Now that the NBA combines are over and the decisions to stay in college or stay in the draft have been made most College basketball coaches have an idea of what their teams will look like this 2017-2018 season. We can now make a prediction of what the 2017-2018 season would look like in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Alabama has the best mixture of returning talent and new talent. Alabama’s 2016-2017 team went 10-8 in the SEC and had earned a trip to the NIT where they’d finished in the first round. With the new players added, this team only gets better. In addition, Coach Avery Johnson has NBA playoffs experience as a head coach and is more than capable of leading this Alabama team to a conference title.

However, I will never under estimate the dominance of Kentucky, who won the conference regular season title five (5) out of the last eight (8) seasons.

Missouri brought in one the top head coaches in the league, Cuonzo Martin. He has instantly put Missouri in contention for the top spot in the SEC by recruiting the top player in the nation, Michael Porter Jr. Coach Martin has one of the top recruiting classes in the nation added to some very good pieces left over by Coach Kim Anderson.

Florida and Arkansas are always dangerous teams. Coach Mike Anderson and Coach Michael White may not have a roster as rich as Alabama and Kentucky but they are coaches who know how to win.

South Carolina had a historical season in 2016-2017 but they will lose too many good pieces to graduation and to the Pros.

Ole Miss finished 5th in the SEC last season and will continue to get better.

With that said, here is a look at how we predict the 2017-2018 would look like:


1. Kentucky Basketball

Coach: John Calipari

Off Roster:
Players possibly turning Pro: Malik Monk, Edrice Adebayo, De'Aaron Fox, Isaiah Briscoe, Isaac Humphries,
Graduated: Mychal Mulder, Dominique Hawkins,

On Roster:
Key Role Players Possibly Returning: Brad Calipari (PG), Sacha Killeya-Jones (PF), Tai Wynyard (PF)
Key Freshmen added: Quade Green (PG), Jemarl Baker (SG), Kevin Knox (SF), Nick Richards (C), P.J. Washington (PF), Jarred Vanderbilt (PF), Hamidou Diallo (SG)

It looks like Hamidou Diallo is returning to Kentucky. With his talent at the shooting guard position Kentucky has the best chance to win the SEC again. But what’s new here? The quest for first place in the SEC seems to always go through Kentucky.

2016-2017 Record: 32-6 Overall (16-2 Conference) NCAA Tournament - Elite 8 finish
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 15+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight or Greater

2. Alabama Basketball

Coach: Avery Johnson

Off Roster:
Graduated: Bola Olaniyan, Jimmie Taylor, Corban Collins, and Shannon Hale
Transferred: Ar'Mond Davis

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Dazon Ingram (SG), Riley Norris (SF), Braxton Key (PF), Donta Hall (PF), and Avery Johnson Jr. (PG)
Key Transfer(s): Daniel Giddens (C, Ohio State)
Key Players Role Players Possibly Returning: Lawson Schaffer (PG)
Key Freshmen added: Collin Sexton (PG), John Petty (SG), Alex Reese (PF), and Herb Jones (PG)

Alabama finished 5th in the SEC without a real point guard last season. Alabama was ranked last in the SEC in assists per game and 292th nationally. That’s pretty bad! Alabama will more than solve that problem this coming season with the addition of three top 100 nationally ranked freshmen guards Collin Sexton, Herb Jones, and John Petty.

On top of that, Alabama will return several players who were instrumental in making this team one of the best defensive teams in the nation last season. Alabama held their opponents to an average 64.7 point per game, making them the 28th best defensive team in the nation and best in the SEC.

Alabama’s real problem, though, was offensive scoring. They had one of the worst scoring offenses in the SEC and in the nation. Although they held their opponents to an average 64.7 points per game the team only scored on average 68.5 points per game. But scoring should not be a problem with the addition of two (2) top 25 guards, Collin Sexton and John Petty. Joining them will be two (2) top 100 recruits Alex Reese, and Herb Jones.

