[caption id="attachment_233537" align="alignnone" width="600"] (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
The College Basketball season is now over a month old, and the SEC has provided basketball with several talented players and teams. Here are the major storylines from the first month of the season as the conference heads towards league play.
1. Collin Sexton’s World
Through one month of the season, Sexton has bar-none been the best player in the SEC, and I’m not sure if any other player has been a close second.
He leads the SEC in scoring as a freshman with 21.8 points per game while he also averages around four assists and four rebounds a game. He came into Tuscaloosa as a five-star recruit who had all the hype in the world and he has lived up to it.
Moving forward, Sexton will have to get better as every team will now be keying in on him especially once conference play begins.
His favorite moves and tendencies will be scouted out and his game will have to evolve if Alabama wants a shot at winning the SEC this season. However, as of right now Sexton is the superstar that the SEC deserved and needed to showcase to the rest of the college basketball world.
2. Florida’s Backcourt
The Gators have been one of the most curious teams in the conference this year. One week they are beating Gonzaga and taking Duke down to the wire, but then the next week they are dropping games to Florida State and Loyola-Chicago.
Despite their inconsistencies as a team, the backcourt of Florida has arguably been the best in all the SEC as Jalen Hudson, Chris Chiozza, and Egor Koulechov have all had great seasons thus far.
Hudson is third in the conference in scoring at 19.1 points per game, Koulechov is eighth in scoring at 16.1 point per game, and Chiozza is second in the SEC in assists per game at 6.1.
These three are the Gators top three scorers, and they are lethal from behind the three-point line where they are all shooting at least 39%.
Florida will only be as good as they are this season, but for the time being Hudson has been one of the biggest surprises of the year. Things didn’t work out for him at Virginia Tech, but his transfer down to Gainesville has done wonders for his game.
3. Kentucky’s Point Guard Play
Every season it seems that John Calipari and the Wildcats are led by a world class point guard. However, this season is a bit different for Kentucky.
I am not suggesting that freshmen Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander won’t be star point guards, but through one month of play they are still trying to find their footing as college basketball players.
Gilgeous-Alexander is a lockdown defender and Green has proven to be a capable offensive threat, however Green’s weakness is his defense and Gilgeous-Alexander’s weakness seems to be his offensive game.
It’s a peculiar situation for Calipari whose system begs for star point guards that go high in the NBA Draft, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with these two now.
However, both Green and Gilgeous-Alexander have plenty of time to mature and refine their games before the NCAA Tournament arrives. How much they will improve will determine just how far Kentucky will advance.
4. Tennessee’s Quick Start
Head Coach Rick Barnes has the Volunteers off to a surprising 7-1 start on the season. Their start has included wins over Purdue, NC State, Georgia Tech, and a close loss against Villanova.
Spearheading the Volunteer effort on the year has been sophomore big man Grant Williams. Williams currently is averaging an impressive 16.1 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Another huge reason why Tennessee has had such a successful season thus far is because of their efficiency from three-point land. The Volunteers lead the SEC in three-point shooting percentage at 41.2%.
One reason why they have been so efficient from behind the arc is due to the play of sophomore guard Jordan Bowden who is shooting 59%.
The country will see just how for real the Volunteers are this season when they play No. 7 North Carolina on December 17th
5. Vanderbilt’s Rough Start
While one SEC team from the state of Tennessee got a great jump to their season, the other SEC team from the state has struggled mightily. The Commodores have the worst record in the entire conference at 3-6 with loses against Belmont and Middle Tennessee.
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(Jim Brown-USA Today)[/caption]
The big problem for Vanderbilt this season is that they have a very hard time scoring the basketball. The Commodores are dead last in the SEC in scoring at a paltry 68.7 points per game.
The main reason why they just can’t score is because they have a limited number of true scorers on the team. Only three players are in double digits in points per game, and Jeff Roberson leads the team in that category with an average 14.2 points per game.
In his first year as head coach, Bryce Drew led the Commodores to a respectable 19-16 record. With lesser options on this team, Drew will have to work his magic when SEC play gets here, or it will be a very long season for Vanderbilt.