Category Archives: SEC

Georgia Survived The Tough SEC

by Categorized: 2014 NCAA women's tournament, SEC, UConn women's basketball Date:

We all know the relationship between UConn and the SEC hasn’t been the most friendly over the last 20 years, certainly since the Huskies beat Tennessee for their first national championship in 1995.

We could recount examples of the contentiousness, but really, I’m not in the mood. And why anger the state of Tennessee two weeks before it hosts the Final Four.

But it would be hard for Geno Auriemma or anyone in the American Athletic Conference to argue that the SEC is now a far superior conference to the AAC – and the gap will only grow once Louisville and Rutgers leave for the ACC and Big Ten.

“There are lot of challenges in the SEC,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “It’s an extremely athletic conference so you have the challenge of playing against and competing with incredible athletes every night …And you have the challenge of some really good coaches. Nobody in outr league out-coaches anybody. You never feel like you out-coach anybody. You have to be prepared to coach in our league because everyone dots every I and crosses every T.”

Meanwhile, Landers said Saturday he has essentially decided adding UConn to its non-conference schedule again isn’t in the cards for him. The teams haven’t a home-and home since 1996-97. They haven’t played at all since the 2006 Elite Eight.

LSU and South Carolina have just re-upped for series with UConn. The Gamecocks home-and-home begins next year in Connecticut.

“Perhaps its possible,” Landers said of the future. “But for now, we’ve decided it isn’t in our best interest to schedule them.”




Val Ackerman’s Term Paper On How To Grow Women’s Basketball

by Categorized: 2013 NCAA Tournament, American Athletic Conference, Big East women's basketball, NCAA, SEC, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball, Val Ackerman, WNBA Date:

If you love women’s basketball – and let’s face it, you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t – I would highly suggest to click on the highlighted line and read the very interesting conclusions of former WNBA President Val Ackerman about how to kick start a sport grown stale.

Many of Val’s suggestions should spur debate, particular her idea of making the Final Four a Friday-Sunday thing and consolidating the four regional finals in super regional finals.

We all know something needs to change. And its refreshing to read that someone so involved believes so, too


Melanie Balcomb Enterains The Crowd

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Melanie Balcomb, SEC, Tennessee women's basketball Date:

One of the nice things about the NCAA Tournament is having the chance to talk to other coaches, perhaps even learn a few things about them and their personalities.

Sunday provided that with Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb, a Jersey girl who left Xavier 11 years ago to take the Commodores job and has helped preserve the presence the program has held in the SEC.

Balcomb, who once worked for Providence in Big East, was joking around about her Jersey accent and getting used to distinct Southern drawl that’s part of life in Nashville.

But she also had some serious things to say about a lot of things. Like the night in 1999 when her Xavier team lost to UConn at in the NCAA Tournament in 1999, 86-84.

“I don’t remember what I said to my team that night,” Balcomb said. “I was thinking about it, trying to recall what I said to prepare them mentally that night. What was the formula? Did I try to pass along a special confidence.

“I find myself comparing the team I had that night to the one I have now. Did UConn have a better team then or now? I don’;t have the answer. I was I did. I have to get a better feel for this team, where it’s at, like I had for that team [Xavier] and try to get into its head.”

Here’s what she had to say about conference realignment and the impact it might have on recruiting:

“I don’t recruit for the conference [SEC] so much. I get players from all over the nation because of the academics we have to offer. My team isn’t constructed primarily from players from the south.

“There is an element [to recruiting] that’s about rivalries and geography; whether a player is willing to leave home and how far they are willing to go. Geno can draw kids from everywhere, so I don’t believe he will see any impact.

“But I can already tell you I’ve noticed some players based in Atlanta that are canceling out teams based on conferences. A team like Maryland, no longer playing in the ACC and headed to the Big Ten, will make some kids decide if they want to go to a place where their parents won’t be able to see them play on a regular basis.”

And most interesting, her perception of how things have changed at Tennessee since Pat Summitt’s retirement after last year:

“I think it has already impacted Tennessee because Pat is a legend. She’s the John Wooden of our game. How could her absence not [have some sort of impact], but its over a long period of time when we’ll be able to determine what that will be. You’d have to by lying to say that Pat not being at Tennessee wouldn’t have an impact. Do you think Geno leaving UConn wouldn’t have an impact? Sure it would.

“Holly Warlick has done a great job at Tennessee. I am a huge fan of hers. What she did this year, winning the coach of the year [in the SEC] was phenomenal. But that’s not the question you asked.”