Expect Alabama to be good on both ends of the court this coming season.

2016-2017 Record: 19-15 Overall (10-8 Conference) NIT First Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 14+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight or Greater

3. Missouri Basketball

Coach: Cuonzo Martin

Off Roster:
Graduated: Russell Woods,
Transferred: K.J. Walton (Ball State), Frankie Hughes, Willie Jackson (TOLEDO)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Terrence Phillips (PG), Jordan Barnett (SF), Kevin Puryear (PF), Cullen VanLeer (SG), Jordan Geist (SG), and Reed Nikko (C)
Key Transfer(s): Kassius Robertson (SG, Canisus)
Key Role Players Returning: Mitchell Smith (C)
Key Freshmen added: Michael Porter, Jr. (SF), Jeremiah Tilmon (C), Michael Porter, Jr. (SF), and C.J. Roberts (PG)

Missouri has been in the SEC basement since 2014. The team has only had eight (8) wins combined in the last three (3) seasons. But that’s all about to change with the hiring of Coach Cuonzo Martin. Coach Martin will come into the 2017-2018 season with the 7th best recruiting class in the nation, which includes the #1 recruit in the nation, Michael Porter, Jr. Coach Martin will combine that recruiting class with some very good players returning from the 2016-2017 team such as Terrence Phillips, Jordan Barnett, and Kevin Puryear. They were the top three (3) point producers for the Tigers last season.

Coach Martin has also added Canisus’ Graduate transfer Kassius Robertson to the team. Robertson was the top point producer for Canisus last season, averaging 16.1 point per game as a shooting guard.

2016-2017 Record: 8-24 Overall (2-16 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 12-
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen or Less

4. Ole Miss Basketball

Coach: Andy Kennedy

Off Roster:
Graduated: Sebastian Saiz and Rasheed Brooks
Transferred: Cullen Neal and Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Deandre Burnett (SG), Terence Davis (SG), Breein Tyree (SG), Marcanvis Hymon (PF), Justas Furmanavicius (SF), and Dominik Olejniczak (C)
Key Transfer(s): Bruce Stevens (JUCO, Jones County) and Markel Crawford (SG, Memphis)
Key Freshmen added: Jamarko Pickett (SF), Devontae Shuler (PG), and Parker Stewart (PG)

Ole Miss was the 4th best scoring team in the SEC last season, behind Arkansas, averaging 78 points per game. Ole Miss will lose Sebastian Saiz, who averaged 15.1 per game. However, they will replace him with Memphis’ graduate transfer, Markel Crawford, who can also put up a lot of points. Crawford averaged 12.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game his final season at Memphis.

Ole Miss will also add a quality JUCO transfer to the roster in Bruce Stevens. He’s a big power forward who can score and play defense. Stevens averaged 16.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game in his final season at Jones County Junior College.

Mississippi will also add two (2) top 150 recruits in Jamarko Pickett and Devontae Shuler who also has the capability of putting up a lot of points. Therefore, Mississippi should only get better on offense. If his team improves defensively, they’ll be a force to reckon with in the SEC.

2016-2017 Record: 22-14 Overall (10-8 Conference) NIT Quarter Finals Finish
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 12-
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen or Less

5. Texas A&M Basketball

Coach: Billy Kennedy

Off Roster:
Graduated: JC Hampton,
Transferred: Tavario Miller, Kobie Eubanks, Caleb Smith

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Admon Gilder (SG), DJ Hogg (SF), Tyler Davis (C), Tonny Trocha-Morelos (C), and Robert Williams (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Duane Wilson (PG, Marquette)
Key Players Role Players Possibly Returning: Chris Collins (SG), Eric Vila (PF), Chase Carlton (PG)
Key Freshmen added: Isiah Jasey (C), Savion Flagg (SF), Jay Jay 'Jay' Chandler (SG), and T.J. Starks (PG)

Texas A&M has a very good recruiting class coming in. The Aggies’ 2017 recruiting class was ranked #20 behind Florida and Ole Miss, according to 247sports.com.

