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SEC Headlines – 11/30/11 PM Edition

1.  Looking for a reason not to trust ESPN and/or Urban Meyer?  Here ya go.

2.  “A source close” to Alabama’s Kirby Smart says the defensive coordinator has not interviewed with Ole Miss yet.

3.  LSU’s Jordan Jefferson continues to improve.

4.  Trent Johnson’s basketball team rallied for a much-needed one-point win over Houston last night.

5.  The Ole Miss basketball team will head to Hawaii for a December basketball tournament next year.

6.  This writer says it’s nearly a sure thing that Florida will land in the Gator Bowl.

7.  Georgia’s Isaiah Crowell should be ready to go against LSU Saturday night.

8.  John Calipari wants the NBA to make players spend two years in college, “but that ain’t happening.”

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A Good Night (Mostly) For SEC Hoops Teams

The SEC went 3-1 in basketball action last night — or was that 3-2? — and looked pretty good in doing so.  Here’s a quick wrap:

Florida 91, North Florida 55

The 7th-ranked Gators bounced back from a loss at Ohio State with a romp over tiny North Florida last night.  Kenny Boynton scored 20 and Erving Walker added 17.

Billy Donovan’s team had the Ospreys on the ropes from the outset.  UF held a double-digit lead just eight minutes into the game and never looked back. 

“I think that says a lot about our focus,” Boynton said.  “We got in (Wednesday) morning (from Columbus).  Coach preached to us that we’ve got to have a great deal of focus coming into today’s game.  We wanted to come out and not have any excuses.”

One issue that bears watching — Florida has hit just 29 of 50 free throw attempts in its last two contests.

Alabama 62, Maryland 42

The Crimson Tide entered the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tourney looking to help their RPI for March.  Last year, Alabama was kicked across the Caribbean and it cost them come tournament time.

Mission accomplished last night.  Bama’s defense smothered Maryland as the Terrapins shot just 26% from the floor.  Maryland hit on only two of 12 3-point tries.

Alabama also won going away despite early foul trouble for JaMychal Green.  “We are a better team with JaMychal on the floor, but Tony (Mitchell) gave us a great performance throughout the game,” Anthony Grant said after the game.

Mitchell finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Mississippi State 69, Texas A&M 60

Rick Stansbury’s Bulldogs gave Texas A&M a dose of Southern hospitality at the 2K Sports Classic in New York last night.  Following the nine-point upset loss (in which the lead was once 22), the 19th-ranked Aggies might think that SEC basketball will be as tough as SEC football.

MSU came out red hot and dropped 10 of their first 13 shots to run out to a 31-9 lead.  The Dogs wound up hitting five 3-point buckets on the night, too.

“That was a little bit of fool’s gold, making five 3s like that,” Rick Stansbury said.  “Texas A&M is a good basketball team and I knew we weren’t going to maintain that kind of shooting.  But I did like our defense, we were pushing them out and we controlled the flow at both ends.”

Dee Bost poured in 20 for State.  A&M was without all-Big 12 forward Khris Middleton who is injured.

Northwestern 88, LSU 82

The Tigers’ trip to the Palmetto State is turning into a nightmare.  Earlier this week, LSU lost at Coastal Carolina.  Last night, Northwestern topped Trent Johnson’s team in the Charleston Classic.

At least the Tigers showed some fight.  Down 76-67 with five minutes to play, LSU battled back to cut the lead to 83-82 with 47 seconds remaining.  They then gave up a 3-point shot that ended their run and allowed Northwestern to collect the victory.

Freshman Johnny O’Bryant III — one of the top signees in the country last year — led LSU with 21 points and eight rebounds.

It’s a long way to March, but Trent Johnson isn’t doing much to save his job just yet.

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SEC Headlines – 11/16/11 Part One

1.  Georgia Southern’s flexbone offense has ties to Bear Bryant’s wishbone offense.  (We pause so that Alabama fans may genuflect.)

2.  The Crimson Tide’s passing game is “good enough” but something is different this year.

3.  Spreading the ball around is important in Gus Malzahn’s offense.

4.  The $64,000 Question: Which season best defines Gene Chizik — 2010 or 2011?

5.  Arkansas tailback Knile Davis is practicing, back from what was believed to be a season-ending preseason ankle injury…

6.  But Bobby Petrino says “he’s not in a situation he can play.”

7.  LSU’s defensive players want their unit to be considered an all-time great.

8.  Hoops coach Trent Johnson was already into his postgame handshake while the finals seconds ticked away from LSU’s loss to Coastal Carolina last night.

9.  Mississippi State is still trying to fix kicking game woes.

10.  Dan Mullen says he’s still comfortable with his quarterback rotation despite his team’s offensive struggles. 

11.  Receivers coach Gunter Brewer — son of former Rebel coach Billy Brewer — will handle recruiting and player relations for Ole Miss until a new coach can be found.

