Albama Arkansas Auburn Florida Georgia Kentucky LSU Mississippi State Missouri Ole-Miss USC Tennessee Texas A&M Vanderbilt

The Latest On The Ole Miss Coaching Search

Before we sign off for the night, we wanted to bring you some of the news and rumors surrounding the head coaching job at Ole Miss.  We’ll start with the fan favorites.

Though Mike Leach and Gus Malzahn are likely at the top of most Rebel fans’ wish lists, we don’t believe either man will wind up in Oxford.  We’ve crossed Leach off the list because we don’t believe Ole Miss will even consider him for the job.  And we don’t believe Malzahn will have more interest in Ole Miss than he did Vanderbilt and Maryland last offseason.  Many people believe he’s ticketed for North Carolina anyway.

So where might UM turn?

* Mike Herndon of The Mobile Press-Register believes Archie Manning’s search committee should act boldly.  In his view Leach or Charlie Strong or Malzahn or Kirby Smart should be on the Rebel list.

* Art Briles of Baylor is starting to get some mentions in connection with the Ole Miss job.  Mac Engel of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that BU should toss Briles a raise in order to keep him in Waco.

* Doug Segrest of The Birmingham News believes Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians could wind up in the Ole Miss mix as well.  Arians has previously served as an assistant in the SEC and he was Peyton Manning’s quarterback coach during his rookie year in Indianapolis… thus the connection to Archie.

* Meanwhile, Louisiana-Lafeyette’s Mark Hudspeth says he’s “not been contacted” by UM officials and that he’s happy with the Ragin’ Cajuns.  Hudspeth is a Magnolia State native and a former assistant to Dan Mullen at Mississippi State.

* Hudspeth and fellow Sun Belt coach Hugh Freeze both have their programs — UL and Arkansas State, respectively — headed to bowl games this season.  Freeze is a former Ole Miss assistant under Ed Orgeron.

Among the names our sources continue to mention in connection with the Ole Miss job are: Briles from Baylor, Freeze from Arkansas State, Hudspeth from Louisiana-Lafayette, Sonny Dykes from Louisiana Tech, Larry Fedora from Southern Miss, and assistants Malzahn (Auburn), Smart (Alabama), and Manny Diaz (Texas by way of Mississippi State).

Post Comments » Comments (21)



SEC Makes It Offical: Texas A&M Plays In The League Next Year

To the joy of Texas A&M fans — and the chagrin of yours truly who’s having to type up something on the weekend, dang it — the SEC made it official today: The Aggies are coming for the 2012 season.

The league released the news this afternoon that A&M will officially join the conference as its 13th member on July 1st, 2012.

“On behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans, I welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family,” Mike Slive said in a prepared statement.  “Texas A&M is a nationally-prominent institution on and off the field and a great fit for the SEC tradition of excellence — athletically, academically and culturally.”

“The Southeastern Conference provides Texas A&M the national visibility that our great university and our student-athletes deserve,” said A&M president R. Bowen Loftin via press release.  “We are excited to begin competition in the nation’s premier athletic conference.  This is a 100-year decision that we have addressed carefully and methodically, and I believe the Southeastern Conference gives the Aggies the best situation of any conference in the country.”

Longtime readers of this site know that we have stated since the salvation of the Big 12 last summer that A&M would eventually become a member of the SEC:

July 30th, 2010 — “A&M To The SEC Just A Matter Of Time”

January 25th, 2011 — “Could New Texas Network Drive A&M To The SEC?”

Even this past June, when the Big 12 announced that it would split more TV money, we said again that A&M would eventually join the SEC.  Little did we know that less than two months later, A&M’s president would dial up the SEC’s commissioner and ask for an invitation.

June 6th, 2011 — “Big 12 Applies More Duct tape, But A&M To The SEC Will Still Happen.  Someday.”

It was inevitable in our eyes.  The two entities have flirted for 25 years.  The cultural fit is perfect.  The SEC gains millions of TV viewers and fertile recruiting ground.  A&M gets a means of differentiating itself from the University of Texas and a stable home.

Do your own Google searches and you’ll find that has been dead-solid right on this one every step of the way… long before anyone else was talking A&M and certainly before anyone else suggested it was guaranteed to happen.

Now, on to the fallout.  The SEC’s official website has posted some reaction from Houston sportswriter Joshua Buckley regarding the marriage.

And here’s some reaction from contributor Tony Barnhart.

