SEC Basketball: 5 Teams Set to Exceed Expectations in 2013-14 Season

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SEC Basketball: 5 Teams Set to Exceed Expectations in 2013-2014 Season

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Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone pretty much believes that in the 2013-14 college basketball season, they have the SEC figured out. There seems to be a consensus in the media that the Kentucky Wildcats will win the conference, the Florida Gators will come in second and the Tennessee Volunteers will come in third.

Besides those teams, the Alabama Crimson Tide, Missouri Tigers, Ole Miss Rebels and LSU Tigers are expected to all be competing for the one or two NCAA tournament places that they might be able to steal with marquee non-conference wins. However, these four teams are not the only SEC teams that could shake things up in the NCAA.

There are multiple teams in the SEC that are under the radar and on the rise. There are teams that have incoming five- and four-star freshmen who could change the face of their team for years to come, there are teams that are young and just coming to terms with a new head coach and there are teams who have lost all of their best players but continue to recruit at a high level. There is even a team with some of the best returning sophomores in the entire country picked to finish next to last in the conference.

The SEC is just too all-around talented to make it as simple as saying, “Kentucky will win the conference.” Didn’t we all say that last year and they didn’t even make it to the 2013 NCAA Tournament? When it comes to college basketball, anything can happen – especially in a conference like the SEC.

Here are five SEC teams that could exceed expectations in the 2013-14 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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No. 5 Vanderbilt Commodores

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Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

I have very little faith in the Commodores ability to exceed expectations after losing three of their best players in the offseason. However, you can never count out Kevin Stallings. He coaches these Vanderbilt teams far beyond their talent ability; expect a few surprises.

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No. 4 South Carolina Gamecocks

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Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina has to have someone step up and be a leader. The players are talented, but they can’t beat the better teams in the SEC without a clear leader. Frank Martin is an outstanding coach and will have his team ready to compete, but it may be a few years down the road.

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No. 3 Missouri Tigers

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Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers have been dreadful in the postseason under Frank Haith. This season, his job is on the line, and I think his players will step up to save their coach. Watch out for Jabari Brown to light up inexperienced opposing SEC defenses.

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No. 2 Arkansas Razorbacks

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Razorbacks lost B.J. Young and Marshawn Powell to the 2013 NBA Draft, but are gaining two extremely talented freshmen in Bobby Portis and Moses Kingsley. Expect this team to be far more dangerous than many predict.

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No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Craig Sword, Fred Thomas and Gavin Ware are all returning for this team and could make the Bulldogs a potential NCAA tournament contender. Although sixth- or seventh-best in the SEC, Mississippi State could win a few against a team like Alabama, Missouri or even Kentucky.

Related: 5 Teams That Could Sneak into 2014 NCAA Tournament

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