Texas A&M will need someone from this class to come in scoring. Even though the team’s top three point producers, Admon Gilder, DJ Hogg, and Tyler Davis are returning, they were on a team that put up only 70.1 points per game on average. Lack of point production led to several close losses in 2016-2017. In addition, five (5) out of eight (8) of their conference wins were decided by four (4) or less points.

2016-2017 Record: 16-15 Overall (8-10 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 10+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen or Greater

6. Florida Basketball

Coach: Michael White

Off Roster:
Players possibly turning Pro: Devin Robinson
Graduated: Kasey Hill, Justin Leon, Canyon Barry, Schuyler Rimmer
Transferred: Eric Hester

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: KeVaughn Allen (SG), John Egbunu (C), Chris Chiozza (PG), Kevarrius Hayes (C), Keith Stone (SF), and Gorjok Gak (C)
Key Transfer(s): Jalen Hudson (SG, Virginia Tech) and Egor Koulechov (SF, Rice)
Key Freshmen added: Chase Johnson (SF), Isaiah Stokes (C), Michael Okauru (PG) and DeAundre Ballard (SG)

Florida loss three (3) starters, Devin Robinson, Kasey Hill, and, Justin Leon at the end of the 2016-2017 season. Hill and Leon have both graduated and Robinson declared for the NBA. However, Florida will remain a dangerous team in the SEC with the return of their top scorer, KeVaughn Allen. He will get plenty of help from Rice’s graduate transfer Egor Koulechov and Virginia Tech transfer, Jalen Hudson.

Koulechov has the ability to put a lot of points on the boards. He is also an excellent rebounder. Koulechov averaged 18.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in his final season at Rice.

Nothing really changes at Florida with the exception that the SEC has gotten much more competitive than last season.

2016-2017 Record: 27-9 Overall (14-4 Conference) NCAA Elite Eight Finish
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 10+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Second Round Finish or Greater

7. Arkansas Basketball

Coach: Mike Anderson

Off Roster:
Graduated: Dusty Hannahs, Moses Kingsley, Manuale Watkins

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jaylen Barford (PG), Daryl Macon (SG), Dustin Thomas (PF), Anton Beard (PG), Arlando Cook (PF), and Trey Thompson (PF)
Key Players Role Players Possibly Returning: Brachen Hazen and Jonathan Holmes, Adrio Bailey (PF), and C.J. Jones (SG)
Key Freshmen added: Daniel Gafford (C), Khalil Garland (SF), and Darious Hall (SG)

Top Scorers, Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon are returning for their senior seasons. With these two on board, expect scoring to remain high.

Arkansas has landed several top recruits from the State of Arkansas, which includes Daniel Gafford, Khalil Garland, and Darious Hall. These recruits should come in hungry to win one for their home state.

Arkansas is always going to be a dangerous team to play in the SEC under Coach Anderson.

2016-2017 Record: 26-10 Overall (12-6 Conference) NCAA Tournament 2nd Round finish
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 10+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament 2nd Round Exit or Less

8. Tennessee Basketball

Coach: Rick Barnes

Off Roster:
Graduated: Robert Hubbs III and Lew Evans,
Transferred: Kwe Parker

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Grant Williams (PF), Jordan Bone (PG), Jordan Bowden (SG), Kyle Alexander (PF), Admiral Schofield (SF), Shembari Phillips (SF), and Lamonte Turner (PG)
Key Transfer(s): Chris Darrington (PG, Vincennes) and *James Daniel (PG, Howard)
Key Players Role Players Possibly Returning: Jalen Johnson
Key Freshmen added: Yves Pons, Zach Kent (C), and Derrick Walker, Jr. (PF)

With the exception of losing their top scorer, Robert Hubbs III, from last season, Tennessee will return some good pieces. They’ve added a very good JUCO transfer, Chris Darrington, to replace Hubbs at the point guard position. Darrington averaged 20.7 points and 4.6 assists in his final season at Vincennes Community College. Other than that, nothing much changes with this team.

