Favorite(s)-Florida (24-6 14-4)
The Gators earned the SEC’s top seed by virtue of a 14-4 record. Even better news for Florida is that they are fully healthy for the first time in forever. They go 8 deep with all those guys averaging 16+ minutes and six points. A key factor for the Gators, is that of those 8 guys seven are either juniors or seniors. Seniors Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Erik Murphy lead the attack from the outside while juniors Patric Young and Will Yeguete patrol the inside. Another factor for a team that relies so much on the 3 (almost 23 attempts) a game, the Gators have the ability to lock down defensively when they have to.
Contender(s)-Kentucky (21-10 12-6), Missouri (22-9 11-7)
Unrealistic expectations, losing your top freshman for the season and a boatload of talent is how you could describe Kentucky’s season. Nerlens Noel went down with a torn ACL and the Wildcats have had freshmen growing pains (beating Ole Miss then losing to Tennessee by 30). So why are they a contender? Freshmen Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley-Stein along with veterans Julius Mays and Kyle Wiltjer are the reason. There is enough talent there to make a run at Florida.
Four transfers (Jabari Brown, Alex Oriakhi, Keion Bell and Earnest Ross) lead six Tigers in double figures. Add to them the senior leader Laurence Bowers and junior point guard and Phil Pressey it is not hard to see how Missouri averages 77.2 points per game. But where the Tigers get it done is on the glass where they average 41.1, good enough for 2nd in the country.
Team Likely to pull an upset-Tennessee (19-11 11-7)
If you’re looking for a sleeper in the SEC take a look at Tennessee. They have finished strong going 8-1 in their final nine games including wins over Kentucky and Florida. The trio of Trae Golden, Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae lead the Vols to the tune of 40.7 points and 16.5 rebounds.
3 Key Players-Marshall Henderson-Mississippi, Phil Pressey-Missouri, Kenny Boynton-Florida
Marshall Henderson had a long journey before ending up at Mississippi but the Rebels are glad he did. The junior guard who is averaging over 19 points a game rub some people the wrong way with his in-game antics and showmanship but one thing is for sure, the kid can score and when he does the Rebels can be a handful.
Missouri’s first year in the SEC hasn’t been as successful as their last in the Big 12, but they still have the conference’s best point guard in junior Phil Pressey. He knows how to run the Mizzou offense and is one of the most entertaining players in the country. His 12 points and 7 assists are important but it is his leadership and the way he dictates the pace for the Tigers that is paramount.
Kenny Boynton the Gators’ senior guard Kenny Boynton is huge for Florida but not just for his 12.5 points. Florida is a heavy jump shooting team and for that reason Boynton, who has a reputation of a chucker must play under control and have a good shot selection for the Gators to be successful.
2013 SEC TOURNAMENT
March 13-17 Nashville, TN
#12 South Carolina vs. #13 Mississippi State
#11Texas A&M vs. #14 Auburn
#8 Georgia vs. #9 LSU
#5 Tennessee vs. #12/13
#7 Arkansas vs. #10 Vanderbilt
#6 Missouri vs. #11/14
#4 Alabama vs.
#2 Kentucky vs.
#3 Mississippi vs.