Category Archives: SEC Basketball

The Sammy Curse!

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There’s alot of superstitions in sports. With the Madden Curse being one of the most infamous ones. Well here’s a lesser known and a newer one. The Sammy Curse.

What is the Curse and how did this start

This is more of a gambling thing. But the history of this is scary consistent and has a history dating back to 3 years ago. With the 2012 Florida State Seminoles team.

The knock I had on them were that they were playing a very weak schedule and blowing teams away were a result of this. They would soon take Auburn to the woodshed after a slow start.

Following years 

This would again happen to me in the following year with my own Ohio State in 2014-15. In the beginning of the year following a rough performance against Navy and then the following week Iagainst VT where we lost at home. I wrote us off along with the rest of the nation.

They would soon improve the offensive line which was my biggest knock on them and become the best team in the nation at the right time. With a 3rd string Quarterback.

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This year I wasn’t a big fan of Alabama and Clemson. Both not only went to the playoff. But won their semi final games convincingly.

This March Madness. I said one of the most overrated teams were Oklahoma and Villanova. In this year’s starting a weak era of college hoops.  But they both made the final four. Now with all those being said. Teams I bought high on. Only one of them are remaining and that’s UNC.

I promise you guys I watch sports. Whether it’s a 3 year strand of bad luck or a real curse. It is what it is.

Until next time. I’ll see you guys later!

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MSU Basketball, Ole Miss game thoughts, and Malik Newman

 

First of all, we did not get any favors from the men in stripes Wednesday night. That was a ticky officiating crew, but I’m sure everyone that watched the game already knows that.

However, the refs aren’t the reason we lost the game. Unforced turnovers has killed MSU basketball all year, and last night was no different. That is a facet of the game that has got to be corrected, and corrected quickly.

The Rebels have a pretty decent basketball team. I’m not sure they will make it to the NCAA tournament because of some bad losses. However, they do have some good wins, but bad losses can often trump good wins.

I do not know how they have lost some of the games that they have managed to lose. They have decent inside play and fantastic guard play. They also have really good depth. They also have a “star” player in Stefan Moody.

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Moody is a very good player. Last night was my first opportunity to watch him play. I could tell that he wasn’t having his best game shooting, but its obvious he is at least as good as advertised… possibly better than advertised.

We have a player coming in next year, Tookie Brown, who reminds me a little bit of Moody. Watching Stefan has excited me about seeing Brown suit up in the maroon and white next year.

As far as the Bulldog basketball team is concerned, we have looked much better the last several games. It gives me a “ray” of hope that perhaps not all is lost.

Coach Rick Ray is learning as he goes and his improvements, though small steps, are apparent. This team is now competing on a fairly consistent basis – perhaps not always winning, but at least making a game of it. This team is in need of another experienced inside man as well as a “shooter”.

It is possible that we already had them on the roster, but then Johnny Zuppardo’s season ended before it started (of course) & Maurice Dunlap hasn’t been very healthy all season. Dunlap, however, probably needs another year before he contributes as expected. We will just have to wait and see.

N’doye and Oliver Black are still very raw. Both are very workable pieces and pretty doggone talented. They might very possibly be ready to contribute by next year.

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I wish Coach Ray would go out and find a college ready JUCO shooter or find a way to get Malik Newman in next season. If he can do that the 2015-2016 Bulldog basketball team will have an opportunity to take that next step and will be a great team.

If he can get Malik Newman, our shooting woes are over. The kid is better than any JUCO player in the Nation. In my opinion, he’s the best high school player in the nation. He could potentially leave Starkville with his own statue. Quite frankly, he’s just that good.

That said, things are starting to look positive for the future of our beloved Bulldogs. I hope that we give Rick Ray at least one more year if he continues competing on a high level for the remainder of this year. You can see that he’s learning from his mistakes, and that will certainly make him better. I have always believed in his potential as a coach and there has never been any question about his standards as a leader and disciplinarian of a team. If the improvement continues, then Coach Ray is the man for the job, because he is one very likable person who lives up to the decent, honest standards that we have for our athletic teams in Starkville.

