SEC Morning Five: 12.16.11 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on December 16th, 2011

  1. While Florida‘s guard play has been the most talked about aspect of the roster, the Gators are actually more effective when distributing the ball down low to center Patric Young. There are a lot of great points per possessions stats in Ballin is a Habit’s breakdown, but the most interesting to us is the amount of double teams in the low post. In nine games thus far this year, Young has been double teamed three times. I went back and read the post just to make sure: that’s right, three times in nine games. Florida’s reliance on three point shots (39.2% of its total points according to and accuracy from behind the line (40.3%) prohibit opposing defenses from double teaming Young, yet he is extremely accurate (58.7 eFg%). He simply doesn’t get the ball as often as he probably should. Young is fifth on the team in the percentage of possessions used (20.5%) behind Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton, Bradley Beal, and Mike Rosario. Notice any similarities between those four players? Yep, those are Florida’s aforementioned and often talked about guards dominating the majority of possessions.
  2. As mentioned in yesterday’s SEC Morning Five, Jelan Kendrick was eligible to play in his first game Wednesday night for Ole Miss, but did not even dress due to a “coach’s decision”. It appears that Kendrick hasn’t changed much from his old ways. The troubled guard was late for a team meeting on Tuesday night, and then showed up thirty minutes late for a team shootaround on Wednesday. That sort of behavior is exactly what landed Kendrick in trouble at Memphis where he was kicked off the team before ever playing a game. And if he keeps this up, his streak of watching his teams from the sidelines will certainly continue. Andy Kennedy doesn’t need this kind of headache regardless of Kendrick’s talent level.
  3. Should the College of Charleston students have rushed the court after beating a downtrodden Tennessee team? Regardless of your feelings on whether schools should RTC at all, we can all agree that the Volunteers weren’t a worthy adversary for College of Charleston to rush the court. The Vols are 3-6 on the year, and were actually the underdog playing on the road last night. But GoVolsXtra went one step further, calling their hometown team a mid-major basketball program. Ouch, that has to hurt. Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin has to be given credit, however, for playing a difficult schedule in his first year at the helm. And College of Charleston coach Bobby Cremins gave him that praise. “I want to thank Cuonzo Martin,” Cremins said. “He honored the contract that we made with Bruce Pearl. I appreciate them coming here. They brought a great atmosphere. It was a great win for us.” Martin has the respect of opposing coaches, but will he have the patience of Tennessee fans and blogs to dig the Vols out of mid-major hell? Tennessee has losses to Austin Peay and Oakland to go along with this loss to the Cougars.
  4. At this time two years ago, Jeronne Maymon was averaging about four points and four rebounds for Marquette. Not making the impact he had hoped for, Maymon decided it was best to seek out a new beginning by transferring to Tennessee. Although Maymon probably didn’t transfer from Marquette envisioning losses like this one on Wednesday night. The power forward was limited to nine points in the loss to the College of Charleston. But the Vols need more production from Maymon. He was impressive when he poured in 32 points and 20 rebounds in a loss to Memphis in the Maui Invitational. Since that point, his production has been somewhat limited. In the five games after that tough loss to the Tigers, Maymon hasn’t reached double figures in rebounding at all and has only reached double figures in points twice. Tennessee needs Maymon to climb out of this hole.
  5. The Worldwide Leader recognizes the charitable work that Arkansas forward Michael Sanchez has done off the court. “He’s got a service heart,” said his mother, Kim. “He’d do anything for anybody.” Sanchez is currently growing his hair out for locks for love. While many assumed he was growing his hair out to keep current with the new style, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. “Trust me, this isn’t about style points,” Sanchez said. “People might think I want attention, and I guess in some ways I do. Just not for myself.”  Sanchez has been somewhat hobbled this year by injuries limiting his production on the court. While he hasn’t made the impact he would probably like for Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks, he is certainly making an impact on others. It is great to see that basketball players can use their influence and visibility on the court to help those in need off of it.
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SEC Morning Five: 11.25.11 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on November 25th, 2011





