Mississippi State finishes off Kentucky in the SEC Tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
After watching State choke away another lead to Kentucky and lose in overtime for the second time in as many chances, I tweeted/twittered/twit that if I were a State fan I'd be on top of a building, throwing up one last time before I jumped off. I mean, holy roundhouse kick to the junk. That was a terrible way to lose a basketball game. Throw in that the prize between winning and losing was a trip to the NCAA Tournament or a first-round date with Jackson State in the NIT, and the pain jumps exponentially. I'm quite certain I would have woken up this morning face down in a drain pool, incoherently mumbling something about blocking out and a free throw violation. Then I'd spend the next few days wandering from one YMCA shelter to another, questioning why I even bother with sports at all. But that's just me. I tend to get a little carried away.
Initially, I thought the Bulldogs had done enough to find themselves in the Tournament. After all, they just outplayed the number two team in the country and to get to that game beat one team that was Tournament-bound and another that was a fellow bubble resident. But after a phone call with a Belly of the Beast correspondent, I became convinced State did not belong in the field of 64 (oops, 65. Can't forget about the play-in game.). Yes, State certainly has greater potential than Florida, and even Vanderbilt (who has to be one of the worst four seeds ever), but ultimately Florida took it upon themselves to, you know, show up for most of their games (two bad losses: South Alabama and Georgia). State did not, which explains the losses to Rider, Western Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn (a horrible, horrible loss), Arkansas and, in one of the worst efforts I can recall, the debacle against Tennessee on senior day in Starkville. If they had decided to show up in just two of those games, they're 25-9 and not playing Jackson State this week.
Ole Miss upsets Tennessee, plays its way into the Tournament.
Instead of a 10 or an 11 seed in the real Tournament, the Rebels find themselves as a two seed in the once-upon-a-time prestigious NIT where they will play Troy in the first round. These extra games (or maybe just game) will give the Rebels a chance to improve as a team, get used to life without Eniel Polynice (I think we've seen the last of him and his ulcer-inducing turnovers), work on some Chris Warren-Terrico White two-man game and give yet another uninspired effort. But, to their credit (although it seems insane to credit a team for actually trying), the Rebels did show up against Arkansas and Tennessee in their last two games, which I didn't think would happen. So watch out Troy Trojans, the Rebels are firing on 65% of their cylinders now!
Jeremiah Masoli looks forward to the 2010 season at Oregon.
The good news is that he's got a year to focus on the 2011 season. Oregon coach Chip Kelly suspended Masoli for the entire 2010 season after his quarterback pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary on Friday. Also falling under the blanket of suspension was running back LaMichael James, who will miss one game for his harassment charge, as will something like 15 other Oregon players. Or maybe more like four. Whatever the case, even Phil Fulmer is amazed at the Chip Kelly era.
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