NCAA Tournament Tidbits 03.18.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 18th, 2012

The NCAA Tournament is here and there’s more news, commentary and analysis than any of us can possibly keep up with. To make things a little easier, we’ll bring you a list of daily links gathered about teams in each of the four regions all the way through the Final Four.

West Region

South Region

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Four Thoughts From Greensboro…

Posted by mpoindexter on March 18th, 2012

Looking back at Friday’s action in Greensboro, what was most illuminating was sitting only a few feet behind the bench used by Alabama, North Carolina, Duke, and Xavier. Television broadcasts have given us an intimate view of almost every aspect of the game, but they still haven’t provided an insider’s experience of what goes on in the huddle (and due to the likelihood of FCC fines, they probably won’t). Here are four observations of Greensboro’s benches up close.
  1. Despite losing in the last seconds to Creighton, everything is looking up for Anthony Grant at Alabama. Significantly, Grant was able to take one of the youngest teams in America from of a basketball-apathetic state to the NCAA Tournament. Even down the stretch, leading up to Alabama’s last-second shot, Grant was soft-voiced and encouraging with his team. During timeouts, Grant would briefly consult with his assistants before relaying the plan to a group of players who sat quietly hung on his every word. Of all the coaches I saw up close on Friday, Grant was by far the closest thing to a teacher. Currently, it doesn’t appear that Grant has anyone on his roster that is likely to bolt for the NBA ahead of schedule. Expect the Crimson Tide to compete near the top of the SEC very soon.
  2. In local media, North Carolina’s John Henson is often portrayed as a goofy, baby-faced manchild. In North Carolina’s blowout win against Vermont, though, Henson showed himself to be a cerebral and intuitive future coach. Sidelined with a wrist injury for the third straight game, Henson was constantly stepping off the bench to give freshman big men James Michael McAdoo and Desmond Hubert instructions when they were on the court. It would be easy for Henson to get down, missing out on some of the most important games he’s ever played, but he’s finding a way to contribute to the Tar Heels even without playing.
  3. Each March, for as long as the NCAA tournament is played, we will see Lehigh beat Duke over and over again. What is likely to go unmentioned, though, is how remarkable it is that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski got his team to the position of a #2 seed. While the Blue Devils are undeniably talented, they are far from being anything close to a balanced team. Despite lacking a true point guard or small forward, Duke was able to beat teams like Michigan State, Kansas, and North Carolina. In the huddle, Krzyzewski was just as he is billed to be: in the first half, trying to wake his sluggish team up, profane and angry; in the second half, morphing into stirring motivational speeches that made me even believe I could accomplish anything. Sure, Mike Krzyzewski’s biggest advantage at Duke is that he can bring in superior talent every year. Never, however, will Krzyzewski get anything less than the optimal performance out of that talent.
  4. With six minutes to play in their win against Notre Dame, Xavier forward Andre Walker caught a blow to the face that laid him flat on the court. Walker eventually made his way to the end of the bench, where he received constant attention from the Xavier medical staff. At times, Walker was doubled over in pain, barely able to lift a cup of water to his lips. By the game’s end, Walker sat, head in hands, with a towel draped over his head as his shoulders shook slightly. Walker is expected to play against Lehigh, but his scary injury is a prime example of just how physical college basketball really is. Viewed up close, as opposed to on television, big time college basketball is almost violent: players are scratched, gouged, elbowed, and slapped on every single play. As fast and powerful as today’s players are, it’s a miracle that more players don’t suffer severe injuries.
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RTC Conference Primers: #8 – Atlantic 10

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 30th, 2011

Joe Dzuback of Villanova by the Numbers is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference. You can find him on Twitter @vbtnBlog.

Reader’s Take I

The A-10 has earned three invitations to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four seasons. Xavier and Temple, as they have for the past two seasons, will claim two bids.


