April 15, 2008

Rose Ready To Bloom Bigger In NBA

John Calipari couldn't have gotten everything he wanted on Tuesday.

But despite learning that his standout freshman point guard Derrick Rose will be headed to the NBA next season, the eighth-year Memphis coach is looking at a nice contract extension with the school.

Rose, though, will certainly be missed by Calipari and the national runner-up Tigers.

Continue reading "Rose Ready To Bloom Bigger In NBA" »

February 29, 2008

Losing Patterson Is Big Blow For UK

If Billy Gillispie thought the first two months of this season were tough, it just might have got even tougher for the first-year Kentucky coach.

Kentucky school officials announced Friday that freshman star Patrick Patterson will not play the rest of the season after suffering a stress fracture in his left ankle.

Continue reading "Losing Patterson Is Big Blow For UK" »

February 08, 2008

Brady Out At LSU

Winning games never seemed to be a problem for John Brady.

As the third-most winning coach in school history, the LSU coach had won with regularity in each of his 10 years in Baton Rouge, La.

One those years, the 2005-06 campaign, featured a trip to the Final Four and an SEC regular season championship, his third with first-place finishes also coming in 2004-2005 and 1999-2000.

But winning games hasn't seemed to happen much for LSU this season, and with many rumors floating around about Brady's future in jeopardy, athletic director Skip Bertman finally made it official Friday when he fired the former Samford coach after the Tigers' 8-13 start.

Continue reading "Brady Out At LSU" »

February 07, 2008

Pearl To Lead U.S. In Maccabiah Games

Since his early years at Division II power Southern Indiana, Bruce Pearl has always dreamed of coaching in the holiest of all places.

And now that dream has become a reality after the Tennessee head man was appointed Thursday to coach the Maccabi USA's Open team at the 18th World Maccabiah Games in Israel, July 12-23, 2009.

Continue reading "Pearl To Lead U.S. In Maccabiah Games" »

January 18, 2008

Gamecocks Will See Odom Go

Here's a newsflash for you: Dave Odom won't be coaching in 2009.

A day after Pepperdine coach Vance Walberg called it quits out in Malibu, the 65-year-old South Carolina coach will be retiring at the end of this season after declaring Friday that it's time for him to finally leave the sidelines.

Because while he might not be ready to go right now, he can see that time being very soon.

"I'm not at the end, but I can see it," he said. "Truly, I'm on the back end of not only my career, but my life."

Continue reading "Gamecocks Will See Odom Go" »

December 19, 2007

More Kentucky Blues For Gillispie

Hey Billy, wanna get away now?

Heck, I would.

Well, who wouldn't after the way Kentucky got spanked by Houston Tuesday night, losing its second straight game to a Conference USA team, something that second-ranked Memphis hasn't done in almost two years with its last conference loss coming to UAB on March 2, 2006.

Yet it wasn't just that the Wildcats lost its fourth straight game for the first time since 1989-1990. It was the way they lost, falling behind by 12 at halftime and never really showing a sense of urgency to make a comeback in the second half before losing by 14.

Continue reading "More Kentucky Blues For Gillispie" »

December 17, 2007

Gators Quietly Getting It Done

So we're a month and change into the 2007-08 college basketball at this point, and not a lot of people are talking about them.

It's pretty remarkable considering that they won the last two national championships even if two freshmen and two sophomores make up this year's starting lineup.

But my good friend, colleague and Florida graduate Mr. Lippman (there are other nicknames but those are kept at the cubicle) has told me that the Gators will surprise some people in March, and for some reason, I believe him.

Well, I have my own reasons.

Continue reading "Gators Quietly Getting It Done" »

December 15, 2007

It Can't Get Much Worse For Gillispie

Maybe he didn't hear me.

Maybe he didn't believe me.

But Billy Gillispie just might want to think about that Southwest Airlines gig after all.

In what was one of the biggest choke jobs of the season, UAB overcame a 14-point deficit with 10:54 left in the second half to stun the Wildcats with a 79-76 victory at Louisville's Freedom Hall Saturday.

Continue reading "It Can't Get Much Worse For Gillispie" »

December 13, 2007

Vandy's Looking Quite Dandy

While we didn't see nearly as many signature upsets in last year's NCAA Tournament as the analysts and experts seemed to be picking in early March, one of the biggest surprises last season turned out to be Vanderbilt.

Behind the stellar play of Derrick Byars, the Commodores managed to finish third in the SEC East (behind two-time national champ Florida and Tennessee) and reach the Sweet 16 with impressive wins over George Washington and third-seeded Washington State in the Big Dance.

But if you thought Vanderbilt wouldn't be the same without Byars, then you got another thing coming.

Because, after all, Kevin Stallings' squad is off to its best start at 10-0 since the 2003-04 campaign, when the Commodores opened the season with 12 straight wins, after escaping Wednesday night at DePaul with a 91-85 overtime victory.

And while it wasn't necessarily pretty, the Commodores, somehow, some way, were able to get it done down the stretch.

Continue reading "Vandy's Looking Quite Dandy" »

December 07, 2007

Nova's Crazy Comeback

When I first started looking at schedules for the 2007-08 college basketball season, one of the games that intrigued me for one reason or another was Villanova's Thursday night meeting with LSU at the Wachovia Center.

The game was part of the Big East/SEC Invitational that began this year to rival the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and the inaugural Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series that just finished up last week with No. 4 Texas' win over UCLA in Westwood, a game that yours truly was fortunate to take in from press row.

But if the Big East/SEC Invitational was looking for a game to hang its hat on, it was Thursday night's contest between the Tigers and Wildcats.

After all, LSU led by as many as 21 points with eight minutes remaining before blowing the lead and allowing the 25th-ranked Wildcats to steal a 68-67 victory at the Wachovia Center.

And to top it all off, Villanova didn't lead until its final possession, one that saw Dante Cunningham hit the boards and put back a Malcolm Grant shot from the right side of the floor with 5.4 ticks left on the clock.

Continue reading "Nova's Crazy Comeback" »

November 24, 2007

Who's Missing Durant Now?

NEWARK, N.J. -- Maybe Rick Barnes really isn't missing Kevin Durant.

OK, let's not be foolish, but for as much talk as there's been over the last five months about last year's Naismith Player of the Year leaving Austin, Texas, for the bright lights and showtime of the NBA, it's been almost forgotten that Barnes returns four starters, including two of the better guards in the Big 12, this season.

And after the way No. 15 Texas clobbered seventh-ranked Tennessee Saturday night at the brand new Prudential Center with a dominating 97-78 victory in the championship game of the StubHub! Legends Classic, it sure doesn't look like Barnes is missing his former All-American too much right now.

Continue reading "Who's Missing Durant Now?" »

November 07, 2007

Another Cinderella Born In Lexington

So much for Billy Gillispie getting that honeymoon vacation in the Big Apple next week.

The former Texas A&M coach, instead, will be watching Gardner-Webb play under the lights of the world famous Madison Square Garden next Thursday after shocking No. 20 Kentucky Wednesday night at Rupp Arena with a 84-68 upset in the second round of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic.

And after taking the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons, Gillispie certainly didn't want to start his tenure in Lexington this way.

But for the last five minutes of the game and following the sound of the final horn, it was a constant stream of boos for the Wildcats, who never found a rhythm against the Runnin' Bulldogs after falling behind by double digits at halftime with the scoreboard reading 38-27.

"A lot of people will think this is a misprint, but I hope not," Gardner-Webb coach Rick Scruggs said. "I hope they get to see it and can enjoy it. It's going to take a few days to settle in."

Gardner-Webb, after all, finished last season at just 9-21 overall while tying for seventh place in the Atlantic Sun Conference -- not exactly the kind of resume that would hint at a potential upset over a traditional blue blood like Kentucky in the first week of the season.

Continue reading "Another Cinderella Born In Lexington" »

Kentucky Feeling NYC Too

So Memphis is headed to Madison Square Garden for the semifinals of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic next Thursday, and No. 20 Kentucky is hoping to do the same tonight when the Wildcats host Gardner-Webb in the second round of the preseason tournament.

Billy Gillispie made his debut as Kentucky's coach last night at Rupp Arena with a solid 67-40 victory over Central Arkansas, who managed to shoot just 20 percent from the floor and score a total of 12 points in the paint.

Despite not coming into the game until the seven-minute mark in the first half, senior Joe Crawford led the way for Kentucky with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

Continue reading "Kentucky Feeling NYC Too" »

November 06, 2007

More Tiger Bait On Season's Second Night

Welcome to Night #2 of the 2007-08 college basketball season.

After seeing third-ranked Memphis run all over Tennessee-Martin in the first round of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic last night, the second round of games at the Memphis Regional begins tonight with the host Tigers facing off against Atlantic 10 foe Richmond.

The Spiders are coming off a 44-42 win Monday afternoon over Maine, who almost won at the buzzer on a half-court shot from Mark Socoby that rimmed out, but they'll have their hands full in matching Memphis' athleticism and overall depth.

Continue reading "More Tiger Bait On Season's Second Night" »

October 26, 2007

Georgia Loses Brown For Good

You sure would be hard-pressed to find a smile on Georgia coach Dennis Felton's face right now.

Not after having to dismiss Takais Brown from the Bulldogs Friday for violating a team policy.

The senior, who averaged 14.2 points per game last season, had already been suspended for the first nine games of the 2007-08 season for disregarding the school's new attendance policy, but now the forward from Flint, Mich., officially won't spend any time in a Georgia uniform this year.

Brown, however, will still be able to finish his degree at Georgia if he chooses to do so.

Continue reading "Georgia Loses Brown For Good" »

October 25, 2007

The Miracle Worker

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- It took three years and three Big 12 Coach of the Year awards for Billy Gillispie to earn the moniker of "Miracle Worker" for the dramatic improvements he made to former team Texas A&M in such a short amount of time.

So when the job at Kentucky became available and coach Gillispie took it, the folks in Lexington had a lot to be excited about.

And for Gillispie, what an opportunity this was. Instead of going to program like A&M, where they suffered through an incredibly long losing streak prior to Gillispie taking over, now he's at the winningest basketball program in the history of the NCAA.

This should be a piece of cake for the Miracle Worker, no?

Continue reading "The Miracle Worker" »

South Carolina On Their Mind

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- South Carolina coach Dave Odom didn't have a very deep team last year, and after losing three starters from that team, you'd think this year would be much of the same. But seven newcomers make things better, especially when three of those newcomers have played Division I basketball before.

Branden Conrad averaged 18 points and five assists in his last season at the Naval Academy, Zam Fredrick averaged 10.6 points at Georgia Tech and transfer of the year Devan Downey poured in 12.3 points and 4.1 dimes at Cincinnati.

Three D-I transfers who all scored in double figures at their respective former schools is not something you see a program find very often. But all these players had good reasons for coming to Columbia...for two of them, it was like coming home.

Continue reading "South Carolina On Their Mind" »

Coach Speak

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The topic that seemed to interest Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings the most at this SEC Media Days was the fact that swearing on the sidelines would no longer be tolerated by SEC officials, according to the statement made by supervisor of officials Boudreaux.

Stallings, apparently one who enjoys a good swear on the sidelines, said he understands the basis behind the new rulings, but says it will be difficult to change his ways, that's just how he talks.

Well, I'll let him tell you, he said it best.

Continue reading "Coach Speak" »

Getting To Know Mykal

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Well, first of all, senior forward Mykal Riley must have been nervous being the lone representative player for Alabama at SEC Media Day.

When asked who will step up for the red shirted senior point guard Ronald Steele, Riley meant to say Mikhail Torrance, but the similarity in their first names caused him to say his own name instead.

"But this year we have three point guards in Mykal Riley..." said the 6-foot-6 Mykal Riley. "Mikhail Torrance," he corrected.

Continue reading "Getting To Know Mykal" »

Paging Mr. Turner

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury has a new toy to play with for this year. Except unlike if the Bulldogs hung out at Cheers, nobody knows his name.

Phil Turner is a redshirt freshman, one of seven newcomers to the team this season, and he can flat out shoot. While most people are discussing Louisville transfer Brian Johnson - and with good reason - Stansbury is very excited about Turner.

"Phil Turner, he's the one that nobody is talking about, doesn't know much about," the 10-year coach said. "Wasn't recruited, I think he has a chance to be very good for us. He's one of our best shooters. We had a scrimmage the other day and he led it in scoring. He can really shoot the jump shot."

Continue reading "Paging Mr. Turner" »

SEC Day Two Begins

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Day Two of the SEC Media Days, the final day, begins promptly at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Today will be broken into two sessions once again, with Alabama, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt going in the first grouping, followed by Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina.

Continue reading "SEC Day Two Begins" »

October 24, 2007

Bad Shot Lofton

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Tennessee senior guard Chris Lofton doesn't like preseason rankings.

The media selected his Volunteers to win the SEC this season but Lofton wants to hear none of that talk.

"The preseason rankings don't mean anything," he says. "It matters at the end of the season how you do."

Lofton begs, Who cares? "It's the preseason," he adds.

But with Florida and Kentucky down, this league is Lofton's and Tennessee's for the taking. You better get used to the predictions, Chris, that's what happens when you play for an elite program. That mean's Tennessee has arrrived.

Continue reading "Bad Shot Lofton" »

Looking Up At Auburn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Last season the Auburn Tigers didn't field a single player taller than 6-foot-9, and no starter was over 6-foot-7. Historically, the Tigers just haven't been a big-man factory.

But the Tigers don't feel they need to be to be successful, of course, they did go out and sign 7-foot-1 freshman true center Boubacar Sylla, who at 275 pounds is 30 pounds heavier than any other player on the roster.

"It's not a problem for us because we are used to it," said junior guard Quantez Robertson. "And now that we've got a true center in Boubacar Sylla, 7-foot-1, he'll contribute a lot. He's got to get used to the running conditions and the plays, but once he gets all that down and gets used to running, then he'll be just like everybody else. He's going to be a good player."

Continue reading "Looking Up At Auburn" »

Brady The Chemist

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- For LSU, two years removed from a magical Final Four run and one year removed from finishing 17-15 and missing the postseason altogether, getting back to winning is all about building team chemistry.

"You've got to have team chemistry to play basketball," said junior forward and leading returning scorer Tasmin Mitchell. "You've gotta understand your teammates, you've gotta believe in your teammates and you've gotta be one with your teammates."

Continue reading "Brady The Chemist" »

New Coach Turns Over Same Leaf

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Arkansas didn't have a lot of turnover last season. The Razorbacks bring back six seniors and will be by far the deepest team in the SEC next season.

But there was one bit of turnover to speak of. Coach Stan Heath was fired after failing to get out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.

The question for a team picked to win the SEC West division is whether or not new coach John Pelphrey will be able to pick up where Heath left off and take Arkansas even further.

Continue reading "New Coach Turns Over Same Leaf" »

Billy's Back

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- And I don't mean back in Gainesville after deciding not to coach the Orlando Magic.

No, I'm referring to the fact that since his days as a player at Providence when he suffered two fractures in his back, Florida coach Billy Donovan has struggled with back issues.

And right now, it is as bad as it has ever been. So much so that it is affecting the way he coaches in practice. And with a team that returns just Walter Hodge who had any sort of consistent PT last year, now is not a good time for Donovan to be out with an injury.

Continue reading "Billy's Back" »

Official Rules and The Commish

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- First up to the podium at the Tipoff 2008 Media Days was SEC commissioner Mike Slive.

Slive spoke about the league's 75th anniversary and mentioned the first SEC Men's Tournament way back in 1933 in Atlanta. All SEC teams will wear a 75th anniversary patch this season.

Slive also mentioned the turnover that the SEC is experiencing on both the men's and women's sides. Seven new coaches will grab the reins of their respective programs this year, the most since 1990 when a 10-team SEC witnessed eight coaching changes.

But most importantly, Slive talked about what a great time it is to be the commissioner of the SEC.

Continue reading "Official Rules and The Commish" »

Big Birmingham Hello

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Greetings from SEC Media Day.

It's still early here -- one hour earlier than all you East Coasters -- and the rest of the media is getting settled, checking media guides or stuffing their faces.

For the first post of the day, I'd like to just set a schedule for those reading to follow, as I will be following this schedule throughout the day.

Continue reading "Big Birmingham Hello" »

October 11, 2007

Georgia Trio Suspended

Did you ever play hookey from school when you were a little kid?

If so, you wouldn't want to be doing it at the University of Georgia.

That's what Mike Mercer, Takais Brown and Albert Jackson are finding out right now.

