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Big Ten Still Focused On The East, Commish Says

gfx - they said itGiven the opportunity yesterday to place a headstone above the grave of conference realignment, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany passed.  “Dead is a strong word” he said when asked about further conference expansion.

That shouldn’t scare anyone.  It’s a “forever” question and a lot can change in a day, a year, 10 years or 20 years.  To say expansion is stone-cold dead means it’s forever dead and that’s not going to be the case…. even though the ACC appears stable at the moment.  Also, Big East, er, American Athletic Conference schools don’t appear to be attractive enough for the Big Ten or others to come calling right now.  But Delany says his league still has its eyes open and when it moves, it will likely move east:

 

“I can’t speak for others, but we’ve been focused on making a home in a new region (with Rutgers and Maryland), making new members feel at home in this region.  Everything we’ll do competitively and in television and in bowls is to bring, as quickly as we can, a level of comfort.  The Eastern corridor is… the richest corridor in the world from the standpoint of financial institutions, political institutions, media institutions, and we’re new to it.  So if we can build relationships, make friend and be impactful and relevant over time, that’s the goal.

We’re not going to be changing the world, but we are looking forward to doing everything we can to build a presence in that place.”

 

Whether a conference can thrive as a two-region entity remains to be seen.  And while Delany is correct about the advantages to be found on the Atlantic Seaboard, those advantages haven’t helped the ACC or Big East very much.  The former has been picked clean of its best athletic programs and totally rebranded while the latter now ranks as the poorest league cash-wise among the five remaining major conferences.

Of course, ACC and Big East schools haven’t matched Big Ten schools in terms of size — where 50,000 students on a campus isn’t unheard of — and, therefore, in terms of alumni.  Delany pointed out yesterday that the Big Ten has 1.2 million alumni living between Northern Virginia and New York.  Not bad for a conference that’s not even located in the area.

Delany also said that his league is planning to open up a second conference office — probably in New York — to serve the East Coast.  All for Rutgers, Maryland, and maybe Penn State?

Expansion isn’t dead.  It’s resting.  And at some point — hopefully several years down the pike — it will awake and rise again.  When that happens, it’s clear in which direction the Big Ten will start looking.  If it sees that it can make it as a two-region league.

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SEC Goes 3-2 In Hoops On Thursday

Aside fr0m Texas A&M, the SEC had some bumps, bruises and struggles last night on the hardwood:

 

1.  Alabama blew a 15-point lead before topping Oregon State 65-62 in New York.

2.  Murray State blitzed Auburn 79-59 in the Charleston Classic yesterday (which won’t do much for AD Jay Jacobs’ popularity on the Plains).

3.  Tennessee went to 2-0 on the season with a 75-68 win over UNC-Asheville in the Puerto Rico Tipoff tourney.

4.  Texas A&M destroyed Prairie View A&M 81-59 in College Station last night.

5.  On the other end of the spectrum, Georgia fell to just 1-2 on the year with a homecourt overtime 62-60 loss to Southern Miss.

 

There are eight more games on the basketball slate today, running from early in the morning to late at night:

 

10:30am ET — Tennessee vs Oklahoma State in Puerto Rico

7:00pm ET — Lafayette at Kentucky

7:00pm ET — Morgan State at South Carolina

7:30pm ET — Alabama vs Villanova in New York

7:30pm ET — Auburn at College of Charleston

8:00pm ET — Arkansas-Little Rock at Ole Miss

8:00pm ET — Nicholls State at Missouri

11:00pm ET — Vanderbilt at Oregon

11:00pm ET — Vanderbilt at Oregon (which means the Dores will be playing on this floor)

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A Tip For Fans Following Coaching Searches

As the coaching carousel begins to spin, we just wanted to toss out a tip for all the folks who are hanging on every word, watching for every tweet, and listening for every murmur:

No coach will be seen in your school’s town until after he’s hired.

Every year at this time the rumors start to circulate that Big Name Coach A was seen eating dinner in College Town B… which means he’s in town to take College B’s job.  (Even if that job hasn’t officially come open yet.)  The wife of Up-And-Comer Coach Y is seen looking at houses in College Town Z… which means a deal’s already been struck to bring her husband to town as College Z’s new coach.

But think about it — as under-the-table as ADs try to run their searches, would they really bring a coach or his wife to town and let them be seen in public?

In a word: No.

In two words: Hell, no.