Top Storylines

Xavier's Tu Holloway Is A First-Team All-American Candidate And One Of The Nation's Best Seniors

  • A-10 to Barclays in 2013: Barclays Center, under construction in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, is in the market for multi-day sporting events while the Atlantic 10 is looking for a bigger stage for their post season tournament — a perfect match perhaps? The two announced a deal late last month that will move the 2012-13 A-10 Conference Tournament to the 675,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue that will feature an 18,000 seat arena for basketball. The Atlantic 10 has vacillated between rotating campus sites and a “permanent neutral” site since the first conference tournament in 1976-77. The current location since the 2006-07 tournament, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, is a 10,500 seat amphitheater. While technically neutral, the attendance is up when one or more of the Philadelphia contingent (La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and/or Temple) advances to the quarterfinal round and beyond, and down when they do not. The conference will return to Boardwalk Hall for their 2011-12 tournament, then move over to Barclays Center the following season.
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Morning Five: 07.05.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 5th, 2011

  1. Miami center Reggie Johnson underwent surgery last Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and is expected to be out 5-6 months. We haven’t heard any updates since Friday on how the surgery went so we are hoping that there were no complications in the acute recovery period. Although Johnson is expected to return for the start of ACC play the injury is a significant setback for the Hurricanes who will be without their top returning player (11.9 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 1.3 BPG as a sophomore). Still with a veteran squad and a still weak ACC the Hurricanes could make a run at a NCAA Tournament bid if Johnson comes back healthy.
  2. Yesterday, we talked about the new #1 recruit in the class of 2012, Shabazz Muhammad, according to Rivals, but their is another rising senior who is also making a bid for the #1 overall spot in next year’s graduating class, DaJuan Coleman. Right now Coleman is ranked as the 3rd or 4th best center in his class, but as this appears to be a particularly strong year for centers he is actually ranked as highly as 5th overall despite being just 3rd at his position according to one service (ESPN) while he comes in at 18th overall in another (Rivals). According to Coleman’s AAU coach, Kentucky and Syracuse appear to the current leaders for Coleman’s future services. Although Kentucky seems to be landing almost every top recruit these days Syracuse should be a strong contender since Coleman plays for a nearby high school that also produced current Syracuse point guard Brandon Triche.
  3. Justin Clark announced that he would be leaving Illinois State after two disappointing seasons. Coming into his freshman season Clark was considered the top recruit in his class in the Missouri Valley Conference, but has struggled to find his shot at the college level hitting just 23.3% from 3-point range in his two seasons. Clark has not released any information about why or where he was transferring, but there will probably be plenty of mid-major schools willing to give him a chance given his pedigree.
  4. Xavier added some much needed depth yesterday in the form of Vanderbilt transfer Andre Walker. Walker, who battled through injuries including a torn ACL as a sophomore while at Vanderbilt averaged 6.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 2.5 APG as a junior before battling through another injury-riddled season as a senior, will be able to play for the Musketeers next season because he graduated from Vanderbilt in four years and will be enrolling in a degree program not offered at Vanderbilt. If Walker stays healthy he could be the missing piece for a talented, but shallow Musketeer team that could make some noise in the NCAA Tournament.
  5. Billy Gillispie cannot seem to catch a break. The former Kentucky and new Texas Tech coach apparently was involved in a Ponzi scheme that managed to ensnare several prominent coaches including Jim Donnan, Barry Switzer, and Tommy Tuberville. The exact amount that Gillispie had invested (and lost) is unknown at this time, but it would appear that he is at least in better financial shape than the retired Donnan, who has filed for bankruptcy after other investors sued him because Donnan received some money back as an early investor from the $26-29 million that Greg and Linda Crabtree reportedly took from later investors. In any event, Gillispie should be able to recover especially since he actually signed a contract with the school he is coaching this time.
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Checking in on… the SEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 3rd, 2011

Jared Quillen is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference

A Look Back

Now that non-conference play is all but over, I thought we should take a look at the biggest surprises and disappointments thus far, as well as a couple other notes from around the conference.

Biggest Surprise – Vanderbilt

Having lost AJ Ogilvy and leading scorer Jermaine Beal, Vanderbilt looked to be a team that would have a tough time in the stacked SEC East, but the holdovers from last year have stepped up and made this Vanderbilt team even better than last year’s.  No one has improved more than junior Festus Ezeli, who has gone from 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game last year to 13.1 and 7.1 respectively.  Vanderbilt finished the pre-conference season 11-2 with quality wins over Nebraska, North Carolina and Marquette and losing only to West Virginia and Missouri.  Even more impressively, the Commodores outscored opponents by 16 points per game.  Look for the ‘Dores to finish second in the SEC.

