The SEC in 17-18

bobinator
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Could it be a breakthrough year for the league?

You'd have to think almost everyone in the league except South Carolina and Vandy are going to be better than they were this year. Kentucky might be slightly better or slightly worse but will be the preseason favorite either way I imagine.

What do y'all think the big storylines are going to be next season?

Any coaches that are definitely on the hot seat going in? Fox probably? Andy Kennedy? I'd put Pearl on the "seat could get hot if they suck again" list. Billy Kennedy is probably on that list also in that if we suck next year his job could be in jeopardy, but I don't really see that happening.

Does Alabama take a big step forward? So far Avery Johnson's tenure has started out about like Anthony Grant's did. Grant made the NCAA's as a 9 seed in his third season, will Alabama be better than that next year?

sleepybeagle
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Yes

Agree

A&M had better do better

Agree on Pearl @Auburn and Kennedy @A&M. I do think Kennedy really needs to have an exciting season or the heats going to be way up.

I think Alabama will be better, however it does look like they're stuck in 19-15 like seasons.
Hop
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Big storyline is going to be Pearl and Howland, and if they can make a move into the upper echelon of the SEC standings. Barnes is moving into year three and its time to see if they make a move. You have all of these coaches that have been successful at other places now in their 3rd and 4th year in the SEC. Can they get it done in this league. And if not, why not?
bobinator
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"Why not" is an interesting question, because I don't see Auburn or Mississippi State really being all that good next year either. They might be a little bit better but so is everyone else. I do wonder if it's one of those things where they're slow builders, but so is basically everyone else in the league.

There's no doubt both programs are better now than they were a few years ago, but can they get any better at a time when seemingly everyone in the league is getting better?
mdanyc03
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Personally I don't find coaches to be nearly as interesting as most college basketball fans for whatever reason.

I would argue that this year was a breakthrough year for the SEC, we just didn't realize how good the conference was until the tournament.

Breakthrough for next year, would be, what? 5-6 teams in the tournament?

SEC has a better freshman class than any other conference, by far actually.

Besides the usual Kentucky contingent (6 of top 35 national), the rest of the SEC also signed 7 of the top 50 nationally, including arguably the top prospect in the country (Michael Porter Jr to Missouri), arguably the top point guard in the country to Bama (Collin Sexton) and two more blue chips to Auburn.

I think fans from Kentucky, Florida, USC, Vandy, Bama, Auburn, Arkansas and A&M will all go into next year expecting or at least hoping to have a tournament quality team. Really I think you could even throw UGA (if Yante Matten comes back) and Ole Miss and Tennessee into that mix because they weren't that far of this year and they will have veteran teams this year. I think LSU, Missouri and Miss State fans will go in excited about a new staff or talented young roster.

Should be a lot of fun.
greg.w.h
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Getting two teams to the F4 raises the ante especially because neither was UK.
bobinator
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mdanyc03 said:

I would argue that this year was a breakthrough year for the SEC, we just didn't realize how good the conference was until the tournament.
The conference still wasn't very good, it just had a couple of good teams and South Carolina got insanely hot at the end.

A breakthrough year is probably getting 6-7 teams into the field, or about half the league like the ACC and Big 12 do every year.
mdanyc03
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Quote:

The conference still wasn't very good, it just had a couple of good teams and South Carolina got insanely hot at the end.
I will disagree with this.

I think this is too flippant. You had your opinion, which was reasonable when formed, but you are trying too hard to hold onto it as new information becomes available.

3 in the elite 8 is pretty dang good no matter how you look at it, but it wasn't just that. Arkansas had UNC beat and gave it away with poor execution down the stretch. They were up 3 with the ball with two minutes to go.

USC didn't get "insanely hot." It isn't like they started shooting well or something all of a sudden. They completely choked people out with defense and that isn't flukey. I watched the first round games and fully expected USC to beat Duke because it was pretty clear to me they were tougher/ more athletic and that played out exactly as I expected. Didn't look like a fluke at all to me. And remember, USC didn't lose a non conference game all year with Sindarious Thornwell until the final four to Gonzaga. The fact that they lost some conference games attests to the strength of conference and I think that is a more logical conclusion than saying they just got hot.

