Southeastern Conference Preview

SEC Conference Preview

Conference Outlook

The SEC has been known to be a football conference in the past but this year that will change, as they have the talent to be one of the best conferences in the sport. The league has three teams in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Auburn that are reasonable Top-10 teams and they will have a legitimate chance to win a National Championship in addition to winning the SEC. LSU, Mississippi State, and Florida are all Top-25 level teams, although they are likely a tier behind the trio at the top. Alabama and Vanderbilt look to push for NCAA Tournament bids, as both teams have the talent to beat quality teams. The final six of South Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Mississippi are all teams that seem to be behind the curve but all have the talent to push for a tournament bid. The SEC has had good years in the past, headlined by Florida and Kentucky but this year the league looks to be a strong as it has ever been, as the conference will look for multiple Final Four teams, and a goal of having the National Champion come out of their conference.

Power Rankings along with team Breakdowns

1.Kentucky Wildcats: The Wildcats always bring in a good recruiting class, which is no different from most years, however, this year they have a good core of experienced veterans. The dominant duo inside will be with Reid Travis and PJ Washington, while Quade Green and Nick Richards both have a year of experience behind them. As usual, the Wildcats have a great recruiting class, this year that is headlined by Keldon Johnson, EJ Montgomery, Tyler Herro, Immanuel Quickley, and Ashton Hagans. Look for Kentucky to be dominant in non-conference play, while staving off other teams for another SEC regular season title.

2.Tennessee Volunteers: The Volunteers surprised everyone last season by winning a share of the SEC regular-season title. This year they return almost everyone, headlined by the reigning SEC Player of the year Grant Williams, while Admiral Schofield, Kyle Alexander, Jordan Bone, Jordan Bowden, and Lamonte Turner all were key for Tennessee last year. Look for the Volunteers to challenge Kentucky at the top of the SEC standings, while they seem poised for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

3.Auburn Tigers: The Tigers overcame the FBI Investigation and losing two great players in route to their first regular season title since 1999. The Tigers were forced to play small as both Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley both were suspended, however, both of them return this season to mix with a good core of Jared Harper, Bryce Brown, Anfernee McLemore, Malik Dunbar, Horace Spencer, Samir Doughty, and Chuma Okeke. Look for this team to be one of the main challengers to Kentucky and Tennessee atop the SEC standings, while they will look to make a deeper NCAA Tournament run than last year.

4.LSU Tigers: The Tigers look poised in year two of the Will Wade era to not only make it back to the NCAA Tournament but also be one of the best teams in the SEC. The Tigers have an All-American level player in Tremont Waters leading them, while freshmen Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams, and Ja’Vonte Smart look to be great this season, and other players like Skylar Mays, Marlon Taylor, and Kavell Bigby-Williams look to be key contributors. Look for the Tigers to be in that 4-6 range of teams in the SEC, which would be a much improved season for the Tigers.

5.Florida Gators: The Gators lose an all-program level player in Chris Chiozza but they were able to bring back Jalen Hudson and KeVaughn Allen to help the Gators continue to be a Top-25 level team. Hudson looks to be one of the best players in the conference, while Allen should improve this season but the real key will be with Andrew Nembhard playing the point guard position, while players like Kevarrius Hayes and Keith Stone will be key playing down low. Look for the Gators to continue to be a successful team under Mike White, while they look to be a Top-25 team while being in the 4-6 range in the SEC.

6.Mississippi State Bulldogs: The Bulldogs had a successful season last year as they were in contention late for an NCAA Tournament bid, however, this year they will be looking for more. The Bulldogs return all five starters Quinnday and Nick Weatherspoon, Aric Holman, Lamar Peters, and Abdul Ado, while adding recruits Reggie Perry, Robert Woodard, and DJ Stewart. Look for the Bulldogs to get a lot better this season, making the NCAA Tournament once again,  while competing in the 4-6 range of SEC teams.

7.Alabama Crimson Tide: Alabama comes into this season off their first NCAA Tournament appearance in the Avery Johnson era. The Tide return mostly everyone, headlined by Donta Hall, John Petty, Herb Jones, and Dazon Ingram, while players like Tevin Mack and Kira Lewis will make a difference in year one at Alabama. Look for Alabama to be a little bit above the middle of the pack of the SEC, which will help them get to the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season.

