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Potential Good News For College Hoops: NBA Pushing To Increase Age Limit

scaleThe one-and-done rule in today’s college game is a by-product of the National Basketball Association.  When the wave of high school players entering the league directly from high school started to produce more misses than hits, the league slapped an age limit on draft-eligible players.  The limit was a small one, meaning kids would now to college for a year… and then jump to the pros.

But that could be changing.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is advancing the idea of changing the age limit from one year after high school graduation to three.  Such a requirement be near identical to the current NFL rule.

Whenever this issue has come up in the past the biggest obstacle has been the NBA Players Association (college coaches and NBA franchises are in favor of a such a move).  But according to Sean Deveney of, the league may be willing to give the union something it’s been wanting — a better paying Developmental League — in exchange for the increased age limit.

If the Players Association will acquiesce on the age requirement, it would vastly improve the collegiate game.  Imagine stars spending three years on a campus instead of one.  Consider the growth in chemistry players would enjoy if they played together for three years instead of one.  Think of the improved play we would see as experienced veterans replaced raw freshmen as the key cogs on many teams.

That would be good, good and good.

The biggest change on the collegiate level would come in the SEC at John Calipari’s Kentucky Kindergarten.  UK has proven that bringing in a fresh batch of newbies every season can work.  But, for example, how much better would the 2011-12 Wildcats have become over time if Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, and Marquis Teague could have played together for another year or two?  Instead of one national crown, that group might have gone back-to-back or better.

An increased NBA age limit would be wonderful news for the college game.  Rosters would have to be rebuilt with less frequency, making the game much less transient.  Players would actually get three years worth of coaching, teaching.  And Kentucky fans wouldn’t have to learn the names of an entirely new team every season.

Cross your fingers, folks, and hope as we do that the NBA’s commish can push this one through.

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SEC Headlines 4/12/2014

headlines-saturdayDorial Green-Beckham’s Dismissal

1. The first player in Missouri history to catch four touchdown passes in a game is no longer a Tiger. ”This decision was made with the best interests of all involved in mind.”

2. Missouri A.D. Mike Alden on whether Green-Beckham’s girlfriend was contacted by Mizzou coaches.  ”We were assured by our coaches that that, in fact, did not take place.”

3. Beckham’s dismissal comes on same day independent report is released regarding alleged assault of a swimmer by members of the Missouri football team.

 4. “It will be easy for some to think of Green-Beckham as the sacrifice, the one paying for the sins of others. But that’s not fair.”

5. “There are coaches out there right now salivating over the possibility of adding him for a year, until he leaps to the NFL.”

6. Beckham – from Springfield, Missouri – won’t land at Missouri State.  ”That’s not the kind of player we recruit to our program.”

SEC Spring Games

7. Starting quarterback job on the line?  Spring game at Vanderbilt could determine the leader.

8. One of the storylines this spring at Florida - linebacker/defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. has been a beast.

9. Gator running back Kelvin Taylor has separated himself from the pack.

10. With defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt being new, don’t expect Georgia to reveal the entire playbook. “Being the fact that it is Jeremy’s first year as the coordinator, people look at our TV spring game.”

11. Mississippi State’s defense has been physical and impressive this spring.

12. Plenty of questions about South Carolina’s defense and its backup quarterback.  ”For much of spring, the gap between Dylan Thompson and his backup candidates has been the Grand Canyon. ”

13. Tennessee coach Butch Jones:  “We’re not going to be the best team on the field, but that’s OK. We’ve won championships with not having the best collection of talent. ”

14. One week from today, both Auburn and Alabama will have their spring games.  ”There’s only one state in the country where anticipation builds to see not only who shows out…but how many show up.”

