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Kentucky Falls Just Short Of National Crown & Other Basketball Notes (Part 2)

BioIBjOCEAABT9ZThe three SEC squads that did make this year’s NCAA Tournament each had a nice run.  Tennessee reached the Sweet Sixteen and was three missed free throws away from making the Midwest Regional final and SEC versus SEC showdown.  Kentucky went on to win that regional and advance all the way to the national title game before finally running out of steam.  And on the other side of the bracket, Florida cruised all the way to the Final Four before falling to eventual national champ, UConn.

Will that success lead next year’s NCAA Tournament selection committee to send the SEC a few more invitations to the Big Dance?  Probably not.

Hey, in theory, impressing in this year’s tourney could sway next year’s panel when it comes to SEC teams on the bubble.  But the committee doesn’t often take last year’s success/failure into account when doling out at-large bids.  First example: After winning back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007, Florida’s bubble was popped two years in a row sending the Gators to the NIT.  In 2012, Kentucky won the national title.  In 2013, UK was given a thumbs-down on Selection Sunday, dropping them into the NIT.  One year’s success or failure doesn’t have much impact on who the committee picks and doesn’t pick for its tournament the following year.

On the flipside, perhaps the tournament runs by UF, UK and UT will have a positive impact on the SEC’s overall conference RPI ranking.  That might not guarantee more bids in 2015, but it couldn’t hurt.

 

Early top 25 rankings look awfully familiar

Will the SEC be better next season?  Not in the eyes of a couple of national hoops writers.  ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan posted an early top 25 preview for next season.  He has Kentucky — with a new batch of highly-touted freshmen — ranked #3 in the nation and Florida ranked #8.  That’s it.  Two ranked teams.  He does mention Tennessee among his group of 15 teams that “may crack the list at some point before November.”

Meanwhile, Rob Dauster of NBC and College Basketball Talk has posted his own early top 25 rankings.  Kentucky is ranked #5.  Florida is ranked #14.  And that’s it.  No other Southeastern Conference squad earns a mention from Dauster.

 

UConn’s basketball success doesn’t mean much in a football-crazed culture

Connecticut’s men’s basketball team has won four national championships in 16 seasons.  Over that same span the UConn women’s team has won seven national crowns and will be playing for their eighth tonight.  If there’s a D-I campus where basketball is king, it’s the one in Storrs, Connecticut.

And that fact hasn’t helped the Huskies one bit in terms of conference affiliation opportunities.

UConn has campaigned try and gain inclusion in the ACC.  No dice.  Boston College wants to be the New England team in John Swofford’s conference.  For that reason, Louisville — hardly a team located on the Atlantic Coast — got the nod to replace Maryland over UConn and others.

Connecticut hasn’t had much luck talking their way into the Big Ten, either.  UConn lacks the resume — meaning a membership in the Association of American Universities — for which Jim Delany’s league lusts.  Maryland and Rutgers received Big Ten invitations instead.

Conference expansion/realignment has been driven by just about every factor out there except basketball.  And that’s a shame for Connecticut because UConn is fast becoming Basketball U with both its men’s and women’s teams.

 

What would a big game be without a few couch fires

Pity the poor, innocent couches.  It’s become commonplace in recent years for college students to burn couches after big losses (Ohio State).  They also light ‘em up after big wins (West Virginia).  Mostly they just burn them when they’re feeling good and liquored up, regardless of a big game’s outcome.  Last night, Kentuckians got in on the act.

According to The Lexington Herald Leader, there were 19 couch fires, several small trash fires, 31 arrests, and 23 injuries after Connecticut topped Kentucky 60-54.  It was a disappointing, immature reaction that’s made news all across the web, the nation and the world.

There are worse things, however.  Like being stuck with a tattoo bearing the words “2014 National Champions” above the UK logo.  For the record, Tyler Austin Black says he’s going to keep the tattoo.

Betcha he has some work done to cover up the “2014″ at least.

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Fox Goes From Hot Seat To Contract Extension At Georgia; SEC A.D.s Starting To Wise Up

gfx-honest-opinionYesterday the University of Georgia announced that it was extending the contract of head basketball coach Mark Fox.  Back on New Year’s Day, most would’ve predicted Fox would be cleaning out his office this month, not putting down new carpet.

