The Shootaround gives a chance for several of ESPN's analysts to opine about basketball and the performance of the teams in the particular conference being reviewed.
ESPN on the SEC
Andy Katz isn't impressed with the SEC. He expects Tennessee to be the only SEC team in the top 25. And he ranks UT down at #17.
I respectfully disagree. UT could win it all this year. They're that good. They remind me of UCLA, in terms of the potential of this team. No dominant post player, but enough athletes to out-perform just about everybody else.
Besides that, the SEC East will be better than Katz expects. If Florida's big men produce, they will be improved from last season, in which they won over 20 games. UK may end up in the top 25. And Vanderbilt has upgraded their talent in the post. No Shan Foster, but they will have a solid rotation of big guys.
Chris Low suggests that UGA could compete for the top of the SEC East. That's a surprise. Most analysts think UGA will be rebuilding due to the graduation of Sundiata Gaines and Dave Bliss. A surprise, but I like it.
Joe Lunardi anticipates that the SEC could get 6 teams into the NCAA Tournament. That sounds about right. No tournament berth expected for UGA.
All in all, I like ESPN's work here. They're helping keep an eye on college basketball just as football is getting heated up. That's no small task. But this is the time in which basketball training is being done in earnest, when strength and conditioning is taking place, and guys are gearing up to compete.
I think the SEC will get better and better this year. UT, UF, Georgia, Vandy and Kentucky are all making moves. The SEC West doesn't look that great, so we'll have to see how that goes. If Tony Mitchell gets in school, I expect Alabama to be right there and possibly win the SEC West.