SEC M5: 02.18.13 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on February 18th, 2013

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  1. Kentucky coach John Calipari simply wants his players to play hard, and that certainly didn’t happen for the majority of Wildcats in their 30-point loss to Tennessee on Saturday. When asked about junior guard Jarrod Polson, “He fought,” Calipari said. “He and Julius (Mays) fought. Two guys. Battled. Two guys.” Calipari pointed to experience as being a factor in his team’s response to the pleas for effort. “Julius is a veteran. (He and Polson) understand you can’t put your head down. You have to compete.” The Cats will have enough trouble winning games without superstar freshman Nerlens Noel in the lineup without having to battle a lack of effort too.
  2. Unfortunately for Kentucky, that was the nicest thing its coach had to say on Saturday. Calipari had more critical comments after his team effectively quit in Thompson-Boling Arena in its first game since Noel’s injury. “We’ve got a couple of guys that are basically not real coachable,” said Calipari. “You tell them over and over what we want to do, what we have to do, and they do their own thing. That’s where we are.” Frustration may have boiled over after the Wildcats’ worst loss in the Calipari era, but if the showing on Saturday was any indication, life after Noel will not be easy. And Calipari will probably have a lot to say about it.
  3. The St. Louis Post Dispatch officially put the SEC on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. With the exception of Florida, no SEC team has done what it takes to feel safe on Selection Sunday. As the author hypothesizes, “Will the SEC get just three NCAA bids? Will it get four? Could disaster strike and limit the league to just two berths? The SEC is a bubble conference. It lacks the depth and non-conference victory list of the other major conferences.” Two bids? At this point the SEC would be lucky to find itself with anything more than one. Kentucky is on a downward spiral, Ole Miss doesn’t have a single quality win, and Missouri can’t win a road game, of which it has three remaining. And beating up on each other doesn’t mean much for the league’s overall resume at this point.
  4. Disappointing loss after disappointing loss, the SEC could become the first power conference to send just one team to the Big Dance since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Though SEC teams like Kentucky and Missouri don’t currently pass the eye test, other teams don’t either. “The issue is not so much ‘Is Missouri great?’ because they are flawed with their résumé,” said the Tournament bracketologist for USA Today Sports. “But who else are you going to put in ahead of them? Can you find me 37 (at-large) teams you can put in ahead of them?” Teams like the Wildcats and Tigers simply can’t afford a bad loss, and there are lots of ill-timed traps lurking in late February. However, Saturday’s showdown in Lexington between the two bubble teams could end up as something of a play-in game for the SEC’s second bid.
  5. The legend of Marshall Henderson never ceases to amaze. Though Henderson has captivated the nation with his last second shots and difficult three-pointers, it’s been his gestures, antics, off-the-wall comments, and obscenities that have made him an Internet sensation. And his latest headline-grabbing quote just adds to his repertoire. After putting in 25 points in an overtime win against Georgia, Henderson brought the postgame press conference to a halt with this gem. “If it’s all the same, it’s Saturday night. I’m out,” Henderson said. The man. The myth. The legend.
Brian Joyce (292 Posts)

Brian Joyce is an advanced metrics enthusiast, college hoops junkie, and writer for the SEC basketball microsite for Rush the Court.


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