On Thursday, Georgia coach Dennis Felton announced that the three players have all been suspended from the team for violating the school's new class attendance policy for student-athletes.

Continue reading "Georgia Trio Suspended" »

October 03, 2007

Just The Pitts

This wasn't the way Levance Fields wanted to begin his junior season.

But the Brooklyn native will now be spending the next nine months on probation after being charged with aggravated assault, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct last month.

Continue reading "Just The Pitts" »

September 29, 2007

Leaving His Crew

There's been a little more news that's come out of the recent suspension of Tennessee forward Duke Crews.

According to a report from the Associated Press Saturday, university housing personnel found two small bags of marijuana inside Crews' apartment on Monday, before the sophomore was suspended from the team.

Continue reading "Leaving His Crew" »

September 26, 2007

Not Part Of This Crew

It's another sad day for Bruce Pearl.

A little more than a week after calling it quits on his 25-year-old marriage, the Tennessee coach is coming to grips with the fact that he's losing Duke Crews for at least part of the upcoming season.

For Pearl, it was a tough blow to take when he announced late Wednesday that the 6-foot-7 forward, who started 18 games as a freshman in 2006-07, has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.

Continue reading "Not Part Of This Crew" »

September 18, 2007

Stolen From The Tide

Alabama coach Mark Gottfried might want to start looking for a new point guard.

And fast.

That's because Crimson Tide point man Ronald Steele announced Monday that he will take a medical redshirt for the 2007-08 season in order to recover from offseason surgery.

Continue reading "Stolen From The Tide" »

September 17, 2007

This Is Pearl's Business, Not Ours

It's news like this that really has no place in our business.

It's news like this that really only Bruce Pearl should know about.

But for some reason or another, it's being reported today that the Tennessee coach has filed for divorce from his wife after 25 years of marriage.

Continue reading "This Is Pearl's Business, Not Ours" »

March 11, 2007

SEC: More Leftovers

Just a few more items that never made it from the notebook to the laptop while we were in the Georgia Dome. We'll also be doing our own, poor man's Bracketanica in a separate post, for both the Big Tourney and the 'Lil One (NIT). It won't have any numerical basis the way Jerry Palm's excellent work does, instead it will look at the brackets from the wise-acre's perspective. Guess who plays the role of wiseacre?

. . . Our guy John Davies, the manager at the CNN Center's Jocks & Jills was able to confirm what the low attendance at the SEC Tourney indicated: When the Blue Haze of Kentucky gets knocked out early - as it did this year - the Tournament takes a big hit financially. Cat-lanta became Gator-lanta pretty quickly. "We had a good four days, but we would have had a great four days if Kentucky stuck around," said Davies who doesn't need to fret much. The bar was still hopping some three hours after completion of the title game and, as he said, "Final Four is going to be wild here."

We've already reserved space for some more live-blogging at J&Js during that stretch and Davies said our table will be waiting for us.

It's so great to have a table waiting, we can't even tell you.

The bottom line is the SEC Tournament is a different animal when Kentucky is "down" and the result of that brings into question whether the conference needs to be holding the event in a Dome. There's something to be said for making your Tournament a "tough" ticket and having the building rocking regardless of who's playing. But, in the search of the almighty dollar, the SEC probably doesn't see what those benefits are.

Continue reading "SEC: More Leftovers" »

SEC: Gator Swagger

After three days of sheer dominance over the below average (Georgia), the average (Ole Miss) and the slightly above average (Arkansas), you begin to run out of ways to praise these dynastic Gators of Florida. They've won three staright SEC titles, are the defending national champions and, at 29-5, will be inked in as the last ones standing on something like three of every five brackets that get filled out over the next three and a half days.

If they were a supermodel, they'd be Giselle . If they were a golfer, they'd be Tiger. If they were an individual ball player instead of team, they'd be Michael.

As it is, they have the one-name recognition of that trio.

"(The Gators) are a well-oiled machine. I'll be very surprised if they don't win it all," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath after his Razorbacks were picked apart in the SEC Title game by a score of 77-56. "It would take an off-night for them to get upset."

Continue reading "SEC: Gator Swagger" »

SEC: Live From Jocks and Jills at the CNN Center

We've shifted tables from courtside to barside as we've ventured out of the Georgia Dome and over to the CNN Center's "Jocks and Jills" bar where we will be hanging through the end of the selection show with our friendly waiter Jeremy and a restuarant full of joyous Gator fans.

In addition to attacking a plate of boneless buffalo tenders we're planning on giving you a post-SEC Tourney Title game column on Florida's "swagger" and some post-tourney thoughts from our first experience at the SEC four-day event.

Then, as the picks are revealed on the mothership, CBS, we'll offer some instant analysis and pithy quotes about the genius of Billy Packer and/or Seth Davis (who loves ya, teammate?).

So consider this the dessert to for days of the basketball feast and join in for the fun as we get out of conference tourney time and into the meat of March Madness.

SEC: Post-game Pomp and Circumstance

. . . Al Horford and Joakim Noah did the post game interview with Raf and Verne as fans behind the Hang Time perch screamed for "One More Year" from both of them, they're both juniors.

. . . Noah did some type of funky chicken dance much to the delight of the crowd.

. . . The Gator band played, "You can call me Al," in tribute to Horford. Nice touch.

. . . The all-tourney team included Arkansas' Sonny Weems, Florida's Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, Joakim Noah and MVP Al Horford.

. . . Lee Humphrey was first on the ladder to cut down the net near the Gator banch. I always like the teams that don't cut for Tourney titles, just for Final Four berths and national titles. But I understand the need to do it for the sake of the players and the fans who get to salute the players one-by-one.

SEC: It's Great to Be a Florida Gator

The Gators win 77-56 and immediately don the requisite hats and t-shirts.

Joakim NOah has chosen to wear his t-shirt as a do-rag. Fashion statement is his middle name.

The game's high scorer is Al Horford with 18 points and 12 rebounds, Arkansas was led by Michael Washington's 17 points and seven rebounds (tied for team-lead with Patrick Beverley).

The Hogs were just 3 of 24 from 3-point land and the Gators were 5 of 13, but shot 53 percent from the field (29 of 55).

SEC: Cruising to the Inevitable

We're 1:17 from re-crowning the Gators champs as Florida leads 75-55. There will be post-game presentations of MVP and the championship trophy, which we'll stick around for and then work the post-game pressers and locker rooms.

Fans are chanting for Horford as the MVP, which is a distinct possibility. Or Noah.

Our plan is to find a reputable establishment to live-blog the selection show from beginning in the 5 p.m. hour, so be sure to check back here as you get set to watch the bracket unfold.

. . . Looks like State is giving UNC a run for its money in the final minutes down in St. Pete. Someone alert the Selection Committee that Hang Time spoke too soon.

. . . Today's game drew an announced crowd of 15,428 and the four day total attendance was announced at 172,840. It makes the 2007 SEC Tourney the 13th best-attended, just behind last year's 183,122 fans. The most-attended SEC Tourney was in 1995 in this building with 250,301 total fans. The declining averages suggest a couple of things - league fan leader Kentucky is slumping and maybe, just maybe, the tourney needs a more intimate setting.

SEC: Gators Got It in Hand

The Gators lead 66-45 with 7:41 left in the game. Al Horford has 16 for the Gators (and 10 rebounds) and Joakim Noah has 15 and 7. Sonny Weems has 15 points for Arkansas, which now has 11 turnovers to just seven for Florida.

. . . After Joakim Noah's coast-to-coast lay-in and foul (and converted free trhow) with 9:34 left put the Gators up by 20, Noah played to the endzone student section of Gator fans and waved his index finger at them. He may have been trying to conduct the band, we're not sure.

There have been several three-peat (or more) SEC champions dating back to the start of the Tourney in 1933. Kentucky ran off a string of seven straight from 1944-50; Alabama had three in a row from 1989-91; Kentucky won four in a row from 1992-95; Kentucky won three in a row from 1997-99; and now Florida's three-peat (and its third overall, still 22 shy of Kentucky's league-best 25 SEC Tourney titles.

SEC: Contact Pat Riley, Three-Peat Imminent

With a 57-40 lead and 11:49 left in the game, the Florida Gators are on the verge of a three-peat as the SEC Tournament champs. Arkansas is still fiercely competing, but the Gators are too much at every position and in every way.

If this isn't the best team in the country, the only one we've seen that can make the legit argument is North Carolina, which continues to lead in St. Pete over NC State.

SEC: Gators Get it Going

Florida started the half on a 10-5 run and now leads 46-36 with 14:30 left in the game. Joakim Noah has had the last two Gator hoops on lay-ups and Lee Humphrey nailed a 3-pointer before that to highlight the run.

. . . Al Horford started the half, hit the first Gator field goal of the half and appears to be fine after the scary fall he took at the end of the first half.

. . . With UNC pulling away in the ACC Title game and Florida appearing to do the same here it appears the Committee can go about its final seedings without any further "steals" by surprise teams. Arkansas will still be a question mark, but from what we've seen here this week, the HIgs are playing good ball at the right team and deserve strong consideration. There also needs to be some consideration given to the fact that the Hogs played this game without Charles Thomas, the team's third-leading scorer and top rebounder.

SEC: Golden Flake Chip Taste Test Underway

Corey Brewer played just nine first half minutes but the reason is fairly innocent: he had two fouls. According to regular Gator beat man, Andy Staples, Billy Donovan has a hard and fast rule about not allowing players to pick up a third foul in the first half.

Al Horford is in lay-up lines and appears to be okay.

. . . This is for Jean Neuberger and probably no one else, but we're finally trying the Golden Flake Honey Barbecue chips (along with a speciality brand from the fine GF folks, Mrs. B's Southern Sweet Onion. Neubie did not steer us wrong on the honey BBQs, but the surprise chip of the weekend has to be the sweet onions, which are rippled and quite sharp.

SEC: Gators Lead, But Limp Into Lockerroom

After a scramble for a loose ball with 34.5 seconds left, Florida's Al Horford limped off the court, under the tunnel and into the locker room. It appeared that Vincent Hunter of Arkansas may have fallen on Horford's knee. That would be a devestating blow to the Gators moiving forward.

At the half, Florida leads 36-28 and Arkansas is actually fortunate to have bene able to stay with the Gators despite losing its two big men for much of the half.

Fllorida, which trailed on the boards for much the half, winds up leading 22-19 on the boards at the half. They are shooting 44 percent for the game (12 of 27, 3 of 7 from 3-point land) and Arkansas is at 33 percent (11 of 33, 1 of 15).

Sonny Weems and Al Horford are the game's high-scorers. Horford also has a game-high seven rebounds.

. . . The Arkansas pom squad did a nice number at half to the motown song, "Rolling on the River." They wore gold tassly outifts that were, as Rainman might say, "sparkly."

Corey Brewer has been awfully quiet for the Gators and has seen his share of pine time this half. We did see Brewer cramping up in the post-game locke room on Saturday, but we doubt that has anything to do with his lack of minutes thus far.

SEC: Gators Inch Ahead

The Gators are showing signs of pulling away, despite several key answers on the offensive end from Arkansas. With under 4:00 to go in the half, the Gators now lead 30-25.

Sonny Weems has eight points for the Hogs, who continue to struggle from international waters (1 of 13 from 3-point land). Weems needs to find help as only Darian Townes and and Steven Hill, among active players, have scored, with four points each. (Michael Washington left with three fouls and nine points.)

. . . Our sneaker battle is being waged with adidas (Arkansas) and Nike (Florida).

. . . It's a pretty clear victory for the Florida cheer/dance teams in this one. Too damn many guys for the Arkansas side! (Hey, if you want balance in that area you'll need to read Lara Boyko or Lindsay Schnell.)

SEC: Whooee, Pig Sooey, Hogs Hang Tough

With two of its big man out (Charles Thomas injured, Michael Washington with three fouls), Arkansas is managing to stay with the Gators through some aggressive defense and solid rebounding. With 7:32left in the half, Florida leads 22-18.

The Gators are shooting 47 percent from the field (8 of 17, 2 of 5 from 3-point land) and the Hogs are at 33 percent (8 of 24, 1 of 11). Arkansas has turned the four Gator turnovers into seven points and have benefitted from nine second chance points.

Joakim Noah leads all players with four rebounds.

SEC: Washington Steps In, Then Out

With Charles Thomas out indefinitely, his replacement, freshman Michael Washington, has stepped in and been monstrous int he early going. He leads all scorers with nine points (he averages 2.9 ppg for the season). He is keeping the Hogs competetive as they trail by just two, 15-13, with 10:33 to go in the half. Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, Washington just picked up his third foul and has been replcaed by Vincent Hunter.

Not the team you want to have big man trouble against.

Al Horford leads the Gators with eight points.

SEC: Thomas Goes to Locker Room

Charles Thomas remained on the end of the Arkansas Bench and was being tended to by the training staff. With 12:25 left in the half he limped back to the locker room through the tunnel behind the Hogs' bench. We're not thinking he's coming back and that's a huge blow to the Razorbacks. He's been tremednous in this tournament.

SEC: Gators By Three Early

Florida has gotten off to another solid start, although no where near the starts they've had the past two games. With 15:35 left in the half, the Gators lead 9-6.

Charles Thomas went down hard and limped off, favoring his left leg within the first minute and a half. He was replaced by Michael Washington, who has all six of the Arkansas points. Thomas went to the end of the Hogs' bench to be tended to and appeared to be having his left ankle taped. He has yet to return to the game.

Al Horford had three of the first four buckets of the day for the Gators. Taurean Green's 3-pointer from the deep corner was the other Gator score.

. . . Joakim Noah missed his first shot of the day on a leaner in the lane, he grabbed the first rebound for the Gators on a miss by Patrick Beverley.

. . . Five fans behind the Arkansas bench held up signs that read: WIN IT FOR STAN HEATH, during and after pre-game introductions.

SEC: Tip in Two

We're all set here for the SEC title game and it's a farily even split of fans, although the edge has to go to Florida. Lots of empty seats in the second tier and endzones and the absence of Kentucky has been felt all weekend from a gate perspective.

Let's get it on. . .

SEC: Tubby Thumping Continues

The local paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution does a fabulous job of blanket coverage of the tournament (as they will for the Final Four). One feature in the Tournament setcion is a daily "Today's Topic," where fans are surveyed for thoughts on a pertinent subject. Sunday's question was, "Your team is eliminated and you live out of town. How tempting was it to go home?" Most of the six respondents were disappointed but one in particular, Ed Cleveland, a Kentucky fan, was despondent. "We just got here today (Saturday), unfortunately. We love this tournament but coudln't get here until today and the 'Cats are gone. It's the same old, same old. Tubby [Smith] is just not getting the job done."

It's a sentiment that is being echoed by a lot of the blue-clad fans we've encountered (many of whom were at our motel/hotel).

. . . We're about ten minutes from tip and probable starting line-ups look like this:

For Arkansas, Charles Thomas, Sonny Weems, Steven Hill, Gary Ervin and Patrick Beverley.

For Florida, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Al Horford, Lee Humphrey and Taurean Green.

Beverley again is the lone freshman of the starting 10 and the Humphrey is the lone senior. Everyone else is a junior.

. . . We're still lobbying for Corey Brewer as the SEC Tourney MOP should the Gators win. He's got 37 points in two games and his presence all over the court has been immense. Said one of the Ole Miss coaches after Saturday's 22-point performance, "I didn't know Brewer was that good."

He's not alone.

SEC: Gators Seek First-Ever No. 1 Seed

Florida is playing in its fourth straight SEC title game and looking for its third straight SEC title - or as Joakim Noah is fond of saying, "We're playing for jewelry."

The Gators are also likely playing for a No. 1 seed overall in the tournament. It would be the first 1-seed in the history of the program. Interesting to note that the Gators made their NCAA Tournament debut 20 years ago on March 13 with a win over NC State. That season, the Gators went to the Sweet 16 where they were knocked out by Syracuse in the Meadowlands.

. . . The Arkansas-Florida series is tied 9-9 overall and the Gators won the regular season meeting 79-72 in Gainesville on Jan. 9. They met last year in the SEC Tourney when the Gators won 74-71 in the quarterfinals.

. . .This is also a re-match of the 2006 SEC football title game, also played in this building and won by the Gators 38-28 and placed them in the national title game, which they won over Ohio State.