Overall, Fox is 84-76 in five years at Georgia.  He’s reached one NCAA Tournament (in his second year) and his SEC record is just 40-44 overall.  But his team began the 2014 season 6-6 in non-conference play.  The Bulldogs were stuck in the 300s in RPI and strength of schedule.  They’d already lost to Georgia Tech, Davidson, Temple, Nebraska, Colorado and George Washington.  Their only victories were over Wofford, Appalachian State, Chattanooga, Lipscomb, Gardner-Webb and Western Carolina.

For a coach in a make-or-break fifth season, Fox quickly found himself with his back to the wall.  And then came the turnaround that would save Georgia’s season — leading to an NIT bid — and save the coach’s job.

Fox’s team finished 12-6 in the SEC, tied with Kentucky and trailing only Florida.  You might’ve heard that UK and UF will be taking part in this weekend’s Final Four.  The Dawgs managed to add another victory in the SEC Tournament and one more in the NIT to max out at 20-14 on the year.  That was good enough to save Fox and land him a two-year extension that will tie him to Georgia for four more seasons through 2017-18.

Now, that’s hardly a huge reward.  No raise was announced.  And some might say that UGA was stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Athletic director Greg McGarity couldn’t very well fire a coach who finished tied with Kentucky for second place in the league, but he wasn’t ready to give Fox a lifetime contract either.  So he gave him a two-year extension — which will make recruiting a tad easier — and stressed that more improvement is expected.

This from McGarity’s press release:

 

“The improvement our team made throughout the 2013-14 season was very encouraging, and with the loss of only one starter, the expectations for the coming season will be very high.  Mark and I discussed not only this past season, but spent the majority of our time focused on the next four-year period.  We discussed our recruiting plans, scheduling, academic progress and continued development of our program moving forward, and Mark fully recognizes the expectations in these key areas.”

 

In other words, “We want better than 20-14 overall and better than a 6-6 non-conference record.”  And, “NCAAs instead of NITs, please.”

But the reality is this: McGarity has seen enough of Fox to feel that building with him is a safer bet than starting from scratch with some other up-and-comer (which is likely the exact type of coach Georgia would have had to hire).  A similar scenario has played out at Tennessee this week as Vol AD Dave Hart announced that Cuonzo Martin — who turned down the Marquette job early Tuesday morning — will remain at UT with an extension and a raise (though contract details have yet to leak).

Martin has led the Vols to two NITs and the Sweet Sixteen of this year’s NCAA Tournament.  While many fans have demanded that he win at the same clip as Bruce Pearl, the fact is Martin inherited a mess.  He faced NCAA sanctions that impacted recruiting.  He had to clean up what was a poor culture inside the program.  And he had to do it all in Pearl’s shadow with fans clamoring for his return.

Hart, like McGarity, might not have absolute faith in his current head coach, but he has seen enough to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Again, the message seems to be: “Tis better to build with a guy who’s got a winning record at this school than to rush out and start all over with someone who’s got a winning record at some smaller school.”

Fans want championship banners and anything less is viewed as “settling.”  The truth is it takes time to build a program.  Fox will be in Year Six next season and the expectations will be higher.  Martin’s new contract at Tennessee should afford him a Year Five and Year Six, too.

In a league where only three coaches have been in place for more than five seasons — Billy Donovan at Florida, Kevin Stallings at Vanderbilt and Andy Kennedy at Ole Miss — it’s a wise move, in our view, for schools like Georgia and Tennessee to start erring on the side of stability for a change.

(CORRECTION — Andy Kennedy was initially left off the list of coaches with five-plus years of tenure.)

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SEC Headlines 3/24/2014

headlines-monSEC Football

1. For the first time since 2010, there’s a competition for the starting quarterback at Georgia.

2. Even though the number of competitors has dropped from five  to three - a quarterback race is on at LSU as well.

3. One week into spring practice, Florida’s offense remains a work in progress.

4. Former Alabama offensive guard Chad Lindsey could be headed to Michigan where he would be reunited with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

5. Of the 40 best players in the SEC during the BCS era, was Tim Tebow No. 1?

6. Is Auburn’s Nick Marshall talented enough to play quarterback in the NFL? Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee:  ”Oh, I think without question.”

7. Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson on his freshman season: “It’s a big spring for me because last year, I was a little bit disappointed with my performance and I can’t wait to get better.”

8. Should coaches bonuses be tied to academic performance?  Education Secretary Arne Duncan makes the case.

SEC Basketball

9. Georgia freshman basketball player J.J. Frazier was arrested late Sunday night on a charge of driving without a license

10. Florida will meet UCLA Thursday night . Fourth time since 2006 these two teams have met in March.

11. “With his 3-0 run this March, (Tennessee coach Cuonzo) Martin has equaled Jerry Green’s victory total in four NCAA appearances. Only Bruce Pearl (eight) and Don DeVoe (five) have more.”

12. Kevin Scarbinsky: “Who knew that Bruce Pearl and Cuonzo Martin both would be big winners this month?”

13. LSU plays SMU tonight in the NIT.  ”Simply put, there might not be two more talented teams remaining in the NIT field.”

14. Arkansas gets a rematch with Cal tonight in the NIT.  The Golden Bears beat the Razorbacks in the Maui Invitational in November.

15. Texas A&M at Illinois State tonight in the CBI.  Aggies just 1-8 in road games this season (but that one win was over a Sweet 16 Tennessee team).

SEC Media

16. Sweet 16 rundown – TV, tip times, and announcers.

17. Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy will join the SEC Network as an analyst.

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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 Kentucky...is 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.

NIT

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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SEC Hoops: Florida Advances To Sweet 16; Kentucky & Tennessee Up Next

gfx-hoops-round-up2Florida 61 – Pittsburgh 45

1. Gators Sweet 16-bound for fourth straight season. Scottie Wilbekin’s 21 ponts led Florida to its 28th straight win.

2. Coach Billy Donovan on Wilbekin: “It’s been one of the greatest experiences for me as a coach going through what he and I have gone through together.”

3. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon on Wilbekin: “He’s had a great finish to his career, and that’s what you hope happens to a kid that learns and gets better.”

4. Guess who’s a big fan of Florida coach Billy Donovan?  Patriots coach Bill Belichick. 

Sunday SEC Hoops

Wichita State vs Kentucky.  Wichita State favored by 4 1/2.

5. Wichita State forward Ron Baker: “I’ve never seen a 19-year-old as big as (Julius) Randle in my life.”

6. Tim Sullivan: “A Wichita State win would be widely seen as a victory for continuity and commitment over talented transients.”

Mercer vs Tennessee at 6:10 ET.  Tennessee favored by 7 1/2.

7. Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes: “We understand that they’re a very good team and they’re playing with a chip on their shoulder and we’re also playing with a chip on our shoulder.”

8. Less than a month after Texas A&M completed a season sweep, Vols find themselves on the verge of the Sweet 16.

NIT

9. Southern Miss at Missouri. Tigers guard Jordan Clarkson: “We know that no other team in Missouri history has won two NIT games in a row.”

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SEC Hoops Roundup: Tennessee Gets OT Victory; Perfect Tournament Night For SEC

gfx-hoops-round-up2NCAA Tournament

Tennessee 78 – Iowa 65 (Overtime).  Video Highlights

1. Tied at 64, Tennessee dominates overtime, outscoring Iowa 14-1.   Jordan McRae led the Vols with 20 points.

2. Biggest win of Cuonzo Martin’s tenure?  Tennessee advances to play UMass Friday in Raleigh.

NIT

LSU 71 – San Francisco 63

3. With the victory, Tigers get their first 20 win season in five years.  LSU advances to play SMU Monday night in Dallas.

Georgia 63 – Vermont 56

4. Bulldogs rally from nine-point second-half deficit.  Charles Mann led Georgia with a career-high 29 points. Bulldogs now 20-13 and will play Louisiana Tech Saturday.

CBI

Texas A&M 59 – Wyoming 43. Video Highlights

5. Aggies dominate Cowboys with 41-27 rebounding advantage and outscoring Wyoming in the paint 26-14. Texas A&M will travel to Illinois State Monday night.

