No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies at Tennessee Volunteers Betting Preview

Saturday, December 19, 2020, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee, noon ET

Aggies at Volunteers Betting Preview: Aggies  (-13.5), Volunteers (+13.5)

Aggies

No. 5 Texas A&M is in prime position to maintain pressure on the top four contenders in the hopes of securing a bid to the College Football Plaoff.

That adds a little extra to the regular-season finale at Tennessee.

“The goal for the end of the season is to finish, to keep doing what we have been doing, to keep pushing, to keep climbing and going over those stepping stones,” Aggies defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal said. “We have to figure out who we want to be and how great we want to be.”

With each of the top four teams also in action Saturday — including a head-to-head meeting between Nos. 2 and 3 Notre Dame and Clemson in the ACC championship — there’s certainly potential for the Aggies to reach CFP paydirt.

Still, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher has been diligent in keeping the Aggies (7-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference), winners of six straight, focused solely on Tennessee. Save the speculation for later or scrap it altogether should the Aggies lose to the Volunteers, who snapped a six-game skid with last week’s 42-17 victory at in-state foe Vanderbilt.

“You control where you are going to go based on what you do,”  Fisher said. “Guys are either going to believe it or not. Our guys have done a great job doing that, eliminating the clutter and blocking it out.

“Those things are all poison since they don’t help you. What helps you is how you practice, play and prepare. It’s what it has to get down to, and I think we have done that all year, and, hopefully, we can do that one more time before the postseason.”

Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond enters the game needing four touchdown rushing or passing to set a school record for touchdowns responsible for. He has 90in his career — 70 passing and 20 passing. Johnny Manziel had a total of 93 rushing and passing.

Volunteers

Volunteers offensive lineman Trey Smith sees the game against Texas A&M as “an extremely big deal” with what is at stake for the Aggies.

“They’ll be coming in and playing with their best ‘A’’game to put on a great performance,” Smith said. “In the same breath, we have to come prepared because they’re one of the top five teams in the country. They’re a very talented group.”

Tennessee (3-6, 3-6 SEC) snapped its losing streak at six games with last week’s 42-17 victory over Vanderbilt. True freshman quarterback Harrison Bailey steered the win, finishing 14-for-18 passing for a career-best 207 yards and two touchdowns.

If Tennessee has hopes of prevailing in its fourth game against a top-five foe in 2020, containing Aggies running back Isaiah Spiller will be key.

Spiller has rushed for over 100 yards six times this season, going for 120 in the Aggies’ most recent contest, a 31-20 win at Auburn on Dec. 5.

“I feel like when we get the run game going, we are pretty hard to stop because then we can hit you with a pass,” Spiller said. “We are all-around a good team, but when our run game is going, we are pretty hard to stop.”

The Vols have surrendered an average of only 133.3 yards a game to opposing rushers. The Aggies have averaged just over 201 yards a game on the ground.

Aggies at Volunteers  Betting Pick for December 19, 2020

Both teams lost to Alabama (A&M 52-24 and Tennessee 48-17), but the Aggies have a 41-38 win over Florida while the Vols lost to the Gators 31-19. This will be just the fourth meeting between the two with the Vols holding a 2-1 series edge though the Aggies won the last meeting 45-38 in College Station in 2016. Tennessee’s wins came in the Cotton Bowl (38-7 on Jan. 1, 2006) and Gator Bowl (3-0 on Dec. 27, 1957).

Aggies at Volunteers Betting Pick:

Aggies 42, Volunteers 17

Aggies at Volunteers Best Bet for December 19, 2020

The Vols scored a season-high in their 42-17 win over winless Vanderbilt in their last outing.The Aggies beat the Commodores 17-12 to start the season. The Aggies have been over the 30-mark four times, the Vols three times but only once in their last seven games.

Aggies at Volunteers Best Bet:  OVER 51.5

No. 5 Texas A&M at Auburn Betting Preview

Saturday, December 5, 2020, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Alabama, noon. ET

Aggies at Tigers Betting Preview: Aggies (-6), Tigers (+6)

No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies Betting Preview

No. 5 Texas A&M (6-1 6-1 Southeastern Conference) needs a win and a revived offense to stay in the hunt for a spot in January’s College Football Playoff semifinals. The Aggies’ normally high-powered offense was a lot like the weather in last week’s game against LSU — all wet.

