Q&A with Jimmy Dykes

Published: Friday, January 13, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 13, 2012 at 12:28 a.m.

Five questions with ESPN basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes.

Q: Who is the best player you have seen so far in the SEC?

A: (Kentucky freshman forward) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, just for everything he does, how hard he plays. He's a winner, he defends, he makes shots, he's a competitor. He would be right at the top of the list..

Q: What do you think about the SEC's move to one division this season?

A: I think it was the right thing for the league to do. The scheduling format hasn't changed anything. So I think teams that are still playing in the SEC West schedule-wise have a benefit. They don't have to play Kentucky twice, the don't have to play Florida twice, they don't have to play Vanderbilt twice. So we'll see how that plays out but I think it was absolutely the best thing for the league.

Q: Any surprise teams that you have seen so far, teams that have played better than expected?

A: Mississippi State. I'm surprised that there is no news coming out of Starkville. Renardo Sidney hasn't been a distraction. They're playing well together. They've had good wins. They look like a team that's not only going to get into the NCAA Tournament, but have a chance to win some games. They had more questions than answers when the season started. Now they have more answers than questions. I'm surprised by that and I'm very impressed by the coaching job Rick Stansbury has done.

Q: What are your early impressions of Florida?

A: They can really score. Offensively there's not a problem. Defensively, they are thin around the rim when you get outside of Patric Young. When you really look at them right now, their best wins, Arizona, Texas A&M are teams that aren't going to be in the NCAA Tournament. My eyes tell me they are really good but at some point they have to beat a team in the NCAA Tournament for all of us to really buy in.

Q: How do you view the SEC's strength nationally, from watching other teams from throughout the country?

A: l think Kentucky has a couple of Final Four contenders. I think the Big East has a couple, I think the Big Ten has a couple and I think the Big 12 has a couple, and the ACC. It's still too early to tell. I judge the strength of a league by the percentage of your teams that make the NCAA Tournament. Right now, you've got 12 teams in (the SEC), I think you are looking at at least 50 percent of the league getting in. It wouldn't surprise me at all.

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