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2013-14 College Basketball Preview: SEC
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 11/4/2013  at  5:00:00 AM
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The 2013-14 college basketball season tips off Friday, Nov. 8, and StatFox has you covered by previewing all the major conferences with predicted standings. The SEC continues the run of the big conference previews. Once again, the conference is headlined by preseason No. 1 Kentucky and Florida, but the SEC appears to be deeper than it has been in recent seasons with Tennessee, LSU, Alabama, Missouri and Ole Miss all legitimate NCAA Tournament contenders.

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With Kentucky reloaded and ranked No. 1 in the preseason yet again, head coach John Calipari will look to take this new crop of freshman to his second NCAA Tournament title after missing the Big Dance completely last season.

Predicted Order of Finish:
1. Florida
2. Kentucky
3. Tennessee
4. LSU
5. Alabama
6. Missouri
7. Ole Miss
8. Vanderbilt
9. Arkansas
10. Texas A&M
11. Georgia
12. Auburn
13. South Carolina
14. Mississippi State

2012-13 SU Record: 78% (29-8)
2012-13 ATS Record: 53% (18-16)
2012-13 Over (Total): 39% (10-16-1)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 18/1

Although this Florida team doesn’t have the hype of Kentucky, the depth and talent should allow Billy Donovan to take this team past the Wildcats to the top of the SEC. There’s no doubt that this will be a new-look squad without Erik Murphy, Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario, but this team reloaded with the right assets. Returning C Patric Young (10.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG) should prove to be one of the top big men in the conference, while PF Will Yeguette (5.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG) may be the league’s best defender, especially now that he’s healthy following offseason knee surgery. Joining the team this season are top freshman in PG Kasey Hill and Rutgers transfer SG Eli Carter, who put up 14.9 PPG last season and will be allowed to play immediately. The issue for this team right now surrounds three players suspended for team violations in Virginia Tech transfer PF Dorian Finney-Smith, South Carolina transfer C/F Damontre Harris and PG Scottie Wilbekin (9.1 PPG, 5.0 APG). They are all key assets and their absence may cause a rough start to the season, but this team should be raring to go in conference play.

2012-13 SU Record: 64% (21-12)
2012-13 ATS Record: 37% (11-19)
2012-13 Over (Total): 46% (11-13)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 4/1

The preseason No. 1 team in the nation, Kentucky is undoubtedly the most talented team in the country, but last season showed that talent doesn’t mean everything as they missed the NCAA Tournament and lost in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris. Gone from that Wildcats team are key players such as Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin and Kyle Wiltjer, but John Calipari brings in arguably the best recruiting class in the history of the game with five top-10 recruits. Headlining the class is PF Julius Randle, who may immediately become the best post scorer in the nation. He’ll be joined down low by fellow freshman Dakari Johnson, with future first-round C Willie Cauley-Stein (8.3 PPG, 62% FG, 6.2 RPG) bringing an uncanny athleticism on the block. The top returning scorer is SF Alex Poythress (11.2 PPG, 6.0 RPG), who has one of the most athletic frames in the game. In the backcourt, rounding out the legendary recruiting class are twin guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, with SF James Young slotting in behind Poythress. And don’t forget about PF Marcus Lee, though he’s more or a project and will have to compete for minutes in his first season. There’s no questioning the talent in Lexington this season, but the questions arise about whether this team will be able to bring together a collection of fresh faces to live up to its hype.

2012-13 SU Record: 61% (20-13)
2012-13 ATS Record: 57% (17-13-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 38% (8-13)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 125/1

This team will surprise many, even though the transfer departure of Trae Golden will make things more difficult for head coach Cuonzo Martin. But Golden was replaced by Memphis transfer PG Antonio Barton (5.6 PPG, 40% 3-pt FG) who is a pass-first point guard and a better defender than Golden. SG Jordan McRae (15.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG) is an outstanding scorer and should be primed to lead the Volunteers in that department yet again. In the paint, SF Jarnell Stokes (12.4 PPG, 9.6 RPG) is a rising star, who is effective both on the glass and on the block. And after a full year off, a now healthy PF Jeronne Maymon (12.7 PPG, 8.1 RPG in 2011-2012) should be a tremendous complement to Stokes. Martin also adds one of the nation’s most dynamic freshman guards with SG Robert Hubbs III, who will help make up for the missed perimeter scoring from Golden and keep defenses honest off Stokes.