SEC Football

15. Backup quarterback battle at Ole Miss could continue through the fall.

16. Former Alabama quarterback Luke Del Rio granted immediate eligibility at Oregon State.


17. Could be the first year since 2010 that Auburn produces two first-round picks.

SEC  Basketball

18. Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes on his decision to enter the NBA draft. “I feel like I can produce on a team in the NBA. I really do. ”

19. Auburn center  Matthew Atewe underwent surgery on his left shin Friday.

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SEC Headlines 4/10/2014

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. Are Columbia police having difficulty getting cooperation from a victim or witness in a case potentially involving Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham? Update: Investigation complete – no arrests will be made. Update II: Victim and roommate feared retaliation.  Girlfriend text:  ”The coaches talked to me and explained to (me) how serious this is and there’s no time to waste at this point.”

2. Certain people who show up for Mississippi State’s spring game may get dinner with coach Dan Mullen.

3. Is Alabama running back Derrick Henry poised for a breakout season? “During the Oklahoma game, I could tell that they didn’t want to tackle me.”

4. Alabama coach Nick Saban on his quarterbacks: “Cooper Bateman and Blake Sims have both done a nice job this spring and are improving very nicely.”

5. Position battle to watch at Georgia’s spring game?  Left guard.

6. Florida wide receiver Chris Thompson had only two catches last season but has been a standout performer this spring.

7. More debate over Vanderbilt’s decision to move its game against Ole Miss to LP Field.

8. More than 1.2 million fans watched Auburn play football in 2013 - more than any other team in the country.

9. South Carolina defensive tackle J.T. Surratt: “I wasn’t too boisterous last year, but this year I gotta step up into that roll and say more things now.”

10. Arkansas names Southeastern Louisiana associate head coach E.K. Franks as the program’s recruiting director.

11. With its entire starting group gone, plenty of opportunities along Tennessee’s offensive line.

12. Tennessee will have a flag football game for former Vols at halftime of the spring game.


13. Zach Mettenberger on his performance at LSU’s Pro Day: ”I’ve been saying for a couple of weeks now that I’m healthy, and good enough to go, and I don’t think all of y’all believed me. ”

SEC Basketball

14. The mother of Kentucky star Julius Randle denies an ESPN report that her son has decided to declare for the NBA draft.

15. Kentucky coach John Calipari on the NCAA: “The situation reminds me a little of the Soviet Union in its last years.”

16. Florida forward Chris Walker says he’s returning for sophomore year.

17. Ole Miss guard Derrick Millinghaus is planning to transfer.

18. Former Texas Tech guard Dusty Hannahs is transferring to Arkansas.

19. Former Missouri player Earnest Ross filed a restraining order against teammate Zach Price a before Price was arrested twice for assault.

20. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl has one more spot to fill on his staff.  Interviewed 12 candidates during the Final Four.

SEC History

21. How much did Bear Bryant make when he coached Texas A&M?  $15,000 plus 1% of the gate.


22. This is how you become a college football bag man.

23. Big Ten opening an office in New York City.

24. David Letterman’s replacement is Stephen Colbert.

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Kentucky Falls Just Short Of National Crown & Other Basketball Notes (Part 1)

Kentucky-DejectedConnecticut’s 60-54 win in last night’s NCAA Tournament final accomplished two things.  First, it gave the Huskies their fourth national championship since 1999.  That’s two more titles than Duke, Florida and North Carolina won over that stretch and three more than champs Michigan State, Maryland, Syracuse, Kentucky and Louisville.  If there’s a dominant program in the land right now, it’s Connecticut.

Second, the UConn win blocked John Calipari’s trip to the winners’ circle.  Kentucky won the national crown in 2012 and was aiming for its second title in three years.  Instead, Wildcat fans will have to “settle” for this remarkable run of success for Coach Cal and his youth-driven program: one national championship, one NCAA tourney runner-up, one Final Four loss, one Elite Eight loss and one NIT trip.  That’s one championship banner, three Final Fours, and four Elite Eights in five years.  If there’s a UK fan out there who feels the need to complain about the Cats’ coach, he’s probably sipped a tad too much Kentucky bourbon.


Live by the guards, die by the guards

Over the course of UK’s last nine games, Aaron and Andrew Harrison elevated their play.  No wonder then that a UK squad that went 22-9 (.709 winning percentage) in the regular season went 7-2 (.777) in tournament play.  The Wildcats’ only two losses were to Florida (who reached the Final Four) in the SEC Tournament finals and to UConn in last night’s tourney finals.

