The SEC looks a lot better than it has in recent years, and Kentucky certainly hasn’t reached its potential yet.
Still, even in John Calipari’s worst years in Lexington, his Cats have typically been at or near the top of the SEC standings when it’s all said and done. Until someone rises up and proves they can dethrone Cal’s Cats, one would think UK remains the favorite to win the league.
However, ESPN reporter Jeff Goodman says that the Wildcats aren’t a runaway in the conference like usual.
What we thought: It was John Calipari's Kentucky squad, and then separation between the Cats and the next tier, which featured Florida and Texas A&M.
What we know: Kentucky isn't the front-runner to win the SEC this season. This is an inexperienced team that also lacks star power. Florida and Texas A&M looked impressive to start the year but have suffered some disappointing losses this week. The Gators nearly knocked off Duke but lost badly to Florida State on Monday. The Aggies pounded West Virginia and had no difficulty with USC on the road, although they did let a struggling Arizona team sneak by.
What happens next: Kentucky will face both Florida and Texas A&M twice, but the Aggies only have to face Mike White's Gators once, in College Station, Texas, on Jan. 2. So, we'll give Texas A&M the edge for the SEC title.
Texas A&M is off to a good start, but fell to an Arizona team that has looked terrible early on. And Kentucky isn’t at full strength, as they’re missing Jarred Vanderbilt and Jemarl Baker. Not to mention they’re not even close to playing their best basketball.
Kentucky at its best is better than the rest of the conference. But they’ve yet to reach their best.
You can read the rest of Goodman’s article here, which talks about Marvin Bagley’s explosion onto the scene, Arizona’s terribleness, UConn’s struggles and more.