My goodness. There is so much crap going on right now it's just ridiculous.
Let's start out with basketball. Missouri beat Memphis last night, and you had to have seen it coming. This is the first year that Memphis has gotten a lot of national love, with seemingly EVERYBODY picking them to clobber Missouri in the Elite Eight. Ridiculous. Anyway, just goes to show that the way to beat Memphis is being better at what they do than they are. For example, Tennessee last year and Missouri this year.
Anyway, that means Mike Anderson is still in the tourney. Which also means he's in the Elite Eight, which means he's probably going to get a goldmine from Missou, which means he probably will not be leaving anytime soon.
Kentucky fired Gillespie today. The first rumor was that Donovan was taking the Kentucky job, and that came out of Orlando. Next thing you know, Donovan is issuing a statement showing his commitment to Florida. So he ain't goin nowhere. In the meantime, the guys that initially said Izzo to Alabama are still stickin with their story.
I would have to think that, with Billy D staying at Florida, Anthony Grant will accept the Alabama position tomorrow. Press conference on Monday.
As if basketball wasn't crazy enough, now we have a story that Ozzie Newsome is in town. Now, don't get me wrong, it could actually be for Nick Saban's football clinic. But, in my head, I'm thinking there's some backdoor stuff going on that will allow Ozzie to take over as AD once Mal retires after this basketball search. This is a very real possibility and it's been talked about forever. The fact that he's on-campus right now is a big deal. And don't think for one second that he wouldn't want to come back to Alabama.
Y'know I thought I smelled a smoke screen, but now not so much. Now that I'm putting together the connections to Anthony Grant, it seems to make a lot more sense to me. CM Newton is behind this hire because of the Rick Pitino / Billy Donovan connection. CM knows both of these coaches really well, and knows that Anthony Grant is a GREAT basketball coach.
I had the pleasure and privilege of listening to Andrew Bone speak at the Memphis Botanical Gardens last night at the Bama on the Bluff meeting, and it was incredibly informative. That kid really knows his stuff. He was a teammate of Brodie's, so he's still young, and still is in charge of his game. He knows what's going on with EVERYBODY and can spout off stats incredibly quickly.
He answered a question regarding Tennessee's latest recruiting ordeal where the assistant coaches ripped their shirts off and everybody kinda started a mosh pit screaming "UT WILDBOYS, UT WILDBOYS" and whatnot. According to Andrew, the kids all thought it was pretty cool...but these are 17 year old kids. The parents are not so enthralled about it, from what I understand.
I asked him after the meeting about the effect that the NCAA talk has had on potential recruits. I was told that it's currently not having any effect at all because the coaches don't believe anything else is going to happen. Now, on the flip side, there are a lot of elite level kids that have taken Florida St off their board now that they're on probation and whatnot. I guess we'll just have to take a wait and see approach.
If you want to read up on the latest information about the Daniel Moore trial, check out Ian's blog. He's done a great job of covering everything.
My bracket isn't that messed up right now. I played SEC homer and picked Mississippi St to beat Washington, but I picked Butler to beat LSU, so there ya go. Missed on VCU and Minnesota as well. Got everything else right, and all of my sweet 16 teams are still in it, so I'm doing MUCH better this year than last year. Haha.
With Anthony Grant being out of the tournament, and the coaching job he did last night against Ben Howland, I'd really like to see us make a run at him. He's young, energetic, and obviously knows what he's doing. He could take this program to new heights, I believe. But...I guess we shall see. I don't have any kind of feel anymore on what direction they're leaning. Of course, unlike the football search, I just don't have the desire to try and follow planes and whatnot for this one. Haha.
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Alright everyone...we're almost exactly one month away from A-Day. But before we get to that, there's more business to attend to.
If you live in Memphis, make sure you're at the Memphis Botanical Gardens (Hardin Hall) tonight at 6pm for a speaking engagement with Recruiting Analyst Andrew Bone, along with a catered dinner by Central BBQ. Admission is only $20, and it's the first social for Bama on the Bluff this year. If you'd like more information, please check out BamaontheBluff.com. This will be a great springboard into next month's Crimson Caravan at the Peabody with Coach Nick Saban. Don't forget, you can still purchase tickets to that by clicking here. Make sure you support this! We need to show how strong our contingency is here in Memphis.
A new name has popped up for the basketball coaching search - Tim Floyd. I'm not sure what I think about this, but it might be a good fit. I think he's charismatic and a good teacher of the game, so it might work out. He's a good recruiter to go along with that, so I think he'd probably fit in well here.
Calipari's name has tapered off lately (thank goodness), but I, like everyone else, am starting to hear more about Tom Izzo. The fact that CM Newton met with him last week kinda raised my eyebrows a lil bit. Sure, CM said they didn't talk about the Alabama job or anything...but I have a feeling there was a reason for them meeting, more so than just two buddies grabbing dinner. I'm starting to see smoke on this one.
