Bubble, UK talk highlight SEC tourney

Somebody asked me on the last post what the weather was like down here in Tampa. Gorgeous. OK? I just didn’t want to rub it in. But my day is about to be spent inside at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Georgia (12-19, 3-13 SEC) is scheduled to tip off against Mississippi State (19-12, 9-7) at 3:15 p.m. Kentucky (19-12, 8-8) opens play at 1 p.m. against Ole Miss (16-14, 7-9). Alabama-Vanderbilt and Florida-Arkansas round out the night session.

Here are your main storylines:

  • Kentucky’s situation has gotten real interesting. Let’s just say a loss to Ole Miss today could be disastrous both for the Wildcats’ postseason hopes and for coach Billy Gillispie’s job security. Talk of the Big Blue’s dissatisfaction with Gillispie is rampant down here. Same goes for AD Mitch Barnhart.
  • How many SEC teams will get into the NCAA tournament? Regular-season champion LSU (25-6, 13-3) is really the only one assured. Tennessee (19-11, 10-6) and South Carolina (21-8, 10-6), co-East champs, look well-positioned. After that it’s a crapshoot. Florida (22-9, 9-7), Auburn (21-10, 10-6) and Kentucky all would appear to have work to do.
  • It’s being called one of the most wide-open tournament fields ever in the SEC. Of course, it seems like that’s what they say every year. But consider that champion LSU has lost two in a row coming in and some of the best basketball has been played by bottom-half teams like Alabama and Vanderbilt, anything can happen.
  • What kind of attendance will the tournament draw? In this down economy it was a really tough year to bring the event this far south. But who could have known that five years ago when the decision was made to come here?

The Bulldogs’ game will be on TV (FSN South I’m fairly certain). So be sure to tune in then and I’ll provide some updates and cutting-edge insight (or at least tell you what I think is going on) during the game.

In the meantime, here’s some links:

The Athens Banner-Herald reports that Georgia is going to employ something called the “Functional Movement Screen” to help identify players that might be injury prone. It’s obviously a year too late since the Bulldogs have had something like 35 injuries last season. But the story provides a good comprehensive breakdown of the injuries Georgia has endured and is still enduring heading into spring practice. . . .

Georgia is holding its Pro Day on March 19 in Athens. Here ESPN’s Mel Kiper talks about several of the Dogs up for this year’s draft. . . .

There is a very revealing story about former Bulldog Charles Grant in the Albany Herald. Once you get past the lead-in on Grant’s foundation event for children, he opens up about the ongoing legal maneuverings from the shooting death he witnessed at a bar in Blakely. He also talks about the accidental shooting death of his little brother when Grant was a little boy. . . .

The statue of Syracuse great Ernie Davis has been returned to its spot on campus. It had to be taken down to have the Nike swooshes and facemask removed. After all, Nike wasn’t around 1959-61. . . .

Meanwhile, the undefeated Diamond Dogs roll on.

59 comments Add your comment

Atlanta Jackets

March 12th, 2009
11:41 am

First! A Jacket beats you mutts again! Burn!! LOL!

PBR=America in a can

March 12th, 2009
12:02 pm

Atlanta Jackets…. Being the first person on a blog is ok… But bragging about it and sliding a “LOL” is about the same as winning first place in the Special Olympics, yeah you won but your still “special.” Stupid Bee

Boston Williams

March 12th, 2009
12:57 pm

Typical UGA column on the SEC basketball tourney – can’t go two paragraphs before switching to FB. Wonder why UGA cant recruit BB players.

lawzoo

March 12th, 2009
12:57 pm

After the tournament, all of the talk will be about those Carolina Gamecocks !!!!!!

GOOOOOOOOOOOO C-O-C-K-S !!!!!!!!!!!!!

gdawginkalamazoo

March 12th, 2009
1:36 pm

Chip, 20 degrees here this morning with a 9 degree windchill. I hope it smells like sweaty gym in there.

You got any favorites on this one? The whole conference looks pretty lame this year. Any teams practicing a little harder, showing more emotion or energy than the others?

Jackets, congrats your ring is in the mail.

Boston, it’s a catch 22 for UGA. What are we gonna do, pretty much universal knowledge that we need help with BB. What are we going to talk about. When the new coach is in then it will be all speculation about a new direction.

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
1:45 pm

gdawgkalimazoo: I don’t have any favorites this year. Like you said, nobody just bowls you over. Even LSU, which won 13 league games, lost its last two. And its probably not very motivated from the standpoint of already being an NCAA shoo-in. Florida’s an easy pick because the tourney’s in its back yard. But I really don’t like that team at all. Too streak. If I had to go out on a limb and pick somebody to win I’d say Auburn just because most people probably wouldn’t pick them. I like the way Jeff Lebo’s team plays despite being outsized in most games. So let’s go with the Tigers. . . .

