Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SEC Basketball Roundtable With The SEC Hoops Power Poll Members

The guys at the SEC Hoops Power Poll decided to do a round table as we head into the stretch run here before the conference and NCAA Tournament.

Here are the questions and my answers.

1. The SEC was very weak last year. Most predicted that it would rebound this year. Has that happened? Why or why not?

From a national perception the SEC is better this year because they have a national title contender, Kentucky. Most people judge conference by their top teams and not necessarily top to bottom.

Looking at it top to bottom, the SEC is marginally better. I am watching Miss State on ESPN and announcers are discussing the Bulldogs NCAA Tournament chances. This is likely the best team in the West and they are a bubble team.

I think the rebound will be slow as long as the most important activity at 10 of the 12 schools between the bowl games and the first Wednesday in February is still football. The ESPN contract will should help, but it may be slow.

2. The national buzz on the conference is definitely focused on Kentucky, who have lived up to their preseason billing as the conference's best team and a national contender. Do the 'Cats have what it takes to win a national title? Why or why not?

Kentucky has what it takes to win the national title because of John Wall and John Calipari. Wall can take anyone in the country off the dribble and we all know guards dominate the Tournament.

If they had another sharp shooter from the outside, I would consider them the favorite. That is the weakness that could take them down.

3. In addition to Kentucky, which other teams will make the NCAAs? Will we see any surprises here, i. e., will anyone--barring an SECT surprise--other than Kentucky, the Tennessee Volunteers, the Vanderbilt Commodores, the Florida Gators, the Mississippi Rebels, and the Mississippi St. Bulldogs make it?

I think Vandy is a lock to make it. Tennessee should be in as well. I think Mississippi State should be in as well, but the RPI doesn't like them as much as I do.

Teams like Ole Miss, Florida, and South Carolina need to make a run to get in. Arkansas got hot too late and I think they have to win the SEC Tournament.

In total, I think the SEC gets four teams in.

4. What is the biggest surprise so far this season? Why?

I would say Vanderbilt has been the biggest surprise. The Commodores swept Tennessee and played Kentucky tough in Rupp.

A second surprise might be Kentucky considering they didn't start the season all that hot, but have turned it on and might only lose one game all season.

5. Who is the player of the year so far? Why?

John Wall. He is the best player on the best team. Now the most valuable player is probably Devan Downey. Without him, South Carolina is nowhere near the NIT.

Sound off here or at the Round table host - Garnet and Black.

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