. . . Rumors persist that if Stan Heath doesn't get his Hogs to the NCAA Tournament he could be done as the Razorbacks coach. Both Sonny Weems and Charles Thomas commented on their coach's precarious position in yesterday's post-game presser:

SONNY WEEMS: You know, I tip my hat off to Coach. We're behind him 100%. You hear a lot of things going on outside about him, but on the court, you know, with 13 players and the coaching staff, we really know what's going on.

CHARLES THOMAS: My teammates said it good enough. That he's a really intense guy. I think any other coach in his situation, with what's being said, would have folded. He stepped behind his team, his teammates and coaching staff and believed in us.

Heath also addressed the issue:

STAN HEATH: Believe it or not, I really and genuinely am happy for my players and probably my wife and my kids. It really probably bothers them more than it bothers me. As a coach, you go into this field, and you know you're a target. You know that people are going to like you, people are going to not like you. You get to the point where you say it really doesn't matter.

That really hasn't been my focus. It's been more or less keeping my team grounded, and keeping them -- their eyes on the important things of what we're trying to do.

(Thanks again to asapsports.com for doing the dirty of transcribing for us. Their typist is just phenomenal.)

. . . Some heavy hiiter media types are in town for this one, including the New York Times' William Rhoden.

. . . Arkansas left the floor with 45:00 remaining on the pre-game clock. Florida returned with 30:00 on the pre-game clock.

SEC: Welcome to Selection Sunday at the SEC

ATLANTA - Welcome back for the final day of the SEC Tournament at the Georgia Dome where 28-5 Florida and 21-12 Arkansas tip off in 45 minutes. Both teams took the court for light shooting and stretching with 60:00 on the pre-game clock and the Gators came out to a louder ovation, mostly from the student section in the far endzone.

The Gators returned to the locker room about ten minutes later with Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah being the last Gators to leave the court. Noah hit his ten foot jumper to exit, Brewer missed his 12-footer.

. . . The Vegas wiseguys have installed the Gators as between an 8.5 and 9 point favorite. We don't encourage gambling in any way, but we do know some of you are interested in such things.

. . . Florida game notes are here. And Arkansas' official basketball page is here.

. . . In a bit of a surprise, "TV" Teddy Valentine, who has been here all Tourney long will not officiate today's game, instead crew chief Tony Greene, Mike Stuart, Doug Sirmons and substitute Mike Nance get the duties. TV must have found a higher profile game, perhaps the Big Ten which leads into the the pre-Selection show on mothership CBS.

. . .Speaking of the mothership, all-time great "With a kiss" Bill Raftery stopped by the Hang Time perch to say hello in his freshly pressed blue CBS blazer. Raftery does color on this one with long-time CBS partner Verne Lundquist. Raftery is fine fiddle this time of year and, like many teams, is awaiting word on where he will be placed for the first and second rounds. He ventured a guess that he might get Buffalo.

March 10, 2007

SEC: Gators Roll

This one's over and the title game on Sunday at 1 p.m. will, indeed be a rematch of the SEC football title game (in the same building) that was won by Florida. Your final score from the Dome is 80-59.

Joakim Noah (12 rebounds) and Al Horford (13 rebounds) accounted for well more than half of the team's total (41) and Corey Brewer had 22 points for the Gators. Ole Miss was led by Clarence Sanders' 21 points and Kenny Williams' 12 rebounds.

Ole Miss shot 32 percent for the game (21 of 66, 4 of 16 from 3-point land) and the Gators shot 48 percent (28 of 58) including 10 of 24 from 3-point land.

. . . Growing sentiment here in the Dome that Arkansas is in regardless of what they do against Florida on Sunday. We'd tend to agree and we'd hope that will save Stan Heath's job, if indeed, tyhe rumors of his demise are true.

. . . Attendance today for the two games was announced at 17,114.

. . . That'll do it from here for today. Enjoy the rest of the day's live-blogging and get back with us tomorrow in the noon-hour (after you Spring Ahead, of course).

SEC: Brewer and Green and Gator Domination

With 5:36 left in the game, Florida has put this one away with a 75-52 lead. Corey Brewer, our candidate for Tourney MOP (even before the title game) has 22 points and Taurean Green has six assists for the Gators.

Clarence Sanders leads the Rebs with 19 points.

The Gators are 10 of 21 from 3-point land including 4 of 5 from Green.

SEC: Rebels Rebellion Mounting

It's going to take monumental effort to come back ALL the way, but at least the Rebels are showing some fight as they managed to bring the Gators lead down to 10 points with just under 14:00 left in the game.

Now, at the under-12:00 media timeout, the Gators lead 52-39 with 11:02 left in the game.

. . . Florida has scored 22 of its points in the paint to 12 in the lane for Ole Miss.

. . . Corey Brewer continues his impressive SEC Tourney and has 19 points on 8 of 12 form the field including 2 of 5 from 3-point land.

. . . Kenny Williams of Ole Miss is playing his rear end off and absolutely attacking the backboard. He's got nine rebounds (perhaps five of which have been on the offensive glass) and eight points.

SEC: Gator Haters Are All Wet

If last night's win over admittedly weak Georgia didn't convince people that Florida is back on track, then maybe today's domination of the feisty Rebels will. Or certainly tomorrow's game against Arkansas, which is playing superb ball right now, will be enough to let people know the Gators are not just good, they're great. (You can expect another 10-15 point rout over the Razorbacks.)

Or maybe it will take a four game romp through the first two weekends of the NCAA Tournament to quell the doubters who only want to point out the Vandy and LSU losses.

Whatver it takes, we're pretty sure Florida is going to do it and we're further convinced that the Gators and their faithful will be back in this city, back in this building and back in the business of the Final Four come three weeks from now.

Oh, as for this one, the Gators lead 45-32 with 15:30 left in the game.

. . . BAM! - our first one of the second half, came at just over 17:00 and cut the Gator lead to 14.

SEC: Ole Miss Stays Within Reach

Ole Miss is doing its best to give itself a shot in the second half and did cut the Gator lead to under 10 on a couple of occasions during the latter part of the half. But the Gators capitalized on some late turnovers by Ole Miss and lead 37-22 at the break.

Corey Brewer of Florida leads all scorers with 10 points and Clarence Sanders has nine for Ole Miss. Each side has six turnovers and the Gators lead the board battle 22-19.

. . . Not much opportunity for me to give my "BAM!" exclamations as the Rebels Doyne is 1 of 3 form the field and has just two points.

Ah, screw it. BAM! BAM! BAM!

. . . The Dr. Pepper million dollar shot is coming at half and in honor of the event we have gone back to the Doc Pep for a our beverage of choice during this game. Boy, do we miss the iced tea from upstairs.

SEC: This Just In. . . The Gators Are Good

Ole Miss is going toe to toe with the Gators and trails 24-15 at the under-8:00 media timeout, but the impression you have to get is that Florida can turn it on and off at any time. they may have stumbled a bit down the stretch in the regular season, but it's Tourney Time and the Gators are getting in gear.

Ole Miss is 6 of 23 from the field.

. . . Word in from the intrepid Phil Kasiecki at the BIg Ten: he's now completed in-person viewing of 100 D-I college hoops games this season.

No word if that means he's had 100 Olive Garden meals as well, but the kudos need to go to the K-Man, or as he's being called on the rough and tumble streets of Chelsea, Mass. - Phil-K (ala Dice-K Matsuzaka).

. . . Florida football coach Urban Meyer is supposedly in the Dome, but we haven't seen him. Then again we couldn't spot a near-seven footer in Kevin McHale, so how are we supposed to see the averaged-height Urban warfare guy?

. . . Arkansas coach Stan Heath and his staff are sitting two seats from the Hang Time perch as they scout tomorrow's title game opponent.

SEC: Ole Miss Coming Back

Despite shooting 3 of 16 from the field, Ole Miss is looking more focused and has cut the Gator lead to 15-8 with 11:20 left in the half.

Bam Doyne has two early fouls for the Rebs.

. . . Rhode Island's un-matched SID, Mike Laprey, checked in after his Rams shot around early this afternoon and he said the boys are intent on making some noise tonight in the A-10 title game against George Washington. Win or lose, Laprey's a champ in our book.

. . . We're on to a 2.75 ounce bag of the Golden Flake Maizetos corn chips, up form the one-ouncers that were being displayed yesterday. In my book, Golden Flake is the MOP of this tournament.

. . . A very close cheer/dance squad battle with the sneaky-good Ole Miss groups playing the role of underdog much like the boys they're cheering for.

. . . Arkansas players just came out of the locker room to take the participating school seats in the endzone and they received a loud round of applause and cheers. There has been no looser team in the tournament this week and the Hogs are playing like world beaters.

. . . The Ole Miss Rebel mascot reminds me of some of the scraggly guys I passed in Centennial Park on my way into the Dome this morning. I'm not hating, I'm just saying. you give that dude a brown paper bag with a 40 oz. bottle in it and he gets arrested in nine out of ten US cities.

SEC: Gators Out Quick Again

It's not the 17-0 run that started last night's dismantling of Georgia, but Florida is out to a 13-2 start this afternoon and is 2 of 4 from 3-point land, 5 of 10 form the field and holding Ole Miss to 1 of 9 form the field (0 of 3 from 3-point land).

Ole Miss guard Todd Abernathy has had two shots in-close rim out already.

. . . Ole Miss assistant coach Mike White is constantly doing one-on-one bench coaching with his players and it's only another sign of why White will make an outstanding head coach in the coming years. Even maybe at Ole Miss, where the alums are nervous they won't be able to keep Andy Kennedy very long. White, a Ole Miss gard and former sharp-shooter would be a perfect for the Rebel program.

SEC: Tip of Ole Miss and Florida

We're ready to go here and our officials are crew chief "TV" Teddy Valentine, Joe Lindsay, Anthony Jordan and substitute official Antinio Perry.

Florida beat Ole Miss in their eralier meeting this year but Ole Miss was able to erase a 25-point deficit (for the most part), we asked Andy Kennedy about after last night's game. Here's his repsonse, courtesy of our friends at asapsports.com:

Q. Coach for those of us that didn't see it, how did you come back against Florida in that last game? I guess you were down by 25.

ANDY KENNEDY: I think it was a couple of things. Florida played exceptionally well and had us on our heels. We kept attacking. And I'm not foolish, human nature, you're up 25, you lose a little bit of your edge, we made some shots and got some turnovers. It put us in a position, if memory serves, the game was at 7:00, and we had a steal and a three about two minutes to play, which would have cut it to four, which maybe could have made it interesting. We didn't execute the play, we didn't make the shot. And they kept it in that eight- or nine-point range. But our kids fought, and we used it as a springboard, as Todd said, to say hey, man, we've had so much respect for Billy and their program. And I really believe they're the best team in the country, and I think they're going to show people that over the next three weeks. For us to be able to battle and put ourselves in that position, I think made these kids believe, and belief is a strong thing.

Q. It was a 1-2-1-1 press?
ANDY KENNEDY: We did a little bit of everything. I can't give you all my secrets. We pressed. We had a football player in there. And we pressed him and tackled a little bit. We worked for a few minutes.

SEC: Hog Wild

Well, the first half of an SEC Football Title game re-match has been achieved with Arkansas' xx-xx win over Mississippi State.

Now we'll have to see if the Florida Gators can hold up their end by defeating Ole Miss in the day-cap which start in about half an hour.

. . . Arkansas got 18 points each from Sonny Weems and Charles Thomas and 15 from Gary Ervin. Thomas had the double-double with 18 and 18 - his career high in rebounds (he had 15 last year against Georgia). State was led by Ben Hansbrough's 12 points and Charles Rhodes had a team-high nine rebounds.

The Hogs outscored the Dogs in the paint, 42-26 and had ten blocks to the Dogs five.

SEC: Hogs on the Verge

State won't go quietly, but they will go as the Hogs lead 73-61 with 3:28left in the game.

Gary Ervin has had 11 points in the second half (15 for the game) and is 7 of 13 from the field for Arkansas as the Hog faithful enjoy chanting, "GARY, GARY, GARY."

The Hogs built up a 12 point lead in the seven minute area and State managed to get within eight on a Hansbrough 3-pointer with just under six minutes left. But on the next possession Charles Thomas had a put bakc in the lane for his 15th and 16th points and his 17th rebound.

. . .Arkansas' Michael Washington fouled out with 6:36 left in the game. he had eight points, two rebounds and was 3 of 6 from the field.

SEC: Charles (Thomas) in Charge

Hogs' junior Charles Thomas has been dominant on the glass for Arkansas with 15 boards (six so far in the seocnd half). He has a game-high 14 points as well and Arkansas is up 64-54 with 7:57 left in the game.

It's looking like State doesn't have the chops to come back in this one.

. . . Lil Hansbrough has stepped up his game in the second half for State as he drives and penetrates through the lane. He's a gritty little guy with four points, four rebounds and two assists.

. . . I guess we mised Kevin McHale in the house yesterday, which is unfortunate because he was one of our all-time favorite Celtics. It's also disappointing to know that we missed a 6-10 white guy hovering near us. Some reporter we truned out to be.

SEC: State in Danger

Arkansas is on the cusp of running away with this one as they have extended to a 57-48 lead with 11:34 left in the game. they are dominating in the paint in the seocnd half, outscoring State 12-2 in the lane for this stanza. (That's 12 of their 18 second half points that have come in the paint.)

State is also up 16-8 on second chance points.

. . . Sonny Weems, Darian Townes and Michael Washington have three fouls each for Arkansas while State's Dietric Slater and Barry Stewart have four apiece. Jamont Gordon has three and has struggled mightily from the field with a 1 of 11 shooting effort (0 of 4 form 3-point land).

SEC: Hogs Look Hungry

Arkansas has started the second half on an 11-3 run and now leads 50-43, leading to a timeout by Rick Stansbury. The Hogs are 5 of 7 from the field in the second half. There is 15:59 left in the game.

. . . State led the battle of second chance points in the first half, 14-6.

. . . The Golden Flake Dill Pickle chips are pretty strong but we'll have to stick with our Lays Chips. It's a tough flavor to replicate.

. . . We could be heading for a re-match of the SEC Football Title game if Arkansas wins this one and Florida wins the second one.

SEC: A One Point Contest at the Half

A very entertaining first half ends with State leading 40-39. Reginald Delk hit a late 3-pointer (he's 2 of 3 from beyond the arc) to give State its lead. He leads the Bulldogs with 10 points and Charles Thomas also has 10 for the Hogs.

. . . State is shooting 41 percent from the field (14 of 34) and Arkansas is at 40 percent (14 of 35). State is 6 of 15 form 3-point land, the Hogs are 4 of 11.

. . . The Arkansas dance team is doing a black go-go boot Disco routine complete with afro wigs and Foxy Brown looks to the song "Shake Your Groove Thing," leading into a "Funky Town" melange. Artistically and in choreograph it's quite creative. We'd still rather see a bit more flesh, but we're pigs. What do you expect.

State's "pom suad" is in white tank tops and balck knee-length nylons and tap pants (or what we would think are tap pants). They have balck ties, too and we're going to have to give them the edge, simply beacuse those afro wigs were brutal.

Boy do we miss the LSU dance team. Damn Big Baby ruined EVERYthing.

. . . Our table neighbor here courtside, Neal McCready of the Mobile Press-Register, is continually providing wonderful hoops rumors and this one on John Calipari probably has some serious legs to it. Calipari would certainly have to listen if the 'Cats came a calling and unlike the NC State job last year, this is one of the Top 5 jobs in all of college basketball. Let's be sure to keep an eye on this one.

SEC: Back and Forth

Thsi one is setting up nice for the second half as both teams use mini-runs to extend and then come back. With 2:24 left in the half, State is up 35-33.

Charles Thomas leads the Hogs and all scorers with 10 points and an impressive nine rebounds. The Hogs are winning the board battle 22-17.

SEC: State Using 3-Ball Effectively

We've got a 3-fest going as the Bulldogs have hit 3-pointer son four straight possessions to take a 28-22 lead with 6:37 left int he half.

State is 5 of 10 from trey land with Barry Stewart at 2 of 2 and Reginald and Richard Delk each of 1 of 1 from international waters. Dietric Slater is 1 of 2. As a team, State is shooting 48 percent from the field and the Hogs are at 36 percent.

SEC: State By One

Very evenly played game thus far as State has taken a 12-11 lead with 11:51 left in the half. Charles Thomas continues to lead all scorers with seven and freshman Jarvis Varnado has five to lead State.

. . . Nice story on the Hansbrough brothers that is worth mentioning with the little borther seein valuable minutes in this one.

