SEC Stock Watch: 12.04.15 Edition

Posted by David Changas on December 4th, 2015

Now that the season is in full swing, it’s time for us to take a look at the coaches, teams, and players that we should be bullish on, and those we should look to unload as fast as we can.

BuyKentucky Being Beatable. The Wildcats’ big win over Duke last month had some people thinking that Kentucky could make another long undefeated run to start the season. Thanks to UCLA last night in Pauley Pavilion, any 40-0 talk is already over. The Bruins’ handling of John Calipari’s squad should give the rest of the SEC some hope this season. After watching the Wildcats cruise through the conference schedule last year, it is clear that this year’s version will not be quite as dominant. That has to be encouraging to the rest of a league that has grown tired of being beaten down by Big Blue.

Tyler Ulis and Kentucky are the prohibitive favorites to win the SEC (Mark Zerof, USA Today Sports)

Tyler Ulis and Kentucky are still the prohibitive favorites to win the SEC (Mark Zerof, USA Today Sports)

SellAnyone Besides Kentucky Winning the SEC. While Kentucky’s loss will encourage the rest of the league, no one should be delusional enough to think the Wildcats are anything but the prohibitive favorite to win the regular season title. It is likely that they lose a game here or there, but Kentucky is still without question the team to beat. Vanderbilt and Texas A&M have shown that they are ready to win a lot of games in league play as well, but when everything is said and done, it’s still all too likely that the Wildcats will take home another SEC championship.

Buy: Vanderbilt. These Commodores have a chance to advance as far as any Vanderbilt team has since the 2007 squad that went to the Sweet Sixteen. Kevin Stallings seems to truly enjoy coaching this group, and the talent may fit his coaching style better than it did with the Festus Ezeli, Jeffery Taylor and John Jenkins group. With two solid NBA prospects in forward Damian Jones and guard Wade Baldwin, the Commodores should be athletic enough to compete with most teams. Assuming their defense continues to improve, anything short of a run to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament will be considered a disappointment in Nashville.

Sell: Tennessee. Rick Barnes has a long road ahead of him. The former Texas coach was not accustomed to failure during his time in Austin, having missed the NCAA Tournament only once in 17 seasons. Barring a miracle, he won’t make the Big Dance this year, and, realistically, it will probably take a couple recruiting classes to get enough talent in Knoxville. The already-thin Vols, which are coming off of losses to George Washington and Nebraska in Brooklyn last weekend, lost somewhat promising redshirt freshman Jabari McGee earlier this week when the forward announced he is transferring.

Buy: Ben Simmons. Simmons had a ho-hum 43-point, 14-rebound, 7-assist, 5-steal night against North Florida on Wednesday as LSU overcame an 8-point halftime deficit to win, 119-108. The freshman phenom is somehow exceeding all expectations, as evidenced by his otherworldly per game stat line: 19.9 points, 14.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.4 steals per contest. In the process, he has carried the 4-3 Tigers. There is little doubt that Simmons is a must-see for any college hoops fan this season, and it would be disappointing to see his team continue to underachieve as it has thus far. On that subject…

Sell: Johnny Jones. At this point, it’s almost too easy to pick on Jones and question whether he has the chops to successfully coach at this level. But his team has no quality wins through its first seven games, and after facing a tough challenge at Houston this weekend, will not have any more opportunities for quality non-conference wins until Oklahoma comes to Baton Rouge at the end of January. In Jones’ defense, his team is missing sharpshooter Keith Hornsby and Arizona transfer Craig Victor, a former consensus top 50 recruit who won’t become eligible until later this month. Once those two return, all excuses will be exhausted, and anything short of a commendable conference season and NCAA Tournament bid will be a major disappointment.

The other-worldly play of Ben Simmons hasn't been enough for LSU so far (

The stellar play of Ben Simmons hasn’t been enough for LSU so far (

BuyFrank Martin’s Future at South Carolina. The 7-0 Gamecocks appear to finally have turned a corner under their fourth-year head coach, and there is a good chance they will enter the new year undefeated. While they haven’t played a particularly tough schedule, they’ll take the wins given the lack of recent success in Columbia. South Carolina ranks 34th in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings and boasts five players averaging double-figures. Those who saw Martin’s work at Kansas State can’t be surprised by the turnaround in Columbia, but after a frustrating first three years, Gamecock fans are happy to finally see some good results.

Sell. Mark Fox’s Future at Georgia. Athletic Director Greg McGarity showed earlier this week that he is not afraid to replace a football coach who won nearly 10 games per season in his last five years at the helm. Given that decision and the currently floundering state of affairs in the Georgia basketball program, Fox’s seat has to be getting warm. He has two years remaining on his contract after this season, but given the Bulldogs’ slow start (which has included a home loss to Chattanooga) and the recruiting successes of other SEC programs, it would behoove the well-liked and respected Fox to turn things around this season, and quickly.

David Changas (166 Posts)

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