There wasn't some huge gap between the three in the elite eight and the rest of the conference either. There were lots of competitive games all year. SEC went 5-5 against the Big 12 and really should have won more andmost dismissed it as a fluke. Now pretty clear to me it wasn't.

I get it that the conference RPI numbers weren't great (weren't terrible either) but I think we should remember that those are based on a limited number of data points very early in the season and that teams evolve a lot between November and February/ March.

I am not arguing that the SEC was the best conference in America or anything of that nature. But I will disagree with a dismissive "not very good."
bobinator
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South Carolina was still a 7 seed. So either they underperformed all season, were terribly seeded, or they got hot at the end. KenPom, even after the tournament, has them at 24th, so I don't think they were horribly seeded.

The SEC was fifth in conference RPI, which is not very good, the only power five it was better than was the Pac 12. Like you said, that's not horrible, the league didn't finish below any mid-major leagues, but it's not good either.

You can't dismiss ALL of non-conference as "limited data points." That's 12 games for everyone. And in non-conference, the league sucked. If anything, the NCAA Tournament is limited data points, as the SEC only played 14 games total.

I'm not trying to discount three teams making the Elite Eight, it's a fantastic accomplishment, but tournament results just aren't reliable data points because there are so few of them.

Same with the SEC/Big 12 challenge, that's just ten games. It doesn't give you near enough data to actually compare the two leagues.

I still stand by that the league wasn't very good. It wasn't bad like the few years before, but there's no way this was a "breakthrough year" when only 5 teams even made the tournament.
wacarnolds
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mdanyc03 said:



USC didn't get "insanely hot." It isn't like they started shooting well or something all of a sudden.

That's exactly what happened.

USC played 25 games in the regular season vs top 150 teams. Only three times did their offensive performance rank in the top 5 for efficiency allowed by that particular opponent over the entire season. One other time, their offensive performance ranked in the top 10 against that particular opponent over the full season.

In 5 NCAAT games, 4 ranked in the top 5. And all 5 ranked in the top 10.

In the regular season, they shot 33% and 42% vs Florida. In the tournament, they shot 51%.
Chuck Gay
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A 7 seed means you were somewhere between 25-28 best in the committee's eyes. I would argue that there were about 5-6 teams that were consistently good this year and then a jumble of teams that were all at about the same level after that. Those teams probable went down to about #30. Was there really much difference between 3 in Florida St., a 4 in Purdue, a 7 in South Carolina, and a 8 in Wisconsin? There really wasn't a lot of difference in teams seeded from about 3-9.

The SEC had Florida, South Carolina, and Kentucky in the Elite 8. Was any conference better than that?

That is as many as any other conference. Arkansas almost put North Carolina out in the round of 32. They were as dangerous as any team UNC faced. The SEC was a good basketball league in 2016-17 and it will be next year too. The results prove it. Anything else is just spin with an agenda.
StanGundy
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SC caught one of the luckiest breaks ever when the NCAA moved the 1st/2nd Rounds out of Greensboro, NC and into Greenville, SC. The Gamecocks got practically two home games and this allowed them to get both their offense and confidence on a roll. There is no way (or at best very unlikely) that they beat #2 seeded Duke in Greensboro in the 2nd Round.

Now there was nothing lucky about what they did afterwards in MSG. That snowball was rolling downhill and they played great basketball. However, the same team that beat Marquette and Duke in Greenville had also just scored 53 in the SEC Tourney against Bama. i

Can you even imagine the meltdown and BAS that would occur if A&M was a #2 seed and had to play a #7 OU or OSU in Oklahoma City?
mdanyc03
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Okay, good info.

Now outside of Florida, none of those games were particularly close and they probably would have won without a major outlier of a shooting effort.
Hop
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Well, the Yahoo early ranking list has four SEC teams in the Top 25. When's the last time that has happened? Since A&M has been in the SEC, the conference has had about 2-3 good teams and then 7-8 average teams you could switch out with very little difference, and then the bottom 3-4 teams were pretty bad.

