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SEC Hoops Roundup: Vols, Wildcats Advance

gfx-hoops-round-up2Tennessee 86 – UMass 67

1. Jarnell Stokes scored a career-high 26 points while helping the Vols beat UMass.

2. Playing Iowa in the first round on Wednesday might have helped Tennessee be ready to play UMass.

3. Next up for Tennessee is No. 14 seed Mercer, which knocked off No. 3 seed Duke on Friday.

Kentucky 56 – Kansas State 49

4. Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein said the Wildcats believe they can still do something special.

5. A second win in the tournament would be more special. Kentucky will face unbeaten Wichita State in the next round.

6. Video: Kentucky coach John Calipari discusses the win over Kansas State.

Saturday SEC Hoops Schedule

Florida vs Pittsburgh – 12:15 ET. Florida is a 6-point favorite.

7. Florida knows it’s about to face a good Pittsburgh team. The Panthers beat Colorado soundly on Thursday.

8. Pat Dooley looks at the upcoming matchup for Florida, which had coach Billy Donovan “baffled” over its play in round two.

Georgia vs Louisiana Tech – 11 a.m. ET (NIT)

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SEC Hoops Roundup: Florida Moves On, Tennessee & Kentucky Up Next

gfx-hoops-round-up2Florida 67 – Albany 55

1. Florida survives against 16-seed Albany.  Gators guard Scottie Wilbekin: “We didn’t play like we need to in the NCAA Tournament.”

2. Coach Billy Donovan: ”This isn’t going to be enough to keep our season going.”

3. 33-2 Florida will meet 26-9 Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon.

Friday SEC Hoops Schedule

Tennessee vs UMass – 2:45 ET.  Vols are 4-point favorite.

5. Less than 48 hours after winning in Dayton, Tennessee is back in the court in Raleigh.

6. Tennessee guard Jordan McRae:  “Everybody was tired, but everybody’s adrenaline is running high.”

Kansas State vs Kentucky – 9:40 ET. Kentucky is a 6-point favorite

7. Kentucky has never lost to Kansas State - 8-0 all-time against the Big 12 Wildcats.

8. Tim Sullivan: “If Kentucky is a gritty little underdog, so was Goliath.”

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SEC Hoops Roundup 12/6/2013

gfx-hoops-round-up1. Missouri 80 – West Virginia 71. Tigers move to 8-0 behind 59 points from the trio of Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross. Video Highlights

2. TCU 71 – Mississippi State 61. Bulldogs cut an 18-point second-half deficit down to three at one point in second half but can’t get any closer.  Fall to 5-2 on the season.

3. Vanderbilt 69 – Marshall 67. Vanderbilt wins the game but loses junior center Josh Henderson to likely ACL/MCL knee injury. Could miss rest of the season and leave Vandy with eight scholarship players. Video Highlights

4. Kansas State 61 – Ole Miss 58 Ole Miss drops its first game of the year in a see-saw battle where neither team led at any point by more than five points.

Weekend Schedule

Friday Night

South Carolina at Oklahoma State

Kentucky vs Baylor (Dallas Cowboys Stadium)


Tennessee Tech at Tennessee

UCLA at Missouri

Clemson at Arkansas

Alabama at USF


Illinois at Auburn

Oregon at Ole Miss

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Knoxville Columnist Blasts Ex-Tennessee Coach Fulmer

gfx - they said itYesterday, ex-Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer made news for blaming the Volunteers’ recent football decline on his former bosses.  “We had four presidents in six years,” Fulmer said.  “We ended up with an athletic director that wasn’t prepared for the job.”

He then added: “When you have a great president and a great athletic director and you replace them with substandard people that have no idea, what do you expect is going to happen?”


Today, however, it could be that the ex-coach is the one saying “ouch.”

Knoxville News Sentinel columnist John Adams took a look back through columns past and put together a scathing retort to Fulmer’s take on history:


“His recruiting dropped off.  His hires weren’t as good.  And he couldn’t keep up with the competition when other SEC schools upgraded their coaching.

Of course, Fulmer doesn’t see it that way.  He never did.

When a last-minute drive against Alabama swerved off course in 1994, Fulmer cited a poor decision by then freshman quarterback Peyton Manning.

When Florida blitzed the Vols 62-37 in 1995, Fulmer singled out Larry Binion for an awful punt.

When the Vols were overwhelmed by Kansas State in the 2001 Cotton Bowl, Fulmer’s telling postgame quote was directed at offensive coordinator Randy Sanders.

‘I don’t know what Randy was thinking,’ Fulmer said.

The 5-7 season of 2008 was characterized by Fulmer as a ‘perfect storm,’ as though a series of supernatural events had combined to sabotage the program.  If pressed on the subject, Fulmer probably would have thrown his first-year offensive coordinator (Dave Clawson) and his quarterback (Jonathan Crompton) under the bus.

