The Good and the Bad from SEC Week 1

Posted by David Changas on November 9th, 2018

With most SEC teams having already opened the 2018-19 college basketball season, let’s take a Week 1 look at the good and the not-so-good.

The Good

Jared Harper had a stellar opening-night for Auburn (al.com)

  • Auburn’s Offense. Bruce Pearl’s team smoked South Alabama 101-58 in its home opener on Tuesday night. And while the incoming expectation was that the Tigers would be very good offensively, it’s going to be a really fun season on the Plains if they’re as good as they showed earlier this week. Specifically, Auburn went 18-of-38 from deep, with junior guard Jared Harper hitting six three-pointers while handing out 13 assists. Things will get much tougher for the Tigers tonight when they host #25 Washington in what should be one of the best games on this evening’s slate.
  • Jordan Bone’s Finishing. Tennessee’s junior point guard – who also happens to be Tennessee’s only point guard – looked phenomenal in finishing at the rim in the Volunteers’ easy 86-41 win over Division II Lenoir-Rhyne. Bone finished with a game-high 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Last season, the biggest criticism of the cat-quick Bone was his inability to convert shots after getting to the basket with relative ease. If Tuesday night’s performance is a sign of true improvement in this area, an already dangerous Tennessee team becomes that much scarier.
  • The Vanderbilt Freshman. Much is expected of Vanderbilt’s five-star freshmen Darius Garland and Simi Shittu, the duo who form the core of the most highly-touted incoming class in school history. Neither disappointed in the Commodores’ 92-79 win over Winthrop earlier this week. Garland scored a game-high 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting, making three of his seven three-point attempts along the way. Shittu, a power forward who has played sparingly after tearing his ACL last December, went for 18 points and 10 rebounds in his collegiate debut. Along with Notre Dame transfer Matt Ryan and sophomore guard Saben Lee, Vanderbilt certainly will have a formidable offense. If Bryce Drew‘s defense comes along too, this exciting young team will make some noise over the next few months.

The Bad

  • Kentucky. What more is there to say about the Wildcats’ shellacking at the hands of Duke? The hope for Kentucky fans is that their team was so shell-shocked by the Blue Devils’ three freshman phenoms that the final result can be written off as a fluke. The concern is that this team will always know in the back of its mind that it was completely outclassed by a team with which it presumably matched up well. John Calipari has his work cut out for him again this year, but we fully expect Kentucky to bounce back from Tuesday’s loss. Still, everything they do over the course of the next few months will be considered in the context of this week’s beatdown.
  • Florida’s No-Show. Lucky for the Gators that the entire college basketball world was focused on the Champions Classic because their performance in an 81-60 loss at Florida State was also downright embarrassing. The 21-point final margin is not indicative of what a debacle this game was. Florida trailed the Seminoles by 35 points with just over five minutes remaining, and the game was never remotely competitive. The Gators scored an abysmal 0.83 points per possession, and particularly troubling was a scoreless night from pre-season all-SEC guard KeyVaughn Allen, who attempted just two shots in 23 minutes of action.
David Changas (158 Posts)


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