On Monday night, the 6-6 Harrison twins were outplayed by their small UConn counterparts, Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier.  Kentucky’s guards scored 15 points on six-of-15 shooting, put up five assists and turned the ball over seven times.

Boatright and Napier, on the other hand, combined for 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting with six assists and seven turnovers.  Boatright is a 6-0.  Napier is a 6-1.  In last night’s game, speed and quickness got the better of the size and strength.


Calipari downplays rumored tie to the Los Angeles Lakers

Former Kentucky star Rex Chapman didn’t make any new friends in the Bluegrass State last night.  A little less two hours before game time, Chapman tweeted about a rumor he’d heard — one would think — in NBA circles:


tweet one


After getting e-flogged on Twitter, Chapman returned to say: “I don’t live in some dream world & have alwys called it straight.”  He also posted this zinger: “Let’s not 4get, 6-wks ago many in BBN would’ve walked Cal 2 LA.”  True, plenty in the Big Blue Nation were calling for Calipari’s head as his teams slogged its way through a regular season that didn’t live up to preseason hype.

After the game, Calipari said that his team was unaware of the tweet before the game, so no one can blame Chapman for Monday’s loss.  It was still clear the coach wasn’t happy with the rumor being passed around when he said: “The Lakers have a coach.  Kentucky has a basketball coach.  I got the best job in the country.  I’m not going to even dignify that stuff.”  That’s two statements of fact, one opinion, and a non-denial denial.  (Just found a Dan Wetzel piece that shows that writer viewed Calipari’s statement in almost the exact same way we did.)

UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart never gave a specific “He’ll be back” after the game, either.  According to, Barnhart said:


“Cal’s been great, he’s been a great ambassador for this program and he cares a lot about Kentucky.  So clearly we love how he represents what we do.  He looks great in blue.  You live day to day with people and you trust what they do.  For five years now, I think I know him fairly well.  If there was anything I need to concerned with, he and I have had conversations, and in those conversations he’s been very, very focused on this tournament.  His total focus this season, especially this last month and a half, have been to get the team to a spot where we could compete for something like this.  I think he’s done a marvelous job doing that.”


He has.  But that, too, is a non-denial denial.

Do we believe Calipari will head to the Lakers or another NBA team this offseason?  No.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect time for UK’s coach to play a little footsie with some pro franchise in order to remind Kentucky fans to appreciate what he and his teams are achieving.

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SEC Headlines 4/3/2014

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. Report: LSU defensive end Jordan Allen planning to transfer.

2. Mark Richt says redshirt freshman outside linebacker outside linebacker Paris Bostick will transfer from the Georgia program.

3. Announcement coming this afternoon that Vanderbilt and Ole Miss will play at LP Field in Nashville this year.

4. Will Ole Miss have the best secondary in the SEC this fall?

5. Alabama running back Altee Tenpenny is due in court April 10th after being charged with possession of a controlled substance over spring break.

6. Kentucky wants to have its starting quarterback in place before the first game this year.

7. Mississippi State tried Brandon Hollloway at wide receiver but he”ll be a running back this fall.

8. Texas A&M sophomore linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni  on his freshman season: “To be honest with you, it was overwhelming at times a year ago, really in every aspect of the game.”

9. Auburn is the midpoint of their spring schedule. Receiver Marcus Davis: “I think we’ve made a lot of progress.”

10. Athlon Sports is inviting Georgia fans to pick a magazine cover.


11. ESPN analyst and former NFL player Teddy Bruschi on Jadeveon Clowney: ”Turn in the card now to the commissioner. Just turn it in, because he should be Houston’s No. 1 overall pick.”

12. Steve Spurrier regrets comparing Clowney’s work ethic to that of Marcus Lattimore: “I maybe should not have compared them.”

