SEC Morning Five: 10.20.11 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on October 20th, 2011

  1. LSU took an 11-day summer trip to Italy, which Tigers’ coach Trent Johnson is hoping will translate into improved play this year. The Tigers won all six games they played in May, but more importantly, were forced to fine tune an offense that ranked last in the SEC in scoring average at 62.2 PPG in 2010-11. LSU played with international rules which meant they adhered to a 24-second shot clock. Johnson said, “you play international rules and the game is basically all about offense with a 24-second shot clock. They do not like to guard you, and they like to get real physical with you, so it put us in some very adverse situations.” With returning leadership and the benefit of extra practice over the summer, LSU is hoping the overseas trip will benefit the Tigers’ team this year, although Italy has not led to positive results for all of its visitors recently.
  2. Festus Ezeli’s six-game suspension has opened the door for other ‘Dores to step up with additional playing time. Vandy coach Kevin Stallings said 6’11” redshirt freshman Josh Henderson and 6’9″ senior Steve Tchiengang will see extra minutes. Stallings has been impressed with Henderson’s progression thus far saying, “he’s a surprisingly good rebounder for a guy that’s not real fast. He’s gifted as a passer, he’s one of those big guys that has vision.”
  3. Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones knows an SEC team will cut down the nets this April. Jones wrote with conviction that the Kentucky Wildcats will win the 2011-12 National Championship. He didn’t say might win it or could win it. He said will. His three reasons why? Well, if you’re that interested, then give it a read over at Grantland. Jones put into words the general sentiment in Lexington and around Big Blue Nation that this is the year for the Wildcats. Kentucky has the “it” factor with more talent than ever before and John Calipari is a coach who has come close so many times in the past that the ball will eventually bounce his way.  Something tells us the people in Chapel Hill are feeling the same way!
  4. Speaking of Kentucky, John Calipari’s teams haven’t exactly been known for their senior leadership. 6’7″ senior Darius Miller is trying to change that as he enters his second year as the leader of yet another group of talented incoming freshmen. Miller reflected on his leadership abilities saying, “last year, I think I struggled with [leading] early on. I’m more comfortable with it now, honestly.” Freshman point guard Marquis Teague agreed that Miller looks out for the rest of the guys saying, “he gets everything organized for practice, makes everything happen on time. He’s like our big brother.” Kentucky will need Miller’s leadership both on and off the court to meet the always-high expectations of Wildcat fans.
  5. The University of Florida student newspaper discussed the tempo of Billy Donovan’s Gator teams. Despite a perception of the Gators playing run and gun basketball, the 2010-11 team ranked 290th in the nation in adjusted tempo. And who doesn’t love KenPom stats? With the departure of strong front court players who were physical in the post and the addition of two dynamic guards making the back court even stronger this year, the Gators plan to push the basketball in transition and create turnovers with their patented press. Donovan plans to play three or even four guards at a time. Point guard Erving Walker said, “being that we have a lot more depth and knowing that in the past Coach Donovan liked to press a lot, I think we’ll be a much more fast-paced team.” The Gator guards just need to make sure the Florida bigs can keep up.
Brian Joyce (284 Posts)

Brian Joyce is an advanced metrics enthusiast, college hoops junkie, and writer for the SEC basketball microsite for Rush the Court.


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