Set Your Tivo 01.31.10

Posted by THager on January 31st, 2010

***** - quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** - best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** - set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** - set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* - don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Florida @ #14 Tennessee – 1 pm on CBS (***)

These football rivals will face each other for the first time this year, and it should be a good one.  Tennessee has had a better season overall, but is going in the opposite direction of Florida.  After winning seven straight games following the arrest of Tyler Smith and three others, the Volunteers dropped a bad game at Georgia and followed that up with a home loss to Vanderbilt.  The Gators, on the other hand, have won four straight games to grab a share for third place in the SEC.  They have given up less than 68 points per game in that stretch, and Tennessee has surrendered 78 and 85 points in their last two contests.  For the whole year, UT has played better defense, ranking #16 in defensive efficiency, and the Vols average nine steals per game.  For UT to get back on the winning side, they are going to have to revert back to their old style of defense against a Florida team that has five players that average double figures.  Led by Kenny Boynton, a freshman who scores 15 PPG, the balanced Gator attack puts up over 73 points per game.  The game is in Knoxville, but the Gators are 3-1 on the road this year, so this game should go to the wire.  To be fair, Florida’s four wins have come against bad SEC teams in LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Georgia, so I expect the Vols to bounce back against a Florida team that may not be as good as their record indicates.

Maryland @ #21 Clemson – 5:30 pm on FSN (****)

Vasquez Hopes to Avoid This Feeling vs. Clemson

Maryland may not know it, but they are fighting for the tournament lives just as much as Clemson is.  The Terrapins, who currently sit atop the ACC, are ranked 50th in the RPI (Clemson is #46) and with a couple losses they could be looking at a bubble spot.  Clemson, who just three games ago was sitting at 15-3, will now have to defeat the conference leaders to avoid a fourth straight loss.  If Clemson loses tonight, they will be 3-5 in the ACC, and due to their recent loss at Boston College, would claim sole possession of 10th place in the conference.  There is no way the selection committee will allow a team that plays that poorly in conference to get into the tournament, so Clemson needs to channel what allowed them the hot start to avoid another epic collapse.  The key for the Tigers to win this game is to shut down Maryland’s high powered arsenal.  The Terrapins rank in the top fifteen in the country in points per game, assists per game, and rank in the top ten in assists to turnover ratio and offensive efficiency.  Maryland is led by the fiery Greivis Vasquez, who scores 17.8 points per contest and also ranks 8th in the country at 6.2 assists per game.  Clemson has the ability to the ability to shut down powerful offenses, as they have not allowed an opponent to score over 75 points per game since December 2.  They are seventh in the country at 10.2 steals per game and ranked ninth in defensive efficiency.  Despite playing at home, their recent play cannot be overlooked and look for the Terrapins to further raise the bar in the ACC.

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Checking in on… the MAC

Posted by jstevrtc on January 30th, 2010

Matt Giles is the RTC correspondent for the Mid-American Conference.

Standings as of 1/29

West Division

  1. Central Michigan            4-2       9-8
  2. Northern Illinois            4-2       8-10
  3. Ball State                               4-3       9-9
  4. Western Michigan          3-3       11-8
  5. Eastern Michigan            2-4       10-9
  6. Toledo                                     0-6       3-17

East Division

  1. Akron                                      4-2       14-6
  2. Kent State                             4-2       13-7
  3. Buffalo                                    3-3       10-6
  4. Bowling Green                  3-3       10-8
  5. Miami OH                              4-3       6-13
  6. Ohio                                          2-4       11-9

Superlatives

Team of the Week Ohio: After starting the conference season 0-4 against East Division foes, the Bobcats erupted from the three-point stripe in their only two games this week. In wins over Northern Illinois and Toledo, Ohio shot 46.7% from deep and dropped 99 points over both squads (it also helps that NIU and Toledo are two of the weakest defensive teams in conference play). Upcoming road games against Toledo and Eastern Michigan should prove whether Ohio is ready to blitz the conference in February; the road has been the Bobcats’ bugbear all season (3-6).

Player of the Week David Kool, Western Michigan: Not only does the 6-foot-3 guard lead the Broncos in PPG (20.1), three-point FG percentage with at least 25 attempts (38.2%) and offensive rating (121.9), the senior now also owns WMU’s career scoring record. In a loss to Akron Wednesday night, Kool dropped 30 and broke Manny Newsome’s 46-year old record. Kool currently has 1,790 points in his career and it’s conceivable he could break the 2,000 point barrier: five of WMU’s final 10 games are against teams allowing more than one point per possession.

Game of the Week Kent State 87, Akron 70: A grudge match between the top two East Division contenders? Check. A nationally televised game? Check. A 17-point loss … what? The last time a game between these two rivals was decided by 17 points or more was in the 2008 MAC championship game (won by the Golden Flashes). The Zips were outmanned on the boards, 38-28, and consequently, in a game where Akron suffered more than a few scoring droughts, Kent State’s 23-11 second chance points were too much to overcome.

Games of the Upcoming Week: Eastern Michigan at Miami, January 30, ESPNU, and Buffalo at Central Michigan, February 4. Central Michigan continues their East Division swing and will want to end the East Division’s dominance of the garnering the NCAA tournaments’ auto bid. A West Division team hasn’t made the Dance since 2005 (Central Michigan). One of the final ESPN-televised games on the MAC slate, the Miami-Eastern Michigan tilt will be the final chance — barring a run through the conference tournament — to see Miami’s Kenny Hayes live in action.

Superlatives: On January 20th, Miami’s Charlie Coles won his 217th game at Miami and is now the MAC’s all-time leader in career conference wins. Coles passed the record previously held by Darrell Hedric, who was a former coach at Miami.

Team Roundups

Central Michigan

Looking Back: The Chippewas had a topsy-turvy week. First, CMU hosted Northern Illinois and managed a win against an intra-divisional foe, 81-75. CMU ‘held’ NIU’s Xavier Silas to 26 points and Robbie Harman continued his impressive three-point turnaround, hitting 3 of 13 from deep. Harman is the best long-range shooter on the Chippewas this season and has upped his percentage from 34% to 42.8%. On Thursday, CMU started their East division swing with intentions of proving they are a contender in the conference, not just in their own division. Falling to Miami didn’t help their plans; CMU has held opponents to a scant 59.7 ppg in 2010 but the RedHawks managed to score 64 points  — four more than their conference average.

