First: Happy Birthday, Dad! (Or as AOG might call him, KingJamesIII...)
Now that that's out of the way, enjoy these links, fresh from the tubes of the internet:
On Jermaine Beal's career and him exceeding expectations ... "I would say he’s exceeded my expectations. He’s exceeded them from a work-ethic standpoint, although I knew he was a hard worker when he got him. He’s exceeded them from just what a wonderful young man he’s been. He’s certainly exceeded them this year on the court. "I don’t know why I’m surprised because his work ethic is terrific and his offseason regiment is sort of legendary. I don’t know why he’s exceeded my expectations, but he has. He’s had a terrific year."
"It's a stress reaction, just like the stage right before a stress fracture. If I had been playing on it (this past week), it probably would have fractured. So I caught it right before it did. It’s on the inside of my foot. "It just came up randomly. It wasn’t hurting me. Then all of a sudden this pain started gradually getting bigger and bigger. It started hurting me when I was walking around, so I had to say something to the trainer.
5. Vanderbilt (projected: 10-5; actual: 12-3) Their loss at home to Kentucky on February 20 was a heart-breaker, sure, but it also stands out as the only SEC game decided by single digits that the Commodores have lost this season. In conference games decided by less than ten points, Kevin Stallings' men are 9-1. Historically speaking, that is atypical.
12) Vanderbilt Commodores (23-6) Vandy is very quietly playing some of its best ball of the season. Beginning on Feb. 9, when they crushed Tennessee 90-71, the Commodores have won six of seven, their sole loss came on a last-second home heartbreaker against Kentucky. They followed up an 89-72 road dismantling of Arkansas with another road win on Tuesday, an impressive 64-60 takedown of Florida at the O-Dome. It marked their first season sweep of the Gators since 1997.
The overriding difference in that Florida game was three-point shooting -- Vandy hit half of its attempts (10-of-20, including 6-of-9 from John Jenkins), while Florida went just 2-for-13. If the 'Dores played defense like that every game, they'd be a surefire pick to go deep in the NCAAs, because hot-shooting opponents always create the biggest upset trap. But just two games earlier, Vandy found itself in an unexpected shootout -- at home -- against Georgia (12-13 at the time). The 'Dores finally prevailed, 96-94, by hitting two huge shots in the last 33 seconds to force overtime. Offensively, there's a lot to like about A.J. Ogilvy and Co., and they can play with nearly anyone, but their inconsistent defense leaves them susceptible to upsets.