SEC M5: 11.02.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on November 2nd, 2012

  1. Remember those god-awful camouflage uniforms that North Carolina and Michigan State wore last season during the Carrier Classic game? Yes, the ones that gave you the second worst headache of your life after the Baylor highlighter yellow unis? Well, Florida has leaked its version to be worn on November 9 against Georgetown in the second Carrier Classic in Jacksonville, Florida. When Alligator Army reached out to a Florida spokesperson, they commented that the leaked version of orange camo are “an early rendering of the uniform concept. The final look may vary from that photo.” While we prefer to focus on basketball, the early uniform watch can be fun for one reason — to spark some good ole’ fashioned debate. So, RTC community, what do you say about the orange camouflage that Florida will wear for its Carrier Classic matchup? Like? Dislike? Don’t care?
  2. Not much of significance can be extrapolated from a 91-58 exhibition beatdown, but that won’t stop us from trying. The blog site for KBIA 91.3 FM in Missouri liked what they saw from guards Earnest Ross and Keion Bell in their Tiger debut. We talked about Ross’ lights-out shooting in the Halloween edition of the SEC M5, but Bell’s impact was equally as impressive, as the athletic guard scored 20 points in 29 minutes of play. KBIA brings up an interesting question of whether Bell could be an effective backup point guard to spell Phil Pressey for brief periods this year. In his three seasons at Pepperdine before transferring to Mizzou, Bell was among the nation’s leaders in turnovers, ranking as high as fourth in the nation in turnovers per game in 2010-11. He dished out just one assist with three turnovers against Northwest Missouri State.
  3. Many believed former Connecticut forward Alex Oriakhi might still be with the Huskies if not for a postseason ban, but Oriakhi says that is not the case. “I would have still left,” Oriakhi said. It seems that Oriakhi was seeking a level of happiness that he has found with his new teammates and coaching staff at Missouri. “The chemistry is unbelievable,” he went on to say. “Everybody has a general liking for each other. Anytime I walk into the locker room, it’s just straight jokes. I can’t wait to get in there. The relationship with the coaching staff, I’ve never had that type of relationship before. It’s honestly a joy to come in here and work every day.” Missouri fans have to like the sound of that. Oriakhi obviously can be a tremendous asset for Frank Haith and the Tigers, but his statistics took a dip in the year after winning a national championship after averaging 9.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in his sophomore year with the Huskies. Perhaps his satisfaction played a role in that, and his new surroundings could mean Missouri will get him at his full potential.
  4. The Auburn Villager sees Auburn basketball in a position that it hasn’t been in before and may never be in again. As the post points out, “basketball is in a position — however ultimately unfortunate for Auburn fans as a whole — that it doesn’t always find itself in on the Plains. Basketball could provide a reprieve from all the losing and one-step-forward, entire-mudslides-back that have occurred so far on the football field.” Gene Chizik’s squad is in unfamiliar territory, trudging along with an 0-6 conference record and a 1-7 mark overall. Meanwhile, hope is high for Tony Barbee and the basketball team. Auburn put up 108 points in its first exhibition game by showcasing a much improved offense, and with an area normally captivated and concerned only with football, this is a great opportunity for the basketball team to seize some momentum going forward.
  5. Florida’s Billy Donovan has some concerns heading into the start of the season. In the Gators’ scrimmage last weekend against Rollins College, Donovan thought rebounding was a major issue for his team. “Because it was Rollins and clearly we had a size advantage for us in the scrimmage, we outrebounded them by a large margin,” Donovan said. “But I still didn’t think we rebounded the ball well in the game.” Currently, Donovan plans to go with a three-guard lineup becauase his roster is thin in the frontcourt. Look for Donovan to find ways to keep forward Will Yeguete on the floor. While Erik Murphy is likely to gain the nod in the starting lineup because of his offensive efficiency, Yeguete is the far better rebounder of the two forwards at 6.3 rebounds per game last season.

Brian Joyce is a writer for the SEC microsite and regular contributor for Rush The Court. Follow him on Twitter for more about SEC basketball at bjoyce_hoops.

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Happy Halloween From the SEC: Which School Represents Which Candy?

