2012 SEC men's basketball capsules

Published: Friday, January 6, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 10:17 p.m.

1. Kentucky

Current Record: 14-1

Key Losses: Brandon Knight, pg; Josh Harrellson, c; DeAndre Liggins, g

Key Newcomers: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, f; Anthony Davis, c; Marquis Teague, g

Outlook: Kentucky is clearly the most talented team in the SEC. The question remains: Can a team that relies heavily on freshmen and sophomores withstand the rigors of the road games in this league? The Wildcats lost six out of eight SEC games on the road last season. How they handle adversity will determine if they can grab the league title.

2. Florida

Current Record: 12-3

Key Losses: Chandler Parsons f; Vernon Macklin, c; Alex Tyus f

Key Newcomers: Bradley Beal g; Mike Rosario g

Outlook: The Gators have moments when senior point guard Erving Walker and junior shooting guard Kenny Boynton lapse into poor shot selection. Boynton has been exceptional in non-conference play with nine games of 20 points or more. Florida is at its best when center Patric Young is involved in the offense.

3. Mississippi State

Current Record: 13-2

Key Losses: Ravern Johnson f, Kodi Augustus f

Key Newcomers: Arnett Moultrie f, Rodney Hood g

Outlook: Moultrie, a UTEP transfer, has been a nice find for Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury, a high-energy player who brings it on both ends of the floor. The Bulldogs still need a little more from forward Renardo Sidney, a talented enigma who has struggled to stay in shape. Senior point guard Dee Bost will need to keep this team together.

4. Vanderbilt

Current Record:10-4

Key Losses: Andre Walker f

Key Newcomers: Kedren Johnson g

Outlook: Despite some early disappointments, Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings is encouraged because senior center Festus Ezeli has returned from a knee injury and is getting his timing back. The Commodores will need Ezeli in the post to complement perimeter stars John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor. Jenkins is leading the SEC in scoring at 20.5 ppg, while Taylor is third at 17.56 ppg.

5. Alabama

Current Record: 11-3

Key Losses: Charvez Davis g, Senario Hillman g, Chris Hines f

Key Newcomers: Trevor Lacey g

Outlook: Alabama leads the SEC in scoring defense, allowing just 55.6 points per game. Third-year Alabama coach Anthony Grant would like to see the Tide improve offensively in order to take the next step. The combination of senior center JaMychal Green and junior forward Tony Mitchell gives Alabama a physical frontcourt presence.

6. Ole Miss

Current Record: 10-4

Key Losses: Chris Warren pg, Zach Graham g, Trevor Gaskins g

Key Newcomers: Murphy Holloway f

Outlook: The Rebels will be tough inside with Holloway, Terrance Henry and Reginald Buckner in the post. The question remains whether guards can emerge to replace Warren and Graham.

7. Arkansas

Current Record: 11-3

Key Losses: Rotnei Clarke g, Delvon Johnson f, Jeff Peterson g

Key Newcomers: B.J. Young g, Hunter Mickelson f

Outlook: It's a transition year for first-year Arkansas coach Mike Anderson, a Nolan Richardson disciple. Expect the Razorbacks to continue to improve as they grasp Anderson's 94-foot, pressing style on defense. Young, a talented guard, leads an exceptional freshman class.

8. LSU

Current Record: 10-4

Key Losses: Aaron Dotson g, Matt Derenbecker f

Key Newcomers: Johnny O'Bryant c, Justin Hamilton c

Outlook: After two subpar seasons, LSU coach Trent Johnson appears to have the Tigers back on the right track. Forward Ralston Turner is becoming a more consistent player and Hamilton, an Iowa State transfer at center, gives LSU some scoring in the post. Point guard Andre Stringer needs to continue to improve his shot selection.

9. Georgia

Current Record: 9-5

Key Losses: Trey Thompkins f, Travis Leslie f, Jeremy Price c

Key Newcomers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope g, Nemanja Djurisic f

Outlook: The Bulldogs will go through some rebuilding this season after losing their top two scorers. Georgia will be more guard-oriented than in years past, with Caldwell-Pope joining returning starters Gerald Robinson Jr., and Dustin Ware.

10. Auburn

Current Record: 10-4

Key Losses: Earnest Ross g, Andre Malone g

Key Newcomers: Varez Ward g

Outlook: Second-year coach Tony Barbee has done a nice job getting the Tigers to play together during non-conference play. The return of senior guard Frankie Sullivan from injury provides leadership and perimeter scoring.

11. South Carolina

Current Record: 8-6

Key Losses: Sam Muldrow c, Ramon Galloway g

Key Newcomers: Anthony Gill f

Outlook: The Gamecocks have struggled recruiting and keeping players during Darrin Horn's three-plus-year tenure as coach. Gill has contributed right away, and getting point guard Bruce Ellington back from the football team should help. Still, the Gamecocks lack the depth needed to contend in the SEC.

12. Tennessee

Current Record: 7-7

Key Losses: Scotty Hopson g; Tobias Harris f; Brian Williams c

Key Newcomers: Jeronne Maymon c

Outlook: First-year Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin wants the Vols to become a more physical, defensive team. But Tennessee lacks the personnel for that mindset. Maymon, at 265 pounds, is tough inside, but the Vols don't have much in the frontcourt to complement him. Tennessee ranks last in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing 69.6 ppg.

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