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SEC Headlines 12/30/2013

headlines-monSEC Football

1. The ACC once planned to challenge the SEC in football. So what happened?

2. The Ole Miss running game will be an X factor for the Rebels when they face Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl.

3. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are both preparing for run-dominant opponents in Georgia Tech and Rice.

4. It was a frustrating first year for Alabama running back Derrick Henry but there are positive signs for the future.

5. Alabama WR Amari Cooper failed to live up to expectations this season due to several injuries.

6. Auburn tight end C.J. Uzomah will see his best friend when the Tigers play Florida State in the BCS title game.

7. LSU running back Jeremy Hill won’t say whether he will leave for the NFL after this season.

8. LSU’s running backs are preparing to play with quarterback Anthony Jennings, who will make his first career start against Iowa.

9. Johnny Manziel said he’s “nowhere even close” to making an announcement on his future plans.

10. Not surprisingly, Gil Brandt reported that Manziel and wide receiver Mike Evans will leave for the NFL.

11. Several Georgia players are dealing with a stomach virus. Mark Richt: “I think it’s just a 24-hour bug kind of thing.”

12. Georgia running back Keith Marshall isn’t likely to redshirt but it “still can’t be ruled out.”

13. South Carolina sure is glad it landed linebacker Skai Moore. He’s the Gamecocks’ leading tackler.

14. Here’s a look at some defensive snap stats for Missouri’s football team.

SEC Basketball

15. Patric Young reached the 1,000-point milestone in Florida’s 76-34 win over Savannah State.

16. Kentucky forward Alex Poythress is making progress and helping the Wildcats.

17. Tennessee and Virginia both enter tonight’s game needing a win.

18. Marshall will play its first game in more than a week when it plays at South Carolina tonight.

19. Criticism has helped Vanderbilt guard Kyle Fuller improve. The Commodores will host Saint Louis tonight.

Extra

20. Here’s a look at the top 25 athletic revenues in college sports for 2012-13.

21. Athlon Sports has some of the best SEC stats from the 2013 season.

22. Wichita State needs Alabama or Tennessee to step up before the college basketball season ends.

23. Penn State could target Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano if Bill O’Brien leaves for the NFL.

24. Duke’s David Cutcliffe won the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year award.

25. Dan Wolken has more on Johnny Manziel and his future.

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SEC Hoops Roundup 12/22/2013

gfx-hoops-round-upA 6-3 basketball Saturday for the SEC.  Two teams hit with roster shakeups and the last undefeated team in the conference goes down to defeat.

1. Kentucky 93 – Belmont 80. Video Highlights. Career-high 29 points for Julius Randle who also added 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season.

2. Georgia 65 – West Carolina 63. Tied at 63, Charles Mann hits two free throws with just seconds left to give Bulldogs the victory.  Georgia trailed by 10 points with seven minutes to go in the game.

3. Vanderbilt 76 – Georgia Tech 63. Video Highlights. Down by 14 in the first half, Vandy rallies to win by 13. Rod Odom led the Commodores with 18 points.

4. Florida 66 – Fresno State 49.  Gator defense holds Fresno State to 32 percent from the floor. Billy Donovan: “This was probably our best game defensively from start to finish..” Damontre Harris leaving team.  Former South Carolina transfer never played a game for the Gators.

5. LSU 86 – UAB 63.  Tigers jump out to 16-point first-half lead.  Johnny O’Bryant led LSU with 17 points, one of four players to score in double digits.

6. Illinois 65 – Missouri 64.  Jabari Brown’s three pointer put Mizzou in the lead with just under 15 seconds.  Illinois hits two free throws with less than five seconds to win it and knock Tigers from the ranks of the undefeated.

7. Oklahoma 64 – Texas A&M 52.  Aggies lose the game and J-Mychel Reese.  Sophomore point guard dismissed from team after the game. Neither Reese nor his father – an assistant coach on the team - made the trip for Saturday’s game.

8. Xavier 77 – Alabama 74. Crimson Tide lose 12-point second-half lead.  Loss drops Alabama to 5-6 on the season.

9. Arkansas 72 – South Alabama 60. Video HighlightsRazorbacks get a team-high 15 points from Bobby Portis.  Arkansas now 9-2 on the season.