Posted by KAlmekinder on October 31st, 2012

As we preview the SEC this season, the focus this week is on Halloween, the junk food-centered holiday predominantly celebrated by children or college kids, who both have different motives when this date comes around on the calendar every year. While the ghosts and goblins knock on doors asking for their sweet tooth tithes tonight, we pose the question: Which Halloween candy represents each SEC school? The analogies might surprise you.

What Kinds of Candy Are the 12 SEC Schools This Year?

  • Alabama – M&M’s. The always consistent M&M’s can never disappoint, even with variable options such as peanut butter and peanut. This year marks Year Four of the Anthony Grant Experience in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide are coming off consecutive 20-win seasons and are building a case to challenge more prominent schools for their place in the SEC pecking order. Returning senior Jalen Steele, sophomore sharpshooter Trevor Lacey and skilled freshman Devonta Pollard will provide skill and reliability for Anthony Grant as the Tide battles a tough non-conference slate, including Purdue, Villanova, Cincinnati, and Grant’s previous school, VCU. A 2o-plus win season in Alabama, coming off another dominant season on the gridiron, will have fans in Tuscaloosa cheering all season long.
  • ArkansasMilky Way. Like the Milky Way bar in its history, Arkansas basketball has lost some luster from its national championship ways in the early 1990s. Over time, better teams and chocolate bars have gained popularity while leaving little respect for this program and its chocolate. Arkansas has not been to the NCAA Tournament in four years and is 17 years removed from its last Final Four appearance. Now on their third coach since Nolan Richardson’s firing in 2002, head coach Mike Anderson is working to reinvigorate the “40 minutes of hell” style of play that his mentor used to gain attention almost two decades ago. The Milky Way bar has done the same; changes to the texture, size, and taste to attract more buyers might have done more harm than good. Maybe a trip back to their standard will be more profitable too.
  • AuburnSmarties. The Smarties are the consistently bad candy; they can always be found in a jumbo pack of other powder-type candies for cheap and are always the last Halloween candy eaten — usually on the day after Thanksgiving. Auburn basketball has consistently been the Smarties of the SEC. Since the 2003-04 season, Auburn has finished in the bottom three of the conference standings in all but one year. Fans no doubt see basketball as the dead period between fall football games and spring football practice. There is some hope on the horizon, however, as Auburn is in the mix with ESPN Top 100 recruit Austin Nichols and was quoted to say he “wanted to be the face of the program.” Head coach Tony Barbee, his staff, and players hosted a  free “Barbee-Q” for all Auburn students on Monday night. Maybe weekly free food and an elite recruit could help invigorate some life into the basketball program; or maybe just feed some college kids so they take a break from eating ramen every night. Read the rest of this entry »
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SEC M5: 10.29.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on October 29th, 2012

  1. Kentucky coach John Calipari gave some updates after practice, and it seems he is prepared to experiment with several different line-up combinations. “Every time I make a substitution this team is going to be drastically different,” Calipari said. “From Ryan (Harrow) at point guard to Archie (Goodwin) at point guard. Totally different. From Alex at the four, to Kyle at the four. One is a stretch four, one is a power four. To playing both big guys at a time.” The most interesting comment is the potential to play two guard Archie Goodwin some at the point. Calipari has struggled with depth at the point guard position, sometimes asking 6’7″ forward Darius Miller or shooting guard Doron Lamb to bring the ball up last season. However, more often than not, starting point guard Marquis Teague stayed on the floor. It will be interesting to see if Cal does the same with sophomore Ryan Harrow.
  2. Tennessee freshman Derek Reese may redshirt due to a shoulder injury he suffered leading up to the team’s trip to Italy over the summer. Reese experienced a torn labrum in his right shoulder. “You’re either going to come out stronger than you were before the injury or you can end up weaker,” Reese said. “It’s all about your mindset.” Following his surgery in August, Reese was expected to be out approximately six months, but UT staff held off on making a decision until they saw his progress. He was not expected to be a major contributor in the backcourt this year regardless.
  3. Tony Barbee’s Auburn squad struggled to put the ball in the basket last season, but he doesn’t think that will be as much of an issue this year. A couple of highly ranked freshmen, Jordan Price and Shaquille Johnson, led the way for the Tigers in their first intra-squad scrimmage. Price knocked down all three of his three-point attempts in the game. “We’ve been really high-level defensively in the past,” Barbee said. “Because of some of the talent and attributes we’ve gotten in recruiting, and some of the hard work by returning players, we’ve got a chance to do that at a better level.” With the depth and talent Barbee has this season, expect his team to push the tempo more than they have done in the past.  Auburn scored just 62.6 points per game last season.
  4. While we are not sure why, Missouri coach Frank Haith is excited about the athleticism his Tigers are preparing to face in the SEC. “One thing that really stands out is the athleticism in this league. It’s a very athletic league. I also think they play a style, in terms of tempo defensively, that’s a little different than the Big 12; there’s more pressing, there’s more aggressive play, and extending your defense in this league than there was in the Big 12. That’s something we’ve got to get used to.” Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel was probably looking forward to the athleticism on the football field in the SEC too, and well, we know how that worked out. Then again, SEC basketball is not the same as SEC football.
  5. Gamecocks coach Frank Martin is looking forward to returning the passion for college basketball back to Columbia. “People tend to forget you couldn’t get a seat in the Frank McGuire Coliseum back in the day,” Martin said at SEC media day Thursday. “We’re kind of rekindling that passion, reconnecting that great past with the present.” But Martin knows that winning will fill the seats, and with a soft non-conference schedule this season, he may be able to stockpile some victories up front. The biggest question moving forward is how long will it take Martin and company to win in the SEC, not against the likes of Presbyterian College or South Carolina State.