We’ll have much more tomorrow morning on this move.  Including — we hope — the reaction from Baylor University.  The fact that the SEC has made this move official suggests that either a) BU has stopped threatening a lawsuit or b) the SEC expects BU to stop talking lawsuits now that the Big 12 is working to save itself.  We shall see.

Either way, congratulations and welcome to the Aggies.  Of all the schools out there, A&M is by far the best fit for the SEC in terms of athletics, academics, business and profile.  It’s a win-win.

And any people who say otherwise just don’t understand what conference expansion is truly all about.

Post Comments » Comments (86)



Baylor’s Protests Even More Sickening When Put In Historical Context

A few things that you know by now:

1.  Texas A&M is heading to the SEC at some point.

2.  That point would have been last week had Baylor not leaked threats that it would sue the SEC (and perhaps even commissioner Mike Slive) for tortious interference.

3.  Legal experts don’t think the Baylor has much hope of winning such a suit.

4.  We at have said from the beginning that BU’s move is simply a stall tactic designed to try and keep the Big 12 alive.

If you read this site regularly, you know that we’ve also often pointed out how Baylor had no worries about the common welfare or the end of “good ol’ Texas footbawl” when it skedaddled from the SWC to the Big 12 in the mid-90s, leaving Houston, Rice, SMU and TCU to fend for themselves.

Well Texas A&M fans have dug up a story from The Houston Chronicle dated February 24th, 1994.  Here’s what Thomas R. Powers — chairman of Baylor’s board of regents — had to say about BU’s own conference jump at the time:

“We are certainly saddened by the demise of the Southwest Conference.  I think it was something that was going to happen sooner or later.  We certainly wish those who did not receive an invitation (to join the Big 12) well.  I feel sure they are fine institutions and they will find a place in some other program that will be appropriate for them.”

It should also be noted that Baylor was the first school from the SWC to vote on and accept an invitation to join the Big 12.

Yet now that Baylor is being left behind rather leaving others, school president Kenneth Starr is threatening lawsuits to the left and lawsuits to the right.  What a pathetic show.

Anyone else need a vomit bag?

(And to those who’ve come here and “corrected” us for suggesting that Baylor twisted arms politically to enter the Big 12 in the first place… read the above story written on the day BU’s vote went down.  And then go get your shinebox.)

Post Comments » Comments (24)



Baylor Must Be Angling For An SEC Invite… That It Won’t Get

Confession: I don’t like it when politicians get involved in athletics.  Even when its something “bad” like steroids in baseball — gasp! — I expect my elected officials to worry about the economy, not Barry Bonds’ biceps.

Likewise, I don’t like it when athletic parties take their disagreements into our nation’s courtrooms.  One entity trying to force it’s will upon another is not okay in my book.  And our court system is filled with enough nonsensical lawsuits already.

Therefore — even though I believe the SEC is just fine as a 12-school collective — I’d like to see Mike Slive tan the hides of the Baylor Bears at this point.

Still, let’s look at Kenneth Starr’s power play more closely.  Is Baylor’s president trying to hold the Big 12 together with his legal posturing?


A thinking man would realize that any league already held together by duct tape and chewing gum isn’t going to be strengthened by adding spite to the mixture.  Think the schools in the Big 12 despise and distrust one another now?  Wait until they’re forced to spend more time together because of a Baylor lawsuit.

Litigation is not a long-term solution for the Big 12.  And Baylor isn’t likely to win any lawsuit against the SEC, either.  Too many Big 12 officials have already publicly stated a) that Colorado and Nebraska hurt the league when they left and b) Texas’ huge cash advantage is the root of all Big 12 evil.

But while BU likely couldn’t prove tortious interference against the SEC, reports that “multiple sources” as saying Baylor would consider a lawsuit against Slive personally.  Frivolous or not, that kind of threat is likely to give any conference commissioner pause.

But if keeping the Big 12 intact isn’t the angle, what are Starr and his Baptist Bears up to?  Well, clearly they want to make themselves more attractive to other leagues on the expansion front.  With Baylor threatening to muck up the waters, might Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas, for example, force the Pac-12 to accept BU rather than Texas Tech?

Probably not.  While some Sooner, Cowboy and Longhorn fans might be cheering Baylor for slowing their schools’ race to the Pacific Time Zone, it’s doubtful that administrators at those schools are pleased with BU’s stunt.  Royalty doesn’t like to be pushed around by peasants.

