published Thursday, February 28th, 2013

5-at-10: Steph Curry goes off, Saban continues 'The Process' and SEC basketball bubble watch

Gang, remember Friday's mailbag. From the "Talks too much" studios, let's remember to take a moment to remember the poetry and wisdom in some of the hooks in those great 1980s rock anthems — yes, Bret Michaels, every rose does have its thorns.

NBA silent superstar

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    Staff Photo by Dan Henry Davidson's Stephen Curry, 30, drives around App State's Marcus Wright, 24, during the second half of play. The Davidson Wildcats won over the Appalacian State Mountaineers with a final score of 84-68 during session 3 game 5 of the Southern Conference Basketball Championships held at the McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tenn., Saturday, March 7, 2009.

Steph Curry may be the best NBA player most of the country doesn't know.

The good folks in Chattanooga are well-aware of Mr. Curry considering we watched his exploits throughout his career in the Southern Conference. In fact, our UTC hoops ace David Uchiyama sent this along in the wee hours of the morning:

"Curry dropped 54 points in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. Here's the link to him playing in McKenzie, and burying a 3/4 court shot at about the 0:45 mark. (He also made a couple sweet passes to prove he had pro potential in '09.)

Scoring 54 points in a rec-league game is impressive. Doing it in MSG is awesome in its awesomeness.

Tip of the fedora kid, and congrats. We knew you when and we knew it then.

And this got us thinking (yes, it is a scary proposition, Spy). Considering Curry and his dad Dell, a former NBA sharpshooter, and his brother Seth, a Duke guard, all have some accomplishments with the ball in the hands, let's try this Rushmore:

Which family camp of sports-specific skill would be the most accomplished and highly regarded? We'll go with the Manning Family QB Camp, the Curry Family Shooting Clinic, The Neikro Group on how to throw a knuckler and Canseco Family Fantasy Steroid Experience.

Who you got?

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Spring is about to sprung

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    Alabama's head coach Nick Saban walks the sideline.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Nick Saban booted the four Alabama players who ran afoul of the law earlier this month.

Since Saban recruited them, each was a big-time recruit. Still, each had expended his chance to play for the Tide. In truth the only surprising part of this is that it took this long.

Want another sneaky interesting storyline to watch with the Tide? Even with the dismissals of defensive back Eddie Williams, linebackers Tyler Hayes and D.J. Pettway and running back Brent Calloway, the defection of receiver Marvin Shinn, and if receiver Danny Woodson's suspension becomes permanent, Alabama could be 10 over the scholarship limit if all of the 2013 signing class qualifies. It's all about The Process.

And yes, those sounds of eagerness are the pads being pulled and the helmets polished. Spring practice starts very soon — as soon as this weekend for the Georgia Bulldogs — and we're ready because we're well-aware of the sports vacuum that exists at this moment. (And, as entertaining as bubble talk can be, there's such an undercurrent of sports nothingness right now, the 49ers dealing their back-up QB generated a ton of stories and we're tried of hearing about the Lakers. They're dysfunctional. We get it. Let's move along.)

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Weekend Bubble Watch

We pledged last week — and will post StuckinKent's views soon — to advance the weekend's games of ultimate meaning for those college basketball teams that are making surges ("Hi, we're the Vols, rush chairman, dang glad to meet you") or teams fading to the finish (we're looking at you Villanova — losing to Seton Hall? Really? What is this 1990 and where's Terry Dehere?)

OK, the events of the week — Tennessee tripping Florida to get within arm's reach of the bubble chief among them — have left us with a litany of NCAA tournament questions pertaining to the guest list.

This much we do know: There will be a limited number of teams from a couple of the BCS leagues. Other than Arizona in the Pac 12 and Florida in the SEC, neither of those power conferences has another school that you know for sure no matter what happens in the final three games, will be in the dance. That's strange.

With that in mind, here are three SEC games that are huge for teams wanting to continue their push to an enjoyable Selection Sunday:

Tennessee at Georgia: The Bulldogs beat UT in early in February. It's a loss that floats and it may be the difference between a four-letter invite in March and the dreaded three-letter (N-I-T) bid. Saturday's trip to Athens is a no-questions-asked must for the Vols. But in truth, they have been playing those type of games for three weeks now and they're 6-0 in that stretch.

