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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 12/18/2013

gfx-hoops-round-up1. Manhattan 86 – South Carolina 68. Gamecocks fall to 2-4 on the season.  Sindarius Thornwell led South Carolina with 17 points.

2. Mississippi State 78 – Florida A&M 65.  Bulldogs make 33 free throws on 45 chances - second most attempts in the SEC this season, the most made.  Team-high 16 points for Craig Sword.

3. Wichita State 72 – Alabama 67.  Shockers remain undefeated with second straight win over SEC team.  Crimson Tide drop to 5-5 on the season.  ”Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.”

4. Vanderbilt 58 – Austin Peay 56. Video HighlightsCommodores hang on despite committing 19 turnovers.  Vanderbilt improves to 6-3 on the season.

5. Florida 77 – Memphis 75.  Second straight win over ranked opponent for Gators despite season-high 17 turnovers.  Florida now 8-2.

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SEC Hoops Roundup 12/15/2013

gfx-hoops-round-up1. Wichita State 70 – Tennessee. Video HighlightsDown by just two points with 6:50 to go in the game, Vols can’t hold off late surge by undefeated Shockers.  6-3 Tennessee paced by Jordan McRae’s 26 points.

2. Georgia 84 – Lipscomb 75. Walk-on point guard Taylor Echols hits three three-point shots, matches career-high with 9 points.  Leading scorer Charles Mann out with a bone bruise.

3. Texas A&M 73 – McNeese State 60. Video Highlights. 8-2 Aggies remain undefeated at home.  Junior forward Jamal Jones led A&M with 16 points.

4. Ole Miss 72 – Middle Tennessee State 63.  Rebels get game-high 25 points from Jarvis Summers. Coach Andy Kennedy: “We’ve won seven, we’ve won against the Big Ten and the ACC, and I really believe this is the most quality of wins that we’ve had.”

5. North Carolina 82 – Kentucky 77. Video Highlights. Wildcats drop to 8-3 on the season despite 19 missed free throws from Carolina.  UK misses 14 free throws and commits 17 turnovers.

6. LSU 61 -UL-Monroe 54. Tigers get a career-high 25 points from freshman Jordan Mickey.  LSU now 6-2 on the season.

7. Alabama 59- Charleston-Southern 45.  Career-high 22 points for  Retin Obasohan as leading-scorer Trevor Releford sidelined with hip injury.

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Wichita State 70 – Tennessee 61

Video highlights of the Wichita State 70-61 win over Tennessee Saturday.


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Just 2 SEC Squads In First Coaches Poll

ballot-boxUSA Today unveiled its preseason top 25 men’s basketball poll today and Tony Barbee won’t like the results.  How could his fellow coaches who vote have placed just two SEC teams — “The best basketball league in the country, period.” — in the top 25?

First, the good news:  The SEC has two top 10 teams.  In fact, Kentucky is ranked #1 while Florida comes in at #8.

Now, the bad news:  No other SEC team is ranked.  Not one.  None.  Zip.  Zilch.

Memphis, Gonzaga, Virginia Commonwealth, Wichita State, and New Mexico are among those ranked.

Tennessee received enough votes to come in at #30 if the poll dropped that far.  But Creighton got more votes than the Vols.

Harvard, Boise State, St. Louis, and LaSalle all got more votes than Missouri, the SEC’s next best club (according to the voters).

Temple received more votes (four) than LSU (two) or Georgia (one).

If the SEC is to live up to Barbee’s puffery, a lot of teams will have to rise up and surprise their fellow hoops coaches.  Right now, the league is picking up where it left off last season… and that’s not a good thing.

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Wow Weekend Headlines 4/6/2013

In the NCAA Tournament semi-finals, Louisville defeats Wichita State 72-68…
Michigan defeats Syracuse 61 to 56…
Louisville and Michigan meet Monday night in the championship game
Auburn A.D. Jay Jacobs says school will review charges of multiple NCAA violations…
Auburn is accused of fixing players’ grades and of paying players money to bypass the NFL and stay in school
ESPN investigation claims a dozen players on Auburn’s 2010 football team failed tests for synthetic marijuana
Investigation claims schools officials knew results but kept it secret
Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell will miss the rest of spring practice after having knee surgery
Follow the SEC at MrSEC.com and at twitter.com/mrsec all day, every day

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SEC Coaching Carousel Updates

There are two SEC programs searching for a new head coach.  A third school might be looking for one if they can’t hold onto theirs.

We’ll start with South Carolina where native son Gregg Marshall is still expected to be high on the list.  Trouble is, there are plenty of people in Kansas who are saying it’ll take a lot of cash to lure Marshall away from Wichita State.  From columnists in Wichita to ESPN’s Andy Katz, it’s clear that someone is driving up Marshall’s price tag on the coach’s behalf.  Word is that the Shockers’ coach wants at least $2 million to takeover a Gamecock program that ends coaching careers with great regularity.

If Marshall can’t be had, don’t be surprised if AD Eric Hyman makes a run at Duke assistant Jeff Capel.  Hyman tried to hire him when he inked Darrin Horn.  Capel has washed out once at Oklahoma and the program was put on probation under his watch.  (Though like John Calipari, Capel was not accused of any wrongdoing.)

Meanwhile, president Mark Keenum of Mississippi State says AD Scott Stricklin is just getting started in his search for a Rick Stansbury replacement.  Promoting an assistant — that’s how MSU has landed its last two coaches — is not out of the question and outgoing point guard Dee Bost has already tweeted his support for ex-Stansbury aide Phil Cunningham.