Brian Joyce is a writer for the SEC microsite and regular contributor for Rush The Court. Follow him on Twitter for more about SEC basketball at bjoyce_hoops.

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SEC M5: 10.23.12 Edition

Posted by DPerry on October 23rd, 2012

  1. The SEC media’s preseason predictions were revealed Monday, and it’s clear that members of the press see a gap between the top four and the rest of the conference. Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, and Tennessee all received at least one first-place vote in addition to two representatives on the all-SEC teams. If you’re looking for a team to try to break into the upper tier, look no further than Arkansas, the only other school with two all-SEC representatives. Sophomore BJ Young had a stellar freshman campaign, but he was overshadowed by the young stars at Kentucky. Consider him the favorite for the league scoring title. Add in Marshawn Powell and a deep recruiting class, and Mike Anderson’s team should be in position to challenge if one of the top four slips up.
  2. Monday was a big day for newly minted preseason SEC player of the year Phil Pressey. The conference media wasn’t the only source praising him as CBS Sports released its preseason list of the top 50 point guards, ranking the Tigers floor general second only behind Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan. Pressey and Canaan are hardly the only two candidates who can make a claim for that top spot, but striking differences in their respective styles of play make comparisons tough. Pressey barely averaged double-figure points last season, and because of the talent around him, there are no guarantees he’ll improve those totals. Canaan, however, is a point guard in name only. The senior averaged fewer than four assists per game last season, and with his three highest scoring teammates departing, he’ll have even less of a reason to pass. The casual fan may take a quick glance at Canaan’s numbers and see the superior player, but Pressey’s multi-faceted game shouldn’t be ignored.
  3. Power forward recruit Torren Jones committed to Missouri on Monday, adding to an already impressive 2013 class. Frank Haith has shown a deft recruiting touch in his short time in Columbia. This past spring, he utilized the transfer market for short-term fixes that will keep his team competitive despite losing stars such as Kim English, Marcus Denmon, and Ricardo Ratliffe to graduation. However, his efforts in the 2013 high school recruiting class are much more important to the long-term health of the program. Missouri enters the SEC as a title contender in their first season, and if Haith maintains his momentum, the Tigers will be a mainstay in the top tier of the conference for years to come.
  4. Vanderbilt isn’t short on question marks entering the new season, but finding a replacement for center Festus Ezeli may be the most pressing. 6’11” sophomore Josh Henderson was expected to fill the role, but after experiencing problems in his recovery from foot surgery, the Virginia native won’t be ready for the start of the season. According to the Tennessean, Shelby Moats is next in line. The 6’8” sophomore isn’t criminally undersized, but as a perimeter-oriented big man, he could have trouble adjusting to a new role focusing on the paint. Henderson should return in time for conference play, but we’ll see if head coach Kevin Stallings can keep his team afloat through the first few weeks with a severely limited frontcourt rotation.
  5. With the football team mired in its worst season in over a half century, will Auburn fans turn their attention to basketball? Unlikely, but Tony Barbee and his team are doing all they can to drum up some excitement. The Tigers basketball squad will host a pep rally this Friday, and are even providing free food to early-arriving fans, with an intrasquad scrimmage will be open to the public on Saturday. Auburn boasts a talented freshman class and could surprise a few teams, but complimentary refreshments may be necessary to fill Auburn Arena after the Tigers inevitably once again fall out of contention.
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SEC M5: 10.16.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on October 16th, 2012

