SEC Season Wrap-Up

Posted by EMoyer on March 8th, 2012

Eric Moyer is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Sun Conference and Southern Conference and a contributor to the RTC SEC Microsite. You can find him on Twitter @EricDMoyer.

The Year that Was

  • Kentucky pulled off its 12th undefeated SEC season in history (and 16th overall by any school) with an incredible scoring margin of 16.4 points per game against SEC foes – the widest margin since at least 1996-97. 
  • For the first time in the three years that John Calipari has coached the Wildcats, one of his many talented freshmen did not lead EC freshmen in scoring. That honor went to Arkansas’ B.J. Young. The first-year Razorback averaged 15.3 points per game.
  • While no Wildcat freshman led the league’s rookies in scoring, no  one would argue that his freshest class of Blue Chippers lacked impact. Anthony Davis shattered Kentucky, SEC, and NCAA records in the paint and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist produced some of his best efforts against the nation’s best.

    John Calipari Has Had A Lot Of Reasons To Smile So Far This Season (AP)

  • The league’s two new coaches, Mike Anderson (Arkansas) and Cuonzo Martin (Tennessee) each came from the “Show Me State” and both showed glimpses of excellence during the course of the season. Anderson and the Razorbacks started 17-1 at home before some late faltering has them starring at the NIT. Martin’s tenure opened with a 3-6 start that included losses to Oakland, Austin Peay, and College of Charleston. The season turnaround began with a home upset of Florida on January 7 and the team received an influx of talent when Jarnell Stokes (9.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 54.7% FG ) joined the team one week later. The Volunteers closed with eight wins in their last nine games and into “bubble talk” conversation.
  • A year ago, Alabama was left out of the NCAA Tournament despite winning in the old SEC Western Division. This season, Anthony Grant scheduled up, playing and most importantly, beating Wichita State, Purdue, and VCU. The Crimson Tide improved their strength of schedule from 114 last season to 19 this year entering the SEC Tournament. The Tide should easily return to the Big Dance for the first time since 2006.
  • Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins led the league in scoring at an even 20.0 points per game. He became the first repeat scoring champ in the SEC since LSU’s Ronnie Henderson in 1995 and 1996. He firmly established himself as one of the nation’s top shooters, connecting on an NCAA-leading 118 3-point field goals. That total ranks second in Commodore history, and him tied for the second-best single season total in SEC history with Tennessee’s Chris Lofton.

SEC Year-end Awards

Coach of the Year: Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee

  • In wanting to prevent an SEC sweep of the year-end awards, Coach of the Year honors go to Martin. After being picked in the preseason to finish 11th in the SEC, Tennessee won 14 of its last 20 (highlighted by eight wins in its final nine games) to end up in second place and earn a first-round bye in the conference tournament. His Volunteers swept Florida for the fourth time in the last 16 years, won a critical January non-conference contest with Connecticut and came closest to handing Kentucky an SEC loss, falling late to the Wildcats, 65-62, on January 14.

Despite Several Strong Candidates, Cuonzo Martin Was Our Choice For The RTC SEC Coach of the Year (AP)

Freshman of the Year: Anthony Davis, Kentucky

  • For the first time since 2006-07, the top freshman on a John Calipari team was not a guard. After Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, and Brandon Knight became lottery picks after one year under Calipari, he leaned on the 6’10” freshman as his latest point guard, Marquis Teague, experienced a season of ups and downs. More of his exploits to follow …

All Freshman Team:

  • Bradley Beal (Florida) 14.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.4 SPG
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia) 13.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.8 SPG
  • Anthony Davis (Kentucky) 14.4 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.7 BPG
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky) 11.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.1 BPG
  • B.J. Young (Arkansas) 15.3 PPG, 50.6 FG Pct, 42.0 3-pt FG Pct

In A Normal Year, B.J. Young Would've Been A Runaway Choice For Top Freshman. Still Though, Young Has Been Spectacular At Times This Year (AP)

Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Davis, Kentucky

  • Davis announced his presence immediately, blocking seven shots in his debut against Marist. In his second career game, he notched seven blocks against Kansas and was part of a defensive effort against his chief National Player of the Year rival, Thomas Robinson, that held the Jayhawk to 11 points on just 5-of-12 shooting. He secured the victory against No. 5 UNC with a blocked shot at the buzzer. He has 15 games with at least five blocked shots and his 146 blocks would tie him with Houston as the 36th most proficient blocking team in Division I. He broke the UK single-season record for blocks in just 19 games and he already ranks eighth on the school’s all-time list. The 146 blocks established an SEC freshmen record (breaking the 22-year record of Shaquille O’Neal). He needs 25 blocks to set the SEC single-season record and 37 blocks to set the NCAA freshman record.

Player of the Year: Anthony Davis, Kentucky 

  • Davis pulled of the SEC triple crown (Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Player of the Year) and stands a great chance at claiming the same three awards at the national level. He could add a fourth jewel to his crown, SEC Tournament MVP this weekend in New Orleans. In three weeks, he could lead Kentucky back to “The Big Easy” with a chance to win the Wildcats their eighth national championship and for him to claim the Tournament MOP.

What More Can You Say About These Two Dynamic Freshmen? (AP)

 First-Team All-Conference:

  • Kenny Boynton, Jr. (Florida) 16.8 PPG, 2.5 APG, 43.4 3-pt FG Pct
  • Anthony Davis (Kentucky) 14.4 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.7 BPG
  • John Jenkins, Jr. (Vanderbilt) 20.0 PPG, 48.7 FG Pct, 46.1 3-pt FG Pct
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky) 11.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.1 BPG
  • Arnett Moultrie, Jr. (Mississippi State)  16.1 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 55.9 FG Pct

EMoyer (47 Posts)

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