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SEC Bubble Teams Don’t Need An Upset-Winner In Nashville (Or In Other Conference Tourneys)

fingers-crossedDepending on the source you study, the SEC still has as many as four teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble (we believe there are really only two, but we’ll explain that in greater detail later today.)  Fans of bubble hopefuls Alabama, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Tennessee should be pulling for a couple of different things to happen at the SEC tourney in Nashville this week — either for their own team to cut down the nets or for Florida or Missouri to capture the title.

A championship for UA, UK, UM, or UT will give that winning team the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and prevent any Selection Sunday sweating they might have to endure otherwise.  A win by Florida or Missouri would give the auto-bid to a team that’s already earned its ticket to the Big Dance.

What the SEC’s bubble teams don’t need is some underdog squad making a surprise run to capture the tournament crown.

Just as upsets in other league tourneys can take away at-large berths, so too can an upset-winner in Nashville.  If a Georgia, Arkansas, LSU, or some other team works its way onto the SEC’s trophy-presentation podium on Sunday, there will be one less NCAA at-large bid available to the Crimson Tide, Rebels, Volunteers, and Wildcats.

That’s just the state of things in Nashville.  The SEC’s bubble teams also need to be keeping an eye on the following key conference tournaments across the country this week:


Conference USA – SEC bubble hopefuls should be pulling for Memphis to win its league tournament.  The Tigers were regular-season champs and are currently 27-4 with an RPI of 16.  Southern Miss is 21-8 with an RPI of 35 and a seat squarely on the bubble.  It’s possible C-USA might just be a one-bid league if Memphis wins the title.  The Tigers went 16-0 in conference play and fans in Knoxville, Lexington, Oxford, and Tuscaloosa should be rooting for them to be just as successful in their league tourney this week.

Horizon League – It’s doubtful that regular-season champ Valparaiso (24-7, RPI 60) would earn an at-large bid if it’s upset in its league tournament, but better safe than sorry.  Fans of SEC bubble teams should be pulling for Valpo when they play Wright State in the finals on Tuesday.

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Report: Bama Hires Another Ex-Head Coach In Cristobal

Alabama — winners of three of the last four BCS championships — in on the verge of hiring its second ex-head coach in a week to serve on Nick Saban’s staff.’s Jeremy Fowler reports that ex-Florida International coach Mario Cristobal will be taking over the Tide’s offensive line:











Cristobal served as the head coach at Florida International from 2007 through 2012.  This past season he was on Al Golden’s Miami staff as tight ends coach and assistant head coach.

Cristobal will replace Jeff Stoutland who departed Alabama to join Chip Kelly’s new staff with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

Just last week, Alabama added former Baylor head coach Kevin Steele to its staff as the director of player personnel.  Steele will head up Saban’s recruiting efforts, but he will not have an on-field coaching role in Tuscaloosa.

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MSU Hires Collins As Co-DC

Dan Mullen has hired Geoff Collins from Florida International as his linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator.  Chris Wilson was promoted to D-coordinator to replace Manny Diaz who split for Texas.  So Collins is actually replacing Diaz (as linebackers coach) and Wilson (as co-coordinator).

Collins’ FIU defense led the Sun Belt conference in total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense and turnover margin. 

“Geoff has shown the type of immediate impact he can bring to a defense by what he did at Florida International last season,” Dan Mullen said in a press release.  “He’s a smart young coach that has great experience, and he’ll bring the same kind of aggressive attitude and philosophy that we expect from our defense at Mississippi State.”

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