Schools meet coaches or their representatives in big cities — Atlanta, Dallas, New York.  They schedule the meetings to coincide with other business or gala events taking place in those areas for the sake of plausible deniability.

So if you read or hear that some coach was spotted at a local Waffle House or that his wife was spotted shopping for curtains at the local mall, don’t buy it.  Odds are, there’s 0% truth involved.

Just a tip.

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Q&A With Hoops Prospect Deas

Our Joseph Thompson recently caught up with New York point guard prospect Alvin Deas as part of his ongoing series of Q&As with future SEC hoopsters. Deas has heard from a pair of league schools already.

 

Joseph Thompson: Who is interested in you?

Alvin Deas: Ohio State, Auburn, Rutgers, Iona, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Nebraska, Memphis, Penn State, UNLV and LSU.

JT: Do you have any offers?

AD: I have three offers from Boston College, Utah and Marist University.

JT: What teams did you grow up watching?

AD: I grew up watching UCLA.

JT: Who would you compare your game to?

AD: I will compare my game to like Bradley Beal that got drafted to
the Washington Wizards.

JT: What are you looking for  in a NCAA program?

AD: I’m looking for in a NCAA problem where they will make me better on and off the court and a place where I can fit in quick an play.

JT: Do you have a dream school?

AD: My dream school is Kansas.

JT: Do you have any visits planned?

AD: I’m working on visiting West Virginia and Temple right now.

JT: Do you think New York basketball should be mentioned along with Florida and Texas basketball?

AD: Yes I think it should cause we have an lot of tough players I just think a lot of people forgot about New York.

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UCLA Commit Still Has Interest In SEC

Running back Keyante Green is still committed to UCLA but plans to visit other schools before he makes a final decision.

The standout from Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Ga., told MrSEC he will visit UCLA on June 22 and plans to make trips to Vanderbilt, Purdue and Syracuse this summer.

Tennessee could enter the mix if the Vols decide to reach out to Green. He said he received a scholarship offer from Tennessee “a couple months ago” but hasn’t heard from the school since.

Green said he would call Tennessee if he could.

“I don’t really have any of their numbers so I can’t call them,” he said.

But Green was able to post a message about the Vols on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

“I said no matter what school I go to I’ll always be a Tennessee fan,” Green told MrSEC. “I always grew up a Tennessee fan. I like Tennessee.”

Green said he became a fan of the Vols after he moved from New York to Georgia when he was five years old. He had seen Peyton Manning play for Tennessee and decided that would be his favorite school.

“I grew up in New York with Syracuse fans and then moved down south and there were Georgia fans,” Green said. “I didn’t like Georgia when I was younger so I liked Tennessee.”

Green liked Georgia enough as a recruit to try to commit to the Bulldogs in February. But Georgia told Green it couldn’t accept his commitment because the Bulldogs had already accepted a pledge from Yulee, Fla., running back Derrick Henry.

Green, who’s considered the nation’s No. 21 running back by ESPNU, said he still has interest in Georgia but understands the school’s reason for not taking his commitment.

Vanderbilt will be another school to watch. The Commodores have a commitment from one running back in the 2013 class: Johnathan Ford from New Hope, Ala.

Green said he’s developed a strong relationship with Vanderbilt’s coaching staff.

“I like coach (James) Franklin a lot,” Green said. “They come to my school a lot. We have a good vibe.”

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Martin Impacting Carolina Recruiting Already

South Carolina AD Eric Hyman said one of the main reasons he hired Frank Martin this spring was because of the coach’s proven ability to recruit nationally.  With holes to fill across next season’s roster, Martin is already making an impact on that very front.

Yesterday USC got commitments from Thaddeus Hall (from New York) and Minda Kacinas (from Lithuania by way of Kansas).  Martin had recruited the duo while still at Kansas State.

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SEC Headlines 12/10/2011

1. For the second time in three years, an Alabama running back is in New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

2. Four of the five finalists, including Trent Richardson, arrived in the Big Apple on Friday.

3. Richardson projected to finish third.

4. New York is also getting a taste of honey.

5. No matter how he finishes tonight, Tyrann Mathieu has already beaten the odds.

6. Paul Haynes is the new defensive coordinator at Arkansas.

7. Paul Petrino will make $425,000 as the Razorbacks offensive coordinator.

8. Arkansas punt return/receiver Joe Adams a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award.

9. Charlie Weis on becoming the head coach of the 2-10 Kansas Jayhawks: “It was too good of an opportunity.”

10. No current Florida assistants will join him.

11. Weis to his new players: ”(E) njoy your Christmas holidays — because when you get back in the middle of January it’s not going to be very pleasant.”

