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SEC To Pick It Up On The Hoops Scheduling Front Next Year; Money’s Still Key

basketball on moneyThis past offseason, Mike Slive and the SEC tipped off a new initiative to improve SEC basketball.  The league has made associate commissioner Mark Whitworth the overseer of this hoops push (something we suggested the SEC do just days before they did it) and consultant Greg Shaheen has been charged with keeping schools in line when it comes to non-conference scheduling.

This season, the SEC’s non-conference schedules didn’t show much improvement.  Hoops czar Whitworth told Mike Strange of The Knoxville News Sentinel that things will change moving forward:


“For this year it was kind of late in the process (to make changes) so we cut some slack.  The more significant impact will be for ’14-15…

It’s vital teams go on the road.  Tennessee going to Xavier and Wichita (State) was very, very important…

As a general rule schools won’t schedule below the 200 (RPI) level if they can help it.”


More road games — it should be noted Tennessee lost on both of those road trips — and no games versus the RPI dregs.  Sounds good.  But SEC squads are still going to have to start winning.

Ironically, the SEC’s turn of bad luck in basketball began just as the league began a run of seven consecutive national championships in football (a streak snapped in the final seconds of this year’s BCS title game).  Once a five- or six-bid league, the conference has been more often a three- or four-bid league in recent seasons.

We contend that money is truly at the root of the SEC’s hoops woes.  As TV money has increased, SEC schools have poured most of that cash right back into the key money-maker.  And why not?  If football is king and football brings in the most television revenue, the best bet for a school is to upgrade its football program.

Check the lists of the highest-paid coaches in both sports and you’ll find a lot more high-dollar SEC football coaches than you will high-dollar basketball coaches.  Also, compare facilities on each campus.  How many SEC football cathedrals are matched in style by the basketball arenas that neighbor them?  On the whole, much more attention — and money — is dedicated to the gridiron facilities race than to the hoops facilities race.

Launching in August, the SEC Network should create a big, new revenue stream for the Southeastern Conference.  If some of that newfound cash isn’t spent hiring the top coaches in the country and upgrading the league’s basketball arenas and building the practice facilities that all coaches whine for then all the scheduling in the world won’t help matters.  If SEC schools want to improve their hoops fortunes, it’s time to invest some fortunes in that effort.


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SEC Headlines 4/30/2013

headlines-tueSEC Football

1. Ohio State jumped Alabama for the No. 1 spot on Mark Schlabach’s Top 25 for 2013.

2. Mike Slive on the College Football Playoff Selection committee: “We want football expertise.”

3. How does Auburn running back Tre Mason test his speed? He chases squirrels.

4. Police are looking for another suspect in the alleged fight involving suspended LSU running back Jeremy Hill.

5. Hill’s suspension puts extra pressure on quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the rest of the Tigers’ offense.

6. Auburn could be a sleeper in the SEC.  Missouri could be as well, writes Edward Aschoff.

7. Tennessee gave athletic director Dave Hart a one-year contract extension with a $50,000 bonus.

8. Former Georgia players discussed the Bulldogs’ rivalry with Clemson and looked at this year’s matchup.

9. Matt Hayes looks at the differing opinions among SEC coaches on the nine-game schedule conversation.

SEC Basketball

10. If you missed it yesterday, released its Top 25 (and one) for next season.

11. There’s already plenty of buzz for next year’s matchup between Kentucky and Louisville in Rupp Arena.

12. Former Ole Miss basketball player Murphy Holloway is still learning about football as he tries to make the NFL.


13. Pat Dooley looks at the Jets’ release of Tim Tebow and the SEC’s increased level of talent in recruiting.

14. Former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray can still make it in the NFL, writes Mike Strange.

15. A chest injury suffered during a “freak accident” has ended the career of Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes.

16. DO you want to see Peyton Manning sing Johnny Cash during karaoke? Click here.

17. Here’s an early look at the top NFL prospects for the 2014 NFL draft. The No. 1 prospect resides in the SEC.

18. Virginia Tech is looking to bounce back after a disappointing seven-win season in 2012.

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SEC Headlines 2/24/13

headlines-sun3-150x150SEC Basketball

1. Here are three points the day after Alabama lost on the road to LSU.

2. Tennessee and Texas A&M provided “one for the ages,” writes Mike Strange.

3. Kentucky’s young players grew up in the Wildcats’ win over Missouri, writes John Clay.

4. Should we look out for Kentucky in March? Maybe so.

5. Missouri let one “slip away” in its loss to Kentucky.

6. An official released a statement following a “curious ruling” late in the Georgia-South Carolina game.

7. Three SEC teams showed up on ESPN’s bubble watch from Saturday’s action.

8. The top concern for Florida: health, according to ESPN’s Myron Medcalf.

SEC Football

9. Georgia TE Ty Flournoy-Smith was arrested and charged with filing a false crime report.

10. Former Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o said the girlfriend hoax played no role in the BCS title game.