8.Vanderbilt Commodores: Year two of the Bryce Drew era didn’t go well but this year they are able to add two Five-Star recruits with Darius Garland and Simi Shittu. Garland and Shittu both should be great for the Commodores this season, while players like Saben Lee and Notre Dame transfer Matt Ryan will be key contributors this season. Look for the Commodores to have an up and down season, where they should be in the middle of the pack in the SEC, while they will push for an at-large bid.

9.South Carolina Gamecocks: The Gamecocks were unable to follow up their Final Four in 2017 with a Tournament appearance last season, but this season they should be better. Chris Silva should continue to be a monster inside, while players like Hassani Gravett, Malik Kotsar, and Justin Minaya should continue to be good role players, while they have some good group of freshmen that should get minutes this season. Look for this team to once again be very tough on opponents and if things break right this team could push for an NCAA Tournament bid while being a middle of the pack SEC team.

10.Georgia Bulldogs: Georgia made a slam dunk hire this offseason by picking up Tom Crean, who should help Georgia be competitive on a year in and year out basis. The Bulldogs will look for the Sophomore trio of Nicolas Claxton, RayShaun Hammonds, and Teshaun Hightower to all have great seasons this year, while Turtle Jackson and Derek Ogbeide will be key veterans. Look for this team to stay out of the bottom of the pack of the SEC, while potentially staying around longer than most expect in the chase for an at-large bid.

11.Texas A&M Aggies: The Aggies had one of the best frontcourts in the country last season but that will completely change this year as they lose almost their entire frontcourt. The Aggies do bring back TJ Starks, Admon Gilder, Savion Flagg, and Jay Jay Chandler but they have a lot of questions up front. If they can figure out their frontcourt they will have a chance to push towards the middle of the pack in the SEC, if not this team could be near the bottom of the conference.

12.Missouri Tigers: The Tigers were set up this season to have one of the best frontcourts in College Basketball with Jontay Porter and Jeremiah Tilmon but unfortunately Jontay Porter tore his ACL and he will be out for the season. Tilmon should put up big numbers this year, while Kevin Puryear, Jordan Geist, and Illinois transfer Mark Smith look to have solid seasons this year. Look for the Tigers to be near the bottom of the SEC standings this year, however, the Tigers could be in for a good 2019-20 season with Porter healthy.

13.Arkansas Razorbacks: The Razorbacks made it into the NCAA Tournament as a 7 seed last season but following the season they lost six players who played key roles for them last season. Daniel Gafford will lead the Razorbacks this season, as he looks to put up monster numbers for the Razorbacks this season but they’ll be relying a lot upon a lot of Freshmen. Look for the Razorbacks to be near the bottom of the league standings this season, although you can’t count out them out of getting a few wins in SEC play with Mike Anderson as the Head Coach.

14.Mississippi Rebels: The Ole Miss Rebels let go of Andy Kennedy after another down season but they then got Kermit Davis to come in as their next Head Coach. The Rebels will have a good team leader in Terence Davis, with other good players around him that should help him out. Look for the Rebels to win a few games in the SEC, while making strides in year one under Kermit Davis, however, it would be unlikely that they get out of the basement of the conference.

All-Conference Teams

First Team

Tremont Waters (SEC Player of the year) – LSU

Grant Williams – Tennessee

PJ Washington – Kentucky

Quinndary Weatherspoon – Mississippi State

Jalen Hudson – Florida

Second Team

Bryce Brown – Auburn

Keldon Johnson – Kentucky

Reid Travis – Kentucky

Austin Wiley – Auburn

Chris Silva – South Carolina

Third Team

Darius Garland – Vanderbilt

KeVaughn Allen – Florida

Admiral Schofield – Tennessee

Daniel Gafford – Arkansas

Naz Reid – LSU

Five Best Freshmen

Keldon Johnson – Kentucky

Naz Reid – LSU

Darius Garland – Vanderbilt

Andrew Nembhard – Florida

EJ Montgomery – Kentucky

Five Best Newcomers

Reid Travis – Kentucky

Tevin Mack – Alabama

Marlon Taylor – LSU

Josh Nebo – Texas A&M

Samir Doughty – Auburn

Five Breakout Players

John Petty – Alabama

RayShaun Hammonds – Georgia

PJ Washington – Kentucky

TJ Starks – Texas A&M

Jeremiah Tilmon – Missouri

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