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Posts Tagged ‘RPI.’

North Carolina making most of NIT opportunity, advances to title game

compiled by megasportsnews.com staff

During the months of March and April, the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team is used to to playing in the NCAA tournament. This year the NIT had to do. But basketball madness is still alive in any tournament even if its not the one you’re used to being in or want to be in.

Injuries, inconsistent play and inexperience combined to doom the Tar Heels’ season early on and they never recovered until the NCAA tournament had passed them by.

Roy Williams Tar Heels coach (UNC)

Then they were selected to play in the NIT, which to some people is known as “the also-rans” tournament. But North Carolina seized the opportunity and went on the road to defeat Mississippi State and Alabama-Birmingham before defeating Rhode Island last night at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals, 68-67 in overtime.

Rhode Island was no “also-ran” team because they had the best RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) of any program that failed to make the NCAA tournament.

Deon Thompson had 16 points and 13 rebounds for North Carolina, which had possession with about 5 seconds left in overtime and the shot clock about to expire when Larry Drew II forced up a shot. The rebound eventually wound up in the hands of Rhode Island’s Lamonte Ulmer, who lost control as he rushed up court moments before the horn sounded, never getting off a shot. Most everybody thought a foul would be called for tripping but it wasn’t.

North Carolina will play the Dayton Flyers for NIT title on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Seton Hall hires Kevin Willard to be head men’s basketball coach

compiled from staff and news reports

Kevin Williard has left Iona College to head the men’s basketball program at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. The 34-year-old Williard replaces the controversial Bobby Gonzalez, who was fired on March 17 after a 19-win season that was beset by problems off the court.

Kevin Williard Seton Hall (SHU)

Gonzalez was fired a day after Seton Hall lost in the opening round of the NIT, a game in which Pirates forward Herb Pope was ejected for hitting a Texas Tech player below the belt. Gonzalez also picked up his seventh technical foul of the season.

Forward Robert Mitchell, who was kicked off the team days before the NIT game, was charged the same week with robbing eight people at gunpoint in South Orange. He pleaded not guilty.

A week before the season started, guard Keon Lawrence, a transfer,  was involved in a traffic in a traffic accident on the Garden State Parkway in which he was driving in the wrong direction, seriously injuring the driver of the other vehicle. Lawrence was charged with assault by an auto and driving with a suspended license, and was suspended for the first eight games of the season.

Rumors had been swirling for months that Patrick Hobbs, the law school dean who is overseeing the Seton Hall Pirates athletic department, wanted to get rid of Gonzalez because he had lost control of the program and that the school’s reputation was taking serious hits from the fans, media and alumni.

Kevin Willard took over the Iona Gaels program that was in the bottom 10 among Division I teams in the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) three years ago and led the it to a 21-10 record this year, earning  the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) coach of the year award.  A former Pittsburgh guard, Williard is a disciple of Rick Pitino. He spent four years as a Boston Celtics assistant and followed Pitino to Louisville for another six years before arriving at Iona.

During his first year, the Gaels finished with 10 victories or more than the previous year, one of the top turnarounds in NCAA Division I in 2007-2008. They won two games during the 2006-2007 season.

Just like Bobby Gonzalez, Willard favors an uptempo, pressure defense and aggressive game.

Willard comes from a basketball pedigree.  His father, Ralph, was a head coach at Western Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Holy Cross, and currently is the associate head coach under Rick Pitino.

2010 NCAA Opening Round Game: Arkansas-Pine Bluff 61 Winthrop 44

LeBaron Weathers, Allen Smith, Coach George Ivory of UAPB (megasportsnews.com)

Dayton, O.- Have you ever heard of a basketball program that went 0-11 to start a season, then finished up 17-4 and won their conference tournament? Also, that same team played the first 14 games of the season on the road. Furthermore, could you see that team advancing in the NCAA Tournament?

Well, to answer all of your questions there is such a team!

