LSU forward Brandon Bass was recently honored as the SEC Player of the Week after averaging 24 points in two games and hitting 15 of 21 field-goal attempts.
He might be honored as the SEC
Player of the Year at season's end.
The 6-9 sophomore is second in the
SEC in scoring (17.5 points), fourth in rebounding (8.6) and blocked shots, and
first in field-goal shooting (58 percent). He's also seventh in free throw
shooting (79 percent).
``He's a relentless competitor,''
said Florida coach Billy Donovan. ``That's the
highest compliment I can pay him.''
Bass has helped LSU to second place
in the West at 9-4 going into last weekend's Auburn game. With two more wins the Tigers are a lock to
get a second NCAA Tournament bid in three years.
Kentucky players weren't upset when South Carolina fans
stormed the court after a huge win for the Gamecocks, drawing a $5,000 fine from
``I think that brings excitement to
college basketball,'' said Kentucky senior forward Chuck Hayes.
However, Hayes doesn't want to see
that from Wildcat fans, because Kentucky is EXPECTED to win.
``Never,'' Hayes said. ``They
better not ever rush the court. I'd be very upset.''
As guard Ravi Moss said: ``We
should win every game.''
Kentucky wins about every game at home. The
Wildcats are 375-43 since moving to Rupp Arena in 1976. When Kentucky beat top-ranked Florida at Rupp two years ago, Moss recalled UK
students chanting: ``We're not rushing.''
Hayes said if he thought UT
students were about to rush the floor, he would go to the E-Rupption Zone, the
student section, and ``tell everybody to go home.''
Tennessee men's athletic director Mike Hamilton said he will make a decision on Buzz Peterson's future just before or
just after the SEC Tournament.
Among the factors:
It's not good.
The Vols have averaged about 12,200
in tickets sold this year, the worst since UT moved into Thompson-Boling Arena
in 1986-87. It's also the first time in the past 18 years that Tennessee's average has
dipped below 13,000. The previous worst was 13,030 during Wade Houston's final
The turnstile attendance average is
less than 9,000.
This also marks the third time the
Lady Vols have outdrawn the men. Pat Summit's team has averaged 13,535 tickets
Hamilton said the reaction he's had from UT
fans has been 2-to-1 in support of keeping Peterson, a likeable coach who is
barely over .500 in four years and has yet to get the Vols into the NCAA
Hamilton said Peterson's plan for having
success next season is of ``paramount importance,'' and carries about as much
weight as how the Vols finish this season.
Hamilton said he expects the basketball program
to make the NCAA Tournament two or three times in the next five years and seven
times over 10 years.
Because of the poor season,
sales for the skyboxes at Thompson-Boling Arena have ``slowed down a little
it.'' He said UT has five or six solid commitments and four or five tentative
commitments out of 26 skyboxes.
South Carolina sophomore point guard Tre Kelley has been mired in a slump the past few weeks.
He was benched after halftime of a
game at Tennessee in favor of freshman Stephen
McDowell, who had 10 points, four assists and three steals.
Kelley played minutes and didn't
attempt a shot. In his past nine games, he has 28 turnovers and 23
Guard Tarence Kinsey has also been
in a slump, but not as long as Kelley's tailspin. Kinsey, who scored 17 points
on five 3-pointers against Kentucky recently,
was 1-for-8 against Alabama and missed all four
of his first-half shots against Tennessee. He was absent from the lineup when
the second half started.
USC coach Dave Odom said part of
Kinsey's problem has been the recent death of a cousin.
Suspended Florida linebacker
Taurean Charles was placed on probation for a year and ordered to pay
restitution to the victim after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of
Charles is expected to be suspended
from the university for another year by the office of Student Judicial
Charles' attorney, Robert Rush,
said he would appeal a university suspension because it is not consistent with
punishment issued to other student-athletes and it's unfair to Charles, who was
suspended last season and could have transferred but didn't.
