TAG | florida
It was a tough decision to go with the SEC over the ACC for today. The main thing is the depth (mainly in the East) of the conference barely out weighs the fact that the conference doesn’t have a dominating team. They have three or four nice teams, but no one team strikes fear in the masses. There have been some nice non-conference wins by multiple teams, but there have been some humiliating one’s too (see Auburn 0-2 vs Atlantic Sun and Big South.
Best Team: Kentucky (16-5, 4-3)
This was also difficult because Florida leads the conference and the Wildcats have struggled lately going 2-2 in their last four. Talent wise and play in the non-conference swayed the decision for me. Six players eat up the majority of the time for Kentucky, three of whom are not only freshman, but also their leading scorers. This team can score in bunches (77.5 PPG, .459 FG%, .399 3P%) and can defend (.381 OFG%), how that translates into a tournament run is anyone’s guess at this point as the youngsters will continue to develop and may or may not hit a wall (no pun intended).
Next in line: Florida (17-5, 6-2)
The Gators passed a major test early in the conference with the victory at Tennessee (a place they always struggle), but followed that up with a loss at home to lowly South Carolina. Inconsistency has plagued Billy Donovan’s teams since his back-to-back titles and this team doesn’t appear to be any different.
Biggest Disappointment: Auburn (8-13, 1-6)
It’s not like anyone thought this team would be any good what so ever, but for a major conference program to lose to the likes of teams nicknamed the Fighting Camels, Dolphins, and Blue Hose (a team that Vandy beat by 41) is humiliation for the conference. Quite possibly the worst major conference team, ever.
Next in line: Mississippi St. (11-12, 3-4)
The Bulldogs were a consensus to win the SEC West this year, however they are under .500 and sitting 3 games back of Alabama, a team that has already swept them. The Bulldogs have also lost to teams like Florida Atlantic and East Tennessee. The struggles haven’t just been confined to the court with the now infamous fight in the stands between star Renardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey and a twitter controversy that has hurt the program’s stability.
Biggest Surprise: Alabama (14-7, 6-1)
Only because they are the West’s only hope for a NCAA bid (they probably have to 8 or 9 more games to even be considered) and have recovered nicely in the conference after an ugly non-conference.
Next in line: Nobody. Hell, Alabama was a stretch.
4:oo Alabama (14-7, 6-1) @Tennessee (14-7, 4-2): Tennessee’s second to last SEC game without Bruce Pearl on the sidelines sees the Tide coming to town. The Vols want to keep pace with Florida and hang strong for a potential at-large bid (they have good non-conference wins for it) and a win at home would do both. ‘Bama needs victories as mentioned above, but especially needs road/neutral wins to prove that they warrant tourney discussion.
8:00 Kentucky (16-5, 4-3) @Florida (17-5, 6-2): The Wildcats can’t fall two games behind the Gators in the lose column and need to show that they are still the team to beat. The Gators still need to prove they are for real and a victory over UK would be their best win thus far in the season. Yuck, cannot believe this is the game of the week. Cannot wait for a week and we get Pitt and Nova. Have no fear, having said all that, this will probably be the game of the year in the SEC.