That team is named, the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions and they won what the media calls , “the play-in “game but for the sake of the NCAA, it’s the Opening Round Game, 61-44 over Winthrop.

The Golden Lions reward for winning last night’s game is a #16 seed and a playing date with Duke University this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff is a story in itself. Most Mid-major schools have a story and it is to travel to play the best teams across the country for a nice paycheck to keep the basketball program afloat. That’s the reason why UAPB started the season, 0-11. They lost to Colorado, Denver, UTEP, Akron, Arizona State, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Kansas State and Oregon. Then the Golden Lions get into their league, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and go 14-4 in the regular season and win their conference tournament, defeating Southern, 50-38 in the championship game. Senior guard Allen Smith was the tourney MVP and he helped lead his school to its first NCAA bid with a 17-15 record.

NCAA Dayton (megasportsnews.com)

What makes all of this a very cinderella story, is that the Golden Lions were 13-18 overall and 11-7 in SWAC in 2008-2009. Furthermore, if you go back the last five years and research their RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) and wins you would find in order: 311 (7 wins), 292 (13 wins), 269 (12 wins), 309 (13 wins) and 251 (13 wins). This program has truly improved overnight.

Usually in the Opening Round Game, both teams look a little ragged because after all, they just finished their conference tournament on a Saturday. On Sunday, they watch the NCAA selection show and they have to board a plane or a bus to arrive in Dayton, Ohio for a public practice and media press conferences and then Tuesday night, it’s Game Time!

Tuesday night’s game started out similar to ones of past years, turnovers, missed dunks and too much jump shooting and bad shot selection. Arkansas-Pine Bluff did manage to get early at 9-4 at the 14:53 mark. The score stayed 9-4 through the second media timeout at 11:56.

The Golden Lions started to open up a lead at 13-7 with 9:04 to go in the first period.

After the 7:43 media timeout, the Winthrop Eagles of the Big South Conference showed why they earned their way into the tournament. Junior forward Charles Corbin started to get inside and scored easily helping to cut a 15-10 deficit into a one point deficit at the half, 24-23.

The halftime stats weren’t picture-perfect but you couldn’t tell by the 8,205 fans  in attendance because it was a very vocal and raucous crowd, happy that their teams were in the NCAA Tournament and playing on national television (ESPN). Both teams were shooting in the high 20′s from the field. Arkansas-Pine Bluff had the better stats, shooting 88.9% (8 of 9) from the free throw line and Tavaris Washington grabbing 7 rebounds. The big negative was that they committed 7 turnovers.

In the second half, the Golden Lions took control of the game by using their athleticism, quickness and getting the ball inside which created foul trouble for Winthrop, who had two players foul out at the end of the game.

Allen Smith showed why he was the MVP of the SWAC tournament has he drained two 3-point goals in a row to push the lead out to seven at 38-34 with 11:44 to go.

The lead just kept growing to 53-40 with 4:26 to go and the game was over.  Winthrop could never get into a flow on offense and only shot 31 percent in the 2nd half.

Victorious Arkansas-Pine Bluff shot 52.6% in the second half and controlled the backboards, 39-34, with Tavaris Washington hauling down 13 to lead the way. Overall, they shot 3-point goals better at 6 of 16 and blocked seven shots. Allen Smith led the way in scoring with 14 and Tyree Glass scored 10.

Winthrop ends the season at 19-14. They were led in scoring by Charles Corbin with 13 and 11 from Matt Morgan and 10 points and 8 boards from Mantoris Robinson.