13. Defensive end Jacques Smith on Tennessee’s pro day.  “This is our last hour of being a Vol.”

SEC Basketball

14. Missouri’s Zach Price – a transfer from Louisville – arrested Thursday morning for assault. Now suspended.

15. As expected, Mizzou guard Jabari Brown enters NBA draft . Has until April 15th to change his mind if he doesn’t like NBA evaluation.

16. Tennessee’s Quinton Chievous is leaving the program. Free to transfer anywhere outside the SEC.

17. Lexington police to Kentucky fans – enough with the fires.

18. Does experience and overcoming adversity give UConn an edge over Florida?

19. Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy on the impact J’Mychal Reese’s dismissal had on the season: “It changed the whole kind of organization of our roster…”

20. Alabama coach Anthony Grant on a formidable out-of-conference schedule his team will face next season: “I’m not afraid to fail.”

21. Mike Anderson says help is coming for Ky Madden and the point guard position at Arkansas.

22. USA Today: “The players in this year’s Final Four attend schools where the gap between their scholarships and the total cost of attendance is about $2,300 to $5,400 a year… Yet the coaches…are collecting an average of $3.1 million from their schools for this season.”

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The SEC In The NBA Draft: Who’s In Good Shape And Who Isn’t

nba_logoAs we finish up the final week of the 2013-14 basketball season, players across the nation are announcing their NBA intentions.  In the last three days LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant and Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson have both revealed that they will be leaving school and turning pro early.

Every player’s case is unique to them — family issues, monetary needs, scholastic troubles — so it’s impossible to say definitively, “Yes, that guy made a mistake.”  For some a six-figure salary in the Netherlands or Turkey might be an A-OK next step.  For others missing out on the guaranteed contract that comes with being a first-round selection will very much disappoint.

Below is the current list of SEC players as ranked by, one of the more trusted, quoted mock drafts on the web.  It’s an indicator of who’s in good shape to land one of those guaranteed NBA contracts and who isn’t…


4.  Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky, Freshman

12.  Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky, Sophomore

25.  James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky, Freshman


That’s it for projected first-round picks, folks.  Three players.  All from Kentucky.  All underclassmen.  Not a single upperclassman from the SEC is expected to be first-round material.

Here’s who’s listed in the second round by DraftExpress…


41.  Patric Young, PF/C, Florida, Senior

46.  Jabari Brown, SG, Missouri, Junior

47.  Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Missouri, Junior

49.  Johnny O’Bryant, PF/C, LSU, Junior

50.  Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee, Junior

60.  Jordan McRae, SG, Tennessee, Senior


From purely a basketball perspective, Brown, Clarkson, O’Bryant and Stokes should return to school.  Clarkson and O’Bryant have already announced their plans to leave.  But as noted earlier, we don’t know the personal issues facing any of these players.  We don’t know how scouts will view them if they go through workouts for the pros.  And we don’t know if what’s dropped these players deep into the second round this year could be patched up over the course of another collegiate season.

A few other quickie thoughts:


*  From the looks of this list, Florida has dominated this season more through the craftiness of veteran players than through sheer NBA talent.  Kudos again to that team and to Billy Donovan.

*  Only three Kentucky kids projected to be drafted?  Why, production at John Calipari’s player factory has darned near slowed to a drip.  (Sarcasm.)

*  Tennessee has two upperclassmen projected to go in the final 11 picks of the draft.  No wonder the Vols made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

*  Missouri, on the other hand, failed to reach the NCAA Tournament with its own pair of slightly higher-rated stars.  Don’t think Tiger fans won’t let Frank Haith hear about that one.

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LSU Loses O’Bryant To The Pros; Keeps Martin

revolving-door-cartoonSomeone new will have to take over as LSU’s top scoring threat next season.  Junior Johnny O’Bryant has announced that he will turn pro.  The 6-9 forward averaged 15.4 points per game this season and pulled down 7.7 rebounds per game to boot.


“After carefully talking with my family and taking everything into consideration, I decided to forego my senior year and enter the 2013-14 NBA draft.  I have had a great time here at LSU.  It has been an honor to wear the LSU jersey.”