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The SEC Has Done Little So Far To Improve Its Weak Hoops Reputation

gfx - by the numbersFlorida, Missouri and Ole Miss.  Those were the three teams from the 14-team Southeastern Conference who reached the NCAA Tournament last year.  That low number is indicative of the SEC’s total number of tourney bids in recent seasons.

From 1995 through 2008, the SEC sent either five or six teams to the Big Dance in 13 out of 14 seasons.  The lone exception was a four-bid season in 1996.

Starting in 2009, however, the SEC has received three bids, four bids, five bids, four bids and once more those three invitations to UF, MU and UM sent last March.  Respect for SEC basketball has waned.

For that reason, Mike Slive and the SEC created the position of “associate commission for men’s basketball” for Mark Whitworth this summer.  Whitworth will serve as a sort of hoops overseer (we’d previously call for the SEC to create a “basketball czar” position).  The league also brought in former NCAA Tournament official Greg Shaheen to help member schools put together better schedules to aid on the RPI front.

So how is the SEC’s tournament resume looking at this point?  About the same as last year.  The site RealTimeRPI.com shows the SEC as the 8th best hoops league in the land behind (in order) the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, new Big East, ACC, Mountain West and Atlantic 10.  What that means is that SEC teams had better start rolling up the non-conference wins right now because the league won’t be good enough to provide much of an RPI boost in January, February and March.  Florida’s win over Kansas last night was a step in the right direction, but there’s more to be done.

Below is a thumbnail breakdown of each SEC school’s resume to date…

 

  School   Record   RPI   Top 50 Ws   Sub 100 Ls   Schedule Strength
  Missouri   9-0   22   1   0   114
  Arkansas   6-2   29   0   1   15
  LSU   5-2   38   0   0   37
  Florida   7-2   42   1   0   82
  Ole Miss   6-2   57   0   1   93
  Kentucky   8-2   72   1   0   144
  S. Carolina   2-3   83   0   1   21
  Vanderbilt   5-3   95   0   0   120
  Tennessee   6-2   96   0   1   179
  Texas A&M   7-2   111   0   0   180
  Alabama   3-4   140   0   1   46
  Miss. State   5-2   231   0   1   335
  Auburn   4-3   254   0   1   280
  Georgia   3-4   331   0   2   330

 

Admittedly, it’s a bit early in the season to be studying the RPI numbers.  They’ll change some (though we don’t think the league’s overall number will improve by much at all).

For a better look at why the SEC’s reputation is in the tank, let’s take a team-by-team look at losses and matchups with “name” schools…

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Georgia 41 – Georgia Tech 34 2OT (Video)

Video highlights of the Georgia 41-34 win over Georgia Tech in double overtime Saturday in Atlanta.

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SEC Gameday Links: Afternoon Delights 11/30/2013

gameday-links-150x150Florida State at Florida

1. The 1979 and 2013 Florida Gators have more in common than just losing records.

2. If Florida is to have a chance today, it needs long, sustained drives.

Wake Forest at Vanderbilt

3. Vanderbilt prepares to say goodbye to the winningest group of seniors the school has seen in more than 60 years.

4. Can Vanderbilt keep its starting secondary on the field today?  Lost all four starters in last week game – three to injuries and one to a suspension.  Free safety Kenny Ladler will sit out the first half today.

Georgia Tech at Georgia

5. The Georgia attack will be led today by quarterback Hutson Mason – better known to his friends as “Cole Slaw”

6. Can the Georgia front seven stop the Tech running attack?  Yellow Jackets ground game ranks fourth in the country.

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Georgia’s Richt Praises New Starting QB Mason; Pathetic Tech Fans “Happy Murray Got Injured”

1385304581000-hutson-mason-uga-kuSEC record(s)-holder Aaron Murray tore his ACL in a blowout win over Kentucky last weekend.  With their starting quarterback now done for the year like so many of his teammates, Georgia will hand the reins of its offense to backup Hutson Mason.  The junior will be called upon to lead the Dawgs in this weekend’s game at Georgia Tech.

