We’re inching ever closer to Selection Sunday. It’s always one of my favorite times of the year (and not just because my birthday usually coincides with the start of the NCAA Tournament).

Each SEC men’s hoops team has 3 games left in the regular season. Then, we could be in store for one of the best and most-unpredictable SEC Tournaments ever. Auburn, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee are all legitimate threats to win the title.

But, don’t count out teams like Alabama, LSU, Florida and South Carolina. Any of those 4 squads could get hot and win it all, too. No matter how the bracket shakes out, each round is going to have some incredible matchups. I can’t wait!

Now, let’s dive into your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:


With the regular-season winding down, which SEC men’s basketball coaches are on the hottest seats?

I’ll break it down into 2 tiers. I think there are 2 SEC men’s coaches who are on “red-hot” seats and 4 others who are on “simmering” seats.

The 2 coaches on red-hot seats are Tom Crean at Georgia and Cuonzo Martin at Mizzou. I’d be surprised if either of those guys return for the 2022-23 season at this point. Crean isn’t doing himself any favors this year, and Martin’s program is flirting with a Kim Anderson-like season.

The 4 coaches on simmering seats are Mike White at Florida, Ben Howland at Mississippi State, Kermit Davis at Ole Miss and Frank Martin at South Carolina.

White’s Gators just picked up a big win over Auburn, but lost a tough game against Arkansas this week. If he doesn’t lead the Gators to an upset over Kentucky in the regular-season finale, Florida could miss the NCAA Tournament, which could prompt a change. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t be surprised if Howland decided to step down after this season. Things haven’t gone according to plan for him after his tenure at UCLA.

Davis and Martin probably get another year, especially if Martin’s Gamecocks continue winning and make a run at the NCAA Tournament. But, this is the SEC, so nothing would surprise me in those situations. It could be a busy coaching carousel season, so buckle up!


Several SEC teams will have QB battles this spring. Who do you think will be the Week 1 starter for those teams?

Some of the key battles in the SEC this year will be at Auburn, Florida, Mizzou, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. My SDS colleague, Connor O’Gara, recently wrote a piece breaking down the battles as we prepare for spring practices.

Here are the quarterbacks I think will win each battle, going from my most-confident picks to my least-confident picks:

  • Ole Miss: Jaxson Dart
  • Florida: Anthony Richardson
  • Texas A&M: Haynes King
  • Auburn: Zach Calzada
  • Mizzou: Brady Cook

I’d bet a lot of money that, barring injury, Dart takes the Week 1 snaps for the Rebels. At Florida, I think it’s finally time to hand the offense fully over to Anthony Richardson and see what he can do.

For Auburn and Mizzou, they’re so low on my confidence meter because I’m not sure they’re done adding quarterbacks just yet. Auburn has been rumored to be in the mix for Georgia transfer JT Daniels. Meanwhile, there’s some smoke about Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels potentially heading to Mizzou.

That would definitely shake up both of those battles, so I’m not super-confident in what will happen at those 2 schools. It’s shaping up to be an interesting spring, though!


Phil Martelli will be coaching Michigan while Juwan Howard is suspended. Who would be your top 3 choices for SEC assistants to pilot a program during a short-term coaching absence?

Let’s give Martelli some praise here off the top. In his first game as the Wolverines’ fill-in coach, he led them to a 71-62 home win over a tough Rutgers team, keeping Michigan’s slim NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

Now, on to your question. There are a handful of guys I think would fill in admirably for any absent head coach, but these 3 stand out the most:

  1. Keith Smart, Arkansas – A no-brainer, as he has been a head coach of 3 NBA teams (Cleveland, Golden State and Sacramento), compiling a 93-170 overall record. This was a smart hire (pun intended) for Eric Musselman this past offseason.
  2. Wes Flanigan, Auburn – Flanigan has experience as a head coach in the SEC, coming earlier this year, as a matter of fact. He filled in for Bruce Pearl during a suspension earlier this season, guiding the Tigers to a win. Surely, he could handle a longer stint as a fill-in coach.
  3. Chin Coleman, Kentucky – Coleman was on the staff at Illinois from 2017 to 2021, doing some great work for the Illini. This is his first year with the Wildcats, but he’s a rising star in the coaching ranks and I think he’d be a great choice for a 5-game stint as a head coach.

All 3 of those guys have the skill to lead a team for an extended stretch. We’ll see if any of them get the call as a head coach in the next couple of years.


If you had to pick a USFL team to root for, who are you taking?

Good question. I guess I’ll give the new league a watch. I watched a few of the Alliance of American Football games when that league was (very briefly) a thing. I also watched a few of the games in the most-recent iteration of the XFL (go BattleHawks).

I’m immediately drawn to the Philadelphia Stars, since I used to live in Philly. But, I don’t really care for the “Stars” nickname.

I’ll say I’m rooting for the Tampa Bay Bandits. I had a dog named Bandit growing up, and he was awesome. Also, the Bandits drafted former Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu, who is a great person and was also the quarterback of the aforementioned St. Louis BattleHawks.

A lot to like there! Go Bandits!

Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.