Biggest Disappointment – Tie, Tennessee/Mississippi State

Both of these teams leave me shaking my head.  Tennessee started the season 7-0 against teams that are a combined 65-27 including Big East powers Villanova and Pittsburgh.  Since that time, Tennessee has gone 2-4 against teams that are a combined 48-37, and Bruce Pearl hasn’t even started his suspension yet.  They have all the same players they started with and the schedule has gotten easier.  I just do not get it.

As far as Mississippi State, this is a team that started the season as a possible SEC championship contender once Renardo Sidney and Dee Bost became eligible.  Then Sidney was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team after playing only one game and suspended again after his second game in a Bulldogs uniform for a fight with Bulldogs senior Elgin Bailey.  In Sidney’s defense, the other players say it was mostly Bailey’s fault.  But mostly doesn’t help Mississippi State, who desperately needs Sidney on the court if they are to salvage this season and have any chance at making the NCAA tournament.

Other Notes

  • It appears that the NCAA delights in antagonizing Wildcat fans by dragging their feet through the procuess surrounding the appeal of Enes Kanter’s ineligibility ruling. The NCAA was able to declare Cam Newton eligible in a day, but has been considering the Enes Kanter case for the better part of seven months now. The NCAA declared Kanter permanently ineligible for receiving benefits over and above actual expenses while playing for a Turkish professional team as a teenager but has allowed Kentucky to resubmit their case in light of the Cam Newton case as a precedent. There were some that thought a decision would come quickly, but after two weeks of standing around and patting themselves on the back for its near endless display of inconsistency, the NCAA announced this week that no decision would come before the New Year. In the meantime, Enes Kanter’s father, stated that if declared ineligible for this season but allowed to play next year, a la Renardo Sidney, Enes Kanter would indeed return to school next year and play, rather than declare for the NBA, again making the case that Kanter’s desire all along has been to play “amateur” college basketball in the United States under coach John Calipari.
  • You will perhaps recall that I previously lamented the lack of quality matchups in the SEC/Big East Invitational which this year involved Arkansas, Kentucky, Auburn, Tennessee, Seton Hall, Notre Dame, Auburn and Pittsburgh.  It was announced around the holidays that beginning in 2011, six SEC teams and six Big East teams will participate in an annual event whose title will alternate between the BIG EAST/SEC Challenge and SEC/BIG EAST Challenge.  I for one can’t wait to see the matchups.  Cross your fingers for Kentucky/Syracuse, Tennessee/Georgetown, Vanderbilt/Louisville, Mississippi State/Pittsburgh.