One thing O’Bryant might not have taken into consideration is the fact that most NBA mock drafts show him with lower second-round grade.  In the NBA, only first round draftees receive guaranteed contracts.  Asked about his position in the mock drafts, the junior said, “I just felt like I was ready.”  Here’s hoping he’s right, but he might want to start perusing the Rosetta Stone website just in case.

While O’Bryant is exiting, teammate Jarrell Martin is staying.  The freshman big man averaged 10.3 points for the Tigers this season.  ”I am coming back,” he said yesterday.  ”I’m definitely sure about it.  I’m coming back.”

Who’s most happy about Martin’s decision?  Head coach Johnny Jones, of course: “It’s exciting.  You’re talking about one of the best players in the country.”

Losing both O’Bryant and Martin from the forward spots would have been a devastating one-two punch for Jones and the Tigers.  As it stands, they’ll at least have Martin back in the fold next year.

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Clarkson – SEC’s #7 Scorer This Season – Leaves Missouri For The Pros

Jordan+Clarkson+2013+Continental+Tire+Las+VFczzADmhfulJordan Clarkson averaged 17.5 points per game for Missouri last season.  The guard who’d transferred in from Tulsa wound up #7 on the SEC scoring list this season.  But he won’t be back for his senior year.

Clarkson’s father, Mike, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch yesterday that his son will turn pro and is planning to sign with an agent, which would make a return to Mizzou an impossibility.  The elder Clarkson is battling cancer and it’s believed his diagnosis led to an uneven performance from his son as the Tigers finished up their season.

The younger Clarkson said:


“It’s hard to find the right words to say because this coaching staff, my teammates, this school and these fans have been so incredible to me during my two years here at Mizzou.  Obviously this was not an easy decision for me and my family, but it felt like the right time to take this step in my career, especially with graduation this spring.”


Missouri might also lose the SEC’s top scorer in Jabari Brown.  The junior who averaged 19.9 points per game for the Tigers this season is mulling the possibility of an early exit to the NBA as well.

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SEC Hoops Roundup: Kentucky & Tennessee Give SEC Three In Sweet 16

gfx-hoops-round-up2Kentucky 78 – Wichita State 76

1. Kentucky knocks out No. 1 seed Wichita and previously undefeated Wichita State.  Andrew Harrison led UK with 20 points while Julius Randle adds 13 points and 10 rebounds.

2. Kentucky coach John Calipari: ”You should know this was an Elite Eight game. The winner should have gone to the Final Four.”

3. Pat Forde: “It took a Kentucky team with as many as seven NBA players finding its own greatness to eliminate the Shockers.”

4. Victory sets up a Kentucky-Louisville Sweet 16 matchup.  ”Forget Duke and North Carolina, this is college basketball’s greatest rivalry right now.”

5. “Dare we say a sleeper national title contender?” 

Tennessee 83 – Mercer 63

6. Tennessee keeps the SEC perfect in NCAA Tournament play.  Coach Cuonzo Martin: “Very proud of this team. Just a lot of resiliency as a team – a lot of fight.”

7. “The Volunteers are playing as well as any team right now, and on Sunday, there was nothing Mercer could do to stop them.”

8. Vols have now won eight of their last nine games by an average margin of victory of 20.9 points.

9. On to Indianapolis where Tennessee will meet Michigan Friday night.


10. Southern Miss 71 – Missouri 63.  Tigers started the season 10- and finished at 23-12.   Missouri may lose guards Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson to the NBA draft.

11. Louisiana Tech 79 – Georgia 71 (Saturday). Bulldogs end the season at 20-14.  Georgia expected to return everyone except senior forward Donte’ Williams.

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Arkansas’ Bielema, Carolina’s Martin Proving “Name” Hires Aren’t Always The Best Hires

bret-bielema-and-frank-martinQuick.  Which SEC coach is the biggest jerk: Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema or South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin?

To be honest, those two are really the only coaches in the running.  Both have said/done things just in the last few weeks that have embarrassed themselves and their universities.  Neither has won games as expected (though it’s still very early in their tenures).  So who ya got?  Bielema or Martin?

