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SEC Headlines – 3/10/11 Part One

1.  NFL scouts descended on Tuscaloosa yesterday for Alabama’s Pro Day.

2.  Alabama transfer left tackle Aaron Douglas will serve 48 hours in jail for a DUI.

3.  Bama’s Trevor Releford has turned into a standout point guard as a freshman.

4.  Unlike his predecessor, Tony Barbee doesn’t leave his Auburn basketball players to self-motivate.

5.  The Tigers seem to be peaking at tourney time.

6.  Arkansas point guard Jeff Peterson is questionable for today’s tourney game against Tennessee with a groin injury.

7.  Today is the last shot for John Pelphrey’s club to make the NCAA Tournament…

8.  Which means it could be the last shot overall for the coach himself.

9.  Bobby Petrino likes the fact that his next Razorback squad is “real fast.”

10.  Trent Johnson says his team still has a chance to keep playing… as long as it wins.

11.  LSU will need to do some serious improving — and quick — if its to upset Vanderbilt tonight.

12.  Which means the Tigers’ long, sad season is nearing its end.

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SEC Awards And Honors Handed Out; Donovan Gets COTY Over Grant

Well, it looks like the “haters” won out, just as John Calipari had feared.  Tony Barbee — he of the 4-12 record at Auburn — did not win the SEC’s Coach of the Year award.  Instead, Florida’s Billy Donovan took that honor.

Last week, we stated that we would have given that award to Anthony Grant on the basis that going 12-4 with his roster trumps — by a smidge — Donovan going 13-3 with his roster.  Grant did more with less.  But you’ll hear no complaints from us about Donovan’s selection.  Our feelings were 51-49 in favor of Grant, but Donovan had a tremendous year, too.

His Gators have no pure star and there isn’t a string of one-and-doners in their line-up.  And Donovan’s squad proved to be the class of the league while playing in the more dangerous SEC East.

In terms of other honors, here goes:

SEC Player of the Year: Chandler Parsons, Florida

SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Riley Benock, Mississippi State

SEC Freshman of the Year: Terrence Jones, Kentucky

SEC Sixth-Man of the Year: Brian Williams, Tennessee

SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Sam Muldrow, South Carolina

The selection of Parsons will be met with hoots and hollers because he’s not a big “numbers” guy.  Instead he’s a glue guy, a good-attitude guy.  Being that he was the MVP of the best team in the league, it’s no surprise he won the award.

The other controversial selection will be Terrence Jones over teammate Brandon Knight for Freshman of the Year honors.  Both were good, but one ran the point and the other didn’t.  We’d have given Knight the award, but you can’t argue with Jones’ production.

First Team All-SEC
JaMychal Green, F, Alabama
Chandler Parsons, F, Florida
Trey Thompkins, F, Georgia
Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky
Brandon Knight, G, Kentucky
Chris Warren, G, Ole Miss
Scotty Hopson, G, Tennessee
John Jenkins, G, Vanderbilt

Second Team All-SEC
Tony Mitchell, F, Alabama
Rotnei Clarke, G, Arkansas
Kenny Boynton, G, Florida
Erving Walker, G, Florida
Travis Leslie, G, Georgia
Dee Bost, G, Mississippi State
Tobias Harris, F, Tennessee
Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
Jeffery Taylor, F, Vanderbilt

SEC All-Freshman Team
Trevor Releford, G, Alabama
Patric Young, F/C, Florida
Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky
Brandon Knight, G, Kentucky
Doron Lamb, G, Kentucky
Ralston Turner, G, LSU
Bruce Ellington, G, South Carolina
Tobias Harris, F, Tennessee

SEC All-Defensive Team
Delvon Johnson, F, Arkansas
DeAndre Liggins, G, Kentucky
Reginald Buckner, F, Ole Miss
Sam Muldrow, F/C, South Carolina
Jeffery Taylor, F, Vanderbilt

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Calipari Says Barbee Won’t Win COTY Honors Because Of “Haters”

There’s nothing wrong with a coach stumping for one of his former pupils.  Too bad then that John Calipari went way overboard in his praise of former player and assistant Tony Barbee.

Kentucky’s coach believes his former aide should be strongly considered for the SEC’s Coach of the Year honors.  Okay.  Barbee did do a nice job of making Auburn competitive by year’s end.  But…

Coach Cal said Barbee probably won’t win the award because of “haters” who have “personal problems.”

