The SEC has become more competitive over the years in Basketball. Have you seen the top 8 teams in the SEC and where they stand in that division? Here’s a couple of those teams.
Say hello to the 3rd best SEC team at 4-1 along with their 14-3 national standing. Also say hello to the team with the best ATS record at 15-2! It does help to be 10-1 as the favorite and 8-1 at home, while only playing 5 games on the road resulting in a 4-1 away record. The Ole Miss Rebels, however, currently have the 68th strongest schedule in the nation, according to Kenpom.com. Their non-conference schedule’s a bit average as Cincinnati (loss) was probably their toughest test, but like Bama, their schedule became more jagged once SEC games commenced. Auburn (win), Mississippi State (win) and LSU (loss), have been the sharpest teams they’ve yet played. The Auburn win started conference action and was their most impressive. And when you compete with one of the hardest schedules nationally, and are the dog by 5 points and win by 15, more brownie points to you.
Ole Miss is ran by a nice two-guard tandem in Terence Davis (16.18 PPG, 6.06 RPG, 3.71 APG) and Breein Tyree (17.47 PPG, 3.41 RPG, 3.06 APG). Both also average more than a steal per game. The pair combined for 40 points in their last showing against Arkansas. Davis grabbed 9 rebounds, distributed for 5 assists, and came up with a season-high 5 thefts in the contest. The athlete who sticks out the most, although, is KJ Buffen. He has come ready to play during SEC competition. The Rebs are similar to Bama as they have a few guys who can produce off the bench. If I’m looking for a trend, it’s Buffen who had two of his best games of the season against Auburn and LSU. He scored a combined 29 points on 9-11 shooting in the two contests.
Alabama hasn’t yet found that Colin Sexton replacement that helped steer the team to March Madness last season. Instead, coach Avery Johnson has found a committee system that can do things Sexton provided. John Petty (12.06 PPG) has filled in some for the now NBA guard. He’s freshly off a breakout game at Tennessee where he scored 30 points on 11-18 shooting and 6-10 from 3-point. Johnson may have also found his David Robinson-esque big man in Donta Hall (11.24 PPG, 9.0 RPG). Hall recorded his 9th double double (16 PTS, 12 REB) of the season in the Tennessee match-up.
Except for Hall and Petty’s big time performances, the crew needed help from everyone else in that Vols game. Starting point guard Kira Lewis Jr. (14.24 PPG, 2.71 APG) scored 12 points, but only dished 1 assist. Outside of those three, the rest of Bama scored 10 total points on 3-21 shooting overall and only made 1-10 from 3. It’s an off game when you consider seven players average over 7 points per game. Of course, they competed against Tennessee, the best team in the nation right now according to the recent AP poll. So, I’ll back away a bit and give them the benefit of the doubt. We can also navigate their strength of schedule according to Kenpom and cut them a little more slack. According the Kenpom, Bama has the 19th strongest schedule nationally up to this point. Arizona (win) was likely their toughest non-conference scheduled opponent, but they played arguably 3 of the top SEC teams in Kentucky (win), LSU (loss) and Tennessee (loss).