Next year will have about 6-7 teams capable of making the NCAA's and only a couple of really bad teams. The rest will be average, middle of the road teams...definitely an upgrade over previous years.
mdanyc03
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Quote:

You can't dismiss ALL of non-conference as "limited data points." That's 12 games for everyone. And in non-conference, the league sucked. If anything, the NCAA Tournament is limited data points, as the SEC only played 14 games total.
So Big 12 challenge and NCAA tournament between them are I think 23 games by my count.

All other non conference games are 158 by my count (excluding irrelevant postseason tournaments) but of those how many are against legitimate competition? Maybe 50-60? The rest of the formula is basically then did you beat merely bad or absolutely putrid mid major/ small conference teams and how many games did your bottom feeders (LSU and Mizzou) lost to putrid non conference teams.

When we also consider that recency factor, I would say that the Big 12 challenge and NCAA tournament combined are in fact significant data when we measure conference strength and should not be completely overshadowed and completely discounted by November/ December non conference games.
bobinator
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Chuck Gay said:

The SEC was a good basketball league in 2016-17 and it will be next year too. The results prove it. Anything else is just spin with an agenda.
Five tournament teams does not make you a good league. Good league's have depth. 9 out of 15 ACC teams made it, 6 out of 10 Big 12 teams made it, 7 out of 14 Big Ten teams made it, 7 of the 10 Big East teams made it... that's good league depth.

A "breakthrough" season for the league would be at least 7 teams making the field, that's half the league. You do that by showing up in non-conference, something the league (for the most part) definitely didn't do last year.

That's what I think defines a good league. That's why the Big 12 was a good league even though it really only had a couple of upper tier teams.
mdanyc03
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Quote:

That snowball was rolling downhill and they played great basketball. However, the same team that beat Marquette and Duke in Greenville had also just scored 53 in the SEC Tourney against Bama.
Just to be clear, did the other teams at MSG not benefit from this "snowball rolling downhill" effect?

I also don't think playing in Greenville is worth seven points. They beat Duke pretty comprehensively.
Chuck Gay
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bobinator said:

Chuck Gay said:

The SEC was a good basketball league in 2016-17 and it will be next year too. The results prove it. Anything else is just spin with an agenda.
Five tournament teams does not make you a good league. Good league's have depth. 9 out of 15 ACC teams made it, 6 out of 10 Big 12 teams made it, 7 out of 14 Big Ten teams made it, 7 of the 10 Big East teams made it.


The results of the tournament prove the SEC was a good basketball league. The SEC was "under valued" based on the results. The ACC had UNC win it all but conference wide performed poorly.
bobinator
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There are a lot of problems with the Big 12/SEC challenge being relevant data. Most notably the fact that the SEC has four more teams that don't participate.

There are also matchup issues. Just because a team beats another team one time doesn't necessarily mean that team is "better" when compared to the rest of the teams in the country, and that's not even talking about random upsets like Auburn beating TCU.
wacarnolds
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mdanyc03 said:

Okay, good info.

Now outside of Florida, none of those games were particularly close and they probably would have won without a major outlier of a shooting effort.

The way they played defense against Baylor, it didn't matter how they shot.

They were down 1 to Marquette at halftime, and it was a one-possession game at the 10 min mark. Duke, they were down 7 at halftime and needed 65 pts in the 2H to win by 7. I can see either of those games going differently if South Carolina isn't firing on all cylinders offensively.

Props to them for playing their best when it counts, but I wouldn't rewrite their regular season performance based on 4-5 games.
bobinator
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Chuck Gay said:


The results of the tournament prove the SEC was a good basketball league. The SEC was "under valued" based on the results. The ACC had UNC win it all but conference wide performed poorly.
They don't prove that at all, that's not a logical argument.

We're not talking about the strength of three teams, we're talking about the strength of the whole league.