SEC: Hogs Hoisting With Regularity

Just over four minutes in and Arkansas has already taken 12 shots (connecting on 3) and takes an early 7-2 lead as State is 1 of 6 from the field. Charles Thomas has seven points for the Hogs.

. . . The block story line is panning out early as there are three total so far.

. . . State coach Rick Stansbury is wearing sneakers with his suit (adidas). Not sure why, but we're guessing its a medical issue with his feet.

. . . These semifinals mark the first time in SEC history that two Mississippi teams are among the four (Ole Miss plays Florida in the second game today).

SEC: Two from Tip

We're a couple of minutes from tip of what some are calling an NCAA Tournament "play-in" game. The Dome is filling in and the State fans and Arkansas fans seem pretty evenly dispersed with State holding an edge in overall quantity and loudness.

. . . Today's game features the SEC's two leading shot-blocking teams as Arkansas has 203 and State has 194 on the season.

. . . Arkansas leads the all-time series with state, 24-18 and the teams split during the regular season. State has won six of the last eight head-to-head. The teams have met in the SEC Tourney just once before in 1989 when Arkansas won, 84-79 in overtime, here in Atlanta.

. . . Some really disappointing news from the media feed spread where we were flagged for trying to bring our iced tea onto the elevator. As you know, we've been doing the iced tea all week long and transporting it on the 'vator. Evidently a new rule went into effect after some spilling issues on the elevator yesterday. Once again an incompetent few ruin it for the rest of us.

I'm on water instead, from the floor level media snack room. The good news is there was a random bag of Golden Flake Dill Pickle chips that we have snagged for our halftime snack. We left several bags of Neubie's favorite barbecue chips, figuring they would be available later.

SEC: Semifinals Saturday

ATLANTA - Welcome back the Georgia Dome for Semifinal Saturday of the 2007 SEC Tournament. Both teams - Arkansas and Mississippi State have concluded preliminary stretching and light shooting and we're about 30 minutes from tip.

A very cute scene played out when the State team took the floor with Coach Rick Stansbury's three boys - Isaac (seven years old), Noah (four) and Luke (two) - leading the Bulldogs onto the floor. Their mom, Meo, watched from the baseline as the little boys mingled with the bigger boys (strecthed a bit) and then she chased young Luke around. Meo toted a pillow with her, which we asked if we could borrow and she instead offered the Mississippi State blanket she was also carrying. She didn't realize we were serious!

We're not trying to get soft on you here, but this is what it's all about. In 30 minutes the Bulldogs and Razorbacks will compete for, in all likelihood, a spot in the NCAA Tournament and all the financial windfall that can create for a school. But in the end, they're all just little boys trying to please their moms. (Cue violins.)

. . . Neither teams game notes are posted at their respective websites, but if you head over to each you can get plenty of the vitals.

. . . The game's officials will be crew chief Tom Lopes, Rick Crawford, Doug Shows and substitute Tom Eades. this means that "TV" Ted Valentine will likely work the second game. We can hardly wait.

. . .Probable starters look like this:

For State, Richard Delk, Dietric Slater, Charles Rhodes, Reginald Delk and Friday's hero Jamont Gordon.

For Arkansas, Charles Thomas, Sonny Weems, Steven Hill, Gary Ervin and Friday's hero, Patrick Beverley.

Beverley, form Chicago, is the lone freshman of the ten with five juniors, three sophomores and one senior (Slater) among the 10.

SEC: The Team on The Pedestal


It's a bull's eye on their collective backs. They're the "Circle the Date" team in the regular season and the ultimate trophy win in the post-season. Even if their own coach won't allow the talk to seep into his locker room, the scuttlebutt is certainly out there.

Incredibly, though, there are some who still doubt the potential power and dominance of the Florida Gators.

"I mean, everyone puts Florida on a pedestal as though they're not human or anything like that," said Georgia's brash sophomore Corey Butler. "But once we really get into (playing with) the guys and really play with them, you realize that you can play with them."

Understand this though, Butler's team had just been dismissed 74-57 in a game that was over midway through the first half after the Gators jumped out to a 17-0 lead and never looked back. Butler might have been watching and playing in a different game. The one most of the Georgia Dome crowd witnessed confirmed that the Gators are one of a handful of teams who could be back in this building three weeks hence.

That pedestal the Gators find themselves on - especially now in March as they look to defend their national title - is very real and very deserved.

"They're an outstanding team," said Butler's older and wiser coach, Dennis Felton. "That's been well documented by anyone that talks about them, not just others, but also by me. I have a tremendous amount of respect for their team, and their ability as a team, and their ability to defend their National Championship."

Continue reading "SEC: The Team on The Pedestal" »

March 09, 2007

SEC: Rebels Impressive in Win

The Rebels maintained their intensity and poise throughout and finished off the Tigers with an 80-60 win.

. . . Bam Doyne finished with 26 points, eight rebounds and two assists. LSU was led by Tasmin Mitchell's 15 points. LSU shot 33 percent for the game (20 of 61) and Ole Miss shot 52 percent (27 of 52).

. . . A kid named "Spock" checked into the game for Ole Miss with 1:12 left. It's spelled Spach, however, and he did not appear to give the Vulcan sign.

. . . The announced attendance for the night session was 16, 203.

. . . The semifinals start at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and we'll get with you about 30 minutes before the tip of Mississippi State and Arkansas. The second game is scheduled to go off at about 3:15 with Florida taking on Ole Miss. Sunday's title game will tip at 1 p.m. on CBS and then we plan on staying with you through the afternoon and during the Selection show as Jim Nantz and Billy Packer announce the field from right here at the Dome (we think).

SEC: All Over but the Crying

With 7:51 left in the game, the Georgia Dome is emptying out as the Rebels hold a comfortable 63-43 lead and are on the verge of both win No. 20 and a very strong possibility of an NCAA bid.

We'll hit you with the final score and some final numbers, but we're going to work on our post-day two columnette so that we can get out of here at a reasonable tonight.

SEC: Big Baby Not In Sync

LSU's Glen Davis, who had a monster second half last night against the Vols (22 points in the second stanza), has been a non-factor tonight with three points (all from the line) and an 0 of 5 outing from the field to this point.

OIle Miss leads 53-35 with 11:55 left and it deosn't appear that LSu will be able to seriously mount a comeback unless they can figure out a way to control Bam Doyne, who now has 24 points and six rebounds.

. . . LSU is shooting 27 percent for the game (11 of 41) and has made just 1 of 15 3-pointers.

SEC: Rebs Still In Control

With 15:38 left in the game, Ole Mis now leads 42-25. LSU's Tasmin Mitchell has matched his first half output with six points in the first 4:32 and has all but two of the Tigers' second half points.

. . . LSU coach John Brady came out of the locker room very late in halftime as the clock ticked under a minute. he walked slowly, deliberately and looked like he was ready to wrestle an alligator. He may have been breathing fire but we can't be sure.

. . . Neubie, Jean Neuberger, will be happy to know that I have procured some Golden Flake Hot chips and not only are thin and crispy as promised, they're also quite spicy. These things would be wonderful on a tuna sandwich.

We actually might be breathing fire right now after our 1 oz. bag of the South's Original Potato Chip.

. . . For those of you inclined to peek ahead, Ole Miss lost to Florida on Jan. 20 but came back from a 25 point deficit to cut the Gator lead to seven before eventually falling by nine. The Ole Miss 1-2-1-1 corner trap, accoridng to the outstanding Orlando Sentinel writer Dave Curtis, was very effective during the comeback.

SEC: Rebs in Control at the Break

It could very well be the after effects of their OT win over Tennessee last night, but the LSU Tigers are as flat as flat can be. They've shot 4 of 29 in the first half from the field (14 percent) and Ole Miss's Bam Doyne has just about taken over the game with 16 first half points, including 3 of 4 from 3-point land.

The Rebels lead 37-17 at the break and we have now had two straight games where it appears one team has eliminated itself from competing due to awful inefficiency from the field. (In the first game, Georgia was 7 of 37 in the first half for 19 percent). The Tigers are 1 of 13 from 3-point land and have been out-rebounded 23-17.

Tasmin Mitchell leads LSU with 6 points.

SEC: BAM! by Bam

Bam Doyne (see below) now leads all scorers with nine points as the Rebs have extended to a 26-10 lead. The Tigers are 2 of 21 from the field and looking a whole lot like Georgia did in our first game. In fact, the stats monitor is starting to make those same gurgling sounds.

. . . Bam Doyne hit a pull-up 3-pointer to give the Rebs a 20-7 lead at the 6:00 mark. That's not all that significant, but it did remind that when I saw the Rebs in Hartford I kept wanting to yell a John Maddenesque "BAM!" every time he touched the ball. The urge has returned but I'm tryin to uphold some decorum here.

Oooh. There he is again. BAM! And the foul, after which he swished the free throw for a 23-9 lead. BAM! BAM!

And again. BAM! for three and a 26-10 lead.


Now you try it.

See? Ain't that fun?

SEC: Rebs Impress

Ole Miss's two-three zone is stymying the Tigers as LSU is 1 of 14 from the field and 0 of 8 from 3-point land. The Rebs lead 18-7 with 7:50 left in the half.

Ole Mis has scored 10 of its 18 points in the paint and LSU has zero inside points. The Rebel rebounding margin is no plus-6 at 15-9.

. . . Big Baby has three points and four rebounds thus far.

. . . LSU is playing a man-to-man defense and doubling the post when the ball goes inside.

SEC: Ole Miss Builds on Lead

This is our second time seeing Ole Miss live as we caught them in Hartford in November against UConn. The Rebels are much improved and have definitely bought into Associated Press SEC Coach of the Year Andy Kennedy's system which mandates all-out hustle and aggressive defense. Both of those traits are evident early as the Rebels lead 14-6 with 11:26 left in the half.

. . . Kenny Williams now has eight points and the Rebs are out-boarding the Tigers 12-5.

. . . Bad news for our guy, Neubie, Jean Neuberger: no honey barbecue chips in the press room tonight. We've had to go with the Maizetos stone ground Corn Chips from Golden Flake and we can tell you without a doubt, they would pass a blind Frito taste test. That's high praise from this snacker. They truly are the little corn with the Big Corn Taste.

. . . The LSU dance team is entertaining during this timeout and the contest is over. Give the Tigerettes the award and let them dance to their hearts content. They're wonderful.

. . . The officials for the nightcap are crew chief Tony Greene, Tim Claugherty, Brian Forte and substitue official Antinio Petty.

SEC: Ole Miss Out to Early Lead

Ole Miss, behind six points from Kenny Williams, has broken out to an 8-5 lead with 15:55 remaining in the half.

We got a bit weigh-layed as we worked the post-game pressers for our end-of-night columnette, so we haven't see a seocnd of the action.

But we're here for you now and ready to provide the rivetting commentary and insight that you've come to expect from Hang Time.

SEC: Gators (SURPRISE!) Win

In a game that was over after the first media timeout, Florida has capped this one off with a 74-57 win.

Corey Brewer finished with 15 points, Taurean Green with 19 and Al Horford with 15 to lead the Gators. Billy Humphrey (10) and Takais Brown (12) led the Dawgs.

Georgia will finish shooting 34 percent (24 of 71) for the game and Florida was at 54 percent (23 of 43). Georgia did win the battle of the boards with 38 to Florida's 32.

The Gators will now await the winner of LSU and Ole Miss which tips in 30 minutes.

. . . Florida AD Jeremy Foley moved into the row of seats where Big Baby had been sitting in order to watch the end of the game and, presumably, congratulate his team and his coach as they walk off the floor.

. . . We'll give you the game notes sites now so that we can listen in on Billy Donovan and his players as they explain how hard it was to maintain a level of intensity for a game that was over before it started.

LSU game notes are here and the Ole Miss notes are here.

The game is vital for both teams if they want to hear their names called on Sunday, as LSU needs to win the Tournament to get in and Ole Miss needs some help as well, having played a very soft non-conference schedule. The desparation should lead to a nice capper for our eighth game in two days.

And if doesn't, we'll go find Bubba Hog at whatever watering hole he's face down in and run up his bar tab.

SEC: Gators Putting Finishing Touches On

Georgia has actually managed to make this fairly respectable by getting to within 15 at one point, but it's now 65-49 with 3:56 left in the game.

. . . Billy Donovan's dad, Billy Sr., sits on the Gator bench for every game and travels with the team. That's a very cool thing, indeed.

SEC: He May be Ugly, But Your Team is Down 20

This one is slowly coming down the stretch as Florida leads 62-42 with 7:38 left in the game. Taurean Green leads all scorers with 17 points and both Noah and Horford have seven boards a piece for the Gators.

Georgia, which is now over the 30 percent field goal threshold at 33 percent (19 of 58) is being led by Corey Butler's nine points. Sudiata Gaines has a game-high eight rebounds.

. . . The Georgia student section chants, "UGLY, UGLY, UGLY" to Joakim Noah at every chance they get. We're not going to judge other men's looks, but we're pretty sure Joakim is having a quite a bit more success with the ladies than any of the red-clad frat boys and stoners who are chanting his name.

SEC: Big Baby in Da House!

A handful of LSU players have taken the Participating Team reserved seats in the endzone and Big Baby, Glen Davis, is among the Tigers. He is wearing a purple sleeveless top and purple sweats and the image of Barney is coming to mind, but we didn't say that. Wasn't us.

He just took a picture with a gentleman in a wheel chair and flashed his million-dollar smile. He also signed an autograph for a young man who might be a Big Baby in the making. He is signing several other autographs as well and a videograopher is shooting BB sitting there, chewing his gum. That should make for some rivetting TV. What am I talking about? I'm live blogging the damn guy.

. . . Under fifteen minutes to go in the one and the only question is whether Georgia will finish at over 30 percent shooting for the game (they're at 26 percent currently).

SEC: Wake Me When It's Over

We're still struggling a bit from not getting a proper nap in so we're thinking it might make sense to catch a half hour of ZZZs on press row. What? Like it's never happened before?

On the court, Florida maintains a 22 point lead at 49-27 with 15:14 left in the game.

. . . Congrats to Rhode Island on gaining the A-10 Final with a 79-71 win over Xavier. That sound you heard was the bubble bursting on a team like Drexel. Someone in A.C. needs to make sure that All-World Rhody SID, Mike Laprey manages to get some amount of sleep tonight or tomorrow morning. Laprey tends to enjoy the victories, not that there's anything wrong with that.

SEC: Dazzled by the Dazzlers

The University of Florida Dazzlers are performing their portion of the halftime show. It incorporates some belly dancing with a rock and roll feel. Do we need to say anymore.


Not much else going on at the half, but we knew you'd like to know about the Dazzlers. Who wouldn't, really?

SEC: Gators Ahead Comfortably at the Break

And when we say comfortably, we mean 35-14.

The Gators shot 54 percent (14 of 26) for the half and Georgia shot 19 percent (7 of 37).

Eight different Gators have scored, led by Corey Brewer's eight points.

. . . Andrew DeClerq is being honored at halftime as an SEC Legend from the Univeristy of Florida.

SEC: Bulldogs in Double Figures!

Things have settled down a bit and Georgia is showing signs of life, however minimal. At the under-4:00 media timeout, the Dawgs trail 33-12. If they can get it under 20 by the half, they have a chance of not losing by 30.

We kid, we jest, we attempt to entertain.

. . . Florida is 13 of 22 from the field and Georgia is 6 of 33. The Dawgs actually hold a 21-6 edge in rebounds.

SEC: Bulldogs in Double Figures!

Things have settled down a bit and Georgia is showing signs of life, however minimal. At the under-4:00 media timeout, the Dawgs trail 33-12. If they can get it under 20 by the half, they have a chance of not losing by 30.

We kid, we jest, we attempt to entertain.

. . . Florida is 13 of 22 from the field and Georgia is 6 of 33. The Dawgs actually hold a 21-6 edge in rebounds.

SEC: Bulldogs in Double Figures!

Things have settled down a bit and Georgia is showing signs of life, however minimal. At the under-4:00 media timeout, the Dawgs trail 33-12. If they can get it under 20 by the half, they have a chance of not losing by 30.

We kid, we jest, we attempt to entertain.

. . . Florida is 13 of 22 from the field and Georgia is 6 of 33. The Dawgs actually hold a 21-6 edge in rebounds.

SEC: "Basket by Corey Brewer," "Basket by Corey Brewer," "Basket by Corey Brewer"

We can't be sure, but if Georgia continues to shoot so putridly, the stat monitor in front of us might blow up. It got down to 2 of 22 and .091 for Field Goal percentage for the Dawgs and we thought we heard gasps from the Hyundai ImageQuest L505 monitor.

