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SEC Hoops Roundup 3/5/2014

gfx-hoops-round-up2Florida 72 – South Carolina 46. Video Highlights

1. 37-point night for Michael Frazier II includes 11 3-pointers.  22nd straight win for the Gators – one game away from perfect regular season conference record.

2. South Carolina coach Frank Martin on Frazier’s performance:  ”We never put a hand in his face.  I thought we were late to him every single time.”

Kentucky 55 – Alabama 48. Video Highlights

3. Despite shooting less than 33% from the floor, Kentucky gets the win.  Julius Randle grabs 11 rebounds and scores 12 points - only UK player to reach double digits.

4. Alabama loses its 18th game of the year – most losses since the 1969-70 season. Zero road wins in conference play for the Crimson Tide.

Wednesday SEC Hoops Schedule

Mississippi State at Georgia

Texas A&M at Missouri

Ole Miss at Arkansas

Tennessee at Auburn

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Remember When Dumping Divisional Play Was Supposed To Help SEC Basketball?

man-taking-the-garbage-out“Our goal is to have eight teams in the discussion for the NCAA Tournament and we don’t want to hurt ht top teams from winning the national title.”

– John Calipari, Kentucky basketball coach, June of 2011


“The perception of the league has been that if one division was playing well, the other was getting criticized.  That can’t be pointed out anymore.  We’re hoping this will have traction for us going forward.”

– Jeremy Foley, Florida athletic director, June of 2011


Or not.

Back in the summer of 2011 the SEC was coming off a five-bid NCAA tourney.  Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt had all reached the dance.  On Selection Sunday, 21-11 Alabama — 12-4 in the SEC — was shunned.  The Crimson Tide had played in a weaker West Division.  Obviously, then, the perception of playing in a weaker division had scuppered Bama’s tourney hopes.  Doing away with those divisions would end eliminate that problem once and for all.

At least that was the thinking.

In reality, SEC basketball has only gotten worse since trashing divisional play in 2011-12, even with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M.

Let’s take a look at the SEC’s history of NCAA bids from 1985 (when the tournament expanded to 64 teams) through 2011:


  6-Bid Years   5-Bid Years   4-Bid Years   3-Bid Years   2-Bid Years
  1987   1985   1986   1990
  1999   1988   1992   2009
  2000   1989   1993
  2001   1991   1994
  2002   1995   1996
  2003   1997   2010
  2004   1998
  2006   2005
  2008   2007


Now let’s look at those numbers another way including the years since divisional play was ditched…


1997: 5

1998: 5

1999: 6

2000: 6

2001: 6

2002: 6

2003: 6

2004: 6

2005: 5

2006: 6

2007: 5

2008: 6

2009: 3

2010: 4

2011: 5

2012: 4 (no divisions)

2013: 3 (no divisions)


Here in 2014, the league is struggling once again.  The SEC will likely receive three bids, but four bids or even two bids (which hasn’t happened since 1979) are still outside possibilities.

The league has gone from averaging 5.6 bids per year (1997-2008) to just 3.8 bids over the past five seasons (2009-2013).  The SEC’s basketball problem is larger than divisional play, folks.  It’s a lack of basketball talent in the SEC footprint, lower-priced coaches, facilities that lag behind football, and so on.

Tossing out divisions in basketball hasn’t helped on the NCAA Tournament front.  An argument could be made that the decision has actually hurt the SEC on its home front.  Missouri and Texas A&M have quickly adapted to football life in the SEC, but the same can’t be said for basketball.  If Missouri were in an SEC East Division in basketball, playing twice the same teams it faces in football each year, the Tigers’ might create rivalries more quickly.  And if Texas A&M were battling the likes of Arkansas, LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State twice each, it might generate more interest than Texas A&M versus Georgia or Texas A&M versus Tennessee.

That said, the SEC is currently right in step with the other major conferences from a scheduling format perspective.  Only the Big South, Mid-American, and Ohio Valley Conferences have failed to dump divisional play.  So be it.

But nixing the divisions sure hasn’t helped as much as the SEC’s ADs and coaches hoped it would back in the summer of 2011.



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SEC Headlines 3/4/2014

headlines-tueSEC Football

1. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel reportedly has a new deal that will push his pay to or above $3 million.

2. Ole Miss begins spring practice today. Rebels need to find out who will backup quarterback Bo Wallace.

3. Texas A&M practices in full pads for two hours and 15 minutes.  Coach Kevin Sumlin: “All-in-all, I liked the energy.”

4. Gus Malzhahn doesn’t sound too worried about an upcoming vote that could impact tempo:  ”We’re going to put the ball down, we’re going to play fast and we’re going to flat get after it. You all OK if we play fast?”