Kentucky at Arkansas: Arkansas has little-to-no chance to find the dance. Teams that are 1-10 outside of their home state have a hard time justifying they're one of the best 45 or so clubs in the country. That said, the Hogs are salty in Arkansas and Kentucky is still trying solidify its resume. (Rest easy 9er, we think UK is in but a loss Saturday would create more head-scratching.)

Alabama at Florida: The Tide's 19-9 overall record and 11-4 league mark looks good, but wow there's some hidden stinkiness there. Their strength of schedule is 102nd and then there's the losses against LSU and... wait for it... Auburn. OUCH-standing. We can see a hard argument that Alabama needs to win Saturday at Gainesville against a Gators bunch that is going to be a little less than thrilled after Tuesday's loss. Good luck with that.

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This and that

— Color us tickled blue that Petty and Co. are bringing the classic color scheme back to the 43. Well played Mr. The King, well-played indeed.

— Terrell Suggs enlighted us with the tidbit that the rest of the NFL hates the Patriots. Thanks Terrell. This just in, the rest of baseball hates the Yankees. And the NBA hates the Lakers. Want to know why Terrell? Envy. Those teams are the class organizations that always win and are always in the spotlight. Seriously, T-Sizzle, your team just won the Super Bowl and you're still talking about hating the Patriots. Let it go guy. Let it go.

— The Missing Link Found. Just wanted to write that mini-headline for the news from Milwaukee that the misplaced sausage costume used for racing was located. Who do you call in when looking for missing sausage? Jimmy Dean? Boss Hogg? Thankfully they wrapped this casing up quickly. Before breakfast even. (Guys we got a million of them, and don't forget to tip the wait staff.)

— We're going to swing by the ESPN 105.1 FM studios this afternoon around 3 p.m. to chat Jim Gumm and Wells Guthrie. Drop in — don't cost nothing.

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Today's question

Feel free to comment on the Rushmore of sports family camps such as the Currys, the Mannings, et al. We're sure we left some on the board.

Also, did you see the story that LeBron said he ran a 4.6 in the 40 before the season while training for better conditioning. (Of course he noted his time was better than Manti Te'o's. We have gotten to a point that Te'o is the punchline to so many jokes that we're expecting Jimmy Kimmel to come out and say, "Te'o, Te'o... thank you... A Priest walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm and a 12-inch Kielbasa under the other... Te'o. Good night.")

That said, if LeBron showed up at the combine and clocked a sub-4.6 at 6-foot-8 and 270 pounds (he's listed at 250, but c'mon... Dude is a MON-ster). His vertical would be a sickening number in the 40s. Who knows what he'd do on the bench, but it'd be better than Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore, who pressed 225 pounds 12 times. (Side note: Before the combine, Moore was a top-five projection and got as high as No. 2 on Mel Kiper Jr.'s Big Board. Kiper's post-combine Big Board does not list Moore in the top 25 prospects.)

Here's saying that if LeBron entered the 2013 NFL draft and went through the combine, he'd be a first-round pick. Agree or disagree?

Discuss and remember the mailbag.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Harbaugh Brothers over the Cansecos.

And I agree on LeBron 100%. He's the best athlete of this generation. He is the player most capable of switching sports and doing any of them at a high level. Of course, Tony Gonzalez may have something to say about that. Regardless, LeBron could get drafted immediately. Wide receiver? Maybe. Tight end? Sure. Linebacker? Absolutely.

February 28, 2013 at 11:34 a.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Curry can flat out score when he needs or wants to. Lebron would be a prototype TE along the lines of Gonzalez.

Here are two for the Rushmore: 1. Petty School of Racing. 2. Alou Camp for Outfielders. Matty, Felipe and Jesus played in the same outfield together at one time. Plus add in Moises (son/nephew).

February 28, 2013 at 11:43 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

BronBron at TE or a Marques Colston type wide receiver would be nigh unstoppable. Think about just throwing the fade to him. Hey, 6 foot 8 dude with crazy hops! I'm a just gonna throw it up there. You go and get it.

February 28, 2013 at 12:19 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

And yes the "Lakers are a) in trouble b) dysfunctional c) disappointing (depending on your point of view) d) all of the above" storyline has been tiresome for three months now. Find something else to lead SportsCenter with, ESPN. Please.