With 7:36 left in the half, Georgia has trimmed the lead to 23, 31-8.

The PA guys is going to get a hoarse voice form saying "basket by Corey Brewer" who had eight points in the first 10 minutes of the game. Florida is now shooting 13 of 18 from the field (.722).

Al Horford had a block on Levi Stukes in front of the endzone student section of the Gators and no sooner did he swat it ten he was pointing directly to the Gator faithful causing them to go ga-ga for the Gators.

SEC: It's Ovah!

Florida's initial run got out to 17-0 as Georgia started 0 for 13 from the field and didn't hit its first field goal until the 13:50 mark on a dunk by Takais Brown. Then Georgia really got rolling with a lay up from Sudiata Gaines. But the Gators rolled off five more and now lead 22-4 with 11:58 left in the half.

I guess we were due for a stinker here after three straight barn burners.

. . . Our cheer/dance team battle is a formidable one, but we look for the Gator squads to win in the end. But don;t sleep on the Dawgs' ladies.

SEC: Gators Gorging on Georgia

The Gators have jumped out 14-0 and they may never look back. At the first media timeout, Georgia already looks as if they maye be done. The Gators are 5 of 6 from the field and Georgia is 0 of 6.

The Bulldogs had three turnovers in less than four minutes and all three were converted into points. The Gator full court press after made baskets is already paying dividends.

. . . A predominantly Florida crowd in the house as the defending national champs have a rather large bandwagon these days.

. . . Florida opened with a turnover on its first possession. On its second possession Joakim Noah hit a nice baby hook in the lane. And the rest has been gravy as Noah has five points to start.

. . . Florida opens in a man-to-man defense with Corey Brewer on Levi Stukes. Georgia is also going man-to-man.

SEC: Heath on Life Support?

A fairly confounding story from the Mobile Press-Register has been brought our attention, reporting that Arkansas head coach Stan Heath will be fighting for job survival as his team takes on Mississippi State in tomorrow's first semi-final. Heath's in his fifth year at Arkansas and has gone from nine wins, to 12, to 18, to 22 to this year's 20 9and possibly counting).

Maybe we're naive, but that seems to be pointing the program in the right direction.

. . . Florida AD Jeremey Foley just walked by press row trying to figure out how to get up to his seats. We trust he'll figure it out soon enough.

. . . Mike White, Ole Miss's outstanding (and quickly rising) assistant stopped by the Hang Time perch and he looks confident that his Rebs will give LSU all they can handle.

SEC: Georgia and Florida Tip in 20

We're about 20 minutes from tip in the opener of the night session here at the Georgia Dome where No. 1 seed (East) Florida (26-5) meets No. 5 Seed (East) Georgia (17-12). The Gators are the two-time defending SEC Tourney champs (beating Kentucky in 2005 and South Carolina in 2006). Billy Donovan's crew has played in three staright finals with its lone loss coming in the 2004 finals to Kentucky.

. . . Florida game notes are here and Georgia game notes are here.

. . . The Florida-Georgia games officials include Crew Chief "TV" Teddy Valentine, Tome Eades, Bruce Benedict and substitue official Doug Sirmons.

. . . Georgia lost both regular season meetings with the Gators - 67-51 on January 6 and 71-61 on February 7. Florida leads the all-time series 98-94 and has won the last six straight. It's the first meeting in the SEC Tourney for the two prorgams since 1989.

. . . Probable starting line-ups look like this:

Georgia has Takais Brown, Steve Newman, Sundiata Gaines, Levi Stukes and Billy Humphrey.

Florida has Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Al Horford, Lee Humphrey and Taurean Green

Continue reading "SEC: Georgia and Florida Tip in 20" »

SEC: Final Numbers

Arkansas wound up out-scoring Vandy 34-24 in the paint and held a 37-27 advantage in rebounding.

We've got some statistical monitor issues that need to be cleared up, but it appears Beverley wound up with 18points to lead all scorers and Byars led Vandy with 15.

. . . We'll be back with you for the tip of the night session at 7:30 with Georgia and Florida, followed by the night cap between LSU and Ole Miss. We're on a roll with scinitillating games, let's hope it keeps going.

SEC: Hogs Hang On

Arkansas's Gary Ervin hit a floater in the lane to give Arkansas the lead and a last push up court by Vandy's Derrick Byars found Shan Foster in the deep corner for a 3-pointer that would have won it. The ball caromed off the rim as the Hogs win it 72-71. Now Arkansas will face Mississippi State on Saturday in what could very well be a "Bid Game" as both clubs are on the bubble.

After the win, Patrick Beverley sprinted to the endzone where Arkansas fans were sitting and hugged one man and stood on the railing of the setcion in celebration.

Somewhere, Bubba Hog will be drinking for the next 12 hours or so.

We'll be back in a few. . .

SEC: Neltner Curls for the Bucket

A wonderful inbounds play saw Ross Neltner spin free for an easy two-points, giving Vandy the elad 71-70 with 23.8 seconds remaining. It was just Neltner's second bucket of the game. Arkansas inbounds at midcourt.

SEC: Byars Off the Mark

With a little over 30 seconds left, SEC Player of the Year Derrick Byars missed a 3-pointer that would have put Vandy ahead, insetad they still trail 70-69 but have the ball under the Hogs' basket with 30.9 seconds left in regulation.

SEC: Beverley Carrying the Load for Hogs

Patrick Beverley is taking over late in the game for Arkansas as he has scored six in a row and has 18 for the game as Arkansas leads 70-67 with 1:37 left.

Derrick Byars needs to get off the schneid and assert himself on offense. That's what Players of the Year are supposed to do in crunch time.

SEC: Arkansas Back In It

We're into our third straight SEC Tourney barn-burner and to the ACC, we say: Anything you can do, we can do better. (I somehow have assumed PR duties for the SEC after being fed by them for my past three meals).

Arkansas continues to come back at Vandy and with 3:36 left in the game we're tied at 65-65 with Patrick Beverley stepping to the line to try and convert a 3-point play. Arkansas' Sonny Weems is having a stellar half with 12 of his 17 coming after the break - he is now the game's high scorer as Derrick Byars has been stuck on 15 for quite some time.

. . . Attendance for this session was announced at 17,068.

SEC: Vandy In Front by a Few

We're coming down the stretch here and my OT prognostication skills are telling me this one will end in regulation as Vanderbilt has extended to a 57-52 lead with 7:17 left in the game.

Derrick Byars has been relatively quiet in the second half, with 15 points (10 in the first stanza), but Vandy is getting good contributions up and down the roster. Arkansas is as well with seven players notching four or more point to this point.

. . . My man, Neubie, Jean Neuberger has chimed in and recommended that I try the honey barbecue Golden Flakes chips, which I will promise to do before the night's over. He also informs me that the not-so-tiny dancer in the cutoffs is a man by the name of Bubba Hog and Arkansas fans either love him or hate him. I'm squarely on the dislike side of the fence - why ruin a nice flannel and a good pair of Levi's just for the sake of dancing around like a madman?

We're gonna let you all decide with this YouTube video of Bubba. Don't shoot the messenger when you cough up your Golden Flakes chips:

There, now you're as disgusted as we were. Hah!

SEC: Vandy Comes Back

The Commodores have stepped things up on both ends of the floor and with 11:58 left, it's 48-48.

Vandy's Shan Foster is 2 of 2 from 3-point land in the second half and now has nine points on the afternoon.

Both teams are shooting 47 percent from the field and both have limited turnovers (seven each).

. . . A young Vandy fan behind the Hang Time perch is holding up a sign reading "Beware Byers." Not for nothing young fella, but if you're going to root for a specific player we have to recommend getting the spelling of his name correct. Otherwise you just look like a pretender.

. . . We don't tolerate fools well, not even 10 year old ones. Bring it strong or go home and play video games you little puke.

(See, this is what happens when we're deprived of nappy time. It's not my fault.)

SEC: Vandy Comes Back

The Commodores have stepped things up on both ends of the floor and with 11:58 left, it's 48-48.

Vandy's Shan Foster is 2 of 2 from 3-point land in the second half and now has nine points on the afternoon.

Both teams are shooting 47 percent from the field and both have limited turnovers (seven each).

. . . A young Vandy fan behind the Hang Time perch is holding up a sign reading "Beware Byers." Not for nothing young fella, but if you're going to root for a specific player we have to recommend getting the spelling of his name correct. Otherwise you just look like a pretender.

. . . We don't tolerate fools well, not even 10 year old ones. Bring it strong or go home and play video games you little puke.

(See, this is what happens when we're deprived of nappy time. It's not my fault.)

SEC: Hogs Continue to Lead

Arkansas has added slightly to its halftime lead and now leads 44-39 with 15:31 to go in the game.

Sonny Weems has 12 points for the Hogs after just five in the first half and the impressive Derrick Byars leads all scorers with 13 on 5 of 10 from the field and 2 of 5 from 3-point land.

SEC: Hogs Can Dance

The late running first game is going to cut into the between game time after the conclusion of this one and the start of the opener to the nightcap. That also means we're not going to get in nap time, which we had scheduled after learning from yesterday's marathon that a good snooze would go a long way.

. . . Our dance team battle is an N.C. (No Contest) as the Razorback dancers have put themselves in the running for Team of the Weekend. They even use props in their routine (basketballs). They also seem to lead the league blonde-haired team members. They all wear Hog shirts with the No. 13, but there's nothing unlucky about watching these ladies.

No offense of course to the Vandy dancers who are quite flexible themselves, but they're performing in the least revealing dance costumes ever. They look like a group of lost house painters in thier white dress shirts and matching knee-length shorts. Even when they threw off the white tops, there was still white t-shirts on underneath.

We're not saying that you gotta show skin to compete in our dance team finals, but it wouldn't hurt.

SEC: Hogs Ahead at Half

Arkansas leads 33-29 at the break in a pretty evenly played first half.

Derrick Byars leads Vandy with 10 points and four assists while Charles Thomas is pacing the Hogs with nine points. Sonny Weems has six of the Hogs' 21 rebounds (to 15 for Vandy).

. . . Kevin Stallings has been T'ed up and then had an extended conversation with crew cheif Tom Lopes. Both free thows were no good on the T.

. . . A lunatic fan in the Arkansas section has taken off his sleeveless flannel and his jumping around hooting and hollering in the Hog section opposite their bench. He is in cut off jeans as well and his belly belies his affection for hops-based beverages. He laso had long dread locks, but we believe they were attached to his hat and were fake. the cut off clothing was very real, however. Picture a fat, pale version of Daisy Duke (Jesscia Simpson version) and you're just about getting the visual.

I tend to think he's lodging at my (revolting) hotel where the rotary phones are still found in some rooms we think.

. . . Our sneaker battle is between adidas (Arkansas) and Nike (Vandy).

. . . Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury just appeared on press row with two of his boys in tow toting some popcorn and wearing the smiles of victors.

SEC: Vandy Storms Back

The Commodores have now gone on a run of their own (9-3) and the Arkansas lead is down to three, 25-22 with 5:07 left in the half.

Gordon and Byars are a wonderful guard combo for Vandy.


Arkansas is on an 11-0 run and has built a 22-13 lead with 7:56 left in the half. Charles Thomas has nine points and four rebounds as the Hogs are out-boarding the 'Dores 14-9.

Arkansas is now shooting 50 percent for the game (8 of 16) and Vandy is stuck at 29 percent (5 of 17).

. . . Thanks to our Golden Flakes friends, the media room chip stand has been re-stocked with all new Golden Flaeks product, including the cheese curls we were angling for yesterday. The power of Hang Time never ceases to amaze. The curls, however, were a bit airier than we like, having been brought up on Crunchy Cheetos. But the GF's are a nice alternative.

SEC: Knotted Up

We're tied in this one with 11:04 left in the half. It's 11-11 and Derrick Byars continues to lead all scorers with five points.

The teams are a combine 8 of 25 from the field, but Vandy has connected on 2 of 5 form 3-point land.

. . . Great service provided by the SEC (and other leagues) can be found at asapsports.com, where the post-game press conferences are posted almost immediately after they conclude. The Kentucky and State quotes should be up shortly.

SEC: Vandy and Arkansas Underway

A huge deflation of emotion in the Dome as the sullen blue-clad fans are still trying to figure out the lane violation call on Sheray Thomas. (Which Tubby Smith took responsibility for in the post-game presser, "It was probably my fault, I told Sheray to back up and hadn't seen the ref give the ball to (the shooter)."

Meanwhile Vandy leads 9-6 with under 14:00 left in the half. SEC Player of the Year Derrick Byars has five of the Commodore's first nine points.

. . . Arkansas beat Vandy this past Saturday at Nashville, 82-67 and leads the all-time series 12-7. The teams have met just once in the SEC Tourney with the Hogs winning 73-72 behind Corliss Williamson's 16 points and 12 rebounds.

SEC: Final Numbers

State wound up shooting 47 percent for the game (29 of 62), meaning they went 17 of 27 in the second half. Kentucky finished at 27 of 71, translating into 15 of 43 for the second half.

Randolph Morris finsihed with 29 points and 15 rebounds and Jamont Gordon finished with 26 and 11.

State had four scorers in double figures.

. . . We've gotta get a glimpse of Tubby's post-game presser, but we'll be back for the tip of Arkansas-Vanderbilt.

You're own your own to find game notes for the next one. We trust you'll be fine.

. . . The lane violator, by the way, is believed to be Sheray Thomas, ensuring his name will go down in Cat infamy. He's far form the reason the Cats lost, but that was a huge play, of course.

SEC: State Holds On

State hangs on and very likely punches a ticket to the Big Dance with a tremendous 84-82 overtime win.

Kentucky's final possession was a disater as the inbounds pass was tipped and State covered the ball for the win.

. . . A lane violation ended Kentucky's SEC Tourney run, that's the bottom line.

. . . Okay, we said it, Mississippi State is a tournament team. I now believe. And Jamont Gordon (26 points, 11 rebounds and four assists) is a legit top-level player.

. . . The game has gone over two and a half hours and had 50 total fouls called.

SEC: State on the Verge

Randolph Morris continues to dominate, this time on a putback in the lane to put Kentucky up 82-81. With 24.7 seconds left, Barry Stewart took an outlet pass and converted a lay-up but missed the free throw to put State up 83-82. A block by Richard Delk with 3.7 seconds left puts Barry Stewart at the line for two shots. Stewart missed the first one and State has called a timeout to set up its defense.

. . . State has made some seriously lazy passes in the final minutes of this one and now has 16 turnovers for the game.

SEC: No End in Sight

Anyone up for a second OT? This one could very well be headed that way as State now leads 81-80 with 2:49 left in the game.

SEC: Rhodes Fouls Out

Kentucky's first possession of the OT couldn't have gone much better. Randolph Morris made a lay-up and was fouled by Rhodes who is now out of the game for State.

Kentucky leads 79-78 with four minutes to go in the first OT.

. . . Not to boast, but we've now called both OT games well ahead of when they appeared going to OT. Kudos to me.

SEC: Gordon Sends Us to OT

A wild finish to regulation saw Jamont Gordon drive the court and pull up for a 3-pointer as the backboard turned red. The ball went swish for Gordon's first 3-pointer of the game. We go to OT tied at 76-76.

Earlier, a Joey Crawford desperation 3-point shot with the shot clock running down bounced on the back rim to the front rim and was tipped in by Sheray Thomas for his first 2-point basket of the game (he has one three as well). That gave the Cats a 75-73 lead.

. . . Kentucky led 75-73 with 24 second left and then stole the inbounds pass. Randolph Morris missed two. 17.7 seconds remain. His second free throw is no good and State Jamont Gordon drove the lane and the ball went out of bounds. Barry Stewart took the inbounds pass and launched a three (a two would have tied it) and now Kentucky's Jodie Meeks goe sto the line with 5.1 seconds remaining.

. . . A lane violation on Kentucky was called allowing State the last chance to tie the game which they did.

SEC: Tubby Drawing One Up

Kentucky has the ball now with the score tied 73-73 and 19 seconds on the shot clock. State will likely have the ball for one last possession.

Tubby can go to either Randolph Morris or Joey Crawford in this situation. We'd go to Morris.

SEC: Cats By One

With 1:09 left in the game, Kentucky leads 73-72 and State has the ball coming out of a timeout with 13 seconds on the shot clock. Look for Jamont Gordon to get the ball.