11. Here are seven early enrollees who could make a quick impact in the SEC.

NFL Scouting Combine

12. Former Alabama guard Chance Warmack is focused on preparing for the NFL Draft.

13. Former Tide nose guard Jesse Williams is preparing for the bench press. He should do well there.

14. Former Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier is preparing for the next step in his career.

15. Former Tiger Philip Lutzenkirchen was pleased with his Combine results on Saturday.

16. Several former LSU players are in Indianapolis preparing for the draft.

17. NFL teams have raised red flags regarding former Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones.


18. NCAA president Mark Emmert has received a vote of confidence from the executive committee.

19. The NCAA is “out of whack,” says former Southern California coach Pete Carroll.

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SEC Headlines 7/24/2011

1. Texas A&M joining the SEC makes sense for both parties but is the speculation premature?

2. What’s the SEC got against Memphis?

3.  SEC coaches have different opinions on recruiting services.

4. Roster management rules are here to stay.

5. Mike Strange reads Tennessee’s response to the NCAA:  ”(J)ust underscores how unnecessary and, thus, how sad an affair it is…”

6. Bruce Pearl: “I panicked.” If you don’t want probation, don’t lie to the NCAA.

7. Why Tennessee fans should be rooting for Arkansas.

8. Others are taking note of the Razorbacks talent.

9. Mike Herndon on Alabama/Auburn: ” Remind us which of these teams is the defending national champ?”

10. Kevin Scarbinsky: “Can this rivalry be saved?”

11. Three top passers from the SEC last year are now gone but seven starters return.

12. Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton has a mentor in Andre Woodson.

13. Wildcats now in the NFL provide motivation.

14. John Clay on Kentucky’s loss in the Compass Bowl: “The guess here is that the Birmingham beat-down was a painful but necessary shock to the system.”

15. Anything less than the Outback Bowl will be disappointing to many Georgia fans.

16. 14 of the conference’s top 20 rushers are back this year.

17. Don’t forget Tennessee’s Tauren Poole when discussing the best running backs in the SEC.

18. Breaking down Florida’s secondary.

19. Profile of former Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell: “Caldwell said when he thanked hotel and restaurant workers at SEC Media Days, they told him they don’t typically get that appreciation from other SEC coaches.”

20. Collision injury seminar at South Carolina.

21. Hershel Walker’s number 34 isn’t going anywhere.

22. SEC Media Days – the view from Los Angeles.


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Writer: Pearl’s Tears Aren’t For Show

Crying is viewed as a sign of weakness when someone associate with another team is doing the crying.  It’s a sign of heartfelt emotion and deep passion when its your guy who’s doing the balling.

From Tim Tebow to John Boehner, if he’s someone you like, then let the tears flow.  They show a man so secure in himself that he doesn’t give a hoot what outsiders think.

If you don’t like him, then the cryer’s a pansy.

Well Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl cries.  Often.  He’s an emotional guy.

This past week he choked up at a Tip-Off Club event while talking about his son, Steven, a walk-on on UT’s team.  Asked about his ongoing suspension, Pearl said, “I can’t tell you that I haven’t cried every single time that bus pulls away.”  And everyone has seen the clips and highlights from Pearl’s emotional interviews and press conferences regarding his decision to lie to NCAA investigators.

Mike Strange of The Knoxville News Sentinel wants the world to know that Pearl’s not shedding alligator tears.  He says the coach’s emotions are very much real.

“Some in the national media have scoffed at Pearl’s proclivity to tear up, suggesting even that its calculated.

It’s not.  I’ve seen his emotions bubble to the surface in a one-on-one, off-the-record conversation.

So if he says watching the team bus pull away moves him to tears, I believe it.”

In other words, Vol fans can continue to applaud their coach for the honesty of his emotions.  And rival fans can continue to mock him as a softie.  But according to Strange, no one should question whether or not Pearl’s tears are genuine.

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SEC: Bama employee fired over song selections

Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

SEC links for Tuesday:


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