SEC Morning Five: 03.1.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on March 1st, 2012

  1. After losing two games in a row and four of its last seven, it is time to start wondering what is happening to Florida. In the case of Tuesday’s loss to Vanderbilt, it was simply a matter of not being aware of where the Commodores’ top player and ridiculously good shooter, John Jenkins, was on the floor. “I thought we had a couple of breakdowns where in the zone a couple of times we let Jenkins get loose which is really uncalled for because it’s not hard to locate where he’s at,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “And then there was a couple of plays where there were offensive rebounds thrown back out to him. I thought our rebounding to start the second half really, really hurt us.” Jenkins was the catalyst for Vanderbilt, torching the Gators on six of nine shooting from beyond the arc for 22 points on the night. Defensive pressure remains the key for the Gators as they have lost every game in which they allowed their opponent to shoot over 50% from the field.
  2. The guys at Alligator Army have succumbed to the thought that this is who the Florida Gators are this season, for better or for worse. They zeroed in on the aforementioned defensive troubles, but also discussed a couple of offensive struggles. The lack of a post presence has affected other areas of the offense, severely diminishing Florida’s three-point accuracy. The Gators were eight of 24 from three point land, and got very little production from center Patric Young. Young scored just four points in 25 minutes on Tuesday night. In order for Florida to regain its offensive firepower, it will have to figure out how to replace Will Yeguete‘s intensity and toughness and find a way to get Young more involved in the game plan offensively.
  3. Florida’s loss is Vanderbilt’s gain. The Commodores have been in hot pursuit of another marquee win to add to their resume, and their victory over the Gators prove they are peaking at just the right time. Vanderbilt blog, Anchor of Gold, found solace in the fact that the Commodores won this one with grit and determination. “It’s only one game, but it’s the kind of game that this team has found ways to lose in the past.” With the NCAA Tournament on the horizon, and Vanderbilt’s biggest question mark being its confidence, this win couldn’t have come at a better time.
  4. A Sea of Blue took a fantastic look at what Kentucky did to limit John Jenkins’ looks in the Cats victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Kentucky guard Doron Lamb was active in chasing Jenkins off screens and curls making it difficult for Jenkins to get an open look at the basket. Stats are not everything as the guys at A Sea of Blue point out. “It would be tempting to say that Lamb had a bad defensive game – Jenkins did score 18 points and shoot 44.4% (4 of 9) on his threes. But a lot of what Lamb did so well was in preventing shots – an aspect of defense that is more difficult to account for systematically.” In light of Jenkins’ performance on Tuesday against Florida, it’s an interesting read and great analysis as always.
  5. John Clay of the Lexington Herald Leader makes the case that Kentucky coach John Calipari should win the conference Coach of the Year honors. As Clay points out before mentioning others in the league worthy of consideration, “John Calipari should win SEC Coach of the Year honors — his team is unbeaten in the league, for heaven’s sake.” Of course, Cal’s Cats haven’t run the table yet. On Thursday, Kentucky faces Georgia, fresh off a win over Florida, and then the Cats travel to Gainesville for an always difficult matchup with Florida. If the Wildcats finish a perfect 16-0, it will be interesting to see if Calipari makes a strong run at the NCAA Coach of the Year award. This could serve as somewhat of a test of how the rest of the country views this accomplishment in terms of the perception of the strength of the SEC.
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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