Tennessee pushes their way up in the SEC rankings with the addition of Howard’s graduate transfer James Daniel. He has the ability to put up a lot points. In 2015-2016 he averaged 27.1 point, 2.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game at Howard.

2016-2017 Record: 16-16 Overall (8-10 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 10+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament Appearance 2nd Round Exit or Greater

9. Georgia Basketball

Coach: Mark Fox

Off Roster:
Graduated: J.J. Frazier, Houston Kessler, Kenny Paul Geno, and Brandon Young

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Juwan Parker (SG), Yante Maten (PF), William Jackson II (PG), Derek Ogbeide (PF), Jordan Harris (SG), Mike Edwards (PF), Pape Diatta (SF), E'Torrion Wilridge (SF), and Tyree Crump (SG)
Key Freshmen added: Isaac Kante (C), Teshaun Hightower (PG), Nicolas Claxton (PF) and Rayshaun Hammonds (PF)

J.J Frazier will be the only major loss for this team. The remainder of Georgia’s key players will be returning. However, Georgia hasn’t done much to address their problem at the point guard position. The team was ranked 9th in the SEC in assists per game and 232nd nationally. As a result, scoring production was low. The majority of their points came through J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten. They were the only two players on the team to end the season averaging double digit figures.

The addition of top 50 recruit, Rayshaun Hammonds, may help out a bit in the scoring column but it may not be enough to make that big jump.

2016-2017 Record: 19-15 Overall (9-9 Conference) NIT First Round Finish
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 9+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NIT Second Round Exit or Greater

10. Auburn Basketball

Coach: Bruce Pearl

Off Roster:
Graduated: T.J. Dunans, LaRon Smith, Ronnie Johnson, and Devin Waddell
Transferred: TJ Lang (South Florida)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jared Harper (PG), Mustapha Heron (SG), Danjel Purifoy (SF), Bryce Brown (SG), Austin Wiley (C), Anfernee McLemore (PF), Bryce Brown (SG), and Horace Spencer (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Malik Dunbar (SF, Central Florida) and DeSean Murray (SF, Presbyterian)
Key Freshmen added: Davion Mitchell (PG) and Chuma Okeke (PF)

Auburn should return all five (5) starters from the previous season. This is a team that was very good offensively. They were ranked 2nd in the SEC in scoring, averaging 80.4 points per game. The problem was that they allowed their opponents to score just as many points as they had put up. Auburn was ranked next to last in the SEC in Scoring Defense, allowing their opponent to put up, on average, 79.6 point per game.

For some odd reason, there seems to be a struggle with Auburn finding their way in the SEC under Coach Bruce Pearl. This may be a defining season for Coach Pearl. If Auburn finds itself back in the SEC basement his seat may start to warm up a bit.

2016-2017 Record: 18-14 Overall (7-11 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 9-
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: No appearance

11. Mississippi State Basketball

Coach: Ben Howland

Off Roster:
Graduated: I.J. Ready

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Lamar Peters (PG), Abdulhakim 'Abdul' Ado (C), Quinndary Weatherspoon (SG), Mario Kegler (SF), Aric Holman (SF), Schnider Herard (C), Tyson Carter (PG), Xavian Stapleton (SG), Eli Wright (SG), and E.J. Datcher ( C)
Key Freshmen added: Nick 'Nik' Weatherspoon (SG) and KeyShawn Feazell (PF)

Mississippi State should only lose one key player from the 2016-2017 season and that’s I.J Ready. The majority of their key players should be returning. Abdulhakim 'Abdul' Ado should be eligible to play this season. The team has picked a very good top 100 recruit in Nick 'Nik' Weatherspoon. But has Mississppi State done enough to battle their way to the middle of the SEC standings?