The Razorbacks’ coach has garnered more press.  Dating back a full year prior to his joining the SEC, he stated publicly that the Big Ten — where he was coaching Wisconsin at the time — wanted to be nothing like the league he currently represents.  Soon after arriving in Fayetteville he “joked” about having a better Big Ten record than Alabama’s Nick Saban had had while he coached Michigan State.  We suspected he’d make some noise at SEC Media Days… and he did.  His temper flared when someone fed him a quote from Auburn’s Gus Malzhan that Bielema took personally.  There was Swinging Gate-Gatein which he violated an SEC rule by talking about an alleged Auburn rule violation.  Later he complained about “the location of some of these (SEC) universities and the towns around them” while hotel-hunting prior to the Hogs’ trip to Ole Miss.

Making matters worse, Bielema’s first Arkansas team went belly-up.  The roster he inherited wasn’t built for the style of play he prefers and it showed.  UA went winless in league play for the first time in decades and set a school record by losing its last nine games.  Congratulations.  We wondered by mid-November if Bielema could be labeled a fish out of water in the SEC.  That was before a lackluster signing day and his latest remarks regarding no-huddle, hurry-up offenses.  Back on February 20th when he was asked about evidence of increased injuries he responded: “I’m not talking about injuries, I’m talking about death.”  That was in reference to California’s Ted Agu who had died on a conditioning run in early February.  Cal’s AD immediately called Bielema’s comments “misinformed, ill-advised and beyond insentive.”

So just how bad has Bielema bungled things in his short Arkansas tenure?’s Stewart Mandel put it this way last month:  “With Lane Kiffin now muzzled as a member of Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama, Bielema is well on his way to replacing him as college football’s most reviled figure.”



Now Martin at South Carolina doesn’t have a resume of missteps that long and he’s actually nearing the end of his second season in the SEC.  But his offenses — depending on your point of view — are nastier than Bielema’s.  Carolina’s coach appears to be this generation’s Bobby Knight, minus the chair-tossing and player-choking.  (That said, would anyone be surprised if a cell phone video of a Martin practice someday leaked out and revealed that he’d strong-armed a player or two?)

Last February, Carolina’s coach — who routinely berates his team and his players during games — said after an 18-point loss to LSU:


“I’ve been doing this for 28 years, nine of which as a junior varsity high school coach.  That means I’ve dealt with 14-year-olds.  I’ve never been more embarrassed to call myself a basketball coach than I am today…

If this was the NBA, we’d fine (the players), we’d take their money, we’d release them and say, ‘Good luck with ever finding another job.’  I shouldn’t coach basketball ever again if this is how my team plays.”


When those quotes went viral and led many to say he’d thrown his team under the bus, Martin laughably responded with this beaut:


“If you know anything about me, for 28 years I have never thrown my players under the bus.  I threw the culture under the bus.  I threw our approach under the bus.  Don’t ever say I threw my players under the bus.”


We’ll allow you to re-read that first quote and then decide for yourself if Martin was throwing his players or USC’s culture under the proverbial bus.

Fast-forward to January 22nd when this site wrote a story headlined: “Martin Apologizes For Rant At Player (And It’s Unlikely To Be The Last Time We Write That).”  At that time, Carolina’s coach had ripped into senior guard Brenton Williams during a loss to Ole Miss.  Fast-forward to Tuesday of this week and our parenthetical proved true:


Frank Martin suspended


That was Martin unleashing a flurry of profanities at his team, specifically freshman guard Duane Notice.  His Gamecocks dropped the game to top-ranked Florida, but the blow-up from the coach became the key takeaway.  And now Martin himself has been taken away… suspended for one game by South Carolina AD Ray Tanner, himself an ex-coach.  “The one-game suspension is a result of inappropriate verbal communication as it relates to the well-being of our student-athletes,” Tanner said in a press release.

One can’t seem to ever say the right thing.  One can’t seem to ever stop ripping his players and team.  And making matters worse for Misters Bielema and Martin is the fact that neither is winning.

Read the rest of this entry »

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