Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky basketball a No. 1 seed in Louisville? Bracketologists think so.

Keldon Johnson had a reason for wanting to go home, but it worked out

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari said that after being given the option to go home for spring break, his team decided to stay in Lexington. Freshman Keldon Johnson said he would have liked to go home, but it all worked out.
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Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari said that after being given the option to go home for spring break, his team decided to stay in Lexington. Freshman Keldon Johnson said he would have liked to go home, but it all worked out.

Kentucky’s win over Florida on Saturday coupled with Tennessee’s loss at Auburn and Duke’s loss at North Carolina has elevated the Cats to the No. 1 seed line, according to a couple of bracketologists.

In his latest bracket, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Kentucky as the No. 1 seed in Louisville’s South Region. Lunardi has Duke as the No. 2 seed in the South. His other No. 1 seeds are Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga.

CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm also has Kentucky as the No. 1 seed in Louisville. Palm also has Duke as the No. 2 seed in the South Region. He, too, has Virginia, Gonzaga and North Carolina as the other No. 1 seeds.

Lunardi and Palm each have seven SEC teams in his 68-team bracket.

To the links:

Will UT or UK fans take over Nashville? John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinel asks that question heading into this week’s SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Kentucky fans normally flood the Music City venue for the tourney, but Tennessee fans have traveled well this season. UK Coach John Calipari said that when UK played UT in Lexington it was the first time in his 10-year run he could remember seeing opponent colors in Rupp Arena.

Without coach and two stars, LSU did what it had to do. Will Wade was suspended indefinitely after Yahoo reported an FBI wiretap had intercepted the LSU coach discussing a recruiting offer. Freshman guard Javonte Smart, the subject of that offer, is being held out of games. And freshman forward Naz Reid is out with an injury. But LSU still whipped Vanderbilt 80-59 on Saturday to win the regular-season SEC title. (For now.)

LSU’s basketball season was too good to be true. So writes Glenn Guilbeau of the Shreveport News. Guilbeau says Wade’s comments on the wiretap to now-convicted middleman Christian Dawkins were those of an “immature, reckless and slightly arrogant coach.”

LSU investigation a giant witch hunt? That’s what Tigers fans were saying at the Vanderbilt game on Saturday night. They are blaming athletics director Joe Alleva for suspending Wade.

LSU basketball fans are angry at the wrong guy. So says Chattanooga Times Free Press columnist Mark Wiedmer. Wade began his head coaching career at Chattanooga.

Does South Carolina have an NCAA Tournament case? The Gamecocks are the No. 4 seed in the SEC Tournament after going 11-7 in league play. But USC is just 16-15 overall.

Alabama’s NCAA hopes in peril after loss to Arkansas. Avery Johnson’s Crimson Tide head into the postseason on a three-game losing streak with losses in six of its last eight games. That’s not exactly a strong finish. Bama plays Ole Miss on Thursday night in Nashville.

Daniel Gafford continues to excel. The Arkansas center scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Razorbacks win over Alabama. Former Arkansas center Joe Kleine approves.

Mississippi State gets to 22 wins. The Bulldogs beat Texas A&M 92-81 on Saturday to wrap up the No. 6 seed for Nashville. Ben Howland’s club will face the winner of Texas A&M and Vanderbilt on Thursday. No matter the outcome, MSU looks a lock for the NCAA Tournament.

Missouri freshmen the talk of Senior Day. Though Mizzou lost 73-68 to Ole Miss on Saturday, freshman guard Torrence Watson led the Tigers with 20 points. Cuonzo Martin thinks he has a solid foundation for the future in Columbia. First, however, Mizzou plays Georgia in the first game of the SEC tourney on Wednesday.

Mississippi State wins the SEC women’s title. The Bulldogs rolled over Cinderella No. 10 seed Arkansas 101-70 to win the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament in Greenville, S.C. Teaira McCowan scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Mississippi State.

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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