Power Rankings

  1. Kentucky (11-2) Kentucky is winning games by a league-leading 17.5 points per game, including 23.3 over the last six which includes wins over Notre Dame and in-state rival Louisville.  Speaking of Kentucky’s win over Louisville, senior center Josh Harrellson scored a career high 23 points and 14 rebounds in 37 minutes of play.  Contrast that with last year, when he played a total of 88 minutes and scored 28 points and pulled down 27 rebounds in 22 games. Kudos are also in order for Doron Lamb, who led the Cats with 32 points making seven of eight threes and setting the freshman scoring record for Kentucky against Winthrop. That record was previously held by Jamal Mashburn, who on February 3, 1991 set the previous record at 31 against Georgia.
  2. Vanderbilt (10-2) Vanderbilt scored a good win over Marquette and then an easy 80-52 win over Davidson without leading scorer John Jenkins (concussion) and starting forward Andre Walker (twisted ankle).  Vanderbilt has played a tough early schedule with multiple injuries and come out of it very well.  I expect a great SEC season for the Commodores.
  3. Florida (10-3) In hindsight, Florida’s loss to Central Florida doesn’t look so bad as Central Florida is now 13-0 with wins against Florida, Miami and likely Southern Conference challenger Furman.  Florida is playing well, having gotten a tough road win over Xavier this week, but they still need better shooting out of Kenny Boynton and a better assist to turnover ratio out of Erving Walker.
  4. Georgia (11-2) Georgia is 11-2, but they’re not winning by much, only 6.7 points per game.  That said, they are on an eight-game winning streak, the longest in the conference, albeit against decidedly weak competition.  What can be said about the Bulldogs however is that they’re beating the teams that they should and not losing to the teams that they shouldn’t. Dustin Ware (7 points in his last three games) and Gerald Robinson (18 in the same span) are sputtering badly.
  5. Arkansas (10-2) While the Razorbacks don’t yet have a big win, they do have a 14.3 point per game scoring margin in their favor, meaning that when they win, they win decisively and they currently have the best record in the SEC West.
  6. Mississippi (11-3) Like Georgia, Mississippi hasn’t really lost to anyone bad, but they haven’t really beaten anyone good, either.  Mississippi is going to need at least 10 SEC wins to get to the NCAA Tournament and maybe 11.
  7. Alabama (7-6) Alabama had five players in double figures in an easy 83-60 win over Pepperdine in the Tide’s only game this week.  While not as disappointing as Tennessee’s and Mississippi State’s preseason, the Tide has certainly underperformed with losses to St. Peter’s and Iowa.  This was supposed to be a better team than last year, but they played an easier preseason schedule and came out with a worse record than last year when the Tide was 11-4 going into conference play. Senior Charvez Davis, who came off the bench to score 22 points on 5-6 from deep against Lipscomb, had a night to remember while his team has had a lot of them to forget.
  8. Tennessee (9-4) I usually like to say you can throw out the first seven games of the season because teams aren’t yet in a rhythm and they’re still getting used to new personnel or coaches.  It looks like Tennessee literally “threw out the first seven games.”  After getting great wins over Villanova and Pittsburgh, the Volunteers have been terrible, losing to Oakland, Charlotte and Southern California and then barely beating Belmont and Tennessee-Martin before losing to College of Charleston.
  9. South Carolina (8-4) The Gamecocks are in free fall mode after starting 7-1. A loss to Ohio State may be understandable, but not losing to Furman for the first time in 30 years. Poor shooting (37 percent) and 19 turnovers led to a weak seven-point victory over 2-12 Jacksonville State.  Follow that with a home loss to Boston College and the Cocks are losers of three of four.  Now comes the hard part, conference play.
  10. LSU (8-7) The Tigers have lost five of seven and not necessarily to stellar competition either (no disrespect to North Texas, who thumped LSU by 20).  Let’s run down the list here: College of Charleston, Wichita State, North Texas, Rice and Virginia.  Trent Johnson has no seniors, four freshmen, and five sophomores, so we can hope that with experience and a good recruiting class, the Tigers will be better next year.
  11. Mississippi State (8-6) To recap a little of what I said earlier, this team has been a serious disappointment.  The Bulldogs have lost two straight including four of five.  That’s their third two game losing streak in their first 14 games.  Not exactly what we expected when this season started.
  12. Auburn (6-7) Auburn is on a three-game win streak, its longest so far this season, but even with that short streak and Mississippi State’s woes, I still say the Bulldogs beat Auburn handily, so here Auburn sits, at the bottom of the heap.

A Look Ahead

  • Arkansas @ Texas, Jan. 4. This is the Razorbacks’ chance to get a quality win over a non-conference foe on the road.  Do that and an NCAA berth is very likely in a weak Western division.
  • Tennessee @ Arkansas Jan. 8. I want to see how the Volunteers do without Coach Pearl at the helm.  In the preseason, it appeared that wins against Eastern division teams would be hard to come by; as Tennessee has been disappointing of late, this a prime opportunity for Arkansas to score one.
  • Mississippi @ Florida Jan. 8. Well, Mississippi kind of walked through the non-con portion, but may be the best team in the West.  Florida was tabbed as the preseason favorite in the East.  This will be a good game to gauge where these two teams really are.
  • Georgia @ Kentucky, Jan. 8. Last year, an overachieving Bulldog team led by first year head coach Mark Fox ran with the Cats for a half.  I’m interested to see what this improved Georgia team can do against a new litter of Cats led by freshmen Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb.
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Ten Tuesday Scribbles

Posted by zhayes9 on November 23rd, 2010

Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist for Rush the Court.