Looking Ahead: As previously stated, Central Michigan continues its play against East division foes, taking on Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, Akron and Ohio. Second-place Northern Illinois is on a similar swing so if the Huskies struggle and CMU can finish the six-game trip with at least three wins, they could begin to distance themselves within the division.

Northern Illinois

Looking Back: Xavier Silas continues to rise up the MAC scoring ranks, totaling 57 points in two games (26 against CMU, 31 against Ohio). The junior transfer is now averaging 23.5 PPG – best in the conference – and the 6-foot-5 guard is tops in the conference in percentage of possessions used (32.0%) and percentage of shots taken (33.5%). NIU is not just a one-man team: Darion Anderson is 17th in the conference with a 12.0 ppg and the Huskies could become a dangerous team if sophomore Mike DiNunno emerges as a third option. The 5-foot-11 guard rang up 16 on Ohio. However, if Northern Illinois wants to unseat Central Michigan and run away with the East division title, the Huskies need to step up their defense. Sure, the Huskies are the second best at FG defense but they are the third-worst defensive team in the MAC, allowing opposing teams to drop 71.3 PPG. With Silas in the midst of a hot streak, NIU needs to focus on locking teams down.

Looking Ahead: NIU begins its East division swing and will take on the likes of Buffalo, Kent State, Akron and Miami. Look for at least three of the four games to be offensive affairs: Kent State, Buffalo and Akron all rank in the top five in terms of conference scoring offense while at the same time, ranking in the bottom half in scoring defense. If Silas continues to up his scoring average, he could be the first player to average more than 20 a season since John Bowler (20.1) of Eastern Michigan in 2005-06.

Ball State

Looking Back: For as long as Ken Pomeroy has kept his statistical database running, Ball State has cared little for defensive efficiency. In what technically should be considered Billy Taylor’s second ‘real’ season at the helm (don’t forget, he was dealt a rough hand when he took the job in 2007-08), Taylor has remade the Cardinals into the best defensive team in the MAC and overall as well (21st in the nation). Although their overall and conference records may not reflect their defensive superiority, Ball State has allowed only two teams to score above 70 points this season (Valparaiso and Tennessee Tech). Since scoring a meager 38 points against Central Michigan over two weeks ago, the Cardinals have been on a tear, winning four out of five games through defensive prowess. Just ask Miami and Buffalo (Ball State’s two wins this past week); the Cardinals held both squads under their season FG percentage (Miami 32.2%, normally at 42.6% and Buffalo 36.7%, normally at 41.7%).

Looking Ahead: Ball State is definitely the sleeper team in the West division (side note: should it really be surprising though? The Cardinals tied for the West division title in 2008-09) and will get a chance to showcase their defense when the Cardinals visit Ohio on Sunday. The Bobcats recently reeled off consecutive 99 point efforts and are the top scoring team in the conference.

Western Michigan

Looking Back: As we have already detailed, David Kool was RTC’s player of the week in the MAC. His 30-point effort against Akron wasn’t good enough for the win but the senior is on pace to break 2,000 points in his career. Even UA coach Keith Dambrot was impressed, saying he wanted a David Kool Western Michigan jersey. WMU did manage to get a win this week, defeating winless Toledo in Kalamazoo. Although the game was never in doubt, Bronco fans did get a chance to see what 2010-11 starting lineup will be; freshmen Nate Hutcheson scored 15 and Flenard Whitfield scored 11.

Looking Ahead: Western Michigan is in the middle of the pack in the West division and the MAC overall and they better start harvesting those wins quickly. Next season will undoubtedly be a rebuilding year as the Broncos will be losing David Kool, Donald Lawson and Martelle McLemore after this season (aka three of WMU’s top five scorers). If the Broncos want to send those seniors out with a memorable bang, they need to have a strong East division swing that starts Saturday at Kent State followed by a Monday affair at Buffalo.

Eastern Michigan

Looking Back: With Carlos Medlock completely healed from his injury that sidelined the guard the entire 2009 season, EMU was expected to compete in the MAC’s East division. Unfortunately, that hasn’t really happened. Medlock resumed his spot running the offense so EMU’s tempo has risen (62.4 possessions per game to 69.3) but for an experienced team, the Eagles have had their problems on the road – only two of their eight games on the road have been wins. However, since both games this past week were at home, EMU was not affected by the road jitters. Another disturbing trend, though, has emerged and that is the Eagles’ lack of defense. In their loss to Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan allowed the Falcons to connect on 49% of their FGs. In fact, opposing teams have shot well above 40% from the field in most of their nine losses. One positive to take from this past week: Brandon Bowdry is performing like a star. The junior is a rebounding machine, grabbing 28% of opposing teams’ misses and in the two-game span (a win over Ball State and the loss to BGSU), Bowdry averaged 7.1 RPG. The 6-foot-6 Bowdry does need to work on his free throw shooting though; Bowdry is fouled  just over 6 times per game but only shoots 50.4% from the stripe. One has to wonder if the team’s woeful FT percentage (65.9%) has contributed to some of their losses.

Looking Ahead: Eastern Michigan could pick up a few games this week against Miami and Akron. We have already mentioned the rebounding force that is Brandon Bowdry. Miami and Akron both struggle with offensive rebounds and EMU could have a field day thanks to second-chance points as well as quick run-outs after missed shots.

Toledo

Looking Back: According to Ken Pomeroy, the Rockets  — still winless in conference play – have a 40.5% chance of going winless in conference play. That is second-highest percentage among still-winless teams (Fordham leads with a 61% chance). The second half has doomed Toledo all season in conference play and it continued to hurt UT in losses to Western Michigan and Kent State this week. Although Gene Cross’ crew has struggled has never led after the first half either, they were outscored by a combined 15 points in the two games. Toledo is having a tough time breaking out of the cellar in most MAC offensive and defensive categories. The Rockets are last in scoring offense, FT and FG percentages, offensive rebounds, assists, steals, turnover margin and assist-to-turnover ratio. Basically, it has been a bleak winter in Toledo.

Looking Ahead: Tilts against Akron, Bowling Green and Ohio dot Toledo’s upcoming schedule and, barring an unforeseen upset, it doesn’t look like the Rockets will have enough offensive juice to keep these teams. Even Bowling Green, which ranks in the bottom half of scoring offense, still manages to average 12.2 more PPG than Toledo (61.2 to 49.0).

