Sidelines with John Clay

Quadrants, Julius Randle, Lousiville’s tough loss and more links

Teammates pile onto Virginia guard De’Andre Hunter (12) following his winning three-point basket at the buzzer to give the Cavaliers a 67-66 win over Louisville in an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Louisville, Ky.
Teammates pile onto Virginia guard De’Andre Hunter (12) following his winning three-point basket at the buzzer to give the Cavaliers a 67-66 win over Louisville in an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Louisville, Ky. Associated Press

Some links of interest:

▪ The new quadrant system will have an impact in March, writes Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports. “Another word has infiltrated college basketball’s March parlance this year. You’ll no doubt hear commentators say ‘quadrant’ over the next 10 days just as frequently as they do ‘bubble’ or ‘bracket.’ The NCAA announced last summer that it was tweaking the way its selection committee groups wins and losses to place greater emphasis on where games are played. The new quadrant system devalues home wins and increases the importance of victories attained at a neutral site or on the road.”

▪ Julius Randle may have finally found his groove, writes Keith Rivas of Fansided. “The Los Angeles Lakers have come out of the other side of the All-Star break in great form, winning their first three on this side of the fun-filled weekend off. To start off the month of March, they’ll take their three game winning streak to Miami, where they’ll face the Heat in hopes of a fourth straight win. While keeping the streak alive would be great, something more important should be what we really watch for during those 48 minutes. Julius Randle has quickly gone from one of the most tradable players in professional basketball to the third-best scorer on the Los Angeles Lakers in what feels like the blink of an eye.”

▪ Florida basketball is becoming more of a defensive unit, reports Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun. “It’s been a long and sometimes painstaking process. But heading into March, Florida basketball coach Mike White has transformed the Gators from a team in which defense was an afterthought to one that is capable of shutting down a team on any given night. Florida is entering March ranked 21st in the nation in Kenpom.com’s adjusted defensive efficiency ratings and is coming off one of its best defensive efforts of the season, limiting Alabama to 30-percent shooting from the floor and 20 percent from 3-point range in a 73-52 win over the Tide on Tuesday night.”

▪ Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale need to start blaming coaches, writes Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. “Powerful, persuasive ESPN opinion-makers Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale and the rest of the college basketball media need to take a hard look at how they analyze their sport. In fact, all media members and sports fans need to stop taking the easy way out by blaming the big, bad, nameless, faceless NCAA for every transgression that arises in college basketball and start pointing the accusing finger where it belongs: At the band of lying, cheating, prostitute-providing, player-purchasing coaches in college basketball.”

▪ Graduate transfer quarterback commits to Tennessee, reports Blake Toppmeyer of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Tennessee's offseason quarterback competition just got interesting. Keller Chryst, a graduate transfer from Stanford, announced his commitment to the Vols with a tweet Thursday night. ‘Go Vols!’ Chryst wrote atop an image of the Power T with the message ‘Home Sweet Home.’”

▪ Kentucky women know tournament lives at stake, writes Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “he scouting report is likely so fresh that Kentucky won’t even have to go over it in much detail. That’s the only good news for UK as it prepares to face unbeaten and second-ranked Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Kentucky, which topped Alabama in the second round at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, will meet the league champion Bulldogs for the third time in 19 days when they face off on Friday.”

▪ Tennessee to remove Butch Jones image from video board, reports the News-Sentinel. “Butch Jones soon will no longer loom over Neyland Stadium. Weather permitting, work is scheduled to begin Monday to have Jones’ image removed from the back of the stadium's video board, UT athletic department spokesman Tom Satkowiak confirmed Wednesday. He added that the project might not be completed Monday.”

▪ Auburn and Tennessee in race for league basketball title, reports AP. “A victory by Auburn (24-6, 12-5 SEC) on Saturday would give the Tigers the No. 1 seed in next week's SEC tournament and at least a share of their first conference regular-season title since 1999. Auburn has led the SEC standings since the start of the league schedule but has dropped three of its last four games to fall into a tie for first place with No. 16 Tennessee (22-7, 12-5).”

SEC basketball game-by-game results, schedule

▪ No time for Louisville to dwell after loss to Virginia, reports Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal. “A lot can happen in 0.9 seconds of basketball. For 39 minutes and 59.1 seconds on Thursday night, Louisville played like a team ready to punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a marquee victory over No. 1 Virginia. There was fire and urgency in its defense and patience in its offense for long stretches. The Cardinals, at long last, had dropped Virginia to the canvas. Then, in a dizzying flourish of unthinkable events, Virginia came off the mat and delivered a knockout blow, stunning Louisville, 67-66.”

▪ Five-star prospect Jalek Felton leaving North Carolina, reports Andrew Carter of the Charlotte Observer. “Jalek Felton has played his final men’s basketball game at North Carolina, and has withdrawn from the university after the school suspended him late last month amid an investigation into his conduct. ‘Essentially they kicked him out without giving him his rights,’ Kerry Sutton, the Durham-based attorney who has represented Felton, said during a brief interview on Thursday. ‘It’s disturbing.’”

SEC men’s basketball Saturday

  • 12:00 - Kentucky at Florida (CBS)
  • 1:00 - Mississippi State at LSU (SEC)
  • 2:00 - Alabama at Texas A&M (ESPN2)
  • 3:30 - South Carolina at Auburn (SEC)
  • 6:00 - Georgia at Tennessee (SEC)
  • 6:00 - Arkansas at Missouri (ESPN2)
  • 8:30 - Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (SEC)
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