There is a very simple test to determine whether you are an SEC basketball fan. First, answer this question:
Is the SEC a bad basketball conference in 2012-2013?
If you have an answer to this question, congratulations: you are an SEC basketball fan. We mean any answer, in any form, in any manner, that does not amount to "Do what?" or "Roll Tide." You have an answer for this question, and that makes you a likely candidate to being whatever an "SEC Basketball Fan."
Frankly, I'm not surprised Kentucky is struggling. While I think Kentucky has a lot of talent, I don't think the individual talent is a great as it has been in the past and Calipari is working to put together a more finished product. That being said, I still think Kentucky will be favored in our matchup.
Comes now Reid Forgrave of Fox Sports with an article about John Calipari and his former one-and-done players. I can see you now, dear reader, rolling your eyes with visions of Thayer Evans dancing in your head (what ever happened to him, by the way?), expecting another defenestration of Coach Cal as the huckster head of a basketball factory. And yes, there is some of that, but then again, there is so much more:
I want to whoop Tennessee because so many pundits had Tennessee rated over Mizzou, and because beating them would show those jokers how biased they are.
32 made field goals was a season high for Tennessee, but perhaps more importantly they came on 20 assists, a season high by far. For a team looking to turn things around and get everyone involved, a faster tempo created plenty of opportunities and the Vols were willing to share them. So on a night when Jordan McRae scored just 9 points, Tennessee played one of their best games of the year in an 82-67 win over Morehead State thanks to four players scoring in double figures and seven Vols recording at least two assists.
The Gamecocks finished out the Diamond Head Classic with a bang, beating Akron 69-59. The Gamecocks rode a strong second half to erase a six-point halftime deficit. The win brings the Gamecocks to 4-6 on the season. They went 2-1 in the tourney, beating St. Mary's and Akron and losing to Boise St. That was good for a third-place finish.
Florida is easily the class of the SEC in basketball, beating them in basketball and football in the same year would be a real attention grabber.
Casey Prather, who led Florida with 14 points, helped with that lead-building, but the Gators' primary strength on the day was their offensive rebounding: Florida snagged an incredible 25 offensive rebounds on 32 missed shots, for an absurd 78.1 offensive rebounding percentage. All four Gators seniors — Prather, Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete, Patric Young — had at least six rebounds, and the scoring on second shots helped cover for a poor day of finishing that produced just nine Florida assists.
The lack of offense was more than a bad night. Texas A&M has a very limited offense when Jamal Jones can't make threes. Coach Kennedy either needs to get very creative on offense or give the green light to Harris and Green to drive into the lane and create easy baskets for guys like Jones and Roberson.
It's articles, and disrespect like this, which makes me want to ROLFstomp Arkansas in every sport.
5. Missouri (10-1, RPI 35, LW: 3) Next game: Dec. 28 at North Carolina State I usually don’t believe in dropping a team after a 1-point loss against a good team, but besides UCLA, Missouri has no other RPI top 100 wins.
Even though the Razorbacks didn't shoot the ball as well as they have been in Fayetteville (the team was 5-17 from three for 29.4%), and narrowly lost the overall rebounding battle, the team did enough to to slow down South Alabama and win relatively comfortably. The Hogs blocked eight shots, collected 10 steals, scored 22 points off turnovers and let the Central Arkansas fans go home happy.
Auburn returns home only to face one of the better teams in the SEC: Mizzou. Remember Earnest Ross? He left Auburn on his own and transferred to Missouri a couple of years ago, but it did "help" Tony Barbee to make room for a few of his own signees: forwards Willy Kouassi and Bernard Morena and guard Cedrick McAfee. Note that none of those three are currently on the roster. Ross, a senior guard, sat out a year and then came out strong for Mizzou last season. He has impressive numbers across the board thus far this season: 14.1 ppg, 42.6% from the field, 32.1% from three and 72.6% from the line. He does work on defense too, averaging 5.8 rpg (the bulk of which occur on defense) and compiling 18 steals and 17 blocks on the season. Together, with two other transfers, junior point guard Jordan Clarkson from Tulsa and junior guard Jabari Brown from Oregon, they lead Mizzou in scoring. On defense, Mizzou is led by freshman Johnathan Williams, averaging 8.1 rpg and totaling 17 blocks. Ross and Brown are solid on both ends of the court.
LSU is sneaky dangerous in the SEC. Maybe they won't do much, but they can knock off an unsuspecting Mizzou squad if they're looking ahead.
LSU went on the road and shot a 52/47/67 line and was only out-rebounded by one. There's no reason the Tigers should have sweated out that win, given that Texas Tech's best victory is against Northern Colorado (RPI of 164) and was picked ninth out of 10 teams in the Big 12. The Red Raiders are comparable to the Vanderbilts and Texas A&Ms of the SEC this year, games that should be marked off as sure-wins for an LSU team with NCAA Tournament aspirations. Those teams are a step below Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas, all of which LSU gets away from the PMAC. If the escape in Lubbock is any indication, LSU will have a hell of time coming out of Coleman Coliseum, the Tad Pad or Bud Walton Arena with road wins they must have during the next two months.
Nothing personal Bama, but I'm thinking UCLA rolls, and that's best for Mizzou basketball - we need the SOS boost.
1. Must Win Game. It feels way too early to be making this harsh of a statement, but it really might be true. With a loss, Alabama will likely finish non conference play 6-7, with nothing but a bunch of close losses against good teams on the resume. That's just not a good look. Sure, a 14-4 SEC record would probably be enough to ignore the lack of out-of-conference wins, but that isn't something that Alabama fans want to be looking at when conference play begins. However, if Alabama can go on the road and beat one of the PAC-12's best, things look drastically different. Alabama would most likely be 7-6 going into conference play, and most importantly, will have shown that they can beat one of the big boys, not just hang with them.
Mizzou basketball, And 1
I agree with this post wholeheartedly - especially in light of the loss to Illinois
N.C. State features more of an inside threat than any team the Tigers have faced. The Wolfpack have won seven straight since 7-1 senior Jordan Vandenberg returned from an ankle injury. The team's best player is 6-8 sophomore forward T.J. Warren, who is averaging 23.9 points and coming off a career-best 32-point effort against East Carolina. Unlike most teams the Tigers have faced that go with three guards in the starting lineup, N.C. State opts for a third big in 6-8, 245-pound freshman Lennard Freeman.
And because talking about losses tends to make this crowd touchy, I'll include this spectacular play by Jordan Clarkson
Midseason Player of the Year: Jordan Clarkson, Missouri Much was expected of the Tulsa transfer and thus far Clarkson has delivered, as he leads the SEC in scoring (19.9 ppg) and ranks second in the conference in assists (4.3 apg). And from an efficiency standpoint Clarkson ranks third in the amongst players with a possession percentage of at least 24% when it comes to offensive rating, according to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers. Clarkson’s one of the big reasons why the Tigers are 10-1 heading into their game at N.C. State on Saturday.
All-SEC First Team:
Jordan Clarkson, Missouri
Jordan McRae, Tennessee
Jabari Brown, Missouri
Casey Prather, Florida
Julius Randle, Kentucky
I thought this post, which is pretty indepth look at three point shooting after rebounds, was interesting and topic for discussion: