Sidelines with John Clay

Possible trouble at Auburn and more college basketball notes

Bruce Pearl on Kentucky: ‘Those guys are winners’

Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl talks to the media after his team’s 80-53 loss to Kentucky on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, at Rupp Arena. UK improved to 12-2 in SEC play. Auburn fell to 7-7 after its second loss to the Cats this season.
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Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl talks to the media after his team’s 80-53 loss to Kentucky on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, at Rupp Arena. UK improved to 12-2 in SEC play. Auburn fell to 7-7 after its second loss to the Cats this season.

Some Tuesday college basketball links:

Another Bruce Pearl assistant could be in trouble. Ira Bowman was allegedly part of a bribe scheme at Penn. “Auburn basketball assistant coach Ira Bowman was named by former Penn coach Jerome Allen to have played part in a bribe scheme at Penn back when Bowman was an assistant coach there, per a Monday night report by Philly.com. The Philly.com report cited Law360.com on Allen’s testimony saying he took bribes from a Florida businessman to get the man’s son into Penn as a basketball player, and that Bowman was eventually involved in the scheme.”

At least one writer is picking Kentucky to win the SEC Tournament. Yahoo’s Jeff Eisenberg picks Kentucky over Auburn in finals at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

How can Kentucky be the No. 1 seed in Louisville? Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader lays out the scenario in which John Calipari’s Cats can end up playing at the KFC Yum Center for a trip to the Final Four in Minneapolis.

Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm have UK as the No. 1 in the South.

Sports Illustrated has UK as a No. 1 seed, but in the Midwest. Michael Beller of SI writes, “The top of the tournament field has a new look going into championship week as the dust settles on the regular season. Gone from the top line are Duke and Tennessee, replaced by North Carolina and Kentucky. It’s now hard to see the Blue Devils, which spent more time as our No. 1 overall seed than any other team, being at the top of any region, with Virginia and North Carolina safely ahead of them on the seed list. Kentucky has a leg up on Tennessee and LSU for a No. 1 seed, but it’s likely that one SEC team ends up on the top line.”

John Calipari wants fresh legs and fresh minds. That’s the UK coach’s recipe heading into the postseason.

Tennessee’s Grant Williams named SEC Player of the Year. AP voters put Kentucky’s PJ Washington on the first team and UK’s Tyler Herro was named Newcomer of the Year. Ole Miss’ Kermit Davis was named Coach of the Year.

Duke has one out and one in for the ACC Tournament. Marques Bolden is out with a knee injury. But it appears Zion Williamson will be back for the week in Charlotte. It would be Zion’s first action since he blew out his Nike shoe and sprained his knee against North Carolina in Durham.

Louisville’s Jordan Nwora voted ACC’s Most Improved Player. Nwora went from averaging 11.6 points per game last season to 17.3 this year. He beat out Notre Dame’s John Mooney for the award.

Ole Miss is a possible UK opponent. The Rebels play Alabama on Thursday night at the SEC Tournament with the winner meeting the Cats on Friday night. Parrish Alford of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal gives his thoughts on Ole Miss.

Tennessee’s Rick Barnes is analyzing UT’s loss at Auburn. The Vols coach wants more free throws and fewer three-pointers. With a chance to tie LSU for the regular season title, Tennessee fell 84-80 at Auburn on Saturday. The Vols are the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.

Barnes was asked for his take on the situation at LSU.

LSU students are planning a protest for Tuesday. The students are protesting the school’s decision to suspend had coach Will Wade after the Yahoo report of Wade allegedly discussing an offer for a recruit on an FBI wiretap.

Foot problems continue for Kansas State’s Dean Wade. Remember, the Wildcats’ center was limited to just eight minutes in K-State’s Sweet 16 win over Kentucky in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Now Wade is doubtful for this week’s Big 12 Tournament because of “discomfort in his foot.”

Remember UNC Greensboro? It led Kentucky 40-37 at the half before losing 78-61 at Rupp Arena on Dec. 1. The Spartans lost to Wofford 70-58 in the Southern Conference Tournament final on Monday night. So can a 28-6 SoCon team get in the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid?

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