Thursday SEC Hoops Schedule

Albany vs Florida in the NCAA Tournament. Victory by the Gators will move the SEC to a perfect 7-0 in postseason play.

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SEC Headlines 3/19/2014

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Why is former Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore lashing out at the Aggies athletic administration?

2. Spring practice gets underway today at Florida with a focus on the offense and new coordinator Kurt Roper.

3. Some players to watch and some questions to ask at Florida this spring.

4. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen appreciates having some depth at quarterback this spring. Bulldogs kicked off spring practice Tuesday.

5. Concern at LSU?  Tigers backfield lacks depth.

6. Those four Georgia players charged with  multiple counts of theft by deception on Monday were back on the practice field Tuesday but Mark Richt not ruling out any dismissals. Bulldogs potential national title contender in 2014?

7. Plenty of new faces and new roles along Missouri’s offensive line but center Evan Boehm will be the anchor in the middle. Is Tigers running back Russell Hansbrough one of the players poised for a breakout season?

8. Vanderbilt redshirt freshman C.J. Duncan is changing positions.

9. Germain Ifedi started every game at right guard for Texas A&M last fall.He could wind up playing tackle this fall.

10. Linebacker Trey DePriest will be a leader of the Alabama defense.

11. Auburn safety Trent Fisher, son of St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher, may no longer be on the team.

12. South Carolina sophomore Jamari Smith trying to get the jump on five freshmen cornerbacks who will join the program this summer. A couple of South Carolina linebackers undergo arthroscopic surgeries.

13. Arkansas had to replace three assistant coaches in the offseason - but none of the changes came on the offensive staff.

14. Tennessee football is on spring break this week but here’s an updated look at the depth charts.

Bruce Pearl to Auburn reaction

15. Auburn’s new basketball coach meets the media.  ”When I made the mistakes that I made at Tennessee, I let a lot of people down.” Pearl gets six-year deal worth $2.2 million annually.

16. Pearl turned 54 Tuesday.  “Happy belated birthday, Bruce Almighty. Or should that now be Bruce Au-mighty?”

17. Pearl believes the hiring had the blessing of SEC Commissioner Mike Slive: ”I’m sure I wouldn’t be getting this second chance unless it met with his approval.”

18. “He will be a catalyst for change in the league, to the delight of commissioner Mike Slive.”

19. Pearl met with Auburn A.D. Jay Jacobs at his Knoxville home Monday night - deal hashed out on the kitchen island.  One Tennessee reaction to Pearl’s hiring?  Relief.  

20. Kevin Scarbinsky: ‘A popular analogy already has started making the rounds...Pearl will be to (Anthony) Grant as Nick Saban was to Tommy Tuberville.

21. Paul Finebaum: (Alabama A.D. Bill Battle) “woke up today and found out his worst nightmare – at least from a basketball standpoint — has come true.”

22. Mike DeCourcy: “How many active coaches are better? Let’s just say they could all probably fit in one clown car.”

SEC Basketball

23. Tennessee meets Iowa tonight.  Vols are 0-2 in NCAA Tournament games in Dayton, Ohio.

24. The 13-year old son of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery will have surgery to remove a thyroid tumor just hours before tonight’s tipoff. Update: “Today’s surgery for my son Patrick went as planned.”

25. Georgia hosts Vermont tonight in the NIT.  Bulldogs going for their 20th win of the season.

26. LSU travels to San Francisco to meet the Dons tonight in NIT action.

27. Texas A&M plays Wyoming tonight in the CBI Tournament.  Coach Billy Kennedy:  ”Our guys have been good in practice, and it helps us more for next year more than anything, just playing another game, and practicing helps for the future.”

28. Freshman guard Shawn Smith still not with the Aggies.

29. With a win Tuesday night, Albany gets to play Florida in the first round.  Trivia question: Know their team nickname?

30. The President has Florida in his Final Four but picks Michigan State to win it all.

31. Florida Center Patric Young wants to become a minister after basketball.

Extra

32. Johnny Manziel and his “Fighting Ducks” Nike shoes. Merrill Hoge on Johnny Football: “He’s got bust written all over him.”