There’s one guy who isn’t worried about the change in quarterbacks… Georgia coach Mark Richt:

 

“I think Hutson is ready.  Hutson has worked extremely hard.  I say this a lot, and it’s true — your second-team quarterback has to be just as prepared as your first team guy, but going into the game, you never really know if you’re going to get into the game.  It’s a hard thing to do.  I spent a lot of time being a backup quarterback (at Miami), so I know.  I can promise you that he is a lot more prepared than I was back in my day.  I wasn’t as mature as he is.

In the spring, he’s with the second-team offensive line and second team offense versus the #1 defense, and you’ve got to try to have some success in that situation.  That’s not always easy to do, but he’s been able to do that.  He’s been a guy that’s been able to make plays and get drives going when maybe other people just kind of folded up.  That’s been great experience for him, and now he’s the guy.”

 

For his career, Mason is 51-of-82 (62.1%) for 705 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.

Meanwhile, some Grade A jackass began a thread called “I am happy Aaron Murray got injured” on the a Georgia Tech fan website called StingTalk.com.  Bulldog receiver Chris Conley said he’s also gotten nasty comments from Yellow Jacket fans via Twitter (the greatest refuge for cowards our society has to date created).

“… just some of the comment that were made about players on the team being injured, namely players that just got injured, it kind of pissed some people off,” Conley said.  “It rubs them wrong.  There’s no search for motivation for this game… We’ve had a lot of people injured and they’ve talked about a lot of them.”

A beat-up Georgia team with a backup quarterback will attempt to take out a little revenge on the Insects from the Institute on Saturday.

(For those old enough to remember, that may have been the best moniker ever handed out by the old “Leonard’s Losers” radio show… the host himself a UGA grad.)

 

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SEC Odds And Television Listings – 11/25/13

tv-remotesWell, the final week of the regular season is upon us.  The past three months have zipped by and we’re left with one last Thanksgiving-week feast of SEC football.  Below are the television listings for the week ahead including the latest odds from Las Vegas:

 

Thursday, November 28th

Ole Miss at Mississippi State – 7:30pm ET on ESPN — Line: None yet

 

Friday, November 29th

Arkansas at LSU — 2:30pm ET on CBS — Line: LSU -24.5 (Current: -25.5)

 

Saturday, November 30th

Florida State at Florida — 12:00pm ET on ESPN — Line: None yet

Wake Forest at Vanderbilt — 12:21pm ET on SEC TV — Line: Vanderbilt -14 (Current: -14.5)

Georgia Tech at Georgia — 3:30pm ET on ABC — Line: Georgia -3 (Current: -3)

Alabama at Auburn — 3:30pm ET on CBS — Line: Alabama -9.5 (Current: -11)

Clemson at South Carolina — 7:00pm ET on ESPN2 — Line: South Carolina -6 (Current: -4.5)

Tennessee at Kentucky — 7:00pm ET on ESPNU — Line: Tennessee -4 (Current: -4.5)

Texas A&M at Missouri — 7:45pm ET on ESPN – Line: Missouri -3 (Current: -4.5)

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SEC Hoops Roundup 11/16/2013

gfx-hoops-round-up1. Georgia Tech 80 Georgia 71. Bulldogs drop third straight to Tech despite  career-high 24 points from sophomore guard Charles Mann.

2. Vanderbilt 80 – Lipscomb 69. 279th career win at Vandy for coach Kevin Stallings – he’s now the school’s all-timewinningest coach.

3. Northwestern State 111 – Auburn 92. The Demons score 72 second-half points after Auburn led by as many as 14 in the first half.

4. Texas A&M 68 – Rice 65. The Aggies made only 3-of-18 three-point shots Friday night but the last one was a game winner.

5. Dorian Finney-Smith has been reinstated at Florida but Damontre Harris is currently ” off the team.” Gators play Arkansas-Little Rock today.

6. Missouri plays Hawaii today in a return to Kansas City for the first time since winning the Big 12 Tournament championship.

