Your Way-Too-Early Big Ten 2014-15 Power Rankings

Posted by Brendan Brody on April 10th, 2014

The Big Ten was once again a juggernaut during the 2013-14 campaign, as the league was arguably the best conference in America, or at worst second behind the Big 12. There were six teams invited to the NCAA Tournament, three of which made the Elite Eight, and the league was also the home of the NIT Champion. One thing that cannot be disputed is that the bottom half of the league’s teams were much better. This meant that some games that were considered big upsets early became much less surprising as the season went on. With this year in the books, the league is set to add newcomers Maryland and Rutgers to the mix for 2014-15. With 14 teams and a plethora of players slated to return, it’s time to construct some kind of pecking order as we head into the long offseason.

Look for Nigel Hayes to take on a much bigger role for Wisconsin next season. (AP)

Look for Nigel Hayes to take on a much bigger role for Wisconsin next season. (AP)

  1. Wisconsin: The Badgers are only projected to lose starting guard Ben Brust right now. Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky could both leave school, but neither is anything close to a certain first round pick. If they return, the Badgers would have four upperclassmen starters in the lineup, plus sophomores Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes ready to take on bigger roles. This team could be scary.
  2. Michigan: While the Wisconsin situation looks much more settled, Michigan is an absolute wild card at this point. The Wolverines could very well lose any combination of Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III. Stauskas is the only player who is thought to be a certain first-rounder, however, and a team that brings back Robinson, McGary, Caris LeVert, and Derrick Walton Jr. could easily build off of their Elite Eight appearance and battle Wisconsin for the league title.
  3. Ohio State: The Buckeyes have the best recruiting class in the Big Ten coming in, with D’Angelo Russell, Keita Bates-Diop, and Jae’Sean Tate on the majority of the top 100 lists. Combine this infusion of young talent with a solid group of upperclassmen and graduate transfer Anthony Lee coming in from Temple, and Ohio State should be better next year than it was in 2013-14. Read the rest of this entry »
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Rushed Reactions: #11 Dayton 60, #6 Ohio State 59

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on March 20th, 2014

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Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCeastregion@RTCMWregion,@RTCsouthregion and @RTCwestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

Dayton pulled off a stunner in Buffalo. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Dayton pulled off a stunner in Buffalo. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

  1. The Battle of Ohio was even better than expected. When this game popped up on Selection Sunday, it was tabbed as one of the better round of 64 matchups, and it more than lived up to the hype. There were several huge momentum swings throughout the game, both fan bases had their moments, and the final five minutes – a taut five minutes – was rife with huge plays. The first game of the day will be tough to top throughout the rest of this round’s action.
  2. These Flyers are resilient. Sam Thompson sparked a big Ohio State run midway through the second half to put the Buckeyes back on top, and it looked like danger zone for Dayton. Unable to get any looks underneath and completely out of sync offensively, the Flyers very well could have faded into oblivion over the final 10 minutes. Instead, they kept attacking in transition and never hung their heads on the defensive end. It paid off. They reached the bonus relatively early on, hit some free throws, and kept the game tight. And when Aaron Craft’s layup fell through with 10 seconds on the clock, Archie Miller’s guys confidently ran the ball up the floor, got it into Vee Sanford’s hands, and he made the magic happen – a Raftery-sizedkiss off the glass to finish off the upset.
  3. Aaron Craft’s career ends. Regardless of how you feel about Craft, you should not remember him for the bad intentional foul he committed late in the second half. Instead, the lasting image should be the way he responded – by attacking the rim and making several enormous baskets down the stretch. If that Sanford shot had rimmed out, we’d be talking about Craft as the hero, again. Hate him, love him, the guy is a tough player who did a lot of great things in Columbus over the past four years. Remember that side of it.

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Big Ten Weekend in Review: The Plot Thickens

Posted by Brendan Brody on February 17th, 2014

After Michigan got beaten pretty badly at home against Wisconsin early Sunday afternoon, Michigan State knew that all they had to do was beat Nebraska at home to take over sole possession of first place in the league. The broadcasters even said that the Spartans were watching the Michigan game in the locker room before their game. So of course Sparty got upset by the Cornhuskers because nothing is normal in the 2013-14 Big Ten season. With Wisconsin and Iowa winning over the weekend, there are now four teams within two games of the top spot. With all of these teams playing against each other next weekend (Michigan State at Michigan, Wisconsin at Iowa), absolutely nothing has been settled with three weekends left in the conference schedule. Minnesota got an important win at Northwestern to keep their tourney hopes alive, Purdue annihilated Indiana, and Ohio State and Illinois combined for a whopping 87 points. Here’s the rest of the weekend rundown.

