Around the SEC
The Tennessee Volunteers have been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
Loyola-Chicago is the first Cinderella to make the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament after the Ramblers pulled off a dramatic game-winning shot in the final seconds of the second round. SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams gave the Vols a one-point advantage with a late And One. The next time down the court, the ball had bounced perfectly for Loyola. It did not have an extra bounce for Tennessee.
RAMBLERS WIN!!! ???
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 18, 2018
Tennessee’s elimination is not only hilarious, it makes the South Region look like the Bad News Bears. Kansas State, UMBC, Loyola, Nevada, Cincinnati and Kentucky are the only teams still alive. I like my team(‘s chances).
By Drew Franklin on ©March 16th, 2018 @ 6:29pm
Tom Crean is back to coaching college basketball as the new head man at the University of Georgia. Crean’s new job brings him back into contention with Kentucky and his old friend, John Calipari, who, when asked about Crean on Friday, joked about canceling the UK-Georgia series.
“I told him I’m taking Georgia off the schedule,” Calipari told reporters, mocking the cancelation of UK’s series with Indiana while Crean was in Bloomington in 2012. “He laughed and said, We’re playing you twice. I said, Not in Athens. No, I’m just kidding. We’re playing in Athens.”
Calipari also said he couldn’t be happier for Crean and called him a terrific coach. “One of the best. He’s into basketball. He loves it. He’s about getting kids better. He’s always done it. We’ve had some good games.”
How much better is the SEC this year? Not only did a record eight teams make the NCAA Tournament, all four that played yesterday won, tying the league record for most wins in a single day. Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida all advanced to the second round, an especially impressive stat when you compare it to the other conferences.
The ACC went 1-3 yesterday, with Miami, NC State, and Virginia Tech all falling. Meanwhile, thanks to Arizona, UCLA, and Arizona State, the PAC-12 is completely out of the tournament in the first round for the first time since 1986. In fact, according to ESPN Stats and Info, this is the first time since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996-97 that one of the six major conferences has failed to send a team to the round of 32.
Here are the SEC games on tap for today:
|12:15 PM||(7) Texas A&M vs. (10) Providence||CBS|
|3:10 PM||(7) Arkansas vs. (10) Butler||TruTV|
|7:27 PM||(4) Auburn vs. (13) Charleston||TruTV|
|9:50 PM||(8) Mizzou vs. (9) Florida St.||TBS|
|12:10 PM||(9) Alabama vs. (1) Villanova||CBS|
|5:15 PM||(13) Buffalo vs. (5) Kentucky||CBS|
|6:10 PM||(11) Loyola vs. (3) Tennessee||TNT|
|8:40 PM||(6) Florida vs. (3) Texas Tech||TNT|
The SEC really does mean more.
Basketball’s biggest story-breaker, Adrian Wojnarowski, is reporting Tom Crean will be the next coach at the University of Georgia. The two sides are finalizing a deal, according to Woj.
Tom Crean is finalizing an agreement to become the next coach at Georgia, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 15, 2018
Crean will of course replace Mark Fox, and will probably do exactly what Fox was doing with the Bulldogs.
Georgia’s head coaching search produced some early fireworks when Rick Pitino’s name was floated for the job. After that speculation was dismissed and Thad Matta turned down the job, the SEC still could another character to its head coaching ranks.
USA Today’s Dan Wolken reports Tom Crean will meet with University of Georgia officials today. The former Indiana coach turned ESPN analyst is also a top candidate to replace Kevin Stallings at Pitt. His name is also in the mix at UConn, which is why Georgia is acting with urgency a day after they were denied by Matta.
In the year since he left Indiana, Crean has transformed his public image. “The Creanaissance” has made the former Hoosier more likable, and a move to Athens will keep his goofy face in front of the BBN for years to come.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©March 14th, 2018 @ 12:49pm
Georgia’s search for a basketball coach continues. According to Jeff Goodman, former Ohio State coach Thad Matta was offered the job but turned it down because he didn’t feel he was physically capable of handling the responsibilities (Matta has battled back injuries for years).
Thad Matta on spurning Georgia: "It was the most difficult decision because Georgia is a tremendous opportunity for a coach to build a great program. Unfortunately, I just don’t feel that I am completely ready at this point to give Greg McGarity and Georgia what they deserve."
