Well, I prefer bourbon ... - USA TODAY Sports
News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. Nerlens Noel receives yet another honor. UK hoops commit Makayla Epps wins Gatorade player of the Year award. Mississippi St. and Texas A&M advance in SEC Tournament. More.
Day one of the SEC Tournament saw Mississippi St. and Texas A&M move on to today's round. Today, the Wildcats' opponent for tomorrow will be revealed in the game between Vanderbilt and Arkansas.
Tweet of the Morning:
Awesome. She'll be a Wildcat next year.
"We had success when I was here and the success can be even better now because we have a great offensive mind in coach Brown and great defensive minds in coach (Mark) Stoops and coach (DJ) Eliot. Putting players on both sides of the ball to get it done will be a great feeling.
Why does this coaching staff feel like some kind of "dream team" to me?
[Nerlens] Noel’s call was placed on speakerphone so he could talk to his Wildcats teammates, who begin play Friday in the Southeastern Conference tournament as the No. 2 seed. Calipari said "it was great for his teammates to hear from him after surgery, and I think it helped Nerlens, too."
Glad Noel is fine, but I was always confident he would be.
Whether toughness and confidence can be instilled in a player, or how the process works brought a number of responses from SEC coaches here for the tournament.
"A lot of it is innate," Stallings said. "As a coach, you can help a guy to be tougher."
I think Stallings has it right. People, players included, get tougher naturally as they gain experience in life and basketball. They get more confident in their skills, and learn eventually that it’s not what people say about you, but what you know in your heart to be true, that matters.
With teams like Kentucky, who rarely get the benefit of experience, toughness is something that has to be bred in the bone. Because so many players aren’t at UK for multiple years, there is precious little time to develop toughness.
Nerlens Noel, the 2013 Southeastern Conference Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year, was named to the 2013 United States Writers Basketball Association All-Freshman Team on Wednesday.
Good for Nerlens, he really deserves some of these awards.
"You think if Gonzaga played at Rupp Arena tomorrow night that Kentucky couldn’t win that game," Dean, who will be working the SEC Tournament, said. "I know they could win and Gonzaga could be the No. 1 seed in the tournament. How do you think (Gonzaga coach) Mark Few would like it if I said, ‘Okay, Mark here is what you are going to have the next two weeks. I am sending you to Rupp Arena, Columbia, Ma., and Gainesville, Fla.’ How do you thinking they would do? And they are the number one team in the country right now. That’s why Kentucky has to be in."
Good point, but I don't think the NCAA does things that way.
Kentucky coach John Calipari revealed on the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference this week that he called coaches Johnny Jones of LSU and Mark Fox of Georgia to compliment them on what they have done with their teams this season.
That was very nice of Coach Cal. It seems that the SEC coaches are more accepting of him now than in previous years, and the new blood has helped.
So far, according to this system (which has been very good despite it's simplicity), Kentucky is well into the tournament field, not even among the last four in. A win tomorrow night should put UK comfortably in, at least according to the EBS.
I must tell you, however, that the NCAA does not use the EBS, so they could exclude Kentucky.
Lots of UK recruits in the top tier.
Without Kentucky fans, there is no SEC basketball tournament. Period.
They cannot get to Nashville quickly enough.
*Of course, the SEC could fix its problem by adding the KFC Yum! Center to the rotation of arenas where the tournament is played. Comparing Louisville to Nashville, New Orleans or Atlanta as a basketball town is like comparing Nick Saban to any other college football coach.
I think that's a great idea, honestly.
Other UK sports
After a historic beat-down of North Carolina, the Wildcats are on a roll. Can they roll over #13 LSU?
Tennessee is shifting to a base 4-3 under new defensive coordinator John Jancek. The Vols have been poor at pressuring the quarterback each of the past two seasons, and they’ve also struggled to cover people in the secondary.
Interesting. That makes two teams I know of, Kentucky and Tennessee, who are moving back to 4 down. Is the 3-4 losing its luster in the SEC?
The best negative recruiting tactic of all: "Their school is hard, and they don't have any fun."
Ouch. That's tough to overcome.
Wow. Big get for the Vols.
Derrick Marks has nothing against Kentucky, but the Boise State guard will probably be rooting against the Wildcats this week. Same with Alabama, Baylor, Virginia, Tennessee and all of the other NCAA tournament bubble teams.
Boise St.’s loss provides help for Kentucky if they can do what teams must do at this time of year – keep winning. Reprising a victory at home over Florida with a bad loss in the SEC tournament would be … disappointing.
- 3-point shot: Big East breakup details // ESPN
- Poppin' Bubbles: Teams ahead of cutline begin to separate // CBSSports.com
I have no problem with Caldwell-Pope being the player of the year in the SEC. He is a very good player, great 2-guard size, and plenty of game.
I do think it likely he will take advantage of this weak draft and go to the NBA this year, though.
When the paper advocates your firing, you know your seat is hot.
After losing 13 in a row, Mississippi St. is suddenly the winner of 3 out of its last 4 games.
- Texas A&M Edges Auburn At SEC Tournament // SEC NEWS
The forgotten story of the team that paved the Glory Road.
Jon Brothers, an accountant from Brownsburg and a Purdue graduate, said he perceives fans of the Hoosiers — including some he considers friends — as arrogant.
Arrogance, I can live with. Let's be honest -- UK fans take a back seat to nobody when it comes to arrogant elitism.
The difference is, Kentucky fans are good at elitism (though not as good as North Carolina or Duke, to be fair), and Hoosier fans are just good at making people dislike them.
He was the last man on the bench all season. He was the last man on the bench the previous season. He was the last man on the bench the year before that. In his career, he’s played 31 minutes. He’s scored two points. But he stayed. On a team with future NBA draft picks, he’s the one who’s ordinary.
Sometimes, legends are tragic ones. Maryland basketball has more than its share.
Other sports news
It was Cousins' fourth ejection of the season. It's possible he is correct that his reputation is giving him a shorter leash with league officials right now, but that's still something he has to figure out how to change. It doesn't come with complaining to the officials and reacting with your entire body whenever the next call doesn't go your way. Cousins has built up a reputation, especially with his actions this season, and he continues to put himself in situations to make it worse.
Sigh. I was hoping Patrick Patterson could help reel him in, but he's probably got better things to do than to babysit a mercurial teammate.
Jonathan Duncan has 18 months to prove he can run the NCAA's enforcement department effectively, efficiently and within the rules.
Then President Mark Emmert will decide whether the new interim top cop should stick around permanently.
Well, there you go. Who gets to decide if Emmert sticks around?
Rookie power forward Anthony Davis celebrated his 20th birthday Monday, then continued his week-long celebration Tuesday night with a third consecutive double-double performance, albeit in defeat, against the Brooklyn Nets.
That’s the proper way to celebrate a birthday!
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