Sprints Upsets the Higher Seed // 05.21.09

Tournament wrap. The top four seeds all go down on the first day of the SEC tournament, with Arkansas defeating Florida 8-5, Georgia upsetting Ole Miss 6-3, Vanderbilt upending LSU 4-1 and South Carolina slamming Alabama 9-5 in 11 innings. Warning on the picks: I am currently 0-4.

So Day Two goes:

No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 Ole Miss, 11 a.m. ET, CSS, XM 199
The regular-season SEC East Champion and the regular-season SEC Co-Champion face each other in an elimination game on the second day of the tourney. Yikes. C&F picks: Ole Miss

No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Alabama, 2:30 p.m. ET, CSS, XM 199
The Tide came on strong near the end of the year and didn't play terribly poorly against South Carolina, while LSU's head seems to be elsewhere right now. C&F picks: Alabama

No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 7 Arkansas, 6 p.m. ET, CSS, XM 199
Two teams that couldn't figure out how to win a game near the end of the year finally put things together on the tournament's first day. If we're back to normalcy, the Dawgs are the better team. C&F picks: Georgia

No. 5 South Carolina vs. No. 8 Vanderbilt, 9:30 p.m. ET, CSS, XM 199
The Gamecocks continue to be red-hot. Vanderbilt's win against LSU could have been the signs of the beginning of a Fresno State-esque run. Or it could be a fluke. Here's betting it's the latter. C&F picks: South Carolina

I hate cupcakes. Not the real ones, of course, the scheduling ones. The games are boring add-ons and they don't help your team, as the Mayor argues.

Challenging non-conference schedules prepare a team for the rough-and-tumble free-for-all of league play. Opening the fall against serious competition provides focus to a team's offseason and requires players to be ready to play from the first snap.

So why are there so many lame schedules around the SEC? For the record, I would give Florida more credit than Kentucky, since FSU has at least shown signs of life in the last season or so, while Louisville has shown just how easily a new coach can demolish your school's rapidly improving reputation.

SEC also better than Big Ten at conflict resolution. The SEC Network ESPN has finished off a deal with Comcast that will keep Southern partisans happy. Your JP/Lincoln Financial/Raycom/Three Dave broadcasts are not going away; they're just ESPN products now. And SEC country gets ESPNU standard and ESPN360 for Interwebs customers.

So, basically, the SEC got a much better deal for its fans, won't go through months of battle with Comcast and can essentially claim a national sports network as a wholly owned subsidiary even though they're paying the league. What's not to like?

Wall taking it slow. Is it a sign of the state of college basketball that it's seen as newsworthy that a player might leave just one or two years before he gets his diploma instead of three? John Wall suggests he's not looking to go one-and-done, though he won't rule it out.

"My plan is to go to the University of Kentucky for the next two or three years," Wall said at a news conference at his school, Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C.

However, if UK Coach John Calipari tells [Wall] he's ready for the NBA after one season, Wall said he would follow that advice.

Two or three years? What a scholar!

Of course, not everyone is thrilled that Wall is going to UK in the first place.

The blotter. Anthone Lott is accused of defrauding former teammate Joseph Frederick Weary and a bank out of $185,000 in a construction deal gone bad. The two were on Florida's 1996 national title winners. Whether or not the allegations are true, a teammate is harming another teammate one way or the other. 

The blogfight is on. Long story short: Brian Cook blasted Nick Saban last year for signing a recruiting class the size of a small European nation despite the fact that Bama didn't even have room for a normal-sized cohort. Alabama fans said Cook was full of it. Much argument ensued about arcane NCAA rules, what constitutes a scholarship and whether the whole thing was an attemt to distract from criticisms of Rich Rodriguez.

The latest salvo came from the Capstone Report, which slammed Rodriguez for seeming to suggest he might "cut" players -- the very practice that (according to Bama fans) had been one of reasons Brian had called out Saban. Actually, the post was more calling out mgoblog for not taking on Rodriguez.

This drew a sharp response from Brian, which began by calling Alabama fans stupid -- really a very clever and original insult to sling at residents of any southern state -- made a lot of seeming points in self-defense and then finished up with "Play them off, Keyboard Cat."

Gentlemen, this is great entertainment, but please realize that no one is winning. You are both wrong to a degree, and I would go into detail, but every time I tried to illustrate why I ended up with thousands of words that no one wants to read. So I will simply grab my popcorn and watch.

Wind Sprints. Jacksonville believes it will remain too hot for Georgia ... Cherry juice: The beverage of champions ... Bizzareness at Kansas State, including secret deals with Ron Prince ...

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