Homeland insecurity: Thompson-Boling Arena is no longer the impregnable fortress of Tennessee basketball. Knoxville (Tenn.) sports columnist Mike Strange says LSU’s 79-73 victory Wednesday night “wasn’t exactly a stunner.” The Vols have lost four of their last five home games to rival the 1994-95 season, when they dropped consecutive home games to Florida, Alabama, LSU, Kentucky and Mississippi State. “For the past couple of years, you just didn’t come in the Vols’ house and leave with a win,” Strange says. “Not even the Florida Gators, on their way to winning back-to-back national championships. Not if you were a household name, like Texas or Memphis. Now, well, they’re storming the castle.” To read Strange’s column, click here.
Dog gone: Dennis Felton was fired as Georgia’s basketball coach today, one day after the team lost by 26 points at Florida for its seventh straight defeat. Assistant coach Pete Herrmann—best known for coaching David Robinson at Navy—will serve as the interim coach the rest of the season. He takes over a team that is 9-11 and 0-5 in the SEC. “I’m disappointed that things have not worked out better,” athletic director Damon Evans said at a news conference. “I do think it is in the best interest of our men’s basketball program that we move in a new direction. And while this may be unusual timing, I’m convinced it is the right time.” Felton had an 84-91 record and was in his sixth season at Georgia. His team won the SEC tournament last year, but was knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the first round. Felton is the third SEC coach to leave his job at midseason in the past year. LSU dismissed John Brady in January 2008, and Alabama coach Mark Gottfried resigned earlier this week.
Who goes where? The NFL Draft may be nearly three months away, but speculation has already started about what players teams will choose. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has the Saints picking Vontae Davis, a cornerback from Illinois, with the 14th pick of the draft. Kiper also has LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson going to the Chicago Bears in the first round with the 18th pick. Jackson is the only Tiger ranked in Scouts Inc.’s Top 32. Meanwhile Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks has no Tigers going in the first round and has the Saints picking Brian Cushing, a linebacker from Southern Cal, with their pick. The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25-26. Since 2005, seven Tigers have been selected in the first round.
Get your Super Bowl news here: The hometown newspapers for the two Super Bowl teams have set up Web pages with all sorts of advance coverage and multimedia presentations for Sunday’s big game. If you’re an Arizona Cardinals fan, click here for an archive of the Arizona Republic’s Super Bowl coverage. Pittsburgh Steelers fans can click here to see what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has written this week.