Texas A&M Looks to History to Take the Next Step

Posted by Nate Kotisso on March 1st, 2016

The year 1893 gives us the first known record of then-Texas A&M College’s Glee Club, originally made up of nine students and faculty from the college. As the club entered the 20th century, membership grew modestly from the original nine to a club of 21. They also began traveling across Texas and the United States trying their luck at singing competitions. (There is no record of success from said competitions.) In 1908, the director of the club left the college and involvement started to fizzle out. Two years later the college decided to hire Frank D. Steger for the task of reorganizing the club “for the development of individual talent, and for furnishing music in Chapel Services, Easter, Commencement, and other similar occasion.” Despite already having a lot on his plate (Steger was also the director of the local YMCA), the college must have been pleased with his direction. Thus, in 1911, A&M hired Steger as its first-ever head basketball coach. In the context of college basketball’s infancy, Steger had a solid career, winning 22 of his 28 games from 1912-15. However, despite that early success, the school we now know as Texas A&M University hasn’t been able to win 20 or more games, go deep in NCAA Tournaments, send players to the NBA or even keep head coaches in College Station at a consistent rate.

Then-head coach Billy Gillispie and point guard Acie Law IV went 27-7 in 2006-07. (Paul Zoeller/Associated Press)

Then-head coach Billy Gillispie and point guard Acie Law IV went 27-7 in 2006-07. (Paul Zoeller/Associated Press)

Picture college hoops during the mid-to-late 20th century. Television was taking the sport to the next level and coaches had became synonymous with their schools — Dean Smith at North Carolina; Bob Knight at Indiana; John Wooden at UCLA; Al McGuire at Marquette. The financial pressures for success were different in those days, and at a football-first school like A&M, competitive basketball was often good enough. Shelby Metcalf was certainly that in College Station, coaching the Aggies to six Southwest Conference (SWC) regular season titles, five NCAA Tournament appearances and two Sweet Sixteens in his 26+ years at the school. Despite his infamous firing midway through the 1989-90 season, Metcalf is the longest tenured coach in the history of SWC basketball. After he was terminated, the program so disastrously spiraled through most of the next 15 years that there was hardly a pulse left. Then Billy Gillispie arrived on the scene.

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Morning Five: 02.20.15 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on February 20th, 2015


