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SEC preview: Experience, talent to highlight league
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Can't wait for the college hoops season to start? We get you ready for 2009-10 with our preseason guide |
- How will new Kentucky coach John Calipari mesh the old with the new? He inherited guys like Patrick Patterson and Darius Miller and brought in a terrific freshmen class led by John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe. Can they come together quickly enough to compete for the national title?
- It's not so much a storyline as it is a question: Will Mississippi State freshman Renardo Sidney be cleared to play for the Bulldogs? He's a phenomenal talent, but amateurism questions linger and could stand in the way of the 6-foot-10 forward being able to play college basketball.
- Can the Gators get back to the Big Dance? After winning two straight national titles, Billy Donovan has been absent from the NCAA tournament each of the past two seasons. Nick Calathes left early for a hefty contract in Greece, but freshman guard Kenny Boynton will step right in and provide scoring.
- Ole Miss needs to stay healthy. Guards Chris Warren, Eniel Polynice and Trevor Gaskins all were out for either the entire season or the majority of it. With the trio healthy, the Rebels could win the SEC West.
- Tennessee has enough up front with Wayne Chism and Tyler Smith, but Vols coach Bruce Pearl will need point guard Bobby Maze and talented wing Scotty Hopson to become consistent.
- Which Arkansas team will show up? The one that knocked off Texas and Oklahoma early last season, or the one that faltered in SEC play? John Pelphrey has a talented backcourt that now has a year of experience under its belt, plus one of the league's best big men in Michael Washington.
- Can Tasmin Mitchell help keep LSU competitive for an NCAA tournament berth? Marcus Thornton, Garrett Temple and Chris Johnson are all gone, so it's up to Mitchell and Bo Spencer to lead the Tigers.
5. South Carolina
6. Georgia West
1. Ole Miss
2. Mississippi State
All-Conference teamSmall forward: Tyler Smith, 6-7, 215, Sr., Tennessee
2008-09 Stats: 17.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg Power forward: Patrick Patterson, 6-8, 225, Jr., Kentucky
2008-09 Stats: 17.9 ppg, 9.3 rpg Center: Jarvis Varnado, 6-9, 230, Sr., Mississippi State
2008-09 Stats: 12.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 4.7 bpg Shooting guard: Devan Downey, 5-9, 175, Sr., South Carolina
2008-09 Stats: 19.8 ppg, 4.5 apg, 2.9 spg Point guard: John Wall, 6-3 ½, 193, Fr., Kentucky
2008-09 Stats: N/A Player of the Year: John Wall, 6-3 ½, 193, Fr., Kentucky
Newcomer of the Year: John Wall