5. “History hasn’t been terribly kind to the coaches that lost the national championship game in the BCS era.”

6. “The Saban Rule is not about protecting players. That is never the primary motive of the NCAA, no matter how its leaders spin it.”

7. Winning is contagious.  South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier: “I think it’s somewhat contagious when one sport does well, then another one does well, and it just keeps going through.” Connor Shaw will be honored at halftime of tonight’s South Carolina basketball game.

8. Here are six players crucial to Missouri’s defense this fall.

9. Here are five Alabama players who need to step up their game in 2014.

10. The blame Lane Kiffin era begins at Alabama?

11. It’s good to be a public official in Alabama – free tickets to football games.

12. Position battles this spring at LSU.

13. Did you know? LSU got its purple and gold colors from Mardi Gras.  (Will Rust Cohle start an investigation?)

SEC Basketball

14. South Carolina gets a $25,000 fine from the SEC after fans stormed the court after the win against Kentucky Saturday.

15 .Clearing up misconception about the one-and-done rule.  College basketball is at the mercy of the NBA.

16. Texas A&M guard Fabyon Harris checks out of a hospital two days after fainting in a pregame shootaround. Guard Shawn Smith still dealing with “personal issues.”

17. Ole Miss guard Jarvis Summers recognized as the best men’s college basketball player in the state of Mississippi.

18. Red-hot Razorbacks have won seven of their last eight games. Mike Anderson: “We’re playing some of our better basketball at the right time…”

19. Alabama at Kentucky.  Kentucky has lost two in a row for the first time this season but Alabama hasn’t won on the road since last year. Rare events at Kentucky these days - honoring four-year players at Senior Night.

20. Florida at South Carolina.  Gators developing potential nine-man rotation heading down the stretch. Florida two wins away from perfect SEC regular season.

21. Pat Dooley: . “I see so much me-first basketball in this league.”

22. Three of the 12 teams mentioned as bubble teams here are from the SEC.


23. Something big coming at Arkansas?

24. Ready for a possible 43-yard extra-point attempt from the NFL?

25. Peyton Manning passes $34 million neck exam.

26. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez has a little fun with the proposed 10-second rule in college football.

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Here’s The Skinny On SEC Tourney Possibilities

SEC_MBBall2014_FulClrWith one week to play in the regular season there are some genuine surprises across the SEC basketball landscape:


* Florida remains undefeated at 16-0 in the league

* Kentucky — a preseason pick by some to go undefeated — now have five league losses and eight overall

*  After a 6-6 non-conference start, Georgia is in third place in the SEC just one game behind Kentucky

*  Arkansas, Missouri, LSU and Tennessee have all managed to land squarely on the NCAA bubble and no better

*  Alabama and Ole Miss have disappointed

*  Did we mention Georgia is in third place in the SEC?


Below are the current SEC standings with the current RPI and strength of schedule numbers tossed in for good measure:


  School   SEC Record   Overall Record   RPI Rank   SOS Rank
  Florida   16-0   27-2   3   14
  Kentucky   11-5   21-8   19   9
  Georgia   10-6   16-12   84   69
  Arkansas   9-7   20-9   57   75
  Tennessee   9-7   17-11   48   16
  LSU   8-8   17-11   63   54
  Missouri   8-8   20-9   49   78
  Ole Miss   8-8   17-12   92   88
  Texas A&M   8-8   17-12   113   107
  Alabama   7-9   12-16   104   4
  Vanderbilt   7-9   15-13   94   58
  Auburn   4-12   12-15   191   101
  S. Carolina   4-12   11-18   176   65
  Miss. State   3-13   13-16   227   148


Next Wednesday at the Georgia Dome, the SEC Tournament will commence with the bottom four teams in the league battling it out to reach the main body of the event.  The league won’t say it, but these two games amount to play-in games.  Three of those slots are already open and waiting for Auburn, South Carolina and Mississippi State.  The worst remaining record from the current bunch at 8-8 (LSU, Missouri, Ole Miss or Texas A&M) will join the other three on the tournament’s opening night.

On Thursday, the winner of the 12-13 game will face the league’s #5 seed.  As of today, that would be Arkansas.  The Razorbacks are currently tied with Tennessee, but the Volunteers beat the Razorbacks head-to-head in Knoxville to gain the tiebreaker.

