Wednesday, November 7, 2007

2007 College Basketball Conference Previews: SEC

Expanded content and sports talk forums at THE NEW SPORTS FLOW! stop by and become a registered member.

Predicted Order of Finish:

1. Tennesse Volunteers
I love Bruce Pearl and his painted chest. He's had this program on the rise for the last few years and this is their year to take it from the Gators. Vols return four starters and eight letter winners to a team poised to make a move. Pearl has experience and depth and the East is theirs to lose.

2. Vanderbilt Commadores
Vanderbilt finished a distant second with a decent record in the east and is looking to get a steady improvement this year. The commodores return three starters and seven letter winners from last year’s squad. Shan Foster will be back as the team leader in points but the Commodores will need the new youngsters to take a serious role if they expect to have a shot at being the team to beat in the East.

3. Florida Gators
Will they reload or rebuild? They lost 10 letter winners from last year losing five starters. Billy Donovan jumped to Orlando before coming right back to Florida may have hurt his recruiting. Marreese Speights will lead the list of newcomers trying to make a difference for the Gators. They'll be a good team but I think it's safe to say that they won't 3-peat.

4. Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky basketball can only hope to make the splash that the Kentucky football team has made this year. They have headed in the right directions with the recent changes starting with the head coach Billy Gillispie who brings experience and a winning attitude. They're going to need a better road record, which was the Achilles heel of this team last year as they posted a weak road record of 4-6. For the team to be successful they must avoid the injury bug that already has bitten this team. They return three starters and an injury to Joe Crawford is already an issue. If they stay healthy and win on the road Kentucky could return to prominence.

5. South Carolina Gamecocks
The only place to go is up for a South Carolina team that finished with just four victories in conference play. The news may just get worse as they lose their top three scorers from a year ago. The good news is that they do have some transfers that are eligible to play this season and that should help this team out, the bad news is it looks like another long season for the Game Cocks as they miss the post season again.

6. Georgia Bulldogs
The Georgia Bulldogs are off a horrible year where they went .500 in the SEC and managed to get ousted in the second round of the NIT. The good news is they return four starters from last year’s squad and this will bring some much needed experience to a team that needs to improve. The catch is that Georgia suspended three pivotal players for a big chunk of the season due to academic reasons. Georgia will have a lot of work to do to compete in an East division crowded with talent. Maybe next year....

1. Arkansas Razorbacks
John Pelphrey
starts his first year at the helm for the Razorbacks and so far his recruiting has been excellent. This team plays really good defense and they bring back all five starters from a year ago and nine top scorers and six of those nine scorers are seniors. The team made the big dance again and with the new coaching methodology and the youth mixed with experience the post season is a reality for the hogs. In fact the hogs are off back to back appearances at the big dance and 20 win seasons.

2. Auburn Tigers
Auburn Auburn remembers last year very well and how close they were to winning the west. In fact they were 40 seconds shy of winning the division. This year they return all five starters from a team that defeated five nationally ranked clubs and is ready to make a run at the dance. They return all eight starters so will have depth and five of those eight averaged a double-double. This team is stocked with experience as it carries three seniors and four juniors. Auburn will look to play an up tempo game and use their depth and experience to make a run at the dance.

3. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi St. played above most expectations last year by being Co-champions of the West and going to the semi finals in the NIT. This year they will have to work to improve on that with just two returning starters. The depth will be in place even though they lost some starters with seven letter men returning to this year’s squad. Jamont Gordon and the dogs will compete for the top spot in the West again

4. Ole Miss Rebels
They only have two returning starters and will look to replace Todd Abernethy who led the SEC in assist to turnover ratio. The Rebels had a huge turn around in last year’s campaign, but this year they have too much to overcome with the loss of great players and lack of experience. Don't expect anything more than a possible NIT bid.

5. LSU Tigers
LSU finished a woeful sixth in the West and only have three starters returning to the fold. The Tigers feel flat last year after only being two years removed from an unbelievable run in the big dance and are looking for redemption this year. With lack of experience to help them out look for them to shift the game plan and try to play to their strengths. Freshman Anthony Randolph has potential to crack the starting five out the gate. This team will have a shot of being a team in the big dance if the chemistry and patience is there but I'm not seeing it.

6. Alabama Red Tide
Alabama is off a very tough year and it does not look to get better this year at least not any time soon. They had troubles on the road last year finishing the season at 1-7 on the road in SEC games and the schedule makers were not kind to them this year making them play the last six out of nine games on the road. That schedule and lack of a point guard will keep them out of the post season altogether.


Anonymous said...

This is absurd! Kentucky will not finish below Florida or Vandy! And no way Alabama finishes last in the west, they are the favorite to win that division!

Bryan said...

Joe, stick to Brewers and Packers :)

Anonymous said...

"This is absurd! Kentucky will not finish below Florida or Vandy!"

I completely agree.

1. Tennessee
3. Georgia
4. South Carolina
5. Kentucky
6. Vanderbilt
7. Florida

Sounds about right, genius. I'm in awe of Billy Clyde already.

Stefan Ming said...

Alabama Red Tide? Are you serious?

Where's the player of the year/freshman predictions?

Player of the Year: Chris Lofton- Tenn

Freshman of the Year: Jai Lucas- Florida