Mark Wiedmer: SEC basketball down but not out of title talk

Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes, right, has his shot pressured by Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein, center, and blocked by Nerlens Noel during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes, right, has his shot pressured by Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein, center, and blocked by Nerlens Noel during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

CHATTANOOGA - Whenever some haughty national media type — are you listening, Digger Phelps? — has bashed the quality of Southeastern Conference basketball in recent years, I've merely pointed to the three NCAA titles the league has won since 2006 and said, "Top that."

Because no league can. America's Cockiest Conference -- the ACC -- has won two championships (North Carolina in 2009, Duke in 2010), the Big 12 has won one (Kansas, 2008), and the Big East also has one (UConn, 2011).

Everyone else -- Big Ten, where have you been? -- has zero. But not the SEC. After watching Florida go back-to-back in 2006 and '07, Kentucky followed up its 2011 Final Four appearance by winning it all last April in New Orleans.

Those achievements may not match the league's seven straight football titles, but it's still the most NCAA titles won over the last seven years.

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Comments » 8

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I didn't read this. I just wanted to post soemthing. Go SEC Go Vols even more.

underthehill writes:

It is not looking good at this time for the SEC to get 4 teams in..Ky losing to bama puts them at risk ..this young team appears completely confused when the refs are not intimidated by Cal..the refs may have gotten a lot of flack over letting Cal call a foul before the refs did in Rupp..the refs agreed after they looked at the monitor..first time I ever saw this and I'm sure it was a shock for lots of fans not familiar with playing Ky at Rupp...looks like it is catching up with Cal..

Lizardgrad89 writes:

Florida is the only SEC team capable of making a serious tourney run, but I'm concerned that the lack of quality in the league will be a problem. SEC football creates champions by forging them in the gauntlet of competition, SEC basketball does exactly the opposite. If you get my meaning.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

Florida is the only SEC team capable of making a serious tourney run, but I'm concerned that the lack of quality in the league will be a problem. SEC football creates champions by forging them in the gauntlet of competition, SEC basketball does exactly the opposite. If you get my meaning.

I tend to agree with Wiedmer on this. I agree that the conference may be down this year, but that is something of an aberration, given the recent championships by UF and UK. Further, nearly every team in the league could well be better next year. Mizzou may not, since they have several key players who are seniors and may well lose their coach. UF may not since they lose a couple of key players, but should still be very good. Almost everybody else either has a new coach this year--such as MSU, LSU, and USC--or is completely rebuilding, such as Vandy and UGA, so one would certainly expect them to be better next year. UT and UK will certainly be much stronger. All I would say to advocates of other conferences or mere haters of the SEC is, get your licks in now, if you think the conference is weak, because next year it may have a half-dozen top-25 teams. And the conference champion certainly WILL be battle-tested by the time it enters post-season play.

albert63 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I tend to agree with Wiedmer on this. I agree that the conference may be down this year, but that is something of an aberration, given the recent championships by UF and UK. Further, nearly every team in the league could well be better next year. Mizzou may not, since they have several key players who are seniors and may well lose their coach. UF may not since they lose a couple of key players, but should still be very good. Almost everybody else either has a new coach this year--such as MSU, LSU, and USC--or is completely rebuilding, such as Vandy and UGA, so one would certainly expect them to be better next year. UT and UK will certainly be much stronger. All I would say to advocates of other conferences or mere haters of the SEC is, get your licks in now, if you think the conference is weak, because next year it may have a half-dozen top-25 teams. And the conference champion certainly WILL be battle-tested by the time it enters post-season play.

Florida may have the best point gaurd they have ever had coming in next year.FYI.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to albert63:

Florida may have the best point gaurd they have ever had coming in next year.FYI.

Florida is already pretty good at guard. Their main losses next year will be Murphy and maybe Young, both of whom are key inside players. Murphy tends to lurk on the outside on offense but he is an important post defender.

albert63 writes:

true, but Florida also has a 5 star forward coming in 6'9"

johnlg00 writes:

in response to albert63:

true, but Florida also has a 5 star forward coming in 6'9"

OK, great. I guess we will see how good he is when he gets there. I'm not knocking Florida's program, I'm just saying that the Vols have done more than hold their own against them and pretty much everybody else, except maybe UK, most years when they rarely had the most talent of anybody.

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