We, your esteemed voters on the SEC Hoops Power Poll, have elected to conduct a roundtable.
Here is the LOHD response to these discussion questions, feel free to comment if we missed something.
1. The SEC was very weak last year. Most predicted that it would rebound this year. Has that happened? Why or why not?
The SEC has gotten stronger but it is due in large part to the teams from the SEC East. Thanks to Kentucky, Vandy and UT the SEC has strength. Teams like Auburn and LSU drag down the SEC perception of power but compared overall it is better than last year. Still a ways to go before we can say we are better than the Big East but give it some time.
2. The national buzz on the conference is definitely focused on Kentucky, who has 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?
No doubt the UK Wildcats are the best in the SEC and have a shot at the national championship. They have a very well rounded basketball team, which is loaded with young talent. South Carolina proved that they are not perfect and are vulnerable but UK learned from their mistakes and it will be hard for another team to make UK look foolish again.
UK is certainly part of the national championship discussion.
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?
In addition to Kentucky, I think the Vols, MSU Bulldogs and the Commodores are definitely going to make it. Hanging on to a berth is Ole Miss and UF Gators. Controlling their destiny is Arkansas, Alabama, and South Carolina – these teams need to do one thing down the stretch and that is win. I do not see LSU, Auburn and/or Georgia making it.
I only see the SEC getting 4-6 seeds so lots of fighting for position to do until the end of the season.
My bet is on UK, UT, Vandy, Florida and MSU.
4. What is the biggest surprise so far this season? Why?
Gotta go with the Tennessee Volunteers here due to their fall from grace contributed to stupidity. They had a solid team coming into the season but due to gun issues, it has changed the make-up and outlook of the Vols. Now the best they can do is 3rd in the SEC whereas before they could have given UK a run for their money in my opinion.
5. Who is the player of the year so far? Why?
Devan Downey. Not saying it because of my devotion to SC but because he has been amazing this year. He leads the league in scoring and steals; ranks high nationally as well. Every opponent knows he is the focal point of the SC offense yet he cannot be stopped. His worst enemy is himself with an occasional bad night. Some of his shots have been crazy especially in clutch situations. He gets my vote just in front of that kid named John Wall.