No, Barbee won’t win the award because his team finished 4-12 in the SEC and 11-19 overall.  He won’t win the award because Anthony Grant cooked up a totally unexpected 12-4 league mark at Alabama.  He won’t win the award because Billy Donovan took a Florida team with a target on its back and no true star and led it on a consistent march to the league title.

There are plenty of reasons Barbee won’t win the award and having “haters” doesn’t qualify.

But Calipari obviously feels differently.  “I just think he’s done wonders, and I believe he should be considered coach of the year.  You’ve got some haters out there, who’ve got some personal problems, that will make jokes about it.  But they don’t know what coaching is.”

What a ridiculous statement.  So to not vote for a man who went 4-12 means the voter doesn’t “know what coaching is?”  And what’s this about “personal problems?”

Calipari is within his rights to praise Barbee.  As noted above, he took a team that Jerry Palm called the worst ever in major college basketball and taught it to fight, scrap and survive.  He deserves kudos. 

But he does not deserve the Coach of the Year award.

And for Calipari to claim that he’ll lose the award because of “haters,” well, that just makes Coach Cal sound incredibly thin-skinned.  After all, what reason would anyone in the SEC have to hate Barbee other than his Calipari lineage?

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SEC Headlines – 3/3/11 Part One

1. As the season winds down, Senario Hillman needs just five steals to become the Alabama’s all-time leader in that category.

2.  Auburn upset Ole Miss last night 76-73, coming back from a 16-point halftime deficit.

3.  Tony Barbee said his team has improved to the point that “it’s a totally different team.”  Bad news then for whoever draws the Tigers in the SEC tourney.

4.  Here’s more on the hiring of new defensive line coach Mike Pelton.

5.  The attorney for alleged tree-poisoner Harvey Updyke wants a speedy preliminary hearing for his client.

6.  Not only did Arkansas lose last night, but it blew a lead and bungled away a shot at the #2 seed in the SEC West.

7.  LSU was blown out 73-53 at Georgia last night.

8.  Former Tiger cornerback Patrick Peterson has moved all the way to the top of Mel Kiper Jr.’s draft board.

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Auburn Heading To Hawaii Next Year

It’s been a long, hard, bad season in Auburn, Alabama.  And we’re talking basketball here, of course.

The Tigers are just 9-18 overall and 2-11 in the SEC.  They’ve dealt with injuries and depth issues.  Last night they fought hard only to lose to their rival Alabama on a last-second tip-in.  Tony Barbee’s team needs something to look forward to… and now they have it.

Next year Auburn will take part in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.  Clemson, Hawaii, Kansas State, Long Beach State, Southern Illinois, UTEP and Xavier will fill out the field in the December 22-25 tourney.

“This is part of the process in building a national program at Auburn, and it will be a wonderful experience for our players both on and off the court,” Barbee said.

Mississippi State took part in the tournament this past December.  Barbee might want to make sure his guys don’t get into a fistfight in between games.

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SEC Headlines – 2/23/11 Part One

1.  Alabama’s basketball team can clinch the West title outright by beating Auburn tonight.

2.  The Bama-Auburn rivalry isn’t as big in basketball as it is in football.

3.  A lot of UA and AU talent will be on display at the NFL combine this week.”

4.  Auburn walk-on Josh Wallace is winning over Tony Barbee with his attitude.

5.  Harvey Updyke is seeking safety.  (From other nuts who might want to attack the original tree-killing nut.  Nuts.)

6.  Arkansas will look to break a 10-game losing streak to Kentucky tonight.

7.  Former Hog coach Nolan Richardson says he’ll be pulling for John Pelphrey and crew tonight.

8.  Ryan Mallett’s agent says he’ll be ready to answer difficult questions at the NFL combine.

9.  Does LSU’s basketball team have anything left to play for?

10.  The Tigers will try to break their 10-game losing streak tonight at The Hump in Starkville.

11.  Trent Johnson looks forward to having 6-11, 260-pound Iowa State transfer Justin Hamilton next year.

12.  MSU’s Ravern Johnson has responded well to the attitude adjustment he received from Rick Stansbury.

13.  State has Renardo Sidney taking part in mock interviews in preparation for meeting with the actual press. 

14.  Chris Warren high eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 33 points… only to see Ole Miss lose 79-73 at South Carolina last night.

