Dennis Felton is probably the most cursed coach alive. But for a few hours on Saturday afternoon, he had the luck of the Irish, and a rabbit foot tucked in his coat pocket. The 'Dawgs downed Kentucky 60-56 in overtime to set up an SEC Tournament semifinal matchup tonight with Mississippi State. Tipoff will be 8 p.m.-ish, following the Tennessee-Arkansas game. A few points to ponder:
I am a man of my word and, quite frankly, I would be willing to come up with five nice things to say about Steve Spurrier if we beat Mississippi State (preview: he's an above-average tap dancer, and smells only very faintly of kim chi). Therefore, I think you know what I'll be posting on Monday. And while I'm making promises, if we advance to Sunday's tournament final, I will henceforth refer to Coach Felton as "the F-Bomb". It somehow seems appropriate.
The nonfoul on the inbounds play with 1.2 seconds left. Billy Gillespie can whine like a little girl about it all night. I've seen that play run since junior high, and have yet to run into any serious basketball fan who doesn't believe deep down, somewhere in his or her soul, that it's a chicken$#!t way to play the game. Unless the guy guarding the inbounds ruptures someone's spleen, it shouldn't be called. Unless you're a communist. Because calling a foul in that situation would be just un-American.
If you were planning to submit your resume to Damon Evans, you can hold off for another year. At least in my estimation. Even if we lose to the Bizarro Bulldogs tonight, it would be under unusual circumstances which would make firing Felton basically impossible. If we win and do play on Sunday, I will have to really take my hat off to Coach Felton and the team for a heckuva run under difficult circumstances. I'll also be left wondering what changed after all the half-hearted, mistake-filled outings over the past month and a half that got Coach Felton in this mess to begin with.
And what are the chances that the 'Dawgs are playing on Sunday? In all honesty, not that bad. Mississippi State (22-9, 12-4 SEC) is a good bit deeper than we are, which may be significant under the circumstances. They are also really pretty good in the frontcourt, where I think we'll have some matchup problems. Big men Jarvis Varnado, Charles Rhodes and Elgin Bailey should team up for a slew of rebounds, though I don't think any is that much better right now than Dave Bliss. We only fell by 11 points back on January 12th when the teams played in Starkville, so there's that. In that game Georgia shot an absolutely miserable %25 from the field and %17 from 3 point range. I'm not sure even this team could be that bad against the same opponent twice in a row. Honestly there's no telling what this Georgia squad will do. I do know however that if I were Denneis Felton I would get down to the 7-11 and pick up some lottery tickets before my luck runs out. Until later . . .
Postscript: I'd also like to extend heartfelt congratulations to FOB (Friend of the Blog, or at least one of the bloggers' spouses) Karen Ramstead on finishing 56th in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, despite assorted mishaps that occur when you travel 1150 miles through the frozen tundra of Alaska on a dogsled with only your trusty Siberian Huskies for backup. Congratulations Karen!