Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, and Mississippi State all have a good number of players returning from the previous season. Kentucky, Florida and Mississippi State have added new additions that will make them better.

Mississippi State will be one of the most dangerous teams in the SEC!

LSU and Vanderbilt are done waiting. Both teams have put together “win now” rosters with several McDonald All-Americans players added to their teams. Expect to see both of these teams in the tournament come 2019.

Ole Miss can be a sneaky one this season. Their only problem in 2017-2018 was defense. But now they have a new defensive minded coach in Kermit Davis.

Alabama and Missouri may have missed their opportunity last season to make a push deep into the NCAA Tournament and Georgia has a few problems to address.

South Carolina took a gamble on Louisville transfer guard Brian 'Tugs' Bowen II and came up short.

Arkansas has more new players than Kentucky and any other team in the SEC.

Texas A&M will be missing a lot of players from their 2017-2018 roster.

With that said, here is a look at what the SEC could look like in 2018-2019:

1. Kentucky Basketball

Coach: John Calipari

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Hamidou Diallo (SG), Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Transferred: Sacha Killeya-Jones and Tai Wynyard

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: PJ Washington (PF), Nick Richards (C), and Quade Green (PG)
Transfer(s): Reid Travis (PF, Stanford)
Key Freshmen added: Immanuel Quickley (PG, Rival.com Ranked #9), Tyler Herro (SG, Ranked #35) Tyler Herro (SG, Ranked #35), Keldon Johnson (SG, Ranked #14), and E.J. Montgomery (PF Ranked #11) and Jemarl Baker (SG)

Even though Kentucky picked it up at the end of the season, this team had a few problems. One of their problems was ball movement. Outside of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s hands the ball stopped moving. This was uncharacteristic of a Kentucky team that is known for its great guard play and ball handling skills.

Fortunately, Kentucky has the luxury of reloading each year. As usual this team will bring in some of the top recruits in the nation. Another good thing about this team is that just like the year that Kentucky won the championship under Calipari, it is bringing back some very good players from the previous season.

With the addition of Stanford’s graduate transfer, Reid Travis, Kentucky should have a good mixture of new and returning talent. This is a team that has the potential to go to the national championship.

2017-2018 Record: 26-11 (10-8) NCAA Sweet Sixteen Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 14+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament Elite 8 or greater

2. Tennessee Basketball

Coach: Rick Barnes

Off Roster:
Graduated: James Daniel III

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Lamonte Turner (PG), Admiral Schofield (SF), Grant Williams (PF), Jordan Bowden (SG), Kyle Alexander (PF), Jordan Bone (PG), Derrick Walker (PF), John Fulkerson (PF), Chris Darrington (PG), and Zach Kent (C ), Jalen Johnson (SG), and Yves Pons (SF)
Key Transfer(s): khwan fore (PG, Richmond)

There will be absolutely no freshmen on this team! Tennessee will return with a load of experience and talent with nearly all of its players returning from their successful 2017-2018 season. This includes the team’s top three (3) scorers, Lamonte Turner, Admiral Schofield, and Grant Williams.

With starters Jordan Bowden, Kyle Alexander and Jordan Bone still on board this team should remain the #1 defensive team in the SEC and the 25th best in the nation.

If everyone stays healthy, Tennessee could easily make a legitimate run to the Final Four!

2017-2018 Record: 26-9 (13-5) NCAA 2nd Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 12+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament Elite 8 or greater

3. Mississippi State Basketball

Coach: Ben Howland

Off Roster:
Graduated: Xavian Stapleton, and Drew Davis
Transferrred: Eli Wright (SG, St. John’s)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Quinndary Weatherspoon (SG), Nick Weatherspoon (SG), Aric Holman (SF), Lamar Peters (PG), Abdul Ado (C ), E.J. Datcher (C ), and Tyson Carter (PG)
Key Freshmen added: Reggie Perry (PF), Robert Woodard (SF), and D.J. Stewart (SG)

We are going to be Bullish on Mississippi State. This is by far the most dangerous team in the SEC, though it’s hard to place them team right now. Its direction depends heavily on how many points that it’s top 25 McDonald’s All American freshman, Reggie Perry, and its top 150 shooting guard, D.J. Stewart, adds to the boards. Point production was the team’s main problem last season. Mississippi State was ranked only 9th in the SEC in scoring.

Fortunately Mississippi State will be returning all five starters, Quinndary Weatherspoon, Nick Weatherspoon, Aric Holman, Lamar Peters and Abdul Ado. They were the 3rd best defensive team in the SEC last season. This team finished in the quarterfinals of the NIT and was only a few quality wins from making the NCAA Tournament.

There is no question that Mississippi State is built to go to the NCAA Tournament in 2019. The Question is how far will they go?

