Collin Speicher, NCAAMReview Author
With college basketball right around the corner, teams are starting to prepare themselves for the 2017-18 season. Coming away from last season’s March Madness, there are new faces that we should keep an eye on, particularly in the SEC.
As always, the juggernaut in the SEC is Kentucky. Constantly bringing in Top 50 recruits is one of Coach John Calipari’s top talents, but recently they haven’t paid off. The Wildcats have not reached the National Championship since 2014, and haven’t brought the title home since 2012. Coach Cal and fellow Kentucky fans are hoping that this is the year of the Wildcat.
With renewed talent, Florida is a team to keep an eye on. After a solid season, the Gators reached the Elite Eight before losing to SEC foe, South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gators ended the season on a promising entrance to this year’s calendar and have plenty to prove.
Speaking of South Carolina, they are this year’s Dark Horse in the SEC. Shocking the entire nation, Frank Martin led his team to the Final Four with his team focused on attitude and defense. Although their star shooting guard Sindarius Thornwell is off to the NBA, the Gamecocks are relying on forward Chris Silva and their young players to continue the motivation from last year and make some noise in the 2017-18 season.
Bubble Team: Arkansas. Following a low-key season with not too much attention, the Razorbacks squeaked into the NCAA Tournament as an 8th seed. After defeating first round favorite Seton Hall, Arkansas gave the reigning champions North Carolina a run for their money. With more eyes on them this year, the Razorbacks must show the nation that last year was no Cinderella team and that they can compete with the top dogs in the SEC.
Wishing for the good ole’ days: Tennessee. After a disappointing start to the season last year, the Volunteers continued their struggles and fell off the radar. They just finished their Europe trip going 3-0 and Coach Barnes is trying to prove that his team still has it in them this season.
As always, the SEC is a Conference that doesn’t receive as much attention as the ACC or Big Ten, but teams always find a way to make some noise in March. This season may be a little different, as Kentucky and Florida are two teams on everyone’s radar. There’s still a while to go until college basketball starts back up, but it isn’t too early to start preparing for the season.