Also, the 11-14 winner will battle the SEC’s #6 seed.  That could be almost anyone, but assuming Arkansas and Tennessee win out (which is a big assumption) the sixth seed will likely be one of those teams currently sitting at or 8-8.

Thursday also offers up an 8-9 game and a 7-10 game.  Again, those figure to match teams who are currently 8-8 or 7-9.

The top four teams in the SEC get double-byes into Friday’s action.  On the surface that’s a blessing, but the old Big East Tournament often saw lower-seeded teams get hot early and take down higher-seeded, double-bye teams that had gone a week between games.  That said, everyone wants a double-bye.

Florida has already secured the top seed overall.  For now, let’s keep the rest of the #2 through #4 battle simple.  If Kentucky wins one game this week — against Alabama or at Florida — the Wildcats will lock up the #2 seed regardless of Georgia’s finish.  The Wildcats knocked off the Bulldogs head-to-head.

Georgia can lock up the #3 slot if it wins out against Mississippi State and LSU on the road.  And as noted above, if Tennessee wins out at Auburn and at home against Missouri, the Vols will get the final double-bye.


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SEC Headlines 3/3/2014

headlines-monSEC Football

1. Alabama’s consecutive losses to end the 2013 season could help the Crimson Tide heading into 2014.

2. Former players heaped praise on Lane Kiffin and predicted he will have success at Alabama.

3. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall won’t be working with George Whitfield Jr. or any other outside quarterback coaches.

4. Gus Malzahn hasn’t watched the BCS championship loss to Florida State. That hasn’t kept him from thinking about it.

5. Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital says the Aggies will continue to have a dynamic offense.

6. Athlon Sports has ranked the nation’s top rosters heading into 2014. Alabama is No. 1.

7. Tennessee will replace its entire offensive line when spring practice begins this week.


8. Do Saban’s Alabama players come with injury risks for NFL teams?

9. Defensive end Kony Ealy should be Missouri’s next first round pick.

SEC Basketball

10. Arkansas was able to stay focused this time around after its win at Kentucky.

11. Pat Forde on John Calipari following Kentucky’s loss at South Carolina: “When the going got tough, Cal got out.”

12. Kentucky’s offense needs a quick fix, writes John Clay.

13. The SEC standings are a mess behind Florida, which is still undefeated in conference play.

14. A win at Vanderbilt this week could give LSU some momentum heading into the SEC tournament.

15. Mississippi State’s RPI continues to plummet after another 0-2  week for the Bulldogs.

16. The last few games have not gone well for Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson.

17. Tennessee can’t allow a slip up after beating Vanderbilt by 38 points on Saturday.

18. SEC basketball needs to break out of its slump, writes David Climer.


19. Mark Cuban doesn’t like the “one-and-done rule.” For some reason he thinks that rule was created by the NCAA.

20. Florida is No. 1 in the CBS Sports top 25 (and one). No other SEC team makes the list.

21. Arizona clinched the Pac-12 championship with a home win over Stanford.

22. March is here. And there’s still plenty of uncertainty in college basketball.

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SEC Hoops Roundup: Home Teams Go 7-0 Saturday

gfx-hoops-round-up2Tennessee 76 – Vanderbilt 38. Video Highlights

1. Tournament statement victory for Tennessee? Vols double up Vanderbilt  - largest margin of victory over their in-state rivals in the 185-game history between the two schools.

2. Memphis transfer Antonio Barton hits five three-pointers, scores 21 points.  Coach Cuonzo Martin: “It’s never too late to get better,”

3. Vanderbilt guard Dai-Jon Parker: “It’s embarrassing to the program and to our coaching staff.”

Missouri 85 – Mississippi State 66. Video Highlights

4. Mizzou gets 14 points and seven rebounds from center Keanau Post.  Tigers shoot a season-best 62.3 percent from the floor.

5. Mississippi State connects on season-high 10 three-pointers but its not enough as Bulldogs drop 11th straight.  Coach Rick Ray: “Missouri has the most lethal backcourt combination in this league.”

6. Craig Sword misses game for Mississippi State to attend grandmother’s funeral.

Alabama 73 – Auburn 57.

7. Levi Randolph scores 24 points and grabs nine rebounds to lead Alabama to the victory.

8. Statement game for coach Anthony Grant?

9. Is Auburn coach Tony Barbee worried about job security? ”No. I’m worried about coaching against Tennessee the next game.”