  1. LSU went immediately to work this week with new coach Johnny Jones, but without the aid of a cadre of experienced big men. 6’9″ forward Johnny O’Bryant, who averaged 8.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season, will be counted on to lead the way on the low blocks this season. Other than O’Bryant, the Tigers are fairly thin in the frontcourt. A pair of junior college transfers, Shavon Coleman and Calvin Godfrey, could be counted upon to provide quality minutes. And so far in practice reports, Coleman, who has drawn the task of defending O’Bryant, has “held up well.” Coleman stands at just 6’6″, but will likely spend a majority of minutes guarding larger opponents at the power forward slot.
  2. Tony Barbee is feeling confident with his new-look Tigers, but if he is going to get Auburn over the .500 hump he will have to do so with six new faces this season. One of the less heralded freshmen, 6’3″ guard Brian Greene, Jr., could end up being the most productive. The freshman is considered a strong candidate for the open point guard position, and he has drawn praise from returning guard Frankie Sullivan. “It is just not that he stands out, but you always see the guy,” Sullivan said. “Even in the drills, he is the one who is catching on the quickest.” Sullivan will likely start at the two guard spot. He led the Tigers in scoring last year with 12.6 points per game, but still wasn’t 100 percent because of a knee injury that sidelined him during the 2010-11 season.
  3. Want to know why Kentucky has been so good in the Calipari era? They score more points than the other team. And that is not purely because of offense, but because the Wildcats have been a lockdown defensive squad under Coach Cal. For three years running, the Cats have ranked in the top 10 in the nation in three defensive categories: effective field goal percentage, two point percentage, and blocks. According to Glenn Logan at ASoB, “Kentucky has been #1 in the nation in blocks three years running – an impressive statistic that very few people mention when analyzing the Wildcats.” But likely because of that strong protection around the rim, Kentucky has given up a higher percentage of three-point attempts and subsequently a higher percentage of three-point field goals. As Logan points out, “If you’re taking 3’s, you’re not taking 2’s closer to the basket.” With top defender and shot blocker Nerlens Noel guarding the basket, that might just be the plan.
  4. The Arkansas faithful hasn’t exactly witnessed the football success it had hoped for, but there is a certain optimism towards year two of the Mike Anderson era in Fayetteville. And according to Doc Harper of, the Hogs should be in the NCAA Tournament. “Bottom line, if BJ Young is deserving of all the hype he’s getting, Arkansas will be in the tournament in March,” Harper says. “Any NBA lottery pick should be able to lead a team to the NCAA Tournament on his own.” The Razorbacks should be much improved from a 6-10 SEC mark last season, but it won’t be Young alone that gets them there. Arkansas’ depth should be enough to unleash a full 40 minutes of Anderson’s fast paced system.
  5. Uni watch 2012 is in full effect. With a number of departures from a solid team last season, we are not certain what the Crimson Tide will look like on the court. But we do know that they will be doing it in style. Alabama joined the Nike Hyper Elite team with basketball stalwarts Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse, and North Carolina. The current Tide players showcased the new slimmer look with the Alabama specific print on the back. Alabama lost leading scorers JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell , but return enough talent to make a splash in the SEC standings.

Brian Joyce is a writer for the SEC microsite and regular contributor for Rush The Court. Follow him on Twitter for more about SEC basketball at bjoyce_hoops.