  1. It was not that long ago that we heard talk about Division 4 (basically all the schools from the biggest conferences) revolutionizing college sports by using their influence (read: money) to change the competitive landscape. Now it looks like they might be doing that, but in the process could be shooting themselves in the foot (or worse). We had already heard talk about some major conference considering the idea of making freshman ineligible to play sports, which would theoretically give them the chance to adjust to college life. It appears that the Big Ten may have taken the “lead” on this issue by proposing the initiation of discussions amongst its members to make freshmen ineligible to play football or men’s basketball. Outside of this making the conference less competitive (think many “one-and-dones” would come there?) it seems like an attempt to keep the revenue-producing athletes around the school for a longer period of time even if they are not necessarily playing any longer. The conference is apparently trying to use the low graduation rates as a justification for singling out the two sports, but making certain individuals ineligible just based on the sport they play (actually the gender they are too since this would not affect women’s basketball) seems suspect at best.
  2. Thon Maker‘s announcement that he would be reclassifying to the class of 2015 is not exactly a surprise, but it will shake up the recruiting world for the next few months. Maker was considered by many to be the top prospect in the class of 2016 with his combination of size and skill and will probably end up in the top 5 to 10 for the class of 2015 when he is put into this year’s class rankings. While there is an air of mystery around Maker who is native of Sudan, but grew up in Australia and currently plays high school basketball in Ontario, Canada, his list of schools is probably going to remain the same–Kentucky and Kansas being the favorites with Missouri, Duke, Louisville, and Maryland not far behind–but there remains the possibility that he could take the Emmanuel Mudiay route taking a shoe contract and playing overseas or even staying at his current location for a postgraduate year and directly enter the NBA Draft in 2016.
  3. It appears that Chris Jones managed to make up for whatever led to his indefinite suspension as the Louisville guard was reinstated after missing just one game. According to the school, Jones “has done what he needed to do” to have the indefinite suspension rescinded. More cynical individuals (like us) would point to the team’s ugly loss at Syracuse on Wednesday as having at least a small impact on Rick Pitino’s decision to bring Jones back on the team. With Jones returning, the Cardinals will have four players who can score (none regularly against a zone), which will help them when one of those players has an off-night (like Wayne Blackshear who came pretty close to pulling a 19-trillion if he hadn’t fouled out) assuming Jones can stay out of trouble.
  4. #TeamBadLuck suffered another setback on Wednesday when they announced that Dorian Finney-Smith had been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. Finney-Smith, who was averaging 12.9 points (2nd on the team) and 5.8 rebounds (leading the team) prior to his suspeneion. We have not heard what led to the suspension, but this is Finney-Smith’s second suspension while at Florida. Even though the Gators reversed their season-long trend by winning a close game on Wednesday night things are not looking good for their postseason hopes at this point.
  5. With Kentucky closing in on an undefeated regular season, there is one person who played a significant role in making Kentucky the team it is today, but is largely forgotten: Billy Gillispie. Fox Sports has an oral history of the Billy Gillispie era in Lexington. As you would expect from an oral history (particularly with a person as unique as Gillispie) it has plenty of interesting anecdotes, but it also serves as a look at the bridge between the Tubby Smith era at Kentucky, which Big Blue Nation views much more favorably now, and the John Calipari era, which Big Blue Nation was much more nervous about at the time than they are willing to admit now.
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Assessing the Season: Texas Tech Red Raiders

Posted by Nate Kotisso on April 12th, 2013

As the season winds down and Big 12 teams continue to find themselves eliminated from the post-season, we’re taking a look back on a team-by-team basis at the 2012-13 season. Next up: the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Final Record: 11-20 (3-15)

The Expectations: Normally, the only time a college basketball team makes news in August is if it secures a top commitment from a recruit. What was being reported by CBS Sports last summer was far from normal. Head coach Billy Gillispie was in a heap of trouble, violating NCAA rules by exceeding the allowable amount of practice time (four hours/day; 20 hours/week) to as many as eight hours in a day. One player, later identified as Kader Tapsoba, was so worn down by the practices that he developed multiple stress fractures. And yet Gillispie still made him practice. It wasn’t just excessive practice that led to Gillispie’s downfall, though. He promised ex-Indiana player Tom Coverdale a job as an assistant but later changed his mind. Secretaries, trainers, graduate assistants and others also left in the early stages of Gillispie’s tenure. It was already well-documented that Texas Tech was going to have a vastly different roster compared to the year before with 15 players transferring out of Lubbock in the 18 months that he had been head coach there. Associate head coach Chris Walker was later tabbed as the interim coach for the 2012-13 season, but Texas Tech basketball was starting over. The only thing you could expect from this team was to play hard, game in and game out.

Interim head coach Chris Walker was left to pick up the pieces in Lubbock. (TexasTech.com)

Interim head coach Chris Walker was left to pick up the pieces in Lubbock (TexasTech.com)

The Actual Result: The Red Raiders pressed their way to a 4-0 start to the season, albeit against inferior opponents Prairie View A&M, Nebraska-Omaha, Jackson State and Grambling State. Then came some tougher opponents in Arizona, Alabama and Arizona State, all of which soundly beat Tech in Lubbock. (Aside: everyone is no doubt jealous at how Tech was able to get all of their non-conference games at home.) Conference play began and that went just as well as you would have expected. The Red Raiders lost 15 games in the Big 12 including nine in a row at one stretch. Their best home win came against Iowa State in which both teams combined to score 107 points. Jordan Tolbert, perhaps the best player on last year’s team, told ESPN.com he’d transfer if Gillispie wasn’t fired. Tolbert returned but the 11.5 PPG scorer from last season struggled to find his offensive game, probably because Tolbert’s father and biggest motivator, James Tolbert, passed away in October. That and the fact that the freshman starting point guard, Josh Gray, was going through a baptism-by-fire against the likes of Marcus Smart, Pierre Jackson and Angel Rodriguez. It shouldn’t go unmentioned that Jaye Crockett had been a former starter for the Red Raiders and still made an impact. Chris Walker made the decision to bring him off the bench this season, and Crockett quickly became one of the better sixth men in America (11.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG).

