SEC Morning Five: 03.07.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on March 7th, 2012

  1. When you scroll down the star-studded roster of the top ranked Kentucky Wildcats, it is easy to locate a number of future NBA players. However, Darius Miller is not usually at the top of that list. The 6’7″ senior forward has been the glue guy for the Cats for four seasons, and nowA Sea of Blue makes the case that Miller is a legitimate NBA player. “Miller has above average hops, legit NBA 3-pt. range, and the ability to score in the post against smaller players,” said ASOB writer Alex Scutchfield. “He has lateral quickness and can score in traffic. His combination of size, athletic ability and shooting skill are hard to match in college basketball.” But will NBA scouts see it that way? One way to instantaneously grab their attention is to shine in the “One Shining Moment” that awaits Miller and his Kentucky Wildcats.
  2. The 2012 SEC Men’s Basketball Awards were announced, with no big surprises. Kentucky swept the major awards as Anthony Davis was named SEC Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year. The super freshman averaged 14.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.7 blocks per game. Kentucky senior Darius Miller earned the Sixth Man of the Year award. Finally, Wildcats coach John Calipari grabbed his first SEC Coach of the Year honor. Reigning SEC Player of the Year, John Jenkins, was again a First Team-All SEC selection along with teammate Jeffrey Taylor. Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, and Florida each had two selections on the First Team.
  3. Kentucky’s Anthony Davis  is accumulating some national attention as well with The Sporting News annual postseason awards. Davis was named the National Player of the Year,  National Freshman of the Year and National Defensive Player of the Year honors. The 6’11” center was a defensive force all season long, but his development on the offensive end throughout the season was the biggest surprise. “I was always comfortable; I was just kind of nervous to shoot the ball, afraid I’d make mistakes,” Davis said. “There was no actual point in the season where I was like, OK, I’ll shoot it now. My teammates are giving me the ball in great opportunities, great spots on the floor. Not that they weren’t doing it at first, but I wasn’t making shots.” The only question now is just how many additional awards Davis will accumulate this postseason. And the guess here is there are many more to come.
  4. How will Mississippi State handle the possibility of having to play several days in a row at the SEC Tournament considering the endurance issues the Bulldogs have dealt with regarding forward Renardo Sidney? “I think we’ll prepare like normal,” said Mississippi State assistant coach Phil Cunningham. “I think we’re just going to prepare for the Georgia game and not worry about after that because, obviously, it is an issue with Renardo but he has done OK. You look at it, we had a situation in new York in November and I know that was a long time ago, but we played on back-to-back nights and played pretty well up there.” The Bulldogs need to win to build their confidence going into the NCAA Tournament, and in reality, they need more than one victory to erase the negativity surrounding a recent five game losing streak. As he has all season, Sidney remains one of the keys to whether or not Mississippi State can be a good team or a great team, and his mental state over the next several weeks could be the difference between the Bulldogs making an early round exit or advancing into the second weekend of the Big Dance.
  5. How safe should the Ole Miss Rebels feel on Selection Sunday? Right now, the Rebels still have work to be done according to the experts. “I think that Mississippi ought to take the attitude that they probably need to just win the whole thing,” said Jerry Palm of “Maybe pick up a couple of quality wins without winning the whole thing, you might be able to get in anyways. … I think it’s going to be hard for them to be at-larges.” First, Ole Miss has to get past Auburn, but one of the more interesting second round matchups could be the Rebels against another team on the outside of the proverbial bubble — the Tennessee Volunteers. The Rebels currently sit at number 51 in the RPI rankings with two top 50 RPI wins.
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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