The SEC basketball schedule will be released today, giving us a better idea of how it stacks up for Florida this year. Of late, the pattern has been to give them a fairly soft opening half of of conference play and then backload the hardest stuff into the final three weeks. The Gators will almost certainly be without Adam Allen thanks to injury, and Billy Donovan acknowledged yesterday it doesn't look good for them to have Eloy Vargas either thanks to academic difficulties. Neither player loss is completely out of the blue, but the Vargas one in particular will bother some people. Mississippi State has one of the elite shot blockers in the country paying to play his senior year, yet UF can't catch a break in the post 04s era.
The NCAA is apparently going to vacate the Final Four appearance by Memphis today. Not sure what that's supposed to do to prevent programs from taking chances on questionable kids in the future, but it gives them the impression of having done something about the Derrick Rose situation. Two Final Four trips for Calipari, two vacated appearances. Welcome to your future, Kentucky.
Want to know why the SEC can get the kind of money from broadcasting networks and corporate partners that it does? Check out the latest numbers from the Collegiate Licensing Company. Eight of the top fifteen sellers of licensed products in college sports are members of the SEC. Nine SEC teams show up before a single Pac-10 team, and only the Mississippi schools and Vandy finish outside the top 25. The total support across the board is unique to this conference - no one chants "Big Ten" or "ACC" at sporting events - and it's given them a remarkable amount of power. It's unfortunate that they've recently chosen to use it ineptly by threatening fans who might dare to take a photo at a conference game.
The Dolphins celebrity strategy continues, with Serena and Venus Williams becoming small owners of the team. Are fans more likely to come to games if they think they might run into Serena or Marc Anthony while in line for nachos? It just seems pointless to have one of these announcements every three weeks. I wonder what Bill Parcells thinks of all this.