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SEC M5: 02.01.13 Edition

Posted by DPerry on February 1st, 2013


  1. Frank Haith has had a rough month. Questions over his job security in the wake of violations at Miami have been festering, and his Missouri Tigers, previously ranked in the top 10, were in free fall after heavy losses to Ole Miss and Florida. But forward Laurence Bowers’ return would solve the latter problem at least, right? Wrong. Missouri lost to LSU in Baton Rouge, and Haith is not amused. “We have no toughness in the first half; we have no resolve,” Haith said. “It’s disappointing. It’s really extremely disappointing. Guys are tending to do their own thing when the game’s getting tight or there’s adversity.” Star point guard Phil Pressey, despite finally finding his scoring touch, should shoulder as much of the blame as anyone. The Wooden Award nominee has become a gunner from long-range, and missed a hurried effort (one of his 8 3-point misses on the night) late in the game when Missouri had been steadily coming back. “We (had been) driving the ball, and we needed to keep driving the ball,” Haith said, noting there was plenty of time left. “We said that in timeouts.” The Tigers are 0-4 in true road games this season.
  2. “They’re real good.” -Frank Martin. He was talking, of course, about Florida, right after his Gamecocks succumbed to a nearly 40-point loss at their hands. The Gators, sporting a 7-0 conference record with a point differential of over 28, are making a mockery of the SEC. They’ve beaten up on the bottom of the league, but the sheer dominance of their victories, not to mention the shellacking of 17th-ranked Missouri, indicates that weak opposition isn’t the only explanation for their success. Florida isn’t unbeatable, but their balanced offense (the nation’s 4th most efficient) is somewhat of a safeguard against an unexpected upset. Four players average more than 11.0 points a game, and a fifth (Scottie Wilbekin), was just named SEC Player of the Week. Even if the odds are defied and every Gator has an off shooting night, coach Billy Donovan can just fall back on the 2nd best defense in the country. Your move SEC.
  3. Tennessee will be likely be shorthanded for their trip to Fayetteville this weekend. Junior guard Trae Golden suffered an injury to his right hamstring late in the Volunteers victory over Vanderbilt and is unlikely to recover by Saturday. “It’s tough for our team,” Vols head coach Cuonzo Martin said. “I thought he had really been assertive (lately) with the ball. So it’s tough for our team, but more importantly, it’s tough for Trae. He wants to be out there. He’s upset about it. But we have to keep moving.” Hometown walk-on Brandon Lopez should be the next in line to pick up the slack for Golden. The early scouting report on him features a lot of the standard buzzwords for walk-ons, so any offensive output will be a bonus. Arkansas’ up-tempo style and the loss of Golden puts points at a premium, so the Volunteers will have to count on Jordan McRae rediscovering his shooting stroke and Jarnell Stokes continuing his recent offensive resurgence.
  4. As if having 12 of your shots blocked by one person wasn’t painful enough, the hits keep on coming for Ole Miss in the aftermath of their loss to Kentucky. Reserve forward Aaron Jones suffered a torn ACL while senior guard Nick Williams re-aggravated a foot injury. Jones is obviously done for the year, while there is no timetable for Willams’ return. This represents a serious blow to the Rebels’ depth, affording coach Andy Kennedy no game time to adjust his rotation before traveling to Gainesville this weekend. Freshman Derrick Millinghaus, who has seen his minutes dwindle since the start of conference play, should see more time, while classmate Terry Brutus seems like the best bet to contribute a few minutes in the paint.
  5. I said a few months ago that we wouldn’t mention this guy on this microsite again, but circumstances are forcing my hand. Big Blue Nation favorite and apparent troll Billy Gillispie will be in attendance for Kentucky’s trip to College Station this weekend. In response to Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy‘s invite, Gillispie said “Actually, I’m playing golf [in College Station] on Friday. I said, ‘Who are y’all playing Saturday?’ They said, ‘Kentucky,’ and so I said, ‘I think I’ll go.’ But it’s no big deal.” Kentucky players will be focused on stopping Aggie guard Elston Turner, who scored 40 in his trip to Rupp Arena, but Wildcat fans will certainly be paying attention to an individual on the sideline. Expect one of ESPN’s cameras to be attached to Billy, treatment usually reserved at Kentucky games for Ashley Judd.
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Morning Five: 02.01.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on February 1st, 2013


