SEC M5: 10.24.12 Edition

Posted by DPerry on October 24th, 2012

  1. released their Top 50 Big Men rankings on Tuesday, and the SEC is well-represented. Starting with Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel at #3 and ending with a guy who will spot for him in the post (Kyle Wiltjer at #44), the conference boasts 10 of the 50 honorees. There are a lot of question marks around the league’s representatives (youth, health), but with quality frontcourt competition representing on a game-by-game basis, the SEC should be well prepared for physical postseason basketball next March.
  2. One of those quality frontcourts resides in Knoxville, where Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon are the stars at Tennessee. However, the options coming off Cuonzo Martin’s bench are impressive as well. One player primed for a breakout, according to Blue Ribbon editor and’s Chris Dortch, is Yemi Makanjuola. “My goal is to take charges, rebound, block shots, and the team wins, I will do that every day,” says the Lagos, Nigeria native. “Until I can’t walk anymore.” He isn’t the most important Volunteer this season, but that type of attitude is exactly what any team wants to see in a role player.
  3. How does Mark Emmert feel about the one-and-done culture of college basketball? On Monday, the NCAA president wasn’t in the mood to mince words. “I dislike it enormously,” Emmert told an audience at Wright State’s basketball tip-off luncheon. The statement wasn’t specifically about Kentucky, but it’s not a stretch to think that coach John Calipari’s program is what Emmert had in mind. With fallout from the Penn State football sanctions and the New Jersey sports gambling lawsuit going strong, the NCAA has a full plate at the moment. Will more programs commit fully to the one-and-done model before the NCAA has a chance to initiate some reform?
  4. Mississippi State takes on #1 Alabama in a match-up of unbeaten teams this Saturday night, but the gridiron contest isn’t the only show in town. Crimson Tide basketball is hoping to take advantage of the raucous football crowd by hosting an open scrimmage at Coleman Coliseum at 3 PM that afternoon. Will many Alabama fans be willing to skip out on their prime tailgating hours for a peek at star freshman Devonta Pollard? Even with the prospect of unlimited player autographs, we can’t see it happening.
  5. What do Roy Hibbert, My Little Pony, and Georgia basketball all have in common? They’ve all hopped on the “Gangnam Style” parody bandwagon. The Bulldogs and Lady Dawgs joined the school mascots (one of which looks like he belongs here) to try their hand at re-creating the Korean viral sensation. Judging by his energetic performance, we think it’s safe to assume that freshman guard Kenny Gaines is in for a big year.
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SEC Morning Five: New Year’s Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on January 2nd, 2012

  1. Mississippi State point guard Dee Bost broke the school’s all-time assist record on Saturday. Bost recorded four assists in the two=point win over Utah State giving him 515 in his career. He broke the career mark set by former Bulldog Derrick Zimmerman. “That’s quite an accomplishment when you consider all the guys that have played at Mississippi State,” head coach Rick Stansbury said. Otherwise, it wasn’t a banner night for Bost. He was just 1-10 from the field scoring just five points as the Bulldogs struggled to put the Aggies away.
  2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist thrived in a physical and rough win for Kentucky as the Wildcats defeated intra-state rival Louisville Cardinals. “He wasn’t bothered as much as some of the other players by the physical play,” coach John Calipari said. “He almost relished it and just went after it, and that’s why he played the way he did. […] He was vicious today.” Kidd-Gilchrist agreed with Calipari’s assessment. “I’m built for this,” he said after Kentucky’s 69-62 victory. “I just love the challenge. I’ve always been that way. I’ve got a lot of heart.” Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 24 points and 19 rebounds, both career highs, in 39 minutes of play. Kidd-Gilchrist has showed up for big games. He scored 17 points and 11 rebounds against UNC, and 18 points and nine rebounds in a one-point loss at Indiana. He is quickly becoming not only the best freshman in the country, but one of the best players overall in the nation.
  3. The Lexington Herald Leader had more love for Kidd-Gilchrist, but Kidd-Gilchrist was giving all his love to his mother. She was in the hospital last week, but was healthy enough to make it to Lexington to watch her son play. “My mom was here,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “She smiled at me,” he said admitting he was looking at her in the stands. “I had to smile back.” With the way he played on Saturday, Calipari should find a way to get Kidd-Gilchrist’s mother in Rupp Arena more often. Kentucky won by seven despite shooting just 29.8%. Kidd-Gilchrist’s play was a big reason why the Wildcats were able to preserve the victory.
  4. Tennessee’s coach Cuonzo Martin turned to the bench on Saturday to beat The Citadel. Reserve center Yemi Makanjuola had a career-high 18 points and 11 rebounds. His coach knew it was possible. “I’m not surprised. I knew eventually it would come at some point, maybe next year,” Martin said. “I just think you’re happy for a guy who puts the work in and doesn’t complain and puts his head down and works every day and doesn’t make excuses.” The Citadel’s coach may have been a bit surprised by Makanjuola’s performance. He didn’t even know his name. “The guy coming off the bench killed us. We did not expect that,” coach Chuck Driesell said. The Volunteers needed a comfortable victory after several close calls. This 86-55 win gives Tennessee a three-game winning streak
  5. Vanderbilt’s defense is usually the subject of scorn and criticism, but in the their win over Marquette it was the defense that led the way. Vanderbilt switched its defenses several times confusing the Golden Eagles’ offense. Marquette was held to 32.2& shooting, a season’s best for the Commodores’ defense. In fact, they have only held one other opponent under 40% percent on the season, a 37.8% shooting night for Xavier in an 82-70 Musketeers win. Vanderbilt’s backcourt, not normally known for its stellar perimeter defense, held its own against Golden Eagles’ guard Vander Blue. The sophomore guard averages 9.4 points per game, but was held to one of seven shooting for only three points.
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