. . . Kentucky's Randolph Morris has 24 points and 12 rebounds while State's Jamont Gordon is just off his pace with 23 and nine.

SEC: Cats Take the Lead

Kentucky now leads 70-69 with under three minutes to play in the game. State is going to the line for two free throws form the hands of Charles Rhodes.

Senior Dietric Slater fouled out with 3:38 left in the game on a hard foul on Jodie Meeks who had a break away lay-up. Slater is a key on-court leader for the Bulldogs, so that could have been a very costly foul.

The teams have combined for 40 personal fouls with 3:24 left in the game.

SEC: Down to the Wire

The teams exchanged 3-pointers in the 4:00 area with sophomore Richard Delk hitting for State and junior Joey Crawford answering for the Cats - it was each player's first trey of the game.

With 3:58 left in the game, Kentucky has the ball , at the line trailing 68-66. We're now tied 68-all.

Could we be looking at our second straight OT contest of the SEC Tourney? We would not argue with such lunacy.

SEC: Cats and Fand are Roaring

Kentucky's pressure defense has done two things: brought them within a bucket of tying the game and brought the blue-clad faithful back into the game in a large way. With 5:21 left in the game, State clings to a 65-63 lead, but the tide has definitely shifted.

. . . Kentucky's Bobby Perry hit a big 3-pointer with just over seven minutes left to cut the State lead to six points, 63-57. The Cats then caused a turnover on the ensuing State possession, the result of its aggressive full-court pressure.

. . . Both Ramel Bradley and Derrick Jasper have four fouls each for the Cats.

SEC: Cats Comeback

Kentucky has mounted a bit of a comeback and with 7:45 left in the game, the Cats now trail 61-52. Kentucky's full court pressure is starting to bear some fruit as the Bulldogs are up to 10 turnovers (after five in the first half). Joe Crawford (11 points) is beginning to come on for the Cats.

This game has had a whole host of bodies crashing to the floor, mostly in the paint where 38 of State's 61 points have been scored. Kentucky has 30 of its 52 in the lane.

Rhodes's replacement Jarvis Varnado has fouled out of the game with 7:45 still remaining. Rhodesreamins on the bench with his four fouls and should be back in at the under-4:00 media timeout.

SEC: Tubby Thumping

Mississippi State is threatening to run away with this one and Kentucky has vritually no answers. And, if you haven't heard, we could be on the verge of seeing Tubby Smith's final SEC Tourney game as head coach of the Wildcats (we'll leave the rumors to others, but it would not shock us at all to see Smith gone).

State leads 55-43 with 11:33 left in the game and the Bulldogs have managed to go 10 of 12 from the field in the second half after a 12 of 35 first half. Kentucky, meanwhile is ice cold and now 3 of 15 for the second half. State is getting balanced scoring while Randolph Morris continues to carry the Cats.

SEC: State Fans Get Loud

State has come out of the locker room with a more determined mindset that led to a 9-3 run to start the second half and has now led to a 43-39 lead with 15:28 left int he game.

State's fans are now the loudest they've been all day.

. . . Just some incredible end to end action and it's beginning to feel a whole lot like March in the very building where the 2007 National Champ will be crowned. Yee-Haw!

. . . Charles Rhodes plays with absolute reckless abandon and it has led to his fourth foul with 14:56 left in the game. He's been replaced by Jarvis Varnado and the score at 45-41 in State's favor. Let's keep an eye on the absence of Rhodes.

. . . Jamont Gordon had seven points for State in the first half and now has seven in the first 4:32 of the second half.

SEC: Cats Up Three At Half

Kentucky leads 34-31 at the break on the strength of Randolph Morris's 15 points (4 of 7 form the field, 7 of 9 from the line) and six rebounds. State is led by seven points from both Charles Rhodes (team high four rebounds) and Jamont Gordon.

State's field goal precentage is creeping up and now stands at 34 percent (12 of 35). Kentucky is 43 percent from the field (12 of 28) and has committed four more turnovers than State (9 to 5).

Both teams are establishing their presence in the paint with State scoring 20 in the lane to 18 for Kentucky. The Cats are winning the battle of the boards 22-18. Neither team can find the long range groove as State is 1 of 11 form 3-point land and the Cats are 2 of 11.

. . . Cute scene when the Bulldogs enter the court as they are led by Rick Stansbury's young son, Isaac (8 years old) in a No. 32 State jersey.

. . . The Arkansas team is sitting in the endzone seats reserved for non-playing teams and the Hogs are loose and easy as a few danced at their seats along with the State dance team as they performed. We're starting to think they don't know they're playing this afternoon's game against Vanderbilt for an NCAA bid.

SEC: Morris the Man

We continue to go back and forth in this one as Kentucky has now used a 13-5 run since the last media timeout to build up a 31-24 lead with 2:46 left in the half.

Randolph Morris has exploded for 12 points and six rebounds. State is still in the 30 percent area shooting (9 of 29) and is just 1 of 8 from 3-point land (Stewart has the trey).

. . .An errant 3-pointer by State's Barry Stewart wound up being caught on top of the backboard and an endzone photographer used the handle of a courtside mop to dislodge the ball. Nice work, photog.

SEC: Wildcats Out in Front

Kentucky has built two separate five point leads and holds 15-10 edge with 10:56 left in the half. Three Cats have five points each (Jodie Meeks, Joe Crawford and Randolph Morris). State is being led by Ben Hansborough.

State continues to struggle form the field, shooting 27 percent (4 of 15).

. . . State's Dietric Slater took a nasty spill at the 14:42 mark as he fouled a Wildcat. He basically did a flip and landed on his stomach. he got up and was fine. But it hurt me.

There's been all sort of crazy falls under the State basket. Those towel boys will be busy all day.

. . . You can't imagine how many media members frequent the Jerry Palm collegerpi site during the course of the day. It's a tribute to what our colleague has been able to build and he should be very proud. Have a kinsh on me, JP.

SEC: Spirited Start

Some pretty tenacious defense form both sides as we're tied 5-5 heading into the first media timeout of the afternoon.

Each side is 2 of 7 from the field through the first 4:05 of the game and Kentucky has three turnovers in that stretch. Both teams have four of their seven points in the paint.

. . . In the 18:00-area, Charles Rhodes had a fast-break, two-handed dunk opportunity that he missed. he redeemed himself next time down the court on another fastbreak where he laid it in and was fouled, converting his free throw,

. . . Our dance/cheer team battle for this one is semeing to favor the 'Cats although the all white cheer unis of State does give the impression of purity, which we'r ein favor of.

SEC: Cat-Lanta Returns

It's once again a pro-Kentucky crowd, but there is a good gathering of Mississippi State fans. Still, the predominant color is blue in the Dome as it is throughout the streets surrounding the Dome.

. . .UK leads the series 84-17 and has a 7-1 edge in SEC Tourney games. Earlier this season at UK, the 'Cats won 64-60

. . . We're underway with State in home whites and Kentucky in road blues.

SEC: Day Two Set to Commence

ATLANTA - Welcome back to the Georgia Dome for today's quarterfinal action from the SEC Tournament where our first game, tipping in about 20 minutes, features 21-10 Kentucky and 17-12 Mississippi State.

Kentucky advanced with a 79-67 win over Alabama on Thursday and State got the first round bye by virtue of sharing the SEC West regular season crown.

. . . Game notes for Kentucky are found here and Mississippi State's are found here.

. . . Today's officials are led by crew chief Mike Stuart, J.B. Caldwell, Mike Nance and substitute official Doug Shows.

. . . We've got to get some fuel for the fire after a restful night sleep at the luxurious hotel/motel Days Inn on Spring Street (Note to CSTV Travel agent: No more Days Inns, please.) We'll be back for tip.

The Big Beast

Exasperated, frustrated and more than a little disappointed, Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl summed up his team's overtime loss to underdog LSU by saying, "It's March."

Yes it is and it's this very time of year when the BIg Baby - Glen Davis - becomes the Big Beast. With a post-season performance that will live in the annals of SEC lore, Davis made the game's final 25 minutes his own with a 25 point, 15 rebound (nine offensive), 13 of 17 from the line outing that knocked out the No. 3 seed (East) Vols and reminded everyone of last year's Birth of Big Baby. LSU won 76-67 and advances to play Ole Miss on Friday night.

"When you get to March and its tournament time you've gto to have special," said Pearl, whose team goes to 22-10 on the year and awaits its seeding in the NCAA tournament. "We didn't have it tonight."

But LSU did. And special came in the form of the lovable, huggable, philosophical round mound of purple and gold rebound.

"You know what, winning on your mind, it gives you a lot of energy. I don't care if you're in the desert. I don't care, if you want to win, you know, determination to get the job done, that's what it's all about. There is no such thing as tired," said Davis, the individual darling of last season's NCAA Tournament. "And that's what you've got to think in your head, it's all mental. So, you know, you got to bring the beast out. So, you know, that's what I did. I envisioned a win, and I just turned into some just animal. And now, we play tomorrow. That's what it's all about, we want to win tomorrow. So (you'll) see the beast again."

"I was really proud of him," said LSU coach John Brady. "This is great for his confidence."

"He was a load in the second half, he was a dominant factor," said Pearl, realizing that Davis had three points and three rebounds at the break. "I think he got more touches in the second half."

Indeed he did and made more touches for himself by becoming, well, a beast on the backboards.

Like the opposing coach said after the game, "It's March."

And that's Big Baby time.

Continue reading "The Big Beast" »

SEC: Brady Elated

John Brady ran off the court voicing some "Whoo-hoos" as he left the hardwood and headed for a joyous locker room.

Davis led LSU with 25 and 15 and Chris Lofton led the Vols with 21 points. LSU fwound up out-rebounding the Vols 41-35 on the back and shoulders of Davis and was able to overcome 23 turnovers. Garrett Temple had a game-high seven assists and Tasmin Mitchell added six for the Tigers who notched their 17th win.

We've got to go hear what John Brady has to say about this one and we'll hit you back with some closing thoughts after the pressers.

SEC: Tigers Bounce Vols

Big Baby finishes with 25 points and 15 rebounds as LSU wins 76-67 in OT.

LSU will face Ole Miss in the nightcap tomorrow night and the Tigers will need every minute between now and then to rest up from this war of attrition. The teams split in the regular season, including an improbable one-point win in Oxford for Ole Miss on Valentine's Day night.

SEC: To the Deserved Go the Spoils

LSU appears to be on its way to a very well-earned victory as they lead 73-67 with 42.4 seconds left.

Not even the refs could take this one away from Big Baby. I'm not sure anyone can take anything away from him at this point. He now has 14 rebounds and 22 points with two free throws on the way.

SEC: Meet Mr. March, Big Baby

Call him Mr. March, because Big Baby is taking over. The 6-9, 295-pound junior from Baton Rouge now has 21 points and 12 rebounds and is going ot the line to convert a 3-point play that would put LSU up 71-67. (We're in a timeout right now with 1:55 left.)

Remember, Davis had three points and three rebounds at the half.

. . . Who was complaining earlier? Wasn't me. Must've been the blogger next to me.

March 08, 2007

SEC: OT at The Dome

John Brady went ballistic on the sideline after an offensive charging call on Garrett Temple that would have put LSU up by two with 7. 3 seconds left. Instead the game was tied and the Vols had the ball.

Tennessee got off terrible shot and we're going to overtime (which we called several minutes ago, thank you).

Wowza - so this is what it's like to have a REAL game.

Very nice.

SEC: Big, Bigger, Biggest Baby

Big Baby continues to assert himself in the second half and now has 16 points and nine rebounds and is taking over the game for LSU. He just had another rebound and putback to bring the LSU lead to 60-57 with 2:20 left. Bruce Pearl called a timeout.

SEC: Big Time Players Making Big Plays

Chris Lofton hit a deep 3 from right in front of his own bench with 4:36 left in the game to give Tennessee a 57-52 lead. It was Lofton's third trey of the night and his 18th points on 7 of 11 from the field.

On the ensuing trip, Garrett Temple launched a depseration 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down. The ball went haflway down and popped out into the hands of Glen Davis, who put it back and was fouled on the hoop. The free throw by Big Baby cut the Vol lead to 57-55, which is where we stand now with 3:32 left.

. . .The Vol pressure which was having minimal effect in the first half has picked up in intensity this half and is causing troubles for the Tigers. Tennesse has 11 steals on the night to just three for LSU.

SEC: Back and Forth We Go

We're coming down the stretch and it's getting very good with the Vols up 52-49 with 5:36 left in the game.

LSU needs to take better care of the ball (17 turns) or it will crush them down the stretch as the Vol faithful begin to get back into it.

. . . Darnell Lazare is quietly having a very nice game ofr LSU with 10 points on 4 of 4 from the field and 2 of 2 form the line. He joins Terry Martin, Glen Davis and Magnum Rolle in the 10 point club for LSU. Chris Lofton (6 of 10 from the field) has 15 for the Vols, followed by Duke Crews's 11 points.

SEC: Big Baby Coming On

Big Baby has started to come on for LSU and now has nine points and five rebounds on the night (after a first half of 3 and 3). We're tied at 42-42 with 9:47 left in the game. But he was visibly winded prior to this timeout and might need a breather on the bench to be fresh for the stretch run. But, no, he's back on the floor. We might not be so daring as the unpredicatble John Brady. The next media timeout comes in about two minutes and you could steal some minutes for the big fella. But what do we know?

. . . Turnovers continue to mount for LSU (16 to just 7 for the Vols). Tennessee has converted those 16 turns into 17 points.

. . . Yes, we're happy. We've finally got a competitive affair with good action. We might even get OT if we're lucky.

. . . Our sneaker battle tonight is between adidas (Tennessee) aqnd Nike (LSU).

SEC: Vols Can't Get in Rhythm

Tennessee continues to struggle from the field, having missed all five attempts thus far as LSU has used an 8-1 run to open the seocnd half and take a 33-28 lead with 15:57 left in the game. The Tigers are 2 of 2 in the second half but continue to have turnover problems with three in the first four minutes of this half.

. . . There can't be much more than a busload of LSU fans in the house. If there is, they're adopting the philosophy of it being better to be seen than heard.

. . . Vol fans seem anxious and it might be time to bust out the Pat Summit-in-the-cheerleader-uni to fire up the faithful.

. . . Florida will visit the White House on March 19 to be honored for their national championship in football. The basketball team was honored April 6 of last year. Guess George has been busy since the Gators beat Ohio State for the National Title.

SEC: Twenty Minutes from Miller Time

We're almost catching a second wind as the seocnd half opens and we can see the "Lite" at the end of the tunnel. We're also encouraged by the fact that tomorrow offers up some intriguing match-ups with Arkansas/Vanderbilt in the 3:15 tip and the nightcap between Ole Miss and the winner of this one.

. . . Attendance for the night session is listed at 14,574.

. . .Big Baby needs to assert himself more - he's had just three points and three rebounds.

. . . Largest lead of the first half for LSU was five and for UT it was seven. the score was tied three times with two lead changes.

SEC: Vols up Two at Half

The most entertaining half of basketball form the Georgia Dome today concludes with the Vols leading 27-25 in an evenly contested 20 minutes.

Chris Lofton has 10 points for Tennessee to lead the Vols and Magnum Rolle also has 10 for LSU.

The Tigers have 10 turnovers to just three for the Vols, who are shooting 36 percent for the game (10 of 28). LSU is at an even 50 percent (11 of 22).

. . . Allan Houston was honored at half as an SEC legend and is the second recogniazable player to be so honored today, joining Kenny Sky Walker.

. . . The LSU Dance team's halftime show just clinched first place for the day even though we give points to the Vol Dancers for their orange sequined tops and the inclusion of the mascot in the routine.

SEC: Finally, A Game Worth Our Time

LSU holds a 15-10 rebounding edge but has also turne dthe ball over five more times than the Vols (8-3). Tennessee leads 23-22 with under 3:00 left in the half.

. . . We're getting everything we wanted in this one, including some hostilities between LSU's Darnell Lazare and Tennessee's Ryan Childress, who brought Lazarre down by the shirt in pursuit of a rebound (and was whistled for the foul).

. . . Ah, yeah. LSU's dance team wins the battle. How silly of us to doubt some ragin' Cajun ladies. Our bad.

. . . We missed the actual event, but we're told Lazarre vomitted into a trash can near the LSU bench a bit earlier. We're not actually all that angry that we missed such a thing.

