Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Calipari questions Cats’ drive
Kentucky's Archie Goodwin, left, speaks with head coach John Calipari during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against LIU Brooklyn at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. Kentucky won 104-75. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
FAYETTEVILLE Kentucky Coach John Calipari is enduring his first real dose of futility in four seasons with the Wildcats, and he doesn’t like it.
Kentucky lost freshman Nerlens Noel for the season with a knee injury in last Tuesday’s 69-52 loss at Florida, then followed with an 88-58 loss at Tennessee, the Vols’ largest margin of victory in the series.
“They deserved to beat us by 50,” Calipari said. “They played harder, they played rougher, they executed better. They were stronger with the ball.”
Calipari said both Florida and Tennessee took full advantage of their first victories over the Wildcats in a while.
“They rolled the car over us a couple of times,” he said. “Over, back, over, back, make sure we’re done.”
More of the same could be on the way, Calipari said, if some of his players don’t learn to be unselfish.
“We’ve got a couple of guys that are basically not real coachable,” he said. “You tell them over and over and over what you want to do, what we have to do, and they do their own thing. That’s where we are. When they realize if we don’t do this all together, we’re going to have many more of these.”
At Kentucky, where the best teams earn nicknames like “The Unforgettables,” “The Untouchables,” and “Rupp’s Runts,” the new moniker “The Uncoachables” caught on fast.
The Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader reported Calipari walked over to guard Archie Goodwin (Sylvan Hills) during the Tennessee game and said, “I can’t coach you.”
Calipari updated the “uncoachable” remark on his website Sunday, writing, “I refuse to believe they don’t have the fight in them to do this. I refuse to believe they aren’t coachable.”
Florida’s 83-52 victory at Auburn on Saturday was the Tigers’ worst home loss since 1952, when Vince Dooley, who would go on to lead the Georgia football program to the 1980 national championship, played point guard.
It was also Florida’s second 83-52 victory in SEC play, joining its rout of Missouri on Jan. 19, and its fifth victory by 30-plus points in conference games.
CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm revised his NCAA Tournament projection Sunday to include just three SEC teams: Florida, Ole Miss and Missouri. Palm dropped Kentucky from his projections.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi kept those four SEC teams in his latest projection.
Alabama is second in the SEC standings, but the Crimson Tide are not included in projections mostly because of losses to Mercer and Tulane. The SEC’s conference Ratings Percentage Index rating is No. 8, right between the Atlantic 10 and the Missouri Valley.
Alabama has risen to sole possession of second place with a 9-3 SEC record, and the Crimson Tide have done it by thriving in close games.
Alabama has a 6-1 record in games decided by four points or fewer in conference play.
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said he thinks the Tide are deserving of an NCAA Tournament bid.
“Without a doubt, I think they are,” he said. “You look where they are, second in the conference, and they should be one of those teams.”Milestone
Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy tied the school record with his 144th victory at the school Saturday.
Kennedy, who is in his seventh season, tied BL Graham, who won his 144 games in 13 years.
“I haven’t really thought a lot about it,” Kennedy said.
“It’s one of those things that you reflect upon when it’s all said and done.” Phil pressing?
Missouri point guard Phil Pressey had a key turnover with the Tigers trailing 72-71 late in the game against Arkansas on Saturday.
Pressey dribbled into Coty Clarke near midcourt and the ball wound up in Clarke’s hands. Arkansas won 73-71 when Jabari Brown’s three-point attempt at the buzzer skirted of the rim.
Pressey, who made 2 of 9 shots against Arkansas, scored nine points and had four turnovers, also had critical errors down the stretch in road losses to LSU and Texas A&M.
“We need Phil to be Phil,” Missouri Coach Frank Haith said. “He’s had late-game moments that have stuck out a little bit.”
Hitting the mark
Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators have won 20 games for the 15th consecutive season during his 17-year tenure. Florida had won 20 or more games in a season just four times before Donovan’s arrival.
Georgia Coach Mark Fox took issue with a no call on the Bulldogs’ final play of regulation at Ole Miss on Saturday. With 0.6 seconds remaining and the game tied 70-70, Georgia’s Nemanja Djurisic threw a lob from the sideline in front of the Georgia bench to the left side of the basket for Donte’ Williams, whose tip rolled off the front rim. Williams appeared to be bumped by Ole Miss guard Nick Williams on the play, but no foul was called.
The Rebels won 84-74 in overtime.
Fox simply chuckled on the SEC teleconference Monday when asked his impressions of the final play and the closing minutes, when Ole Miss rallied from a nine-point deficit.
“I’ll just say I had a chance to view it and we’ve got to get ready for Arkansas,” Fox said.
$5K the hard way
Auburn student Stephen Bass won $5,000 toward tuition at halftime of the Tigers’ 83-75 loss to Arkansas last week in dramatic fashion.
Bass had 24 seconds to make a layup, free throw, three-pointer and half court shot in the Golden Flake Tuition Shootout. He quickly made the layup and free throw on his first tries, but air-balled his first three point attempt. With no outside help, Bass corralled the loose ball and missed again from three-point range before hitting his next try with about four seconds left. Bass quickly scooped the ball, took a few dribbles to midcourt then launched his winning shot as the public address announcer reached “one” on his countdown.
The horn went off just before Bass’ shot swished through the net, touching off a big reaction from the crowd of about 5,700 at Auburn Arena.
Missouri out rebounded Arkansas 47-31 on Saturday to improve its SEC lead in rebounding margin to 10.2 per game, good for fourth in the NCAA. … Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy, whose team had lost four of five entering Saturday’s game against Georgia, inserted Derrick Millinghaus and Nick Williams in the starting lineup in place of Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White. … Georgia fell to 0-3 in overtime games with its 84-74 loss at Ole Miss.
By the numbers 4 SEC teams with undefeated home records in SEC play (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri) 5 Florida victories by 30 or more points in SEC games 8 Victories for Tennessee over a defending national champion, in 11 tries
TODAY’S GAMES - All times Central
LSU at Tennessee, 6 p.m.
Florida at Missouri, 8 p.m.
Game of the week
FLORIDA AT MISSOURI
8 p.m. Central tonight, ESPN The Gators have lost once (at Arkansas) in SEC play, while Missouri has gone unbeaten at home. The Tigers, hot after blowing a four-point lead in final 30 seconds at Arkansas, are out to avenge a 31-point setback in Gainesville, Fla., from earlier in the season.
Sports, Pages 20 on 02/19/2013