Ole Miss and Kentucky game has heated up. Teams trading 3s and Ole Miss leads 31-28 three minutes before halftime.

David

March 12th, 2009
1:51 pm

How about the talks on who will be the next GA coach?

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
1:59 pm

A great game has broken out here between Kentucky and Ole Miss. Rebels lead by a bucket 38-36 at halftime. This is my first live look at freshman Terrico White of Memphis and you can see why the Rebels’ guard was named SEC Freshman of the Year. He has 15 points at the half on 5-of-7 shooting (3-5 on 3s) and has four assists. . . . It’s hard to say he’s struggling with 10 points at the half but UK’s Jodie Meeks is 0-3 on 3s and appears a little off. Patrick Patterson (6 points) needs to get it going, too.

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
2:44 pm

Meeks got hot and Kentucky broke it open 56-45 midway through the second half. Cats are up nine with ball with eight minutes to go.

David

March 12th, 2009
2:50 pm

Chip what is up with the coaching stuff….it’s like nobody is talking about it and it is the BIGGEST hire for Damon. After Tubby left, Jirsa, Harrick and Felton, he better be right. You have to be hearing of some candidates or some that are being eliminated.

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
3:07 pm

David: There’s nothing to report on the coaching search. The seasons of the coaches Georgia wants need to get over before any real action gets started. . . .

UK ran away with it at the end. Cats live to whine another day.

Bravedawg

March 12th, 2009
3:10 pm

Boston Williams – so, UGA can’t get good basketball recruits because its beat writer talks about football too much? You figured it out so easily–what’s taking everyone else so long?

Chip–I’m with a few others on here – any scuttlebutt about the next UGA coach? Is it Anthony Grant’s job to lose? Why the hell would Jeff Capel come here (and this is coming from a lifelong UGA fan and an alumnus)? I’ve got to think Grant. Any chance on Tubby?

Bravedawg

March 12th, 2009
3:11 pm

Sorry, Chip–never mind, just saw your response. How full (or empty) is the arena? Anyone know where you can find the Ga game on the internet?

Bravedawg

March 12th, 2009
3:14 pm

I’ve heard a lot about Kentucky having to win the SEC tournament to make the NCAAs, but I also think they have to win for Gillespie to keep his job.

Makes you wonder what could’ve happened if Tubby stayed there, but I’d take it a step further–what could’ve happened if Tubby stayed at UGA? He was winning with mediocre talent, and had some good recruits on the way (Jumaine Jones, DA Layne), but he left before they got there. Of course, one would’ve looked at the Kentucky job as a no-brainer to accept, but with the benefit of hindsight, Tubby would’ve probably been a lot better off at UGA over the long haul. He could’ve really built the basketball program into something, and still wouldn’t have had much pressure on him (it’ll always be second fiddle to football). Instead, he went to the pressure cooker that is UK, and didn’t make it out alive.

Emmit Brown

March 12th, 2009
3:15 pm

You want me to donate to the coast guard youth auxillary?

Atlanta Jackets

March 12th, 2009
3:15 pm

Damon wants to lure Hewitt away from Tech so he can get Favors too. But don’t get your hopes up mutts, that isn’t happening. Mutts failed again. LOL!

Bravedawg

March 12th, 2009
3:18 pm

Right…Damon wants to base his biggest hire yet around a guy that he’d get for one year (who probably wouldn’t follow Hewitt anyway). Brilliant. But hey, nice use of the “LOL.”

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
3:20 pm

A COUPLE OF IMPORTANT THINGS TO REPORT ON GEORGIA AT THE SEC TOURNEY:

(1) The Dance Dawgs are here. I know a lot of you were wondering. Well they are so, regardless of how Georgia plays, it will be well-represented;

(2) Not sure if this is homage to the undefeated Diamond Dogs but the UGA pep bad is wearing red baseball, button-up jerseys. They have “PEP BAND” and a number on the back.

(3) Hard to spot where the Georgia fans are because, so far at least, there are many in the building. Damon Evans and three of his four senior administrators are on hand.

Emmett Brown

March 12th, 2009
3:24 pm

I do not understand the obsession over these athletic cerimonial rituals.

NewnanDawg

March 12th, 2009
3:27 pm

The Pep band has always had those jerseys and the Dance Dawgs do represent well.

Who is this Atlanta Jachets moron? It’s like having a pesky little gnat flying around while enjoying a nice day.

Go Dawgs! Time for tip off – I hope Wood and Corey can get at least one more win before they go – they deserve it.

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
3:27 pm

I found the Georgia fans. They’re in a small section behind me, kind of caddy-cornered to the court. Not the best seats for sure. Dr. Adams and his wife Mary are here as well.