Playing for the first time after a two-week layoff because of COVID-19 postponements, the Aggies struggled to produce points against a struggling LSU defense. But the Aggies’ defense picked up the slack and enabled them to get by on something far from their best night, resulting in a 20-7 win.

In addition to winning this week at Auburn , the Aggies also need a team ranked in front of them to lose. The possibility also exists that current No. 4 Ohio State could eliminate itself by not being able to play one of the last two regular-season games, which would leave it below the minimum six-game threshold the Big Ten Conference set to play in its championship game.

If A&M can finish out a 10-game SEC schedule, the committee could look more kindly upon a longer body of work. But coach Jimbo Fisher sees the need for a crisper effort by his offense.

“Way too inconsistent,” he said of the performance against LSU. “We didn’t block well up front. We didn’t protect the quarterback. He took a lot of hits. We still missed some throws we should have made, quite a few throws.

“We didn’t get a rhythm going offensively, but our team found ways to win the game and that is what’s important. Our defense kept raising its game.”

The Aggies gave up just 267 yards against the Tigers and came within 43 seconds of pitching a shutout. The defense permitted LSU to convert just 2 of 16 on third down and even helped out with the scoring when Buddy Johnson returned an interception 15 yards for a third-quarter touchdown. 

Auburn Tigers Betting Preview

Auburn (5-3) saw its hopes of a season-saving win at No. 1 Alabama end fairly quickly last week in a 42-13 loss to the Crimson Tide. It was 21-3 by the middle of the second quarter, and the Tigers never found the end zone until a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Bo Nix with 4:39 left in the game.

Nix said the too-little, too-late score gave Auburn something to take out of the one-sided affair, however.

“It shows how we did keep fighting,” he said. “Even though the scoreboard wasn’t in our favor, we continued to try to move the ball and go down and score and we did that. I’m proud of the way our guys fought.”

Nix completed 23 of 38 passes for 227 yards but had two intercepted. The Tigers rushed for only 120 yards.

A fair question might be what’s left for the Tigers to accomplish, given that high preseason expectations will result in no better than a 7-3 record to take to their bowl game.

“We’ve got two games left,” coach Gus Malzahn said. “This is an unusual season. We’ll need to rebound like we did earlier in the season.”

This year also is unique in that the Iron Bowl against Alabama usually caps off the regular season, The Tigers also have a scheduled date with Mississippi State on December 12.

“I think it’s a positive,” Malzahn said. “We are all programmed when the Iron Bowl is over with, you’re thinking about postseason, whatever that means.

“The unique thing this year is obviously we came off of a tough loss, but we have a Top 5 team coming in. We have a chance to redeem ourselves. So that is different and that should be a positive this week compared to normal seasons.”

Aggies at Tigers Betting Pick for December 5, 2020

The series dates back to a 1911 meeting in Dallas, but the two teams have played only nine times since then and are dead even at 5-5 after Auburn’s wins in the last three meetings. The Tigers won 28-20 at Kyle Field last year even though Kellen Mond passed for 335 yards and two touchdowns for the Aggies while Nix threw for just 100 yards and one score.

Aggies at Tigers Betting Pick:

Aggies 24, Tigers 14

Aggies at Tigers Best Bet for December 5, 2020

The Aggies are coming off a strong defensive showing in a 20-7 win over LSU last week while the Tigers struggled on both sides of the ball in a 42-13 loss to Alabama. Nix has been up and down as a passer his sophomore season and has only three touchdown passes over his last five games. A&M’s Mond is coming off a season-low 105 yards passing in the win over LSU.

Aggies at Tigers Best Bet: UNDER 47.5

–Field Level Media

LSU Tigers at No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies Betting Preview

Saturday, November 28, 2020, Kyle Field, Bryan-College Station, Texas, 7 p.m. ET

Tigers at Aggies Betting Preview: Tigers (+14.5), Aggies (-14.5)

LSU Tigers Betting Preview

Much has changed for the Tigers (3-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) since they shredded the Aggies 50-7 in quarterback Joe Burrow’s last home game in 2019. The Tigers were on their way to a 15-0 record and a national championship last season, but they haven’t won consecutive games this season as they prepare to play their first ranked opponent.

Both teams have undergone COVID-induced layoffs. The Tigers haven’t played only once this month. The Aggies haven’t played since a 48-3 win at South Carolina on Nov. 7.