Frank Kaminsky posted his third double-double of the season by scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in Wisconsin's weekend win at Michigan. (Getty)

Frank Kaminsky posted his third double-double of the season by scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in Wisconsin’s weekend win at Michigan. (Getty)

Player of the Weekend: Frank Kaminsky: This was probably the closest contest so far in the seven weeks of doling out this prestigious award. Sterling Carter and Melsaan Basabe were also worthy candidates, but Kaminsky gets the nod. He destroyed the Wolverines all day, and surprisingly did the majority of his damage inside the paint. In his other games this season where he’s gone for over 20 points, he did so by taking a good number of threes. Specifically, in his 43-point monsoon against North Dakota, Kaminsky went 6-for-6 from three and 4-for-7 on two’s. Sunday afternoon, he only took 2 shots from behind the arc. He was 10-for 14 on two’s and did a good deal of damage on the boards (4 offensive rebounds, 11 total). Kaminsky was as aggressive as he’s been all season trying to corral rebounds, and he attacked the basket the whole game. If he and Nigel Hayes can provide consistent paint points for the Badgers to go along with the ever-present outside attack, then Wisconsin just got a lot more dangerous.

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The RTC Podcast: No Team is Safe Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 4th, 2014

Another weekend down means another RTC Podcast. In this week’s edition, the guys were pleased to welcome Sports Illustrated columnist and all-around good guy, Luke Winn, who regaled us with stories about some of his favorite pieces over the past few years, a couple of teams that he believes might be overlooked according to the national polls, and his favorite graphic that he’s created in the always-entertaining and informative Power Rankings column. Aside from Luke’s visit, we also found time to run down what was a simply ridiculous weekend of college basketball — Super Saturday, instead — and examine the week’s most compelling upcoming games. As always, Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) hosts the proceedings.

Make sure to subscribe to the podcast/podblast on iTunes so that you’ll get all of the episodes immediately downloaded to your listening device.

  • 0:00-5:51 – Arizona Loses In More Ways Than One
  • 5:51-12:34 – Duke-Syracuse Lives Up To The Hype
  • 12:34-20:42 – Slew of Other Top 10s Fall (And in OK St’s Case Fall Again)
  • 20:42-33:05 – Rush The Takes: Luke Winn
  • 33:05-37:32 – Kentucky Takes a Tumble in the Ranks
  • 37:32-41:55 – Randy Overrating Cincinnati???
  • 41:55-47:08 – Ohio State And Wisconsin – Someone Technically Won
  • 47:08-51:06 – Virginia Leaps Ahead of Pitt in ACC Power Rankings
  • 51:06-58:47 – Week Preview
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The RTC Podblast: Time and Score Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 31st, 2014

Welcome back to the RTC Podblast. In this week’s edition, the guys take a look back at a week filled with some strange upsets, including what might be the only time in the history of podcasts that the Northwestern fight song was used, a discussion of time and score (also known as a 13.5 second interlude), and a look ahead to a ridiculously strong Saturday of college basketball. As always, Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) hosts.

Make sure to subscribe to the podcast/podblast on iTunes so that you’ll get all of the episodes immediately downloaded to your listening device.

  • 0:00-5:56 – Wild, Wild Midwest
  • 5:56-9:28 – Iowa Comes Up Short… Again
  • 9:28-13:02 – Kentucky Falls At LSU
  • 13:02-18:44 – Louisville Fails to Validate Randy’s Belief
  • 18:44-24:30 – Busy Weekend Preview
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RTC Bracketology: January 23 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 23rd, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Over the past six years, Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s No. 11 bracketologist out of hundreds of entries. 

The movement in my newest batch of bracketology focuses completely on the Big Ten. Ohio State continues to slide after a loss to Nebraska earlier this week and still lacks a single quality win. The Buckeyes are No. 9 seed, based mainly on their high RPI and the eye test which seems to suggest Ohio State is a lot better than its recent record.

Some other notes about the January 23 edition:

