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3 Takeaways For The Start of SEC Hoops

**Ed. Note: Welcome Henry Hays -- some of y'all might know him from Baton Rouge local radio. He'll be adding some hoops analysis on the site this year.**

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

  1. Kentucky is historically good. I know, water is wet and the Pope is Catholic too. But John Calipari’s group has a real shot at making a run at history on several levels with this group – undefeated regular season, SEC Tournament Champs and eventual National Champions. Oh and they have at least 8 NBA first rounder’s on this roster. KenPom predicts the Wildcats to have an 89% chance of winning 15 of their 18 league games. The exceptions? All road games – South Carolina, Florida and Georgia.  With the toughest test out of the way (on the road win at Louisville), it’s going to take an SEC’s squads absolute A Game combined with UK boredom, apathy and/or Instagram photos of the starting 5 in a hot tub with Worldwide Wes. A secret about this team – they run better with Tyler Ulis running the offense than Andrew Harrison. Stay tuned.

  2. Who’s #2?? This is up for debate, and it would come from the core of LSU, Arkansas, UGA and Alabama. The Tigers and Hogs have similar RPI’s heading into conference play (35 and 36), UGA has a quality road win at Kansas State and Bama has wins at Arizona State and UCLA. You can throw these 4 in a hat and each would have a similar shot to grab the title of #2 in the league. The big predictor here will be who can win on the road – early road wins in the SEC tend to build momentum that carries teams.

  3. Don’t look now but The Artist Formerly known as Coach Bruce Pearl has momentum building at Auburn. Despite starting 3-5, Pearl has his group rolling with 4 straight wins (best win was at home vs Xavier).  He’s also got the league’s second leading scorer in KT Harrell (behind Jarell Martin) and the league’s top rebounder in Big Fella Cinmeon Bowers (just ahead of Jordan Mickey). Pearl’s teams almost always get better as the season goes, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them string some W’s together. We’ll know more about this team opening up at Vanderbilt.

League Predictions

  • UK goes 17-1, somebody gets them (why not Feb 10 in Baton Rouge??)
  • LSU finishes 11-7 in league play, RPI comes in somewhere around 48
  • LSU makes the NCAA Tourney as a 10 seed
  • Jarell Martin named SEC Player of the Year
  • Karl-Anthony Towns named Freshman of the Year
  • Billy Donovan turns in the Gators’ worst season with him at the helm since 1996-97 team (5-11). Already scored an "own goal" that cost them the FSU game, and their best win so far? Yale. Ugh.
  • SEC gets 4 teams into The Dance (UK, LSU, Arkansas, UGA)