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 14, 2018
Meanwhile, it appears Ole Miss will hire Middle Tennessee State head coach Kermit Davis and Tubby Smith is delaying the inevitable in Memphis. Memphis officials were set to fire Tubby yesterday, but the meeting was postponed. According to Evan Daniels, they’re trying again right now:
Tubby Smith is supposed to meet with Memphis officials before 12:00 CT, a source tell @247Sports. They were scheduled for 4:00 CT yesterday, but the meeting was postponed.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) March 14, 2018
Odds Rick Pitino is stationed outside the Georgia basketball offices in Athens right now?
By John Reecer on ©March 11th, 2018 @ 5:30pm
The College Basketball season is another week old, and the SEC consistently provides the sport with several talented players and teams. Selection Sunday just took place, and here are the predictions and analysis for every SEC team’s path in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Despite losing twice to Tennessee in the regular season, the Wildcats won the SEC Tournament over the Volunteers on Sunday. There is no question that Kentucky is playing its basketball of the season as the committee awarded Kentucky with a 5-seed in the NCAA tournament. That’s just insane.
However, the Wildcats have been wildly inconsistent on the season and their path to the NCAA Championship is not an easy one. Expect a wild roller coaster of an NCAA tournament for these young Cats.
Prediction: The Wildcats certainly got a bad draw with potentially playing Arizona in the second round. The fact the committee did that despite UK winning the SEC tournament is breathtakingly bad. The SEC Tournament seems like it didn’t matter at all in the decision making process. Period.
That being said, I think Arizona is just better than the Kentucky Wildcats as much as it hurts to say. UK has the ability to pull off the second-round upset and make a big run, but I think that DeAndre Ayton is just too good. Kentucky most likely loses in the second round.
The Volunteers should not be taken lightly in the NCAA Tournament. Even with their disappointing result in the SEC Championship, this team can shoot and defend the 3-point line better than any team in the country.
Rick Barnes has this team ready for a big run in the Big Dance. When Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams are playing their best basketball, this team can beat anyone.
Prediction: The Volunteers got the easier side of UK’s bracket, and I think that will pay huge dividends for their tournament hopes.
I really like their potential second-round matchup with Miami, and I like their potential sweet-sixteen game against Cincinnati even more. I really like the Volunteers to make the Elite Eight where they will play either Virginia/Arizona, or even UK and lose.
The Tigers were co-champions of the SEC in the regular season, but they suffered an extremely disappointing loss in their first game of the SEC tournament.
However, this team has the talent to make some noise in the NCAA tournament. Bruce Pearl will keep Auburn in every game they play. The question is whether or not they will suffer a huge upset early or make a big run thanks to star Bryce Brown.
Prediction: The Tigers have enjoyed a surprising season, but I don’t see them getting past Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen. Charleston could upset them in the first round, and even the winner of Clemson/New Mexico St. could beat them in the second round.
No matter what I don’t see them getting past Kansas in the sweet sixteen.
Yea, good luck guessing what this team will do in March. On one hand, they were able to beat UK twice on the season, but on the other hand the Gators had some embarrassing losses including an early exit in the SEC Tournament.
However, the Gators can beat any team in the country if they are feeling it thanks to the talents of Jalen Hudson and Chris Chiozza.
Prediction: Somehow, someway the Florida Gators got an easier path in the NCAA tournament than UK did. That should tell you all you need to know about the priorities of the committee.
Their hardest game is against St. Bonaventure in the first round. If they can get past that, I think they have an incredibly easy path towards the elite eight if they can just beat either Purdue or Arkansas in the sweet sixteen.
The Gators should be thanking the committee after tonight.
The Razorbacks are admittedly another boom or bust squad coming from the SEC. As a seven-seed, they have a decent chance of upsetting Purdue in the Big Dance.
Jaylen Barford and Daniel Gafford combine for a lethal duo to lead Arkansas towards a deep NCAA tournament as they have the athleticism to compete with anyone.
Prediction: While I love the young passion of the Razorbacks, I see them either losing in the first round to Butler or in the second round to Purdue. I just don’t see it finishing it any better than that.
The big storyline with the Tigers right now is obviously just how much Michael Porter Jr. will affect this team moving forward.
Few players in the nation can match his talent, and how Missouri implements him into their talented roster will determine just how far they advance.
Prediction: I see Missouri having a similar finish as Auburn in this tournament. They could possibly win in the first round against Florida State, but if they do I just don’t see them beating Xavier in the second round.
Expect a first weekend ending for Missouri in this tournament.
The Aggies have experienced quite the tumultuous season due to a slew of injuries and suspensions. They never quite reached the peak of their talent, but they can’t be underestimated.