  1. If people were upset by the NCAA using a federal bankruptcy proceeding to obtain information for their own investigation into Miami they may be surprised to learn that at least one (anonymous) NCAA investigator claims that the NCAA did nothing wrong. In addition, the anonymous individual also questioned NCAA President Mark Emmert’s assertion that he was unaware of the practices that were used in the Miami investigation. At this point we are not sure where this case is heading, but continue to assert that the NCAA would definitely benefit from some more transparency. As for the case itself, the close of the article sums it up best: “The only certainty? This mess keeps getting messier.”
  2. When we brought you the financial information about Tennessee a few days ago we assumed that the atrocious situation there was somewhat unique. It turns out that the Volunteers are not alone as a new report questions the financial viability of Louisville‘s YUM! Center. The author of the study (found here in PDF format or you can check out their entire website) say that the root of the problem was unrealistic expectation for bond sales used to finance the arena and was compounded by a very friendly agreement with Louisville. According to the author of the study the YUM! Center costs $92,000 to operate per day and will end up costing taxpayers $839 million over the next 40 years. We are assuming this is not the last that we have heard of this issue.
  3. It appears that the James Southerland saga will not be resolved for another week as Syracuse has set Southerland’s appeal to regain his eligibility for next week. The date and time of the appeal has not been announced, but Southerland will miss Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh and Monday’s game against Notre Dame. Interestingly Southerland’s appeal will be heard by a panel from Syracuse not the NCAA. We are not privy to all the details of Southerland’s suspension, but based on the information that has been released it appears to resolve around a tutor helping him write some or all of a paper. We also are not clear how this decision will factor into any potential investigation by the NCAA, but the decision next week will hopefully add some clarity to this.
  4. On Saturday the epicenter of college basketball will be in Bloomington, Indiana and in the lead up to that Dana O’Neil provides us with an excellent piece on the importance of basketball on life in Indiana. While most fans are somewhat familiar with the impact of basketball in the state, few have experienced and O’Neil provides a great insight into how it permeates life there. Everybody knows about Indiana, Butler, and Hoosiers (the movie not the team), but as O’Neil notes there is so much more to Indiana’s love affair with basketball than just what you see on television.
  5. If you thought that Kentucky fans were pumped to take on Marshall Henderson just wait until Saturday when they go to Texas A&M and will have a very special spectator–Billy Gillispie. The decision by Gillispie to come to the game after being invited by Billy Kennedy is an interesting one since Gillispie left Kentucky literally running out the door. I guess that Gillispie assumes that he built enough goodwill in College Station during his three seasons there that it was a good place to make a public appearance. Still we don’t understand the need to make Gillispie a spectacle against his former team. Normally we would assume that the home crowd would cheer Gillispie loudly enough to drown out the opposing crowd, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Big Blue Nation make a trip down to Texas just to jeer Gillispie one more time.
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Texas Tech and TCU Forming a Historically Bad Big 12 Tandem