That has made the Aggies a bit hungrier that perhaps normal, even for this rivalry game.

“LSU is always going to get your attention,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “But after three weeks, it wouldn’t matter who we were playing. They would get our attention.”

LSU won at Arkansas 27-24 last week.

“It took everything we had to beat Arkansas, and we did it,” Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said. “Hopefully, it’s a springboard for us to have a great end to the season starting with Texas A&M.”

The Tigers finally got a chance to bounce back from their 48-11 loss to Auburn on Halloween, and they took advantage by holding off the Razorbacks when freshman Eli Ricks deflected a potential tying 44-yard field goal on the final play of the game.

“At some times we looked like an LSU football team,” Orgeron said. “We still have a ways to go, but we have some young players that are believing, and, hopefully, making the last play of the game gave our guys some relief and some confidence that they can fight through and win.”

The most recent time these teams played in College Station was two years ago, when the Aggies prevailed 74-72 in an epic seven-overtime battle.

The Aggies expect to have about 25,000 fans inside of 100,000-seat Kyle Field for the game.

“It’s probably the first time this year that the crowd noise will be a factor,” Orgeron said.

No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies Betting Preview

The No. 5 Aggies (5-1, 5-1) finally get to play in the wake of the COVID-related postponements of two games. Texas A&M couldn’t play at Tennessee two weeks ago or against Ole Miss last week after its rout of South Carolina to open the month.

“I think our guys are hungry,” Fisher said. “They want to play, they miss playing. I think our kids are very resilient. We’ve handled all kinds of adversity because 2020 is an adversity year.”

The Aggies aren’t likely to win the SEC West because they are a game behind No. 1 Alabama in the lost column, and that loss came against the Crimson Tide on Oct. 3. But that doesn’t mean the Aggies can’t sneak into the College Football Playoff if they win out.

Fisher dismissed the notion that the Aggies are thinking of revenge for the 50-7 pounding his team took at LSU last season.

“Any time you get beat, you want to go back and compete and play very well,” Fisher said. “I don’t ever like the word revenge; I think revenge clouds your thinking.

“I think you’ve got two different teams, two different groups of people, two different years apart. You want to win because somebody had success against you. I mean, that’s just human nature.”

Kellen Mond is having a big year for the Aggies. He has completed 64.3 percent of his passes for an average of 244.7 yards a game with 16 touchdowns against only two interceptions. Mond needs to pass for 153 yards and rush for 74 to become the third quarterback in SEC history with over 9,000 yards passing and 1,500 yards rushing.

Running back Isaiah Spiller has rushed for 107.2 yards a game for the Aggies.

Tigers at Aggies Betting Pick

LSU holds a 34-21-3 lead over Texas A&M in the series that dates back to 1899. The Tigers have won eight of the last nine meetings, however, and three of the last four times the teams have met at Kyle Field. The Tigers have alternated wins and losses this season while the Aggies have won four in a row since their loss at Alabama.

Tigers at Aggies Betting Pick:

Aggies 42, Tigers 17

Tigers at Aggies Best Bet

The last time these two teams got together in College Station the Aggies outlasted the Tigers 74-72 in a seven-overtime thriller. That game featured nearly 200 plays with 10 ties and 12 lead changes throughout the four hours, 53 minutes it lasted. The Aggies won with a 2-point conversion to break a 72-72 tie. That isn’t likely to be duplicated this time.

Tigers at Aggies Best Bet: UNDER 64.5

–Field Level Media

SEC College Basketball 2020/21 Preview

The premier college football conference in the country is also quite the formidable conference when it comes to college basketball, but last season the SEC was in a down year that would eventually be wiped away from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The SEC was likely looking at a max of four bids in the 2020 NCAA Tournament, a far cry from the previous season that saw the conference send seven teams to the dance.  The 2020-21 season figures to be just as top-heavy as the conference was a season ago, but the contenders in this conference are amongst the best teams in all of college basketball, giving the SEC a very realistic shot of seeing one of their schools land in the 2021 Final Four.

How does the conference as a whole shake out?  Let’s take a look at the SEC.

The Contenders

#10 Kentucky (+120 to Win SEC)

This will surprise absolutely nobody who follows the sport of college basketball, but guess what?  John Calipari landed the #1 recruiting class in the country again! 

