SEC Morning Five: SEC Media Day Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on October 28th, 2011

  1. It was SEC Media Day on Thursday and SEC fans were glued to the Internet wondering why Kevin from the NBC show The Office was answering questions about Vanderbilt’s basketball team. Lots of great information as SEC coaches and players spoke about expectations for the year, but the theme that emerged throughout each conversation was that SEC basketball will be the best it has been in a very long time. Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said, “I would say our league is as healthy and strong as it’s been maybe in the 12 or 13 years that I’ve been in it. I think our league is going to be very good.” The strength of the SEC will be seen at the top of the conference with three top ten ranked teams in the preseason.
  2. Stallings also spoke about conference realignment during some of his time with the media, seeming to be more of a traditionalist. He said, “we’re probably going to get into some things that geographically don’t make sense — that’s disappointing and disconcerting. I’m a little old fashioned, I wish people would leave well enough alone.” But Stallings went on to say, “I wish the Big Ten had 10 schools, the Big 12 had 12 schools and the Southeastern Conference was made out of southeastern schools.” But that would be so easy and simple. The powers that be would never go for that!
  3. Kentucky coach John Calipari spent time ensuring that opposing coaches know his team is not very good this year. When asked about his preseason ranking, Cal said, “they can rate us high all they want, but there are 40, 50 or 60 teams right now we could not beat. Maybe more. Maybe 100, because we’re just not ready to play a basketball game.” Why would voters rank Kentucky so high then? Maybe it’s a conspiracy! Calipari proclaimed, “they (the voters) did that on purpose to try and put pressure on us. I don’t know; I think they’re out of their minds.” Something tells us Cal will have Kentucky in shape to beat those 100 or so teams after a couple of additional more weeks of practice.
  4. Calipari and Stallings spent some time discussing the other coaches’ team. Calipari spoke with an NBA scout who  watched both teams practice this week. Calipari said, “‘Cal, they’re really good.’ That’s what they said: ‘They’re really good.’ Well, what’s making them really good? (The NBA guys said), ‘they all do what they’re supposed to do. Right now, they could play games.’  And they looked at my team (and said), ‘You could not!’ They’re going to be really good.” Stallings responded with his knowledge of Kentucky’s team, saying, “I don’t know anything about his team. They’re all freshmen. Or a lot of them are freshmen. I know Terrence Jones is good. I know all those guys coming back on his team from a year ago are good. The other guys, I don’t want to know about yet.” Calipari claims not to know anything about  his team either. Both coaches know a lot more then they are willing to admit.
  5. The SEC Media Day wasn’t all Calipari and Stallings. Florida coach Billy Donovan got in on the action as well indicating his unhappiness with some letdowns in team focus. “We need to clean up some of the slippage we’ve had the last couple of days,” Donovan said. “We start going 5-on-5 and now some of the rebounding, some of the blocking out, some of the rotations kind of gets thrown by the wayside a little bit and they worry about playing and they are not focused on one thing at a time.” Is there an SEC coach who is happy with his team right now? There are certainly none that are willing to admit it.
Brian Joyce (333 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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