February 28, 2013 at 12:21 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Time for the weekly Bubble Watch! Expect it to really be trimmed down after this weekend. I think there are a lot of teams to be eliminated with one more loss that is likely to come this weekend. But if they win, then suddenly they are in the discussion, so I don't want to eliminate them quite yet. Also, lots of teams are one win away from locking up a bid. So this weekend will see lots of movement.

THE MATH Locks: 17 Automatic Bids: 31 Conferences with a "Lock" already: 8 Claimed Bids: 40 Bids Remaining: 28 Bubble Teams: 54

In the above list, "Claimed Bids" is calculated by assuming that a "Lock" wins the automatic bid from the conferences with a lock. That leaves 9 locks for at-larges and 31 automatic bids. That comes to 40 spots already claimed in the tournament, meaning 28 remain for teams to steal a conference tournament from a lock or to get in off the bubble.

THE LOCKS ACC- Miami, Duke Big 12- Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State Big East- Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette Big Ten- Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin Mountain West- New Mexico Pac 12- Arizona SEC- Florida WCC- Gonzaga

BUBBLE Atlantic 10- VCU, Butler, Saint Louis, LaSalle, Xavier, Charlotte, Temple, Massachusetts, Richmond ACC- Virginia, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Maryland Big 12- Iowa State, Oklahoma, Baylor Big East- Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Villanova, St. John's, Providence Big Ten- Ohio State, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa Conference USA- Memphis MAC- Akron Missouri Valley- Wichita State, Creighton Mountain West- Colorado State, UNLV, San Diego State, Air Force, Boise State OVC- Belmont Pac 12- Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, California, Colorado SEC- Alabama, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, LSU, Tennessee Southland- Stephen F. Austin Sun Belt- Middle Tennessee WAC- Lousiana Tech WCC- St. Mary's, BYU

If a team from lock or the bubble win their conference automatic bid, then that would mean that there are 46 teams for 28 bids. So, Memphis, Akron, Belmont, MTSU, Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech, one of the favorites in the Atlantic 10 or the MVC- teams like Kentucky and Tennessee really need those teams to win their conference tournament and not get thrown into the at-large pool.

February 28, 2013 at 1:06 p.m.
chas9 said...

UK has to earn its way in, so they need to beat the Hogs, who are tough in Fayetteville.

Tip of the derby to Steph for his Meeks moment. I'm one who saw him rock the Roundhouse.

How about a DiMaggio hitting camp? Wallenda high wire clinic? Colquitt kicking thingies? Clausen QB school?

Huge stat in Monday's game: Vols out rebounded Gators 40-29. Seemed worse than that.

February 28, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.
chas9 said...

Follow up to my rant about the RPI. Going into Wednesday's game Kentucky was 46th in the RPI, 32nd in Pomeroy's rankings, and 22nd in Sagarin. That's not why I hate the RPI. I really think the Cats are closer to 46 than 22. But I do advise you who will fill out brackets this year to consult Pomeroy's wisdom.

On the other hand, this is such a crazy year, forget the chalk. Let your three year old daughter make your picks.

February 28, 2013 at 1:56 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Concur about throwing out the chalk. This could be the year and inspired 16 topples a 1.

Colquitt Kicking Clinic is well done.

Dawg —

Petty or Earnhardt driving school. Each has three generations. Each has an iconic number (43-3) and nickname (The King-The Intimidator). Game on this may be a mailbag tail of the tape.

Spy —

Speaking back to your day of the abacus and the unpainted black lunch pail, James could be an athletic, fast version of what the Eagles had in Harold Carmichael back in the day.

Heck, if he clocked a 4.5 — the same time as Eric Reid and Kenny Vaccaro — could you image a 6-foot-8, 265 pound safety playing center field? Somewhere Peyton Manning just spit up in his mouth.

Stuck —

As expected, you complete out did yourself. Wow.

And this weekend and the first part of next week will certainly trim the field.

Giddy-up.

February 28, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Don't forget the Dean brothers - Dizzy & Daffy. While Vick was thing about Lebron playing safety he broke 3 ribs wincing.

I'm sending my brackets to Stucky in KY.

February 28, 2013 at 3:36 p.m.
SmilingChuck said...

For the Rushmore?

In auto racing, I gotta go with the Unsers. (I hear the shouts of "Yankee!" I live in Tennessee, but my ancestors were on the winning side in 1865.)

And in hockey, the Hanson Brothers.

I hope all is well, JGreeson!

March 1, 2013 at 7:41 p.m.
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