NewnanDawg

March 12th, 2009
3:27 pm

Sorry – Atlanta Jackets moron

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
3:30 pm

Great game so far. Three missed shots and four turnovers between the two teams. 0-0 with State’s Barry Stewart going to the line at 17:41. 1-0, 2-0,

NewnanDawg

March 12th, 2009
3:33 pm

Crap – Chip,Do they look nervous or just bad?

Atlanta Jackets

March 12th, 2009
3:40 pm

Thanks for the spelling correction. I wasn’t sure who you were talking about! LOL!

Newman!

Burn!

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
3:45 pm

17-15 Miss. State at second official timeout. Maroons launching a lot of 3s (3 of 8 so far) and their one extra is basically the difference. . . . Georgia PG Dustin Ware struggling to get free of State defense. Woodbury hasn’t gotten a decent look. . . . The moving pick called on Chris Barnes could have been called almost every time down the court for State. Watch their big men at the top of the key.

NewnanDawg

March 12th, 2009
3:46 pm

No more time for gnat swatting – have to pay attention to the game – I didn’t know anyone said Burn anymore – guess AJ is 12 with no parental control of the computer

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
3:51 pm

Third official timeout at 7:48 and State leads 24-17. They had the score screwed up for about two minutes with it 22-19. . . . The game’s very much following the script of the last one in that State is launching 3s and Georgia is struggling offensively. Kodi Augustus, who averages 5 points a game, has 8 for Maroons.

Cow

March 12th, 2009
3:53 pm

MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

lawzoo

March 12th, 2009
3:53 pm

Sounds like about the same number of dawg fans in Tampa that were in the autotorium last Saturday. Do hope the ga. dawgs beat the other breed.

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
3:56 pm

Georgia just had to call 30-sec timeout to try to halt 10-0 State run. State leads 30-17 at 5:47 mark. . . . Woodbury struggling and that’s always a bad sign for Dogs.

NewnanDawg

March 12th, 2009
3:58 pm

I can’t get to a tv or radio for about another 30 min. Does it look like Wood’s ankles are hurting, or is he just off?

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
4:00 pm

Last official timeout of the half and State leads 32-21 at 3:49 mark. Varnado just threw in a baseball pass from 10 feet. Everything falling Maroons way. They’re shooting 52 percent to Dogs’ 39. State’s three more 3s are still the difference.

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
4:08 pm

Ravern Johnson doing it again for State. He has 12 points with 1:35 to go in half. He had 19 in first half vs. Dogs last time. Varnado has 10 and Augustus has 10. . . . Thompkins leads Georgia with 10 points and Chris Barnes has 6. . . .

Dogs had pitiful turnover by Ware trying to play for the last shot. Ball goes off Ware’s leg to State that ended in a fast-break follow dunk at the buzzer. 40-26 Maroon Dogs at halftime.

Cow

March 12th, 2009
4:17 pm

MOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Tumble Weed

March 12th, 2009
4:19 pm

Don’t mind me. I’m just strolling through.

Stan Gable

March 12th, 2009
4:23 pm

That’s my pie!

gdawginkalamazoo

March 12th, 2009
4:24 pm

Ouch 40-26. Hey the AJC is running a poll on which muppet would you lay-off. Go to the front page to vote.

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
4:24 pm

Shandon Anderson was just recognized as Georgia’s SEC Legend. Man, I’m getting old.

Lorenzo Lamas

March 12th, 2009
4:25 pm

For 5 bucks, I’ll let you touch my awesome pony tail.

Hulk Hogan

March 12th, 2009
4:26 pm

Anybody have any change they can spare?

gdawginkalamazoo

March 12th, 2009
4:30 pm

Dawgs coming out fast this half.

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
4:34 pm

Georgia used a litle 12-2 run to get back into it, 47-42

lawzoo

March 12th, 2009
4:35 pm

It’s about time Shandon was recognized. Who is Shandon Anderson?

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
4:38 pm

Just like that Georgia committed three straight turnovers and State made two free throws and two 3s to make it 55-42 and force a UGA timeout at the 13:12 mark. . . . This cat Augustus, who was averaging 5 a game, has 15 with three 3s. Varnado has 11 boards.

The Grim Reaper

March 12th, 2009
4:45 pm

Next on the list:
UGA basketball

brewdawg

March 12th, 2009
4:53 pm

Doesn’t appear to be any tourney miracles ahead for UGA this year… although one might say it’s a small miracle just to get this awful season over with. We have to make the right hire.

Chip Towers

March 12th, 2009
4:53 pm

68-48 State at 7:53 official timeout. Augustus now has 19 for Maroons. Georgia actually shooting 47 percent but undone by 14 turnovers and poor defense. I’m about to get busy writing the obit, er, I mean, game story.

Michael Scharff

March 12th, 2009
5:00 pm

BOBBY KNIGHT, WHERE ARE YOU?!?!

lawzoo

March 12th, 2009
5:03 pm

Unless a miracle happens, their dreams of back-to-back championships is over.