12. Bill Ritter: “There’s nothing like compounding one mistake by making another.”

13. Will Mike Shula replace Weis at Florida?

14. Alabam’s Jim McElwain or Oakland Raider’s assistant Kelly Skipper will be the next head coach at Fresno State.

15. Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari: ” I’d be surprised if I’m here longer than 10 years.”

16. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Kentucky guard and Indianapolis native Marquis Teague as the Wildcats face the Hoosiers.

17. Florida 90 – Rider 69.  Patric Young with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

18. Mississippi State faces a Troy team that leads the nation in 3-pointers.

19. Andy Kennedy on his 7-1 Ole Miss Rebels: “We’ve really struggled.”

20. Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon looks to regain his Maui magic.

21. LSU basketball coach Trent Johnson will face his alma mater tonight.

21. Freshman BJ Young is becoming a leader of a young Arkansas team that goes up against Oklahoma today.

22. Roundup of the projected best and the blowouts from this weekend’s college basketball.

23.  Mark Stoops the next defensive coordinator at Auburn?

Extras

24. Memphis police will investigate sexual assault allegations against AAU CEO Boddy Dodd.

25. Is today the day for Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M? Update.

26. Jim Mora expected to be named the next head coach at UCLA.

27. Wall Street Journal –  Tim Tebow: God’s’ Quarterback.

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The New UK Football Uniforms Are… “Checkerboardy”

Not sure if “checkerboardy” is a word or not, but it’s the only thing that comes to mind when looking at the new Nike uniforms Kentucky unveiled this afternoon. 

Well, okay, Purina-esque works, too.

Overall, the unis aren’t a huge departure from previous years — all blue at home, all white on the road.  Only now UK has the option of wearing a white helmet instead of the usual blue.

The biggest change — as you can see more clearly if you enlarge the photo at left by clicking this story’s headline — is on the sleeves.  Both the blue and white jerseys feature a blue/navy checkerboard pattern.

Personally, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Nike’s often “out there” designs, but this one isn’t as radical a redesign as I had feared. 

(And, yes, we are angling for Nike to once again fly us to New York to cover the unveiling of their new Pro Combat uniform collection.  The Trump Soho was very nice.)

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Kentucky In The Mix For New York Center

The Syracuse basketball team appears to be the likely favorite to land center DaJuan Coleman from Jamesville-DeWitt High School in New York.

It’s going to be somebody and Syracuse,” said Jim Hart, Coleman’s AAU coach. “If there’s five or six schools, the final two is probably going to be somebody and Syracuse.”

Kentucky could be that “somebody” to get in the mix for the 2012 prospect.

“Obviously, Kentucky and Syracuse are showing him the most love of late,” Hart said.

Kentucky coach John Calipari attended one of Coleman’s games on Sunday. It was a return trip for Calipari.

“Cal coming in twice in the last month seems to bring out the best in DaJuan,” Hart said. “Both games (Calipari) was there, DaJuan really played well.”

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Meyer Happy With Transition

Urban Meyer is happy with the way he’s going out and Will Muschamp is coming in at Florida.  He told an Outback Bowl press gathering as much this week.

“The guy we hired is fantastic,” Meyer said.  “I think that eased a lot of the burden because the first priority is the players and the coaches.  I’ve really enjoyed these last two weeks.”

“If there’s ever a good time (to resign) — obviously I don’t know that there ever is — but this kind of worked out very well.”

According to the coach, Meyer’s resignation was not a sudden reaction to a bad season.

“I have a great family, as close as you can imagine.  … At one point in a five-year period we lived in four different states bouncing kids in and out of school, not by choice, but just with that in mind that we’re going to go as hard as we can and then at some point pull away.”

Meyer also said, “I think last December was kind of a frontal blow and let’s evaluate this whole thing for a minute, and we did.”

The coach and his family spent the holidays in New York.  ESPN gave him a ring and asked him to drive up.  He did.  And there was a spark.

“What I found out, what a place, what great people,” the coach said.  “I’ll have to do something.” 

For Muschamp’s sake, Meyer doing something in Bristol, Connecticut would be an enormous plus.  For all the talk of keeping Meyer involved, no new coach needs his players being able to drop in and talk with their old coach. 

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