Once again Coach Cal’s ‘Cats are poised for a roster reboot as his next class of phenom freshmen finds their way to Lexington.  Seven freshmen in all will decorate the Kentucky roster, most notably of the combo of BJ Boston (7th overall ranked recruit) and Terrence Clarke (10th overall ranked recruit).

The freshmen wing tandem is, naturally, extremely athletic and talented and will give SEC defenses fits in their likely lone season playing for Big Blue Nation.  The tandem is already projected to be drafted in the lottery of next season’s NBA Draft, with Boston being in the mix to potentially go #1 overall. 

This season, however, Calipari adds a new wrinkle by adding two key senior transfers in former Wake Forest big Olivier Sarr (13.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and former Creighton shooting threat Davion Mintz (9.7 ppg in 2018/19).

Kentucky is once again absolutely loaded with talent, and once again it’s a roster that will get better as the season goes on.  The Wildcats are considered the odds-on favorite to win the SEC for a reason, they should be considered the team to beat in this conference and have a very real shot to play at Lucas Oil Stadium in early April.

#12 Tennessee (+350 to Win SEC)

If there’s a team capable of ruining Kentucky’s jaunt to the top of the SEC standings, look no further than Rick Barnes’ Tennessee Volunteers.  The Vols enter the new season as the preseason #1 team in the conference, yet a lot of people are not aware of how good this team can be.

The Vols in fact could be one of the biggest sleepers in the country. 

This is a team that does not have any apparent weaknesses.  It returns four of the top scorers from a season ago, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year in senior Yves Pons (10.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.4 bpg), and the 3rd best-recruiting class in the nation led by potential NBA lottery pick Jaden Springer.

That doesn’t even mention the addition of Sacred Heart grad-transfer E.J. Anosike (15.7 ppg, 11.6 rpg) or the return of senior forward John Fulkerson (13.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg).

The 2019/20 season was a rebuilding season of sorts for the Vols after they watched as Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, Jordan Bone, and Kyle Alexander all departed the program either through graduation or going pro.  The season was made even more challenging when Barnes lost star Lamonte Turner for the season just 11-games into the year.

This season should see the Vols bouncing back in a big way, however, and Tennessee is not only a viable contender to unseat Kentucky at the top, but they’re also a dark horse for a deep run in March.  This team has it all and will be worth your attention all season.  

The Dangerous Dark Horses

LSU (+500 to Win SEC)

While a lot of attention this season will be on Kentucky and Tennessee, don’t forget about Will Wade’s LSU Tigers as a potentially dangerous sleeper in the conference.

The Tigers boast one of the deeper rosters in the country and return sophomore standout Trendon Watford (13.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) along with the junior tandem of Ja’vonte Smart (12.5 ppg, 4.2 apg) and Darius Days (11.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg).  Mix in a top-10 recruiting class headlined by sharpshooting guard Cameron Thomas, sprinkle in a couple of transfers like Shareef O’Neal (UCLA), Bryan Penn-Johnson (Washington), and Josh LeBlanc (Georgetown) and LSU has a potentially lethal offensive group once again.

LSU’s bugaboo a season ago came on the defensive side of the floor, however, as the Tigers were social distancing before it was cool.  Time and time again the Tigers would see big leads evaporate as LSU just could not clamp down on the defensive end of the floor.  Wade should get a boost from his two big transfers in O’Neal and Penn-Johnson, but ultimately how well they defend will determine how far they go this season.

One thing’s for certain, however, and that is the fact that LSU will be one of the most entertaining teams in the country to watch again.  Look for the Tigers to be involved in a lot of high-scoring thrillers throughout the season.

Florida (+900 to Win SEC)

The Florida Gators enter the 2020/21 season hoping to erase a disappointing 2019/20 campaign that saw the Gators vastly underperform to their preseason expectations.

Mike White’s Gators were tabbed as the #6 overall team when the first rankings came out a season ago, but the Gators played anything like the sixth-best team in the nation on their way to a 19-12 season with an 11-7 record in the SEC.

While that’s certainly not the worst season in the world, it still fell far short of Florida’s aspirations for the season to contend for a conference title and make a deep run in the tournament.