Now, you could form a logical argument that the entire league underperformed in non-conference, and that the league's metrics and results weren't an accurate representation of the actual quality of the teams, but there's no way to prove that.
AggieBaller98
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You could make your argument either way because the SEC was better than in most years, however, I don't remember the conference doing well in non-conference play.

And if you're going to consider NCAAT and the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, then you also have to bring up the NIT. Ole Miss was the only team that played decently as Alabama and Georgia lost 1st round home games. Vandy choking away that 1st round loss didn't help the league either.

The league got better as the year went on, but I don't think it was that particularly good.

I think if anything, the league has established a national identity in being a conference that boasts great defenses and physical play because of SC and Florida's accomplishments. Kentucky will always be Kentucky and it's good for the league, but this year a lot of people got to see what we saw during conference play which was grinding out games because the defenses were pretty good.
Chuck Gay
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bobinator said:

Chuck Gay said:


The results of the tournament prove the SEC was a good basketball league. The SEC was "under valued" based on the results. The ACC had UNC win it all but conference wide performed poorly.
They don't prove that at all, that's not a logical argument.

We're not talking about the strength of three teams, we're talking about the strength of the whole league.

Now, you could form a logical argument that the entire league underperformed in non-conference, and that the league's metrics and results weren't an accurate representation of the actual quality of the teams, but there's no way to prove that.
3 teams is the Elite 8 is the definition of a "good basketball league". The SEC didn't drop drastically after that either. LSU and Missouri were bad, but there was a great deal of solid teams from Arkansas on down until you get to the bottom 2 dwellers.
bobinator
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This sort of got derailed from what I was hoping the original point of the thread was going to be. I didn't really mean to go off road into whether or not the SEC was good this season, because I think we can all agree it should be significantly better next season.
Hop
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Y'all are starting to bring in the age old argument of what makes a better conference...high performing teams at the top of the conference but bad at the bottom, or one that is deeper top-to-bottom but isn't as elite at the top.
Pumpkinhead
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- I think you can make a reasonable argument that the SEC can be at least a 5-6 NCAA bid league next year. The conference has definitely gotten better in hoops. It hasn't gotten better enough yet to be considered 'good', but it no longer deserves being described as 'bad' or 'awful' either.

- Most likely NCAA teams in my opinion: Kentucky, Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama. If SEC gets 5-6 teams in the tournament, I feel these 4 teams have the highest probability of being in that group.

- Team most likely to make the biggest rise in the SEC standings: Texas A&M. The Aggies finished 10th in the SEC last year with no-post-season. However with the top-5 players on last year's team all returning (Gilder, Davis, Hogg, Trocha, Williams) and THEN adding grad transfer Duane Wilson (Marquette) plus Caldwell, Flagg, Starks, Chandler, & Jasey (#14 ranked recruiting class for 2017 per 247 conmposite)...I expect A&M to finish top-4 or 5 in the SEC and get an NCAA bid. The Aggies will be experienced with several juniors and seniors, deep, and talented similar to the 2015-2016 team.

- Team most like to have the biggest fall: South Carolina. Loved South Carolina's run. Learned a lot more about Frank Martin in the process and he seems like a likable dude despite the intense stares. But they are losing Thornwell (SEC player of the year), Notice, and McKie to graduation. A big question mark is still whether P.J. Dozier comes back or not. If he does not, it will yet even more difficult for South Carolina to avoid finishing bottom-half of SEC. I don't necessarily think they will fall as hard as say Oklahoma just did last season trying to replace a bunch of key guys after their Final Four run, but a major step back seems more likely than not.

- Biggest Wildcards: Auburn, Mississippi State - Both of these two schools have been stockpiling lots of highly rated recruiting talent the past 2-3 recruiting cycles. They both have 'splash hire' coaches. Pearl and Howland. Both programs have been hanging around at the bottom of the SEC for several years now. Will one or both of them finally make a noticeable jump?

