Ready for the news from around the East Division? Well, here it is in quick-hitter fashion:
Vandy: After being named Sports Person of the Year by the Nashville Sports Council, Bobby Johnson said, “There’s no more pressure on us now than there was before.”
Vandy: With a game at LSU tomorrow night, Kevin Stallings is praising the improvement Marcus Thornton has shown for the Tigers this year.
UT: Bruce Pearl is proud that his team is still tied for the SEC East lead: “A team with lesser talent and less character could have packed it in.”
UT: Whether it creates pressure on his team or not, Pearl has made it clear that both South Carolina AND Alabama are huge games for the Vols this week.
UT: Point guard Bobby Maze hopes to see more students in the stands for the season finale against Alabama, saying the last two games, “it was like they gave up on us.”
UT: Scotty Hopson has been named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week for the second time this season.
UT: Finally, a snowstorm kept assistant Steve Forbes from being on the Volunteer bench in Gainesville on Sunday. Pearl was almost stuck in an airport with him.
UT: Drew Edwards of The Knoxville News Sentinel breaks down UT’s linebacking corps heading into spring practice.
UT: Monte Kiffin has told The Orlando Sentinel that his son Lane “felt bad” for wrongly accusing Urban Meyer of cheating. “Yeah, he screwed up.” But “He’s not arrogant. He respects Urban Meyer. He respects all coaches.”
UK: Joe Biddle of The Tennessean is already throwing dirt on Billy Gillispie, writing “The guy is losing it.” Cat fans already calling for their coach’s head (before he completes his second season) will probably love this one.
UK: Mark Story of The Lexington Herald-Leader believes that after four double-digit loss seasons, “Kentucky basketball has lost its mojo and its swagger.”
UK: Gillispie said that he will probably go with a softer non-conference schedule next year because “you don’t want that to be your undoing as far as the NCAA Tournament.” (Earth to Billy: UK’s non-conference strength of schedule was only #182 this year… and Tennessee’s tough schedule is one of the reasons they WILL make the tournament.)
UK: Former Wildcat Mike Casey (late 1960s) is no fan of Gillispie, and he does him a big disservice by saying, “First of all, I think he’s in over his head. I think he has no clue as to what’s going on in the game.”
UK: The coach said that it’s hard to put together a consistent lineup because he doesn’t know what his players will give him on a given night.
USC: The Gamecocks have a huge showdown with Tennessee on Thursday night, but the overall East race is still cloudier than you might think.
USC: Darrin Horn is a finalist for the 2009 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award (along with LSU’s Trent Johnson).
USC: Horn is not a finalist for the 2009 Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award (and neigther is LSU’s Johnson).
USC: Joe Person of The State lists five Carolina footballers (not named Stephen Garcia) to keep an eye on this spring.
USC: Keeping with the five theme, Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier serves up five questions facing the Cocks in spring practice.
USC: One player to watch will be linebacker Eric Norwood who has already been put on the pre-pre-pre watch list for the Lombardi Award.
UGA: It looks as if Georgia will now be in a tougher recruiting battle with Georgia Tech for in-state prospects each year.
UGA: Linebackers coach John Jancek is staying on Mark Richt’s staff after turning down an offer to become the defensive coordinator at South Florida.
UF: Nick Calathes believes his team will make the NCAA Tournament. (What’s he supposed to say? That he doesn’t believe in his team?)
UF: According to Kevin Brockway of The Gainesville Sun, if the Gators don’t make the tournament, it will be because Billy Donovan the recruiter “failed Billy D the coach.”
UF: Did Urban Meyer get “crunk” over a prospect’s commitment? Do you know what crunk is?
UF: Several of Meyer’s assistants saw their contracts expire in January, but they say they aren’t worried by it.