Sunday, March 15, 2009

your Monday links coming late Sunday

Greetings from the Alabama basketball fan base, where even the NIT said, "No thank you" today. Frankly, we're probably all better off -- the fan base gave up on this squad early in the season, and I saw very little down the stretch that would make me change my mind. I mean, you saw the Tennessee game, right? Alabama continually getting beat down the floor for lay-ups and dunks? A set offense that revolved around "shoot it and hope our bigs can get the rebounds"? The halftime deficit going from 9 to 18 early in the second half, with no one calling a timeout? You saw all that?
You see why this season drove me crazy, obviously.

Anyway, off to the important stuff. The NCAA Tournament bracket is here. Note that it includes exactly three SEC teams, and the highest seed among those is LSU, an 8. That should put the whole "this is a good league and everybody else needs to wake up" talk to rest. Jerry from the JCCW knew as early as February that only a win in Tampa would get Auburn in the Dance, and he posted this as early as Saturday evening.
As for Auburn, the bubble updates can stop now. A team that is 2-4 against the top 50 and 6-10 against the top 100 and earned only one of those six wins on the (road) is not going to (be) given admittance to the NCAA Tournament this season. Here's to hoping this team can overcome this disappointment and go on a long run in the NIT: they should have the chance to remind us that instead of being disappointed they failed to make the NCAAs, we should celebrate that this motley-looking bunch defied every expectation and ever came within a game of the tournament in the first place.

If Auburn accomplished nothing else, it earned its coach another season, possibly two. We'll see if this is a Dennis Felton-level aberration, or if they're on the precipice of something here.

-- Look, I love the guys at 3sib for the most part, but Ghost's whining about the officiating on Sunday was and is laughable. I watched the end of the game, guys -- you lost because you couldn't execute a successful inbounds play. Period. Further, if you're going to cry about referees, you'd probably best stay away from Auburn folks after that debacle (in your favor) on Saturday. Just a thought.
-- 8Box has a roundup of candidates for Alabama's next head basketball coach, while we're on the subject. Also, Mr. SEC has some quality thoughts on Phillip Pearson, head coach.

Some non-basketball stuff and then we're through.
-- A big weekend for 'Bama baseball: the Tide whipped No. 1 UGA in a three-game set over the weekend in Tuscaloosa. Something that sounds distinctly like ... well, you know.

-- Speaking of that, BSR has a look at Spring Practice, Round I.
-- More on the ever-evolving saga of Lane Kiffin, this time with the Raiders.
That reminds me: my wife asked me the other day, "Seriously, what do you think's going to happen at Tennessee with their new coach?"
And my thought is simply this: UT (and Auburn, sort of) is in essence attempting the same thing Alabama did with Mike DuBose in the latter part of the last decade. Maybe the staff isn't quite as famous or as high-priced, but the principle is the same. I remember making many an excuse to that effect for DuBose: maybe he's not a head-coaching genius like ... well, every other championship-level coach, but the guy is smart enough to hire the right people and get out of their way, and he knows how to manage the egos so everybody's on the same page. We'll be fine.
I was kidding myself then, and UT fans are kidding themselves now if they say they really feel comfortable going to war with this guy and his high-priced staff. Take a lesson from the 2000 Alabama team: those guys all hated each other, they didn't pull for one another to succeed and it ultimately set the program back four years, possibly more. Just keep that in mind.

-- Finally, a little Braves: Chop Talk examines Vazquez vs. Peavy following their matchup in the WBC.

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