The Gators may not be down for too long, however, as they return the bulk of last season’s team including All-SEC wing player Keyontae Johnson (14.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and rising-star sophomore Scottie Lewis (8.5 ppg), and bolster their bench by adding two key transfers in former Cleveland State guard Tyree Appleby (17.2 ppg, 5.6 apg) and former Louisiana Tech forward Anthony Duruji (12.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg).

Florida did lose Virginia Tech grad-transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. to graduation and standout point guard Andrew Nembhard (11.2 ppg, 5.6 apg) transferred to Gonzaga, but there should be enough talent on the roster to mitigate those losses.

Once again, the Gators look like a dangerous team on paper but it remains to be seen how that will translate to the floor.  If they can play closer to their potential this season, the Gators are a legitimate threat to make a lot of noise in the SEC.

Arkansas (+1200 to Win SEC)

Rarely can a team stomach the loss of six of your top seven scorers and come back and be projected to be even better in the following season, but that’s what’s on tap for Eric Musselman’s Arkansas Razorbacks in year two of his coaching tenure.

The Hogs do not return a single starter from a season ago as free-shooting Isaiah Joe (16.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and first-team All-SEC guard Mason Jones each departed for the NBA, but they do add six impactful transfers and inked the 7th best-recruiting class in the land to quickly reload the roster, leaving Musselman’s team loaded with talent at every position.

Notable transfers to keep an eye on for the Hogs include Northern Kentucky grad-transfer Jalen Tate (13.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and New Mexico grad-transfer Vance Jackson (11.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg). They will likely join Indiana transfer Justin Smith (10.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg) in the Razorbacks’ starting five and should immediately contribute in Musselman’s free-flowing offense.

The biggest question circling this team entering the season is whether or not Musselman may actually have too much talent.  Hammering out the rotations and getting the right chemistry will ultimately determine the fate of a team that’s so dependent on the influx of new talent.  If the talent comes together as expected and the team gels, this is a dark horse to make a run in March.  But if the chemistry just never comes together, we’ve seen many teams that have unraveled with the heavy transfer approach.

The Middle of the Pack

Alabama (+1600 to Win SEC)

While Alabama’s basketball season doesn’t officially start for many Tide boosters until Nick Saban’s playoff run concludes, Bama faithful may have a lot to look forward to from their basketball team this season.

Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats enters his second season in Tuscaloosa with an arsenal of offensive weapons, most notably the backcourt combination of Jaden Shackelford (15.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and John Petty (14.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg).  Oats will also have the services of Villanova point guard Jahvon Quinerly and Yale grad-transfer Jordan Bruner (10.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg), and the Crimson Tide’s starting five looks as good as any in the conference.

Alabama will miss star guard Kira Lewis, who was drafted 13th overall by the Pelicans, but they get back four-star talent Juwan Gary and top-five JUCO product James Rojas who were both lost for the season a year ago with ACL tears suffered in practice.

That potentially gives Oats a roster deep in talent, but if the Tide are to contend for a spot in the NCAA Tournament this season and a possible top-four standing in the conference they will need to tighten up a defense that gave up nearly 80 points a contest a season ago.

South Carolina (+1600 to Win SEC)

Frank Martin’s Gamecocks overachieved a season ago as they finished above .500 in conference play at 10-8 and went 18-13 overall on the season after being projected to finish 10th in the SEC before the season began.

South Carolina enters the new season with heightened expectations as they return all but two players from a season ago and have one of the more experienced teams in the entire conference.

Unlike LSU and Alabama, Frank Martin’s Gamecocks defend the hell out of opponents and this has been his calling card since his Kansas State days.  Last season South Carolina had the 16th best scoring defense and 19th best three-point shooting defense according to KenPom and this season should not be much different.  Martin’s group has been incredibly consistent dating all the way back to South Carolina’s random run to the Final Four and have ranked in the Top 50 for defensive efficiency in four of the past five seasons.

Offensively is where South Carolina tends to sputter, however.  Per KenPom rankings, South Carolina’s best offensive team came back in 2017 when they were the 91st overall ranked unit, and a season ago they were ranked 122nd in the country.  Essentially they are a bit of a mess in the half-court and generate a lot of their best offense from their tenacious 2-3 matchup defense.  The Gamecocks will lock teams down, but will also endure long scoring droughts of their own.  It’s just a stable of Frank Martin’s team.