SOUNDS FROM THE  POST GAME PRESS CONFERENCE (to listen to an audio file, click the number)

44 596 Lebaron Weathers UAPB Looking over season the trip to Michigan wore them out

44 598 LeBaron Weathers UAPB Did all the treaveling toughen this team up

44 600 Allen Smith UAPB Were they forward to playing Duke U all along

44 601 Lebaron Weathers UAPB Now that Duke is the next game what are your thoughts

44 603 George Ivory coach UAPB Playing all those road games what does it do

44 605 George Ivory UAPB coach How huge is this NCAA appearance for his school

44 606 George Ivory UAPB His thoughts on Duke he played against them in college

44 611 Randy Peele Winthrop coach overall thoughts on the game

44 613 Mantoris Robinson Winthrop On his 5 year career full of awards

44 615A Reggie Middleton Winthrop This NCAA experience helping for next year

44 615 B Charles Corbin Winthrop On how this experience will help moving forward

44 616 Randy Peele Winthrop coach From a 5-9 start to the NCAA Tourney

44 618 Randy Peele Winthrop Did UAPB do anything special on defense to force bad shooting

GAME NOTES

ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF

* This is the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s first NCAA Opening Round Round victory. Previously the SWAC was 0-4 in NCAA Opening Round games.

* The SWAC conference is 5-29 all-time NCAA Tournament games.

* The Golden Lions has won five games in a row and 12 of their last 13.

* They are 5-0 in neutral site games this season.

* The 44 points allowed by the Golden Lions is the second lowest of the season.

* Tavaris Washington’s 13 rebounds is a season-high. This is the fourth time this season recording double digits in rebounds.

* Head coach George Ivory has won a championship at every level imaginable. As a player, Ivory won a SWAC Title with Mississippi Valley State and as a graduate assistant at Jackson State. Ivory has also won  conference titles as an assistant coach with Mississippi Valley State and now as a head coach.

* Duke is the Golden Lions next opponent and coach Ivory is very familiar with them. As a player, Ivory faced Duke in 1986 while At Mississippi Valley State. Playing guard Ivory tallied 14 points and nearly led MVSU to what would have been a shocking upset over the #1 seeded team. Mississippi Valley State lost the game by seven points, 85-78.

Downtown Pine Bluff (wfe)

* Pine Bluff Arkansas is a town of 50,667 and is located near the Arkansas River. Famous residents include: Joe Barry Carroll (Purdue basketball player), Mike Huckabee (Arkansas Governor), Torii Hunter (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Don Hutson (NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver), Lafayette “Fat” Lever (ex-NBA star) and Willie Roaf (former NFL Pro Bowl Offensive lineman).

WINTHROP EAGLES

* This was the Eagles ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the fifth in the last six years.

* Their NCAA record drops to 1-9 all-time and has lost three consecutive games.

* This was the Eagles second NCAA Opening Round game at the UD Arena. Winthrop has lost both.

* Head coach Randy Peele is just the second coach in the Big South Conference to make 3 NCAA trips.

* The Eagles won 10 league games for a record 10th time.

* The Winthrop basketball program has won 531 games dating back to their first year in 1978-79.

* The Eagles have always had a high RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) over the past five years in order ( 78th, 73rd, 66th, 108th but were a 255 with an 11-19 record in 2008-2009. The previous four seasons, they had win totals of 27, 23, 29 and 22.

Downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina (wfe)

* Rock Hill, South Carolina is the 4th largest city in the state. It has a population of 67,337 people and is 25 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina.

It’s prominent residents include: Hall of Fame Manager Sparky Anderson, who was a minor league manager there in 1955. And Olympic Speedskater Lauren Cholewinski.

Butler cruises to Horizon League title as Wright State can’t get untracked

Indianapolis, IN- Anytime that Wright State and Butler get together, the games are usually tight, hard-fought and played with a high-skill level.

Shelvin Mack hot from 3-point land (BU)

This season however, Butler has beaten the Raiders three straight games. However, the other two games were not a blow out as Tuesday night’s Horizon League Championship game ended up, 70-45 for the Bulldogs. Butler earns the Horizon League’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

You’d expect a better showing by the number 2 seed in the league, but on this night, the home team, Butler had everything going in their favor. Hosting the tournament at their home gym, venerable Hinkle Fieldhouse; winning 19 games in a row in the Horizon League; not having lost a game of any kind since December 22, 2009 at Alabama-Birmingham, 67-57; being 15-0 at Hinkle and their head coach Brad Stevens having a 6-1 record against Wright State.