33. Here’s a look at the rings given to Florida State players and coaches for winning the BCS title.

34. Actor Vince Vaughn pays $6.5 million for Lane Kiffin’s California home.

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Arkansas 91 – Indiana State 71

Video highlights of the Arkansas 91-71 win over Indiana State in the first round of the NIT.


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The SEC Pays The Price For Bad Hoops On Selection Sunday (Again)

Head in HandsIn the end, the Southeastern Conference lived down to its reputation once again.  The NCAA Tournament selection committee looked at the league’s #7 RPI rank among conferences and punished the league accordingly.  Florida was handed the overall #1 seed in the tourney but Kentucky was arguably under-seeded and Tennessee was thisclose to not even receiving a bid.

Now, we just hate to say “told ya so,” but… told ya so.  Below are a few of our resume breakdowns from throughout the regular season.  While Joe Lunardi and ESPN’s Bracketology page had the league with five or even six teams in the dance for much of the season, our high-water mark was four.  And for the vast majority of the season we focused on three, stating on numerous occasions that only two teams clearly deserved bids at all:

 

1/6/14: Six NCAA Bids For The SEC?  Looks Like Three Or Four To Us

1/27/14: The SEC A Two-Bid League? Latest Resumes Show 7 Fighting for Bid #3

2/10/14: The SEC Still Looks Shaky When It Comes To NCAA Tournament Bids

3/10/14: Two Teams In, 12 Remaining SEC Teams Battling For One Bid (Probably)

 

We show you this not to rain on Lunardi’s parade, but to remind you that we’re typically pretty good judges of what the SEC’s NCAA prospects are long before Lunardi’s calculator arrives at the same conclusion (his last report correctly projected Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee in the dance).

The best example of the committee’s disdain for the SEC this season is Tennessee.  The Volunteers finished with RPI #41 and a strength of schedule ranked 22nd best in the country.  The Vols won five of their last six (never even trailing in those five wins).  Four of their 12 losses this season came to teams that wound up with 1 seeds in the tourney (three to Florida, one at Wichita State).  Three other Vol losses came to NCAA Tournament teams Xavier, NC State and Kentucky.  The Vols spanked ACC regular-season and tournament champion Virginia in December.

All that and Tennessee still landed in a play-in game, one of the last four teams to make the field at all (along with Xavier and NC State, ironically).

So how have previous RPI #41 teams been seeded?  According to the NCAA’s own RPI archives for previous Selection Sundays, like this:

Temple was a 9 seed last season.  Xavier was a 10 seed in 2012.  Richmond was a 12 seed (and a conference tournament winner) in 2011.  Washington was an 11 seed in 2010.  Texas was a 7 seed in 2009.  And Texas A&M was a 9 seed in 2008.

None of those squads were forced to play in a First Four game (they’ve only been around for the last three tourneys), and most of those teams were seeded higher than Tennessee.  Some much higher.

Is that a sign of disrespect toward Cuonzo Martin’s squad?  No, it’s a sign of disrespect toward the Southeastern Conference.

When you struggle outside the league — as many SEC teams did this year — it’s going to come back to bite the whole league in March.  And when you schedule laughably bad non-conference games — as many SEC teams did this year — that will also come back to bite the conference in March.

This year, the SEC gave several teams a pass on their non-conference slates because it didn’t want to cost its schools money by forcing them to cancel games that were already on the books and contracted.  Expect the conference office to be a bit more forceful in its scheduling demands for 2014-15, though Alabama proved that just scheduling better foes guarantees very little.  Anthony Grant’s team played Oklahoma, Duke, Wichita State, Xavier and UCLA in November and December.  They won none of those games.  So that doesn’t help the SEC’s RPI much more than scheduling five creampuffs would have.

The real fix for SEC basketball is an overall, league-wide upgrade in facilities and coaches.  That’s the only way the SEC will ever be able to build itself back up in hoops.  That’s the only way SEC teams can go outside the league footprint to recruit successfully — which is a necessity in basketball.

