Q-factor with Jimmy Dykes
Published: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 7:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 8:55 p.m.
Five questions with ESPN Southeastern Conference basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes
Q: Best team you’ve seen in the SEC so far this season?
A: It’s Florida. I haven’t seen anything so far to make me feel any differently. There might be separation between Florida and whoever the second-best team in the SEC is right now. A lot of key pieces are back from the Elite Eight teams. … I think they’re the best defensive team that (Florida coach Billy) Donovan has had since he’s won those back-to-back national titles.
Q: How does Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin rate to some of the players you’ve seen defensively?
A: Probably one of the most underrated, unknown defensive players in the country right now. I think he’s starting to maybe get some recognition because of what he did against (Texas A&M’s) Elston Turner. It was a team effort on (Missouri point guard) Phil Pressey, but it all started with him.
Q: What are your thoughts about the strength of the league after some of the non-conference losses the SEC suffered this season?
A: To me, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Big East have the most top 50 RPI teams in it right now. The SEC, the ACC, the Pac-12, they all have about the same amount. They all have four the last time I looked. The league has had some bad non-conference losses early, but Florida is a legitimate Final Four, national championship contender.
Q: You’ve called quite a few Kentucky games. What do you see as some of their problems, and can they overcome those problems by March?
A: They don’t have a returning upperclassman that’s a strong vocal leader. Kyle Wiltjer, he’s a sophomore, but he doesn’t have that personality. It’s all brand new guys. (Kentucky coach John) Calipari has to be the leader now, and no team ever wins at a high level if the coach has to continue to be the leader the entire season. … Their problems on the floor are tied to their defense.
Q: Any thoughts on how the newcomers, Missouri and Texas A&M, have impacted the league?
A: If it wasn’t for Missouri and Texas A&M, this league would be really knocked back another level. Missouri has had some really quality wins, and, as a result, it gives the league a chance to get a quality win when you beat Missouri. Texas A&M goes and wins at Alabama in football their first year and wins at Kentucky in basketball, so I think they are going to be just fine.