Well, Alabama's season is officially over. I've gotta admit, the loss to Tennessee was incredibly disheartening. Not even being in the ballgame 5 minutes into it really put a damper on the evening.
And I gotta admit...it would not hurt my feelings at all if Scenario Hillman is not on this team next year. I don't know how on earth Pearson kept him on the floor as long as he did against Vandy and Tennessee. Hell, the first pass he threw against Tennessee was a lazy pass when it was already obvious that they were overplaying EVERYTHING. Hillman absolutely is the cancer for that team and it's not even close. Get him out of there and you've got yourself a 10-win ball team.
But enough of that. What's done is done and we are now looking at a whole slew of candidates that could end up with the job - Mike Anderson from Missouri, Anthony Grant from VCU, etc. The word is that UA wants to make a BIG splash with this hire, so they're going to go after some HUGE names. And the one that keeps coming up is John Calipari. Now, I cannot think of a single reason why Calipari would leave Memphis for Alabama. But I keep hearing it. Usually where there's smoke, there's fire. We shall see what happens, but I wouldn't put anything on it. Just doesn't make any sense.
Spring practice opened well, from what I understand. Didn't really do a whole lot. More or less got familiar with the drills again and prepared to run through them next week after spring break. I think this team will be one to be reckoned with. They just seem to have that fire - kinda like last year's team. Not to mention Coach Saban started early trying to weed out the bad seeds (Prince Hall and Brandon Fanney). We'll see if they end up with a scholly after being suspended indefinitely.
Tennessee picked up mega-super-ultra-all-star recruit, and almost guaranteed team cancer, Bryce Brown over the weekend. Woo hoo for them. Coach O and Kid Kiffin will have the NCAA crawling all over Knoxville within 2 years. Gotta love it. Read more here.
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Coach Saban has his 3rd commitment for next year's recruiting class with Austin Shepherd, a 6'4" 316-pound offensive lineman from North Gwinnett High in Suwanee, GA. He hasn't been rated yet, but my guess is he'll be a 4*. He's a big ol boy too. Fits Saban's idea of an Offensive Guard perfectly.
Lane Kiffin. Boy howdy. He just gets himself into more crap. Now there are stories coming out about him telling a South Carolina recruit that if he goes and plays for the Gamecocks he'll "end up pumping gas for the rest of his life like all the other players from that state who had gone to South Carolina." Ok, that makes Florida, Alabama, and South Carolina that will likely beat the Vols by 4 touchdowns next year, if not more. Read Orson's thoughts on it here.
Oh yeah, and speaking of Florida...
Yup. If you didn't think they were going to use Kiffin's crap as motivation...well, you were just an idiot. It's already in the football complex. I mean, how dumb do you have to be to call out the defending national champs, who don't lose ANYBODY, especially when you're playing in their house. Wow.
We have a legitimate chance to win this year's SEC tournament. And no, I'm not insane. This is the weakest field that's been in this tournament in a long time...and we're playing the best basketball we've played in quite a while. So make sure you're keeping up with it. There's the real chance we could be playing in the championship game on Sunday...and the real chance we could lose in the first round. If nothing else, it'll make things interesting. Don't forget...last year it was Arkansas and Georgia in the championship game.
There is nothing better on this PLANET than watching the Vols get their hearts ripped out. Something that just kinda catches them in the throat. Thompson Boling Arena went from loud and rowdy, to dead silent in about 4 seconds on Sunday. Now that was fun. And that makes 2 road wins in a row. Hello NIT. Pearson will live to coach on for at least 2 more games now. And with the way the team's been playing lately, and the way the SEC has been this year...don't put it past this team to win the tournament. But...we won't count our chickens before they hatch. Thursday night, 6:30pm against Vanderbilt.
There is a lot of mess going on with the Textbook scandal from last year. I have a feeling that Mal Moore, after the basketball coaching search is done, will be retiring. That will be our scapegoat to the NCAA - loss of another athletic director. It's sad that, even after the DuBose stuff, that this University would overlook even the smallest of issues like that. Granted, it's petty petty petty things (we're not talking about much here, folks), but the fact that we would do it after such a harsh penalty just a few years ago is just bazaar.
Julio Jones received enough write-in votes to actually win one of four senate seats for the College of Human Environmental Sciences. And he actually accepted it. Read more here. Haha.
In a genius move by both parties, Coach Saban has hired Mike Groh (Al's son, and former UVA offensive coordinator) as a graduate assistant. Yeah, that's right. A GA. Read more here. Interesting stuff, man. I'm definitely down with it.
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Tonight is a HUUUUGE game. Auburn has been playing extremely well as of late, but so have we. Anthony Brock and the rest of the guys have been shooting lights out. Hopefully we can keep it up. Tune into ESPN at 8pm to watch it. Don't forget...we get the Iron Bowl trophy back tonight. :-)
For all my peeps in Memphis, go check out BamaontheBluff.com and get your information about going to hear recruiting guru Andrew Bone speak at the Memphis Botanic Gardens. It's gonna be a great night. I'll be there, and you should too.