Pitt has a team capable of reaching that elusive Final Four

1. I had an opportunity to attend the consolation and championship games of the 2K Sports Classic last Friday and learned a great deal about the four teams participating- Pittsburgh, Texas, Illinois and Maryland. The Panthers were one of my preseason Final Four teams and did nothing to give me second thoughts on that prediction. Ashton Gibbs is a true playmaker at the end of the shot clock, Jamie Dixon has an incredibly deep frontcourt and the Panthers play heady, smart, hard-nosed basketball for 40 minutes. It’s possible we overrated Illinois a bit coming into the year. They lack a bruiser down low that can post up on the block and demand the basketball. Mike Tisdale’s the same player he’s been his entire career at Illinois, a capable mid-range jump shooter that lacks any sort of physicality and is often mired in foul trouble because opposing power forwards constantly out-muscle him. Maryland looks like a middle-of-the-pack ACC team that should sneak into the NCAA Tournament because Gary Williams always receives max effort from his teams and Jordan Williams is a force in the post, although he needs to avoid silly fouls and demand the basketball more often. The team that needed to convince me they were a contender after last season’s disaster is Texas. The Longhorns are a top-20 team with a duo of physical, lockdown defenders on the perimeter in Dogus Balbay and Cory Joseph, an athletic low-post presence in Tristan Thompson and an explosive scorer in Jordan Hamilton. A shortened rotation and accepted roles has helped Rick Barnes develop improved chemistry, as well.

2. The story of the first two weeks of college basketball might just be Minnesota. The Big Ten was the best conference coming into the season with Michigan State and Ohio State shaping up to be Final Four frontrunners, Purdue and Illinois mainstays in the polls and Wisconsin as solid as ever. Minnesota was a team that nobody could quite get a handle on, especially considering it was impossible to predict just how much the additions of Trevor Mbakwe and Al Nolen would help Tubby Smith.  After three statements wins in Puerto Rico over Western Kentucky, North Carolina and West Virginia, the Gophers appear to be yet another contender primed for a deep March run out of the absolutely loaded Big Ten. Al Nolen was superb in the championship game against West Virginia locking down the Mountaineer’s point guard duo of Joe Mazzulla and Darryl Bryant on defense and splitting the West Virginia defense with dribble penetration that either resulted in free throws (11-12 on the night) or open looks for sharpshooting teammate Blake Hoffarber. Where the Gophers have forged their identity, though, is inside with a plethora of size and length. Ralph Sampson, Colton Iverson, Mbakwe and big bodied Mo Walker provide Smith a frontline that can go toe-to-toe with any in the nation. Just wait till they get Devoe Joseph back.

3. The most crippling defeat for any team with NCAA Tournament aspirations could have come Monday afternoon at the Maui Invitational for Wichita State. The Shockers inability to contain Kemba Walker (29 second half points) cost them a chance to pick up a quality win over a Big East opponent and a shot at potential #1-seed Michigan State in the semifinals. Why is this so devastating? One, Wichita just blew their best chance for an RPI/SOS booster. The only other challenging non-conference game on the slate is a road trip to San Diego State, where it’s extremely unlikely the Shockers leave with a victory. Merely the addition of the Spartans on their schedule would improve Wichita’s power rating dramatically. Instead, it’s increasingly likely Gregg Marshall’s team will have to win the MVC Tournament. This task is very possible; after all, the Shockers are the prohibitive favorite, a senior-laden squad with talents like Toure Murry, David Kyles and J.T. Durley. Marshall’s goal in Maui was to pick up two quality wins for the resume in March. That chance has gone by the wayside.

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RTC Conference Primers: #5 – Southeastern Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 2nd, 2010

Jared Quillen of BigBlueCats.com is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish

SEC East

  • T1. Florida (11-5)
  • T1. Kentucky (11-5)
  • T1. Georgia (11-5)
  • 2. Tennessee (10-6)
  • 3. Vanderbilt (7-9)
  • 4. South Carolina (4-12)

SEC West

  • 1. Mississippi State (12-4)
  • 2. Mississippi (9-7)
  • T3. Alabama (7-9)
  • T3. Arkansas (7-9)
  • 4. LSU (4-12)
  • 5. Auburn (3-13)

All-Conference Team

  • G Brandon Knight – Kentucky
  • G Chris Warren – Mississippi
  • G Kenny Boynton – Florida
  • F Enes Kanter* – Kentucky (if eligible)
  • F Trey Thompkins – Georgia

6th Man

Travis Leslie – Georgia

Impact Newcomers

  • G Brandon Knight – Kentucky
  • G Gerald Robinson – Georgia
  • F Patric Young – Florida
  • F Tobias Harris – Tennessee
  • C Renardo Sidney – Mississippi State

Kentucky's Brandon Knight was a hot commodity as a late signee.