Robert Williams and Tyler Davis are incredibly experienced and talented so expect them to make some big plays next weekend.
Prediction: I will freely admit that this is my hot take of this article, but I think Providence will beat the Aggies in the first round.
Texas A&M is playing some bad basketball right now and Providence is playing really good. This is just a bad draw for the Aggies overall. They won’t survive the first weekend no matter what.
Collin Sexton is the man. Period. This guy could lead the Crimson Tide to a huge, Kemba Walker-like run, or they could lose in the first round.
No matter what the result is, the Crimson Tide earned their way into the tournament and they should be delighted to make the Big Dance thanks to the play of their freshman superstar.
Prediction: I think the best that the Crimson Tide can do in this tournament is make the second round as well. As much as I love Sexton and his ability, there is no way that I see them beating Villanova in the second round.
Like Missouri and Arkansas, I think that the Crimson Tide will not make the second weekend of the tournament.
After news broke that Georgia fired head coach Mark Fox, Mrs. Tyler Thompson wrote:
Both the Ole Miss and Georgia jobs are now open. Hopefully neither of the schools are dumb enough to hire Rick Pitino.
Georgia might just be dumb enough to do it.
Now that the dust has settled, people are talking. Jay Williams is listening and he’s heard that Slick Rick’s name is hot in the streets. The ESPN analyst’s exact words were:
Been hearing Rick Pitino’s name a lot from trusted sources regarding the Georgia job.
Pitino did say yesterday that he’s hired an agent and he plans on a return to coaching. If Pitino doesn’t want to keep losing to Calipari every year, another former rivaled foe might. Mike Decourcy reports former Indiana coach Tom Crean is interested in Georgia’s head coaching vacancy. This coaching search is gonna be…something.
Georgia’s win over Missouri wasn’t enough to save Mark Fox’s job. ESPN is reporting that Georgia and Fox are parting ways after nine seasons.
Fox was 163-133 during his time in Athens, which included two NCAA Tournament appearances (2011, 2015). John Calipari came to Fox’s defense several times this season — including yesterday after Kentucky beat Georgia — but with the SEC improving by the season, Georgia officials clearly didn’t want to give him any more time.
Both the Ole Miss and Georgia jobs are now open. Hopefully neither of the schools are dumb enough to hire Rick Pitino.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©March 10th, 2018 @ 9:15am
Good morning, Big Blue Nation! It’s time for the second day in a row (of three, hopefully) of Kentucky basketball.
The Cats are ready to go this afternoon, taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Tournament Semifinals at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Here’s what’s on the agenda for today’s game, more around the SEC, and a recap of yesterday’s wild day of events:
TV – ESPN, 1:00 p.m. ET (Noon Central)
Radio – KSR Pregame Show this morning is at 10:30 (9:30 in St Louis) at Tin Roof.
Hear Tom Leach and Mike Pratt on the UK Sports Network, Sirius-84 and XM-84/374.
Vegas – Kentucky -4
The Collin Sexton Show
There is no denying all eyes will be on Alabama freshman Collin Sexton this afternoon, and rightfully so.
The phenom guard has scored 27 and 31 points in back-to-back games to kick off the tournament, including one game-winning buzzer beater on day one. He’s a fascinating prospect with elite scoring ability, and on the big stage, he’s taking it to a whole new level. Ryan Lemond even stood up to give a standing ovation to him on day one.
In their last matchup, Kentucky held Sexton to just 12 points on 4-11 shooting, two assists, and three rebounds, to go with two turnovers in their ten-point victory in Rupp Arena. Odds are pretty slim the Cats are able to shut him down two times in a row.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will almost certainly be matched up with Sexton this afternoon, and it’ll be must-see TV. Defense vs. offense for a spot in the title game.
Outside of Sexton, however, the Tide are pretty beatable. Limit him to a “normal” scoring day, and the Cats have a pretty good shot to make the championship tomorrow afternoon.
Around the SEC: Auburn and Florida fall, Vols prevail
The No. 1 and 3-seeds were sent home packing on Friday night, as Auburn lost to Alabama and Florida fell to an impressive Arkansas team. Despite maintaining a ten-point lead in the first half, the Tigers fell to Alabama by a final score of 81-63.
We talk about Florida being a streaky shooting team, and they proved to be just that to open the SEC Tournament against Arkansas. The Gators shot just 41% from the field last night, gave up nine turnovers, and were outrebounded 43-28 in their 80-72 loss to the Razorbacks.
