Home » Conference Notes » Currently Reading:

SEC Notebook

November 25, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments



SEC Notebook

by Rainer Sabin


The Southeastern Conference has picked up where it left off last season, as the 12 schools seem to be conspiring to recreate the 2001-2002 storyline. In a matter of weeks, eerie similarities are surfacing. Alabama and Florida already look formidable. Kentucky is a mess so far, and another university, Mississippi State, is embroiled in controversy

In the self-proclaimed Mecca of sports arenas, Alabama opened its season Nov. 14 with much fanfare, as it outlasted one of the nation’s elite teams. At Madison Square Garden, sophomore sensation Mo Williams led the eighth-ranked Crimson Tide to a 68-62 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma in the “Coaches vs. Cancer” classic. Williams had 25 points, as he helped prevent Oklahoma from chipping away at an 18-point lead that Alabama had established early in the second half. The point guard from Jackson, Miss. hit several key buckets that preserved the advantage, which never dwindled below five points.

As a result, Alabama climbed to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, which is the highest ranking the Crimson Tide has attained since the 1977 season. But, more importantly, the win over the Sooners put to rest any notion that Alabama may be vulnerable.

After the Crimson Tide snuck by Athletes in Action 72-71 in an exhibition game on Nov. 7, people began to wonder if the Crimson Tide really was as good as the experts predicted. It is, and Alabama’s impressive display against Oklahoma proved as much. However, the Crimson Tide has a difficult non-conference schedule with a game at Utah and match-ups with Xavier and Providence in Tuscaloosa. As a result, by the time the SEC campaign starts in January, Mark Gottfried’s team will be battle tested…

On Nov. 22, the Crimson Tide returned to Tuscaloosa and easily beat Alabama State 82-56, as Williams scored a game-high 20 points and dished out five assists, while senior Terrance Meade chipped in seventeen points and six rebounds.

SEC East

Florida

Led by freshman forward Matt Walsh, the Florida Gators opened their season with a bang. Walsh had 26 points, while senior Justin Hamilton added 21, as the Gators knocked off Louisiana Tech Nov. 19 at 76-55 in Gainesville. Because of injuries suffered by All-SEC candidate Brett Nelson and freshman sensation Christian Drejer, Walsh and fellow newcomer Anthony Roberson, who scored 13 points, were asked to start. It didn’t take long for them to make the most of their opportunities, as they shut down Louisiana Tech’s backcourt and contributed offensively. Two days later, Roberson and Walsh struck again, as they scored 20 apiece in a 99-65 rout of Eastern Illinois.

Kentucky

Last season, the Wildcats earned the nickname “Team Turmoil” after a series of off-the-court incidents blended in with several sub-par performances. So far, in the 2002-2003 campaign, Kentucky has shown it is not about to give up its well-deserved moniker. The Wildcats suffered an ignominious 84-75 defeat to Team Nike, and, days later, learned that Erik Daniels had been suspended four games by the NCAA for playing in two summer leagues-one more than is allowed by the collegiate athletics governing board. As a result, all is not well in Lexington. The exhibition defeat, the first for Kentucky since it lost to the Australian National Team in 1993, comes on the heels of a lackluster 83-82 win over Athletes in Action. Coach Tubby Smith and the Wildcats hope a trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational will restore some confidence in a team that needs some.

Georgia

The season didn’t start the way the Bulldogs wanted it to, but then again this wasn’t a typical non-conference opener. Georgia, the other SEC team to make a trip to New York for the “Coaches vs. Cancer” classic, lost to No. 5 Texas 77-71 on Nov. 15. Nevertheless, Georgia was without two of its best players-forwards Chris Daniels and Steve Thomas, who were suspended for the game by the NCAA and university, respectively. Despite the setback, Georgia was able to enjoy the fruits of victory days after it suffered a defeat, as it downed EA Sports 118-79 in an exhibition game. Guard Jarvis Hayes led the team with 24 points, as the Bulldogs finished off its atypical “preseason” schedule, which included a game that counted (the loss to the Longhorns).

South Carolina

The Gamecocks celebrated the closing of Frank McGuire Arena with a 105-67 win over Unibanka Cesis of Latvia Nov. 13, and then said hello to their new digs eight days later. More than a week after junior forward and JUCO transfer Kerbrell Forward scored 19 points and sophomore forward Carlos Powell added 16 in the win over the Latvia outpost, South Carolina opened its new arena, the Carolina Center, in exciting fashion. The “Godfather of Soul” James Brown performed at a ceremony that luckily did not bring the house down, as South Carolina got acquainted with its new pad.