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SEC Weekly Five: 07.27.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on July 27th, 2012

  1. Florida moved to the top of the early rankings charts as the Gators scored a verbal commitment from Chris Walker (No. 6 on the Rivals 150), joining his AAU teammate, Kasey Hill (No. 7). Walker declared, “Together we will be the best duo in college and we will win a national championship. You heard it here first.” Walker is the highest rated player on the Rivals 150 list to have already given a verbal commitment. Walker picked the Gators over Louisville, Kansas, Syracuse, Ohio State and Baylor.
  2. Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis came out this week in support of an effort to honor the 50-year anniversary of a historic contest between Mississippi State and Loyola (Chicago). The two played at Michigan State’s Jenison Field House in a 1963 NCAA tournament Mideast Regional semifinal game that holds civil rights significance because “Mississippi State’s all-white squad defied a court injunction, sneaking out of the state to East Lansing to face a Loyola team with four black starters.” Hollis said, “The historical significance of that game needs to be recognized. I don’t think a lot of people in Michigan are aware that game was played there and we want to make sure that story is told.”
  3. ESPN’s Summer Shootaround series hit the SEC this week and Doug Gottlieb’s preseason power rankings might raise a few eyebrows. He did not place the defending national champions, Kentucky, atop his list, but rather one of the league’s newbies, Missouri, was there. Among his reasons, “[Phil] Pressey should start the season as the best point guard in the SEC, so his return is huge for Mizzou…Alex Oriakhi should be far better outside of the toxic environment of last season’s Connecticut Huskies club, and he also provides championship experience…and the rabid Missouri fan base shows up consistently, the Tigers will be close to unbeatable at home.”
  4.’s Gary Parrish published a story on Tuesday about how next year’s SEC schedules were changed from what was discussed in early June. In his account, he wrote, “”I got an email from the SEC office, and my four [home-and-home] opponents … were changed,” one SEC coach told “There was no discussion or phone call. I just got an email of our league schedule, and the league schedule wasn’t the league schedule they told me I’d have last month. It’s crazy.” Parrish went on to write, “To help you better understand exactly what happened, consider that Vanderbilt was supposed to have Tennessee as its constant rival and Kentucky, Alabama, Missouri and Ole Miss as its home-and-home opponents, but sources told that Vanderbilt now has Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas and Auburn as its home-and-home opponents. Meantime, Ole Miss was supposed to have Mississippi State as its constant rival and Auburn, Florida, Vanderbilt and Arkansas as its home-and-home opponents, but sources told that Ole Miss now has Auburn, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas A&M as its home-and-home opponents. Sources said Georgia’s schedule got harder. Sources said Alabama’s schedule got easier.”
  5. Two SEC Tiger schools were involved in a coaching change recently as Missouri’s Ryan Miller left Frank Haith’s staff after only two months to join Tony Barbee’s staff at Auburn. Miller is the younger brother of Miami Heat forward Mike Miller and worked with Barbee as the video coordinator at Memphis while Barbee was an assistant under John Calipari. According to the report, “Calipari pushed hard for Miller to join Barbee down in Auburn, where he would also receive a significant pay raise.”
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SEC Transition Basketball: Auburn Tigers

Posted by Brian Joyce on July 18th, 2012

It’s hot out there, and to many of us, college basketball is the last thing on our minds. But here at the SEC Microsite, we’re going to be rolling out mid-summer resets of each of the (now) 14 basketball programs in our league. We’re calling it Transition Basketball, and you can expect we’ll cover three or four teams a week until we’re done. By that time, we’ll actually start to be turning the slight corner into the fall, and from there it’s a smooth slope down to Midnight Madness in mid-October. Today’s update: Auburn.

State of the Program

Auburn was host to a losing record, the worst adjusted offensive efficiency rating in the SEC (and one of the worst in all of the six power conferences), and a point shaving scandal in 2011-12. Not exactly the signs of a team on the rise to success. Eight players are gone from a team that went 15-16 overall and 5-11 in conference play, yet coach Tony Barbee has reason for optimism. “In these first couple years, because of the strength of the other teams in the league, it was going to be tough to crack the top half of this league,” Barbee said. “Now I think with the group of seniors we’ve got coming back, the influx of talent we’ve got coming in, we’re a team that’s going to transition from the bottom half of the league to the upper half of the league. That’s my perspective.”