The best scoring threats on the roster come in the Carolina backcourt with leading scorer A.J. Lawson (13.4 ppg) returning for his junior season and redshirt sophomore Jermaine Couisnard (12.1 ppg) playing alongside him at point guard. 

Ultimately, the fate of South Carolina’s season lies in improving an offense that can flat out disappear for long periods.  If they can match their strong defensive play with a consistent scoring attack, the Gamecocks have sleeper potential to crack the top-six of the conference.  In all likelihood, though they will be very similar to last season’s team and trade upsets with losses to teams they shouldn’t lose to.

The Long Shots

Auburn (+4000 to Win SEC)
Missouri (+5000 to Win SEC)
Ole Miss (+6000 to Win SEC)
Georgia (+10000 to Win SEC)
Mississippi State (+10000 to Win SEC)
Texas A&M (+10000 to Win SEC)
Vanderbilt (+10000 to Win SEC)

Out of all the power conferences in the country, the SEC is by far the most top-heavy.  The ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ are very easy to spot in the SEC this season.  Here’s a quick look at the long shots to win the conference.

Auburn lost all five starters from a season ago, including NBA lottery pick Issac Okoro, leaving Bruce Pearl to have a 2020/21 transitional season of sorts.  Pearl did land one of the biggest recruits in the country in Sharife Cooper (20th overall recruit), but Cooper’s eligibility still remains in question and as of this writing he is not cleared to play.  Couple that with Auburn self-imposing a postseason ban for the 2020/21 season, and we do not expect much from Pearl’s Tigers this season.

Missouri returns eight players that started a game for the Tigers a season ago but are still expected to finish towards the bottom of the conference as the eight players returning aren’t exactly the 2014/15 Kentucky Wildcats.  Cuanzo Martin does get back the guard tandem of Xavier Pinson (11.1 ppg) and Mark Smith (10.0 ppg), however, after injury-riddled seasons plagued each of Martin’s two best players. 

Ole Miss enters season three under former Mid Tennessee State head coach Kermit Davis and is coming off of a disappointing 15-17 season that saw the Rebels go a miserable 1-10 when they went on the road.  Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic shrunken crowds will help Ole Miss cure their road woes?  The team does add three key grad transfers in former CS-Bakersfield guard Jarkell Joiner (15.6 ppg), former Rider wing Dimencio Vaughn (14.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg), and former Arizona State rim protector Romello White (10.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg).  The Rebels are unlikely to contend for an SEC crown, but if everything comes together they could very well be in the mix for a postseason bid.

Georgia loses #1 overall draft pick Anthony Edwards and four of the team’s top six scorers from a season ago, leaving Tom Crean faced with the task of retooling a roster on the fly.  Georgia will have eight new players in all, with Sahvir Wheeler (9.0 ppg, 4.5 apg) being the best returning Bulldog.  Crean also welcomes in three transfers including that of former Stony Brook product Andrew Garcia (13.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and former Virginia Tech forward P.J. Horne (7.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg), but the cupboard will need another season to restock.

Mississippi State is down three starters from a season ago, including the 2020 co-SEC player of the year Reggie Perry.  Ben Howland has also watched four other players leave the program via the transfer portal, leaving the Bulldogs in a full-blown rebuilding season for 2020/21.  Howland should turn it around and get the Bulldogs back to the middle of the conference in the coming seasons, but this year will be one where they figure to take several lumps from their conference foes.  Four-star freshman Deivon Smith will be a fun player to pay attention to for Howland’s ‘Dogs, however.

Texas A&M enters season two under coach Buzz Williams and while the Aggies program is slowly turning back around, it’s not quite there yet.  Seniors Savion Flagg (10.4 ppg), Quenton Jackson (8.8 ppg), and Quinnipiac grad-transfer Kevin Marfo (10.2 ppg, 13.3 rpg) will be the catalyst’s for Williams team this season, but TAMU figures to still be at least a year or two away from seriously contending in the conference. 

Vanderbilt is just bad.  They will be the SEC’s whipping boy for the third-consecutive season. 

SEC Projected Order of Finish:

  1. Tennessee
  2. Kentucky
  3. LSU
  4. Arkansas
  5. Florida
  6. Alabama
  7. South Carolina
  8. Ole Miss
  9. Texas A&M
  10. Mississippi State
  11. Auburn
  12. Missouri
  13. Georgia
  14. Vanderbilt