2017-2018 Record: 25-12 (9-9) NIT Semifinal Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 12+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen or greater

4. Florida Basketball

Coach: Michael White

Off Roster:
Graduated: Egor Koulechov, Chris Chiozza, and John Egbunu

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: KeVaughn Allen (SG), Jalen Hudson (SG), Keith Stone (SF), Kevarrius Hayes (C ), Kevarrius Hayes (C), Deaundrae Ballard (SG), Chase Johnson (SF), Gorjok Gak (C), and Bassett, Dontay (PF)
Key Freshmen added: Andrew Nembhard (PG), Keyontae Johnson (SF), and Noah Locke (SG)

This team has a lot of ups. They are adding talented freshmen coupled with several returning players. However, ball movement was a problem for this team last season. Florida was ranked only 211th nationally and 10th in the SEC in assist per game. However, this problem should be solved with the addition of top 25 recruit Andrew Nembhard, who is a 6’ 4” floor general who can also score at will. He’s capable of making everyone around him better. Let’s just hope that he can also help Florida with their rebounding woes. This team was ranked 182nd and 10th in the SEC last season in rebounds per game.
Rebounding has to improve in order for Florida to move deep into the post season.

If KeVaughn Allen could have a SEC Player of the Year type of season there is no stopping Florida.

2017-2018 Record: 21-13 (11-7) NCAA 2nd Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 12-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen or greater

5. Auburn Basketball

Coach: Bruce Pearl

Off Roster:
Transferred: Desean Murray (Western Kentucky) and Mustapha Heron (SG)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jared Harper (PG) , Bryce Brown (SG), Anfernee McLemore (PF), Austin Wiley (C ), Horace Spencer (PF), Malik Dunbar (PF), Chuma Okeke (PF), and Danjel Purifoy (SF, RS)
Key Transfer(s): Samir Doughty (SG, VCU)

Auburn will be another SEC team without freshmen. If getting old and staying old is a recipe for a Final Four appearance Auburn is cooking with the right ingredients. This team will return nearly all of its key players from the previous season.

Auburn was the best scoring team in the SEC last season. With Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy back with the team, Auburn will be very dangerous!

Hopefully, Coach Bruce Pearl finds a way to get his team to play better defense. Even though they were in 1st place and ranked the best offensive team in the SEC, they were ranked 4th in the SEC in defense

2017-2018 Record: 26-8 (13-5) NCAA 2nd Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 11+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen or greater

6. LSU Basketball

Coach: Will Wade

Off Roster:
Graduated: Aaron Epps, Randy Onwuasor, Duop Reath, and Jeremy Combs,

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Key Transfer(s): Tremont Waters (PG), Skylar Mays (SG), Brandon Sampson (SG), Daryl Edwards (SG), Brandon Rachal (SF) and Wayde Sims (SF)
Key Transfer(s) added: Marlon Taylor (SF, Panola JUCO)
Key Freshmen added: Javonte Smart (SG), Emmitt Williams (PF), Nazreon Reid (C), and Darius Days (PF)

According to 247sports.com, LSU is bring in the 4th best recruiting class in the nation for the 2018-2019 season. Theyy’ve added three (3) top 25 freshmen! Javonte Smart, Emmitt Williams and Nazreon Reid are incredibly athletic and strong. The three (3) will join LSU’s top two point producers, Tremont Waters and Skylar Mays .

Hopefully, LSU’s new front court will help their team improve in the rebounding category where they had major problems last season. LSU was ranked last in the SEC in rebounding.

Expect LSU to get better in all categories.

2017-2018 Record: 18-15 (8-10) NIT 2nd Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 10+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament 2nd Round or greater

7. Vanderbilt Basketball

Coach: Bryce Drew

Off Roster:
Graduated: Riley LaChance, Jeff Roberson, and Matthew Fisher-Davis
Transferred: Payton Willis (Minnesota), Larry Austin Jr. (Central Michigan)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Saben Lee (PG), Maxwell Evans (PG), Clevon Brown (PF), Djery Baptiste (C ), Ejike Obinna (C ), and Joe Toye (SF)
Key Transfer(s) added: Matt Ryan (SF, Notre Dame) and Yanni Wetzell (C, DII St.Mary's)
Key Freshmen added: Darius Garland (PG), Simisola Shittu (PF), and Aaron Nesmith (SF)

This new Vanderbilt roster was put together to make it to the NCAA Tournament. Vanderbilt is loaded! According to 247sports.com, Vanderbilt is bringing in the top 12 recruiting class in the nation. Vanderbilt’s three (3) incoming freshmen and their two (2) transfers look like a starting five (5) without even considering the quality players that they have returning.

Simisola Shittu is a McDonalds All American with a big body, who should be a top 25 draft pick in the NBA after the 2018-2019 season. Darius Garland is a quick combo guard who could score at will and who is also a great floor general. Aaron Nesmith is a very athletic small forward who has a very quick release. He can also see the floor very well.