As for the Volunteers, they JUST managed to sneak away from Mississippi State, winning 62-59. The Bulldogs had them on the ropes at the end, but unfortunately, couldn’t pull off yet another upset victory on the day. Tennessee will take on Arkansas roughly 25 minutes after our game this afternoon.
Recap: Impressive defense leads Cats to victory over Georgia
It was an ugly back-and-forth matchup to start with, but Kentucky played very impressive basketball in the second half to pull out the opening victory.
With Jarred Vanderbilt out, the vast majority of the Big Blue Nation worried about the team’s energy to kick of the tournament. Luckily for the Cats, Gilgeous-Alexander, PJ Washington, and Kevin Knox did more than enough to compensate for Vanderbilt’s absence, combining for 48 points, 20 rebounds, and 12 assists.
On defense, Kentucky rocked Georgia’s world, allowing just 28% from the field and 26% from three. Washington held Bulldog star Yante Maten to just nine points on 2-10 shooting and four rebounds on the day to send them home.
Quade Green and Nick Richards will need to step up this afternoon, but the Cats did more than enough yesterday to get fans to erase their blowout loss on the road to Florida to end the regular season.
Jarred Vanderbilt still out
After Kentucky’s victory over the Dawgs yesterday afternoon, Coach Cal told reporters Jarred Vanderbilt is highly unlikely to play today.
“I don’t think Jarred plays (today),” said Calipari. “You can’t not be 100% this late in the season and play. You can’t play at 80%, the games are too high-level. When we lost four in a row, he was playing. And then we started playing better and winning. He’s still limping. When you can jump up and grab the rim, then come talk to me.”
I would not anticipate seeing Vanderbilt in a Kentucky jersey until next week in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, I’d put money on it. Zero chance to risk further injury in a tournament that has little to no impact on tournament seeding.
It just means others will once again have to bring the energy today and (hopefully) tomorrow.
BatCats take down No. 3 Texas Tech
Hidden in the ruckus of all things SEC Tournament was an incredible upset victory for Kentucky baseball.
No. 3 Texas Tech came to Cliff Hagan Stadium and left with a loss with the help of an elite pitching performance from Sean Hjelle.
The star pitcher struck out six and allowed only six baserunners in seven innings in Kentucky’s 10-7 victory. Once again, Hjelle proved he was among the best in all of college baseball.
The Red Raiders kicked off the game with a 3-0 lead, but the BatCats came alive, led by Kole Cottam’s fifth home run of the season to drive in two runs in the second.
For the entire recap of the game, read Trey Huntsman’s post here.
Mississippi State’s Nick Weatherspoon suffered a neck injury
Last night, MSU guard Nick Weatherspoon suffered a devastating neck injury against Tennessee, where he was immediately rushed to the hospital.
Instead of stopping play, officials allowed the game to continue, where Weatherspoon had two players land on top of him, one directly on the head/neck area.
Miss St guard Nick Weatherspoon went down hard, remained on the ground and then was hit by players when the play came back down the court… pic.twitter.com/J5u9Wqvigl
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) March 10, 2018
Weatherspoon is now responsive and communicating with those around him. He is also reportedly able to move his extremities, but remains extremely sore.
The MSU guard may be improving, but that didn’t stop the officials from playing dumb… again.
This was the official response from the SEC Coordinator of Officials:
We’re obviously big fans of college officiating here at KSR, but this one sets the bar to an entirely new level. This incident was incredibly dangerous, and despite one official (Pat Adams) looking directly at Weatherspoon when the play came back in transition, he did absolutely nothing to stop it.
Zero accountability for officials. You can plead ignorance all you want, but your incompetence could have left someone with a life-altering injury. Unacceptable.
Down goes Duke, Grayson Allen trips AGAIN
On that note, once again, Grayson Allen embarrassed himself on the national stage.
In their ACC semifinal loss to North Carolina, the senior guard hip checked a Tar Heel player in transition, resulting in a Flagrant One call.
TRIPPING GRAYSON ALLEN IS BACK pic.twitter.com/BuT03udbdF
— Barstool Pack (@BarstoolPack) March 10, 2018
Basketball gods, PLEASE let Grayson do this in the NBA against a guy like DeMarcus Cousins, Tony Allen, Patrick Beverly, etc. Beyond Scared Straight would have their highest rated episode in history.
Enough of that, let’s get this money.