Anybody by the head coach.”


That’s a lot damning stuff, but in truth, Adams needed only to invoke the name Manning to make his point.  Countless Tennessee fans likely started Googling and Binging to see for themselves how Fulmer once placed blame on the patron saint of all things orange.

While the number of college coaches who take blame for every misstep in their program can be counted on one hand, Fulmer — as Adams so brutally points out — was always happy to play the blame game.  And most fired coaches do not have very nice things to say about the men who fired them.

In other words, Fulmer’s comments about ex-Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton (and Hamilton’s bosses) shouldn’t have been surprising.  They were actually par for the course.

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Just 2 SEC Schools Make Forbes’ List For Most Valuable Hoops Programs

bag of moneyForbes magazine has released its annual list of the most valuable college basketball programs in America.  Not surprisingly a team from Kentucky tops the list… but it ain’t the Wildcats.  According to Forbes’ calculations, Louisville actually turns a bigger profit in hoops than any other school in the country.  And by a healthy margin.

Much of Louisville’s profit can be traced to the three-year-old KFC Yum! Center in which it plays.  Tickets sales, concession sales, parking revenue, etc, are all up.  As the city of Lexington and UK bicker over what to do with Rupp Arena — refurbish it or replace it — expect the numbers tied to Louisville’s new arena to be kicked around often.

UK finished fourth on the overall list behind the Cardinals, Kansas and North Carolina.  Only other SEC program even made the top 20 list and it’s not the program that’s won a pair of national titles in the past decade.  While Florida ranked outside Forbes’ list — behind the likes of Kansas State, NC State and Xavier — Tennessee actually came in at #14.  Having a 21,000-seat arena certainly helps on the profit front.  With back-to-back NIT trips, however, it’ll be interesting to see how Tennessee’s numbers chance from this year to next.

Below is a look at the full list:


  School   Current Value   Basketball Profit
  1. Louisville   $38.5 million   $24.6 million
  2. Kansas   $32.9 million   $19.9 million
  3. N. Carolina   $32.8 million   $19.9 million
  4. Kentucky   $32.1 million   $19.9 million
  5. Ohio State   $23.1 million   $13.6 million
  6. Indiana   $21.8 million   $14.4 million
  7. Wisconsin   $19.8 million   $11.5 million
  8. Arizona   $19.5 million   $12.4 million
  9. Syracuse   $19.2 million   $11.7 million
  10. Michigan State   $17.3 million   $9.4 million
  11. Duke   $17.1 million   $9.8 million
  12. Texas   $16.8 million   $9.9 million
  13. Minnesota   $16.3 million   $11.1 million
  14. Tennessee   $15.5 million   $8.8 million
  15. UCLA   $15.2 million   $8.7 million
  16. Maryland   $15.1 million   $9.7 million
  17. Illinois   $14.1 million   $9.3 million
  18. Xavier   $13.7 million   $7.3 million
  19. Kansas State   $13.6 million   $8.1 million
  20. N. Carolina State   $13.1 million   $8.7 million


At we field a lot of questions — from emailers and talk radio hosts — about the SEC’s strength in football and it’s lack of strength in basketball.  We believe it has to do with investment.  SEC programs spend more on football and they typically pay more to lure quality coaches into the league and then keep them.  The investment isn’t the same in basketball — outside a handful of programs — and return on investment is also lower.

For comparison’s sake, Forbes’ most recent ranking of college football’s most valuable programs listed LSU (#4), Georgia (#5), Alabama (#6), Florida (#7), Auburn (#8), Tennessee (#9), Arkansas (#10), and South Carolina (#17).

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Race Is On For Fournette

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxLeonard Fournette looks like an SEC football player.

That’s why the 6-foot-1, 225-pound running back from St. Augustine High School in New Orleans has offers from schools throughout the country, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida State, Michigan and Texas.

Hometown folks will try to convince Fournette to choose in-state LSU. The Tigers have made a strong push for Fournette, who’s already visited the Baton Rouge campus.

But Fournette can take his time with the recruiting process if he so desires. His next trip will be to Alabama, which has also offered a scholarship to St. Augustine defensive back Jermaine Roberts. He’ll accompany Fournette to Alabama this weekend.

“I am looking for somewhere that I feel at home at and that I am comfortable with, Fournette told 247Sports this week. “I want a school with a good atmosphere and good people. I will just know when the feeling is right.”

Fournette, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 1 running back 247Sports, seems like a good fit at Alabama. The Crimson Tide has made it a habit to recruit highly-touted running backs (Trent Richardson, T.J. Yeldon, now Derrick Henry) and immediately turn them into stars in the SEC.

Of course, Alabama signed not only Henry at the running back position last month but Tyren Jones, Alvin Kamara and Altee Tenpenny. And highly-touted running back Bo Scarbrough from Tuscaloosa, Ala., has already committed to Alabama’s 2014 class.