2012-13 SU Record: 61% (19-12)
2012-13 ATS Record: 54% (14-12)
2012-13 Over (Total): 67% (6-3)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 100/1

The Tigers weren’t particularly good last season, but they bring back most of their players, including four double-digit scorers, and a top-five recruiting class in the nation. Charles Carmouche is the biggest departure, but PF Johnny O’Bryant III (13.6 PPG, 8.7 RPG) was the team’s top scorer and would be even better if he could curb his 3.2 turnovers per game. Also back are PG Anthony Hickey (11.2 PPG, 3.8 APG, 3.5 RPG), SF Shavon Coleman (10.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG) and sharpshooting SG Andre Stringer (10.4 PPG, 41% 3-pt FG), who should all be able to improve on their performances from last season. The key will be integrating this talented freshman class headlined by PF Jarell Martin, a Baton Rouge native. Joining him down low will be fellow first-year player SF Jordan Mickey, while PG Tim Quarterman should soften the blow of Carmouche’s departure.

2012-13 SU Record: 64% (23-13)
2012-13 ATS Record: 50% (16-16)
2012-13 Over (Total): 18% (4-18)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 125/1

This will be a big season for Alabama, which is looking to make the NCAA Tournament after just missing out with a 2013 NIT berth. Top scorer PG Trevor Releford (14.9 PPG, 41% 3-pt FG) is back, and he’s an incredible weapon on both ends of the floor, also averaging 2.1 SPG. Trevor Lacey’s transfer will hurt the team, but the Tide still have a solid amount of scoring potential with in the backcourt with SGs Rodney Cooper (10.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG) and Levi Randolph (8.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG). And don’t forget about their two big man recruits Jimmie Taylor and Shannon Hale, who should help them against some of this league’s strong big men.

2012-13 SU Record: 68% (23-11)
2012-13 ATS Record: 47% (14-16)
2012-13 Over (Total): 55% (11-9)
Returning Starters: 1
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 200/1

This team could get out to a rough start with head coach Frank Haith suspended for the first five games of the season for his violations while coaching at Miami. Last season Missouri ranked second nationally in rebounding with 41.4 RPG and was extremely exciting on the court, but many of the familiar faces—Phil Pressey, Laurence Bowers, Keion Bell, Alex Oriakhi—are now gone. The top returner is SG Jabari Brown (13.7 PPG, 37% 3-pt FG), who hit 2.2 threes per game and is a good scorer, even if he doesn’t bring much else to the table. Swingman Earnest Ross (10.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 38% 3-pt FG) is also back, while Haith adds some much needed new blood in Tulsa transfer PG Jordan Clarkson (16.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.5 APG in 2011-12) and freshmen PF Jonathan Williams III and PG Wes Clark, who should soften the blow of losing Pressey. SF Tony Criswell (5.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG in 18.8 MPG) is the only returning frontcourt player with significant minutes last season.

2012-13 SU Record: 75% (27-9)
2012-13 ATS Record: 57% (17-13-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 52% (11-10)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 200/1

The hopes of this team rest on the mercurial shoulders of SG Marshall Henderson (20.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 35% 3-pt FG), who is back with the team despite another drug violation. One of the most polarizing players in college basketball with his taunting and on-the-court antics, there’s no doubting Henderson’s ability to score and his willingness to shoot, hitting 3.8 threes per game last season on a mind-boggling 10.9 attempts. He lost most of his supporting cast though, except for backcourt mate PG Jarvis Summers (9.1 PPG, 3.8 APG), so it will be an uphill battle for Henderson to bring this team with an inexperienced frontcourt to the Big Dance for a second straight season.

2012-13 SU Record: 49% (16-17)
2012-13 ATS Record: 55% (17-14)
2012-13 Over (Total): 33% (6-12)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2013 NCAA Championship: 1,000/1

The good news is that Vanderbilt brings most of its talent back from last season, including PF Rod Odom (10.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG) and SG Dai-Jon Parker (7.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 40% 3-pt FG). The bad news is that the team's best player, junior PG Kedren Johnson was suspended from school for the entire academic year and swingman Kevin Bright signed to play professionally in Germany to be closer to his ailing mother. Last season's team was mediocre anyway, failing to finish above .500. Top recruit PF Damian Jones and new PG Eric McClellan (8.5 PPG, 2.2 APG, 38% 3-pt FG in 2011-12 at Tulsa) should make this team better, but they still have a lot to prove to be considered a contender in this conference.

