College Basketball: Preseason Edition SEC Power Rankings
SEC Power Rankings
The Kentucky Wildcats represented the SEC in the national championship last year, and the Wildcats, of course, won the entire thing. Although the Wildcats are not supposed to be as good as they were last season, they still have plenty of incoming freshmen that will make them a top team in the nation. However, with the 2012-13 college basketball season just days away, let's take a look at the SEC and the preseason rankings of every team in the conference.
First off, everybody give a warm welcoming to the Missouri Tigers and the Texas A&M Aggies, who will both be joining the conference this season. Although it might be a couple of seasons until the Aggies actually compete for a title in the SEC, Missouri will have enough talent to challenge Kentucky and any other team for the regular season title.
Unlike most seasons, the Vanderbilt Commodores will most likely have a rebuilding year, thanks to John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor and Festus Ezeli no longer being on the team. However, the Florida Gators will contend for an SEC title once again, despite losing Erving Walker and Bradley Beal. Keep in mind that the Gators have made it to two straight Elite Eights, and they will once again have a talented enough team to do so again.
Some people might think that the SEC will be a two-man battle between Florida and Kentucky, but think again. The SEC will be as good as it has been in a very long time. Whether the case, get ready for the season by seeing the SEC preseason power rankings.
No. 14 Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State lost way too many players from last year’s team to be good this year. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs did not have a good enough recruiting class to replace these players.
The Bulldogs best player from last year’s team is likely Jalen Steele, who averaged 8.7 points per game last season. However, incoming freshman Fred Thomas should make an impact in his very first year.
No. 13 Auburn Tigers
Luckily for Auburn’s basketball team, it can’t be any worse than its football team. The Tigers will return its leading scorer from last year’s team in Frankie Sullivan. Sullivan put up 12.8 points per game last season and added four rebounds per game to that.
Auburn does have a couple of recruits that could make an impact early, but this team still has a ways to go before it will be good.
No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina really lucked out when Kansas State’s Frank Martin decided to coach for the Gamecocks. Martin definitely has his work cut out in South Carolina, but getting a big name coach like Martin should do wonders for the Gamecocks.
Bruce Ellington is the only returning player from last year’s team that scored 10 or more points per game. Look for Ellington to be the Gamecocks best option in 2012.
No. 11 LSU Tigers
Johnny O’Bryant III really took off last season in his freshman year for LSU. Overall, he averaged 8.5 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game. Expect a huge sophomore season out the the Tiger.
Along with O’Bryant III, Anthony Hickey will be a sophomore and his 8.9 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game and 3.8 assists per game were pretty solid last season.
However, the Tigers lost a couple of quality players last over the offseason in Ralston Turner and Justin Hamilton.
No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is by far the best player on the Georgia Bulldogs in the upcoming season. As a freshman last year, Caldwell-Pope managed to average 13.2 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Look for this kid to really have a big season in 2012, but he is really going to have to be something special if Georgia is going to do anything this year.
No. 9 Vanderbilt Commodores
It is very unlike Vanderbilt to enter the season by not being one of the top teams in the SEC, but when you lose your three best players, what can you expect?
Not many fans like to hear this, but the Commodores are definitely in rebuilding mode. It was a great four past seasons while it lasted though.
No. 8 Texas A&M Aggies
In the very first season in the SEC for the Texas A&M Aggies, it will be all about Elston Turner and Ray Turner for the Aggies. Both players will be seniors and both players will bring that leadership that every rebuilding team needs.
Elston Turner put up 13.6 points per game last season, while Ray Turner averaged 9.3 points per game.
Texas A&M may not be picked to win the SEC or anything close to that, but they still will have a decent team in the upcoming season.
No. 7 Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss has a real shot at making its second straight NCAA tournament this season. Not only will its best player be back in Murphy Holloway, but Jarvis Summers, Nick Williams and Reginald Buckner will all be returning.
Except for Buckner, all of these players averaged 10 or more points per game. Look for the Rebels to make some noise this season.
No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama’s two best players were suspended down the stretch last year, yet they were still able to finish the season strong and earned a ticket to the dance.
Trevor Releford is a very talented player, who did wonders for the Crimson Tide last season by averaging 12 points per game. Add incoming freshman Devonta Pollard to the mix and you will have a team that should make yet another NCAA tournament.
No. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas has three very talented sophomores on its team in B.J. Young, Rashad Madden and Hunter Michelson. However, none of them are as quite as good as Young, who went off in his freshman season, with 15.3 points per game.
Young is expected to really breakout in the upcoming season, but he needs to get past his little suspension to start the season.
No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers
This is a Tennessee team that really flipped the switch last season by being the No. 2 team in the SEC tournament. Not to mention, just about the entire team from last season will be back.
Jarnell Stokes, Jeronne Maymon and Trae Golden highlight this team, but Tennessee has a very solid lineup at every position.
Keep in mind that the Volunteers did beat Florida and Vanderbilt down the stretch last year.
No. 3 Missouri Tigers
The Missouri Tigers may be new to the SEC and they may have lost so much talent from last season, but they will still have a chance to win the conference this year. Michael Dixon and Phil Pressey will both be back, along with some great transfer players.
Talent wise, the Tigers are just as good as anyone in the SEC, however, the Tigers will have to get past Florida and Kentucky if they plan on winning a conference title.
No. 2 Florida Gators
The Florida Gators lost Bradley Beal and Erving Walker over the offseason. That may hurt a little, but the Gators will be just as talented in the upcoming season. If Florida is going to get by Kentucky, why not this year?
Kenny Boynton returns, who is one of the best shooting guards in the nation. Patric Young returns, who will likely be a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The list literally goes on and on.
Florida has the most depth in the SEC with returning players alone, but they did pick up some pretty good recruits. The Gators will be tested early and often, so we will really get to see how good this team is.
No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky has to be the team to beat in the SEC going into the 2012-13 college basketball season. That is just the way it is.
The Wildcats pretty much lost everyone from last year’s national championship team, but incoming freshmen Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein will hold their own.
Not to mention, Kyle Wiltjer and redshirt freshman Ryan Harrow both have a chance of starting for this young Kentucky team.
The Wildcats are the most talented team in the SEC, but they have no experience whatsoever, but that hasn't seemed to have been a problem for Kentucky teams ever since John Calipari became the coach.
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