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Inside The SEC Tournament

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Deadspin Mole Dominic Bonvissuto is sitting courtside at the SEC Men s Basketball Tournament at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tenn. Here's a notebook of what's happening over there.

Wild about the Wildcats. No word on whether Jefferson-Pilot s broadcast team listened to Eiffel 65 s late-90 s hit song Blue before beginning their coverage of the SEC Tournament. Play-by-play man Tom Hammond graduated from Kentucky in 1967. His analyst, Larry Conley, played for the Wildcats from 1963-66. And guess which city sideline reporter Dave Baker has a full-time broadcasting gig? Hint: It rhymes with Bexington. Should make today s second-game, Kentucky vs. Alabama, pretty nauseating for Bama fans watching at home.


My name is not Wuss. It s Wimp! Seated just over Deadspin Mole s right shoulder here at the SEC Tournament is none other than former rivals-turned-fast-friends Sonny Smith, ex-Auburn coach, and Wimp Sanderson, former Alabama coach. Atlanta Journal-Constitution s Tony Barnhart, an encyclopedia of SEC knowledge, gives us a refresher course in Sonny and Wimp.

Orange you glad he didn t wear orange: Bruce Pearl has opted for a fashionable gray suit today, instead of the orange blazer which has garnered him national ridicule. But don t call Joan Rivers just yet — he s complementing the suit with an orange tie and orange suspenders.


(By the way, if anyone's gonna be there and interested in filing tidbits like this from the NCAAs next week, let us know at

Check out more filings after the jump ....

Nice beak:OK, I promise I'm not trying to be mean. But is it just me or does South Carolina's Renaldo Balkman not look exactly like USC mascot Cocky?


Valentine's Day: Putting the T in Tennessee: Referee Ted Valentine just drew the ire of about 18,000 UT fans when he assessed a technical foul on Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl, who was pleading for a traveling call. You may remember Mr. Valentine for his infamous run-in with Bobby Knight.

Feeling peachy. Capitalizing on the country's throwback addiction, the SEC celebrated a Throwback Week during the regular season. Because of its popularity, teams continued wearing the unis, and it carried over to the tournament, where the Gaylord Entertainment Center (GEC) has unveiled a "Throwback Floor" for the event. It entails no big colored baseline and no corporate logos on the floor. Sadly, the GEC didn't go for the ultimate in throwback basketball courts: peach baskets.


Hey, it's Friday. Want to go watch UK play?It?s official: Gaylord Entertainment Center has been transformed to Rupp Arena South. As evidenced by the blanket of blue in the stands, it's obvious there's not much to do in Lexington on a Friday. Just about the only Kentucky fan not here is you-know-who.

Tie-ing one on: All right, this is getting out of hand. Fresh off Bruce Pearl busting out the orange tie and suspenders for the first game, it's now Alabama coach Mark Gottfried's turn. The Alabama coach is sporting a Crimson tie. Even Tubby Smith is getting into the act with a navy blue one. Now, Deadspin Mole realizes this is not a new phenomenon. But just once, would it kill a coach to buck tradition and wear a pink one? I nominate Quin Snyder.


Poised and lengthy. Shagari Allenye, Kentucky's 7-foot-3 giant, stole the show in the first half of the Wildcats' game against Alabama. The sparsely-used center came off the bench to record two blocks and two dunks, including one just before halftime that gave UK a 23-22 lead. Apropos of nothing, he describes his game as "poised and lengthy on Oddly, that?s precisely how Deadspin editor Will Leitch describes his game.

(Editor's Note: Damn. Straight.)

At least he's scrappy. Given a chance to bring the house down with a breakaway dunk to seal Kentucky's come-from-behind win over Alabama, the uber-white Patrick Sparks couldn't quite seal the deal, laying it in instead. He may not be able to dunk, but, as his last name spelled backwards suggests, he is scrappy.

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