Vanderbilt will also bring back several key players from last season, which includes starters Saben Lee, Djery Baptiste, and Maxwell Evans.

Expect great things out of this team come 2019.

2017-2018 Record: 12-20 (6-12) No Tournament Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 9+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament 2nd Round Exit or greater

8. Alabama Basketball

Coach: Avery Johnson

Off Roster:
Turned Pro: Collin Sexton
Graduated: Riley Norris
Transferred: Braxton Key (Virginia)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: John Petty (SG), Donta Hall (PF), Dazon Ingram (SG), Alex Reese (PF), Herbert Jones (PG), Avery Johnson Jr. (PG), Galin Smith (PF), and Daniel Giddens (C)
Key Transfer(s): Tevin Mack (SG, Texas)
Key Freshmen added: Jared Butler (SG), Diante Wood (SG), and Javian Fleming (PF)

Alabama will lose Collin Sexton to the pros and Braxton Key to transfer. But they will pick up transfer Tevin Mack and freshman combo guard Jared Butler.

Alabama was very bad at moving the ball last season. At times it seems as if they were very sloppy on the court. Unfortunately, it seemed as if Collin Sexton’s presence contributed to the sloppiness. The team was ranked 12th in the SEC and 243rd nationally in assists per game last season. There is not one player on Alabama’s team to have had more than to (2) assists per game last season.

Hopefully the freshman combo guard Jared Butler addresses both their ball movement and scoring problems. Outside of Collin Sexton no one else was contributing.

2017-2018 Record: 20-16 (8-10) NCAA 2nd Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 8-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NIT Appearance or greater

9. Ole Miss Basketball

Coach: Kermit Davis

Off Roster:
Graduated: Markel Crawford, Marcanvis Hymon, Deandre Burnett, Justas Furmanavicius, and Lane Below

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Breein Tyree (PG), Terence Davis (SG), Bruce Stevens (PF), Dominik Olejniczak (C), Devontae Shuler (PG), Illya Tyrtyshnyk (PG), Antonio Morgano, Eric Horn, D.C. Davis, and Karlis Silins
Key Transfer(s): Zach Naylor (SF, Weatherford) and Brian Halums (SF, Itawamba)
Key Freshmen added: Blake Hinson (SG) and K.J. Buffen (SF)

Ole Miss Woes in 2018-2019 may have come as a result of bad defensive coaching. The Rebels were the 5th best scoring team in the SEC and a very good ball moving team. Their only problem was on the defensive end. Ole Miss was one of the worst defensive teams in the nation and the absolute worst in the SEC. But that’s all about to change with the new defensive minded coach, Kermit Davis.

On top of that, Ole Miss is returning two (2) of their top three scorers from last season, Breein Tyree and Terence Davis. And to improve in scoring, Coach Davis adds a top 100 shooting guard, Blake Hinson, and two (2) top shooting JUCO All-Americans, Brian Halums and Zach Naylor. In his final season at Itawamba Community College, Halums averaged 19.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Naylor averaged 18.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game in his final season at Weatherford Community College.

If Ole Miss improves on the defensive, expect this team t be very competitive in the SEC come 2018-2019.

2017-2018 Record: 12-20 (5-13) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 8-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NIT Appearance or greater

10. Georgia Basketball

Coach: Tom Crean

Off Roster:
Graduated: Yante Maten, Juwan Parker, and Pape Diatta

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: William Jackson II (PG), Derek Ogbeide (PF), Rayshaun Hammonds (PF), Tyree Crump (SG), E'Torrion Wilridge (SF), Nicolas Claxton (PF), Teshaun Hightower (PG), Mike Edwards (PF), and Jordan Harris (SG)
Key Freshmen added: Amanze Ngumezi (PF), Joseph Toppin (SF), and Tye Fagan (SG)

Georgia will start the 2018-2019 with a new head coach and will return the majority of the players from the 2017-2018 season.

Last season’s Georgia team was very good defensively, perhaps one of the best in the country. Georgia was ranked 43rd nationally and 2nd in the SEC in points allowed by the opponent. Georgia also held their opponents to an average 66.8 points per game last season.

On the other hand, this team couldn’t score a bucket to save their lives. Georgia was ranked 301 nationally and last in the SEC in scoring.

Fortunately, Coach Crean is an offensive minded coach and hopefully he can do something to fix their scoring problem.