More likely, Baylor officials think they can attach themselves to Texas A&M and the SEC.  Baylor isn’t attractive enough to draw an invite on its own, so it could be looking to enter the SEC’s warm, calm waters like a remora riding on the belly of A&M’s shark.

If the SEC truly wants to land Texas A&M — and if the league truly doesn’t want to be sued — it should consider adding Baylor, too.  The Bears aren’t a member of the prestigious AAU, but they are a well-ranked school on most lists.  (According to US News & World Report’s rankings, Baylor would tie Alabama — #79 nationally — as the fourth-best school in the SEC if admitted.)  League presidents would go for that.

But from an athletics standpoint, the Bears would fall near the bottom of the conference in terms of tradition.  Also, with Texas A&M’s enormous alumni base, the SEC would already be able to claim the biggest Texas television markets.  So Baylor would likely bring little to the table moneywise.

But let’s play some number games anyway.  If the addition of A&M brought in enough money for the SEC to cover the costs of adding Baylor, then the SEC might be wise to consider such a move. 

Let’s say you want some apples.  You can either have five or none.  But to get five, you have to give someone else two.  It’s not the five apples you’d hoped for, but three apples would still beat none, right?

Ah, but even if the SEC stood to make a profit by adding Texas A&M and Baylor… the odds of Slive and his conference presidents being strong-armed by Starr and his band of whiners from Waco are slim to none.

Just as Baylor can’t hold the Big 12 together via spite, it can’t force its way into a new league using that method either.  Shotgun weddings don’t often last.

Fifteen years ago, Texas politicians forced Texas and A&M to drag Baylor and Texas Tech into the Big 12.  (It just so happened that Texas’ governor was a Baylor grad and the state’s lieutenant governor was a Tech grad at the time.)  How well has that shotgun wedding worked?

This time, no one’s around to save Baylor’ bacon.  As a result, they’re threatening to take the SEC — and perhaps Slive — to court.  How weak.

Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are looking after their own self-interests.  But they’re leaving Baylor with options to do the same.  Schools have always looked out for their own best interests.  Including Baylor.  But Starr and BU — incapable of taking care of themselves — are now going the lawsuit route, closing off options for everyone else.

So here’s wishing nothing but the worst for the school and its athletic programs.  As if the realignment debate weren’t nasty enough already, now the wackos from Waco are threatening to get the lawyers involved.

Could this story get any worse?

Oh, yeah.  It could.  If the SEC caved and invited Baylor to tag along with A&M.  Thank goodness that’s not going to happen.

Post Comments » Comments (26)



Kentucky Basketball: Bouncing Back & Looking Forward

Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

The Kentucky Wildcats have bounce-back-ability.

More photos »

Andy Lyons – Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats have bounce-back-ability.

Browse more photos »

Bouncing Back

Young teams.  One never knows the psychological strength of a team, especially a young team, until they have been tested, and sometimes beaten.  Although this UK team is full of high school All-Americas, indicating it should be a team full of confident young men, the accumulation of talent John Calipari has put together had not lost at the collegiate level until the thorough, Maui-style dismantling courtesy of Kemba Walker and the UConn Huskies.

And by using the word “dismantling,” I’m being kind, because UK was beaten every which way but loose by the Huskies.  Which is an experience most of UK’s current crop of freshman consider a foreign concept.  Add in the fact that at this point, the players are in search of leadership within their ranks, and the very real possibility of a precipitous drop in confidence and performance could have effected the way the team prepared for, and played against the Boston U Terriers.

Furthermore, with Calipari complaining loudly about what he perceives as selfish play of the team in Hawaii, fans were left to wonder if the youthful ‘Cats would respond to – a) a bad loss, and b) their coach rightfully berating them for their selfishness and lack of interior defense – with a solid performance against a team they should soundly beat.

What we learned Tuesday night is that these ‘Cats, like last year’s team, is capable of the big-time bounce back.  It’s not that they beat BU that was so impressive (on the contrary, it was expected), it’s how they beat BU — 59.3% field goal shooting (32-54); 62.5% long-range shooting (10-16); 21 assists on 32 made baskets (an assist on 67% of made baskets); and a 30-14 advantage in points in the paint.  Defensively, the ‘Cats held the Terriers to only 28.5% from the field, and eight assists.  Compare those numbers to the UConn game — 36.7% field goal shooting (22-60); 8-22 three-point shooting (36.4%); nine assists on 22 made baskets (an assist on 45% of made baskets); and a 42-24 points in the paint annihilation.  Against UConn, defending was obviously optional; the Huskies shot 57.7% from the floor (30-52), and 58.3% from beyond the arc (7-12), and lived in the lane all night … shooting layups.