  • Wisconsin started 16-0 and has now lost three consecutive games after a loss at Minnesota Wednesday night. The Badgers are now a No. 3 seed and at No. 9 on the S-curve. Villanova, despite getting destroyed by Creighton Monday night, stays on the No. 2 line for now. The Wildcats would have been the fourth No. 1 seed if the ‘Cats had won against Creighton.
  • Michigan is flying up the board and is now a No. 3 seed after a big win over Iowa on Wednesday night. The win over the Hawkeyes followed another big win over Wisconsin last Saturday. Minnesota is also moving up and is a No. 6 seed after beating the Badgers.
  • The last eight teams in the at-large field continue to look like a bunch of mediocre clubs with hardly anything separating them. Arkansas lost on the road Wednesday night at Tennessee, eliminating the Razorbacks’ chance of moving back into my field. Arkansas is now 2-22 on the road under head coach Mike Anderson and 44-5 at home. I need someone smarter than me to figure that one out. I’ll keep the Razorbacks outside of my field until they can beat anyone on the road, no matter what they do at home. Considering the Hawgs have only one more chance for a big win this year (vs. Kentucky, at Rupp) it’s likely they are done barring some kind of unbelievable turnaround in road games. Don’t count on it.
  • The SEC has four teams in my latest field, but No. 12 Missouri barely made it after a loss to LSU this week. No. 10 Tennessee only made it because there really is a lack of quality teams in the lowest at-large seed lines and at least the Vols have a couple of good wins.
  • The Pac-12 seems to be racing the SEC to get as few NCAA Tournament bids as possible. No. 1 Arizona is a lock, but teams like No. 10 California (which lost to USC Wednesday night) continue to dare the committee to only take two or three teams from the conference. No. 9 Colorado can’t help that Spencer Dinwiddie was injured against Washington, but the Buffaloes are now thrown into a group of Pac-12 bubble teams that they likely would have been head and shoulders above. No. 9 Oregon, No. 11 Stanford and No. 9 UCLA all appear to be very up and down this season.

The full bracket is after the jump.

NOTE: Teams in all capital letters are projected auto-bid winners.

 

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RTC Bracketology: January 20 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 20th, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s No. 11 bracketologist out of hundreds of entries. 

A lot changed in my bracketology following a crazy weekend of college basketball. I’m going to try to break it down and make it as simple and as easy as possible. First, let’s start at the top.

  • Villanova replaces Wisconsin on the No. 1 seed line after Wisconsin lost twice last week. The Wildcats simply have a better resume than Florida, who is No. 5 on my S-curve despite a loss to Wisconsin earlier this season. Remember, the Gators were not completely healthy in their loss at Wisconsin. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who has become the go-to guy for Florida in the final minutes of games, missed the final few minutes of the last second loss at Connecticut.
  • Wichita State stays on the No. 3 seed line despite being undefeated. The Shockers simply do not have the profile of a No. 1 or No. 2 seed at this point. Gonzaga didn’t last year at this time either, and still ended up on the No. 1 line, so stay patient Shocker fans.
  • Oklahoma has jumped up to a No. 4 seed after wins against Baylor and Iowa State. The Cyclones stay as a No. 3 seed, but are sliding. Baylor falls to a No. 8 seed after a couple more losses. Ohio State is also sliding — the Buckeyes’ profile looks nothing like the seed of a surefire NCAA Tournament team, although that is where most bracketologists continue to seed them as a No. 3 or No. 4 seed.
  • Anyone wanting a prediction from me can write this one down: Kansas will end up with a No. 1 seed. The Jayhawks have a tremendous profile like always, and are playing their best basketball of the season.

I think that’s enough for now. If you have questions (and surely you do), please tweet me @bracketexpert.

First Four Out: VCU, Illinois, Arkansas, Southern Mississippi.

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RTC Bracketology: January 18 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 18th, 2014

bracket pic

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert.

Going into Saturday, this has been a crazy week in college basketball. Let’s review:

  • Baylor is sliding after getting destroyed by Texas Tech.
  • Ohio State continues to have zero good wins and has now lost three straight games.
  • Wisconsin lost its first game of the year at Indiana Tuesday night.
  • Kansas knocked off Iowa State Monday night and continues to move up in my bracketology rankings.

I listed Kansas as a No. 1 seed in my preseason bracketology because the Jayhawks earn No. 1 seeds more consistently than any other team in the country. Kansas always schedules well and it pays off. The Jayhawks are up to No. 2 in my latest bracket and are nearing the No. 1 seed line at this point. Wichita State remains on the No. 3 line despite being undefeated. It’s nothing personal against the Shockers — really, it’s not. They just don’t have the profile of a top two seed at this point. Colorado lost Spencer Dinwiddie to an ACL injury earlier this week and the Buffaloes lost to UCLA  a few nights later. I’ve moved Colorado down because of Dinwiddie’s loss. For now, I’m keeping New Mexico State and Belmont in the bracket below despite losing games this week and technically falling out of first place. It’s still early in the year and for one night, I am willing to give those teams the benefit of the doubt.

Here is the complete field, seeded #1-#68:

First Four Out: Arkansas, Stanford, Indiana, Saint Mary’s

#1 Seeds:
ARIZONA (Pac-12/WEST)
SYRACUSE (ACC/EAST)
WISCONSIN (Big Ten/SOUTH)
Michigan State (Midwest)

#2  Seeds:
Villanova
FLORIDA (SEC)
KANSAS (Big 12)
San Diego State (MWC)

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The RTC Podcast: The KenPom Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 14th, 2014

Running very late with the post this week, but this week’s RTC Podcast has already been up on iTunes since Monday night (even more reason to subscribe and automatically get the updates as soon as they drop!). As always, Shane Conolly (@sconnolly114) hosts, guiding us through a really interesting weekend of action that included a number of upsets within conference play and some very early takeaways about a number of highly-ranked teams. There will of course also be an interesting series of emails and a fired-up #rootforthesuit segment.