  1. Did anybody try cooking for Thanksgiving? It’s okay, sometimes things don’t turn out exactly how you planned. I’m sure everybody grinned and ate it anyway. Well, LSU‘s season isn’t turning out how coach Trent Johnson planned either. In their most recent game, they fell to South Alabama despite building a 12-point lead. “Like I told the team, you just can’t show up and expect to win a game, whether you are at home or on the road,” Johnson said. “The one thing that sort of concerns me is that although we had 17 assists and 11 turnovers, and when we got up 10, I thought we had some guys try to go off on their own a little bit.” LSU came into the game with a two-game win streak, but were out-rebounded by the Jaguars 42-31. This is the Tigers third loss of this early season. The problem for Johnson and the Tigers is that nobody is grinning and pretending to enjoy what is happening to this LSU team.
  2. The Georgia student newspaper, the Red and Black, says coach Mark Fox is optimistic about how his young Bulldogs are coming along. Fox was impressed with how his team responded after a difficult loss to California with a hard-fought win over Notre Dame the following night. But Georgia’s schedule just gets tougher from this point forward. “This schedule is challenging and for a young team, it’s extra challenging,” Fox said. “You gotta learn how to beat good teams and you don’t learn how to beat good teams by just playing bad ones. So we’re gonna have to grow up on the job. We’re gonna have a lot of teachable moments like we had against Cal and Notre Dame. There is just so much for this group to experience.” Georgia will get plenty of opportunities to grow up on the job as they play Xavier, Cincinnati, Colorado, and Southern California over the next few weeks. Freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has filled in to produce some much needed scoring with 13.2 points per game so far. The Dogs are counting on Caldwell-Pope to increase his field goal percentage (40.4%) as he gets more experience throughout the season.
  3. Arkansas is still learning to deal with the injury of leading scorer Marshawn Powell. Freshman Devonta Abron started in place of Powell against Utah Valley on Wednesday night and finished with three points and three rebounds. The entire frontcourt really struggled in Powell’s absence. Abron, Hunter Mickelson, Michael Sanchez, and Marvell Waithe combined to score six points and grab 13 rebounds. “We have to work with what we have now,” 6’2″ guard Madracus Wade said of Powell’s injury. “The young guys have to step up. … We’ve all got to get in there and rebound.” Arkansas won 67-59, but it is clear that Mike Anderson’s up-tempo system can’t run entirely on guard play. The Razorbacks have to find frontcourt production soon to avoid a major letdown in Anderson’s first year at the helm.
  4. Tennessee‘s narrow losses against #6 Duke and #8 Memphis have the Vols confident that they can play with anyone in the nation. A big reason for the Volunteers success in Maui was the outstanding play of power forward Jeronne Maymon who scored 32 points and grabbed 20 rebounds against Memphis. The performance was the first time a Division I player has scored at least 30 points and 20 rebounds in a game since Blake Griffin in 2009. “We know we’re good enough to play against anybody on any given night,” Maymon said. “Each night we go to practice like we’re getting ready for the No. 1-ranked team.” Maymon and Tennessee proved, despite losing two close games, that they were highly underrated with the potential to be an NCAA Tournament team. The Volunteers were picked to finish 11th in the SEC in the preseason and it is seems clear that the Vols will finish much higher than that.
  5. The Clarion-Ledger has a few observations from the first five Ole Miss games of the season. The most interesting note is just how bad the Rebels’ offensive efficiency has been this year. They are 17-97 (17.5%) from beyond the arc, bad enough for 340th in the nation. The Reb’s two point percentage is 49.8%, which is significantly better at 125th in the nation. Andy Kennedy seems to be struggling to replace do-it-all guard Chris Warren, who averaged 19.1 points per game last year. Terrance Henry is the Rebels leading scorer thus far with 12.2 points per game, but he is shooting at an alarming 41.2% from the field. The Rebels wins thus far are a bit misleading. While the Rebs are 4-1, a 30-point loss on Sunday to Marquette signifies that unless Kennedy can solve their offensive woes, more difficult times lie ahead for Ole Miss once they take a step up in competition.
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Checking in on… the SEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on February 2nd, 2011

Jared Quillen is the RTC correspondent for the SEC.

A Look Back

How the West Has Won: So I’ve been pretty rough on the SEC West, but after this week I think it’s time I let it go for a while.  Let’s briefly look at the turnaround in the SEC West.  Mississippi State, which I previously labeled as tied with Tennessee for biggest disappointment in the conference beat SEC East leader FloridaArkansas beat Vanderbilt in a game that the Hogs controlled throughout.  Auburn finally got a conference win this week when the Tigers beat South Carolina.  Mississippi beat Kentucky in a close one in Oxford and Alabama now sits solely in first place in the league at 5-1 with a win over Kentucky to boot.  Furthermore, Joe Lunardi has dropped Georgia from his latest Bracketology and replaced the Bulldogs with Alabama.  What a difference a week makes.

