate national player of the year candidate we have seen plenty of columns analyzing his growth as a player and how he went from a relatively lightly recruited prospect to the star at one of college basketball’s premier programs. The one thing we had not seen was an in-depth feature on him until The New York Times profiled him on Sunday. Outside of the usual inane comments about how Oladipo “fills a stat sheet with the zeal of a locavore at a farmers’ market” the piece is actually filled with interesting information about Oladipo’s background and his relationship particularly with his father who has never attended an Indiana game.
  5. One of the biggest driving forces in the popularity of college basketball and college sports is the passion its fans have for the games. Usually that passion is directed in a positive way (camping out for games, etc), but sometimes that passion is based in hate. That hate can go too far sometimes (see European soccer fans), but at times that hate (or intense dislike if you are into semantics) can make the games more interesting. With the NCAA Tournament just around the corner the folks at Grantland created their Hate Bracket, which is comprised of 32 players (perhaps longing for the 1975-1978 NCAA Tournaments), with regions for Duke, the 1980s, the 1990s, and 2000s (actually post-2000 for the last group). The field is fairly evenly split in terms of race with 15 Caucasians and 17 African-Americans even if the former is probably too heavily represented given their relative impact on college basketball during the period being voted on, but we will leave that discussion to someone else.
Share this story

Three Thoughts on the Indiana – Michigan Rematch

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on March 11th, 2013

Deepak is a writer for the Big Ten microsite of RTC. Follow him on Twitter for more about B1G hoops at @dee_b1g.

If you tuned into ESPN’s Sportscenter last night or any sports channel for that matter, you would have seen “the roll” that gave Indiana its first outright Big Ten title in 20 years. After two months of arguably the most competitive regular season in recent history, Jordan Morgan’s tip-in rolled off the rim and the Hoosiers beat the Wolverines 72-71 to win the conference crown and probably lock up a #1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. The game will be remembered for the final play and Trey Burke’s missed free throw on the previous front end of a one-and-one, but the first 39 minutes featured two competitive teams that had scouted each other effectively and showed that they were ready for postseason basketball. The following are three key thoughts about one of the best games of the season.

Victor Oladipo may have gained a slight edge in the Player of the Year stakes against Trey Burke on Sunday.

Victor Oladipo may have gained a slight edge in the Player of the Year stakes against Trey Burke on Sunday.

  1. Once again, the Hoosiers forced Burke to beat them with his jumper: After two games against Burke, the Hoosiers’ Victor Oladipo has essentially written the book about how to make Burke one-dimensional — take away his dribble penetration and make him beat you with his jumper. Burke has averaged about 14 field goal attempts throughout the season but in both games against Indiana, he has taken 24 and 20 shots, respectively. Sure, Burke averaged 22.5 PPG in those two but he seems to be out of rhythm when he can’t drive to the basket to get his wings — Glenn Robinson and Nik Stauskas — active and involved in the offense. Oladipo and even Yogi Ferrell during certain possessions played excellent defense against the pick-and-roll, challenging Burke to drain shots from beyond the arc. John Beilein’s offense needs the wings to be more involved, but watching Burke hoist long-range shots is not part of the plan. It isn’t like the talented point guard is a ballhog, but Oladipo’s defense on Sunday never let him get into his normal rhythm because he took almost twice the number of shots than he usually does in a game. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story