Tony Barbee is confident with his team for next season

Barbee’s Tigers are slowly making progress, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Auburn notched four SEC wins in 2011. Barbee took another step forward with five conference wins in 2012. Though the Tigers last achieved a winning record in 2009, Auburn hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003. Barbee’s goal of moving into the upper half of a deep SEC means competing with the likes of powers Kentucky and Florida. Auburn hasn’t beaten Florida since the SEC Tournament in 2009 and hasn’t beaten Kentucky since 2000. With the amount of change the team has undergone in such a short time period, it is hard to fully buy into Barbee’s lofty goals.

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SEC Morning Five: 03.06.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on March 6th, 2012

  1. Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes earned his first SEC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week award for averaging 14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, three blocks, and 1.5 steals on the week. St0kes put together an 18-point, seven-rebound performance in a win over LSU. The freshman forward hit 9 of 10 from the field against the Tigers. National Player of the Year candidate Anthony Davis was named the SEC Freshman of the Week. The 6’11” center averaged 15.5 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks while recording his 14th double double on the season. Davis moved up the ladder to eighth on Kentucky’s all time blocks list.
  2. Auburn’s offensive struggles resurfaced in the second half against LSU on Saturday, but the Tigers built up a large enough lead to carry them to victory. “What happens to us is, we let down defensively when we get up 10, 12, 15, whatever the case my be,” Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. “That’s what happened today. We just got lax … But we used a couple timeouts and just told those guys, ‘We got to get back to staying persistent and guard, regardless if we make shots or not.’” And Auburn’s defense rose to the occasion. The Tigers held LSU to just over 30% shooting in the second half. Now if Barbee can find a little offense, the Tigers would feel a lot more confident going into Thursday.
  3. Another team from the state of Alabama is struggling on offense. The Alabama Crimson Tide scored just 17 first half points in a 60-51 defeat to Ole Miss. When asked about his team’s performance, Tide coach Anthony Grant was critical of the team and himself. “Disappointing,” Grant said to describe Alabama’s game. “My job is to make sure our team is prepared. We were not.” Similar to Auburn, Alabama’s defense played well limiting the Rebels to just 42.9% shooting. The problem for the Tide is they aren’t going to win any games when they shoot 34.5% no matter how stifling the defense plays.
  4. Florida couldn’t pull off the victory on Sunday over number one ranked Kentucky, but Billy Donovan knows what it will take to beat the Wildcats. “A real, real physical team,” Donovan said. “There would have to be a presence at the basket constantly in post-ups and duck-ins. Three out (on the perimeter), two in. Straight smash-mouth basketball. … I don’t think a finesse team.” Who would Donovan suggest could pull off such a feat? He thinks North Carolina or Vanderbilt has what it takes to take down the Cats. Kentucky has beaten both teams this year (Kentucky took down Vanderbilt twice), but I’m sure the Cats would love to see UNC grab a #1 seed in order to avoid a potential re-match until the Final Four in New Orleans.
  5. Despite not falling far from preseason expectations, the Arkansas faithful are disappointed in the outcome for the Razorbacks under first year coach Mike Anderson. Razorbacks blog, Arkansas Expats, reluctantly admits, “now that the regular season is over, I have to admit, I’m disappointed. I’m pretty sure it’s unfair to feel that way considering youth, injuries, coaching transition, preseason predictions, etc, but I am.” Should Arkansas fans be disappointed this season? It’s hard not to be disappointed with what could have been, but as it was pointed out, it’s unfair to make a judgement just yet. Anderson needs a deeper bench to run his patented style, and it will take time to build that kind of depth. And time is exactly what Razorback fans need to give Anderson and the new coaching regime.
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SEC Morning Five: 02.29.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on February 29th, 2012

