SEC Basketball: Top 5 Teams Going Into the 2013-14 Season

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SEC Basketball: Top 5 Teams Going Into the 2013-14 Season

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Last season, the SEC was one of the most competitive leagues in the entire country. There were only a few bad teams – the Auburn Tigers, the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the South Carolina Gamecocks. All of the other teams competed well and took games from even the best SEC teams. With a few weeks to go in the college basketball season, a total of five different teams from the SEC appeared on the NCAA tournament bubble.

The best team in the conference was the Florida Gators despite preseason rankings putting the Kentucky Wildcats No. 3 overall. The Wildcats didn’t make it out of the first round of the NIT and capped off a season that mirrored the disappointment of the SEC conference as a whole. Three teams made it into the 2013 NCAA Tournament and three teams were left on the outside looking in because they could not get it done late in the season.

This season, there are around 10 teams in the SEC that could compete for a possible 2014 NCAA Tournament spot. Unfortunately, the SEC has so much all-around talent that it’s going to be tough for mid-range teams to prove they are good enough to make the tournament based solely on conference play. These mid-level teams must win big in a majority of their non-conference games.

Once again, Kentucky is favored to win the SEC. However, the competition will be fierce. There are multiple teams that could shock the country due to their highly underrated talent levels. Here are the top five SEC teams going into the 2013-14 NCAA Basketball season:

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Alabama Crimson Tide

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Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama will have to make do without star player Trevor Lacey, but Trevor Releford and company aren’t going to lie down without a fight. The Crimson Tide will either be far better than anyone expected or far worse – I’m thinking better.

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4. LSU Tigers

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Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers have a great group of incoming freshmen as well as returning future NBA player, Johnny O’Bryant III. With this much talent, they are definitely in the top-5 of the SEC.

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3. Florida Gators

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Gators are always a top team in the SEC under Billy Donovan. I have them at three, but if Patric Young can remain consistent, they are No. 1.

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2. Tennessee Volunteers

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Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee is ranked above Florida because the Gators have never won against the Volunteers under Cuonzo Martin. Tennessee has the best returning scorer in the conference in Jordan McRae, the best rebounder in Jarnell Stokes, the best defender in Josh Richardson and on top of that, Jeronne Maymon is returning.

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1. Kentucky Wildcats

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Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats are returning future NBA stars, as well as gaining some from the recruiting class. If there’s one thing Kentucky has been good at under John Calipari, it’s preseason rankings. Oh, and winning.

Related:

SEC Basketball: 5 Teams That Could Sneak Into the 2014 NCAA Tournament

SEC Basketball: 5 Toughest Nonconference Schedules

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