Posted by dnspewak on January 14th, 2013

It seems almost unfair to rag on Texas Tech and TCU. The Red Raiders had to boot Billy Gillispie out of Lubbock this fall and didn’t have time to find a permanent coach, so they’re playing the entire season under interim coach Chris Walker. The record will show that Gillispie “resigned,” but there was nothing peaceful about his exit. It was a disaster, and it’s no wonder a young team with a boatload of newcomers has already lost to McNeese State at home, not to mention conference foe Baylor by 34 points. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs have a more stable first-year coach in Trent Johnson, but even he knew his program’s transition to the Big 12 would take a significant amount of time and energy. In Year One of his rebuilding project, he’s dealt with a number of injuries, and his team is now 0-3 in the league. The worst part? TCU managed to lose to Texas Tech in the Big 12’s version of the Toilet Bowl.

Texas Tech and TCU Battled Over the Weekend in Big 12 Action

Texas Tech and TCU Battled Over the Weekend in Big 12 Action

So we’ve buttered you up by giving Texas Tech and TCU excuses for losing, and they’re certainly valid. Now, though, it’s time to take a look at just how bad the two programs are historically in terms of the RPI. The RPI figures are hardly scientific. The flaws are well-known, actually. But to repeat the rhetoric of the NCAA Tournament selection committee, the RPI is a decent way to categorize teams. Using RealTimeRPI, which provides RPI data dating back to 2003-04, the numbers shows that Texas Tech and TCU form the worst Big 12 tandem in close to a decade. Texas Tech’s RPI sits at a robust #246 right now, whereas TCU sits at #222. Here are all of the sub-200 RPI teams since 2003-04 in the Big 12.

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Big 12 M5: Black Friday Edition

Posted by dnspewak on November 23rd, 2012

  1. Billy Gillispie is long gone from Texas Tech, and it’s doubtful his name will ever arise again in Big 12 circles for as long as he’s alive. And yet he’s still having an enormous impact on our game, even as he sits at home without a head coaching job. As CBS’ Gary Parrish astutely points out, Gillispie is almost solely responsible for the new preseason tournament formats in college basketball. After his Kentucky team lost to Gardner-Webb in the regional site of the 2K Sports Classic at Rupp Arena, GWU advanced to Madison Square Garden and left thousands of UK fans scrambling to cancel flights and sell tickets. Since then, only the Preseason NIT Tip-Off has kept the old format– you know, the one where the team that actually wins advances to the Garden. Parrish interviewed Delaware coach Monte Ross about his team’s experience in the Garden after knocking off Virginia in Charlottesville, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who thinks his squad didn’t deserve to make the trip to NYC this year. Tickets and flights be damned.
  2. Speaking of New York City and that NIT Tip-Off, there’s a biggie tonight at the Garden between Kansas State and Michigan. After dispatching a really good Delaware team with difficulty, the Wildcats get to throw down with a top five team on national television in perhaps the most historic venue in basketball. Tell us, guys. How do you feel? “We’re privileged to be playing in Madison Square Garden… We came here to prove a point, me and my teammates and our coaching staff. We’re just ready to play,” guard Angel Rodriguez told The Wichita Eagle. If Kansas State wins, it’ll be near impossible to leave this team out of the Top 25.
  3. After Maryland and Rutgers announced their departures from the ACC to the Big Ten earlier this week, it started up the whole Realignment Apocalypse firestorm again. Kill us now. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, there’s some sort of rumor the Big Ten might now try to complete its conference by adding North Carolina and Kansas. That’s a rumor Bill Self laughed off immediately. “I don’t even think that’s worth discussing,” he told the paper, adding that the idea of North Carolina playing in a conference without Duke “makes no sense.” Which is hilarious, because Kansas and Missouri no longer play in the same conference either.
  4. There’s no Marcus Smart or Le’Bryan Nash in this class, but Oklahoma State officially announced its 2013-14 recruiting class on Thursday. It ain’t bad. Headlined by four-star Detrick Mostella, Travis Ford signed four prospects with some size (relative to their positions) and promise to them. Mostella, a 6’3” combo guard with major potential, might be the centerpiece, but Jeffrey Carroll and Leyton Hammonds are both solid wings who might be able to make up for the expected loss of Smart and Nash (whenever that may be). Ford also added some much-needed size with 6’10” juco center Gary Gaskins.
  5. This article’s a little old, and it’s the 800th story written about the tragic situation former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson faced, but it’s worth your time. Very well-written, and unique compared to some of the other pieces on Robinson. He may not play for the Jayhawks anymore, but as his NBA career begins to soar, it’s always nice to keep an eye on a guy like this.
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Big 12 Team Preview #9: Texas Tech Red Raiders