12.  Baton Rouge native Brandon Bolden is looking forward to one last game with LSU.

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SEC Basketball Signing Wrap Up

Wednesday was the first day of the NCAA’s basketball signing period.

Here’s a look at who signed with each school:

G Anthlon Bell – Bartlett HS – Memphis, Tenn.
F Michael Qualls – Huntington HS – Shreveport, La.
F JaCorey Williams – Central Park HS – Birmingham, Ala.

C Asauhn Dixon-Tatum – Chattahoochee Tech College – Marietta, Ga.
F Jordon Granger – Mccluer North HS – Florissant, Mo.
F Shaquille Johnson – Milton HS – Alpharetta, Ga.

Here’s a look at Auburn’s three signees. (WSAF-TV)

G Michael Frazier – Montverde (Fla.) Academy
G Dillon Graham – First Academy – Orlando, Fla.
Braxton Ogbueze – United Faith Christian Academy – Charlotte, N.C.

G Kenny Gaines – Whitefield Academy – Mableton, Ga.
G Charles Mann – Milton HS – Alpharetta, Ga.
F Brandon Morris – Miller Grove HS – Lithonia, Ga.

Georgia coach Mark Fox weighed in on the Bulldogs’ signing class. (Macon Telegraph)

C Willie Cauley – Olathe (Kan.) Northwest HS
G Archie Goodwin – Sylvan Hills HS – Little Rock, Ark.

Remember to watch Kentucky’s class in the spring signing period. (Herald-Leader)

G Malik Morgan – John Curtis HS – River Ridge, La.

LSU coach Trent Johnson released a statement on Morgan’s signing. (LSU Sports)

Ole Miss
F Anthony Cortesia – Montverde (Fla.) Academy
G Martavious Newby – B.T. Washington HS – Memphis, Tenn.

Newby lost a lot of sleep over his college decision. (Commercial Appeal)

Mississippi State
G Josh Gray – Wheatley HS – Houston
G Craig Sword – Carver HS – Montgomery, Ala.
G Fred Thomas – Jim Hill HS – Jackson, Miss.
C Gavin Ware – Starkville (Miss.) HS

South Carolina
G Ian Baker – Arlington Country Day School – Jacksonville, Fla.
F Tyrone Haughton – Dr. Krop High School – Jacksonville
G Carlos Morris – Arlington Country Day – Jacksonville
G Shaq Roland – Lexington (S.C.) High School

F D’Montre Edwards – Brevard Community College – Melbourne, Fla.
F Derek Reese – Olympia – Orlando, Fla.

UT coach Cuonzo Martin trusts his eyes over recruiting stars. (GoVolsXtra)

G A.J. Astroth – Faith Baptist HS – Brandon, Fla.
F Kevin Bright – Duesseldorf – Ulm, Germany

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SEC Headlines – 10/14/11 Part Two

1.  Note to Ole Miss: Alabama’s third-down defense is pretty salty.

2.  Note to Alabama: Houston Nutt has five wins all-time against Top 5 teams.

3.  Gene Chizik and Will Mushcamp traveled the same path to land their current jobs… and that path will have them facing each other tomorrow.

4.  Auburn’s NCAA clearance has created a wave of emotion in the state of Alabama.

5.  Here’s a midseason report card for Arkansas’ football team.

6.  Mike Anderson will hold his first practice with the basketball Hogs tonight.

7.  Tennessee’s Derek Dooley — a former LSU assistant — says this year’s Tigers aren’t that much different from the 2003 national championship team.

8.  Tiger hoops coach Trent Johnson hopes experience will aid his team this season.

9.  Tomorrow, Ole Miss will face a quarterback in AJ McCarron who’s taking care of the football.

10.  Rebel left tackle Bradley Sowell says his team will come out fighting tomorrow.

11.  Dan Mullen has two good choices at quarterback, but only one can start.

12.  Neither of MSU’s signal-callers will have much success tomorrow without a lot of help from his friends.

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SEC Headlines 7/23/2011

1. A self-imposed two-year probation for the Tennessee athletic department.

2. Kevin Scarbinsky: “Alabama can’t help it, didn’t ask for it and may end up paying for it, but there’s a buzz building around this team that’s impossible to ignore and will be difficult to fulfill.”

3. Since 1992, preseason favorite has won the league just 4 of 19 times.

4. High expectations for Alabama’s defense. Safety Mark Barron is “almost 100 percent.”

5. A.J. McCarron or Phillip Sims? QB battle could extend into September.

6. The 2010 Iron Bowl is a game that won’t go away. Poisoning of trees has changed tone of rivalry.

7. Nick Saban on preseason predictions and Les Miles on anonymous message board posters. The best and worst of Day 3. Quote roundup here. Team capsules here.

8. Scott Rabalais: Don’t know yet what kind of hurricane season this will turn out to be. So far, LSU it’s been a stormy summer.”

9. Les Miles: “Summer’s over.”

10. David Ching:  ”Les Miles’ near silence said it all Friday at Southeastern Conference media days.”

11. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger may be waiting awhile. Jordan Jefferson “had the look of a confident quarterback.”

