SEC M5: 10.17.12 EditionPosted by KAlmekinder on October 17th, 2012
- A casino in Las Vegas has released its annual preseason odds to win the national championship for the 2012-13 season. Kentucky emerged as having the second best odds at 7-1, trailing only Indiana with 6-1. Missouri, heralded as one of the teams to challenge Kentucky for the SEC throne this season, is getting 30-1 odds along with Florida to win it all. High expectations for both squads could yield in an equally high payout for those who believe highly in the Tigers and the Gators. Other SEC teams on the list are Vanderbilt (80-1), Alabama (90-1), Texas A&M (100-1), and Arkansas (100-1). The field came in as a 15-1 favorite.
- ESPN is taking its all-access talents to a specific SEC school this year, and you guessed it, that school is Kentucky. The multi-part series, much like their Hard Knocks series, will display some of the behind-the-scenes of Kentucky basketball, ranging from John Calipari’s breakfasts in Lexington to preparations for Big Blue Madness to daily practices and player involvement. Most importantly, it will focus on Calipari’s latest project of implementing new freshmen into a cohesive unit en route to a national championship. Matt Jones at Kentucky Sports Radio has acquired a short clip about how the players prepared for Madness. CoachCal.com also offers another preview clip for the series. The first episode will air tonight at 7:00 PM ET.
- Who will be Vanderbilt‘s next point guard? Christian D’Andrea of Anchor of Gold wrote a brilliant piece regarding which players the Commodore faithful should turn to as their next floor leader. Vanderbilt loses nearly as many key pieces from its SEC Championship team as Kentucky did and will have to turn to Kedren Johnson or Kyle Fuller to help fill that particular void. D’Andrea states “they possess very different styles” in that the older Fuller has a faster tempo than Johnson, but Johnson has a much smoother game presence and has “showed more composure than his veteran counterparts in big games.” Johnson, for example, contributed with several important baskets in the final minutes of the SEC Tournament championship game over Kentucky. Both guards present weaknesses, however; Johnson shot 24% from three-point range last season and Fuller shot just over 27% from the field. They both must improve on their outside games rather quickly to keep defenses honest. Vanderbilt fans can also see positives with both players in their assist-turnover ratios (Johnson’s is 1.57 and Fuller 1.62, respectively) and their growing maturity in the upcoming seasons.
- The Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger released two very interesting articles about the upcoming Ole Miss team involving the frontcourt bodies who will help Andy Kennedy’s squad improve on its 67 points per game from last year. Seniors Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner have very high ceilings with their post-collegiate futures, but both will have to improve on their dreadful free throw shooting. Holloway shot just under 51% from the charity stripe last year, while Buckner was even worse with a 42% free throw percentage. Both big men will have experience on their side but also must utilize the opportunity to make up for a lack of personnel that plagued the Rebels last year. Kennedy spoke recently about his new squad and how they are not “last season’s team.” He added that he has “caught the new guys integrating themselves into what we’re trying to get accomplished about as smoothly as possible. We have two guys who have been through division one practices before in Marshall (Henderson) and Jason Carter and it helps.”
- Tennessee isn’t wavering at any of the success or praise that is being bestowed by its neighbors to the north. In fact, the Vols are embracing the “tough love” mentality that they are receiving in the preseason and will use it to motivate them going forward. With all the hoopla surrounding Big Blue Madness and the ESPN all-access series in Lexington, head coach Cuonzo Martin and sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes have other plans for what lies ahead in Knoxville. Both Martin and Stokes have high expectations for next year’s Midnight Madness, something they had to skip because of the university’s fall break last weekend. Martin stated that he is looking forward to an event next year and that his players will be ready as well.