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Coaching Carousel: White Turning Down Tennessee, Donovan An NBA Candidate?

rumors-cartoonWhile Missouri’s search for a new coach creeps along stealthily, the same can’t be said for Tennessee’s hunt.  After attempting to woo some “A-list candidates” to Knoxville — only to be met with a lack of interest — the Volunteers turned their attention to Michael White of Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

White is a former point guard at Ole Miss and a former assistant coach there.  He has been at Louisiana Tech for three years and has never reached an NCAA Tournament (which means his resume is quite similar to the one Cuonzo Martin’s owned when he was hired by UT three years ago).

White is also on the verge of saying “thanks, but no thanks” to Tennessee’s offer.  According to’s Gary Parrish:


parrish tweet


We at were told last night that White would likely stay in Ruston.  We believe White is asking for a large buyout from the school and after paying buyouts for numerous coaches over the years, Tennessee does not want to go down the big buyout road.  The school’s reserve fund is currently less than $5 million.  Most SEC schools have reserves greater than $50 million.

Sadly for athletic director Dave Hart’s sake, those fans who signed a petition to bring back Bruce Pearl have made the UT job a tough sell.  Everyone — from the national media to most in the Knoxville media to the majority of the Volunteer fanbase — admits that fact.  (Those who did the petitioning say the job is peachy and Hart must be a bad salesman.)

White’s desire for security is quite natural.  If you were looking at a roster that’s losing four of its top five players — which doesn’t help matters — and you knew that the last guy was petition’d right out of town despite win totals of 19, 20 and 24 games in his three years, wouldn’t you be asking for petition insurance, er, I’m sorry, a big buyout?

If the White negotiations are indeed finished, look for Tennessee to turn to Donnie Tyndall of Southern Miss and Will Wade of Chattanooga as their search stumbles along.  As was the case when Mississippi State fans were driving away Rick Stansbury, we warned, “Careful what you wish for.”  And like MSU (which has lost 29 of its last 36 SEC games), UT  is having to come to grips with the fact that their job looks better through their orange-colored glasses than it does to outsiders.

Meanwhile,’s Marc Stein reports that the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves are considering Florida’s Billy Donovan as their next coach.  Yes, Billy Donovan.


donovan tweet 1


donovan tweet 2



That would seem like a very long shot from our perspective.  In June of 2007, Donovan left the Florida Gators to become the head coach just down the road with the Orlando Magic.  But he changed his mind soon after and returned to Gainesville within the week.

If he couldn’t leave Gainesville for Orlando, would he really uproot his family for Minneapolis?

Still, it’s an interesting story to keep an eye on.

As for Missouri, the Tigers’ search seems to be focused in on the same list of candidates that were on Tennessee’s initial list: Gregg Marshall of Wichita State, Mick Cronin of Cincinnati, Archie Miller of Dayton, Tim Miles of Nebraska and Chris Mack of Xavier.  Marshall will want about $3 million to move and it’s doubtful AD Mike Alden will go that far.

If Mizzou finds it’s hunt to be as tough as Tennessee’s search, one wonders if ex-UCLA coach Ben Howland — a man whose name hasn’t gained traction in any search this offseason — might creep into the Tiger mix.  He certainly has a good track record on the court.  Not so much off it.

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SEC Headlines 3/20/2014

headlines-thursdaySEC Football

1. Report:  Texas A&M sophomore defensive lineman Isaiah Golden has withdrawn from school.

2. Want to own your own LSU locker?  It can be yours for $3,950.

3. LSU defense shuffling its linebacking corps.

4. LSU A. D. Joe Alleva on the current scheduling format: “The ADs will not change their votes. “The only hope for change is for the (SEC) presidents  to realize it’s not an equitable schedule.”

5. Goal for Florida this spring? “We gotta get better on offense.” Quarterback Jeff Driskel made his return Wednesday.

6. Alabama linebacker Trey DePriest on hurry-up offenses: “It’s just something that you have to prepare a little bit harder for. That’s really it.”

7. Alabama gets in the first spring practice in pads.  Coach Nick Saban: “Some of the guys have to mature a little more…”

8. How are Alabama players adjusting to new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin?  “He pays attention to everything — every little thing.”

9. Full pads and full contact for Arkansas today.

10. Ole Miss offensive lineman Aaron Morris continues his recovery from a torn ACL.  Expected to totally cleared by August.

11. Big things expected this fall for Mississippi State running back Josh Robinson.

SEC Basketball

12. Five reasons why Florida will win a national title – and five reasons they won’t.

13. Matt Hayes on the Florida program: “Embrace the beauty that is Billy Donovan, everyone.”

14. FiveThirtyEightSports says Florida has a 14% of winning it all, 2% chance for Kentucky, less than 1% for Tennesse.

15. Thursday and Friday NCAA Tournament TV schedule. Stuck at work?  You can watch online.

16. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery on Tennessee:  ”I was really impressed with those guys and the program that Cuonzo [Martin] has built there.”

17. Missouri will host Southern Miss in the second round of the NIT. Arkansas will travel to Cal. Bears beat the Razorbacks earlier this season.

18. Will new Auburn coach Bruce Pearl use the job as a springboard to another destination?  ”No way. No. Not happening,”

19. Auburn has received more than 500 ticket orders since Pearl was announced as the head coach

20. Pearl on Mike and Mike – “Still the craziest coach in the country.”

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Arkansas QB Allen Questionable For Texas A&M

Brandon AllenArkansas might or might not have its usual starting quarterback in the lineup when highly-ranked Texas A&M rolls into Fayetteville this weekend.  Brandon Allen is still questionable due to a bruised shoulder suffered two weeks ago in the Hogs’ win over Southern Miss.

Allen did not play in Saturday’s come-from-ahead loss at Rutgers.  Backup AJ Derby completed 14-of-26 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown.

According to Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema, it’s going to be “wait and see” all over again for Allen this week.  “If he can go, he can go.  If not, we’ll continue with AJ’s progress and development and see what he can do.”

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Will He Or Won’t He? Bielema Isn’t Saying if Arkansas QB Allen Will Play This Week

Brandon AllenFollowing yesterday practice, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said that he has no new information on the status of starting quarterback Brandon Allen.  Allen suffered a bruised right shoulder during the first quarter of the Razorbacks’ 24-3 win over Southern Miss last Saturday.

Bielema stated earlier in the week that he would not make the mistake of playing Allen before his injury has healed.  If Allen can’t go Saturday at Rutgers, backup quarterback AJ Derby will be called upon to lead the Hogs.  Derby completed just four-of-six passes for 36 yards against the Golden Eagles as Arkansas relied on its power run game to engineer the victory.

This week’s opponent, Rutgers, ranks fifth nationally in run defense, having allowed just 178 yards on 90 carries (1.98 ypc) through three games.

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Arkansas 24 – Southern Miss 3 (Video Highlights)

Video highlights from the Arkansas 24 – 3 win over Southern Miss.

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SEC Gameday Links: Afternoon Delights 9/14/2013

gameday-linksLouisville at Kentucky

1. Is this rivalry game in danger of ending after the current contract runs out in 2016?

2. Today’s game marks the beginning of a brutal stretch of games for Kentucky – four straight against top-20 teams.

3. Kentucky’s quarterback tandem of Max Smith and Jalen Whitlow rotated in and out 13 times in the first half last week – expect more of the same today.

Southern Miss at Arkansas

4. Razorbacks want to run the ball and control the clock.  Southern Miss is yet another no-huddle offense.

5. Just how good has the running back duo of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams been so far?   Collins leads the conference in rushing and Williams is third.

6. Southern Miss is the team that current Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson led to an 0-12 season a year ago.

 Tennessee at Oregon

7. Tennessee is on a 16-game losing streak against ranked opponents.  Last time they won against a ranked team, Lane Kiffin was the coach.

8. Expectations for the Vols?  ”A close defeat would be commendable. A win over the Ducks? Jones might have a street named after him in Knoxville before the team’s flight even lands back in town.”

9. Should Alabama lose today at Texas A&M today, Oregon is looking at this game as a chance to vault to No. 1 in the polls. (We’ll have out Gameday Links for Alabama/A&M coming up next).

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SEC Odds And Television Listings – 9/9/13

tv-remotesThe Southeastern Conference has released the television listing for this Saturday and the next.  We’ll show this week’s schedule first, coupled with the opening lines from Las Vegas (or an offshore book where noted).


