Players come and go. Rules change. Coaches retire. But Our game remains the constant. Its blemishes never diminish its beguiling, beautiful moments, which is why it can be glorious and heart-wrenching from one instant to the next. Perfect? No. But that?s why I love it so. - Mike Miller
Thank goodness for people who can combine great storytelling and the most wonderful obsession ever: college basketball. Thanks for the ride. - Christian Skogen
Thanks to Kyle for all of this. It was the best hoops decade of my short life and TMM was there for it all. May the website rest in peace. - Kenneth Bethune
@midmajority there have been 59 red line upsets, @TempleUniv has three of them. What is the single-school single-season record?
- @clivedaddy (via Twitter)
CHICAGO -- That's a fantastic question, Mr. Daddy! We've gone into our six-year archive of RLU history and discovered that the two seasons with the most occurred last season. Both Butler and Northern Iowa had seven each on their runs to the National Championship game and Sweet Sixteen, respectively.
2009-10 Butler Bulldogs (7) - 11/18/2009 at Northwestern, 11/27/2009 UCLA (neutral), 12/12/2009 Ohio State, 3/18/2010 Texas-El Paso (N), 3/25/2010 Syracuse (N), 3/27/2010 Kansas State (N), 4/03/2010 Michigan State (N) 2009-10 Northern Iowa Panthers (7) - 11/21/2009 East Carolina (N), 11/23/2009 Boston College (N), 12/02/2009 at Iowa State, 12/08/2009 Iowa, 12/23/2009 Wyoming, 3/18/2010 UNLV (N), 3/20/2010 Kansas (N)
On the way to the Sweet Sixteen in 2007, Butler had six of them.
Six teams in the TMM era have finished their seasons with five RLU's. It's a mixed bag of NCAA and NIT runs. With the exception of Butler 2008, a team that beat another mid-major in the NCAA Tournament (South Alabama) before losing to Tennessee in the second round, each won at least one game against a major conference opponent in the national postseason.
2005-06 Old Dominion Monarchs (5) - 11/18/2005 Georgia (N), 12/03/2005 East Carolina, 12/17/2005 DePaul, 12/30/2005 Virginia Tech, 3/15/2006 at Colorado 2006-07 Bradley Braves (5) - 11/11/2006 DePaul, 11/24/2006 Rutgers (N), 12/16/2006 Iowa State (N), 12/23/2006 Southern Mississippi, 3/14/2007 Providence 2007-08 Bradley Braves (5) - 11/14/2007 Iowa State, 11/23/2007 Iowa (N), 3/19/2008 Cincinnati, 3/26/2008 at Virginia, 4/02/2008 Tulsa 2007-08 Butler Bulldogs (5) - 11/21/2007 Michigan (N), 11/23/2007 Virginia Tech (N), 11/24/2007 Texas Tech (N), 12/01/2007 Ohio State, 12/15/2007 Florida State 2009-10 Dayton Flyers (5) - 11/19/2009 Georgia Tech (N), 3/22/2010 at Cincinnati, 3/24/2010 at Illinois, 3/30/2010 Mississippi (N), 4/01/2010 North Carolina (N) 2009-10 Rhode Island Rams (5) - 12/05/2009 Providence, 12/13/2009 at Boston College, 1/02/2010 Oklahoma State (N), 3/17/2010 Northwestern, 3/24/2010 at Virginia Tech
Hey Kyle, when's the State of the Other 24 coming back?
- Jack A.
How about now? We've been running the State ratings for the last few weeks over at Basketball State, but with the one-month accumulation of games, they're just starting to make actual basketball sense. And, of course, since we're in the Conference USA business this season due to financial shifts that moved the Red Line, so we have extra teams to play with. So here's our first weekly roundup of the top TMM teams; as with Red Line Upsets, Gonzaga, Memphis and Xavier are excepted.
Even though they took a Red Line loss to San Diego State over the weekend, the Gaels have the 24th strongest schedule in the nation and have two RLU's over Saint John's and Texas Tech. Randy Bennett's team is shooting 50 percent and is getting 1.23 points per shot. It's still all about the G.
A great three-point shooting team (43.9 percent) that plays total grindcore defense. The Spiders took a loss to a strong Old Dominion team out of the CAA last week, but own RLU's over Arizona State and Purdue.
