SEC CONFERENCE PREVIEW Part One

By Tim Kim

With only a month left, another highly anticipated college basketball season will soon tip off. College basketball has always been exciting and has never failed to showcase the raw and blooming talent of collegiate athletes. This year you can finally see the Southeastern Conference(SEC) becoming a bit more competitive and here’s what you can anticipate this season:

Alabama: Alabama’s Crimson Tide may have a change in tide soon as a new head coach is in town, but don’t expect anything huge this season. The new head coach for the Crimson is former NBA Coach of the Year in 2006, Avery Johnson. He has already made an impact in the recruiting game for Alabama, getting the no. 2 ranked shooting guard in the class of 2016, Terrance Ferguson. It seems as if this year will just be another season for the Crimson Tide as Coach Johnson and his notable upperclassmen players Retin Obasohan and Shannon Hale lead the team.

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Arkansas: Last year Arkansas made a big statement in the SEC title tournament, keeping up with the Wildcats. However, when March came around, they quickly exited during the round of 32 after losing to the North Carolina Tar Heels. With a quiet offseason, Arkansas has been making some moves of class of 2016 but for this year we could see a repeat of the same type of effort and outcome under Coach Anderson.

Auburn: Auburn will be anticipating on the return of Tahj Shamsid-Deen who had two shoulder surgeries and rehabs the past year. Additionally, with the SEC leader in rebounds, Cinmeon Bowers, the No. 1 ranked junior college player T.J. Dunans, some new faces and familiar faces behind Coach Pearl, look out for the Auburn Tigers.

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Florida: With Billy Donovan out in Oklahoma City coaching Durant and Westbrook, here enters Coach Mike White for the Florida Gators. Just like the Crimson Tide, we might witness a rebuilding season for the Gators as they are remodeling their basketball status they once had during mid 2000’s when they won back to back National Championships. This year the Gators will be flashing some new faces and will be looking for an emphasis on an inside game and defense presence.

Georgia: The Bulldogs are the in and out team of the SEC. They were greeted with an early first round exit after losing to the Michigan State Spartans. Coach Mark Fox and the Bulldogs have had a quiet offseason with their recruits. However look out for the Bulldogs to make some noise as the underdogs in its conference with small signs of improvement with each year.

Kentucky: The reigning SEC Champs, Kentucky Wildcats, will once again be a roadblock as the Wildcats sit at the top of the hill of the SEC behind Coach Calipari. A flashback from last year, college basketball fans saw the Wildcats dominate with an all around effort from both the frontcourt and backcourt with the talents of Karl-Anthony Towns Jr., Harrison Twins, and Willie Cauley-Stein. The Wildcats proceeded in going undefeated throughout the regular season and won the SEC title against Arkansas. With a talent packed team many anticipated a historic perfect season as they entered the Big Dance in March but were stopped by last year’s tournament runner-up, the Wisconsin Badgers, in the Final Four. With most of the team gone from this year’s NBA draft we see that the Wildcats will have Alex Poythress as the team’s centerpiece. You can see the Wildcats as favorites for the SEC title and making it to the tournament once again as they’re predicted to be a top five team this year.

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LSU: The last memory of LSU last year was a first round exit in March courtesy of NC State Wolfpack. However, this year looks like there will be a way different outcome. This year LSU will boast three of the nation’s top 40 recruits, including the most coveted recruit, Ben Simmons. LSU has always been playing a fast paced and up tempo game under Coach Jones. The Tigers this year are ready to make some noise in the SEC and college basketball world and watch out for Ben Simmons to make immediate impact for the team.

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