2012-13 SU Record: 59% (19-13)
2012-13 ATS Record: 50% (12-12)
2012-13 Over (Total): 40% (6-9)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2013 NCAA Championship: 300/1

Last season's Razorbacks squad was actually not too bad, going 10-8 in SEC play, but the team still failed to make the postseason. The squad loses both of its double-digit scorers with BJ Young gone to the NBA and Marshawn Powell transferring to Kansas. But Arkansas added Houston transfer Alandise Harris (13.3 PPG, 1.3 BPG in 2011-12) and two top-50 freshmen: PF Bobby Portis and C Moses Kingsley. That trio should make this team formidable down low, but ultimately this team may struggle putting up points like they’re used to with no real stars in the backcourt. A return to the NCAAs for the first time since 2008 is no guarantee here.

2012-13 SU Record: 55% (18-15)
2012-13 ATS Record: 52% (13-12-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 39% (7-11)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2013 NCAA Championship: 500/1

This team struggled to score last season and it won’t be better with Elston Turner gone, after he easily led the team with 17.5 PPG. SG Fabyon Harris (12.0 PPG) is a fantastic shooter, hitting 45.3% of his 3-pointers last year as a freshman, but he won’t be enough to make this team truly competitive. Somebody in the anticipated 12-man rotation will need to help out Harris, with the leading candidates being junior PF Kourtney Roberson (6.9 PPG, 63% FG, 6.6 RPG), sophomore F/G Alex Caruso (5.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.4 APG) and freshman SF Davonte Fitzgerald.

2012-13 SU Record: 47% (15-17)
2012-13 ATS Record: 61% (17-11)
2012-13 Over (Total): 44% (7-9)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2013 NCAA Championship: 500/1

The future looks bleak for this team without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who led the team in scoring almost every game last season and was the team’s lone double-digit scorer at 18.5 PPG. PF Nemanja Djurisic (7.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG) was the team’s second leading scorer and returns, but he’ll have to majorly up his production for this team to win some games, especially without any influential freshmen coming in. The returning backcourt is solid though with sophomores PG Charles Mann (6.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.9 APG) and SG Kenny Gaines (3.7 PPG, 35% 3-pt FG).

2012-13 SU Record: 28% (9-23)
2012-13 ATS Record: 41% (12-17-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 60% (6-4)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2013 NCAA Championship: 100/1 (Field)

With two of their top three scorers gone from last season, Auburn will look to SG Chris Denson (11.9 PPG) to step it up after the senior showed a knack for finding the basket in only 24.9 MPG last season. He’s good around the basket, making 48% of his field goals, but he made only 28% of his three-point attempts, which must improve greatly. Fellow senior, SF Allen Payne (7.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG), will also provide leadership for this inexperienced squad, and Virginia transfer SG K.T. Harrell, will be asked to provide the long-distance shooting.

2012-13 SU Record: 44% (14-18)
2012-13 ATS Record: 43% (12-16)
2012-13 Over (Total): 36% (4-7-1)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2013 NCAA Championship: 500/1

Head coach Frank Martin went just 4-14 in the SEC in his first season leading the Gamecocks, and it may not get much better this time around, with a number of players gone and a dearth of exciting returning talent. The good news is he landed a coup with the commitment of top-50 recruit SG Sindarius Thornwell, who should immediately become this team’s top scoring threat, especially with PG Bruce Ellington (9.9 PPG, 2.7 APG) playing wide receiver on the football for the first semester. Senior SG Brenton Williams (11.0 PPG, 40% 3-pt FG) and sophomore SF Michael Carrera (9.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG) are both expected to step up their play this season.

2012-13 SU Record: 31% (10-22)
2012-13 ATS Record: 43% (12-16)
2012-13 Over (Total): 60% (6-4-1)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2013 NCAA Championship: 100/1 (Field)

The Bulldogs return last season's team nearly intact, though that’s not exactly a good thing with their 4-14 SEC record and 10-22 overall mark. SGs Craig "Chicken" Sword (10.5 PPG, 2.3 APG) and Jalen Steele (10.1 PPG) were the team’s two leading scorers and are back, but both averaged barely above 10.0 PPG and will need to do more for this team to climb out of the cellar. The frontcourt is decent though with C Gavin Ware (8.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG) and PF Colin Borchert (9.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG) taking the bulk of the shots inside the paint.

Other Conference Previews

BIG 12 Conference
BIG TEN Conference
PAC-12 Conference
OTHER Notable Schools

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