Charles was sentenced to four days
of jail – time he has already served – and must pay $897 in restitution to the
victim and $263 in court costs. He must also be assessed for anger
Charles was charged July 20 with
punching a Florida student in the head and throwing a
hall-full keg of beer on his face, causing serious injury.
Charles said he would remain at
Florida if he
has a chance to play football, but would leave if not.
In his first four years,
Georgia coach Mark Richt lost one
In a matter of weeks, he's lost
Defensive ends coach Jon Fabris, a
part of Richt's original staff in 2001, has left to take a similar position at
Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder left for the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars and running backs coach Ken Rucker took a similar position at Texas.
Weeks after Ole Miss fired David
Cutcliffe, Archie Manning, the most famous Rebel of all, was still upset. But he
said he wouldn't let his disappointment over the Cutcliffe situation ruin his
relationship with his alma mater.
``David Cutcliffe has meant a lot
to our family,'' Manning said. ``He did great for Ole Miss. What he did for Ole
Miss was fantastic. He's such a class guy. I don't like the way it happened. I'm
disappointed that he's gone after the great job he did at Ole Miss but he and
Pete Boone just didn't get along. He didn't like Pete and Pete didn't want him
there. It's unfortunate.
``I was upset. I'm still mad about
it. He's over it so I need to get over it.'
Cutcliffe gave Ole Miss its first
10-win season since 1971 and first SEC championship of any sort in 40 years.
Despite Cutcliffe's success, he was fired after his first losing season by
athletic director Pete Boone, a former Ole Miss player. Boone and Cutcliffe
clashed almost immediately after Boone was hired before the 2003
``I don't know if I had concerns
about my days being numbered,'' Cutcliffe said of when Boone was hired. ``But I
think any head coach will tell you when you have a change in leadership and the
guy who hired you is not in place, your antennae goes up.''
Boone wanted Cutcliffe to make
changes on his staff. Cutcliffe refused.
"Loyalty is a part of that, but a
part of it is doing what you think is the right thing,'' Cutcliffe
Despite the messy divorce,
Cutcliffe said his Ole Miss experience was wonderful. He also said he enjoyed
wearing the hat of a head coach.
``That was something I felt came
fairly natural to me,'' he said. ``I enjoyed being the one to make the
decisions, good or bad.''
FREE THROWS: Kentucky has won the SEC
East Division six straight seasons and has finished no worse than second since
the league expanded in 1992. The Wildcats have won 22 in a row over West teams
and 19 straight after a defeat. … Florida's Anthony Roberson scored 23 points in
a recent win over Vanderbilt, matching his career average against the
Commodores. … Mississippi
State, undefeated in SEC road games
last year, ended a five-game league losing streak on the road with a win at
Georgia. … Women's coach Rick Moody,
Alabama's all-time winningest basketball coach (310 wins), is retiring at the
end of the season after going five straight seasons without making the NCAA
Tournament. … Georgia's leading rebounder is 6-1 freshman guard
Sundiata Gaines, who recently had 12 rebounds against Auburn and 11 against Kentucky. He averages 5.0 rebounds per game. …
LSU has more home wins (41) than any SEC team over the past three seasons. LSU
also won eight SEC games before the end of February for the first time since
2000. … Kentucky freshman guard Rajon Rondo had
eight steals against Mississippi State to tie a school record and take over
the SEC lead in steals. … State's Winsome Frazier averaged 11.3 points in the
first three games since returning from a broken foot. … Tennessee senior Richie Gandy, expected to vie for the starting center job this fall, tore his ACL
playing intramural basketball and his status for this season is uncertain. …
baseball coach Ray Tanner has withdrawn his name from consideration for the
school's athletic director's job. … Kentucky defensive coordinator Mike Archer, a
former LSU head coach, has withdrawn from consideration or a position on Nick
Saban's Miami Dolphins' staff. .... The NCAA has granted a sixth-year of
eligibility to two Georgia players: defensive end Will Thompson and defensive back Albert Hollis.
Hyams is a featured columnist in Tiger Rag and the program
director for WNOX in Knoxville, Tenn. Hyams, one of the most respected sports
personalities in the SEC, can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.