SEC Basketball Update

Basketball season is starting to heat up. Vanderbilt hosts Missouri on Wednesday night and will host Florida in their SEC opener in about five weeks. Here is an early look at how the SEC is shaping up this season.



Florida 6-0 (29 RPI) -- The Gators and 14th year head coach Billy Donovan are off to a strong start.  They've already gotten wins over Michigan State, Rutgers and Florida State to name a few. Guard Kenny Boynton (15.8 ppg) and forward Chandler Parsons (12.2 ppg) headline a starting five with four players scoring in double figures.  Upcoming games with Syracuse and North Carolina State will allow the Gators ample opportunity to improve their record and RPI.  


Kentucky 6-0 (41 RPI) -- Kentucky hired John Calipari after a disappointing 2008-09 season.  The new Wildcat skipper appears to have UK on the right track.  Kentucky has climbed to No. 5 in the polls and has reeled off six straight wins to start the season.  However, those wins have come against teams such as Morehead State, Sam Houston State and Rider.  The one win over a team from major conference was the recent, 73-65, win over Stanford but the Cardinal's RPI is only 244. UK has four players scoring in double figures including John Wall (19.8 ppg) and Patrick Patterson (16.2 ppg). 


South Carolina 5-1 (77 RPI) -- The Gamecocks return four starters from last year's 21-10 squad.  USC, led by second-year head coach Darrin Horn, has five wins including one over South Florida (53 RPI).  The one loss has come to Miami (Fla.), 85-70.  The Gamecocks are led by guard Devan Downey (19.7 ppg) and forward Dominique Archie (14.4 ppg). 


Tennessee 5-1 (54 RPI) -- The eleventh ranked Vols have all five starters returning from a year ago.  Guards Scotty Hopson (16.7 ppg) and Tyler Smith (13.0 ppg) and forward Wayne Chism (12.8 ppg, 6 rpg) lead this year's squad.  Bruce Pearl's team has wins over Austin Peay, UNC-Asheville, East Carolina and Charleston.  Their most highly regarded win was over DePaul (7 RPI) who Vandy will face on Saturday.  A 73-72 setback to Purdue is the only blemish on the young Vol season.


Vanderbilt 4-1 (22 RPI) -- Vanderbilt returns all five starters from last year's 19-12 team.  The Commodores have already notched a quality win over Arizona and worked their way into the top 25.  The 'Dores also pulled off a tough road win over a decent Saint Mary's team.  Guard Jermaine Beal (15.4 ppg) and G/F Jeffery Taylor (14.4 ppg) lead the Commodore scoring attack. Veteran senior A.J. Ogilvy is improving every game after missing a couple weeks of preseason practice.


Georgia 3-2 (204 RPI) -- The Bulldogs have a new head coach in Mark Fox who came to Athens from Nevada.  So far the Bulldogs have wins over New Orleans, UNC-Asheville and Jacksonville State but have fallen to UAB and Wofford.  Forward Trey Thompkins leads the Bulldogs in both scoring (15.6 ppg) and rebounds (8.8). 




Ole Miss 5-1 (49 RPI) -- Ole Miss has five starters returning and is off to a strong start.  The Rebels, led by fourth-year head coach Andy Kennedy, already have wins over Indiana and Kansas State.  The Rebels one loss has come at the hands of Villanova (79-67).  Mississippi is led by guards Chris Warren (17.6 ppg) and Terrico White (16.6 ppg).   Forward Murphy Holloway adds another 14 points a game. 


Alabama 4-2 (109 RPI) -- Alabama, which has a new head coach in Anthony Grant who came from Virginia Commonwealth, is off to a 4-2 start. Guard Mikhail Torrance (16.8 ppg) and forward JaMychal Green (15.2 ppg) lead the Tide in scoring. Bama lost its opener to a decent Cornell team (51 RPI) and fell to Florida State, 60-51. 


Mississippi State 4-2 (98 RPI) -- MSU had high expectations for the season with all five starters returning from last year's 23-13 team.  However, the Bulldogs fell to Rider in their home opener by 14 points and more recently were stunned by Richmond, 63-62.  Forward Jarvis Varnado is averaging a double-double (14.5 ppg, 10 reb).  State also has four other players averaging double digit points for the Bulldogs. 


LSU 3-2 (57 RPI) -- The Tigers opened with three straight wins over La.- Monroe, Indiana State and Western Kentucky but have since lost by lopsided scores to Connecticut (81-55) and Arizona State (71-52).  Second-year head coach Trent Johnson leads LSU. The Tigers, who have only two returning starters, are led by guard Bo Spencer (16.5 ppg) and forward Storm Warren (15.4 ppg).  


Auburn 3-3 (44 RPI) -- The Tigers have fallen to a decent Missouri State squad (12 RPI) and also have losses to UCF and North Carolina State. Auburn, led by sixth-year head coach Jeff Lebo, returns only two starters from a year ago and could see rough seas ahead in the SEC.  DeWayne Reed (16.2 ppg) and Frankie Sullivan (15.5 ppg) lead the Tigers. 


Arkansas 2-4 (266 RPI) -- Third-year head coach John Pelphrey may be starting to feel some heat.  Optimism was high for the Hogs, who return all five starters, but things have not gone well.  Arkansas has losses to Morgan State and East Tennessee State along with a 33-point loss to Louisville.  Guard Rotnei Clarke is the big gunner for Razorbacks, averaging 28 points a game. 



NOTE: Missouri, Vanderbilt's opponent on Wednesday, is 4-1 and fell to Richmond (who also beat Miss. State) on Saturday, 59-52.  The Tigers are ranked 96 in the RPI. 


RPI ratings from

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