Akron

Looking Back: We have already mentioned that Akron lost this past week to Kent State due to their inability to corral defensive rebounds. In fact, this has been the Zips’ bugbear the entire season. Akron only grabs 22.8 defensive rebounds a game, good for ninth in conference play. Even though Zeke Marshall has helped on the glass, the Zips are still a smaller than average team. However, Akron is a deep team but will only succeed depending on how well the brothers McKnight (Brett and Chris) play. Against Kent State, Chris played well and scored 13 points while Brett struggled, connecting on only 1-6 from the field. In their win against Western Michigan, though, both Chris and Brett scored in double-digits.

Looking Ahead: According to Coach Dambrot, the MAC is becoming a balanced conference as well as developing into a much more competitive league. That being said, Akron’s next three games (against Toledo, Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois) are all at the James A. Rhodes H&PE Building so a four-game winning streak (counting last week’s win over WMU) is definitely not out of the question.

Kent State

Looking Back: Across the board, Kent State is a very good team. Whether it’s scoring (fourth in the MAC with 70.2 PPG) or defending the goal (third with 60.7 PPG), Kent State seems like an early favorite to make the MAC tournament championship game. A 87-70 win over Akron – a top team – confirmed that an auto bid could be waiting for the Golden Flashes after the season as they pounded the glass to a tune of 34-27. Then, Kent State handled Toledo, 60-49 – a team it should beat but could have become a trap game (especially after the big win over Akron).

Looking Ahead: Kent State is the second-best team in the MAC from the field, connecting on 44.6% in conference play. However, a Monday tilt against Northern Illinois could snakebite the Golden Flashes. Although we have noted NIU is not a good defensive team, they are the second-best team in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot a meager 39%.

Buffalo

Looking Back: Although Buffalo may not be the most offensively efficient team in the MAC (100.8 points per possession), the Bulls have phenomenal ball-handling skills. Buffalo leads the conference in assists (15.17) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.15) and is second in steals (8.0) and turnover margin (+1.83). So how did they lose both games (Ohio, 99-77 and Ball State, 75-69) this past week? The loss to Ohio is easy to explain: the Bulls turned the ball over 15 times (second most TOs by Buffalo in a conference game in 2010) and the fast play of the game also meant that leading scorer Rodney Pierce (18.1 PPG) would take a lot of shots. Problem is, he attempted 20 and only made six of them. Against Ball State, Buffalo didn’t turn the ball over nearly as much (six times) but apparently, on the way home from Athens, they forgot how to play defense. Ball State skewered Buffalo’s man D and connected on 55.5% of their shots.

Looking Ahead: The Bulls travel to Northern Illinois on Saturday and if UB against forgets how to play defense, it could be a long afternoon (and one guaranteed to keep the statisticians at the Convocation Center busy for a full two hours).

Bowling Green

Looking Back: It’s a miracle Bowling Green was able to pull out a win at Eastern Michigan (64-61). The Falcons have been the MAC’s best free throw shooting team in conference play (76.7%) but against EMU, their shaky FT shooting almost doomed them: 8-13 from the line. The 64-52 loss to Miami offered BGSU fans a glimpse of the future as sophomore Dee Brown scored 17 points off an impressive 3-5 shooting from deep. Three-point shooting has become Bowling Green’s forte; in 2009, the Falcons were third in conference play while in 2010, they have moved to first thanks to Joe Jakubowski (55%) and Brown (52.4%).

Looking Ahead: Expect a plethora of threes when Bowling Green matches up with Central Michigan on Saturday. The Falcons are eighth in the conference in guarding the long ball at 35.3% (but strangely, are the best when it comes to shooting from deep with a 40.4%) while the Chippewas shoot 37.5% from deep. If the statistics prove correct, CMU’s Robbie Harman, Brown and Jakubowski could all have career days. If BGSU does fall to CMU, at least they have Toledo next on the schedule.

Miami

Looking Back: Two wins and a loss are nice but even better was the milestone coach Charlie Coles reached. In a conference that is one of the oldest in college basketball, Coles’ feat is a testament to one of the better coaches in the game today whose teams continually thrive against BCS conferences.

Looking Ahead: Under Coles, Miami is a very good team at blocking shots. They lead the conference with over four per game and their block percentage is ranked 113th in the country (10.1%). Miami’s next two opponents, Eastern and Western Michigan, conversely, get blocked a lot (EMU 8.8% and WMU 10%) so the next two games should be fun times for Antonio Ballard and Adam Fletcher, who both rank in the MAC’s top ten for blocked shots.

Ohio

Looking Back: Ohio was RTC’s team of the week in the MAC and we have already detailed the offensive juggernaut that the Bobcats have become. If their offensive onslaught continues, Ohio and Ball State could wind up the teams in the MAC tournament no one wants to face.

Looking Ahead: On Sunday, opposing basketball strategies will collide. The top ranked offensive team (Ohio) will take on the top ranked defensive team (Ball State) in what should be a widely-watched game … if only the game was televised.

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Dunk of the Day: Wesley Johnson

Posted by nvr1983 on January 30th, 2010

In one of the most surprising games of the day (not counting San Francisco‘s shocking win over Gonzaga), Syracuse overcame an 18-point first half deficit at DePaul to keep their chances of being the #1 team in the country alive. The Orange used a 16-0 run late in the first half to cut that lead to 2 before going into half trailing by 4. From that point forward, the two teams engaged in a back-and-forth battle with the Blue Demons leading by 2 with 4:15 when Wesley Johnson happened.

Even though the dunk wasn’t exactly a momentum changer (Syracuse only won by 2), it is about as good of an in-game dunk as you will see. If you don’t believe us, listen to the announcer’s reaction. Even Gus Johnson would be proud of that call.

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RTC Live: Gonzaga at San Francisco

Posted by rtmsf on January 30th, 2010

Hello everyone, and welcome back to RTC Live from the West Coast Conference, where the big bad Gonzaga Bulldogs visit the University of San Francisco Dons tonight.  We’ll be interested to see how the Zags respond from their extremely lackluster performance at Santa Clara on Thursday night, where it took a 22-4 run late to finally take control and win the game.  Of course, Mark Few’s team is led by the talents of Matt Bouldin (17/4/4 assts) and Elias Harris (16/9), the latter of whom is already being talked about as a first-rounder in the 2010 NBA Draft.  USF, on the other hand, is suffering a rough season on the Hill.  At 7-14 and 2-4 in the conference, there hasn’t been a lot to cheer about other than the two-time defending WCC scoring champ, Dior Lowhorn.  This year he trails St. Mary’s Omar Samhan and Pepperdine’s Keion Bell in that statistic, but we know that he can blow up for 25+ on any given night.  Gonzaga is the clear favorite tonight, but they also were on Thursday and they had to have a tremendous second half to get out of Santa Clara with a win, so the same thing could happen again tonight.  Join us on RTC Live to find out.