Until SEC schools start throwing more money at the problem the league will continue to suffer on Selection Sunday.  This marks the third NCAA Tournament since 2009 in which the league only landed three teams in the field.  That didn’t happen once from 1991 through 2009.  It’s time to fix the problem by upgrading facilities and tossing big bucks at proven coaches.  But there’s a catch.  With the league struggling for NCAA Tournament respect, most of those proven coaches might not want to climb on board Mike Slive’s ship.

Below is a look at all seven SEC teams set to play basketball this week and their paths to the Final Fours of the NCAA Tournament and the National Invitational Tournament…

 

SEC in the NCAA

 

1 Florida vs 16 Albany or 16 Mount St. Mary’s

March 20th, South Region

Next Possible Foes: 8 Colorado or 9 Pittsburgh

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 8 Colorado, 4 UCLA, 2 Kansas

 

8 Kentucky vs 9 Kansas State

March 21st, Midwest Region

Next Possible Foes: 1 Wichita State or 16 Cal-Poly or 16 Texas Southern

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 1 Wichita State, 4 Louisville, 2 Michigan

 

11 Tennessee vs 11 Iowa (First Four, Play-In Game)

March 19th, Midwest Region

Next Possible Foe: 6 UMass

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 6 UMass, 3 Duke, 2 Michigan, 1 Wichita State

 

SEC in the NIT

 

3 Arkansas vs 6 Indiana State

March 18th

Next Possible Foes: 2 California or 7 Utah Valley State

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 2 California, 1 SMU

 

4 San Francisco vs 5 LSU

March 19th

Next Possible Foes: 1 SMU or 8 UC-Irvine

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 1 SMU, 2 California

 

2 Missouri vs 7 Davidson

March 18th

Next Possible Foes: 3 Southern Miss or 6 Toledo

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 3 Southern Miss, 1 Minnesota

 

2 Georgia vs 7 Vermont

March 19th

Next Possible Foes: 3 Louisiana Tech or 6 Iona

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 3 Louisiana Tech, 1 Florida State

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SEC Headlines 3/17/2014

headlines-monSEC Football

1. Lane Kiffin’s offense at Alabama is “player friendly,” according to receiver Amari Cooper.

2. Cooper is trying to improve his 40-yard dash time, which he says is all about technique.

3. Auburn backup quarterback Jeremy Johnson believes “there will be more passing” when he becomes the starter.

4. Seth Emerson takes a pre-spring look at Georgia’s likely starters on defense.

5. Florida receiver Andre Debose was allegedly pushed through a window during a weekend altercation.

SEC Basketball

6. Florida is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. It’s the second time in school history.

7. Florida holding on against Kentucky to win the SEC tournament helped the Gators land the top spot.

8. Kentucky received a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. What Final Four hope does UK have? Here’s a look.

9. Tennessee is a No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament and will play Iowa for the right to face No. 6 seed UMass.

10. Cuonzo Martin’s job might not be safe just be getting Tennessee into the NCAA Tournament.

11. There are two big names on the candidate list for the Auburn job.

12. Arkansas is disappointed to be out of the NCAA Tournament but ready to play in the NIT.

13. Georgia is a No. 2 seed in the NIT and will host Vermont to open the tournament.

14. LSU is preparing for a road game at San Francisco in the first round of the NIT.

15. Missouri missed out on the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers will host Davidson to open the NIT.

16. Ole Miss’ season is over as the Rebels were not invited to the NIT. They chose not to pursue an invite to the CBI.

17. Texas A&M will play in the CBI. Coach Billy Kennedy: “We’re excited to be playing the postseason considering all the challenges we have had this season.”

NCAA Tournament

18. Here’s a look at the full NCAA Tournament bracket.

19. The NCAA Tournament selection committee made some puzzling decisions, writes Eric Prisbell.

20. USA Today provides a breakdown of the NCAA tournament field.

21. Click here to see all the tipoff times and TV information for every tournament game through Friday.

22. Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee are all favored to win their first tourney game. Here are all the first round lines from Vegas.

23. ESPN provides some analysis for all four regions in the tournament.

24. Here is the selection committee’s official 1-68 rankings.

Extra

25. Texas has dismissed two players from the football team.

26. Video: Andy Staples discusses several college football items.

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