Florida 79 – LSU 61. Video Highlights

10. No. 1 Gators keep rolling - make a season-high 13 three-point shots.   Florida now 16-0 in the SEC and 27-2 overall.

11. LSU guard Anthony Hickey on the Gators: “They be locked in.”

Arkansas 87 – Georgia 75. Video Highlights

12. Forward Coty Clarke scored a career-high 23 points and Michael Qualls added 20 points. Razorbacks win for the seventh time in their last eight games.

13. Georgia hit 13 of their first 16 shots but can’t keep up the pace.  Kenny Gaines led the Bulldogs with 25 points.

Texas A&M 71 – Ole Miss 60. Video Highlights

14. Short-handed Aggies get the win at home.  Guard Fabyon Harris passed out in pre-game shootaround and had to be hospitalized. Guard  Shawn Smith was out for personal reasons.

15. Former Ole Miss Rebel Jamal Jones scores 21 points for Texas A&M. “This game means a lot to me.”

South Carolina 72 – Kentucky 67. Video Highlights

16. South Carolina gets 24 points from Brenton Williams as Gamecocks stun Kentucky.  Fans storm the court after the game.

17. Kentucky’s James Young, Aaron Harrison and Julius Randle make only nine of 35 shots. Coach John Calipari ejected from game.

18. John Clay:  ”In the end, the coach who preaches accountability was nowhere to be found.”

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SEC Headlines 3/1/2014

headlines-saturdaySEC Football

1. “I had nothing to do with the idea of the 10-second rule,” says Alabama coach Nick Saban. Also says, “I don’t think coaches should be making this decision.”

2. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on the first day of spring practice: “It’s just the first day. We’re running around in our underwear.”

3. Sumlin says defensive tackle Isaiah Golden and linebacker Darian Claiborne remain suspended indefinitely.

4. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn says he hopes to have his support staff complete by the end of next week.

5. Why the left tackle spot will be a source of intrigue along the Georgia offensive line.


6. Auburn’s Pro Day on Tuesday will include 15 players.

7. NFL analyst Charles Davis projects three Auburn players to go in the first round of the draft.

8. Missouri’s Henry Josey improved his draft stock with 4.43 40-yard time at the NFL Combine.

SEC Basketball

9. ESPN’s Andy Katz on Bruce Pearl:  ”I can’t tell you 100 percent that he’s not stirring the pot [at Tennessee], but I don’t think he is.”

10. Missouri attendance on pace for its lowest level since 2007-2008.  Sophomore forward Ryan Rosburg: “You do notice.” Biggest drop in SEC.

11. Last time LSU faced a No. 1 ranked team was against Kentucky in 2012 in the SEC Tournament.


12. College Football Talk: Is James Franklin Waking A Sleeping Giant At Penn State?

13. Randy Moss’s daughter scores 63 points in DIII basketball game.

14. NBA to LeBron James – please stop wearing the black mask.

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SEC Hoops Roundup 3/1/2014

gfx-hoops-round-up2Vanderbilt at Tennessee

1. Former Tennessee star Dale Ellis will have his number retired before today’s game.  Will join a group that includes Allan Houston, Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld.

2. Vanderbilt freshman Damian Jones was recruited by several blue-chip schools.  Why Vanderbilt? “I saw more opportunity here for me to improve, to get on the court sooner and get more experience.”

Mississippi State at Missouri

3. Are Missouri guards Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson feeling the pressure?  Coach Frank Haith: “It’s because they want it so badly, and they’re pressing.”

4. Mississippi State streaking in the wrong direction.  Lost 10 straight, haven’t won a game on the road all year, and have never won a game in February under coach Rick Ray.

Auburn at Alabama

5. Auburn won the first round of the Iron Bowl of basketball.  Alabama coach Anthony Grant: “We weren’t happy with the last time we played them.”

6. At 20.4 points per game, Auburn’s Chris Denson leads the SEC in scoring.  ”I’m definitely overlooked, but I think it’s due to our record.”

Georgia at Arkansas

7. Both these times have won six of their last seven games.  Arkansas coach Mike Anderson: “Georgia’s a good basketball team. They’re playing for the same thing we’re playing for…”

8. What’s coach Mark Fox’s future at Georgia?  A.D. Greg McGarity: “I’m really not going to talk about any of that stuff until the season’s over.”

LSU at Florida

9. The strong get stronger.  Having already clinched the SEC title, Florida expects to get point guard Kasey Hill back today.From a health standpoint, Gators “as good as they can be right now.”