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Arkansas-Mississippi Postponed Due To Inclement Weather

Posted by nvr1983 on January 30th, 2010

It looks like today’s ridiculous schedule of college basketball games just got a little lighter as the SEC, Arkansas, and Mississippi decided to postpone this afternoon’s game until tomorrow due to inclement weather. The game, which was to be played at 4 PM EST today, has been pushed back to 7 PM EST tomorrow (the article listed CST times). Unfortunately due to the time change the game will not be televised.

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Checking in on… the Big 12

Posted by rtmsf on January 30th, 2010

Patrick Sellars is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 Conference.

Power Rankings

  1. Kansas (19-1, 5-0) – The Jayhawks reclaim the number one spot this week after blowing out Iowa State and Missouri. Kansas looks pretty scary right now, but they may hit a roadblock in Manhattan on Saturday.
  2. Texas (18-2, 4-1) - Tough week for the Longhorns, suffering two losses. The good news for UT is that they should be 7-1 when they host Kansas on February 8.
  3. Oklahoma State (16-4, 4-2) – The Cowboys had the best week of any Big 12 team, defeating Kansas State on the road and wasting Texas A&M in Stillwater. James Anderson might be the best player in the Big 12, but he still is receiving little recognition outside of the conference.
  4. Kansas State (17-3, 4-2) – The Wildcats have plenty of opportunities to make an impact in the final conference standings. Hosting KU on Saturday means they’ll have a chance to get back in the conference race.
  5. Missouri (15-5, 3-2) - Mizzou’s biggest problem right now is that they can’t shoot the basketball. Their defense will keep them close in most games (obviously not in Lawrence) but they have to make shots if they want to play to their full potential.
  6. Texas A&M (14-6, 3-3) - The Aggies were very close to upsetting Oklahoma State on Tuesday night, but they fell just short in a high scoring second half. The biggest problem for TAMU is they have little production outside of Donald Sloan, the most underrated player in all of college basketball.
  7. Baylor (15-4, 2-3) – The Bears are going to look back at the loss against Colorado and wonder how different their season would be if they had won that game.  Granted the Bears have had the toughest Big 12 schedule thus far, they’re still in a great position to make the NCAA tournament.
  8. Oklahoma (12-8, 3-3) - The Sooners have to do so much in conference play to make the NCAA tournament, it’s a little bit ridiculous. They will need to win at least seven of their last ten games to even be considered, which will not be easy because there are three sure losses in those ten games (Texas twice and at Kansas).
  9. Texas Tech (14-6, 2-4) - The Red Raiders have little chance of making postseason play with no quality wins to their name.  I still think this team can pull some upsets in conference play, but that is all.
  10. Colorado (11-9, 2-4) - The Buffaloes already surpassed their win total from last season, and they have the opportunity to finish better than second to last in the conference for the first time since 2006. If Cory Higgins stays at school instead of entering the draft, CU will be a dangerous team next year.
  11. Iowa State  (12-8, 1-4) – I’ve officially given up on the Cyclones. Craig Brackins seems to have regressed and this team just isn’t playing the style of basketball I thought they would play. They still take bad shots and play minimal defense.
  12. Nebraska (12-8, 0-5) - Lincoln should just get used to having a good football team and sacrificing the basketball program because of it. There is no professional talent on the Huskers roster, which is usually unheard of in power conferences.

Team of the WeekOklahoma State Cowboys – This team just took itself off the bubble for the time being. Travis Ford has OSU playing good basketball right now, and they may have the best player in the conference in James Anderson.

Player of the WeekTommy Mason-Griffin (G), Oklahoma – The freshman stepped up huge for the Sooners who could not afford to drop a home game against Iowa State. Mason-Griffin went off for 38 points and shot 62% from the field.

This Week’s Predictions

  • Oklahoma at Nebraska (Saturday January 30th, 1:30 PM ET) – OU certainly can’t afford to lose this game, and I don’t think there is any chance that they will. Lincoln is the most docile environment for a Big 12 basketball game, and the Sooners shouldn’t have any problem going in there and taking care of business.

Winner: Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma State at Missouri (Saturday January 30th, 2:OO PM ET ESPN2) - This is almost as intriguing of a game as the KU-KSU matchup. Mizzou is coming off one of worst losses in recent memory and Oklahoma State is rolling. I don’t think MU will have any answer for James Anderson, and the Tigers will fall to .500 in the conference, also ending their 31 game home win streak.

Winner: Oklahoma State

  • Baylor at Texas (Saturday January 30th, 4:00 PM ET) - The Bears continue their brutal Big 12 schedule when they visit Austin on Saturday. Texas knows that if they want to have the Kansas game to mean anything they need to win all of their conference games leading up to that epic matchup on February 8.

Winner: Texas

  • Kansas at Kansas State (Saturday January 30th, 7:00 PM ET) - The Wildcats are going to try to repeat their performance against UT, and block KU from regaining their number one ranking. I think Cole Aldrich will have a big day on the boards, and look for Xavier Henry to have one of his best games for KU this season. However, I think lightning will strike twice in Manhattan and K-State pulls off the upset over their archrival. Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente weren’t stars in their game against Texas, but this time I’d look for both of them to have huge games.

Winner: Kansas State

  • Texas Tech at Texas A&M (Saturday January 30th, 9:00 PM ET) - The Aggies need a win to stay in the mix for the NCAA tournament, and Donald Sloan should be able to will them to victory. The Red Raiders have been overachieving all season, and their finally crashing back down to earth.

Winner: Texas A&M

  • Colorado at Iowa State (Saturday January 30th, 9:00 PM ET) - No one is talking about Colorado’s freshman phenom, Alec Burks. Right now Burks is averaging almost 18 PPG and is the sole reason that Colorado isn’t sitting at last place in the conference standings this season. Burks and Higgins will have huge games against the Cyclones, and inch closer to finishing in the top half of the conference.

Winner: Colorado

  • Texas at Oklahoma State (Monday February 1st, 9:00 PM ET ESPN) - This is a game that I circled on the schedule early in the season. I love the matchup between the conferences two best players, Damion James and James Anderson. The difference between these two teams is that Texas has a ton of offensive weapons, and Oklahoma State has just one consistent scorer. If Obi Muonelo steps up for the Cowboys, I could envision a possible upset, but I’m taking the safe pick and going with the Longhorns.