The game started out as most games do when Butler is playing at home, they dominate from the beginning. At the first TV timeout, 15:38, the Bulldogs were up 9-2. Wright State was turning the ball over and looked rattled. In Saturday’s semi-final game against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Raiders looked confident. Last night, they looked like they had never played in Hinkle Fieldhouse before or had never played before a national television audience on ESPN.

Matt Howard shoots over Ronnie Thomas (BU)

N’Gai Evans tried to do his best to keep the Raiders in the game in the first half. The closest Wright State in the first half was eight points three times: 17-9, 19-11 and 21-8. But the visiting Raiders, usually a solid defensive team, couldn’t stop the hot-shooting Bulldogs who kept scoring at will all over the court.

Behind Shelvin Mack and his 3-point shooting (4 of 6) and 14 total points, Butler cruised to a 42-28 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs shot 66.7% (14-21) from the field including 61.5% (8-13) from three-point land. If it weren’t for the Bulldogs getting overanxious on offense and committing 10 turnovers, the score could’ve been 62-28. Matt Howard was his usual physical self in the paint scoring 8 points.

The Raiders on the other hand, didn’t shoot the ball in the first half, at 48.1% but were 1-7 from the 3-point arc and their best players were in foul trouble: Ronnie Thomas with 3, Todd Brown and Troy Tabler had 2 each.

The second became a nightmare out of Elm Street for the Raiders. The halftime advantage went from 42-28 to 51-30 to 57-34 and 63-37 and the final of 70-45. All told, Wright State only scored 17 points in the second half and shot 20% from the floor. They played so miserably that head coach Brad Brownell apologized to the media for his team’s showing.

The Raiders for now, end up at 20-12 with three of their losses to the Top 10 ranked Butler Bulldogs. The buzz around press row late in the second half and after the game was that the Raiders have shown enough with their RPI being at  97 and the non-conference schedule of  Washington, Belmont, Northeastern, Mississippi State and Ohio, that the NIT will come calling next weekend. Maybe matching them up against Dayton, Cincinnati or one of the MAC schools that won’t make the NCAA field. The Raiders should’ve made a post-season tournament the last two years, but two of the post season tournaments want teams to pay for their own expenses and/or guarantee a certain gate receipt money and Wright State, being a mid-major school won’t commit to that kind of tournament. But the NIT doesn’t require teams to pay, so that would be a good option for the Raiders.

Wright State has several seniors who would like to redeem themselves after Tuesday night’s debacle: Cory Cooperwood, Todd Brown and Ronnie Thomas.

A crowd of 6,065 saw Butler being led in scoring by: Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard with 14 points apiece, Zach Hahn with 11 and Willie Veasley adding 9.

Wright State was led by N’Gai Evans who scored 13 with Cory Cooperwood and Vaughn Duggins each putting up 9 points.

SOUNDS FROM THE POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE (to listen to the audio file, click on the number)

44 475 Brad Brownell Is Butler better than a 6th seed in the NCAA Tourney

44 476 Brad Brownell No offensive rhythm for the Raiders which is odd

44 477 Vaughn Duggins Wright State Guard Butler wouldn’t let scorers catch & shoot

44 480 Brad Brownell On Butler in the NCAA can they go far into tournament

44 483 Brad Brownell Should the number 2 team in Horizon League get to NIT

44 485 Brad Stevens Butler Coach 3 games vs Wright State all record shooting pct.

44 488 Brad Stevens Only allowed 17 points in 2nd Half defense was solid

44 489 Brad Stevens Does he feel that Wright State is post season worthy

44 490 Willie Veasley Butler Forward Last home game at Hinkle bittersweet

44 493 Brad Stevens On going 20-0 in Horizon League how good is this team
GAME NOTES

*The 2010 Speedway Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship All-Tournament Team

N’Gai Evans-Wright State

Gordon Hayward-Butler

Ronald Nored-Butler

Shelvin Mack-Butler

Matt Howard-Butler (MVP)

* The 25-point margin is the second-largest in a championship game in Horizon League history. Xavier defeated Detroit 122-96 in the 1988 league tournament final.