Tennessee

One day after the Gamecocks disposed of Unibanka Cesis, Tennessee got its shot to beat up on the team from Latvia. Forwards Ron Slay and Brandon Crump combined for 56 points as the Volunteers willingly routed their foreign foes 108-80. Meanwhile, as Tennessee was continuing to prepare for its season, “Star Wars” filmmaker George Lucas made it clear that he was not happy with a recent Tennessee promotion campaign-“Buzz Ball Episode II: Attack of the Vols.” Lucasfilm Ltd. expressed its displeasure with the Tennessee marketing office and told them that the Volunteers’ slogan for the 2002-2003 campaign violated copyright laws. As a result, Tennessee changed the new campaign to simply “Buzz Ball.” Oh well.

Vanderbilt

The Commodores finished off their preseason with a bang by beating Upstate New York 91-70 Nov.15. The win came four days after Vanderbilt received a scare from the Harlem Globetrotters, who fell to the Commodores 70-68. Junior forward Matt Frieje was the star of both games, as he scored a total of 45 points in the two contests and hit a buzzer-beating fade-away jumpshot to give the Commodores the win over the Globetrotters. In other Vanderbilt news, Dan Muller was promoted to an assistant by head coach Kevin Stallings after Tim Jankovich left the Commodores to take an assistant coaching position at Illinois.

SEC West

Ole Miss

Despite the absences of two of their best players, the Ole Miss Rebels defeated Athletes in Action 70-67 to close out its exhibition season Nov. 16. Coach Rod Barnes suspended both guard Emmanuel Wade and forward Justin Reed, who are both facing assault charges after getting into a fight at a skating rink in September. Nevertheless, forwards Derrick Allen and Aaron Harper were able to pick up the slack, as they each netted 16 points in the victory. Meanwhile, David Sanders has continued to make progress as he adapts to his new role as point guard-a position that was left vacant when Jason Harrison graduated last spring. Sanders, who used to play at the off-guard spot, has been on a fast learning curve since Rod Barnes asked him to make the transition in the backcourt.

Mississippi State

Before the season started, everything was rosy for Coach Rick Stansbury and the Bulldogs. But, that all changed when the NCAA began looking in to Center Mario Austin’s high school academic records. The investigation centers on whether some of the classes Austin enrolled in at Sumter County High School in York, Ala. should be counted among the 13 core courses that are required for freshman eligibility. The collegiate athletics governing board said that it erroneously declared Austin eligible to play as a freshman when he first began attending Mississippi State two years ago. While the NCAA has not yet said that Austin will not be able to play this season, university officials have decided not to allow the junior center to play in any games before the matter is resolved. This may be a decision they regret, as the absence of Austin contributed to a 79-76 upset loss to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns Nov. 23.

Auburn

While Auburn’s football team ripped through rival Alabama 17-7 in the Iron Bowl at Tuscaloosa, the Tigers’ basketball team quietly beat Wofford 81-63 at home Nov. 23. Marquis Daniels scored 15 points and Marco Killingsworth added 13, as Auburn’s two forwards helped Coach Cliff Ellis earn his 499th victory. The victory over Wofford came seven days after Auburn’s 72-56 trouncing of the EA Sports All-Stars.

LSU

An impenetrable defense helped yield LSU a 68-24 victory over Nicholls State Nov. 22 in the 2002 Hispanic College Fund Classic. The Tigers held the Colonels to the fewest points allowed by an LSU opponent in 56 years. Shawnson Johnson was the only Tiger in double figures, as he scored ten points. However, a total of nine Tigers scored and all 15 played in the game. The win over Nicholls State was LSU coach John Brady’s sixth consecutive victory in an opener since he has been in Baton Rouge.

Arkansas

Stan Heath wasted little time in leaving his mark on the program. In his first game as the Arkansas’ head coach, the Razorbacks set a school record for rebounds in an 81-44 demolition of Jackson State. The Hogs crashed the glass and retrieved 77 boards, breaking the old mark of 75 set against Fort Chaffee in 1956. Freshman guard Jonathan “Pookie Modica,” who scored 11 points and amassed 13 rebounds, led the Hogs. The Razorbacks seem to have already been indoctrinated into Heath’s half court philosophy, which is a far cry from the full-court, “40 minutes of Hell” style Nolan Richardson implemented during his 17-year tenure at Arkansas.

     

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the NBA Draft, of course, but spend much more time on the happenings at Ohio State and Louisville and the implications starting next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 17, 2017

May 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we start with the NBA Draft Lottery, then talk about a big pickup for Duke, important transfers, the coaching carousel winding down and much more.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, the business of college sports, as well as that of sports media, takes center stage. We talk about the layoffs at ESPN, college basketball’s opening night, and Wichita State’s departure from the Missouri Valley Conference. We close with thoughts on a departed friend of the media business as well.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017 by

In our first off-season edition, we look back on the season that just ended, including redemption for one team and a big development for a conference that has had more questions than success on the hardwood. We also look at players coming and going, as well as big coaching news on a day where there was a lot of it.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2017

April 4, 2017 by

We look back at Monday’s national championship game, which was not a thing of beauty but had plenty of drama. Along the way we share some post-game quotes from both coaches.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.