10. LSU freshman Jordan Mickey on Florida: “They hustle. They’re physical. You can see it’s going to be a test out there for us.”

Kentucky at South Carolina

11. Does Kentucky have the necessary sense of urgency? Willie Cauley-Stein: It’s a scary thing if you let it go south.”

12. South Carolina coach Frank Martin: “Our program is starting to get kids playing with the same physicality as our teams played with at Kansas State.”

Ole Miss at Texas A&M
13. Ole Miss one of four teams tied for fourth place in SEC - important because of double-bye in conference tournament.

14. Texas A&M junior Jamal Jones started his career at Ole Miss but was dismissed from the team.  Rebels coach Andy Kennedy: “There’s a process that I don’t feel like is needed to get into, but you get to the point of no return.”

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SEC Headlines 2/28/2014

headlines-friSEC Football

1. The post-Johnny Manziel era begins today at Texas A&M as spring practice gets underway.

2. Biggest storyline of the spring at Tennessee?  The four-man quarterback competition.

3. Bruce Feldman: : “I don’t know how much Mizzou pays strength coach Pat Ivey, but I’m pretty sure whatever it is, the school is getting a bargain.” (last item)

4. Should college football limit the amount of full-contact practices during the season?

5. Linebacker Kris Frost could be a key cog in Auburn’s defense this fall.

6. It’s official.  Bradley Dale Peveto is back on Les Miles’ staff.  Was special teams coordinator and a defensive assistant on LSU’s 2007-08 national championship team.

7. Georgia coach Mark Richt is…pure evil?


8. Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron and Aaron Murray will participate in Jon Gruden’s QB Camp on ESPN.

9. Forget “Johnny Football” – how about “Mr. Football?”

10. Mel Kiper on Auburn tackle Greg Robinson: “He shined as an athlete in Indy and is now a challenge to go No. 1 overall.”

11. Dismissed from team last summer after failing to become academically eligible for the second straight season, Nick Brasell is one of 19 scheduled participants for Ole Miss’ Pro Day Monday.

12. Former Ole Miss Rebel Greg Hardy: “If my hand was broken, I’d say I wasn’t playing. And they’d say it was a sprain and I’d be like, Nah, I’m getting my own opinion. They hated that with a passion.”

SEC Basketball

13. Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings on speculation over Cuonzo Martin’s job status at  Tennessee: “I think for people to speculate on his job is absurd.”

14. Florida guard Kasey Hill’s status for Saturday against LSU is uncertain. Been bothered by a strained groin. Gators clinched SEC title for second straight year when Arkansas beat Kentucky Thursday night.

15. What do the computers think about Kentucky’s loss to Arkansas?

16. Did college football kill college basketball in the state of Alabama?

17. Missouri knows what it needs to do to get to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight year.  Coach Frank Haith: “You’ve got to win.”

18. Georgia is one six conference schools where attendance has gone up this year.

19. Why was Auburn fan Chris Hardin ejected Wednesday night?   ”I told him ‘you got to blow your whistle (against South Carolina).’ He didn’t like that.”


20. Phillip Fulmer and the rebirth of East Tennessee State football.

21. Barry Switzer: ““I’ve always said I’d never recruit a white quarterback.”

22. Players and fans get into a fight at the end of the New Mexico State and Utah Valley basketball game Thursday night. New Mexico State player suspended after instigating brawl.

23. $60 million high school stadium in Texas closes over structural concerns.

24. Las Vegas bookmaker sets the odds for the Oscars – 12 Years a Slave overwhelming favorite for Best Picture.

Headline of the day

25. Mississippi man wakes up in body bag at funeral home

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SEC Hoops Roundup 2/28/2014

gfx-hoops-round-up2Arkansas 71 – Kentucky 67 (overtime). Video Highlights

1. Arkansas now a serious NCAA Tournament contender?  Razorbacks complete season sweep of Kentucky and have now won six of seven games.

2. “I think we might have found our frontrunner for the coveted third SEC bid.”

3. Kentucky led 60-56 with a minute to go in regulation.  Coach John Calipari: “We took two steps back tonight.”

4. Mark Story: “There’s no tangible sign at this point that John Calipari’s 2014 Cats have a magical march through March in them.”

Saturday SEC Hoops Schedule

Vanderbilt at Tennessee

Mississippi State at Missouri

Auburn at Alabama

Georgia at Arkansas

LSU at Florida

Kentucky at South Carolina

Ole Miss at Texas A&M

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