2016-2017 Record: 16-16 Overall (6-12 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 4+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: No Appearance

12. South Carolina Basketball

Coach: Frank Martin

Off Roster:
Players possibly turning Pro: PJ Dozier,
Graduated: Duane Notice, Sindarius Thornwell, and Justin McKie

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Chris Silva (PF), Maik Kotsar (PF), Hassani Gravett (PG), Rakym Felder (PG)
Key Transfer(s): Kory Holden (PG, Delaware)
Key Players Role Players Possibly Returning: Sedee Keita (PF), Khadim Gueye (C), and TeMarcus Blanton (SG)
Key Freshmen added: Ibrahim Doumbia (SF), David Beatty (SG), Justin Minaya, Felipe Haase, and Jason Cudd

South Carolina had a historical run to the Final Four last season. However, three key players from that team will be missing from the roster in 2017-2018. PJ Dozier has declared for the NBA and Duane Notice and Sindarius Thornwell have graduated. South Carolina is in somewhat of a rebuilding mode right now.

2016-2017 Record: 26-11 Overall (12-6 Conference) Final Four Finish
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 4+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: No Appearance

13. Vanderbilt Basketball

Coach: Bryce Drew

Off Roster:
Graduated: Luke Kornet, Nolan Cressler
Transferred: Camron Justice,

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Matthew Fisher-Davis (SG), Jeff Roberson (SF), Riley LaChance (PG), Djery Baptiste ( C), Payton Willis (SG), and Joe Toye (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Larry Austin Jr. (PG, Xavier)
Key Players Role Players Possibly Returning: Clevon Brown (PF)
Key Freshmen added: Maxwell Evans (PG), Ejike Obinna (PF), Saben Lee (PG), Maxwell Evans (PG)

Both Luke Kornet and Nolan Cressler have graduated. Even with both on the roster Vanderbilt had troubles scoring last season. Looking at the roster, it doesn’t seem as if Vanderbilt has done much to address the problem. With the SEC getting much more competitive Vanderbilt is going to have to really fight to move to the center of the SEC standings.

2016-2017 Record: 19-16 Overall (10-8 Conference) NCAA Tournament 1st Round Finish.
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 4-
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: No Appearance

14. LSU Basketball

Coach: Will Wade

Off Roster:
Players possibly turning Pro: Antonio Blakeney
Graduated: Brian Bridgewater
Transferred: Kieran Hayward (Massachusetts)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Brandon Sampson (SG), Duop Reath (PF), Skylar Mays (PG), Aaron Epps (C), Jalyn Patterson (PG), and Wayde Sims (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Daryl Edwards (SG, Northwest Florida State) and Jeremy Combs (PF, North Texas)
Key Players Role Players Possibly Returning: Branden Jenkins, Elbert Robinson III (C)
Key Freshmen added: Brandon Rachal (SF), Mayan Kiir (C), and Galen Alexander (SF)

VCU has a great new coach in Will Wade. However, the team that Coach Wade has inherited from Coach Johnny Jones finished 8th in the SEC last season. There were some very good pieces added to this team in the 2017 recruiting season but will it be enough to compete in this new look SEC? There is no room for everyone at the top.

2016-2017 Record: 10-21 Overall (2-16 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 3-
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: No Appearance

*This projection is the sole view of d1coachcorner.com and should be seen as for entertainment purposes only. As for stats, all stats were taken from NCAA statistics via ncaa.com and the from the National Junior College Athletic Association statistic via NJCAA.com.

Jack Williams, D1caochcorner.com
5-23-2017

 

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Jack Williams, D1CoachCorner.com May 23, 2017, 11:00pm *Updated May 24, 2017 10;00pm
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SEC Basketball: 2017-2018 Very Early Predictions
(AP Photo/Wade Payne)