Posted by Nate Kotisso on October 31st, 2012

Over the next two weeks, we’ll bring you the obligatory team preview here at the Big 12 microsite. Monday, Danny Spewak (@dspewak) took care of previewing the TCU Horned Frogs. Today, Nate Kotisso (@natekotisso) previews the cellar-dwellers from a year ago: Texas Tech. The Red Raiders were not a unanimous choice among the Big 12 microsite writers to finish ninth in the conference but we’re guessing we still won’t find much argument with this selection either. 

The Skinny: 

  • 2011-12 Record: 8-23 record, 1-17 in the Big 12
  • Key Contributors Lost: G Javarez Willis, F Robert Lewandowski
  • Head Coach: Chris Walker, 1st season
  • Projected Finish: 9th

Walker now makes three different coaches in three seasons. (Associated Press/Zach Long)

Interim head coach Chris Walker undoubtedly has a tough act to follow but at the same time he doesn’t. Former head coach Billy Gillispie had as tumultuous of a season that a coach can have. He broke NCAA practice rules more than once, was reprimanded by his athletic director for those trangressions, and his team stunk it up on the basketball court. Since the bar isn’t set very high at this point, I’m sure Walker can win more than eight games and look somewhat competitive in Big 12 play. This is Walker’s first opportunity at a head coaching job but like many first-timers, he too was a well-traveled assistant coach. He started off at Loyola Marymount in 1992 (this was the post-Paul Westhead/Kimble/Gathers era), left for Vanderbilt in 1996, went to Pepperdine in 1999, back to his alma mater Villanova in 2000, then headed to UMass in 2001, before going to New Mexico in 2007, and then back to Villanova in 2009 before arriving last season in Lubbock. For a man thrust into as awkward a situation as any, Walker is saying all the right things and then some. On “wearing” the interim tag:

“It’s all about attitude. I was remarking to somebody the other day there are a lot of interim coaches out there, they just don’t know it. I look at this situation, and people look at it as if I’ve been diagnosed with cancer. It took me six months to live. I’ve really flipped it and said it’s six months to give. I’m head coach for the first time in the Big 12. I’m going to give everything I have to the University, to the players and the community of Lubbock.”

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More Gillispie Information Comes to Light Via University Emails

Posted by dnspewak on October 26th, 2012

There are many terrific things about our country’s democracy. The endless amount of political attack ads during election season are highly entertaining, our election results are actually legitimate, and our president flies all around the nation in a sweet airplane named Air Force One. The very best part about American democracy, however, is perhaps our nation’s open records laws. When you screw up or have information pertinent to the public interest, we’re there to call you out via police reports, court documents, and, as Penn State knows so well, e-mails.

E-mails Show Some Interesting Information Regarding Gillispie

That brings us to Texas Tech‘s men’s basketball program. USA Today‘s open records request of the university’s emails during the Billy Gillispie scandal reveals a few tidbits of intriguing material. Unfortunately for all you sadists out there, this isn’t the Freeh Report, and there’s no evidence of wrongdoing or mass scandal on the part of the athletic department, but correspondence between university officials sheds a little light into how the situation went down. According to the article, an assistant to the chancellor of the university forwarded articles from ESPN and CBS Sports to the Board of Curators, in addition to a personal letter from the mother of a 17-year-old who alleged verbal abuse from Gillispie. The most interesting aspect of these emails, though, deals with the practice violations.

