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Around The SEC East – 3/14/09

Good Friday morning.  We begin today with the one-liners, headlines and links from around the SEC East:

UT:  Bruce Pearl knows that Alabama (winners of five of their last six) will “play a 2-3 zone, and they’ll pack it in and make us beat them from the perimeter.”

UT:  Alabama is finally living up to their pre-season hype, playing like the SEC West favorites that league coaches made them last fall.

UT:  It’s been 30 years since Tennessee won their only SEC Tournament crown.

UT:  Bruce Pearl’s lead assistant, Tony Jones, is a possible candidate for the Tennessee State head coaching job.  (This has been mentioned twice by the media now… leading me to think that Jones is interested in the job.)

UT:  Lane Kiffin was happy with the cold rain that fell on practice yestereday… and with the play of his quarterbacks.

USC:  Kodi Augustus has made Mississippi State a more dangerous team of late.  And the Bulldogs already beat Carolina in the teams’ first matchup.

USC:  Ron Morris of The State writes that Darrin Horn has taken five steps to turnaround Gamecock basketball.  (Inheriting a veteran team has probably helped, too.)

USC:  One of those vets is playmaker Devan Downey… and here’s everything you could ever want to know about him.

UK:  Billy Gillispie was pleased with his team’s defensive effort for the first time in a while following yesterday’s 71-58 win over Ole Miss.

UK:  Darius Miller said putting the regular season behind them helped the Cats: “We felt more comfortable, more relaxed.”

UK:  Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks actually got some scoring help from Miller and Perry Stevenson yesterday.

UK:  Jerry Tipton of The Lexington Herald-Leader writes that Mitch Barnhart believes Kentucky needs a coach who serves as the public face of the program.  When asked about that, Billy Gillispie said, “That wasn’t on the job description.”  Not good.  Not good at all.

UK:  “I didn’t come here to be a celebrity,” Gillispie said.  “I came here to coach basketball.”

UK:  Patrick Patterson said he’s “not ready to leave” for the NBA… then added “Probably depending on how I finish out this year, I will reevaluate everything, talk to my parents again about it, but as for my mind-set right now, I want to stay.”  Not quite as definitive, huh?

UK:  LSU is 0-2 since beating Kentucky at Rupp Arena, so expect them to be focused today.

UF:  Last night’s win over Arkansas wasn’t a thing of beauty, but the Gators did survive and advance.

UF:  After a sluggish start, Billy Donovan said his team “calmed down in the second half and played better on both ends.”

UF:  As Nick Calathes goes, so go the Gators… and Calathes had five first-half turnovers, zero in the second.

UF:  To win beat Auburn (and certainly to win the SEC Tournament) Florida will have to play much, much better.

Vandy:  The Commodores won’t get a third shot at cross-state rival Tennessee following their loss to Alabama last night.

Vandy:  The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Vanderbilt and might cost them an NIT bid.

Vandy:  Cold, rainy weather caused Bobby Johnson to cancel yesterday’s workout.  It’s football, people.  Do you really have to hide from 40 degree rain?

UGA:  Corey Butler was sad to see Georgia’s sorry season come to a 79-60 end at the hands of Mississippi State yesterday:  “You always want to continue to play with the guys you’ve built such a great bond with the last few years.”

UGA:  Butler actually put a positive spin on the tests his team has faced this year: “You’re not going to have a learning experience and growing experience quite like what we had this year.”

UGA:  Last night marked Pete Herrmann’s final game as Georgia’s interim coach: “I’ve coached for almost 40 years, and these are as fine a people as I’ve ever been associated with.”

UGA:  While most are still wondering who Georgia’s coach will be next year, Chip Towers of the AJC wonders which current Bulldog players will be around to play for the new guy.

UGA:  Tony Dungy will speak to Mark Richt’s football team next week.


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