College Basketball Predictions
By: JJ Lanier
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
At the beginning of conference basketball play I made three predictions that I promised to revisit after the season, regardless of how they turned out.
With the season now over, unfortunately not the way anyone would’ve predicted, I guess it’s time to see if I’m Nostradamus or the back-alley fortune teller.
Prediction: Florida will win the SEC Regular Season. Final Result: Fifth Place. Well, this one blew up in my face.
Not only did Florida finish fifth in the SEC, but they were one of the more disappointing teams in the country.
A top 10 team to begin the season, the Gators season is almost a perfect microcosm of the college season in general; they could never really find any consistency throughout the year.
The defense, which has been Florida’s calling card since Mike White arrived a few years ago, just wasn’t where they needed it to be.
They added some offensive talent, but when looking at their record anytime they allowed more than 65 points, their winning percentage dropped drastically.
It’s tough to win conference games when you have difficulty playing to your strength. The talent was there to make a deep run in the tournament, and I think so Mike White is a good coach, but sometimes it’s just not your year.
Prediction: Anthony Edwards will be the SEC Player of the Year. Final Result: Second Team All-SEC. So yes, technically I missed this one, but I’m ok with that.
Out of the three predictions I made, this one was probably the longest shot of them all. And it’s not like Edwards had a bad season. He did win Freshman of the Year honors and at least made an All-SEC team.
To expect him to come into a league like the SEC, playing for a program like Georgia where the lack of talent around him would make it easier for opposing teams to game plan against him, was a bit unrealistic.
Also, as good an overall season as Edwards had, he certainly had his struggles in conference play. There’s a good chance he’ll still be a Top 3 pick in the upcoming draft, but it’ll take him a few years to adjust.
Prediction: No more than five SEC teams will make the NCAA Tournament. Final Result: ??? Obviously, we’ll never know for certain how many SEC teams would’ve made the tournament, but I feel like I may have actually gotten this one right. Kentucky, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, and Florida were all probably locks to make it, depending on how conference tournaments turned out.
Outside of those five, there really wasn’t any team that was even on the bubble.
South Carolina may have been able to make an argument had they made a deep run in the conference tournament, but I’m not sure that would’ve been enough to get them in.
The talent level in college basketball was down across the board and the SEC was no exception. Even with teams like Auburn and LSU exceeding preseason expectations, this was still a rough year for the conference.
So, in the end, I completely missed the one prediction I thought I would get right, got a bit carried away with my expectations on the one that was a little out of reach to begin with, and never got a chance to validate the one that I may have actually have gotten right.
Well, that sounds about right.