12. “(O)n the final day of the Southeastern Conference Media Day, the new coach at Vanderbilt more than held his own.

13. James Franklin remains focused on recruiting.

14. John Adams on Vandy’s recruiting efforts: “Will those commitments hold up through what promises to be another last-place season in the SEC East?”

15. Vanderbilt seniors are thinking bowl game this year.

16. Predicted to finish last in the SEC West, Ole Miss hopes to use the pick as motivation.

17. “Nutt has had a reputation for having his best seasons when not much was expected from his team.”

18. Nutt is getting a lot of questions about Mississippi State billboards.

19. Ole Miss defensive end Kentrell Lockett is back for a sixth season of eligibility.  Lockett Friday morning – “It smells like Pop Tarts.”

20. Renardo Sidney chooses working out with an ex-NBA player over a summer tour in Europe with his teammates.

21. One-year extension for LSU coach Trent Johnson will be voted on next month.

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LSU’s O’Bryant Would Like To Be One And Done

After suffering through two 20-losses seasons in a row, Trent Johnson desperately needed to bring in some new talent at LSU.  Enter Anthony Hickey, John Isaac and Johnny O’Bryant.  All are expected to contribute this season, but it’s the 6-9, 260-pound O’Bryant that’s being talked about as a potential one-and-done player:

“Of course, I want to have a big impact from Day One.  When I signed, I know a lot would be expected of me.  I’m going to accept the role and try my hardest to get better each day.  (On the NBA) I just know if I come out and play hard, let the NBA decide.  Hopefully, I won’t be too long, but if I do, (I’ll) try to help the team.”

Asked by The New Orleans Times-Picayune if he would like to be able to jump to the NBA after single season, O’Bryant answered: “Of course.”

Below is what LSU fans hope the big man brings to the table in Baton Rouge this season:

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SEC Headlines – 7/19/11 Part One

1.  Tony Barnhart of writes that the NCAA isn’t playing nice anymore.  Read it, folks.  Excellent and straight to the point as usual.

2.  The media hasn’t always done a whiz-bang job of picking the SEC champion at Media Days.

3.  Reminder: Here’s the schedule for SEC Media Days (which begins tomorrow at 1pm ET).

4.  The LSU basketball team is about to get a big influx of new talent.

5.  But forward Garret Green is transferring out and that’s caught Trent Johnson off guard.

6.  Mississippi’s season-opening opponent — BYU — is aiming for a national title.

7.  Here’s a quick breakdown of Mississippi State’s updated depth chart.

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An Extension For LSU’s Johnson Off The Table For Now

A contract extension is basically a vote of confidence for a college coach.  It tells the fanbase we believe in our guy.  It allows the coach to tell recruits he’ll be around for a while.

But a contract extension is also a very expensive vote of confidence.  It’s another year’s salary that will have to be paid out or negotiated down if the coach eventually loses the confidence of his employer.

Glenn Guilbeau of Gannett Louisiana reports today that LSU basketball coach Trent Johnson might have seen his chances of receiving a contract extension dwindle in the past few days.

According to Guilbeau, LSU’s board of supervisors released last week an agenda for their meeting scheduled for this Friday.  A one-year extension for Johnson was on that agenda.  But on Monday, a revised agenda was released.  And that agenda made no mention of an extension for the Tigers’ fourth-year coach.

Asked for a comment, the office of athletic director Joe Alleva has remained mum on the change of plans.  However, associate AD Herb Vincent says Johnson could still get an extension in the coming weeks.

“Yes, it could be on the agenda for a future board meeting,” Vincent said.  “It was an administrative issue.  It was pulled back this month because it had not been through the complete administrative process and was sent back to the campus from the system office to complete the review process.”

Johnson led the Tigers to a surprise SEC championship in his first season in Baton Rouge, but since then his squads have endured a pair of 20-loss seasons.  He currently has three years remaining on his current pact (at $1.5 million per season) and LSU is in the midst of a continuing budget crisis.  Adding a fourth year wouldn’t be wise if the school feels it might have to buy Johnson out eventually.

Add all that up and Johnson’s extension might not be back on the agenda for some time.

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SEC Headlines – 6/28/11 Part Four

1.  Arkansas’ athletic budget ranks near the bottom of the SEC, but the Hogs don’t count pennies when it comes to hiring coaches.

2.  LSU football is feelin’ the love from preseason prognosticators.

3.  Trent Johnson says it’s “so far, so good” in Baton Rouge this summer.

4.  Mississippi State’s Rick Stansbury is the only coach bemoaning the league’s decision to dump divisions in basketball.

5.  Hotshot receiver prospect Tobias Singleton says his grades are in order and he’ll be enrolling at Ole Miss “by Wednesday.”

6.  Mississippi is spending time and money on educating its student-athletes on proper social media behavior (when it could just as easily pull the dang plug on those sites and be done with it).

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