What You Need To Know

  • There are a few things that the casual observer of the SEC may not be aware of but should consider:  Mississippi State in November is not the same Mississippi State that you will see in December, nor the one that you will see in January.  The Bulldogs will play their first nine games without Renardo Sidney, who will have waited out a lengthy suspension by the time he plays his first game.  Then, after five more games, Dee Bost will return to the lineup. You recall that he declared for the NBA Draft, failed to pull out by the NCAA’s deadline, lost his eligibility, went undrafted, and subsequently was reinstated with a 14-game suspension.  Don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs drop a game or two early in the season to a team they should beat.  It means nothing.  This will be a very good team that will be fun to watch as the season progresses.
  • Florida brings back a lot of experience.  That would be all five of Florida’s starters, to be exact, plus they add the very talented McDonalds All-American Patric Young.  Young will provide the size inside that Florida lacked last year.  That said, count me as one who is still a little skeptical of Florida’s chances at winning the league.  Lest we forget, Florida was not one but two Chandler Parsons prayers from missing the NCAA Tournament for a third straight year.  Furthermore, Florida lost in the first round to a good but not great BYU team that played a good but not great game.  Will Florida be good?  Definitely.  Great?  Well, that remains to be seen.

  • For those expecting Kentucky to repeat what they did last year because they replaced four freshmen stars with four new freshmen stars — think again.  This team is even younger than last year’s and noticeably smaller.  Look for the Wildcats to play much faster than last year and shoot better.  But DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe, and John Wall are hard to replace.  If Enes Kanter becomes eligible (as most believe he will) by conference play, then they will challenge for the league title; if not, they fight for second or third in the SEC East.  It all comes down to Kanter.

  • The SEC East is going to be very good this year.  Mississippi State gets the nod as champion simply because the East teams are going to beat up on each other like no other group of six teams in America.  I could see any one of Florida, Kentucky, Georgia or Tennessee winning the East.  I hate predicting only seven conference wins for a talented Vanderbilt squad, but I just don’t know where to place them when they have to play eaach of Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky twice, plus Mississippi State.

Predicted Champion

Mississippi State (NCAA #2-Seed) – Mississippi State is the favorite by default as the East is going to be a bloodbath and the Bulldogs only play each Eastern division team once.  Playing in the weaker West division is certainly going to benefit Mississippi State as they won’t have to play Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and even Vanderbilt but once.  Renardo Sidney is going to be a force, especially in a conference light on dominant big men this year.  Add Dee Bost and Ravern Johnson in the back court to an improving Kodi Augustus and that’s a team that easily wins the West.  If the Bulldogs manage to win half of their games against the East, they probably win the overall league crown.

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Checking in on… the SEC

Posted by jstevrtc on December 8th, 2009

checkinginon

Paul Jordan of Wildcat Blue Blog is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.

EAST

  1. Kentucky  8-0
  2. Florida  8-0
  3. Tennessee  6-1
  4. Vanderbilt  6-1
  5. South Carolina  6-2
  6. Georgia  4-3

WEST

  1. Mississippi  7-1
  2. Alabama  6-2
  3. Mississippi State  5-2
  4. LSU  4-2
  5. Auburn  5-4
  6. Arkansas  4-5

Anyone doubting the SEC’s resurgence this season had to be pouring themselves a big glass of “hater-ade” after taking a look at the weekly Top 25 polls.  The SEC, which sent only three teams to the NCAA Tourney last season now has three teams perched in the Top 10 and four teams are among the Top 25 in the nation.

Kentucky used a win over North Carolina to leapfrog Purdue into the #4 spot in the AP Top 25 and now have that spot in both polls.  Tennessee only had one game last week, but moved to #9 in both polls due to other teams’ misfortunes, and the resurgent Florida Gators now occupy the #10 spot in the AP Top 25 and the 11th spot in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.  Mississippi debuted in the AP Poll at #25 and fell just outside the top 25 at #29 in the ESPN/USA Today poll.  In contrast to that, Vanderbilt was #24th in the ESPN poll and #28 in the AP Poll.

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