SEC M5: 11.07.12 Edition

Posted by KAlmekinder on November 7th, 2012

  1. We are under 60 hours away from college basketball’s first regular season games tipping off and both Joe Lunardi of ESPN and Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated have released their first bracket projections of the 2012-13 season. Each bracket has only five SEC teams in the field as of today: Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, Alabama, and Tennessee. Kentucky is projected to be a #1 seed in both Lunardi’s bracket as well as Glockner’s while they disagree on the seeds for the remaining four teams. Get over there and check them out — it’ll get you more ready for the season to start than you might think.
  2. The season has not even begun but the problems keep accumulating for Mississippi State and Rick Ray, as the Bulldogs just lost another player to injury. Brandon Marcello from the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger originally reported that freshman guard DeAndre Applewhite suffered a devastating knee injury late last week. On Tuesday, an MRI scan showed that Applewhite tore the ACL and meniscus in his left knee, thus sidelining him for the entire 2012-13 season. Applewhite joins Jacoby Davis on the injured list with virtually the same knee injury that the point guard suffered back in July. Applewhite’s injury leaves the Bulldogs with only eight healthy scholarship players on the squad, but healthy or not, Mississippi State opens its season Friday versus Troy.
  3. The pundits writing for ESPN’s College Basketball Nation blog hosted a fantasy college basketball draft earlier Tuesday, drafting five starters, a reserve, a head coach and an arena for the season. The draft took place via live-blog on Tuesday afternoon while former-Tennessee-coach-turned-analyst Bruce Pearl recapped the proceedings in a more reader-friendly article. The draft results are also here for an easier view. Only four SEC players, coaches, or venues were drafted among the group. Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Missouri’s Phil Pressey were drafted as players, Kentucky coach John Calipari as a coach, and Rupp Arena as a venue. Makes sense.
  4. A lot of the press coverage the Missouri Tigers are receiving this preseason is with respect to all their talented transfers who will suit up this season. One player ready to play again on Friday (and going largely unmentioned in most of these analyses) is forward Laurence Bowers, a player finally ready to return from an ACL tear suffered 13 months ago. Bowers’ hard work in rehabilitation will provide another strong body in the post, a piece the Tigers desperately missed at times last year as when they were bounced in their opening game of the NCAA Tournament against Norfolk State. Bowers will join transfer Alex Oriahki from Connecticut (more on him in a moment) as a dynamic tandem in the Tigers’ frontcourt.
  5. USA Today released an article late Tuesday describing college basketball’s “free agency era,” a situation slowly gaining popularity with programs across the country. The article mentions former Connecticut Huskies forward Alex Oriahki, now with the Missouri Tigers because of the unique situation UConn was in last season regarding academic APR sanctions and including a postseason ban. As the APR takes greater effect with a higher threshold in the future, many more high-caliber players could follow suit, leaving schools to play for programs not similarly restricted. Could this usher in a new free agency system that directs certain recruits to certain schools? Oriahki has set the model in play for a potential change with the NCAA rulebook.
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Morning Five: 07.25.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 25th, 2012

  1. Louisville has made headlines recently with their abundance of scholarship players and the need to cut down and they managed to do so yesterday for one player as incoming freshman Terry Rozier will be spending next season in prep school at Hargrave Military Academy with the apparent reason being to straighten out his academic standing. Rozier will also get to know Anton Gill, another Louisville commit, who will be spending next season at the same prep school. While this may seem like bad news for Louisville fans it is good news for the rest of us in that Peyton Siva’s backup at point guard will be Russ Smith and we all could use a little more Russ Smith in our lives.
  2. North Carolina State fans who have been waiting to see what has been expected to be a loaded Wolfpack team may have to wait until after the team’s summer trip to Europe to see their full arsenal as Mark Gottfried has indicated that injured point guard Lorenzo Brown may not play during the team’s trip to Spain as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery. The decision is not surprising as Gottfried says Brown is still only “between 75 and 80 percent healthy”. Given the goals of this Wolfpack team, which is a legitimate Final Four threat, this seems entirely reasonable although we are sure that Brown would love to take the court with his new teammates.
  3. A little over a month ago we mentioned the attempt by Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis to get Mississippi State and Loyola (IL) to play a rematch of their 1963 Regional semifinals in Jenison Field House to commemorate the game, which the Bulldogs played despite a court order forbidding them from playing a team containing African-Americans. Unfortunately for Hollis, the schools were unwilling to commit to playing at an off-campus site, but they were willing to schedule a home-and-home series with the first match-up occurring on December 13 in Chicago. While the games probably won’t mean much in the context of the two seasons they could serve as an important way to educate many people about a significant event and highlight the ability of sports to stand for something more than just the outcome of a game.
  4. The first game will be without the services of Mississippi State freshman Jacoby Davis, a 6’1″, 185-lb point guard who was new head coach Rick Ray’s first signee. Davis tore his ACL on Monday during individual workouts and will most likely miss the entire 2012-13 season. Ray was already facing a precarious backcourt situation with only Davis and juco transfer Divonte Bloodman projected as point guards next season — now with Davis out of the lineup, the Bulldogs will have to depend on Bloodman and hope for the best unless Ray can find another point guard in the bushes somewhere. Mississippi State was for a while one of the most reliable SEC programs under Rick Stansbury, but it appears like it’s going to be some time before the Bulldogs get back to that level of success.
  5. SEC basketball coaches often feel like they’re the stepchildren of the conference in a region and among local cultures that value college football exponentially more than their sport on the hardwood. So imagine how they felt this week when they received an email from the league offices telling them that their conference schedules — the ones that they had all agreed to in June — were changed. According to this report from Gary Parrish, the conference’s 14 coaches weren’t even informed that changes were afoot — their first notification on the matter came in the email. So what does it mean? Last month the coaches agreed to an 18-game schedule where each school would play a permanent rival twice, four other schools in home-and-homes, and the other eight teams once. This report says that the home-and-homes have changed, meaning that some schools’ schedules have gotten considerably harder (oh, we play Kentucky twice now?), while others have gotten easier. For a league that likes to tell anyone who will listen that they have the most money, the most success, the most everything… it sounds like Mike Slive’s group might want to invest in a communications liaison. Folks aren’t happy.
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