Power Rankings

  1. Kentucky (16-5, 4-3) Despite the three losses to Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, all on the road, the resume is still good with wins over Washington, Notre Dame and Louisville, but there are noticeable chinks in the armor here (depth) and an inability to win road games usually says something about the mental fortitude of a team.
  2. Florida (17-5, 6-2) Florida needed double-overtime to beat Georgia on the road and then lost to Mississippi State, and right now, it’s not good to be losing to Mississippi State.  The win over Vanderbilt helps, but then again, Vanderbilt seems to be slipping right now.
  3. Alabama (13-7, 5-1) After a dismal preseason, the Tide seem to be rolling.  Alabama has the best record in the league and is winning by increasingly greater margins.  Alabama beat Kentucky by two, Auburn by 10 and LSU by 24.  Coach Anthony Grant seems to have corrected his team’s problems, as he attributed early difficulties to players still learning their roles.  Alabama has enough talent to win the West and possibly challenge for the conference if Grant is right.
  4. Vanderbilt (15-6, 3-4) Vanderbilt is having a rough go of it of late, sitting at 3-4 in conference.  In a home game against Arkansas, Vanderbilt never looked good and the Commodores allowed Rotnei Clarke to make shots from everywhere, as he scored 36 points on 12-16 from the floor and 6-8 from three.  That’s not going to work.
  5. Tennessee (14-7, 4-2) Now that Tennessee is at 4-2 in conference with wins over Vanderbilt and at Georgia, I want to say that things are back on track in Knoxville, but many were fooled once before when the Volunteers knocked off then-#21 Memphis after losing four of six, so I’ll give it another week before I make up my mind on this one.
  6. Arkansas (14-6, 4-3) After a disappointing week where the Razorbacks lost at Georgia and got pummeled at Florida, they turned around and got wins over lowly Auburn and at Vanderbilt where they outrebounded the ‘Dores 26-21 and shot 57% from the field including Michael Sanchez‘s 8-12 for a career high 20 points.  He averages 4.1 a game.
  7. South Carolina (12-7, 2-2) Despite the fact that I don’t think we should compare Bruce Ellington to Devan Downey (he’s better than Downey), I will say that they do have one thing in common.  They both have low shooting percentages.  Ellington Is currently shooting 37 percent and shot only 4-12 in a loss to Auburn. But we shouldn’t single him out in this case.  The entire team was abysmal shooting 37 percent from the field, 21 percent from three and 57 percent from the line.  Time to work on squaring up to the basket.
  8. Georgia (14-6, 3-4) The Bulldogs have underperformed of late and their 3-4 SEC mark is an indicator of that.  The Dawgs finished a ten-game winning streak when they beat Kentucky in their SEC opener, but have now lost four of six, including two this week – one at Florida and the other at Kentucky.
  9. Mississippi State (11-9 3-3) The other Bulldogs lost at Vanderbilt and won at Florida.  I continually marvel that a team with Ravern Johnson, Kodi Augustus, Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney is still playing as poorly as they are.  This team has lost seven of its last 11 games.
  10. Mississippi (14-8 2-5) Things still are not going well for the Rebels, but the win over Kentucky is huge.  Maybe this will give this underperforming squad a little momentum against an improving Razorbacks squad in Fayetteville.
  11. LSU (10-11 2-4) With LSU’s four-game losing streak, the SEC now has two teams with overall losing records.  The Tigers have not scored more than 53 points in any of their last five contests and are losing by an average of 28 points over their four-game losing streak.
  12. Auburn (8-13 1-6) Well look who got a nice little conference win over a decent team.  As I mentioned above, the other Tigers held South Carolina to terrible shooting numbers but what’s more is they outrebounded the bigger Gamecocks 45-32.  Nice work, boys.

A Look Ahead

  • Feb. 5 Kentucky @ Florida. Kentucky is in the NCAA Tournament.  Now the Wildcats are playing for seeding.  The selection committee really cares about road wins and Kentucky doesn’t have a whole lot of those.  You see what I’m getting at here.
  • Feb. 10 Alabama @ Vanderbilt. If Alabama can get the win in Nashville on Vanderbilt’s weird court and get to 6-1 in conference, I don’t think anyone in the West can catch the Tide.  And with a favorable schedule after that, an SEC championship is not out of the question.  But this game is really big if that is to remain a possibility.
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