While many in the state are still trying to get rid of the stench of Auburnís 49-37 win over Alabama last week, we all search for explanations. But how does one describe a game in which one team scored 13 points in a half Ė Alabama led 23-13 Ė and the other repays the favor by scoring 14 in the second stanza? Itís horrible basketball by definition, no matter how the league, its coaches and others want to defend it. And there have dozens of game like it in SEC play thus far.
Granted, this isnít a hotbed for basketball prospects. Never has been. But weíve had good ballclubs from time to time, which prompts this long-time observer to offer his rankings on the 14 coaches in the SEC, complete with a thumbnail comment or two.
1. Billy Donovan, Florida. A consistent winner, heís the only coach in a decade to talk his underclassmen to return for another year, and they won back-to-back national titles as a result. Could happen this year too.
2. John Calipari, Kentucky. Heís better than I used to think simply because he can get so many star freshmen to play so well together. This yearís an exception, but it isnít over yet.
3. Mike Anderson, Arkansas. Heís still missing a couple of key scorers, but he knows what heís doing. Alabama would be far better off if heíd said yes.
4. Kevin Stallings, Vandy. Itís admittedly a bad year for the Commodores, but they havenít had many in his tenure. Theyíll be back, and still playing their home games in the toughest venue in the league.
5. Frank Haith, Missouri. What happened under his watch at Miami is a little smelly, but his recruits there are playing the best basketball in the country. A program on the upswing.
6. Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss. Heís got the best team the Rebs have fielded in decades, but that incident in Cincinnati still follows him around for some reason.
7. Mark Fox, Georgia. A winner before, you have to figure heís still better than what heís shown in Athens. A new facility would help recruiting efforts.
8. Anthony Grant, Alabama. A good defensive coach, one gets the idea neither he nor his team has a clue what theyíre doing offensively. Perhaps a set-play or two might help?
9. Tony Barbee, Auburn. He should have no excuses. One of the best auras in all of basketball for an arena, three years to show he can recruit. The only guys really contributing now are Jeff Lebo signees. And that, my friends, is a statement all until itself.
10. Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee. A great Big 10 player, heíll win once the NCAA sanctions ease. For some reason, the Vols always seem to get talented players.
11. Frank Martin, South Carolina. Itís a good thing Steve Spurrier has won so big in Colombia. Otherwise, what used to be a basketball school would be applying much more pressure at the top.
12. Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M. Always had the same mentality as most other schools in the league: Beat your rivals on a regular basis in football, donít embarrass us in basketball. No pressure.
13. Johnny Jones, LSU. The NCAA has chased him every where heís been. Thatís never a good sign.
14. Rick Ray, Miss. St. The Bulldogs got this forgettable inaugural season under Ray started by losing at Troy. Itís been mostly downhill ever since. A tall task.
Phil Paramoreís column appears Tuesdays in The Dothan Eagle. He can be heard weekdays from noon until 2 on AM 560 WOOF, 100.1 FM or at www.woofradio.com. He can be reached at the same website.