Originally created 03/04/03

Tuesday tipoff



Reviewing and previewing college basketball in the ACC, SEC and elsewhere:

WHO'S HOT

Arizona. The Wildcats clinched their 10th Pac-10 title in coach Lute Olson's 20-year tenure with Saturday's 72-69 win at Stanford. Olson's crew also notched its fourth straight sweep of the San Francisco Bay area schools.

WHO'S NOT

Jim Harrick. Georgia's coach might be right when he says some of Tony Cole's allegations will be proved wrong. But when the NCAA is sniffing around, it usually finds something.

OVERRATED

The Southeastern Conference. Kentucky is great, Florida is good and Georgia isn't far behind. Beyond that, the league's bubble teams are slumping at the wrong time.

UNDERRATED

Chuck Hayes. Kentucky's sophomore forward came up big in Sunday's 74-66 win at Georgia, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

STAT OF THE WEEK

Kentucky out-rebounded Georgia 50-32 and outscored the Bulldogs 32-10 in the paint Sunday.

RANKING THE BIG FOUR

1. Georgia (17-8, 9-5 SEC) ... Florida has beaten the Bulldogs four straight times in Athens by an average of 15 points.

2. South Carolina (12-13, 5-9 SEC) ... Tony Kitchings is slumping again, having mustered a total of 10 points and eight rebounds in the Gamecocks' past two games. Barring an NIT appearance by the Gamecocks, his last home game is Sunday against Georgia.

3. Clemson (15-10, 5-9 ACC) ... What happened to all of the NCAA Tournament talk?

4. Georgia Tech (12-13, 5-9 ACC) ... The Yellow Jackets have to be considered one of the ACC's bigger disappointments.

RANKING THE ACC, TOP AND BOTTOM

1. Wake Forest (21-4, 11-3) ... The Demon Deacons' backcourt could take them a long way in the NCAAs.

9. Georgia Tech ... Losing a big second-half lead Saturday at North Carolina might have been the lowest moment of the Yellow Jackets' season.

RANKING THE SEC, TOP AND BOTTOM

1. Kentucky (24-3, 14-0) ... Forget Ron Slay as SEC Player of the Year. Keith Bogans gets the vote here.

12. Vanderbilt (10-15, 3-11) ... A seven-game losing streak was bad enough. Now the Commodores get to visit Kentucky on Wednesday.

RANKING THE POWER CONFERENCES, BY RPI
(previous week's ranking in parentheses)

1. SEC (1)

2. Big 12 (2)

3. ACC (3)

4. Big Ten (4)

5. Big East (5)

6. Mountain West (6)

7. Pac-10 (7)

8. Conference USA (8)

9. Atlantic 10 (9)

10 West Coast Conference (10)

WHAT'S NEXT

Clemson plays host to N.C. State at 7 p.m. Wednesday and visits Georgia Tech at 3:30 p.m. Saturday; Georgia plays host to Florida tonight at 9 and visits South Carolina on Sunday at noon; Georgia Tech visits Virginia at 7 p.m. Wednesday and plays host to Clemson on Saturday; South Carolina visits Alabama at 8 p.m. Wednesday and plays host to Georgia on Sunday.

THEY SAID IT

"Coach Harrick was like a father to that guy. He gave him a chance when nobody else would. To just throw all this in his face, it's kind of a slap in the face to everybody." - Georgia guard Ezra Williams, on allegations by former Bulldogs point guard Tony Cole that Harrick committed NCAA violations by providing Cole illegal benefits and academic assistance.

- Larry Williams