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SEC Headlines – 4/10/12 Part One

1.  Gene Chizik says Auburn has a lot of work to do to develop depth at linebacker.

2.  Alabama’s offensive line is providing stability this spring.

3.  Star point guard BJ Young will return to Arkansas for his sophomore season.

4.  Trent Johnson traded a better job for more security by leaving LSU for TCU.  (Always smart to restart the coaching clock every four or five years.)

5.  Rick Ray has completed his coaching staff at MSU… but with six players leaving, he’s still got some work to do on the roster.

6.  Ole Miss has announced seven future home football opponents.

7.  Kevin Sumlin thinks his quarterback competition is going well at Texas A&M.

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SEC Headlines – 4/9/12

1.  Receiver Christion Jones is more than just Alabama’s class clown.

2.  Here’s a look at which players are making a move at Auburn this spring.

3.  The “Team Save Coach Petrino” support group is asking Arkansas fans to “ban together.”  (Look, I’m guilty of typos, too, but I type a million words a day.”

4.  Don’t forget North Texas head coach and former LSU player Johnny Jones when it comes to the Tigers’ coaching search.

5. To go along with toughies Texas, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Boise State, the Ole Miss football program has added dates with nonconference powderpuffs Louisiana-Lafayette, Presbyterian, UT-Martin and Wofford in future years.

6.  Texas A&M is one week into a switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense.

7.  Georgia’s Mark Fox has been in Athens for just three seasons, but with Trent Johnson’s departure there are now just three SEC coaches who are longer-tenured.  Wow.

8.  Kentucky will kickoff football season against Louisville on a Sunday.

9.  Despite obstacles, South Carolina is looking to build on its 11-win 2011 season.

10.  With 38 years of coaching under his belt, Tennessee’s D-line coach John Palermo has experience on his side.

11.  A number of SEC officials — as in football ref-type officials — dropped in to meet and greet Missouri’s coaching staff this weekend.

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Hamilton To Leave LSU For The NBA

Justin Hamilton is trading three letters for three other letters: L-S-U for N-B-A.

The big man has announced that he will leave school at the end of the spring semester, bypass his senior season, and jump to the pros:

“I would like to thank my coaches, the administration and all the teachers that have helped me along the way.  They have all provided me with a great experience at LSU.  I will graduate next month and I am getting married this summer.  I am ready to take the next step in my life.  Again, I would like to thank everyone that has helped me along the way and especially the fans here at LSU.”

Hamilton began his career at Iowa State before transferring into Trent Johnson’s program.  His departure is a big one.  Hamilton played in all 33 Tiger games last year — starting 32 — and averaged 12.9 points, 7.2 reounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.

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LSU Loses Hoops Assistant Robinson

LSU hoops assistant Nick Robinson will be introduced today as the new head coach at Southern Utah.  The Salt Lake City native has been on Trent Johnson’s staff for all three of the coaches’ seasons in Baton Rouge.

Robinson played his senior season under Johnson at Stanford.

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LSU’s Johnson Thinks His Guys Know To Take UGA Seriously

With a three-game win streak, LSU’s basketball team has inserted itself into a few “bubble watch” conversations.  The last thing Trent Johnson’s squad needs now is to suffer a home upset at the hands of Georgia… a team that won at Mississippi State 11 days ago.  Johnson believes his team understands what’s at stake:


“(Georgia is) young. They’re talented. They’re skilled. Probably, more importantly, they’re playing extremely hard. We understand, I don’t think I have to talk to my guys about what’s in front of us…

(LSU forward) Storm (Warren) said it best: ‘We don’t want to slip up again.’ He’s been in some situations where he doesn’t want to go back. Last year and the year before there was some slipping.

The bottom line is you know what you need to do, what you’re capable of doing. Players make plays. Teams win games. Don’t let anything on the outside, selfishness within in us, don’t let anyone step out of character. Let’s continue to rely on and trust each other and let the chips fall where they may.”


LSU enters the game at 16-10 with a 6-6 league mark and an RPI of 65.  Those are NIT numbers for sure, but if the Tigers can win out against UGA, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Auburn — unlikely, but – they could play themselves into the NCAA at-large mix.  Step One: Beat Georgia.

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SEC Headlines – 2/22/12

1.  Auburn’s cold-shooting second half cost them at Florida last night.

2.  This writer says Alabama’s turmoil-tested team will reach the NCAA Tournament.

3.  Mike Anderson thinks fatigue might be an issue for his young Arkansas team.

4.  Injured and out for the season, Marshawn Powell can still be an example for the Hogs.

5.  Ralston Turner has helped lead LSU to the NCAA Tournament bubble.

6.  The Tigers will be going for their fourth win in a row when they host Georgia tonight.

7.  Facing Tennessee tonight, Ole Miss needs to finish the season red hot.

8.  Rebel freshman Aaron Jones says he’ll be ready if called upon tonight in Knoxville.

9.  From the team to the fans, MSU put up a valiant effort against #1 Kentucky last night.

10.  The loss of Rodney Hood in the first half really killed the Bulldogs’ upset chances.

11.  Versatile Florida forward Will Yeguete is indeed done for the season after breaking his foot against Auburn last night.

12.  Suspended Gator tight end AC Leonard has pled not guilty to domestic battery charges today.

13.  Georgia needs to find its shooting touch tonight in Baton Rouge…

14.  When old buddies Mark Fox and Trent Johnson face off for the third time (each has a win against the other).

15.  This writer says Rick Stansbury’s Dogs aren’t disciplined while UK’s Cats are.

16.  Credit Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and his defense for sparking last night’s comeback by the Big Blue.