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Malik Newman can be the savior of the bulldog program. Malik’s dad is one of my all time favorite Bulldogs, but he can build his own legacy as a Bulldog. He is the missing link and has the potential to bring our Mississippi State Bulldog basketball program back to prominence.

4 ideal candidates for the UT job

Almost every time a big name coaching gig becomes open, the first two names that come out of people’s mouths is Gregg Marshall of Wichita State and Shaka Smart of VCU.

And while most people (actually most UT fans on social media) believe the two aforementioned names would be great for Tennessee basketball program,  you have to have a backup plan if you can’t get the hot name in the coaching world.

So I decided to come up with my four ideal candidates for the Tennessee job.

Donnie Tyndall, Southern Miss

The skinny:The world was introduced to Tyndall in 2012 when his Morehead State Eagles defeated the Louisville Cardinals in the NCAA Tournament. After the departure of Larry Eustachy to Colorado State,  Tyndall would be tapped as the Golden Eagles’ head man. In 2014, Southern Miss won its second Conference USA regular season title and a school record 29 wins.

Why he’s on this list: Southern Miss is one of the worst jobs in all of college basketball (crappy arena, little fan support, etc) and for a coach to eke out 29 wins at a school like Southern Miss is nothing short of a miracle. Plus Tyndall’s salary is $500,000, with a buyout of the same amount.

Chris Mack, Xavier

The Skinny: One of my favorite coaches in all of college basketball, Mack has led his alma mater to two Sweet 16s and two additional Big Dance trips.

Why hes on the list: Unlike Martin,Mack has a personality that could win over Vol fans. And if you don’t believe me, check out his Twitter feed.

 Ben Howland

The Skinny: Howland took UCLA to three straight Final Fours, which included a berth in the national title game in 2006. While the last few seasons in Westwood weren’t kind to him,  Howland also rebuilt the Pittsburgh program, where he took the Panthers to a Sweet 16 appearance and two regular season Big East title.

Why he’s on this list: Howland prior to his time in Pittsburgh had never coached outside the West Coast. Despite that red mark, he made basketball matter at Pittsburgh and the seeds he planted 15 years ago can be seen today with Jamie Dixon.

Michael White,  Louisiana Tech

The Skinny: The son of Duke athletic director Kevin White,  the younger White led Louisiana Tech to a share of the Conference USA regular season championship in 2014 as well as back-to-back 20-win seasons.

Why he’s on this list: A former player and assistant at Ole Miss, White understands the SEC. More importantly, during his time as an assistant with the Rebels, a stretch that saw the Rebels reach the NIT Final Four twice as well as four 20-win seasons and a litany of top recruiting classes, the 37 year-old would be a perfect fit for the Vols.

 

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Cuonzo Martin=Ken Hatfield

Before Clemson won the ACC football championship in 2011, the last time the Tigers achieved that feat was in 1991.

That year, Clemson was coached by a guy named Ken Hatfield, who ironically coached Arkansas to its last conference title in football as they won the Southwest Conference title in 1989.Hatfield, who took the job at Clemson despite never visiting the campus, would enjoy success in his three seasons as Tigers coach, posting top 25 finishes in 1991 and 1993 and a 32-13-1 record in three seasons.

And while Hatfield had some success in Clemson, there was one problem.

He wasn’t his predecessor Danny Ford, the man who led Clemson to the national title in 1981 and arguably the greatest coach in program history.

So when the Rice job opened in late 1993, Hatfield bounced.

Other than Ray Mears, who was before my time, no coach in Tennessee basketball history was as popular as Bruce Pearl.

In his six seasons as coach, Pearl reached three Sweet Sixteens, led the program to its first #1 ranking and Elite Eight, and made Tennessee basketball matter.

Cuonzo Martin on the other hand, was more closed off than accessible, a coach that on the sideline had the expression of a rock, a departure from the extroverted Pearl.