Brandon Knight, who struggled (and looked noticeably uncomfortable) with turnovers and running the offense in Maui, bounced back in a major way against Boston U, scoring 23 points on 8-12 shooting (4-6 3′s), grabbing six rebounds, dishing out six assists, and committing four turnovers in 34 minutes of play.  Knight, like John Wall and Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose before him, is learning the dribble-drive as he goes, so naturally there will be peaks and valleys along the way (both Rose and Evans struggled early in their freshman seasons).  But, it was nice (and confidence-building) to see the Fort Lauderdale freshman respond to such an incredibly sub-par game, with his best effort yet as a ‘Cat.

Now, we should all realize BU is not UConn, but, Tuesday night all but the most cynical Kentucky fans clearly saw a team more cohesive, more in-tune to each other’s place on the floor, and actually interested in playing some sort of interior defense.  And UK’s big men (not named Terrence), in addition to their improved defense, responded with perhaps their most complete offensive game of the year: In 40 combined minutes, Josh Harrellson and Eloy Vargas scored 16 points, on 6-9 field goals, corralled 15 rebounds (six offensive), and committed only one turnover.  

All positive signs.  But, not as positive as this loudly blinking neon sign: Over the last two games, as a team, UK is shooting 72.7% from the free throw line (32-44).  A considerable improvement over the less-than-sixty-percent-from-the-charity-stripe they were averaging entering the UConn game.

So, with all signs pointing in a positive direction, let’s take a quick look at the block of three games awaiting the ‘Cats over the next two weeks.

Looking Forward

North Carolina Tar Heels: At Chapel Hill, Saturday @ 12:30 EST on CBS — Roy Williams’ Tar Heels have struggled so far this year.  With a 4-3 record, and losses to Minnesota, Vanderbilt, and #21 Illinois (an ugly, ugly defeat), UNC is searching for an identity.  The No. 1 high school player in the nation last year, 6-8 forward Harrison Barnes, has performed, well, like a freshman.  He’s averaging a respectable 11.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, but his shooting and ball handling have been in a word, streaky.  Tyler Zeller (7-0 forward/center), UNC’s big man in the middle, has played solidly, leading the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game, to go along with 7.3 rebounds per contest.  Zeller possesses and array of moves around the basket, and will be a tough man to handle for UK’s Harrellson and Vargas.  Six-ten forward John Henson is averaging 11.1 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game. 

Henson and Zeller will be the first two opposing players of their size to legitimately challenge UK’s trio of bigs (note to Harrellson and Vargas – The UNC game will be an opportune time to make everyone forget the UConn fiasco).  And that battle might very well determine the winner of this “Clash of the Titans.”

Notre Dame Fighting Irish: At Freedom Hall, December 8 @ 9:30 EST on ESPN– The Irish, sittin’ fat and happy at 8-0, own wins over Georgia, Cal, and Wisconsin.  Led by 6-3 guard (and brother of Tyler), Ben Hansbrough (15.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists per game) Mike Brey’s team so far has bounced back in their own right, playing for the first time in four years without All-America Luke Harangody, who took his 21.3 points and 9.1 rebounds to the NBA. 

Helping out Hansbrough is 6-8 forward Tim Abromaitis, who’s averaging 15.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game — The big man can also serve it up; Abromaitis is averaging 2.9 assists per contest.  The other Irish forward is 6-8 Tyrone Nash.  Nash, hotly recruited out of high school, is averaging 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game — That’s 6.1 assists per game Brey is getting out of his two starting forwards. 

This game is looking tougher now, than when the schedule was first released.  But, Freedom Hall has historically been very good to the ‘Cats.

Indiana Hoosiers: At Rupp Arena, December 11th @ 5:15 EST on ESPN – Tom Crean’s third year in Bloomington is (at least) starting out much better than his first two efforts.  Being saddled with a lack of scholarship players his first year, and last season losing point Maurice Creek before the start of Big 10 play, hamstrung the former Marquette head man’s ability to re-establish the Hoosiers as one of the nations elite squads.  But a quick 6-1 start to the 2010-2011 season has hoop’s hopes and expectations on the rise at IU. 

