November 13th, 2013 09:30 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: LSU, Michigan State, SEC, Southern Illinois
As in, “My that was a craptastic start to the SEC hoops season.”
For those out there hoping that last season’s “Wait’ll next year” talk might actually mean something, uh, sorry. Next year is opening up a lot like last year. To wit:
* Remember folks in the Bluegrass State talking about perfection and an undefeated season? Well, that lasted all of three games. Michigan State jumped out to a 10-0 lead and held on for the victory over the #1 (not for long) Cats.
* Tennessee was picked to finish third in the SEC this season. Unfortunately, the Vols promptly opened their season by losing to a Xavier team that was all of 17-14 last season. The mighty Musketeers were without two of their starters last night, to boot. Impressive.
* LSU was picked to finish fourth in the league thanks to a strong recruiting class that included one 5-star and two 4-star prospects. Whatever. The Tigers dropped their opener 92-90 to UMass. Nice defense against a Minuteman team that was bounced from the first round of the NIT by Stony Brook last season. But let’s give credit where credit’s due… at least LSU grabbed a 3-0 lead before falling behind. Kentucky and Tennessee never even led in their games.
* The team expected to finish right behind UK in the SEC this season is Florida. They fell to 1-1 on the season with a loss at Wisconsin last night. Granted, the Gator hoops team is currently down to eight scholarship players thanks to injuries and suspensions — is it something in the water down there? — but the SEC needs non-conference wins. Florida couldn’t provide one.
So what else happened last night? South Carolina fell to Baylor (though they did gave the #23 Bears a good fight). Vanderbilt struggled to put away Georgia State. And Missouri beat a Southern Illinois squad that had a losing record last season.
If you’re keeping score at home, that’s seven games, just two wins, one lackluster and the other over a lackluster foe. And for good measure the four teams picked to finish on top of the SEC all dropped nationally-televised games.
In a word? Craptastic.
UMass 92, LSU 90 (The Tigers’ Johnny O’Bryant had a big night — 23 points, 11 boards — despite missing much of the second half with foul troubles.)
Michigan State 78, Kentucky 74 (It shouldn’t surprise anyone if these two teams meet again right around April Fools’ Day.)
Wisconsin 59, Florida 53 (The Gators made a late run thanks to their full-court press, but it just wasn’t enough.)
Xavier 67, Tennessee 63 (The Vols shot 42% and once again played the gritty, gutty, ugly style of ball that will have Cuonzo Martin-detractors praying for a Bruce Pearl return all year.) Video highlights
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