Katz also tosses out the name of Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne — a man with ties to the Magnolia State — as a potential candidate in Starkville.

Whoever State hires will inherit a program in flux.  And MSU recruits are now mulling their options.

Finally, there may or may not be an opening at Ole Miss.  There’s been speculation from multiple sources all weekend (and today with the aforementioned Katz) that Andy Kennedy might be a target for his alma mater, UAB.

Kennedy is expected to meet with UM chancellor Dan Jones regarding his contract over the next “several weeks.”  The school is also looking for a replacement for AD Pete Boone, which further complicates Kennedy’s contract negotiations.

If UAB does make a run at Kennedy, he’ll likely have to take a pay cut to return to his old stomping grounds.  As we pointed out last week, previous Blazer coach Mike Davis made about half as much as Kennedy currently pulls down in Oxford.

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Stansbury To “Retire” At MSU Today

Now we know why Scott Stricklin has been so quiet the last 24 hours.  He’s been working out a “retirement” package for head basketball coach Rick Stansbury.  The winningest coach in MSU history is expected to announce this afternoon that he’s stepping down after three NCAA Tournament-less seasons.

Stansbury — who served as an assistant at State from 1990 through 1998 before taking over as head coach — compiled a career mark of 293-165.  That’s a winning percentage of .641.  He fielded 10 20-win teams.  He also took the Bulldogs to 11 postseason tournaments (six NCAAs, five NITs) in his 14 years in the captain’s chair.

But Stansbury failed to lead the Dogs to a single Sweet Sixteen.  His last three years have been marked by disappointments on the court and embarrassing issues off it (most of which stemmed from the signing of Renardo Sidney, who can rightfully be called a “coach-killer” at this point).  Fan support dwindled as the faithful became tired of seeing the same guy stalk the Humphrey Coliseum sideline.

Stansbury is just 52 years of age, so if you think he’s actually “retiring” without a gentle nudge from AD Scott Stricklin’s shoe, you’re dreaming.  Expect him to coach again at some point.  With his record, he’ll get a shot somewhere.

As for State — like South Carolina — it’s now all about the job search.  No doubt you’ll hear the biggest and hottest names in the biz kicked around by fans and fan websites.  Expect to hear Cowbell ringers from Hernando to Pascagoula shouting “Shaka Smart!”

Who Mississippi State can actually land?  Well, that’s another matter.  We’d put our money on an up-and-comer.  Don’t be surprised if Gregg Marshall of Wichita State doesn’t suddenly pop up on two SEC programs’ radar, for example.

But for now, the focus will be on Stansbury for just a few more hours.  Fans have been invited to attend his press conference at 2pm ET.  There some of the same people who’ve called for his ouster can soothe their consciences by cheering him and thanking him for his valuable contribution to MSU hoops.

Contributions that are unmatched in school history.  Contributions a new coach will be expected to top.

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Who Are The Candidates At Carolina?

Yesterday, Eric Hyman said that he would study a wide pool of candidates in his search to replace fired hoops coach Darrin Horn.

From our standpoint, South Carolina’s search will likely begin with one man — Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall.  Marshall led tiny Palmetto State school Winthrop to seven NCAA Tournaments in nine seasons before heading to Kansas.  He’s taken Wichita State from a losing team to a #5 seed in this week’s NCAA Tournament (with an RPI of 12) in five years.

He’s also from Greenwood, South Carolina which is just about 80 miles from Columbia.  And during Hyman’s presser yesterday, he said that recruiting, player development, and connections to the area would all be factors in his decision. 

Marshall makes sense.  That said, being from South Carolina, he may wonder why he was never tabbed for the Gamecock head coaching job earlier in his career.  And as a native of the state he would surely know that Carolina has been a graveyard for coaches since the Frank McGuire era came to an end in 1980.

Marshall might have the following choice to make: home and SEC money versus — according to history — probable doom.

If he’s not the Gamecocks’ choice — and through multiple interviews with SEC schools in the past, Marshall has not been the choice — then who will be on Carolina’s short list?

Columbia’s The State newspaper has posted an online poll that includes in addition to Marshall a number of coaches with ties back to the state (meaning the actual state, not the newspaper).  Included on the list:


Dave Dickerson — current assistant at Ohio State and Carolina native (also fired as head coach at Tulane)

Tommy Amaker — current head coach at Harvard and former Duke player (also fired as head coach at Michigan)

Tubby Smith — current head coach at Minnesota (where he’s doing a so-so job) and a former Carolina assistant coach under George Felton in the late 1980s

Jeff Capel — an assistant at Duke and former player there (also fired as head coach at Oklahoma)

Stan Jones — an assistant at Florida State and former assistant at Mississippi State

Anthony Solomon — an assistant at Notre Dame and former assistant at Clemson

Shaka Smart — VCU’s head coach and one of the hottest names in the country


Smart could land better jobs than Carolina.  He’s on everyone’s list for a second year in a row.  One look at USC’s track record and he’ll likely turn his head in another direction.

Smith is 61-years-old and the Gamecocks went the veteran route with a 59-year-old Dave Odom back in 2001.  Speaking as someone who’s now over 40, the older you get… the less you excite a fanbase.

If a lack of fan support helped do in Horn, would a coach who was fired from another program really generate excitement in Columbia?  Would the hiring of an assistant?

It’s ridiculously early to be making guesses about who Hyman will wind up handing a contract to, but if you’re gonna do it, the smart money’s on Marshall.

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