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SEC M5: 10.25.12 Edition

Posted by DPerry on October 25th, 2012

  1. Kentucky took to the Rupp Arena floor Wednesday night for its annual Blue-White scrimmage. Over 12,000 fans were in attendance, with many more catching the action on Fox Sports Net. The new-look Wildcats put on a high-flying, high-scoring show, but coach John Calipari downplayed the performance. “Folks, let me just say this,” he told fans after the final buzzer, “thanks for being here tonight. Can you see how far we have to go?” This isn’t surprising of course, as Calipari downplaying his team’s level of quality before the season seems to be his modus operandi. Big performances from freshmen Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, and Nerlens Noel will dominate headlines, but the upperclassmen showed promise as well. Kyle Wiltjer displayed improved strength and dropped a pretty baby hook over Noel, while transfer Julius Mays showed a quick and accurate trigger from long range. Even Jon Hood, coming off a knee injury, looked energetic and shot the ball efficiently. If one of these older players can step into the leadership role vacated by Darius Miller, Kentucky may not be as far away as their coach believes.
  2. Attendence figures have been woeful for South Carolina over the past few seasons, but Frank Martin has designs on quickly changing that. In a meeting with members of the student body on Monday, the new Gamecock coach discussed ideas to increase fan interest. “I’ll make myself available for anything the students want,” he said. “I need you guys in that building.” Martin isn’t the type to shy away from a challenge. In 2007, he took over a Kansas State program that hadn’t been to the NCAA Tournament in over a decade and promptly led the Wildcats to four bids in six seasons. Turning around a moribund South Carolina program might be even tougher. The overall lack of talent on the roster makes an immediate reversal of fortunes unlikely, but Martin’s willingness to reach out to a jaded fanbase is a step in the right direction.
  3. Want to hear what your coach thinks about your team’s chances this season? Your questions will be answered today, as the league’s coaches gather in Hoover, Alabama, for SEC Media Day. The story from last year’s event was the unwavering confidence of Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings, who seemed to take issue with the fact that his team wasn’t being ranked ahead of the inexperienced Kentucky Wildcats. After losing every key contributor from a 25-win team, how will the Commodores’ coach react to this year’s 10th place prediction for his squad?
  4. New LSU coach Johnny Jones got a jump on the Media Day festivities when he addressed local media in Baton Rouge yesterday. “We have really been pleased with the last few days of practice,” said Jones. “Unfortunately, we have had a few players go down with injuries which are somewhat of a little setback. Hopefully, we will get them back on the floor in the near future within the next few days. That would be beneficial for us because of our lack of numbers.” Any hint of injury on an already thin squad is troubling news for LSU fans, since even a full-strength Tiger team won’t win many conference games this season. Jones will be counting on good fortune on the injury front to stay away from the bottom of the standings. If he runs into some bad luck, however, he can ask Andrew Del Piero for help finding practice bodies. A couple of those trombone players looked like they had some size.
  5. Details surrounding Billy Gillispie’s dismissal from Texas Tech continue to emerge, and they aren’t pretty. E-mails obtained by USA Today indicate that the former Kentucky coach regularly ignored practice time restrictions, most notably on one October weekend in 2011 when the team “practiced for 7 hours, 15 minutes on Saturday, and 6 hours, 30 minutes on Sunday”. His tenure in the SEC was an unmitigated disaster, and his failed campaign at Texas Tech only highlights how unfit Gillispie was to lead the league’s most prestigious program. It seems unlikely that another school will take a chance on him in the near future (if at all), so when the controversy over his improprieties in Lubbock fades away, we hope that you won’t have to read Gillispie’s name on this site for long, long time.
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