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We’re also pleased to bring back the Rush the Takes segment, featuring advanced metrics guru and bowling aficianado Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) this week. You’ll learn about a team that Pomeroy the fan disagrees with Pomeroy the statistician, and understand a little better what the future of advanced metrics holds in the arena of college basketball. Pomeroy gives a really good interview, and we hope that you’ll give it a listen.

  • 0:00-8:41 – Iowa Hands Ohio State Another Loss
  • 8:41-13:08 – Examining Other Upsets
  • 13:08-19:16 – Iowa State Can’t Muster Enough Hilton Magic Against Kansas
  • 19:16-30:21 – Rush The Take With Metrics Guru Ken Pomeroy
  • 30:21-34:58 – Most Indispensable Player
  • 34:58-39:41 – Piece of Memorabilia Worth $119,500
  • 39:41-42:21 – #rootforthesuit
  • 42:21-47:19 – Week Preview
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RTC Bracketology: January 13 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 13th, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert.

There was a lot of movement in my bracketology this weekend. After  a loss to Clemson, Duke is now free-falling. North Carolina, sitting at 0-3 in the ACC after a loss at Syracuse, has fallen all the day to the No. 8 seed line. Ohio State, a team which really has a lackluster overall profile after back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Iowa, has now fallen to my final  No. 3 seed position. The Buckeyes had risen to a No. 1 seed in a bracket I released last week. Colorado and Oregon are also falling quickly. The Buffaloes have the better resume but are preparing for bad news about leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie, who went down with an apparent knee injury last night in a loss to Washington. If Dinwiddie is out for the year, you will see that reflected in my next bracket. Among the teams moving up include Oklahoma, which handed Iowa State its first loss of the season over the weekend. San Diego State has also continued to climb and is nearing the No. 2 seed line, but stays as a No. 3 for now. Iowa also leaped up to the No. 5 line after one of the best resume-building wins of the year at Ohio State.

Last Four In: Indiana State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Georgetown
First Four Out: Arizona State, St. Mary’s, Boise State, Southern Mississippi

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The RTC Podblast: The Comeuppance Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 10th, 2014

Welcome back to the RTC Podblast. With a loaded week of big games this week, there was plenty to talk about, including Arizona-UCLA, Memphis-Louisville, Michigan State-Ohio State, Iowa State-Baylor, and Randy’s annual comeuppance. As always, Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) leads us through the discussion, with an added cherry on top looking forward to a mildly entertaining group of games this weekend.

Make sure to add the RTC Podcast to your iTunes lineup so that you’ll automatically upload it on your listening device after we record. And feel free to contact us through Twitter or email — we’re listening.

  • 0:00-5:34 – Memphis Proves Randy Wrong
  • 5:34-9:44 – Arizona Escapes Pauley Pavilion Unscathed
  • 9:44-15:19 – But Ohio State Doesn’t Escape East Lansing
  • 15:19-16:08 – Iowa State Rolls Baylor
  • 16:08-19:19 – Saturday Games Preview
  • 19:19-21:51 – Sunday Games Preview
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RTC Bracketology: January 10 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 10th, 2014

bracketology

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert.

Our latest bracketology shows a little bit of movement at the top. After Michigan State‘s big win over Ohio State Tuesday night, the Spartans jump to the No. 1 line. Iowa State continues to climb and is up to No. 6 overall on my S-curve, while Wichita State is up to No. 9. I’m still doubting that the Shockers can get a No. 1 seed unless they finish the regular season with an unblemished record (or at most one loss), so for now they remain on the No. 3 seed line despite remaining undefeated.

The "Most Annoying Team in America" to Bracketologists (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

The “Most Annoying Team in America” to Bracketologists (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

North Carolina remains the most annoying team in the country. The Tar Heels lost to Miami (FL) earlier this week to add another awful loss to a resume full of them. Of course, the Tar Heels also have three of the best wins in the country over Michigan State, Kentucky and Louisville.. The Tar Heels are like many of my ex-girlfriends, bipolar and unpredictable.

Here is the complete field, seeded #1-#68:

LAST FOUR IN: Georgetown, Texas, Oklahoma, Dayton
FIRST FOUR OUT: California, SMU, North Dakota State, St. Mary’s

#1 Seeds:

  • ARIZONA (Pac 12/WEST)
  • WISCONSIN (Big Ten/SOUTH)
  • SYRACUSE (ACC/EAST)
  • Michigan State (Midwest)

#2  Seeds:

  • Ohio State
  • IOWA STATE (Big 12)
  • FLORIDA (SEC)
  • Oklahoma State

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