SEC: Bruce Pearl Knows a Good Knish When He Sees It

Tennessee has jumped out early with a 7-0 run to start the game, bouyed by five points from Chris Lofton. At the first media timeout, the Vols lead 7-2 with 15:24 left in the half.

LSU is 1 of 5 from the field to start and Tennessee is 3 of 7 (including 1 of 4 from 3-point land). The Tigers have four turnovers in just over four minutes of play which we average out to 40 TOs for the game if our math is correct.

. . . We can't let Jerry Palm's knish entry from the Big East go without comment and we want to commend the Palmist for trying new things. Next up: a meat knish, which will be easy to scope out in NYC. After that, Lox and smoked whitefish. To bring this back to basketball, Bruce Pearl actually hails from a place that has its share of great knish and lox places - Sharon, Mass. If Palm ever ventures to Boston, we'll be sure to direct to him (or even take him) to Cobb's Corner and The Butcherie.

Wow, could I go for a knish and a kreplach right now.

SEC: LSU and Tennessee Tip in Two

This one will have a decidely orange feel to it as the crowd is very much in Tennessee's corner. We're moments away from tip.

. . . Tennessee Game notes are here and LSU game notes are here.

. . . The referees for the nightcap are the ever-popular crew chief Ted Valentine, Joe Lindsay, Bert Smith and substitute John Goble.

. . . Probable starting line-ups look like this:

For LSU, Glen Davis, Tasmin Mitchell, Darnell Lazare, Terry Martin and Garrett Temple.

For Tennessee, Wayne Chism, Dane Bradshaw, JaJuan Smith, Chris Lofton and Ramar Smith.

SEC: Mercifully, It Ends

A game that was extended well beyond its necessary length by some very petty timeouts by Auburn coach Jeff Lebo has finally ended with Georgia advancing to take on Florida tomorrow night with a 80-65 win.

The Bulldogs got 22 points from our favorite player of the Tournament to date, Levi Stukes and 19 from Takais Brown. Brown added 13 rebounds and Stukes was 6 of 11 from 3-point land.

Auburn was led by Josh Dollard's 13 points.

. . . Please, please, please let this next one have some intrigue. We don't mean to bitch and moan, but it's tough to look around the country and see all these wonderful overtime games being contested. We just want a share of the pie.

SEC: Even More Garbage Time from the Georgia Dome

We are now in our third edition of garbage time of the day here at the SEC Tournament as Georgia leads 72-56 with 3:21 left in the game.

. . . There appears to be a young man working on his computer in front of the Hang Time perch and all the ladies in mini-skirts are getting suspicious as they walk by. I must say, I'm a bit leery as well. I wish someone would trip over him and get it done with.

. . . Amazing stat of the game: Georgia has 12 steals for the game.

SEC: Slow as Molasses

This one has ground to a painful halt as an extended referees' delay was preceded and followed by media timeouts. We sit at 65-52, Georgia with 7:54 left.

The one stat we can share at this point that may be telling is the 18 Auburn turnovers have led to 18 Georgia points.

. . . We may be on the verge of breaking our Doc Pep ban in order to ensure we make it through the end of the nightcap. Although there is a large globule of sugar at the bottom of our iced tea cup and that could provide the jolt we need upon final sippage.

SEC: Oh for Three Thus Far

The nightcap here in the Georgia Dome is going to have to be pretty damn good to make up for the three snoozers we've been enduring all day long. In the current laugher, Georgia is leading 60-45 with 10:35 left in the game.

The argument for a trimmed down SEC Tournament should begin now if it hasn't already. Games like these do nothing but dilute the product. The leagues - like the Big East - that leave some teams home for the conference Tournament might very well have the right idea - no matter the size of the league.

Takais Brown continues his dominant half, as he has 19 points, 13 of which have come in the first 9 minutes of this half.

Auburn has turned the ball over 16 times and Georgia has lost it just eight times.

. . . The Minutemen fall in overtime and eliminate themselves from NCAA Tournament consideration and they only have themselves to blame. Travis Ford's team has had trouble all year getting up for the big games (See: BC early in the season) and they probably never put together a full 40 minutes of basketball save for the home rout of Rhode Island. But Rhody plays again in AC and UMass goes home.

Yes, I'm a bitter alum right now. And no, I will not give to the alumni fund when they call.

SEC: Georgia With Florida on Their Mind

The Bulldogs continue to pour it on and have extended their 10 point half-time lead into a 15-point bulge, 51-36, with 15:37 to go in the game. They appear to be headed to the Friday games for a date with Florida at at 7:30 p.m. (EST).

Takais Brown, who had six points in the first half, already has six in this half for Georgia.

. . . A halftime wander allowed us to catch up with Ole Miss assistant coach Mike White, whose No. 2 (west) -seed Rebels will get the winner of tonight's late game between LSU and Tennessee. When we last saw White and the Rebs they were in Hartford early in the season to play the then -undefeated UConn Huskies (think about that for a sec). At that time, White wasn't sure what to make of his club. Now, three months later he can't stop praising first-year coach Andy Kennedy and the way he has shaped his team into a competitive, tough unit that no one wants to face. "He's unbelievable, he's just done such a great job," said White.

We were also able to exchange pleasantries with the orange-suspendered Bruce Pearl who is sitting in Row 3 of Press Row taking in the Georgia-Auburn game.

Say this about Pearl - he's made orange sport coats quite fashionable as several of the Vol fans in the far endzone seats are wearing the Pearl Orange sports coat.

SEC: Georgia in Control

Georgia withstood a bit of an Auburn run and closed out the half with some efficient offense to take a 41-31 lead into the half.

Stukes (14 points) and Terrance Woodbury (8) continue to lead Georgia and Sundiata Gaines wound up with eight of Georgia's 10 assists in the half. He out-assisted the Tigers, 8-6.

. . . Auburn actually shot 50 percent for the half (13 of 26) but just 2 of 9 from 3-point land. Georgia shot 44 percent for the half (15 of 34) but connected on 7 of 14 from beyond the arc.

. . . Josh Dollard led Auburn with seven points and a team-high 10 rebounds (17 total for each team).

SEC: Bulldogs Pour It On

With 3:52 left in the half, Georgia leads 33-23. The Tigers have no answer for the Bulldog guards and have turned the ball over 10 times (to just five for Georgia).

. . . Georgia's guard combo of Sundiata Gaines and Levi Stukes is absolutely electrifying. Gaines has six assists already and Stukes has 14 points.

. . . Good to see Jerry Palm Reader starting to get into the dance team viewing that we're taking pretty seriously form our venue (the Georgia team has the edge in this match-up). The Big East apparently doesn't have a roster limit on its dance teams, which, now that we think of it, is a good rule to go by. We're guessing L'ville brought it strong, but our all-time gold standard for dance teams is still the Bearcat Dancers circa 1992. What a crew that was.

SEC: Stukes Puts Up His Dukes

Georgia's Levi Stukes (the school's season-leader for 3-pointers made and taken) has started off hot for the Bulldogs with 14 points on 5 of 7 from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point land. On the strength of two straight Stukes' treys, Georgia has built a six point lead, 25-19, with 10:01 left in the half.

As a team, Georgia is 6 of 9 form beyond the arc, while AUburn is 1 of 7 from international waters.

. . . Georgia's Steve Newman is a dead ringer for tennis star Jim Courier. An oversize Courier, that is. Newman picked up his second personal with just over over 12:00 left in the half. He's been removed by Dennis Felton.

. . . Lots of press row GameTracking of the UCLA/Cal game (now in OT) and, we must admit, a bit of UMass/St. Louis watching too for this Minuteman alum.

SEC: Georgia Settles Down after Shaky Start

Auburn leads 13-10 with 15:16 left in the half. Auburn has scored all ten of its points in the paint and six of Georgia's points have some from 3-point land (with just one miss from beyond the arc). Billy Humphrey opened the game with a 3-pointer for Georgia.

Auburn the proceeded to make five of its first five shots to go out to an 10-3 lead and before the game was two minutes old, had caused three Georgia turnovers with its full court pressure. Dennis Felton was forced to call a timeout at 18:04.

. . . Tonight's sneaker battle is between Nike (Georgia) and what appears to be AND 1 (Auburn), despite the school not be listing on AND 1's website.

SEC: Tip in Two

We're a few minutes from tip and the Georgia Dome is starting to fill up slowly - it's becoming clear that the largest first day draw will be Kentucky when all is said and done. Both Georgia and Auburn have taken the floor and neither team drew much more than a smattering of applause and hollers.

. . . Managed to sneak in our second SEC-provided meal of the day (salad and meatloaf) and we're back on the iced tead which is only served in the upper press box were the buffet line is set-up. It was the bottom of the urn, but we did a nice tip and fill to top off our cup. The plan is to hold off going back to the Doc Pep until tomorrow, if at all possible. Some water will probably do us well.

. . . Ex-SEC commissioner Roy Kramer is sitting at the end of our table section on press row. That might be the extent of our "celebrity" sightings for today. The Thrusday games don't bring out the pretty people as much as Semifinal Saturday and Final Sunday.

SEC: Georgia and Auburn Tip in 30

We are about 30 minutes from the start of the night time session here at the Georgia Dome with a battle of 17-win teams - No. 5 seed (East) Georgia (17-12) and No. 4 seed (West) Auburn (17-14).

The two teams met 19 days ago in Athens in their only regular seaosn meeting with the Bulldogs holding off the Tigers 86-79 in a game that had 60 (!!!) fouls called, including three technicals with five Auburn players fouling out and 70 total free throws attempted.

. . . Amazingly, this is the 171st meeting between the two schools and the series is dead even at 85-85. They've also met six times in the SEC Tournament and split those half dozen meetings as well. In 1979, they played the longest game in SEC Tourney history - a four OT, second round game won by Auburn, 95-91.

. . .To get you started, Georgia game notes are here; with Auburn notes here.

. . . Tonight's referees for the first contest will be crew chief Mike Stuart, Tom Eades and Anthony Jordan with Tim Clougherty serving as the substitue.

Continue reading "SEC: Georgia and Auburn Tip in 30" »

SEC: Did We Mention It's Garbage Time?

As we finish off a 30-point bulge for Arkansas in this one, we are tempted to say this could be the worst half of basketball we have seen from one side (South Carolina) the entire season. The Basketball Gods will surely give us two barn-burners tonight (Georgia-Auburn and LSU/Tennessee) to make up for it.

The final score is 82-52 and the Cocks have been outsocred 51-28 in the second half, they also got doubled up on the boards in half No. 2, 23-11.

Four Razorbacks scored in double figures, led by 16 each from Gary Ervin and Darian Townes. Brandon Wallace led the Cocks with 16 of his own. The final points in the paint total was 40 for the Hogs and 22 for the Cocks.

. . . We'll be back in two hours with the pre-game for Georgia and Auburn.

SEC: Garbage Time in the Georgia Dome

It's down to friends and family remaining in the Dome for the afternoon session as Arkansas is up 20 (69-49) with 5:40 left in the game.

South Carolina has made just eight field goals in the second half to this point and head coach Dave Odom looks even more diminutive than usual.

Arkansas now leads the board battle 35-28 and the paint scoring is 38-22 in the Hogs favor.

SEC: Cocks Cause Commotion

South Carolina is not ready to concede this one by any means as they have twice brought the game within four points in the first three minutes of the half. Now, at the under-16:00 media timeout, Arkansas leads 38-32.

. . . South Carolina opened the half with a 3-pointer by Evaldas Baniulis to cut the lead to 31-27. It was his second 3 of the day in three attempts. Tre Kelley also hit a 3-ball in the first two minutes of the half to again pull the Cocks within four.

. . .Reboudning was dead even in the first half with 20 a side. It remains so now, at 23-23.

SEC: Hogs Pull Away a Bit

The end of a competitive first half finds Arkansas up 31-24.

Both teams had trouble shooting the rock as Arkansas shots 37 percent (10 of 27) in the first 20 minutes and South Carolina sits at 33 percent (11-33).

. . . Brandon Wallace leads the 'Cocks in socring with eight points (and a team-high six rebounds) and three Razorbacks have six points apiece with Charles Thomas leading the team in rebounds with five.

Just four turnovers per side and the teams combined to shoot 3 of 17 from 3-point land.

SEC: Hogs By Two

"This is ridiculously competitive," said one press row wag and he's dead on. The 'Cocks are an under.500 team (14-15) and they are giving Arkansas (18-12) all it can handle as the Hogs lead 20-18 at the under-8:00 timeout.

. . . We suggested earlier in the week that you follow along with the barnstorming tour that Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel was undertaking. That tour is over, but one of the lingering memories for anyone who joined in is Wetzel's mention of The Jerome, a friendly competition among a bunch of sportswriter types. Well, the coordinator of that contest, Dave Curtis of the award-winning Orlando Sentinel is sitting next to the Hang Time perch. He informs us - much to our delight - that Mr. Wetzel the Elder, Paul, is currently in second place.

Mr. Dub is our adult beverage partner for all Final Fours and if he ever manages to bring home The Jerome title, he will be breaking the bank all Final Four weekend with the tabs he runs to celebrate.

SEC: A Close One to Start

It's nip and tuck as the Hogs hold a 12-11 edge with 11:57 left in the half.

South Cariolina's Dominique Archie was taken to the locker room with 13:28 to go in the half and was favoring his left leg. The freshman came in to the game averaging 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

. . . We're back on the Doc Pep, but it's not doing as much as we had hoped for our sluggishness. Might be time to add sugar packets to each cup full. Then we'll be live-blogging like a madman!

. . . It's taken us too long to point out but the stats hander-outers that the SEC employs are one fabulous group of friendly ladies. It feels a little like the ladies they put on campus for recruits to show them how friendly the campus is. There's no way I'd write a bad word about this conference with the lovelies providing me my stats sheets and national scores. Yes, I'm that shallow.

SEC: Razorbacks Out to Early Lead

Arkansas has gone out to a 9-5 lead and forced South Caroilina coach, Dave Odom to use an odd timeout with 16:01 left in the half. He would have gotten one with the next dead ball, which wound up coming at 15:56.

Gary Ervin has four early points for the Hogs, who are shooting 4 of 5 fomr the field. The Gamecocks are 2 of 5 form the field.

. . .The arena is fairly quiet now with a good portion of the Kentucky faithful having left the building in search of a celebratory quaff or two. As my friend Napoleon would say, "Lucky!" The slight edge in fand support is going to Arkansas.

. . . Our between game snack was a .91 oz. bag of Golden Flake Sourdough Pretzels. Tasty and they hit the spot, but we gotta ask - couldn't you guys have spared the extra to .09 ounces and made it an even Z? There's a rack of Golden Flake snacks in the media room, so we'll give you a taste test on all the products throughout the Tourney. We didn't see the cheese curls in stock here at the Dome, but those are our favorite chip-like snack food if you were wondering.

SEC: Hogs and Cocks, In a Very Clean Way of Course

We're about five minutes from tip of South Carolina and Arkansas and we have foregone the first game pressers in order to be courtside for all your live-bloggin needs. We did see the 'Bama contingent enter the interview area and well, they looked like a team that had just lost by 12.

. . . The referees for the second contest of the day are Crew Chief Doug Shows, J.B. Caldwell, Antonio Petty and substitute Bruce Benedict.

. . . Proabable starters are, for South Carolina, Dominique Archie, Bryce Sheldon, Brandon Wallace, Tre' Kelley and Brandis Raley-Ross. For Arkansas the probables are Charles Thomas, Sonny Weems, Steven Hill, Gary Ervin and Patrick Beverley.

SEC: Cat Scratch Fever

The 'Cats hang on for a 79-67 win and wind up 50 percent from the field for the game (30 of 60), including 9 of 22 from 3-point land.

They won the battle of the boards 34-26 and oustcored the Tide in the pain by the same margin.

. . . We'll work the post-game interview and then be back with you for the tip of No. 6 seed South Carolina and No. 3 seed Arkansas. The winner of this one gets Vanderbilt at 3:15 on Friday.

. . . To get you started, game notes for the next game can be found here for the Gamecocks and her for the Razorbacks.

SEC: 'Bama Battles Back

Alabama has cut the Kentucky lead to 10 points, 75-65, with 2:02 left. They won't be able to come all the way back, but they are showing some spunk.

Richard Hendrix (a sophomore) has 21 points for 'Bama and has been the most impressive Tide player by far.

SEC: Cats Cruisin'

The Wildcats are cruising in this one and 'Bama now has the look of a beaten team. The 'Cats are 9 of 22 from 3-point land and have raised their overall shooting percentage to 49 percent for the game (27 of 55). Considering they started 1 of 8, that's an impressive turnaround.