7. After beating Auburn, Northwestern State faces LSU tonight.

8. Ole Miss faces Coastal Carolina and welcomes back Marshall Henderson.

9. Tennessee faces South Carolina Upstate tonight. ($)

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SEC Hoops Today – 11/15/13

basketballsFive SEC hoops squads are in action tonight…

 

Georgia Tech at Georgia — 7:00pm ET

UL-Lafayette at Arkansas — 8:00pm ET

Lipscomb at Vanderbilt — 8:00pm ET

Northwestern State at Auburn — 8:00pm ET

Rice at Texas A&M — 9:00pm ET on FSN

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It’s Time For The SEC To Hire A Hoops Czar

Basketball-CrownThe Southeastern Conference has suffered a serious decline in its men’s basketball reputation over the past decade.  Despite producing three recent tourney champs (Florida twice, Kentucky once), the league is perceived to be a lightweight.  And the computers used to rank teams aren’t helping.  This past year the league ranked #8 in overall conference RPI for much of the season.  A weak reputation amplified by several poor non-conference slates left the SEC as a three-bid conference when the NCAA Tournament bracket was unveiled in March.

A couple of months later, Mike Slive brought former NCAA Tournament executive Greg Shaheen to the SEC meetings in Destin to try and explain to the league’s coaches just how the selection committee’s strength of schedule tool works.  In short, it’s not just your opponents, it’s also your opponents’ opponents who count.

At the time, South Carolina’s Frank Martin had this to say:

 

“Our non-conference strength of schedule last year was (ranked) 336.  That’s unacceptable.  That impacts every team in our league in a negative way.  For example, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky got left out of the NCAA Tournament.  They had decent RPIs.  If my non-conference strength of schedule would have been 230 instead of 330, then their RPIs are in the 40s and now I think maybe two of the three of them get in.”

 

We praised Martin for his honesty.  We also applauded the league’s Destin decision to require coaches and ADs to run their schools’ upcoming non-conference schedules through the SEC office for approval.

That decision didn’t sit so well with Martin or Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings, however.

“I’m not a kindergartner anymore,” Martin said this week.  “I think I can take care of my responsibilities.”  That’s quite a change from his comments of a month ago, no?

Stallings said he’s “not a huge fan” of the league taking a role in scheduling, either.  He also said the creation of a non-conference schedule is “a little more difficult than people who don’t do it think it is.”

If that’s the case, then Stallings should welcome some help.  And the SEC should give him that help in the person of someone with a hoops background, someone who has cut schedules.

It’s time for the Southeastern Conference to call in a specialist on the basketball front.  Former Mississippi State AD Larry Templeton has become the league’s de facto in-conference scheduling guru and we believe it’s time the league paid someone to take over as its basketball head.

What would such a job entail?  Well, obviously, non-conference scheduling.  A former basketball coach or AD would have an idea of what current coaches are up against on the scheduling front.  That might make the league’s advice on scheduling a bit easier for today’s coaches to swallow.  While Slive and his associate commissioners could focus on big-picture issues — the new SEC Network, bowl affiliations, the College Football Playoff, television contracts, etc — a new hoops czar could act as the actual judge on SEC squads’ non-conference plans.

The new head of hoops could also handle any complaints regarding officiating.  The league made a change at the top of its officiating chain of command this offseason and neither the league nor Gerald Boudreaux has explained why he departed.  One must assume that — barring some type of shady dealings — the league’s officials came under a bit more fire this year than usual.  Road wins were tougher to come by inside the SEC and sources tell MrSEC.com there was a feeling amongst coaches that the league’s refs paid a bit too much attention to the hometown crowds.  If true, consider that another reason why the league faired so poorly on Selection Sunday.  It’s best teams weren’t able to collect many road victories.  A new basketball czar who’s stood on the sidelines and barked at officials could serve as a knowledgeable, been-there-done-that type of buffer between the coaches and the new head of basketball officials, Jake Bell.

Finally, a new hoops guru would need to promote the conference’s basketball brand.  Be that in the media or via his cell phone and Rolodex, an SEC basketball czar could work year-round to improve the national perception of the conference’s on-court product.  That would require not only a person who’s been in the coaching world, but someone who has numerous connections and is respected by his peers.

So who fits that description?

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