17.  South Carolina will try to keep Jeffery Taylor and John Jenkins in check tonight when they travel to Vanderbilt.

18.  Darrin Horn wants plenty of “individual accountability” from his Gamecocks.

19.  Tennessee’s players know they can’t get caught worrying about RPI, strength of schedule and tourney bids.

20.  After losing to shorthanded Alabama on Saturday, Cuonzo Martin isn’t changing the Vols’ lineup for Mississippi’s visit tonight.

21.  While Carolina will look to slow Taylor and Jenkins, Vandy’s Kevin Stallings wants those two to start ball-hogging down the stretch.

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Old Pals Johnson And Fox Won’t “Hug And Kiss” Tomorrow In Baton Rouge

Mark Fox used to work with Trent Johnson on the staff at Washington in the early-90s.  Fox then worked for Johnson on his staff at Nevada.  And when Johnson left to become the head coach at Stanford, Fox moved up to replace his old boss.  Johnson even introduced Fox to his future wife.

Clearly, the two have a history and a friendship.

But Johnson says that relationship won’t mean a thing when Fox’s Georgia squad visits Johnson’s LSU team tomorrow night in Baton Rouge:


“There’s a relationship there, but he’s as competitive as all-get out.  He’s going to be miserable if things don’t go well for him, and I’m going to be miserable if things don’t go well for me. It’s not like we’re going to hug and kiss when we get out there.

He has a job to do just like I do in terms of trying to get our kids prepared to do the best we can.  But I like playing people I don’t like as opposed to people I have a lot of respect for.”


Makes you wonder which SEC coaches Johnson doesn’t have respect for, no?

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Three SEC Home Teams Win Big (Again)

The SEC’s 2012 tally board now reads: SEC Home Teams 41, SEC Road Teams 13.

Three more home teams won — and won big — last night.  That’s a 76% clip for teams in their own arenas.  If you’d bet a buddy $10 straight up on the home team to win in every SEC game this year, you’d be plus $280 over your pal right now.  If you’d been sharp enough to take Kentucky in their road games — and the Cats are the only team to take on the road — you’d be at plus $330.

Just saying.

Tennessee 69, South Carolina 57

As the Gamecocks continue to sink into the quicksand at the bottom of the SEC standings board (they’re now 1-8 in league play), the Vols appear to have found a new offensive weapon.  Long-range shooter Skylar McBee made his first start of the year on Saturday and tallied 10 points.  Making his second start last night, he led the Volunteers with 18 on 4-of-7 shooting from the 3-point line.  If McBee could average 14 points per game as a starter, even the defense-first Cuonzo Martin would likely take it.

Struggling Carolina was outrebounded 32-25 and couldn’t muster any consistent offense in the paint.

Vanderbilt 76, LSU 61

The Commodores snapped a two-game losing streak behind a 21-point effort from Festus Ezeli in Nashville.  John Jenkins added 20.  Jeffery Taylor poured in 19 more.  But it was Ezeli who helped give Vandy a 38-22 edge down low and that proved to be the difference in the ballgame.

After a solid start in SEC play, the Tigers have now lost four out of five to fall to 3-6 in league play.  The temperature of Trent Johnson’s seat is once again starting to warm.

The Commodores will host #1 Kentucky — the SEC only unbeaten road team — Saturday night at Memorial Gym.

Georgia 81, Arkansas 59

The road woes continue for Mike Anderson’s team.  Unbeaten at home, the Razorbacks remain winless away from Fayetteville after getting trounced in Athens.  For Georgia, it was just the second SEC win of season.

Gerald Robinson scored a career-high 27 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 18.  The Dawgs had a 15-0 run in the first half and a 12-0 run in the second to put the Hogs away.

UGA also crushed Arkansas on the glass, 44 rebounds to 21.

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SEC Headlines – 2/7/12 Part Two

1.  Varez Ward is becoming a real leader for Auburn’s basketball team.

2.  Michigan has sold out its allotment of tickets for this fall’s season-opener against Alabama at Cowboys Stadium.

3.  Even without Marshawn Powell, Arkansas is playing itself onto the NCAA tourney bubble.

4.  Trent Johnson is trying to prepare his LSU team for a visit from battle-tested Vanderbilt.

5.  Forward Shaun Smith could be a big help to Mississippi State in the stretch run.

6.  Bo Wallace has an advantage in Ole Miss’ quarterback race.

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LSU’s Johnson Unhappy With Late Technical

With 4:45 to go in last night’s game, LSU trailed Mississippi State by 11.  A furious rally cut that lead to a single point with 18 seconds left, but the Bulldogs prevailed in the end 76-71.  Tiger coach Trent Johnson was less than thrilled with officiating that — in his view — helped the Dogs hang on for a homecourt victory.

In the game’s waning seconds he received a technical foul for sharing his views with the officials.  After the game, he explained his displeasure:

“When you’ve got good kids and they struggle and they fight and there’s things going on out there you don’t like, that’s hard…

The game was decided on the boards, but there was a reason for that.  You can’t be as aggressive as you want.  I just want a clarification so I can help my kids.”

Johnson handled that one well.  Good thing.  If he hadn’t he may well have gotten one of the league’s “don’t blast the officials” fines.

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