SEC basketball looks to be competitive

From Issue 3

sec-basketball-logojpg-f03c2233462d3862The college basketball season is starting soon. So it’s now time to start looking at some relevant topics before the season tips off.

Many different conferences have a contender for the national championship every year. The Southeastern Conference is no exception. The Kentucky Wildcats have dominated not only the SEC but also the entire country, and it doesn’t seem like the dominance will end this year. Kentucky lost three key players to the draft last year, but the Wildcats recruited well in the offseason and brought in three preseason All-SEC players to come in and have an immediate impact to the team. One of whom, De’Aaron Fox was selected by the media to be on the All-SEC First Team.

Kentucky will likely win the conference again this year, but will anyone make it interesting? The Texas A&M Aggies and the Florida Gators are most likely the only two teams with a chance of this.

The Aggies were regular season co-champions with the Wildcats last year, but in the offseason they lost their top two leading scorers in Danuel House and Jalen Jones. They also lost crucial guard Alex Caruso who led the team in assists and steals. A&M does return sophomore big man Tyler Davis who provided a pivotal post presence for the Aggies as a freshman.

Florida on the other hand only lost one key player, but the player was Dorian Finney-Smith, who was the Gators workhorse, leading the team in both points and rebounds. This year Florida will be led by guard Canyon Barry, who transferred during the offseason from the College of Charleston where he averaged 19.7 points per game. Florida was selected by the media to finish second behind Kentucky, but the Gators don’t seem to have the size and athleticism to keep up with the Wildcats in 2016-17.

Florida and A&M may have the best chance of beating out Kentucky for the SEC crown, but they are not the only teams that can make a run at this year’s Wildcats. Team’s like Georgia, Ole Miss, and Arkansas could have Cinderella story type seasons which would put the entire conference in utter disarray. Georgia has two of the top returners in the SEC in Yante Maten and J.J. Frazier, but the Bulldogs star power behind these players is more than limited. The Rebels and Razorbacks are two other conference teams that could contend early, but the two teams most likely do not have enough firepower to finish in the top tier of the conference. Though both teams did add key transfers in Cullen Neal (Ole Miss) and Jaylen Barford(Arkansas) who will come in and impact their respectable team immediately. The Razorbacks also do return the preseason SEC Player of The Year in Moses Kingsley.

Other teams in the conference like Alabama, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are trending in the right direction but are not at a level to contend yet. Mississippi State brought in the 4th best recruiting class in the country according to ESPN, and the newcomers for the Bulldogs will bring in some much needed depth but that will not be enough against the upper half of the conference. Alabama is another team seeing their stock rise, but the Crimson Tide will most likely struggle this year after losing star Retin Obasohan and key player Arthur Edwards.

The bottom dwellers of the SEC will include LSU, South Carolina, Auburn, Tennessee, and Missouri. These remaining teams all lost their best players in the offseason, leaving no way for them to compete with the top half of the conference.

There is always a chance that one of these SEC teams makes Kentucky fight for the top spot, but as of now it looks like Kentucky will again be the king in the Southeastern Conference.