* Butler has won the Horizon League Championship for the sixth time (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2010), matching  Xavier (1983, 1986-1989, 1991) for most in league history.

* Butler is the first Horizon League team ever to complete a loop season undefeated (18-0 in regular season, 2-0 in tournament).

* Butler advances to the NCAA Championship for the fourth year in a row and tenth overall. Xavier reached the “Big Dance” six years in a row, representing the conference from 1986-91.

* Matt Howard of Butler University has earned All-Tournament honors for the third year in a row, becoming the first player to accomplish that feat since Detroit’s Rashad Phillips (1999, 2000, 2001).

* The Bulldogs have won 20 consecutive games since its last loss at UAB on December 22, 2009. The Horizon League record is 23 consecutive wins by Green Bay (1995-96).

* Butler finishes the season 15-0 at home, the first time since 2002-03 that the Bulldogs went undefeated at home.

* Wright State reached the Horizon League Championship for the third time since joining the conference in 1994. They are 1-2 in the finals having beaten Butler in 2007.

* Four Horizon League teams are ranked in the Top 100 of the RPI for the second straight season, Butler is 25th, Cleveland State is 55th, Green Bay is 80th and Wright State is 97th.

* Butler junior Matt Howard became the 32nd player in school history to score 1,000 career points earlier in the season. He now has 1,285 points good for 18th.

* For the second straight year, Butler’s Brad Stevens was named Horizon league Coach of the Year. The 33-year-old became the fifth coach in league history to capture an award, back-to-back years. The others include: Pete Gillen of Xavier (1993-94), Barry Collier of Butler (1999-2000), Bruce Pearl of Milwaukee (2002-2003) and Todd Lickliter of Butler (2006-2007).

* Butler was unbeaten in the months of January and February for the first time in school History.


OSU Senior Night a success for Daniel, Little, Moeller & Walker

Jantel Lavender (OSU)

Every basketball season around the end of February and early March, colleges across the country get ready to say goodbye and thank you to their seniors.

Just was the case for the Ohio State women’s basketball as they honored four seniors, Cherise Daniel, Shavelle Little, Maria Moeller and Andrea Walker. This group came in when the team had two Big Ten titles in the trophy case and they’ll be leaving with four more as the legacy continued on their watch. This group has 106 wins, three shy of the school record, 109.

The night was set up beautifully as Northwestern was in town. This is a team that the OSU women usually beat. OSU has a record of 37-15 overall in the series, 17-9 in Columbus, 19 wins in a row plus they were 18-1 at home for the season.

But this season, Northwestern has been tough to beat. In Evanston, Ill., on New Year’s Eve, Ohio State escaped with an 86-80 win. And last night the final score before 5,429 fans, The score was 78-47. It took a second half scoring binge of 48 points to put the game away.

The OSU women came out and started off quick and led 18-4 and 20-6 before Northwestern knew what hit them.

After a Wildcats timeout at 10:33 of the 1st half, the visitors started to make their way back into the game. Northwestern was able to shoot 3′s and Ohio State started to miss shots and turn the ball over and score read, OSU 25  Northwestern 21. But then the Buckeyes showed why they’re the class of the Big Ten, by pushing the lead out to 30-25 at the half.

But in the 2nd half, it was a different game. Ohio State  took control on fast break points, 10-0, in the paint, 26-10 and bench points, 17-3. Plus, they made 6 of 8 for 75% on three-point goals and 21 of 34 from the field for 61.8% and 51.6% for the game.

The fun continued late in the game as head coach Jim Foster put all of the seniors on the floor to get their last applauses before the home crowd. Each of the seniors scored a basket but Cherise Daniel and they tried to get her the ball but time ran out.