LSU will certainly mention that to Fournette, although he’s yet to hint at a fear of competition. And LSU typically has its own crowded backfield, more so than Alabama at times.

Don’t be surprised to see Fournette take his time with his recruitment.

“I haven’t even started to narrow things down,” he said.

And why should he? Unless he decides to stay close to home and commit to LSU, Fournette has plenty of top offers to consider with more on the way.

The best fit for Fournette might be a pro-style offense that relies on more than one running back. Alabama and LSU aren’t the only SEC schools that offer that option. Here’s a portion of ESPN RecruitingNation‘s evaluation of Fournette:

“Fournette is a  college ready back with excellent measurables. He runs hard and seems to get stronger with more carries. He’s very impressive from a physical standpoint and defines the term “load back.”

Fournette has already started to load up on offers. More attention will follow.


More size is on the way

One reason Alabama’s defense has been so successful in recent years is it’s play at the nose tackle position. And Alabama is always in search of the next Terrence Cody and Jesse Williams.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Signing Day 2013: The Battle For Missouri

state map missouriLooking at Wednesday’s signees — including junior college and prep school athletes — here’s a snapshot of the talent produced by the state of Missouri in 2013 (as graded by


5-stars = 0

4-stars = 3

3- stars = 19

Total 3+ stars = 22


Here’s where the state’s 10 highest-ranked players are headed:


Missouri = 5

Kansas = 1

Kansas State = 1

Nebraska = 1

Ohio State = 1

Arrested Prior To Signing Day = 1


Loyalty:  There’s not much Mizzou can do about a local prospect getting nabbed by the law two days before signing day, but holding on to just five of the state’s best players simply won’t cut it.  The Show-Me-State doesn’t crank out tons of talent, so what’s there needs to be kept at home.  Consider it a new border war for the Tigers — close down the state’s borders.

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Kansas State 67 – Florida 61



LSU’s Miles Campaigning For The SEC Champ To Reach BCS Title Game

The SEC — despite having six teams ranked in the top nine of the BCS standings — is on the outside looking in at this year’s BCS Championship Game in Miami.  To make the game, the SEC’s eventual champ will likely need a couple of the three teams ranked above it to be upset down the stretch (those teams being Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame).

But whether the league gets help or not, LSU’s Les Miles believes the SEC champ deserves a shot at the league’s seventh straight national crown:


“Everybody within this league plays a very difficult schedule.  I think the champion of this league should very well have the opportunity to play in that national championship game until somebody proves that the winner of this league is not the nation’s best team…

On the cusp of the rule change (to a four-team playoff), it’ll be very interesting to see if some of the best teams are left on the sideline (come 2014).  Nationally, in this conference there are a number of very skillful teams that receive a strong national ranking and we play all of them. 

I think the team that stands on the podium with the SEC championship trophy should get great consideration to play in (the national championship game).  Period.”


America says “no, no, no,” but we at say, “yes, yes, yes.”  Each year, NFL teams select more players from the SEC than any other league.  There should be no question that it’s the toughest conference because it’s clearly the most talent-filled conference.  The SEC’s champ deserves a shot at the title.

But the college football season is unforgiving (in most cases).  If you lose a game and two other big-time programs go undefeated, you’re likely finished when it comes to BCS championship picture.  SEC fans might not like that after being on the right side of the rankings for so many years, but facts are facts.  Texas A&M’s win over Alabama likely killed the SEC’s BCS title streak unless there are a whole lotta surprises elsewhere over next few weeks.

Regardless of what Miles, or SEC fans believe.

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CBS’ Danielson Says He Might Put A 1-Loss Bama Team In Title Game Over Undefeated Teams

They call it towing the company line.  That’s what Gary Danielson appeared to be doing when asked about the BCS championship race.

USA Today reported last night that CBS’ color analyst for SEC games — and he’s as good as anybody in the business — had this to say about what should happen in Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon all finish undefeated:


“My personal tiebreaker is that a conference championship game has to stand for something.  I would penalize Notre Dame for not playing in a conference championship.  So after Alabama, my first nod would be to Oregon, since its conference has earned respect, then Kansas State and only then Notre Dame…

You’d have to put (a once-beaten Alabama team) in the discussion, because they’ve earned it given what the conference has accomplished.”


That will no doubt send the rest of the sporting world into a tizzy, but we see his point.  Teams playing an extra game are facing one extra chance to lose.  So losing a conference championship game shouldn’t necessarily deep-six a team that’s been as dominant as Alabama has been this season.

But we’re still talking about a lot of hypotheticals here.  There’s a month of football to play before these arguments really need to be kickstarted.

Danielson will be in Baton Rouge Saturday night for Alabama’s game with LSU.

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