September 14th

Louisville at Kentucky — 12:00pm ET on ESPN — Line: Louisville -7.5 (now -12.5)

Arkansas at Southern Miss — 12:21pm ET on SEC Network — Line: Arkansas -19 (now -22)

Alabama at Texas A&M — 3:30pm ET on CBS — Line: Alabama -7 (now -8)

Tennessee at Oregon — 3:30pm ET on ABC — Line: Oregon -20 (now -25.5)

Mississippi State at Auburn — 7:00pm ET on ESPN2 — Line: Auburn -7 (now -6)

Vanderbilt at South Carolina — 7:00pm ET on ESPN — Line: South Carolina -11 (now -12.5)

Kent State at LSU — 7:00pm ET on ESPNU – Line: LSU -38 (now -37.5)

Ole Miss at Texas — 8:00pm ET on Longhorn Network — Line: Texas -3.5 (now -4.5)


September 21st

Vanderbilt vs UMass at Foxboro — 12:00pm ET on ESPNews/ESPNU/ESPN3

North Texas at Georgia — 12:21pm ET on SEC Network

Tennessee at Florida — 3:30pm ET on CBS

Arkansas at Rutgers — 3:30pm ET on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU

Colorado State at Alabama — 7:00pm ET on ESPN2/ESPNU

SMU at Texas A&M — 7:00pm ET on ESPN2/ESPNU

Troy at Mississippi State — 7:30pm ET on Fox Sports Net

Auburn at LSU — 7:45pm ET on ESPN

Missouri at Indiana — 8:00pm ET on Big Ten Network

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SEC Bubble Teams Don’t Need An Upset-Winner In Nashville (Or In Other Conference Tourneys)

fingers-crossedDepending on the source you study, the SEC still has as many as four teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble (we believe there are really only two, but we’ll explain that in greater detail later today.)  Fans of bubble hopefuls Alabama, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Tennessee should be pulling for a couple of different things to happen at the SEC tourney in Nashville this week — either for their own team to cut down the nets or for Florida or Missouri to capture the title.

A championship for UA, UK, UM, or UT will give that winning team the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and prevent any Selection Sunday sweating they might have to endure otherwise.  A win by Florida or Missouri would give the auto-bid to a team that’s already earned its ticket to the Big Dance.

What the SEC’s bubble teams don’t need is some underdog squad making a surprise run to capture the tournament crown.

Just as upsets in other league tourneys can take away at-large berths, so too can an upset-winner in Nashville.  If a Georgia, Arkansas, LSU, or some other team works its way onto the SEC’s trophy-presentation podium on Sunday, there will be one less NCAA at-large bid available to the Crimson Tide, Rebels, Volunteers, and Wildcats.

That’s just the state of things in Nashville.  The SEC’s bubble teams also need to be keeping an eye on the following key conference tournaments across the country this week:


Conference USA – SEC bubble hopefuls should be pulling for Memphis to win its league tournament.  The Tigers were regular-season champs and are currently 27-4 with an RPI of 16.  Southern Miss is 21-8 with an RPI of 35 and a seat squarely on the bubble.  It’s possible C-USA might just be a one-bid league if Memphis wins the title.  The Tigers went 16-0 in conference play and fans in Knoxville, Lexington, Oxford, and Tuscaloosa should be rooting for them to be just as successful in their league tourney this week.

Horizon League – It’s doubtful that regular-season champ Valparaiso (24-7, RPI 60) would earn an at-large bid if it’s upset in its league tournament, but better safe than sorry.  Fans of SEC bubble teams should be pulling for Valpo when they play Wright State in the finals on Tuesday.

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Signing Day 2013: The Battle For Mississippi

state map mississippiLooking at Wednesday’s signees — including junior college and prep school athletes — here’s a snapshot of the talent produced by the state of Mississippi in 2013 (as graded by


5-stars = 1

4-stars = 11

3- stars = 36

Total 3+ stars = 48


Here’s where the state’s 10 highest-ranked players are headed:


Ole Miss = 4

Mississippi State = 3

Auburn = 1

Memphis = 1

Southern Miss = 1


Loyalty:  Eight out of the Magnolia State’s 10 best recruits decided to stay close to home for their college careers.  While the SEC’s two Mississippi-based schools may duke it out every year, if they can continue to divvy up the tip-top local talent each year they’ll both benefit.

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Wow Evening Headlines 12/6/2012

Butch Jones named Tennessee’s new football coach…
Jones spent last three years at the University of Cincinnati, where he was twice named Big East Coach of the Year…
Jones has a 50-27 career record as a head coach
Jones will be the 24th head coach in the history of the Volunteers football program
Texas A&M quarterback Manziel named Davey O’Brien Award winner Thursday night
Alabama’s Barrett Jones wins the 2012 Rimington Trophy as the nation’s best center
Follow all the news from around America’s best sports conference at and

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