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Brown Makes Ivy Race More Interesting

by - Published February 21, 2011 in Conference Notes

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Ivy League race got more interesting on Saturday night.

With Brown’s convincing 75-65 win over Princeton, the showdown between Princeton and Harvard on March 5 just got a little bigger. If things hold to form – and the Bears’ win over the Tigers is just the latest example that one should not assume as much – that game will be between two one-loss teams in the league and very likely determine the champion.

Harvard has a half-game lead due to having played more games, but the Crimson and Tigers are even in the all-important loss column. Many have pointed to the March 5 game as having NCAA Tournament implications, and that may well stand up. But assuming as much isn’t a good idea, something both coaches would surely agree on as they try to go one game at a time.

… Continue Reading

Siena Women get ‘Defensive’ in Win over St. Peter’s

by - Published February 20, 2011 in Conference Notes

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – It has been a year-long struggle for the St. Peter’s women. Their offensive efficiency is 79, quite a bit below the generally accepted targeted 100. The defense is a healthy 92 efficiency. Good defense is commendable, but a 79 offensive efficiency will not get you many wins.

On Saturday, St. Peter’s’ efficiency hit only 64 on the offensive end as Siena defeated St. Peter’s 57-40 at the Yanitelli Center. … Continue Reading

Robert Morris Defeats FDU: Why Tempo-Free is Important

by - Published February 18, 2011 in Conference Notes

TEANECK, N.J. – Andy Toole planned on Robert Morris playing their best ball beginning mid to late February and into March. The Colonials seemed to be on track as they handily defeated FDU 74-50 at The Rothman Center. The defending Northeast Conference champions were outstanding on defense, limiting FDU to 35 percent shooting from the floor and forcing 17 turnovers. On the other end sophomore center Lijah Thompson was too much for the Knights to handle. The 6-7 Thompson scored a game-high 16 points, adding seven rebounds as the Colonials enjoyed a 34-18 edge on points in the paint. … Continue Reading

Rutgers, St. John’s Get Attention in a Wild Big East Week

by - Published February 13, 2011 in Conference Notes

NEW YORK – A look back at a couple wild nights in the Big East.

Rutgers’ improbable 77-76 victory over Villanova is widely discussed in how it transpired. The Wildcats had a three-point lead with seconds left. Rutgers’ Jonathan Mitchell hit a trey with .8 second reaming and was fouled by Corey Fisher, ironically his only personal of the game, Mitchell calmly converted from the charity stripe to give the Scarlet Knights the victory. … Continue Reading

Huge Weekend Looms for ACC’s Five Bubble Teams

by - Published February 12, 2011 in Conference Notes

This weekend features several critical ACC match ups that could leave a few teams in position for a late-season run at an NCAA Tournament bid.

When it’s all said and done, the ACC likely will send four or five teams to the NCAA Tournament, especially if bubble teams in the Big 12 and Big Ten falter during the final few weeks — think Penn State, Michigan State and Kansas State. Right now, Duke and North Carolina look like locks, with Florida State in good position barring a collapse down the stretch. … Continue Reading

Oliver Injury Gives Hewitt a Lineup Dilemma

by - Published February 8, 2011 in Conference Notes

Georgia Tech won’t have the services of sophomore Brian Oliver for about three weeks as he recovers from a thumb injury.

The Yellow Jacket swingman has shown a propensity to deliver big games, as he did a couple of weeks ago when he put up 28 points against Virginia Tech. Oliver was 11-of-18 from the field and hit four three-pointers. In an early season loss to Syracuse, Oliver did all he could with a season-high 32 points and 12-of-21 shooting. … Continue Reading

Missouri Valley Notebook – February 4, 2011

by - Published February 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

Three teams fighting for the crown

Heading into the final month of the regular season, one game separates three teams in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), led by preseason favorite Wichita State. Northern Iowa and Missouri State – the only two conference losses for Wichita State – are on the Shockers’ heels. A look at the work left to do for each squad during their final six MVC contests:

Wichita State (19-4, 10-2 MVC)

MVC home games left: 3

The tough ones: Creighton (Feb. 23)

MVC road games left: 3

The tough ones: All of them – Northern Iowa (Feb. 12), Evansville (Feb. 15), Missouri State (Feb. 26)

Outlook: A brutal stretch to end the season begins on Feb. 12 at Northern Iowa. The Shockers will have three road games to end the season and a home date against Creighton. Already a game up in the race, though, the Shockers should still be the favorite. Add in the fact that Northern Iowa will be missing a significant role from its roster (Lucas O’Rear is out for the season), and Missouri State has finally shown signs of losing the close games it had been victorious in several times earlier this season. A possible slip-up out of the three road tests may come at Evansville, where the Shockers escaped with an overtime win last season. Evansville is currently riding a four-game winning streak that includes victories over Missouri State and Indiana State.

Prediction: First place, 15-3 in the MVC.

