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SEC Headlines – 6/28/12

1.  Need further evidence that the Big 12 never had an under-the-table deal with Florida State and Clemson?  How ’bout a secret January memo by Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas that said only Notre Dame would help his league’s television deal.  (Still waiting for the ugly commenters who said I would have to admit my mistake on this issue to come back and admit theirs.  If I’d have been wrong, I’d have said so.  Sadly, I’ve had to do that once or twice.  Once, maybe.)

2.  The Chick-fil-A Bowl and Atlanta want a piece of the new playoff action.

3.  Cash from a playoff could start another push to pay college football players.

4.  What would tonight’s NBA draft look like if it were based solely on NCAA production?

5.  NBA draft hopeful: Auburn’s Kenny Gabriel.

6.  NBA draft hopefuls: Alabama’s JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell.

7.  Bama linebacker CJ Mosley is #19 on The Gainesville Sun’s best players in the SEC countdown.

8.  Three suspended Arkansas footballers plead not guilty to burglary charges.

9.  The Razorbacks’ new practice facility is nearing completion.

10.  Mississippi State has had to cancel a football game with Mississippi Valley State due to MVSU scholarship issues and a little-known NCAA rule.

11.  NBA draft hopeful: MSU’s Arnett Moultrie (who could be State’s first first-rounder since 1996).

12.  NBA draft hopeful: Texas A&M’s Kris Middleton.

13.  Could Georgia Tech’s Dan Radakovich — recently slapped by the NCAA — become the Aggies’ next AD?

14.  NBA draft hopeful: Florida’s Bradley Beal (who could go #2 overall).

15.  Georgia D-line signee John Atkins is facing eligibility issues in Athens.

16.  UGA’s football scheduling is on hold as the new playoff and conference expansion play themselves out.

17.  NBA draft hopefuls: Just about the whole darn Kentucky team.

18.  Sure-thing top pick Anthony Davis is ready to start living the dream.  (Really, he wants to start an SEC website?)

19.  South Carolina’s Frank Martin had a so-so reply to Calipari’s tweet regarding his six potential draftees.  (Yesterday was “Frank Martin Day” in Columbia, by the way.)

20.  Ex-Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia is now a Montreal Alouette.

21.  NBA draft hopefuls: A trio of Commodores (who hope to avoid the overseas path taken by quite a few ex-Vanderbilt players).

22.  New conference, new uniforms, new multi-multi-million dollar facility upgrades… it’s a new day in every way for Missouri.

23.  NBA draft hopefuls: Mizzou’s Kim English and Marcus Denmon.

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VSL Gets You Ready: Previewing Vanderbilt vs. Missouri

Vanderbilt
Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

The Commodores face their toughest match-up of the year tonight when they take on the Missouri Tigers at the Zou (which is an awesome nickname for their arena, by the way). The game is at 9/8 CST and will be shown on ESPNU.

Vanderbilt has a chance to really make a statement if they can pull out a win in a difficult road match-up. However, that will be easier said than done, as Mizzou is capable of exploiting Vanderbilt’s greatest weakness. Mizzou loves to run a fast-paced, full court press and force teams into mistakes with a lot of pressure. From the traditional statistical point of view, Vanderbilt is averaging 16 turnovers per game, good for 252nd in the nation. This does not bode well against a Missouri team that averages 10.7 steals a game and wins the turnover margin by an average of 6 a game.
That being said, the same was true of last year’s match-up, and Vandy came away with a 6 point win at home. Vandy committed 24 turnovers in that game, but overcame that deficit with a solid performance from the free throw line and solid defense that kept Mizzou’s field goal percentage down. They also significantly won the rebounding battle 45-24, including 14 rebounds in that game. It’s worthy of note that Festus did not play in that game last year. Andre Walker and Jeffery Taylor were huge, however, as Jeff had a double-double and Walker had 12 rebounds.
The real linchpin in this game is how Festus will handle the post duties and fill in for A.J Ogilvy. To this point in the year, looking at the numbers, it isn’t difficult to argue that the team is operating better with Fez in the post than Ogilvy. According to Kenpom.com, our offensive rebounding percentage is vastly improved (basically a calculation of the number of second chances we get), and perhaps MORE importantly our offensive rebounding percentage allowed (the number of second chances we give our opponents), is ALSO vastly improved. When I say vastly, I mean that we are well over the D-I average in both categories, and more than 5 percentage points per game higher than last year’s squad. The basic point? This team controls the boards better than last year’s squad, and it’s because of Festus who ranks SECOND IN THE NATION in Offensive Rebounding % as a player.
In order to win this game, Vandy has to try to limit turnovers, but more importantly, Vandy has to control the glass, get second chance looks, shoot well from the perimeter and the inside, and get to the line. More especially, Vandy has to do their best to slow down Mizzou’s pace offensively. The more this is a half-court game, the better the result will be for the ‘Dores.
Missouri is not a large team, and they are not great defensively except for their Turnover %. They do a good job of forcing turnovers and blocking shots, but they will allow points from the perimeter in a half-court offense. That being said, they are a solid offensive squad, and they have a great deal of balance. Players to hate immediately are Ricardo Ratliffe, Marcus Denmon, Laurence Bowers, Michael Dixon, and Kim English. All five are averaging double figures in points, with Denmon leading the way with 16.4 ppg. He’s a junior guard who is deadly from three point range and from the free throw line. Dixon is the facilitator and averages almost three steals a game. English, who scored 24 against Vandy last year, has not had as much success shooting the three this year, but he is still a player to be aware of.
VSL will be live-blogging the game, and yours truly, as well as Bobby O’Shea will be in attendance. Get ready Vandy fans, because this should be a real good one.
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