SEC Morning Five: 01.19.12 EditionPosted by Brian Joyce on January 19th, 2012
- Florida’s Billy Donovan received good news on center Patric Young’sankle injury as no structural damage was done. “He’s just got some pretty significant inflammation in the area that’s causing the problem with it and I think the best thing for him now is rest,” Donovan said. “But there’s nothing there for him that’s going to keep him out of games.” Young played just 13 minutes against South Carolina, limiting him to four points. He has been held out of practice so far this week, but is expected to play Saturday against LSU. Florida will need quality minutes from its big man against the Tigers’ seven footer, Justin Hamilton. Hamilton is one of the most underrated players in the conference, averaging 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this season.
- Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings isn’t happy with a scheduling inequality in the SEC. Stallings claims Kentucky gets an extra boost from the league that simply isn’t fair to the other teams. Nine conference teams go through at least one stretch of having to play a Thursday game followed by a Saturday game in the same week. The quick turnaround is difficult on players and coaching staffs, but Kentucky doesn’t play a Thursday-Saturday combo for the second straight year. In addition, the Wildcats get the added benefit of playing four SEC opponents coming off a Thursday night game. “Go figure that one out for me, would you?” Stallings said. “We all agreed to do it, so if you have one, like we have one, I’m not going to complain. To not have any and to be able to play four teams that have to do it to play you… that’s not right.” Stallings does enjoy having his Commodores on TV, correct? It seems much ado about nothing to us. LSU and Auburn don’t have to play through one of these quick stretches of games, but nobody complains about that. Because it’s Kentucky, Stallings wants to call foul, which seems hypocritical considering Vanderbilt has just one Thursday-Saturday combo this season.
- Speaking of Kentucky, center Anthony Davisbroke the Cats’ single season blocks record on Tuesday night against Arkansas. Davis now sits with 89 blocks just 19 games into his first collegiate season. The shot blocker extraordinaire is ahead of all but 34 TEAMS in NCAA Division I, all by himself. Given the shot blocking pace of Davis and the rest of the Wildcats, Kentucky should break the NCAA team record for blocked shots in a season currently set by Connecticut at 315. Although Davis is the best interior defender the college game has seen in many years, he is not likely to break the all-time single season block record set by Navy’s David Robinson in 1986. Davis also has a developing offensive game that has improved drastically over the last couple of weeks. He has scored in double figures in his last eight games, including a 27-point performance on 10-of-12 shooting against the Razorbacks.
- Arkansas played its patented uptempo game Tuesday night, but it played perfectly into Kentucky’s strengths. The Wildcats shot 57.1% helped out by their up and down point guard Marquis Teague. “Unbelievable floor game,” head coach John Calipari said. “The best he’s played all year. Nothing was forced. Didn’t make any crazy plays.” Teague dished out a season-high nine assists in the victory. Because of their effectiveness in the open court, Calipari would welcome other teams to play uptempo against the Wildcats. “Obviously I would love to play fast the whole game,” Calipari said, “but you’ve got to be able to play in the half court.” The Cats scored a very effective 1.23 points per possession, and what seemed like three lobs per minute to Anthony Davis.
- The SEC appears to have five solid teams (Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Florida, Mississippi State and Alabama) in the NCAA Tournament, but Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin isn’t convinced that the bubble will burst on his Volunteers. “Like I told our guys,” Martin said, “from Florida up until now, you say [we’re] one of the 65 or 68 teams, I would say yes. But you have to put a lot of work to cover some ground. I would definitely say from the time we started league play up until now, when you pick 65 or 33, 35 [at-large] teams, I would say yes.” Martin must not be aware that the selection committee typically doesn’t allow sub .500 teams or RPIs of #180 into the Big Dance. But then again, we admire the confidence Martin has in his squad. Keep the dream alive.