Missouri State (17-6, 9-3 MVC)

MVC home games left: 4

The tough ones: Indiana State (Feb. 5), Wichita State (Feb. 26)

MVC road games left: 2

The tough ones: Illinois State (Feb. 12), Southern Illinois (Feb. 23)

Outlook: The schedule is smiling at Missouri State during its time of need. Having lost three of five games after a 7-0 start in conference play, the Bears will finish with four home contests and two very winnable road games. MSU’s only two games against teams from the upper half of the standings are at home – against a reeling Indiana State team that has lost four straight and against Wichita State on the regular season’s final day. Saturday’s date with Indiana State is pivotal. A win will keep pace in the title race, but a loss will likely knock the Bears out of contention and fighting to stay above the middle of the pack.

Prediction: Second place, 13-5 in the MVC.

Northern Iowa (18-6, 9-3 MVC)

MVC home games left: 2

The tough ones: Wichita State (Feb. 12), Indiana State (Feb. 22)

MVC road games left: 4

The tough ones: Evansville (Feb. 8), Bradley (Feb. 15), Creighton (Feb. 26)

Outlook: Since a 25-point loss at Indiana State on Jan. 7, Northern Iowa has been the hottest team in the MVC with eight consecutive wins. Two ingredients go against the Panthers down the stretch though. First, senior Lucas O’Rear will miss the rest of the season with a fractured ankle. The forward led the team with almost six rebounds per game, and he was a large part of the stingy Panther defense. O’Rear’s absence comes at the worst time for Northern Iowa, which still has road tests at Evansville, Creighton and Bradley and home dates against Indiana State and league-leader Wichita State. Four of those teams are .500 or better in conference competition.

Prediction: Third place, 12-6 in the MVC.

Valley team on the rise this week: Evansville

The Aces have won four in a row, including victories over then-second place Indiana State and an impressive performance over Missouri State on Wednesday. At 7-5 in MVC play so far, Evansville has already more than doubled last season’s conference win total, and looks poised to reach double-digit wins by the end of the season.

Valley teams in trouble this week: Indiana State and Creighton (tie)

After a surprising 7-1 start to conference play, Indiana State had almost everyone on the bandwagon – especially after taking Wichita State to three overtimes during an eventual road loss. However, that defeat was followed by another heart-breaker – a 66-63 home defeat to Evansville. And since then, the Sycamores haven’t been able to get back on track and head into a crucial game at Missouri State this Saturday having dropped four consecutive games.

Creighton not only gave Bradley its first MVC win in 12 tries on Wednesday, but the Bluejays fell into sixth place during the process. With two defeats in its last three games and a 4-6 mark during the past 10 contests, Creighton isn’t quite guaranteed a first-round bye yet in the conference tournament next month.

Game of the week: Indiana State at Missouri State (Saturday, Feb. 5)

Between the two teams, they are 2-6 during the past two weeks, but this is a desperation game. Although Indiana State has likely played itself out of the MVC title race with a four-game skid, the Sycamores are still very much alive to capture the second seed for the conference tournament. Missouri State can keep pace in the Valley race with a win, but a loss could drop it into the jumbled mess with Indiana State, Evansville and Creighton.

Ranking the MVC (through Feb. 2)

  1. Wichita State (19-4, 10-2 MVC)
  2. Northern Iowa (18-6, 9-3 MVC)
  3. Missouri State (17-6, 9-3 MVC)
  4. Evansville (13-9, 7-5 MVC)
  5. Creighton (14-10, 6-6 MVC)
  6. Indiana State (12-11, 7-5 MVC)
  7. Illinois State (11-12, 3-9 MVC)
  8. Drake (9-14, 4-8 MVC)
  9. Southern Illinois (10-13, 4-8 MVC)
  10. Bradley (7-16, 1-11 MVC)

Roy Williams’ Lineup Change Reaps Immediate Rewards for UNC

by - Published February 3, 2011 in Conference Notes

Kendall Marshall might not be ready to be North Carolina’s Batman, but Larry Drew II is more than happy to be Robin.

Each of coach Roy Williams’ championship teams had an elite point guard: Raymond Felton in 2005 and Ty Lawson in 2009. Although the Tar Heels usually get a huge chunk of scoring from great post players — such as Tyler Zeller, Tyler Hansbrough and Sean May — a speedy, attacking point guard is a prerequisite for running Williams’ high-octane offense.

So after the Tar Heels lost badly, 78-58, in Atlanta to Georgia Tech Jan. 16, Williams decided to go with Marshall, a freshman, in the starting lineup instead of Drew. Since then, the Tar Heels are 4-0 and are clicking on all cylinders. However, Marshall can’t take all the credit because his play has actually dipped slightly. Ironically, Drew has improved. … Continue Reading

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Harvard’s Big News: The Re-Emergence of Kyle Casey

by - Published February 1, 2011 in Conference Notes

The big news coming out of the first full Ivy League weekend for Harvard isn’t that they advanced to 4-0 in league play. That’s certainly good, as Harvard heads on the road next weekend for a crucial trip with a perfect mark. But the big news for the Crimson is that Kyle Casey looks like himself after having his ups and downs in non-league play coming off a broken foot suffered before practice began.

… Continue Reading

Colonial Notebook – February 1, 2011

by - Published February 1, 2011 in Conference Notes

The CAA’s annual four-in-eight stretch has concluded, and as always there is plenty to look back on. It’s a challenging stretch that begins with three games in five days, and every team had to go on the road at least once in the stretch.

Here is a look at how the teams fared in this stretch and their overall CAA records:

 

… Continue Reading

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