The SEC, it’s a basketball conference

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Florida guard Jalen Hudson drives past Arkansas' Anton Beard during the second half Friday of the quarterfinal game at the Southeastern Conference tournament in St. Louis. [Jeff Roberson/Associated Press]

The NBA deadline has come and gone and here’s what we know — the SEC may well be the best conference in college basketball next year.

Somewhere at the SEC Meetings in Destin, Greg Sankey must be smiling. And the late Mike Slive, who started the push to get the league headed in the right direction, deserves a ton of credit as well.

This list of some of the players who are coming back reads like next year’s All-SEC team — Danile Gafford of Arkansas, Jalen Hudson of Florida, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper of Auburn, Admiral Schofield of Tennessee, Jontay Porter of Missouri, Tremont Waters of LSU and P.J. Washingtion of Kentucky.

Add in eight five-star signees and 16 four-stars and you have a league with an amazing amount of talent.

Good luck picking 1-through-14 in the fall.

The only team that was really hurt was Texas &M, which lost three starters to the early entries.

Last year, the league had a record eight teams make the Big Dance. It’s difficult to see more than that just because teams will beat up on each other during what should be a rugged conference schedule. The key once again will be how they do in non-conference games.

But this much we know — in this league, you had better bring your pudding snacks every game.

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