Paul Jordan of Wildcat Blue Blog is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.
Predicted Order of Finish:
- Kentucky (13-3)
- Tennessee (11-5)
- South Carolina (10-6)
- Vanderbilt (10-6)
- Florida (7-9)
- Georgia (2-14)
- Mississippi State (10-6)
- Mississippi (9-7)
- Arkansas (9-7)
- Alabama (7-9)
- LSU (6-10)
- Auburn (4-12)
- John Wall (G), Kentucky
- Devan Downey (G), South Carolina
- Tyler Smith (F), Tennessee
- Patrick Patterson (F), Kentucky
- Jarvis Varnado (F), Mississippi State
6th Man. Terrico White (G), Mississippi
Impact Newcomer. John Wall (G), Kentucky
What You Need to Know. After missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 years, the Kentucky Wildcats are poised to regain their role at the top of the SEC, having added the number one recruiting class and top coach John Calipari. This year looks to be a year of redemption and resurgence not only for UK but for the whole SEC which placed just three teams in the NCAA last year. Tennessee, South Carolina and Vanderbilt are very strong, experienced teams in the East that should go dancing. Mississippi State hopes to win the West behind Jarvis Varnado and Mississippi and Arkansas look to be much improved and can give any team in the SEC fits.
Predicted Champion. Kentucky (NCAA Seed: #1). Kentucky returns Patrick Patterson and the core group of the team that won 22 games last season. The main loss for UK was junior Jodie Meeks who went to the NBA, but in his place, UK added the number one recruiting class and hired head coach John Calipari. Obviously, Calipari faces the task of instilling a new offense with six new faces, but the Cats are so deep that freshman Daniel Orton, a top 25 player, will have to battle for significant playing time. The Wildcats achilles heel last year was at point guard and UK added two of the top four freshman points in John Wall and Eric Bledsoe. Talent and depth alone make this a top 10 team and if Calipari can install his DDMO effectively, this is a legitimate Final Four team.