3. Utah State (Western Athletic), 100.587, 5-2 (0-0 WAC)
The way the WAC is this year, the Blue Aggies could go undefeated in conference and still get a No. 11 seed. Fantastic ball control and defense, a RLU against Utah, and decent showings against BYU and Georgetown.
As mentioned above, the Owls have Red Lined Seton Hall, Georgia and Maryland so far this year, and will get their own shot against Georgetown on Thursday. One of the best halfcourt defenses in Division I, much less Hoops Nation.
ODU's primary strength is its rebounding and interior defense; it's a tough team with big bodies that loves to bang. The Monarchs have outrebounded every opponent so far (five of seven by double digits), but that didn't help them very much in their CAA opener at Delaware, where Blaine Taylor's team shot just 35 percent in a slowdown struggle.
Cleveland State is undefeated against the 93rd toughest schedule in the country, so it's not a cheap slate. Gary Waters' team also got the hardest road trip of the Horizon season out of the way early, the long weekend in Wisconsin. The Vikings' next big test is at West Virginia on Dec. 18, a game they stand to stay close in and possibly even pull an RLU out of. The defense is far ahead of Butler's right now, and senior guard Norris Cole is already a two-time player of the week this season.
The Golden Knights, last seen in this space as an Atlantic Sun member five seasons ago, features the toughest paint play and most efficient defense in the land. UCF only allows 36.3 percent of two-pointers to fall, and is tops in points allowed per defensive possession at .736. The schedule has been a good mix of higher and lower teams, and there are two in-state RLU's against Florida and USF.
The Bruins have taken a pair of nine-point road losses to SEC teams (Vanderbilt and Tennessee), but they played great ball control in both games. Rick Byrd's team just didn't get any calls and got crushed on the boards. Otherwise, Belmont is perfect against a schedule of mid-mids like Winthrop and Mercer. This team plays fast and forces a ton of turnovers.
The Valley may not get a second bid again until the middle of the decade (thanks to horrid scheduling), but it's beginning to look a lot like the Bears from Springfield are the frontrunners for this year's single ticket. A great mix of ball control, defense and inside shooting has led to a four-game win streak and momentum into a tilt at Oklahoma State on Saturday. The MVC needs every RLU it can get.
The Next 15:
11. Valparaiso (Horizon League), 93.392; 12. Virginia Commonwealth (Colonial), 93.046; 13. Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley), 92.630; 14. Southern Mississippi (Conference USA), 92.072; 15. Tulsa (Conference USA), 91.210; 16. Texas-El Paso (Conference USA), 90.450; 17. Marshall (Conference USA), 89.875; 18. East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), 89.772; 19. George Mason (Colonial), 89.427; 20. Princeton (Ivy League), 89.190; 21. Appalachian State (Southern), 89.121; 22. Dayton (Atlantic 14), 89.119; 23. Murray State (Ohio Valley), 88.632; 24. Portland (West Coast), 87.660; 25. Charleston (Southern), 87.550.
Game! Of! The! Night!
Old Dominion at East Carolina Williams Arena - Greenville, NC 7:00 EST
Here's a crystal soul CAA reunion for you. East Carolina left the Colonial after the 2000-01 season when the school got serious about getting into big-time football. It's never been a real hoops power, never was a real long-term factor in the Yeager League, and hasn't attended an NCAA Tournament since 1993. The Pirates have had a real hard time hanging in Conference USA, and have not posted a winning league record in nine seasons. Since leaving the CAA, the maximum annual overall win number has been 14. This season has been a little different. By scheduling down (SOS: 310), new hire Jeff Lebo's team is 7-2. Get those wins while you can, Pirates. One player to watch is 6-foot-8 junior Darius Morrow, who makes half his shots, leads the team in rebounds with 5.7 rpg, and scores 10.3 ppg.
Old Dominion, as previously noted, is one of the most dastardly glassworking teams in all of Hoops Nation. Credit 6-foot-9 senior Frank Hassell, he of the giant-padlock t-shirt at last year's NCAA Tournament, who has been a true and total monster this season. He's averaging 13.9 ppg, 9.9 rpg (two double-doubles, against High Point and Richmond) and he hits 61 percent of his shots. Truth be told, the only reason I mentioned Morrow is because I feel a little bit sorry for him tonight.