- Most like SEC coach to get fired at end of next season: Mark Fox. There was some smoke swirling about his job security this last go around, but they stuck with him. If Georgia doesn't make the NCAA next year, my bet is Fox being gone. And I don't know if I really see anything about Georgia's roster situation that tells me they are going to significantly improve from last season. They are losing one of their two best players in J.J. Frazier but will still have senior Yante Maten. Their 2017 recruiting class was ranked #43 nationally in 247 composite.

- SEC coach who SHOULD get fired if they miss the NCAA tournament: Billy Kennedy. Already mentioned reasons why A&M seems the SEC most likely to have the biggest rise. If the opposite happens and A&M somehow misses being an NCAA team, that would be absolutely inexcusable with that roster which has been put together. I don't think A&M will miss the NCAA, I just think the roster will be too good overall, but if that does happen, then there should be the same pressure on the A&M coaching staff to deliver just as there apparently was in 2015-2016. post season or pink slips.
bobinator
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I just think your overall bids is a better gauge of the strength of your league than how well you actually do. The ACC had a horrible tournament this year but it had a great one last year, I don't think the entire league just forgot how to play tournament basketball since last year. Sometimes you just play a team that's hot at the right time or you could be particularly cold at the wrong time.
AggieBaller98
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If the SEC is to be a 5-6 bid team next year, then everybody must do their part and win against teams in the RPI Top 50 (at least) and avoid losing games to sub 150+ RPI teams in non-conference.
bobinator
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7 bids should be the goal, quite frankly. 5 would be a bit disappointing, 6 is probably okay but nothing special.
AggieBaller98
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it really doesn't do a team justice to gauge it a success or otherwise when it hinges on one game. In those cases where a team is upset in the tournament, I don't think you could say that they were bad teams. They just ran into a team that was on a roll and that's about it.
bobinator
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To get this back more on what I was hoping, Vandy will be an interesting team in the offseason. I can't decide if I think they'll take a step back or be even better next year.
CFTXAG10
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Of course Kentucky is always reloading the talent year in and year out, but it is at least interesting to note Fox and Monk are headed to the draft
Method Man
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bobinator said:

I just think your overall bids is a better gauge of the strength of your league than how well you actually do. The ACC had a horrible tournament this year but it had a great one last year, I don't think the entire league just forgot how to play tournament basketball since last year. Sometimes you just play a team that's hot at the right time or you could be particularly cold at the wrong time.
no. They did.
jml2621
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bobinator said:

South Carolina was still a 7 seed. So either they underperformed all season, were terribly seeded, or they got hot at the end. KenPom, even after the tournament, has them at 24th, so I don't think they were horribly seeded.

The SEC was fifth in conference RPI, which is not very good, the only power five it was better than was the Pac 12. Like you said, that's not horrible, the league didn't finish below any mid-major leagues, but it's not good either.

You can't dismiss ALL of non-conference as "limited data points." That's 12 games for everyone. And in non-conference, the league sucked. If anything, the NCAA Tournament is limited data points, as the SEC only played 14 games total.

I'm not trying to discount three teams making the Elite Eight, it's a fantastic accomplishment, but tournament results just aren't reliable data points because there are so few of them.

Same with the SEC/Big 12 challenge, that's just ten games. It doesn't give you near enough data to actually compare the two leagues.

I still stand by that the league wasn't very good. It wasn't bad like the few years before, but there's no way this was a "breakthrough year" when only 5 teams even made the tournament.


3rd in the SEC per Kenpom, The were under seeded were fortunate to have those "home" games as a 7th seed...and they got every UNC fan to pull for USCe against Duke.

They had the 3rd best Defensive Efficiency in the CNAAs. Legit D can go a long way in the NCAA, especially aggressive active defense, focusing on steals and stops. 5th in creating TO, 11th in 3FG% defense. The offense started playing better and used their D to create offense.
txag72
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A break thru season would be coming out of the gates winning big games because teams are not rebuilding and reloading every year. Which is our problem with coming into the year with a fish PG snd a transfer again. And again. And again. We just don't know early on with a tough schedule and 20% of the team inexperienced but hopefully talented.
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