SEC Morning Five: 02.24.12 Edition
Posted by Brian Joyce on February 24th, 2012
- Florida received bad news with the report that forward Will Yeguete is likely out for the remainder of the season with a broken foot. Yeguete was sidelined twice already this season, both for concussions. Billy Donovan confirmed the news that the foot is indeed broken and that Yeguete will miss a minimum of four to six weeks. Yeguete was averaging 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 points so far this season. Donovan will likely attempt to replace the defensive stopper with a committee of younger players. Freshman Cody Larson will probably see increased minutes, and Donovan has the option of playing additional guards in that forward slot to go with a smaller lineup.
- Florida failed to impress Donovan with Yeguete out of the lineup. In Tuesday’s matchup with Auburn, the Gators trailed 30-27 at halftime. Donovan had a spirited address in the locker room to spark an eventual 63-47 win. What did Donovan say? “My thing to them was, if Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem and Matt Bonner and Kenyan Weeks and Brett Nelson and Joakim Noah and Al Horford are watching right now, what’s their feeling like,” Donovan asked. ” Those guys gave their heart and soul to this program and that’s the way you’re representing our program right now with your effort, your focus and everything else? Beyond that, what do your families think right now?” The players obviously responded, and some even felt it was needed. “He needed to get on us, and I think it helped us,” guard Kenny Boynton said. One can only hope for the players sake that Donovan doesn’t have to get on them again.
- Coaches always preach the importance of free throws, but the discrepancy in Thursday night’s matchup between South Carolina and Vanderbilt definitely made the difference in the game. Vanderbilt made 25 of 28 free throws while the Gamecocks went four for four. “You’re not winning any games when the other team shoots 28 free throws and you shoot four,” South Carolina coach Darrin Horn said. “It’s just not going to happen.” The other reason for Vanderbilt’s win was its team defense. The Gamecocks were the third SEC opponent that the Commodores held under 50 points.
- A big question surrounding the SEC right now pertains to the number of teams that will end up making it into the NCAA Tournament. Florida coach Billy Donovan thinks more thanjust Kentucky, Florida, and Vanderbilt should make it in.”The league is definitely stronger, and you can tell that from the fact that there aren’t a lot of games separating us,” said Donovan. “Other than Kentucky, which is undefeated, all of us are within a game or two of each other. So, certainly there are more than three teams that deserve to be in this tournament.” However, while Alabama and Mississippi State continue on a downward spiral, it will be difficult to make the case that more than four or five should make it in comfortably. Not everyone agrees though.”Look at Tennessee; look at Arkansas. Those are teams that could get on a tear and win our tournament,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “At that point, we’ve got six teams in. And it’s six teams that can advance. It’s not like having seven teams in and only two advance past the first round. We have six teams that could win some games.”
- Kentucky senior Darius Miller took a major leadership role in the final minutes of a close game against Mississippi State. Miller didn’t make a single shot in the first 32 minutes of play, but scored 12 points in the final eight minutes with a slight nudge from his coach. “I’m saying, ‘You’re out, next guy, I’m not going to play you,'” coach John Calipari said of the Miller benching. “Then he went back in, and he’s bombing balls. That’s what I said, ‘You’re that senior. You’re that glue to this team. They count on you to make those shots.'” Miller was key down the stretch last year in the Wildcats run to an SEC tournament title and NCAA Final Four run.