SEC M5: 12.14.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on December 14th, 2012


  1. Billy “the Kid” is far from a youngster, as Donovan is the elder statesman of the SEC after 17 seasons with the Florida Gators. While he is an accomplished coach at the college level, he hasn’t shut the door on coaching in the NBA. “The one thing that I think is always intriguing the older I get is the fact that (the NBA) is just all about basketball. I love the practices, I love the games, I love doing individual instruction and breaking down tape and game planning and doing those things.” Donovan infamously left for the Orlando Magic in 2007 before ultimately returning to the Gators. Could a third National Championship complete this chapter of the book for Billy Donovan? It certainly isn’t out of the question though Donovan is under contract through 2015-16.
  2. Will Florida go with a three-guard lineup? Or will it go big with a stronger frontline? Will the Gators play man-to-man defense? Or will they use their effective 2-3 zone? Florida’s versatility is one of its strengths as it prepares to travel to a top 10 team in Arizona. “There are some games where we’ve played small and moved (Erik) Murphy to the five (center) and (Casey) Prather to the four (power forward),” Donovan said. “I think a lot of it depends on fatigue, foul trouble, match-ups with the other team. So I think in certain situations a smaller lineup can look good, and in certain situations a bigger lineup can look good. I think it depends on what’s really going on during the game.” Arizona’s rather large frontcourt may dictate how the Gators play on Saturday. Patric Young, Florida’s starting center, stands at just 6’9″, but will be matched up with 7’0″ Wildcat freshman Kaleb Tarczewski. Donovan has to hope his team’s experience will win out over size.
  3. Many have compared the 2012-13 Kentucky Wildcats to the 2010-11 version — after a slow start and multiple losses on the road, the Brandon Knight-led Kentucky team went to the Final Four in Houston only to lose to the eventual champs, Connecticut. But who can remember two years ago? Do the Cats compare to any teams from last year? Our friends at A Sea of Blue think the 2011-12 Florida Gators are the best comparison. By the end of December, the Gators had three losses including understandable road defeats to Ohio State and Syracuse, but also a puzzling loss to Rutgers, a team outside the top 100 (KenPom’s rankings). Florida eventually marched all the way to the Elite Eight before a loss to Final Four-bound Louisville. Kentucky fans might be pretty satisfied with that fate come March, with the exception of the whole losing to Louisville thing.
  4. The hits keep on coming for the Alabama Crimson Tide, as the team has suffered another injury. This time, senior guard Andrew Steele is out four to six weeks with hernia surgery. This isn’t the first time Steele has had to deal with injuries. “He’s had his share of different injuries and different things that have come up over his career,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “He is looking forward to getting himself back to where he is able to play again and able to impact the game and help his teammates. I’m sure that he’ll do everything he can to recover as quickly as he can.” Steele is averaging just 4.2 points per game, but provides depth for Grant on what is becoming a very thin bench.
  5. Coach Sean Miller has built Arizona into a national powerhouse once again. And the SEC’s Missouri Tigers are right there with the Wildcats. Luckily for college basketball fans who prefer quality basketball games in November and December rather than media stunts driven to draw TV attention, Arizona and Missouri have agreed to play a home-and-home series beginning in 2015-16. “This is a great series and will generate the type of national exposure fans and programs want early in the college basketball season,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said. “I have so much respect for Sean Miller and the Arizona program, and when you get two national brands playing in on-campus settings it’s great for all of college basketball.” Want to generate interest in college basketball prior to New Year’s Day? Continue to play games like this.
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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