2017-2018 Record: 18-15 (7-11) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 7-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

11. Arkansas Basketball

Coach: Mike Anderson

Off Roster:
Graduated: Jaylen Barford, Daryl Macon, Anton Beard, Dustin Thomas, Trey Thompson, and Arlando Cook
Transferred: C.J. Jones (Middle Tennessee) and Darious Hall (DePaul)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Daniel Gafford (C ), Adrio Bailey (PF), Khalil Garland (SG), and Gabriel Osabuohien (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Mason Jones (SG, Connors State) and Jalen Harris (PG, New Mexico)
Key Freshmen added: Isaiah Joe(PG), Keyshawn Embery (SG), Jordan Phillips (SF), Ethan Henderson (PF), Reggie Chaney (PF), Jordan Phillips (SF), and Desi Sills (SG)

Arkansas loses several players from the 2017-2018 season. This is the only team in the SEC where Over 60% of their team roster is made up of new comers. There are a total of seven (7) players on this team who are very good but hasn’t yet to play in a single division 1 college basketball game.

Daniel Gafford’s return was a great thing for the team, but his return alone may not be enough to compete for the top of the SEC!

In addition, this front court is going to be one of the smallest in the SEC and no one knows where the points are going to come from. There are just too many questions in Fayetteville this year.

2017-2018 Record: 23-12 (10-8) NCAA 1st Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 5+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

12. Missouri Basketball

Coach: Cuonzo Martin

Off Roster:
Graduated: Kassius Robertson, Jordan Barnett
Turned Pro: Michael Porter Jr.

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Kevin Puryear (PF), Jeremiah Tilmon (C), Jordan Geist (SG), Jontay Porter (PF), Terrence Phillips (PG), Cullen VanLeer (SG), Mitchell Smith (C), and Reed Nikko (C).
Key Transfer(s): K.J. Santos (SF, UIC)
Key Freshmen added: Torrence Watson (SG), Xavier Pinson (PG), and Javon Pickett (SG)


Missouri was a great defensive team last season. They were ranked 63rd nationally and 4th in the SEC in points allowed by the opponent. With many of those players still in place there is no reason to believe that any of this will change.

However, with their star player, Michael Porter Jr., being out for the majority of the season in 2017-2018, this team was lacking a third scoring option and had to rely on Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett for scoring. And now they are gone.

Who will Missouri rely on for scoring now that Michael Porter Jr., Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett are all gone? Even with their star freshman shooting guard, Torrnce Watson, added to the roster that may not be enough to make up for all of those points being lost.

Missouri may do great overall but may have problems in the SEC.

2017-2018 Record: 20-13 (10-8) NCAA 1st Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 5+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

13. Texas A&M Basketball

Coach: Billy Kennedy

Off Roster:
Turned Pro: D.J. Hogg, Tyler Davis, JJ Caldwell, and Robert Williams
Graduated: Duane Wilson

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Admon Gilder (SG), TJ Starks (PG), and Savion Flagg (SF), Isiah Jasey (C), Jay Jay Chandler (SG), and John Walker III (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Christian Mekowulu (C, Tennessee State), Josh Nebo (PF, St. Francis), Wendell Mitchell (PG, Trinity Valley), and Brandon Mahan (SG, Chipola)

Texas A&M will be without D.J. Hogg, Tyler Davis, JJ Caldwell, Robert Williams, and Duane Wilson. That means that only 35% of their players from the 2017-2018 season are returning.

Texas A&M should be ok though. Coach Billy Kennedy has added several transfer(s) to help compete for the top of the SEC. The recent addition of graduate transfer Christian Mekowulu will give Texas A&M a big presence in the front court. Mekowulu averaged 12.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in his final season at Tennessee State. The addition of St. Francis’ transfer, Josh Nebo, will give Texas A&M’s an even stronger presence in the front court. Nebo averaged 12 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in his final season at St. Francis.

2017-2018 Record: 22-13 (9-9) NCAA Sweet Sixteen Finish
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 5+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

14. South Carolina Basketball

Coach: Frank Martin

Off Roster:
Graduated: Frank Booker and Wesley Myers
Transferred: David Beatty (La Salle), Khadim Gueye, and Kory Holden (South Alabama)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Maik Kotsar (PF), Chris Silva (PF), Hassani Gravett (PG), Justin Minaya (SG), Felipe Haase (C), and Jason Cudd (C)
Key Freshmen added: T.J. Moss (PG) Jermaine Couisnard (SG), Keyshawn Bryant (SF), and Alanzo Frink (PF)

South Carolina took a gamble on Brian 'Tugs' Bowen II and came up short. Now this team is going to have to go out and find some players who can score. In 2017-2018 South Carolina was ranked next to last in the SEC in scoring. Chris Silva and Frank Booker were the only two (2) players on the team to average double digits in scoring and Frank Booker is gone.

Let’s see what Coach Martin comes up with.

2017-2018 Record: 17-16 (7-11) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 5-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

*This prediction 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 from the National Junior College Athletic Association statistic via NJCAA.com.

 

Jack Williams
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SEC 2018-2019 Very Early College Basketball Predictions

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Jack Williams is the Owner and Operator of D1Coachcorner.com, a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and a member of the USBWA. Twitter: @d1coachcorner

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