Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SEC Report For Wednesday, February 19th


SEC Report: Wednesday, February 19th:

College basketball previews for Wednesday

The LSU Tigers welcome Mississippi State to the PMAC tonight… first the bad news, LSU’s perimeter defense is atrocious.  In SEC games, opponents are dropping in 41 percent of their 3-pointers against the Tigers, making Johnny Jones squad the worst 3-point defense in the league.  Now, the good news. Mississippi State couldn’t hit a three if you spotted them two.  In their last two games, the Bulldogs are 8-for-42 from beyond the arc for a spine-tingling cool 19% efficiency.  Neither of these two squads are adept at stopping others from succeeding---Mississippi State is 12th in scoring defense with the Tigers chilling in the basement all by themselves, giving up 77 point per SEC game. Mississippi State is eaten up with a six-game losing streak and have yet to win a league game outside Starkville.

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Arkansas hosts a relatively speaking, red-hot South Carolina squad tonight in Bud Walton Arena.  I’ll save you the trouble---the Gamecocks have only won two games in a row---but that’s a milestone in the palmetto state. It’s the first time since 2011 that South Carolina has entered a game with a chance to win a third-straight SEC game! The main reason South Carolina is enjoying this rare opportunity is the play of reigning SEC freshman of the week, Sindarius Thornwell. Thornwell, mentioned yesterday in the Report, averaged 20.5 points, five rebounds and five assists in the two wins last week over Vandy and Bama. Arkansas counters with their own red-hot rookie… Bobby Portis is the Hogs second leading scorer in SEC Games at 14 points per game. Rashad Madden leads Arkansas in SEC games with 16 points per outing.  Portis also gets it done on the boards, grabbing 7 rebounds per game.

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It’s easy to pencil in a 19th straight win for the Florida Gators, seeing as they host Auburn tonight.  A win for the second ranked Gators would also give them 30 straight home wins.  Florida is 12-0 in SEC play, Auburn is 4-8.  The Plainsmen however, may be anything but a speed bump for the Gators runaway train to an SEC Title.  Auburn recently has played pretty well, winning four of their last six with the two losses both by single digits---at LSU and against Kentucky.

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The Kentucky Wildcats easiliy dispatched Ole Miss Tuesday night in Oxford, outscoring the Rebels 32-14 over the final thirteen minutes of the first half to take a 42-25 lead into the locker room… Ole Miss rallied to within six of Kentucky with 1:56 to play but ran out of steam in the stretch run. Julius Randle paced the Cats with 25 points and 13 rebounds as John Calipari’s team shot lights out in the Tad Pad: 52% from the floor and 27-of-30 at the free throw line. The Rebels were led by Jarvis Summers with 22 points. Marshall Henderson scored 18 but shot a dismal 5-of-14 from three-point land.

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51-year old Bradley Dale Peveto is back with the Bayou Bengals… the former LSU linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator has returned to Les Miles staff as special teams coordinator and he will also have an unspecified role on defense as well… Peveto coached special teams at Kentucky last season after spending the previous three years in Natchitoches as the NSU Demons head coach.  The likeable, jovial Peveto didn’t have much success with NSU, compiling a 14-30 record.  He got the gig with the Demons after spending four years as a member of Miles staff.

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Vanderbilt defensive line coach, Vavae Tata was arrested in Nashville for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident after he drove into a pair of parked cars, fled the scene of the accident on foot and when captured, blew a 0.18 percent on a Breathalyzer test.  Tata was hired less than a month ago as part of new Commodores head coach Derek Mason’s staff… Tata and Mason worked together at Stanford.

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a deal for you! College football’s top coach is part of a two-man partnership intent on opening a Mercedes Benz dealership in Irondale, Alabama… Saban’s partner in the deal is Joe Agresti, who owns the Baton Rouge Mercedes dealership.  The Hoover, Alabama Mercedes dealership’s owner has filed suit trying to halt the Saban-Agresti dealership, arguing the new plans have harmed the Hoover dealership’s plans to sell. 

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Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has reached out to Air Force coach Troy Calhoun numerous times since last Thursday—that’s when the news hit that College football’s Rules Committee, headed by Calhoun, planned to implement a rule making offenses wait until ten seconds tick off the 40-second play clock before they can snap the ball… Calhoun’s committee, with plenty of support from Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema, argue that offenses like Malzahn’s make it difficult for defensive substitutions, which could lead to more injuries---at least, that’s what Bielema, Saban, Calhoun and others are saying. Malzahn wants the proposed rule change to be tabled for at least another year so a study could be conducted to determine if “hurry up” offenses do indeed lead to more injuries.  The Rules Oversight Committee meets March 6th---if they rubber stamp the proposed rule change, which is expected, the new provision goes into effect in 2014. 

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“Did UGA Recruit Too Good At RB” is the headline of an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. Seriously.  The writer believes Georgia, who landed two 5-star running backs this past class in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.  Where does that leave 2015 stud, and Atlanta Area standout, Taj Griffin? He lists Georgia as one of his five big schools that are pushing for a February signature… but the running back who recently clocked a 4.38 40 time at a gathering of uber-talented high schoolers, said he “may” look somewhere other than Athens to play since he wants to play right away.