Another Five-Pack Q&A w/Mark Wise

Three games into the SEC schedule and we thought it would be a good time to bring you another session of questions and answers with Mark Wise of the Gator Radio Network and Sun Sports TV among other TV Networks. Mark is not only a great friend, but as good a basketball analyst as you could hope to hear from; so here goes.

LV: Is Jodie Meeks of Kentucky really as good as he's been playing?

MW: Meeks has the body and the ability to shoot at the next level. The question mark is his handle. There are so many times in the NBA where the 2-guard is asked to create their own look. I am not sure if he can do that at this point. I would say he is not a lottery pick today but 54 points at Tennessee certainly moves his stock in the right direction!

LV: Kenpom.com ranks the SEC sixth among conferences. Do you agree?

MW: That seems about right. It is true the league is not top heavy, but neither is it bottom heavy. There are no teams in the league ranked below 150 in the power rankings (Kenpom.com as of 1/16). What you have is a league that is tightly bunched together. Therefore, the competitiveness might be as good as ever. Will the play be the highest level? No. The best wins in the pre-conference schedule come from Arkansas (which beat Texas and Oklahoma) and they are 0-3 in the SEC! I would not be the lease bit shocked if the division winners on both sides have 4 or 5 losses.

LV: Considering that 8-8 and a first round SEC Tournament loss left the Gators on the outside looking in a year ago, what is the magic number of wins that will get Florida back into the NCAA Tournament? In that regard which is more important, wins over Tennessee and/or Kentucky or avoiding losses to the lowest SEC teams in the rankings Georgia and Alabama?

MW: Man, this is tough. I think 9-7 gets UF in with their RPI. I always think the glitter from big wins outweighs the gutter from bad losses. There seems to be a forgiveness policy with those kinds of bumps, but with the wins come "quality win" credits. The Washington and Bradley victories are looking better and better. The one team that could really help UF is FSU! Remember RPI is about winning, who you beat, who are they beating, and who the beaten team is beating. Confused? Good, that's the purpose of the RPI! (editors note: FSU beat Maryland on Saturday)

LV: Do you see Nick Calathes as a two, three or four year college player?

MW: I do not see Nick as a four-year guy. His size and skill set are pretty unique at the point. Then that brings us to this year. Hmm, I will say 65-35 he stays at this point. His sometimes high turnover games will give those who evaluate him reason to pause and think he might need another year at the point. Everyone needs to remember he played the point about 10-15 minutes a game his freshman year. I would like to see Nick season his game for one more year.

LV: Who is the best player in college basketball?

MW: The best player, pound for pound (let's see, who said that about Tayshaun Prince?) is Blake Griffin from Oklahoma. The reason is that he has the ability to score facing the basket. His mid-range game is much more developed than Hansbrough. I think Griffin makes the game simple at times and that will serve him well in an 82 game schedule. Now, if you are asking me, who would I pay to go see? That is easy, Steff Curry from Davidson. If he is good enough to get LeBron out to the front row and take a peek that is good enough for me. And yes, he will make it in the NBA. No doubt!


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