The opening week of SEC play was highlighted by Kentucky (2-0) surviving overtime games against Ole Miss and Texas A&M, but there were many exciting games particularly on opening night. Arkansas (2-0) got a big win at Georgia (0-2) to seize an early claim as the second best team in the conference, Florida (2-0) went into South Carolina (0-2) and asserted itself as a contender, and LSU (1-1) split a pair of overtime contests at Missouri and versus Georgia. After the first week of play, most SEC fan bases still have room for optimism as the league enters into week 2--especially with Kentucky looking like a slightly smaller juggernaut:
Starting 5…Billy Donovan is still the best coach in the SEC and a 2-0 week with an underrated win at South Carolina and home blowout of Mississippi State has helped the Gators surge to 27th (3rd in SEC) in the Basketball Power Index (BPI). Donovan changed up his starting lineup to bring Eli Carter and Michael Frazier off the bench and it worked with Carter/Frazier combining for 49 points off the bench in the 2 games. Florida desperately needs improved guard play from Kasey Hill, but things are looking much better in Gainesville.
FORE!…Four teams have begun 0-2, but Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas A&M all faced two tough tests and remain hopeful of high conference finishes. Meanwhile, Mississippi State was blown out by Tennessee and Florida and will remain confined to the conference basement for the rest of the season if they lose at home to Vanderbilt this coming Saturday.
3D...Ole Miss may have fallen short in overtime against Kentucky, but senior reserve forward will be always be able to tell the story of when he dunked on three future NBA bigs in Rupp Arena. This was the only 2 points Jones scored in the overtime loss.
2 for the Show…Opening week gave some great match-ups and games, but that may fade some this week. Kentucky should bounce back strong this week but faces a rugged Alabama team in Coleman Coliseum on Saturday afternoon (4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN) that has learned how to score. Saturday afternoon spots have been traps for the Wildcats under Calipari. The undercard this week is Arkansas at Tennessee (7:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU) as NBA prospect Bobby Portis (PTH #11) tries to keep Arkansas rolling against the Vols' Josh Richardson (PTH #30).
And 1…Lost in the talk of Kentucky's overtime struggles this week is the emergence of Devin Booker (PTH #19). The 6'6 shooting guard made 7 of 10 three pointers while posting 31 points in the two games. Zone defenses have been very effective against the Wildcats with Booker as the only consistent threat. The freshman is Hawk-hot over his last 5 games as he has made 16 of 21 attempts from the three-point line.