  1. Kentucky head coach John Calipari has become the face of coaches recruiting college players who stay for only one year.  Recently, one of his star freshman, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, said he “wasn’t going anywhere” after this season. Despite that comment, Calipari defended his actions, “It’s not my rule. I don’t even like the rule one-and-done.” Calipari continued by saying, “Whether it’s Carolina, Duke, Florida, we’re all in the same boat. If a kid plays really well and that’s what he chooses to do, you can either try to talk him out of it or the (other) option is, don’t recruit good enough players that can be drafted.”
  2. Auburn head coach Tony Barbee set his deadline for when he would decide if Varez Ward and Chris Denson would return for Wednesday’s game with Alabama: “Before we get on the bus for Tuscaloosa.” Both were suspended for Saturday against Arkansas.
  3. The AP wrote Tuesday that Alabama’s JaMychal Green was “expected to return to the starting lineup” for Wednesday’s contest against Auburn. In his absence, he saw the Crimson Tide improve their NCAA Tournament outlook, defeating Tennessee, Mississippi State and Arkansas. “It’d be pretty big,” said Green, who came off the bench against the Bulldogs. “I’ve never been there. It’d be a great experience for everybody on the team. It’s just the way I want to go out.”
  4. For a team picked 11th in the preseason, Tennessee remains alive for finishing as high as the #2 seed in the SEC Tournament. For that scenario to play out, the Volunteers must win out and Florida must most lose to Kentucky on Saturday. They enter the final week of the regular season tied with Alabama for the fourth and final bye position. “We are fighting for our lives,” head coach Cuonzo Martin said. “You have to get better every day. There’s plenty of work to do. Our guys are hungry right now.We’re fighting. We don’t have any luxury or margin for any error to be happy or be successful or think we’ve done something special. But we have every right just like everyone else to win ball games.”
  5. In winning six of their last seven games, players on Tennessee credit team chemistry as one of the reasons for the improved play. “We didn’t have a level of team togetherness, passion for one another,” head coach Cuonzo Martin said. “Where you say, ‘I really wanna see my teammate be successful before I see myself have success. You start to play together, you don’t worry about if your shot is falling or not; you’re just playing basketball.”
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SEC Morning Five: 02.17.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on February 17th, 2012

  1. The SEC announced the 2012 Allstate® SEC Basketball Legends. The 12-man class will be honored at the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament March 8-11 at the New Orleans Arena. The 2012 class includes Jack Kubiszyn (Alabama), Nolan Richardson (Arkansas), Chris Morris (Auburn), Mike Miller (Florida),  Willie Anderson (Georgia), Adrian “Odie” Smith (Kentucky), Jack Waters (Ole Miss), Chuck Evans (Mississippi State), Henry Martin (South Carolina), Gene Tormohlen (Tennessee), and Drew Maddux (Vanderbilt). Each SEC Basketball Legend will be recognized at halftime of his institution’s first game at the tournament.
  2. While Vanderbilt was throttling Ole Miss, 102-76, on Thursday, much of the drama came outside the lines. In the game, the Rebels received three technical fouls, one because of some fans throwing ice on the floor for a second time. Andy Kennedy and Terrance Henry also received technical fouls by the end of the night. After the game, teammates Reginald Buckner and Jelan Kendrick had to be separated by the coaching staff after an argument. “When you played like we played there’s a lot of frustration to go around,” Kennedy said. “I’m sure some of that got misguided.” Hugh Kellenberger of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger filed this video regarding the altercation.
  3. In that win, Jeffery Taylor scored 28 points as he continued his ascension up the Vanderbilt scoring chart. At Taylor’s current average, Vanderbilt would need to make the SEC Tournament championship game, and the NCAA championship game for him to pass Foster.  The Tennessean’s Mike Organ spoke to Taylor and his teammates about his chances of taking down Shan Foster of the school’s all-time leading scorer. “I’ve always been among the top scorers on the team, but we’ve always had good scorers and we’ve always had a balanced team,” Taylor said. “But where I am on the (all-time) scoring list is nothing that I’ve ever really had that great an interest in.” Organ writes that “at Taylor’s current average, Vanderbilt would need to make the SEC Tournament championship game, and the NCAA championship game for him to pass Foster.
  4. As Auburn basketball is starting to see a uptick under Tony Barbee, the story of Tigers’ walk-on starting point guard Josh Wallace has picked up steam. Evan Woodbery writes how Wallace, the owner of a 4.45 GPA in high school, can balance his book studies with his playbook studies. “Engineering is a pretty tough major, and I guess to balance that and play a sport is pretty demanding on both ends,” Wallace said with a shrug. “So I guess people want talk about it a lot.”
  5. Jack Blankenship, the subject of the “SEC basketball photo of the year” has seen the popularity of the picture grow to the point where ESPN’s Dave Wilsonwrote about Blankenship’s sudden stardom. “I thought it’d be cool to find a way to get a picture of myself and bring it to the games and hold it up,” Blankenship said. “It’s been amazing. I’ve always wanted to be famous.”
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