Winner: Texas

  • Kansas State at Nebraska (Tuesday February 2nd, 8:00 PM ET) – No chance the Cornhuskers catch the Wildcats off guard, even if KSU pulls the upset over Kansas on Saturday. Frank Martin saw what happened after they beat Texas, and won’t let his team enjoy the Kansas win for too long.

Winner: Kansas State

  • Kansas at Colorado (Wednesday February 3rd, 9:00 PM ET ESPN2) - The Buffaloes should be able to keep it close for at least the first half, but we saw what Cole Aldrich does to teams with no frontcourt in Kansas’ game against Missouri. The Jayhawks should have no problem marching into Boulder and coming out with a victory.

Winner: Kansas

  • Iowa State at Baylor (Wednesday February 3rd, 7:30 PM ET) - Ekpe Udoh and LaceDarius Dunn have been one of the best inside-outside duos in the conference. Udoh has solidified himself as an NBA prospect, and Dunn is not far behind. Iowa State will have problems containing either of them, and lose a blowout in Waco.

Winner: Baylor

  • Texas A&M at Missouri (Wednesday February 3rd 9:00 PM ET ESPNU) – Mizzou should be able to contain TAMU’s guards with their press, and I think the Tigers will have a relatively easy victory. Sloan will get his points, but he doesn’t have many other options on offense that will be able to get through Mizzou’s great defense.

Winner: Missouri

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Set Your Tivo: 01.30.10

Posted by THager on January 30th, 2010

***** - quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** - best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** - set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** - set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* - don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

#7 Duke @ #11 Georgetown  1:00 CBS (****)

Duke Will Have Its Hands Full in DC

Although John Thompson III has said he does not want to be playing in this out of conference matchup right now, fans have been looking forward to this game for quite some time.  In addition to the possibility of President Obama attending the game, this is a matchup between a current #2 seed in the tournament and a #3 or #4 seed in Georgetown.  When Duke’s 82.2 ppg offense goes against Georgetown’s 62.0 defensive average, something is going to have to budge.  Despite Duke’s top ranking in offensive efficiency, they will certainly not be able to run over the Hoyas.  GU held Pitt to 66 points on the road, and held Syracuse, UConn, and Marquette below their season average.  Although Duke outscores the Hoyas by over 10 points per contest on average, they also hold opponents to fewer points per game rank higher in defensive efficiency.  Nevertheless, the Blue Devils lost their first three road games of the year to Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, and Clemson, none of whom are as dangerous as the Hoyas.  GU blew a golden opportunity at the Carrier Dome last week, so look for them to take out some frustration on the Blue Devils. Austin Freeman scored 23 points against the Orange, and the Hoyas will likely depend on him to give Georgetown the win.

Oklahoma St @ Missouri 2:00 ESPN (***)

As George W. Bush once attempted to say, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”  Oklahoma State made me look foolish when they beat Texas A&M last week, and Missouri embarrassed me with their performance in Lawrence when they kept up with the Jayhawks for the first five minutes and called it a day.  The Cowboys have now won three Big 12 games in a row, while Mizzou has now lost two of their last three contests.  OSU showed they could win without a strong performance from James Anderson, who didn’t score the first 18 minutes of the Aggie game.  The Aggies do have a couple things going for them as well.  They will be playing at home, where they are 12-0 this year, and still rank #12 in the country according to Ken Pomeroy with their sixth ranked defense.  Their D didn’t look so impressive last week when they gave up 50 first half points to Kansas, as they let the Jayhawks shoot over 49 percent from the floor and 47 percent from beyond the arc.  Senior Obi Muonelo is hot for Oklahoma State right now, and look for him to lead the Cowboys to a fourth consecutive Big 12 win.

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Checking in on… the Southland

Posted by jstevrtc on January 29th, 2010

Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

Current Standings as of Jan. 29, 2009:

EAST

  1. Stephen F. Austin 14-5 (4-2)
  2. SE Louisiana 11-8 (3-3)
  3. Nicholls State 7-12 (3-3)
  4. McNeese State 7-12 (2-3)
  5. Northwestern State 6-12 (1-4)
  6. Central Arkansas 7-13 (1-5)

WEST

  1. Sam Houston State 13-5 (5-0)
  2. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 11-8 (5-0)
  3. Texas State 10-10 (4-2)
  4. UT-San Antonio 12-6 (2-3)
  5. Lamar 10-11 (2-4)
  6. Texas-Arlington 9-9 (1-4)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi forward Kevin Palmer was named the SLC Player of the Week after extending his scoring in double figures to 40 games with a season-high 32 points in a victory over Lamar last Wednesday. Palmer then came through with 18 points in an overtime win over UTSA. This is the second league player of the week honor for the senior from Baltimore, Maryland.

UNBEATENS

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Sam Houston State sit atop the Southland Conference with identical 5-0 marks. The two teams have a showdown on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Corpus Christi for unbeaten supremacy.

TEAM UPDATES

EAST

STEPHEN F. AUSTIN – The ‘Jacks sit at the top of the SLC East, one game ahead of Southeastern Louisiana. Both of the Lumberjacks’ losses in conference play have come on the road to SHSU and Nicholls State, respectively. The ‘Jacks have a three-game conference winning streak as they overpowered Southeastern Louisiana in Nacogdoches by 11 and took down Northwestern State by 10 on the road.

SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA – After starting conference play 2-0, they lost three straight before picking up a seven-point win over Central Arkansas on Jan. 27. SELA will have to travel to Nicholls State then host Texas State this week.

NICHOLLS STATE – A Jekyll and Hyde team, the Colonels can’t seem to string any wins together on a consistent basis. NSU’s leading scorer, Anatoly Bose (18.8 PPG) was held to six points in the loss to UCA. NSU faces the East’s top two teams this week in SELA (Jan. 30) and SFA (Feb. 3).

MCNEESE STATE – Halted a five-game (non-conference and SLC play) skid by beating SELA, 71-67, on Jan. 20, then lost to Nicholl State by two on Jan. 27.  The Cowboys face streaky Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State this week.

NORTHWESTERN STATE – Picked up its initial SLC win with a 99-98 win over Nicholls State on Jan. 23. The Demons have lost nine of their last 11 dating back to a Dec. 12 setback at the hands of LSU. NW State could pick up a couple of wins as they face Central Arkansas (Jan. 30) and McNeese State (Feb. 3).

