Sprints // 03.11.09

Basketball Awards. Coach of the Year goes to LSU's Trent Johnson, no real surprise after Darrin Horn's South Carolina team had trouble handling success. Johnson's team was the best of a down SEC, so we'll likely have to wait for the NCAA tournament to find out how good they really are.

Marcus Thornton, also of LSU, was Player of the Year.

The First Team All-SEC selections:

Pos

Name

Team

G

Nick Calathes

Florida

G

Jodie Meeks

Kentucky

F

Patrick Patterson

Kentucky

F

Tasmin Mitchell

LSU

G

Marcus Thornton

LSU

F/C

Jarvis Varnado

Mississippi State

G

Devan Downey

South Carolina

F

Tyler Smith

Tennessee

The rest of the awards are here.

Play ball! Auburn beats Alabama, 8-7, in your first SEC baseball game of the year. All other SEC teams win, except Arkansas, who managed to make four errors in three innings to lose to Centenary. Yes, Centenary. The most impressive non-conference win of the day might belong to Vanderbilt, which shellacked Lipscomb, 22-4.

Now might be a good time to mention that there are actually two SEC baseball games on television Sunday. For those of you with Cox Sports Television, Florida visits Arkansas at 2 p.m. ET. On CSS, Alabama hosts Georgia at 3 p.m. ET.

Another view on crime and punishment. Alligator Army reminds us that athletes are really just students -- and that many students face heavy-handed punishment without all the publicity.

While [Florida baseball player Stephen Kendall] Locke is an extreme case, an athlete who gets his charge dropped, the average student who gets a DUI is out of school before they can get kicked out. The last thing a student needs is a suspension, so it is better to withdraw before the university can get you. But, that student won't have his name in the paper or lose her athletic scholarship.

C&F is still not as comfortable about the resolution of the Carl Johnson situation as AA appears to be, but in the absence of prosecution, Johnson is innocent.

Auburn out of the NCAAs? So says Seth Emerson, though he adds a this-is-pre-tournaments caveat. A few from his bubble team rankings:

9. South Carolina
10. Florida

13. San Diego State (last in)
18. Auburn

It's an interesting list from someone who has spent a lot of time watching the bubble for Gamecocks fans.

'I said busing tables.' Lane Kiffin denies slurring every South Carolina-bred Gamecock in program history.

"I never said that to Alshon, nor would I say anything like that," an obviously concerned Kiffin said during a meeting in his office. [EMPHASIS C&F's]

Boy Wonder, you've already said many, many things like that. So color C&F skeptical. (HT: Joe Person)

In the meantime, practice gets underway in Knoxville. No reported outrageous quotes from Boy Wonder. Yet.

Leavin'. Jon Richt is transferring out of Clemson, reportedly to go to a smaller program. Or to escape the sinking feeling that he's stuck in an episode of Green Acres. One of the two. (HT: The Mayor)

The last thing they needed. Arkansas, not expected to be long for the SEC tournament? They are down by one (G/F Jason Henry), by virtue of the dreaded "violation of team rules."

Billy Gillispie is not worried. Good for him. Kentucky fans are.

SEC Alumnus News. Former Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler's relationship with the Broncos is dissolving, in a story not at all leaked by anyone in Culter's camp. I mean, there is absolutely nothing in the story that transparently reveals that Cutler's side is the one talking here.

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