SEC Morning Five: 12.29.11 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on December 29th, 2011

  1. Mississippi State met sixth ranked Baylor on Wednesday night in Dallas, Texas. The most anticipated matchup was in the post where Bulldogs’ forward Arnett Moultrie got the best of NBA prospect and Baylor sophomore Perry Jones III. “He was a good player,” Moultrie said. “My goal was to lock him down defensively. I think I did pretty good. I don’t think he was the reason they won the game.” Moultrie grabbed 10 rebounds and scored eight points, while holding Jones III to eight points and six rebounds on 4-13 shooting. Jones III looked out of sync offensively, and was not able to establish position on Moultrie in the post all night. Despite shutting down Baylor’s top offensive option, the Bulldogs lost 54-52.
  2. It appears as though Florida guard Mike Rosario will make his return from a back strain that has caused him to miss the past two games. The team that Florida plays on Thursday? Rutgers, Rosario’s former team, where he spent his freshman and sophomore years. Rosario is averaging 9.4 points per game coming off the bench for the Gators. He averaged 16.2 and 16.7 points per game in his first two years at Rutgers, and expect Rosario to give a little extra effort to put up those kind of numbers on Thursday. It should be an emotional game for the junior transfer, but regardless of the opponent, it is good to see him return to action.
  3. Kentucky’s Terrence Jones isn’t ready to offer any insight into his poor performance against Indiana a couple of weeks ago. “It happened,” Jones said. “The game is over. We just have to move on. There’s nothing I can do to change what happened.” Not that you need a reminder, but Jones scored four points, grabbed one rebound and committed six turnovers in the Wildcats’ loss in Bloomington. “It’s tough because we lost,” Jones added. “Anything else doesn’t matter to me.” Jones returned to action against Lamar on Wednesday night, adding nine points and six rebounds in 27 minutes. Emotions will be high when Louisville comes to Rupp Arena on Saturday, and Kentucky will need Jones at 100 percent both physically and mentally.
  4. Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist compared himself to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow when asked about being the Wildcats’ MVP so far this season. Blasphemy! Nobody is like Tebow. Although Kidd-Gilchrist has achieved a cult-like status in Lexington with his hard work and tremendous effort on the court. Wildcat fans have taken a liking to his production too, as Kidd-Gilchrist averages 13.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Kentucky retailers have even created a MKG for MVP t-shirt. “I don’t get into all that,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I’m just a winner. That’s it. I’m like Tebow. I just want to win the games. Whatever it takes, I’ll do it.”
  5. ESPN’s Andy Katz took a look at the SEC in his conference power rankings. While Kentucky and Florida topped the list, the most interesting and difficult team to rank is Vanderbilt. Katz writes, “It’s hard to push the Commodores down too far, even though this team has struggled mightily during the early part of the season. The Dores get yet another challenge this week at Marquette.” Vandy’s matchup with Marquette on Thursday night is about redemption. The Commodores have fallen significantly from their top 10 ranking in the preseason, and it is becoming more and more difficult to leave Vandy at the top of the rankings in the SEC. The 2011-12 ‘Dores just don’t look like a team that will be able to break coach Kevin Stallings’ losing streak in the NCAA Tournament.
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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