CENTRAL ARKANSAS - The Bears picked up their first Southland Conference win of the year (64-50) against Nicholls State as former Bear and NBA great Scottie Pippen looked on. UCA retired Pippen’s No. 33 uniform at halftime. Pippen was a two-time NAIA All-American for UCA and delivered a pregame talk to the Bears. They promptly lost two more games to McNeese and SELA.

WEST

SAM HOUSTON STATE – The Bearkats are riding a five-game SLC win streak and have won eight of their last 10 games. In those five SLC games, the ‘Kats are beating their opponent by 15 PPG on average. Sam Houston hits the road for a big game Saturday as they face fellow unbeaten A&M-Corpus, then they host UTSA.

TA&M-CC – The only other unbeaten in the conference, the Islanders have put together a six-game SLC winning streak. The streak comes on the heels of A&M-CC losing six of seven games before picking up a league win against UCA. After the SHSU tilt, the Islanders hit the road to test UTA.

TEXAS STATE – The Bobcats have come as bit of a surprise after starting the season 3-8. TSU has won three of its last four conference games and can separate itself a little from the middle of the pack with games against UTA (Jan. 30) and SELA (Feb. 3).

UTSA – Has lost three straight in league play after winning its first two games. Lost a close four-point game to league-leading A&M-Corpus Christi, then took it on the chin by 14 points against Texas State. The Roadrunners need to pick up at least one victory over Lamar or SHSU this week.

LAMAR – After winning two games against UTA and McNeese State, the Cardinals fell back to Earth with three straight losses to the Islanders, Bobcats and Bearkats. Important games loom against UTSA (Jan. 30) and Central Arkansas (Feb. 3).

UTA – The Mavericks haven’t found their rhythm as they have lost two consecutive SLC games twice this year. They took a day off from SLC play to defeat Houston Baptist, but face hot teams in Texas State and A&M-CC this week.

BOXSCORE BREAKDOWN

Stephen F. Austin had four players in double figures and shot 57% from the field in the second half to escape with a 10-point victory over Northwestern State on Jan. 27. Eddie Williams, Walt Harris and Jereal Scott all score in double digits for the Lumberjacks.

DeShawn Patterson tied a career high with 17 points and Southeastern Louisiana held off Central Arkansas on Jan. 27.

Anatoly Bose scored a Southland Conference season-high 46 points, but the Nicholls State Colonels fell 99-98 in double overtime to Northwestern State on Jan. 23.  Bose then went off for 23 points and 11 rebounds in a victory over McNeese State.

McNeese State – Held UCA to 28% from the field, including 19 percent from three-point land in a 15-point win on Jan. 23.

Devon Baker hit a free throw with one second left to give Northwestern State a 99-98 win over Nicholls State in double overtime on Jan. 23. In the overtime win, Damon Jones scored a season-high 25 points, then came back with only one point in a loss to SFA.

Mike Rueter has come strong in the last few SLC games for UCA. The 6’6 senior from Batesville, Arkansas is averaging 14.5 PPG in the last four games and 11.7 PPG on the year.

A battle of two of the top offensive threats in the league played out with Sam Houston’s Gilberto Clavell scoring 25 points to go with 10 rebounds as SHSU beat UTA by three points on Jan. 23.  Marquez Haynes, leading the league with 24.5 PPG, had 23 for UTA.

SHSU sophomore Antuan Bootle posted double-figure rebounds in two of the last three games. Bootle had 12 rebounds in 20 mintues of action against Texas State, and 11 boards in 15 minutes against Lamar.

A&M-CC’s Demond Watt has heated up and scored in double-figures in 12 straight games to push his season average to 11.9 PPG. Watt tied a season-high with 13 rebounds against non-conference foe UT-Pan American on Jan. 25.

Texas State had six players in double figures in an overtime victory against Lamar on Jan. 23. Cameron Johnson had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and is averaging 16.6 PPG in conference play.

Devin Gibson had a season-high nine assists for UTSA in a loss to the Islanders. Gibson was two rebounds and one assist away from a triple-double.

Lamar’s Justin Nabors had a string of double figure scoring games snapped at 12 when he scored nine in a 90-63 blowout loss to SHSU. Nabors is close to averaging a double-double as he scores at a 13.7 PPG clip and pulls 9.7 RPG.

UTA guard Marquez Haynes netted his sixth 30-point game this year as he tossed in 32 points in a non-conference win over Houston Baptist. Haynes also dished out a season- and career-high nine assists in the victory.

The Mavericks welcomed back senior forward Tommy Moffit from a broken foot. The 6’5 Moffit missed 11 games, but came back against Houston Baptist to play 16 minutes.

GAMES OF THE WEEK

Saturday, Jan. 30

Sam Houston at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 3

Texas State at Southeastern Louisiana, 7 p.m.

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Checking in on… the WAC

Posted by jstevrtc on January 29th, 2010

Sam Wasson of bleedCRIMSON.net and Travis Mason-Bushman of Vandal Nation are the RTC correspondents for the Western Athletic Conference.

At the halfway point of the conference race, Louisiana Tech continues to lead, posting a 6-1 record. A showdown between Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State looms large on Saturday. A victory by the Aggies could thrust the league into a three-way tie for first if Utah State is able to defeat a suddenly surging San Jose State squad. Utah State remains hot as they’ve gone from last place after the first weekend to a tie for second place at the midway point. Meanwhile the race to stay out of the WAC basement is currently a three-team battle between Boise State, Idaho and Hawai’i. The Broncos are currently the odd team out but notched an important victory over in-state rival Idaho earlier in the week in the first of two meetings between the schools.

Current Standings:

1) Louisiana Tech, 18-3 (6-1)

T2) New Mexico State, 12-8 (5-2)

T2) Utah State, 14-6 (5-2)

4) San Jose State 12-8 (5-3)

5) Nevada 12-8 (4-3)

6) Fresno State, 11-11 (4-4)

T7) Idaho, 9-10 (2-6)

T7) Hawai’i, 9-12 (2-6)

9) Boise State, 10-11 (1-7)

At the midway point there are several excellent candidates for Midseason Player of the Year. Instead of choosing a midseason POY and angering eight other fanbases in the process, we instead submit the Top 10 scorers and rebounders in the league (conference games only). Surprisingly, Utah State, tied for second place and certainly the league’s hottest team, has no player in the Top 10 in either scoring or rebounding.