And while that may seem fine at places like Missouri State, being stoic in Knoxville doesn’t fly well.

Cuonzo Martin was a great safe hire for Tennessee.

His story of overcoming cancer is inspiring.

But he never could escape the shadow of Bruce Pearl.

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Another Look Back – Rick Ray, Marshall Henderson and the State of the State in Mississippi College Hoops

Over the weekend my co-hort in crime at Makeitrainsports.com, Acey Roberts wrote a piece entitled, Mississippi State’s Coach Rick Ray Loses His Temper with Ole Miss Marshall Henderson after Tough Road Loss. 

First, a little disclaimer – Make it Rain Sports is not a newspaper but more “sports entertainment.”  While we all get along and sometimes agree to disagree, we are not shy to share our opinion or even sometimes border the lines of “homer” if we have a point to be made.  Some people like it, some don’t, and that’s fine.

If everyone liked the same thing, the world would be out of fried chicken and catfish.  Now back to the topic at hand which is Ray, Henderson and the state of Mississippi College Basketball.

Obviously by now everyone has seen, read and heard about Mississippi State head basketball coach Rick Ray’s obscenity towards Ole Miss’s Marshall Henderson.  Rick Ray issued an official apology and while I certainly do not condone Ray’s actions, I tend to take the Chris Rock motto when looking at this incident.  “I’m not saying he shoulda’ did it but, I understand.”

If you take a look back at the initial clip in Roberts’ article and the gif that is going around, it’s obvious Henderson is mouthing something as he glances over to the Mississippi State bench.  Obviously, Ray and others just want this to go away, and it will, but it is coming out now, by those that were close to courtside, Henderson uttered a phrase with obscenities that told Ray to, “get his Goons off his court.”

Let’s remember Ray doesn’t have a past like Bob Knight or any other hot headed coach.  Ray is normally a very mellow guy and just tells it like it is.   And, let’s remember who Ray got into it with.  Yea that guy, Marshall Henderson.  You know the guy right?

The same guy that’s famous for this.

Or the guy who flipped off the entire Lasalle fan base last year.

Or the same Henderson that got after the entire Florida fan base.

Henderson is far from a choir boy, so to think that he may have said something outlandish to set Ray off, is not far fetched.

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Again, I am not taking up for Ray, but I understand.  This is another situation that honestly got blown way out of proportion.

Since the social media boom, we’ve seen several instances of this type of confrontation between a coach and player or a coach and rabid fan.  This is something that has always happened but it is magnified more now, than 10-years ago due to fan access.

On February 1, 2011, ESPN released an article titled, The Case Against Cursing Coaches and while an interesting read, this is not anything new to anyone that has ever been around sports culture.

Society has become so soft and offended by damn near everything now days, that anything like this shocks dang near everyone and honestly it’s been going on forever.

Again, I’m not saying he shoulda done it – but I understand.

Another issue I have to take Roberts to task with is his quote saying, “Ole Miss and Mississippi State is the SEC’s most played basketball rivalry.  Both programs rarely have major success in basketball, the biggest item up for grabs when they play is pride.”

The first part is accurate – the second part is one of those items I referenced earlier bordering on “homer status.

While Ole Miss’s basketball success is limited to just one sweet-16, seven NCAA tournament appearances and two conference tournament championships, some could argue they are most remembered for being a CBS sports highlight whipping boy for Bryce Drew and Valparaiso.  Or, maybe Andy Kennedy’s “international incident,” or maybe just “White Girl Wednesday.”

Conversely, State has a Final Four appearance, an elite eight stop, three sweet-16 appearances, 10-NCAA tournament appearances, four conference tournament championships and 10-SEC regular season championships.

Today, Ole Miss is a better program but, to say that BOTH have rarely had major success is laughable; just as it’s laughable that some are actually shocked a coach fired back at Marshall Henderson.

It’s not the first and it won’t be the last.  He’s Marshall Henderson.  He brings out the worst in everyone.