Led by superb sophomore, 6-9 forward Christian Watford (17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds per game), the Hoosiers are finally showing signs of life.  Also playing well during the early going is 6-5 guard Verdell Jones (a junior, which makes him the old man of the group), who is putting up 14.2 points per game.  And last year’s casualty of war, Maurice Creek, has rebounded from his season-ending injury to average 11.3 points per contest this season.  Another sophomore, Jordan Hulls, is playing exceptionally well at the present, averaging 9.3 points and 3.3 assists per game. 

Although the Hoosiers have yet to beat anybody of note (with the possible exception of Evansville, who earlier in the year bested Butler), they are winning by an (impressive) average margin of 21.8 points – IU’s lone loss of the year was to Boston College. 

Even though the Hoosiers seem to be much better than last year, UK should have their way with them, especially with the game being played in what will be a comfortably hostile Rupp Arena. 

Kentucky’s next three games are one of the reasons it’s great to be a UK fan.  Great rivalries, great coaches, great players.  A large time should be had by all … well, by the good guys at least.

Thanks for reading and Go ‘Cats!

Post Comments » No Comments



Individual player notes from UK’s win over Boston

Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

(H-L photo/Mark Cornelison)

A couple of team notes and then individual player notes after UK’s 91-57 bashing of Boston University:

PPP – Kentucky’s offense averaged 1.350 points per possession, best since last year’s club averaged 1.493 in a win over Hartford on Dec. 29, 2009. The Cats were coming off back-to-back games of less than a point per possession. UK averaged 0.927 against Washington and 0.993 against UConn.

Meanwhile, the defensive PPP was much better. The Cats held Boston to 0.837 PPP, compared to 1.253 for Connecticut in the Maui final loss.

THREES – The Cats made 10 of 16 three-pointers for 62.5 percent. That’s the best in any UK game since the Cats made nine of 13 for 69.2 percent against Drexel on Dec. 21 of last season. It’s the best in any game UK has taken 15-or-more three since the Billy Gillispie Era (error?) when the Cats made 12 of 19 for 63.2 at Tennessee on Jan. 13, 2009.

JOSH HARRELLSON — The senior center achieved his first career double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Harrellson went 6-of-7 from the floor, tying his career high of six field goals against Indiana on Dec. 13, 2008. He was six of 12 from the floor that game. Afterward, BU coach Patrick Chambers called Harrellson UK’s “mother-hen.” We figured that at times Cal may have used a similar term when referring to Harrellson.

TERRENCE JONES – Turned his fourth double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Had just four rebounds in 27 minutes in loss to UConn. In last two games, has made 13 of 23 shots. Has blocked at least one shot in all six games. Blocked one against the Terriers.

BRANDON KNIGHT – Bounced back with 23 points after just a six-point effort in loss to UConn. Produced a career-high six assists. After going 0-of-8 from three in Maui final, made four of six beyond the arc against the Terriers. Knight has logged 32-or-more minutes now in five of UK’s six games.

DARIUS MILLER — A non-factor with no points in just seven first-half minutes after picking up two fouls. Was replaced by Doron Lamb at start of second half. Did score eight points in second half, but played just 19 minutes overall. That’s the least amount of time he’s been on the floor since playing just 11 minutes in UK’s first-round NCAA thumping of East Tennessee State last season.

DORON LAMB – Assistant John Robic said after the game that Lamb showed he needs to be on the floor more. The freshman scored 13 points in 27 minutes. He also had a career-high five assists. Lamb has made seven of 14 shots over the last two games, including three of six from three-point range.

DEANDRE LIGGINS – The junior has made just five of 17 shots over his last two games. Liggins had four turnovers, compared to one assist. He did grab his first offensive rebound of the season.

ELOY VARGAS – Odd stat is that Vargas has had four rebounds in four of his six games. Had four against the Terriers. Did have a career-high six free throw attempts, making four. In fact, Vargas has made 8 of 10 free throws over the last two games. Has just one turnover in 85 minutes thus far this season.

JON HOOD — Scored two points in nine minutes. The sophomore has scored 10 points on the season. He did not take a three-pointer against BU, just the second time in six games that has happened. Hood has not had an assist or a turnover so far this season.

STACEY POOLE — Played four minutes, but has still yet to score this season. The freshman has taken just two shots, both in the game against Washington.

JARROD POLSON – The freshman from West Jessamine scored his first points as a Wildcat, making two free throws with 24 seconds remaining. Also had his first assist as a Cat. And turnover.


Post Comments » No Comments



Follow Us On:
Mobile MrSEC