Leading Scorers (Conference Games Only):

1. Adrian Oliver, SJSU – 25.1 PPG

2. Luke Babbitt, NEV – 24.7 PPG

3. Jahmar Young, NMSU – 22.9 PPG

4. Kyle Gibson, LT – 21.6 PPG

5. Jonathan Gibson, NMSU – 19.9 PPG

6. Paul George, FS – 17.7 PPG* (Injured, expected to be out 2-3 weeks)

7. Mac Hopson, ID – 17.5 PPG

8. Sylvester Seay, FS – 15.9 PPG

9. Magnum Rolle, LT – 15.4 PPG

10. Brandon Fields, NEV – 15.3 PPG

Leading Rebounders (Conference Games Only):

1. Luke Babbitt, NEV – 10.7 RPG

2. Magnum Rolle, LT – 10.3 RPG

3. Wendell McKines, NMSU – 10.0 RPG

4. Chris Oakes, SJSU – 9.4 RPG

5. Ike Okoye, BSU – 8.8 RPG

6. Hamidu Rahman, NMSU – 8.3 RPG

7. Dario Hunt, NEV – 7.3 RPG

8. Brandon Adams, UH – 7.0 RPG TIED WITH Olu Asaolu, LTU – 7.0 RPG

9. Greg Smith, FS – 6.9 RPG

Team Breakdowns:

Boise State (10-11, 1-7)

The week’s results: 01/25 W @ Idaho, 77-67 (OT)

Upcoming games: 01/30 vs. Fresno State

The Broncos finally notched a conference win, and it was a big one. Boise State traveled to Moscow, ID to face their in-state rival Idaho and the Broncos stunned the home team. Anthony Thomas hit a contested three pointer as time expired to send the game to overtime where they dominated the extra period. Boise State’s win saw them rally from a nine point second half deficit, and the win keeps the Broncos just one game behind Hawai’i and Idaho as they try to avoid missing the conference tournament. Up next for the Broncos is a game against an up and down Fresno State squad who is playing without their leading scorer, Paul George.

Fresno State (11-11, 4-4)

The week’s results: 01/23 W vs. Nevada, 87-77; 01/28 L @ Idaho, 74-59

Upcoming games: 01-30 @ Boise State

The Bulldogs split a pair of games this week, but it was not what anyone expected. The Bulldogs lost their leading scorer, Paul George, last week in the first half against Utah State and were soundly beaten by the Aggies. Just two nights later, the Bulldogs hosted Nevada in what was sure to be another sound beating. However, the Bulldogs rose up and stunned the visiting Wolf Pack, 87-77, behind a big night from Greg Smith (25 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists). Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they came crashing back down to earth when they traveled to Idaho. The Bulldogs were beaten badly by the Vandals, losing 74-59. The Bulldogs trailed by just two at halftime a 6-0 run by the Vandals to start the half put the Bulldogs in a hole of which they couldn’t dig out. Up next for the Bulldogs is a trip to Boise, ID to face the Broncos.

Hawaii (9-12, 2-6)

The week’s results: 01/24 L vs Louisiana Tech, 65-60; 01/28 L @ San Jose State, 83-60

Upcoming games: 01/30 @ Nevada

The Warriors have lost three in a row and now sit tied with Idaho in seventh place in the league. The Warriors hung tough with league leader Louisiana Tech in a home game, falling 65-60. The Warriors were down just two with 34 seconds to play but could get no closer. A rematch against San Jose State gave the Warriors their third straight loss after beating San Jose State 66-65 in overtime in Honolulu. The Warriors led just once at 7-6, but could not stop the Spartans. Things don’t get any easier for the Warriors as they travel to Reno to take on Nevada.

Idaho (9-10, 2-7)

The week’s results: 01/23 L vs. Utah State, 60-48; 01/25 L vs. Boise State, 77-67 (OT); 01/28 W vs. Fresno State, 74-59

Upcoming games: 01/30 @ Seattle; 02/03 @ Utah State

The Vandals snapped a six game losing streak with a victory over shorthanded Fresno State, winning handily, 74-59. The victory helped erase the pain of giving up a nine point lead late in the game against in-state rival Boise State and a hard fought 60-48 loss to Utah State. The Vandals’ victory over Fresno State was an important win in the league race as they moved into a tie with Hawai’i for 7th place in the league and strengthened their hopes of making the conference tournament. Idaho steps out of conference play with a game at Seattle before heading back to Logan, UT to face the USU Aggies.

Louisiana Tech (18-3, 6-1)

The week’s results: 01/24 W @ Hawai’i, 65-60

Upcoming games: 01/30 vs. New Mexico State; 02/04 vs. San Jose State

The Bulldogs continue to lead the WAC race as they picked up a victory over Hawai’i, 65-60. Magnum Rolle scored 23 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds. Kyle Gibson scored 19 points and Jamel Guyton recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Bulldogs host the New Mexico State Aggies as they attempt to stay in solo first place in the league standings. Following their date with the Aggies, the suddenly hot San Jose State Spartans come to town.

Nevada (12-8, 4-3)

The week’s results: 01/23 L @ Fresno State, 87-77

Upcoming games: 01/30 vs. Hawai’i

The Wolf Pack were stunned by a short-handed Fresno State squad and they missed a golden opportunity to move into a tie for second place with New Mexico State and Utah State. Luke Babbitt scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the loss. The Wolf Pack will try to rebound when they host Hawai’i.

New Mexico State (12-8, 5-2)

The week’s results: 01/23 L @ San Jose State, 93-84

Upcoming games: 01/30 @ Louisiana Tech

The Aggies had their four game win streak snapped by San Jose State as the two teams had a shootout. Jahmar Young scored a career-high 34 points in the loss and the Aggies dropped into a tie for second place with Utah State. The Aggies finish up a three game road trip with a trip to Ruston, LA to take on league-leading Louisiana Tech.

San Jose State (12-8, 5-3)

The week’s results: 01/23 W vs. New Mexico State, 93-84; 01/28 W vs. Hawai’i, 83-60

Upcoming games: 01/30 @ Utah State; 02/04 @ Louisiana Tech

The Spartans knocked off New Mexico State in a shootout and then exacted revenge for a last-second loss at Hawai’i. The Spartans have won three in a row (and four out of five) but their hot streak will get a stiff test as they face Utah State in Logan, and then Louisiana Tech in Ruston. Adrian Oliver was named the WAC Player of the Week for his 39-point performance against Louisiana Tech, and 22-point performance against New Mexico State. He added a 31-point performance against Hawai’i.

