Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Sports Columns

March 8, 2012

Oh Good Grief: SMHS makes history with state tourney appearances

CROSSVILLE — For the first time in Cumberland County history, both Stone Memorial basketball teams are in the state basketball tournament in the same year.

The Lady Panthers defeated Waverly Central Wednesday afternoon in the Class AA bracket to advance into today's semifinal round at 11:30 a.m. against Obion County, while the Panthers will open play next Wednesday in the boys state tournament.

The boys draw is Saturday morning in Murfreesboro.

This is the Lady Panthers third trip to the state tournament in six years, and the Panthers second straight appearance.

Over the years, both CCHS teams have made it into the substate, but never to the  state tournament. The last time that happened was in 2004-'05, when the Jets lost at Siegel and the Lady Jets were beatent at Oakland.

Stone Memorial isn't the only school with both teams in the state tournament this year. Cloudland and Wartburg qualified in Class A, while Livingston and CPA represent Class AA and Memphis Central, Clarksville and Science Hill are from Class AAA.

There was great support for the Class AA games. SMHS, CPA, Livingston, Loudon and Waverly had excellent contingents Wednesday. The Riverdale-Mt. Juliet crowd was large, as the two Middle Tennessee teams tangled in the tough Class AAA bracket. Riverdale came away with the victory, and played Memphis Overton in today's semifinals.

Coach Radhika Miller and members of the Lady Jet basketball team attended Wednesday's session, as well.

If this isn't "March Madness," what is?

••••

Speaking of "March Madness," the SEC men's tournament kicked off Thursday in New Orleans, with Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida the top four seeds.

Thursday's opening SEC games wee LSU vs. Arkansas, Alabama vs. South Carolina, Ole Miss vs. Auburn and Mississippi State vs. Georgia.

Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Florida should have NCAA bids Sunday evening. Tennessee needs to do some damage in the SEC Tournament to secure a NCAA bid. An NIT bid is not out of the question.

The ACC, Conference USA, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 tournaments are also under way this week. Belmont won the Atlantic Sun, and Murray State won the OVC.

The Lady Vols won the Women's SEC championship Sunday afternoon and will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA women's tournament. Kentucky, South Carolina and Vanderbilt should all get at-large bids.

Is this going to be Coach Pat Summitt's last harrah? She has a chance to win UT's ninth national championship and win her 1,100th victory over the next three weeks.

It will be a tough decision to remain head coach or step down. There will be a lot of people involved from UT Athletic Director Dave Hart to son, Tyler, and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek.

••••

Former Vol Peyton Manning is looking for a new team, as he was released by the Indianapolis Colts Wednesday. He was released rather being paid a $28 million bonus.

Where will the former four-time MVP go? There will be several teams bidding on the services of the former Vol quarterback. He is been rumored going to Arizona, Miami, Seattle, Tennessee, Washington and the New York Jets.

I still predict Manning will wind up at UT as an assistant coach and maybe one day become head coach.

We will be hearing a lot about this for several months.

••••

(Ed Greif is the Chronicle sports editor and his column appears regularly. He can be reached at sports@crossville-chronicle.com.)

 

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