SEC Stock Watch: 12.07.17 Edition

Posted by David Changas on December 7th, 2017

Now that the season is nearly a month old, it’s time to take stock of where the league stands. This is the debut of SEC Stock Watch for the 2017-18 season.

Trending Up

  • An Improved SEC. There was considerable discussion about SEC basketball being better this season, and so far, it has been. Improved coaching and recruiting has led to better depth across the league, and the number of quality wins in the non-conference season has correspondingly grown. Despite a few setbacks, all 14 SEC teams currently sit in the KenPom top 100, and Texas A&M, Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi State have all been early surprises.

Tyler Davis has led the way for Texas A&M so far this season (San Antonio Express-News).

  • Texas A&M as a contender. Much was also made of the Aggies in the preseason, and despite Wednesday night’s loss to Arizona in the desert, Billy Kennedy‘s club has been even better than expected. Texas A&M’s opening-night blowout of West Virginia in Germany remains the biggest win for the league thus far. If the Aggies can get preseason all-conference forward Robert Williams going soon, look out.
  • Missouri without MPJ. Assuming Michael Porter, Jr. does not return to the Tigers this season, his career likely will go down as one of the shortest in the history of college basketball. The devastating loss of a player who many pundits considered the best freshman in the country is an indescribably difficult blow for first-year head coach Cuonzo Martin, but the Tigers have righted the ship on their way to a 7-2 start. There is no reason to think Missouri can’t be pretty good even without the services of Porter.

Flat

  • Bruce Pearl. Auburn is playing well considering that the Tigers are doing so without Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley. A lone loss to Temple notwithstanding, they’ve easily dispatched the other seven opponents and have shown signs of being much improved this season, especially on the defensive end. Still, with the specter of an FBI investigation looming and Pearl’s job potentially in jeopardy, any excitement about the team this season must be tempered.
  • Kentucky. The Wildcats’ non-conference schedule has been anything but daunting so far this season — they’ve only played two KenPom top-100 teams — and they lost to Kansas in their only real test at the Champions Classic. Because John Calipari‘s team is so young and inexperienced, his strategy for putting together this schedule was wise. However, it does improve this month, as games against Virginia Tech, UCLA and Louisville are coming, but to this point of the year, we still really don’t know what we have with these Wildcats.

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  • Vanderbilt’s NCAA hopes. Despite getting a nice resume-building win over Middle Tennessee on Wednesday night, the Commodores — picked to finish in the top five of the league in the preseason — are off to a  disappoint 4-5 start that does not foretell a return trip to the Big Dance. Granted, none of Vanderbilt’s five losses are inexcusable, but they have not at all taken advantage of the many opportunities it has had for nice wins.
  • Florida at home. The Gators were the talk of college basketball after their near take-down of No. 1 Duke at the PK80 event. After a week off, Florida returned home to suffer a pair of disconcerting losses against Florida State and Loyola (IL). The Gators shot only 24 percent from three-point range against the Seminoles and 11 percent against the Ramblers. This is clearly a concern for Mike White, as the team’s hot shooting in Portland obviously masked some defensive deficiencies.
David Changas (137 Posts)


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