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SEC Headlines – 2/15/11 Part Two

1.  Alabama’s Nick Saban says quarterbacks AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims need to show they can play winning football.

2.  Arkansas’ players are trying their best to deal with criticism of their coach and program.

3.  LSU’s freshman guards just can’t seem to play well on the same night.

4.  Mississippi State must rebound from a painful loss to Auburn by facing Kentucky at Rupp Arena tonight.

5.  Dee Bost says if the Dogs don’t get over the Auburn loss they “could go to Rupp and get blown out.”

6.  Auburn is headed to Ole Miss tomorrow and Tony Barbee says “this is probably the funnest year of coaching for me because of the quality kids I have.”  The Tigers are 9-15 overall and 2-8 in SEC play.

Sidenote – So why fewer West stories than East?  Because East coverage is still focused on basketball while some media outlets in the West are turning their attention to baseball.

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Auburn Facing Big Roster Changes (In Basketball)

When I mention “Auburn University” and “roster turnover” you probably think of the Tigers’ football team which will have to reinvent itself in 2011.  But there’s plenty of change on the horizon for AU’s basketball program, too.

The NCAA allows college basketball teams to carry 13 scholarship players.  But if no one washes out of Tony Barbee’s program before next season, his incoming class of three newcomers will bring Auburn’s total to 15.  And that’s if Barbee doesn’t sign anyone else between now and this summer.

In other words, some families that were recruited and promised a scholarship for Junior are about to get some bad news.

As Evan Woodbery of The Mobile Press-Register points out today, sophomore center Rob Chubb’s recent arrest might aide in Barbee’s decision-making.  Chubb has been charged by Auburn city police with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, attempting to elude police and resisting arrest.  He is currently suspended indefinitely from the team.

Chubb’s crimes were not violent in nature.  In fact, they were typical college-age, dumb type of crimes.  We’re not saying what he did was right, but his actions are not the type of crimes that normally get a player dismissed from a team.  Especially when that player has shown — as Chubb has — that he can score 18 points in an SEC game.

But Auburn’s numbers situation may cause Barbee to take a tougher stance with Chubb than he might normally take.  So stay tuned…

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Auburn’s Chubb Facing Four Charges

Prior to Auburn’s game against Tennessee on Thursday night, Tony Barbee announced that Tigers’ center Robert Chubb had been suspended from the team indefinitely.  Now we know why.

Chubb was arrested by Auburn city police on January 30th on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, attempting to elude a police officer and resisting arrest.  The arrest took place at 1:47 in the morning.

Chubb is a 6-10 sophomore.  He had just scored a career-high 18 points against South Carolina hours prior to his arrest. 

So why wait several days before announcing the suspension?  The obvious answer would be to force Tennessee to prepare for him.

Chubb’s suspension from Auburn’s team is indefinite.

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SEC Headlines – 1/25/11 Part One

1.  Nick Saban says “It’s hard to spend the time to evaluate coaching candidates when you’re on the road all week.”  Saban must replace receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Curt Cignetti.

2.  Alabama’s basketball team is looking better everyday…

3.  Thanks in part to Anthony Grant’s decision to stop pressing.

4.  Gene Chizik has won the Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award.

5.  Heading into a game at Arkansas tonight, Tony Barbee says his staff is trying to “stay positive and upbeat” despite losing five straight games.

6.  The Hogs will be trying to rebound from a 75-43 blowout loss at Florida on Saturday.  (I wouldn’t expect a real big crowd in Fayetteville tonight.)

7.  The folks at ESPN believe Tyler Wilson will step in nicely as Ryan Mallett’s replacement.

8.  Film study shows that LSU’s offense was dominant in the Cotton Bowl (in case that 41-24 score didn’t tip you off to that fact).

9.  Asked what his team is doing well right now, Trent Johnson said, “Nothing.”

10.  Ole Miss’ win over LSU on Saturday was big for Nick Williams in showing that he can score in the SEC.

11.  Freshman Rebel forward Demarco Cox is still having trouble with the speed of the college game.

12.  Rick Stansbury says he would toy with his lineup if he thought it would help State’s play.

13.  Kevin Stallings — whose Vandy team will travel to Starkville Thursday — says MSU has “had games where they looked absolutely awesome.”

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