The 27-4, 15-3 Buckeyes were led by Jantel Lavender with 26 points, 12 rebounds; Samantha Prahalis chipped in with 14 points and 14 assists.

Northwestern, which has had one of the biggest turnarounds in the nation from 7-23, 3-15 in the Big Ten to 16-12 and 7-10, was led by center Amy Jaeschke with 22 points and Cincinnati native Kendall Hackney with 11 points and 7  boards.

Ohio State is off until Friday March 5 when they play the 6 p.m. game against the winner of the #8-#9 game. Northwestern will play in the Thursday March 4 games which hasn’t been determined as of yet.

SOUNDS OF THE GAME

44 339 Jim Foster on why the 2nd half OSU able to push ball44 342 Samantha Prahalis OSU G 2nd half play gets team in sync44 344 Jantel Lavender OSU F in 2nd half they wasnt going to lose. ..44 345 Samantha Prahalis OSU G 2nd half was fun for team... 44 348 Maria Moeller OSU G leaves OSU.with Big Ten titles staying put.

GAME NOTES

* The Big Ten women’s basketball player of the week honors have been going back and forth between two Buckeyes all season. Samantha Prahalis has won it four times: November 23, January 11, January 18 and February 8. Jantel Lavender has been selected three times: November 16, December 7 and December 29.

* Samantha Prahalis is just the second Division I player since 1999-2000 to average at least 16 points and 8 assists per game. La’Terrica Dobin (16.0) and 8.0 assists per game from Northwestern State accomplished it in 2003-04.

* Brittany Johnson is shooting 48.8 percent from 3-point land this season, the best in the Big Ten and fifth-best in the NCAA.

* The Ohio State Buckeyes since Jim Foster has been head coach, have made it tough on opposing teams. 87-5 at Value City Arena and 12-1 at St. John Arena.

2002-03   14-0

2003-04  13-4

2004-05 17-0

2005-06 16-1

2006-07 16-1

2007-08 16-1

2008-09 16-2

2009-10 19-1

Total         127-10

* Northwestern freshman Dannielle Diamant and fifth-year senior Kristin Cartwright did not have to go very far to get feedback on their hoops skills growing up. Diamant is the granddaughter of legendary UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian. Cartwright is the daughter of former Chicago Bulls star and current Phoenix Suns assistant coach Bill Cartwright.

* Northwestern head women’s basketball coach Joe McKeown is bringing in a familiar face next basketball season. It’s his daughter, Meghan.

BIG TEN CONFERNCE NOTES

* If you look close at the conference standings, you’ll see that every Big Ten team has at least 6 wins for the first time in history. Never before had every Big Ten squad recorded five or more conference wins. Also, every Big Ten team has at least 13 overall wins, which is a conference first. Prior to this year, never before had every Big Ten team posted 10 overall wins in a season. The Big Ten is the only conference in the nation with all of its teams at or above 13 wins on the season and at or above six conference wins.

* Michigan State’s Allyssa DeHaan became the NCAA’s all-time leader in blocked shots last week with a career total of 490. Also, when she leaves the Spartans program, she’ll be remembered as one of the most decorated players in the program’s history. Currently, the tallest women’s basketball player in the nation at 6’9, DeHaan hopes to become a pediatrician.

* The Big Ten continues to boast one of the strongest RPI rankings in the nation, remaining the only conference in the country to place all its teams within RPI’s top 90. In addition, no other conference places all of its teams within the top 100. Number 10 Ohio State continues to lead the Big Ten, followed by Number 16 Michigan State and Number 29 Wisconsin. Penn State made the Big Ten’s largest leap, jumping eight spots, while Illinois and Northwestern both improved six places last week.

* Ohio State’s Sarah Schulze aspires to become a missionary after her basketball career is over. The comparative religious studies major has not missed a Sunday church service since high school, even when the Buckeyes are on the road. She says a Rosary prayer before every game and would like to do missionary work in Africa or Haiti after graduation.

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