Utah State (15-6, 5-2)

The week’s results: 01/23 W @ Idaho, 60-48

Upcoming games: 01/30 vs. San Jose State; 02/03 vs. Idaho

The Aggies continued their strong run with a victory over Idaho in Moscow. The game pitted teacher versus student at Stew Morrill’s Aggies took down Don Verlin’s Vandals. The win by Utah State was Morrill’s 500th career victory. The Aggies host a hot San Jose State team and then get a rematch at home against Idaho.

UPCOMING GAMES

* 01/30 – Utah State vs. San Jose State – 7:00 p.m. MT (CW30-Utah)

* 01/30 – Seattle vs. Idaho – 7:10 p.m. PT

* 01/30 – Nevada vs. Hawai’i – 7:00 p.m. PT (ESPNU)

* 01/30 – Boise State vs. Fresno State – 8:15 p.m. MT (Bulldog Sports Network)

* 01/30 – Louisiana Tech vs. New Mexico State – 8:00 p.m. CT

* 02/03 – Utah State vs. Idaho – 9:00 p.m. MT (ESPN2)

* 02/04 – Louisiana Tech vs. San Jose State – 7:00 p.m. CT (ESPN Regional)

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Rush the Shirt Contest – Official Rules

Posted by jstevrtc on January 29th, 2010

Looking for that last piece to complete your winter wardrobe?  Maybe you should try a sweater or at least something with long sleeves.  But, if you need something to wear UNDER that, look no further.  It is with immense pride that we introduce to you… the official RUSH THE COURT t-shirt.  It’s got our name on it, a cool slogan, and a shoeprint design on the back along with the site’s URL.  That’s pretty much the only ways in which it’s different than every other shirt you own.  Oh, and it’s freaking awesome.  You can order yours at our CafePress showcase here (priced between $11-$24).

Suffice to say, we’ve got just about every school color combination there is.  We don’t do custom orders, but tell us if you want a color combo we don’t offer and if there’s enough demand, we’ll see what we can do.  ALSO, because we’ve been inspired by the recent generosity of various basketball programs who have raised aid money for earthquake relief in Haiti, AND by the Mark Titus blog Club Trillion, we’re donating all profits we make to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

But there’s more to this.  Even though your coolness factor and college hoops insider status will take off faster than a  Jeremy Hazell jumper as you wear your RTC T-shirt, we’re not just doing this so we can use you people as walking billboards for us (though we do appreciate it).  We’re going to have a little contest along with our T-shirt promotion.  We want to see these things in action.  And when we say that we want to SEE them… we’re quite serious.

Here’s the deal — send us a photo of yourself wearing the RTC t-shirt , and we’ll enter you into a lottery for one of  two prizes:

  • First Prize Two (2) Tickets to a 2010 NCAA First/Second Round Venue of Your Choice
  • Second Prize$50 Visa Gift Card

The number of chances you actually GET in the drawing is determined by the situation in which you are wearing your RTC shirt.  Our committee of judges will review each photo as it’s received, assigning it a point value which will correspond to the number of chances you get in the drawing.  For example: a photo of a person wearing an RTC shirt  generates one chance.  You take it from there.  We’ll assign points based on how creative you get, where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with, etc.  Also, if one of our correspondents or editors sees you anywhere while wearing the shirt (at the supermarket, at the gym, at a game, etc.), you’ll be given an extra ten entries (the correspondent/editor must approach you — do not make a spectacle of yourself).  We’ll occasionally post our favorite photos on the site.

Send the photos to RTCShirtPhotos@gmail.com.  The drawings will occur on the Monday AFTER Selection Sunday and we’ll announce the results here after we’ve notified the winners.  The photos must be sent from the email address from which you want to be contacted if you win one of the prizes or if we need to get in touch with you.  Don’t worry… we’re not going to put you on any mailing lists or anything.

One prize per person.  No obscene or illegal material, please.  Photos of that nature will be discarded without consideration.  Contest ends at 12 midnight the MORNING of Selection Sunday.  Photos submitted after then will not be considered for the drawings.

So grab a shirt or five, and start racking up points.  Most importantly, enjoy the rest of the season.  We’ll be looking for you!

(RTC dudes and their relatives aren’t eligible to win.  We promise.)

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RTC Live: Portland @ Santa Clara

Posted by rtmsf on January 29th, 2010

Portland brings a three-game winning streak into Santa Clara’s Leavey Center Saturday night to face a Broncos team coming off an almost-but-no-cigar effort against Gonzaga (L 71-64). Portland lost its own nail-biter to the Zags earlier this year, so won’t have any sympathy for a Santa Clara squad trying to improve its cellar-dwelling 1-5 WCC record. Portland at 4-2 trails Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga in the standings and can’t afford to fall further behind.  Join us on RTC Live for another intriguing night in the West Coast Conference.

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RTC Live: Duke @ Georgetown

Posted by rtmsf on January 29th, 2010

Welcome to another installment of RTC Live, coming to you courtside from the Verizon Center. We have a doozy on our hands as the Georgetown Hoyas host the Duke Blue Devils. How big of a game is this? President Barack Obama will be in attendance. If our suspicions are correct, it is because he is a big fan of RTC and heard we would be covering the game, but I digress. Duke has had their fair share of struggles of late, but at the end of the day they are still just a game out of first place in the ACC. After dropping a game to NC State on the road, the Devils bounced back nicely with wins over Clemson and Florida State. The one thing box score junkies will have noticed is the rapidly decreasing minutes of freshmen Mason Plumlee and Andre Dawkins. As Coach K makes his annual rotational cuts, it has meant more time for the Blue Devils’ big three. Could weak legs become a factor again this season?

Georgetown has a big three of their own, and with the lack of depth on their roster, it has resulted in heavy minutes for Greg Monroe, Chris Wright, and Austin Freeman as well. The most interesting stat for this year’s Hoyas comes in the form of Mr. Wright. In the Hoyas four losses, he is averaging 6.5 ppg, 6.5 apg, and just 1.3 turnovers. In their 15 wins, those numbers jump to 16.8 ppg, but only 3.5 apg and 2.9 turnovers. With the offense running through Monroe, Georgetown needs Wright and Freeman to be the guys that can score. And thus far, they have done a pretty good job.   When its all said and done, this game has no importance other than seeding come tournament time. Duke and Georgetown will both be looking for a two-seed, and a win here could go along way towards that goal for both sides. So sit back, leave a comment, and enjoy what is sure to be a heckuva game.

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