With 3:57 to go, Kentucky leads 75-57 and the Fat Lady is humming, if not flat out singing.

. . . 'Bama's Ronald Steele has seen no action this second half - not entirely sure what the dilly-o is there.

. . . In the team's first meeting this season, a 'Bama win at home, the Crimson Tide his 8 of 17 from 3-point land. Today they are 4 of 8. The Cats were 5 of 22 in that game, today they are 9 of 22 with just under four minutes left.

SEC: Cat-Lanta Indeed

The Wildcats are poised to go 19-3 all-time in this building (15-3 in SEC Tourney games) as they have extended out to a 12 point lead with under eight minutes to go in the game (the bulge had gotten as big as 16).

Ramel Bradley and Randolph Morris pace Kentucky with 17 and 15 points repectively and Richard Hendrix is leading 'Bama with 16.

. . . The rebounding battle has completely turned around as the Cats are now holding a 28-23 edge on the boards. Kentucky is also dominating in the paint with 28 points form inside the lane to 20 for 'Bama.

SEC: Looking for a Sugar IV

A couple of things are becoming evident here in Atlanta: I need caffeine or sugar or a combo of both. And, Alabama can not control Randolph Morris.

Morris is 7 of 9 from the field for 15 points and has seven rebounds with 11:58left in the half.

The Wildcats lead, 52-47.

. . . In case you missed it, the SEC Coach of the Year (Kevin Stallings) and Player of the Year (Derrick Byars) both come from Vanderbilt.

SEC: Tide Fights Back

Alabama manged to score three points on three of its first four possessions of the half to climb back into this one and trim the Kentucky lead to three. But the Cats continue to answer and maintain a 44-36 with 16:54 left int he half.

. . . Alabama came out on fire from 3-point land with two straight to open the second half (Mykal Riley and Brandon Hollinger). Those two hoops cut the Cat lead to 37-33.

. . .It's quite clearly a Kentucky crowd with just low murmurs when 'Bama manages to make a run.

. . . The Mississippi State team is sitting in the endzone section behind the 'Bama band. They have the day off aqnd play the winner of this one tomorrow at 1 p.m. Coach Rick Stansbury and his staff are scouting the game from scouting seats along press row.

SEC: Tide Fights Back

Alabama manged to score three points on three of its first four possessions of the half to climb back into this one and trim the Kentucky lead to three. But the Cats continue to answer and maintain a 44-36 with 16:54 left int he half.

. . . Alabama came out on fire from 3-point land with two straight to open the second half (Mykal Riley and Brandon Hollinger). Those two hoops cut the Cat lead to 37-33.

. . .It's quite clearly a Kentucky crowd with just low murmurs when 'Bama manages to make a run.

. . . The Mississippi State team is sitting in the endzone section behind the 'Bama band. They have the day off aqnd play the winner of this one tomorrow at 1 p.m. Coach Rick Stansbury and his staff are scouting the game from scouting seats along press row.

SEC: Cats Heat up With 3-Ball

Kentucky finished off the half the way Alabama started and began stroking the 3-ball in the process. At the half, it's Kentucky up 35-27on the strength of five 3-pointers (two each from Ramel Bradley and Jodie Meeks).

Both teams turned around their shooting woes from early on as 'Bama finished 10 of 22 form the field and Kentucky went 14 of 30.

Alonzo Gee leads the Tide with nine points and Randolph Morris has nine for Kentucky.

. . . Alabama got sloppy with the ball in the late going and finished with eight turnovers for the half to just three for the Wildcats. Kentucky turned those eight turns into 10 points.

. . . Kenny "Sky" Walker of Kentucky is being recognized at halftime as part of the SEC's tourney-long program to hononr past players. He took the court with the Chick-fil-a cow for some reason.

. . . Gotta watch the Alabama Crimson Cabaraet dancers and then the 'Cat dancers. It's all part of the job, folks.

SEC: Cats Awaken

Not sure which area hotel the Wildcast are staying at, but we're pretty sure they were an hour late with their wak-up calls for the team.

Kentucky has stormed back and after taking a brief lead, now trails 25-24. The Cats are now shooting 10 of 25 while 'Bama is 10 of 21. The Tide still holds a 15-10 rebounding edge, but the Cats have awoken from their slumber.

. . . Alonzo Gee has nine points to lead 'Bama and Randolph Morris has nine to lead Kentucky.

SEC: Getting Less Ugly

Alabama has bumped its shooting percentage up to 50 percent (6 of 12), while the Wildcats are a miserable 3 of 15 to start. The Tide leads 16-8 with 10:24 left in the half.

. . . 'Bama is carshing the glass with reckless abandon and through 8-plus minutes of action the Tide hold a 13-5 boarding lead.

. . . First monster dunk of the game came from Bama's Alonzo Gee to give the Tide a 12-8 lead. Gee has seven points early on.

Continue reading "SEC: Getting Less Ugly" »

SEC: Underway With Cats-'Bama

Ugly start to this one as the teams have combined to go 2 of 13 from the field (1 of 8 for Kentucky). At the first media timeout, 'Bama is up 3-2.

. . . Atlanta native Randolph Morris, appropriately enough, scored the first bucket of the 2007 SEC Tourney for Kentucky. He laso committed the first foul on Alonzo Gee. Alabama's Jermareo Davisdon is also from Atlanta.

. . . Great potential match-up betwene the beefy boys Richard Hendrix (6-8, 265) of 'Bama and Randolph Morris (6-11, 259) of Kentucky.

Continue reading "SEC: Underway With Cats-'Bama" »

SEC: Ten til tip

We're only about ten minutes to tip and both teams have cleared the floor and returned to their locker rooms for proper introductions with pomp and circumstance and pep bands.

. . . The referees for today's first game will be Crew Chief Tony Greene, Rick Crawford, Doug Sirmons and the substitue official, Mike Nance.

. . . The mid-court block of tickets for Kentucky fans (behind the scorer's table) is virtually all filled. the 'Bama section next to it still has a ways to go.

SEC: Welcome to Cat-Lanta

ATLANTA - Good afternoon and welcome to the Georgia Dome, site of both the SEC Tournament and, three weeks hence, the Final Four.

Our first game, scheduled for a 1 p.m. (EST) tip features two 20-10 clubs in No. 4 seed Kentucky and No. 5 seed Alabama. 'Bama won the teams' lone meeting this season at home, 72-61. Kentucky is 95-35 all-time against the Crimson Tide and 10-2 in SEC Tournament play. UK knocked out the Tide in the quarterfinals last year in Nashville.

While checking in to our palacial digs at the Spring Street Days Inn we were quickly overcome by a preponderance of Kentucky blue. Wow do these folks travel well.

They've also owned the SEC tournament whenever it's been played in Atlanta, winning the 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2004 SEC Tourneys in this building and holding an 18-3 all-time mark in the Dome.

Continue reading "SEC: Welcome to Cat-Lanta" »

November 20, 2006

Calhoun Tones It Down With Kiddie Corps

HARTFORD - The fast-talking coach is getting older, in this, his 21st season as the head coach of the University of Connecticut - his 35th overall. The answers still come at warp speed, the “very, very, very’s” interspersed with the all-knowing nods of an old veteran of this circuit.

Older, yes. But Jim Calhoun is wiser, too.

Continue reading "Calhoun Tones It Down With Kiddie Corps" »

November 19, 2006

Finishing Touches Being Applied

HARTFORD - With under three minutes left in the game, UConn leads 73-55.

It has been a very thorough dismantling of the Rebels, who were making their first ever trip to the Constitution State. To the Rebels credit, they hung tough and didn’t allow things to get totally out of hand. Ole Miss will struggle, especially in the rough and tumble SEC, but Andy Kennedy was a solid hire for this program and recruiting has been going well according to assistant coach Michael White.

The Rebels earlier this week announced the signings of Zach Graham (Top 100 from Suwanee, Georgia); Chris Warren (Top 20 point guard from Orlando) and Kevin Cantinol (Clearwater, Fla.).

Ole Miss also got Florida-transfer David Huertas back in July.

. . .Once again, to remind you of our post-game plan, we’ll file a “columnette” after the post-game interviews have concluded and also plan on having scouting reports for both teams by late Monday, so be sure to check out the Searching for Cinderella page, where the Scouting Reports live in the lower right-hand corner of the page.

Continue reading "Finishing Touches Being Applied" »

UConn Extends Its Lead

HARTFORD - UConn has extended its hafltime lead by a point to 53-36 with 11:34 left in the game. Ole Miss needs to be given credit for A) keeping things from getting out of hand and B) firing away on the three-pointers.

Continue reading "UConn Extends Its Lead" »

Second Half Underway

HARTFORD - The halftime stats sheet is not kind to the Ole Miss Rebels. Not only do they trail 39-23, but they shot just 28.6 percent from the field and were out-rebounded 29-18.

AJ Price led the Huskies with 11 points and Jerome Dyson had 10. For Ole Miss, Bam Doyne had seven points and Eniel Polynice had five.

Continue reading "Second Half Underway" »

Huskies Rolling

HARTFORD - UConn has assumed control of the game with a late spurt in the first half to run its lead to 39-23 on a ridiculous up and under put back by Marcus Johnson at the buzzer.

Ole Miss doesn’t have the bodies or the answers to contend with the absolutely loaded Huskies. If this is the No. 19 (or 21) team in the nation, Hang Time is getting the Pulitzer.

Continue reading "Huskies Rolling" »

Huskies Pull Away

HARTFORD - Ole Miss’s strategy continues to be to avoid the lane and work everything they can on the outside. That presents a few inherent problems, chiefly that offensive rebounding is non-existent.

The Rebels have started to pick and choose its spots to attack the hoop, and with some success, but Uconn has found its stride and built up a 13 point lead with 2 minutes left in the first half.

Continue reading "Huskies Pull Away" »

Do It Like Football!

HARTFORD - Before last night’s film breakdown, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy invoked the Rebel football team as evidence that upsets can happen.

At the time of the film session, Ole Miss was up on LSU (on the road) 20-3, in what would have been a huge upset.

We’re doubting Kennedy was able to continue to use the analogy for today’s pre-game speech, as the Rebels wound up dropping the game to LSU, 23-20 in overtime.

But, at the time, he was saying it, it had the desired effect. And through the first eight minutes of this contest, it’s working as the Rebels are tied 12-12 with the Husky Puppies (one senior, one junior and all the rest sophomores and freshmen).

Continue reading "Do It Like Football!" »

Rebels Show No Fear

HARTFORD - The Civic Center, which is undergoing all sorts of improvements, is filling in with just the high end zone seats remaining empty.

Ole Miss’s coaching staff was a bit concerned that the Rebels would be intimidated early by the big, bad Huskies, but Andy Kennedy’s squad managed to maintain a 7-6 lead at the first TV timeout.

Continue reading "Rebels Show No Fear" »

October 26, 2006

SEC: Tubby's Elbow

Not too many would believe that i rubbed elbows with Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith, but now there's proof.

And here's a picture of me rubbing elbows with Tubby.

Thanks has to go out to CSTV.com Editor Elliot Olshansky, for finding that photo on the AP wire last night....This will also serve as a goodbye from Birmingham, and what should be the country's best conference once again in 2006-07.

SEC: No More Garden, Contd.

Ran out of room on the last post, so here's some more about the Garden and Renaldo Balkman...

Senior guard Tre' Kelley has been in Columbia now for both NIT runs, and he said he's seen enough of the Garden.

"We won the NIT championship twice, so we couldn't do anymore there," Kelley said. "We've seen enough of the Garden, and we just want to make a statement that we can be an NCAA team."

Odom also answered some questions about Balkman, and about how he left school early.

"I was surprised that he went first round, twenty," Odom said. "I had enough advanced knowledge from Isiah Thomas, talking with him and his staff that I was fairly sure that he was going to be drafted...I thought he would go with [the Knicks] other particular slot in the first round. Draft night itself, I was not surprised, because I had prior knowledge.

Continue reading "SEC: No More Garden, Contd." »

SEC: No More Garden

Normally, everyone who isn't from the New York area wants to visit, after all it's the greatest city in the world. Dave Odom's South Carolina Gamecocks have other feelings about the city that never sleeps. To say the Gamecocks have seen enough of NYC would be an understatement. Odom talked about the NIT, which he has had amazing success at during his coaching career, and also chipped in about Renaldo Balkman. Isn't it fitting that Balkman ended up as a Knick and will be playing basketball at Madison Square Garden now for a while? I do. The current New York Knicks rookie left South Carolina after last season, and many were shocked when the Knicks took him with the 20th overall pick in the draft. Odom gave his two cents about that situation.

Continue reading "SEC: No More Garden" »

October 25, 2006

SEC: Humble-Bama

After bowing out to UCLA in a real tough game in the second round of last year's NCAA tournament, Alabama has higher expectations as they head into 2006-2007. The team is ranked highly in the pre-season, despite having only two players with more than one year's experience, out of the 12 that are on scholarship. Some have said that the boys from Tuscaloosa could be the Florida of last year (it's been said about 'Bama and Kentucky), but the jury is still out on that.

Continue reading "SEC: Humble-Bama" »

SEC: Good Old Rocky Top

They are finally singing Tennessee's theme song, and one of the most addictive one's in the nation, again loud and clear during home games. The Vols came out of nowhere last year and would up with a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, in Bruce Pearl's first season at the helm. The 2006-07 version of the Vols may be a tougher task than last year's crew. Chris Lofton and Dane Bradshaw our back, and attended Media Day along with their head coach, but one figure who will not be back is Major Wingate after being dismissed from the team, a key blow to Tennessee.

Continue reading "SEC: Good Old Rocky Top" »

SEC: Fact Junkies and Rule Changes

Here's a quick list of facts that SEC Commisioner Mike Slive had to say about his conference. Being a stat junkie/fact junkie like I am, I thought they were interesting. Basically he was tooting his conference's horn a little, and like I said before, for good reason. Also, there are some rule changes and points of emphasis that were spoken about.

Continue reading "SEC: Fact Junkies and Rule Changes" »

SEC: Same Ole Story?

There's new blood in Oxford, looking to turn around the team with the worst total record, if you were to add up every season, in the SEC. Ole Miss is now under the direction of former Cincinnati interim head coach Andy Kennedy, who by the way, is a Mississippi native. Kennedy will be asked to turn around a program that only averaged 3,835 fans for their home games last year--the lowest in the SEC.

Continue reading "SEC: Same Ole Story?" »

SEC: Tubby's Flying

One thing's for sure about Media Day's: sometimes the plan you may have about what to write gets thrown out the window during an interview. That's what happened today while talking to Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith. From what i heard before talking to him from others that had been graced by Tubby's presence before, it sounded like it was going to be quite the time. Well, it sure was.

Continue reading "SEC: Tubby's Flying" »

SEC: Glen 'Not So Big Baby' Davis?

Yes you read it right. LSU's baby faced big man has trimmed down, although he still dwarfed nearly everyone in that room (media, players, and coaches alike). But the Tigers' man in the middle has dropped a reported 40 pounds. He was listed near 330 during LSU's run to the Final Four, and now he is listed somewhere in the neighborhood of 289. Not bad. So the question becomes, "How did he do it?"

Continue reading "SEC: Glen 'Not So Big Baby' Davis?" »

SEC: Fire and Ice

Before I get into the National Champs, let me first say how difficult it was to get a word in with the head coach of the National Champs! I have to admit that it was one of the toughest things that I have done as a journalist, but nonetheless, one of the proudest. Florida's Billy Donovan brought along Al Horford and Lee Humphrey, surprisingly Joakim Noah did not make the trip. But even though he didn't, he was still a heavy part in today's first session in Birmingham, because after all, he is the most recognizable player from the champs.

Continue reading "SEC: Fire and Ice" »

SEC: Opening Up In Birmingham

The SEC is billing itself as the "The Nation's Leader in Men's College Basketball." And I don't think that there are too many people will deny that. After sending six teams to the NCAA tournament a year ago, and coming minutes away from having an All-SEC Championship game, there isn't a league around that would shoot that concept down. We're about five minutes away from getting things started with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, then a briefing from the supervisors of officials, and then the fun really starts. The first session will bring Alabama, Florida, and LSU into the main media room. Talk about a busy two hours that will be!! If you haven't seen the preseason All-SEC teams that were selected on Monday, here they are....

Continue reading "SEC: Opening Up In Birmingham" »

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