It’s that time of year folks: college basketball season officially gets under way later today. There are 13 games involving SEC teams on this Friday, highlighted by 25. Texas A&M participating in the first ranked matchup of the year with a visit to 11. West Virginia. I could give a breakdown of how the conference will play out this year, but I’ll just give the short version here: there’s Kentucky, and then there’s else. Instead, I’ll give three hot takes heading into the regular season that I’ll be sure to keep tabs on as the year progresses and everyone gets revved up for March Madness. With that being said, here are my three bold predictions for SEC basketball in 2018-2018:
- Michael Porter Jr. leads Division I in scoring with at least 30 ppg.
I know, I know: Porter is only a freshman, and there haven’t been many people in recent memory to average 30 every night. However, there also haven’t been many people in recent memory like Michael Porter Jr. Whenever I watch highlights from his high school games, he reminds me of two other elite scorers in college: Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley. His ability to get buckets at the rim, in the mid-range or behind the three-point line is unmatched by anyone in the nation. Mizzou also has his brother, 5-star big man Jontay Porter, on its roster, but other than that they really don’t have any recognizable names. Based on everything I’ve seen out of Porter, I think he’s capable of putting up monster scoring numbers, and it would not surprise me if he dropped 50 a couple of times this year.
- Alabama finishes in the bottom half of the conference when all is said and done.
Avery Johnson is a solid head coach, and Collin Sexton is one of the more intriguing young players in the country. Nevertheless, this team has a lot to prove, and I feel like people are just handing them one of the top spots in the conference because they brought in a decent recruiting class. Since Johnson has been there, I don’t recall seeing the Crimson Tide cracking the field of 68 when March comes around, which is partially because of an inability to bring in top-flight players. I understand how talented Sexton is, but as a freshman learning the nuances of the point guard position at a new level of competition, how quickly can he assimilate himself as the focal point of the offense? Only time will tell with this Alabama team, but if you ask me, I think it’s going to be quite a while before they even get going – if they get going at all.
- Robert Williams averages a double-double, plays his way into the conversation for a potential top-5 draft selection.
Last year, Williams averaged about 12 points, 8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game while playing approximately 25 minutes on a nightly basis. This year, I see all of those numbers going up. Standing at 6’10” and 240 pounds, Williams is a freak of nature who should be able to get big numbers with more playing time. When I say a double-double above, I don’t mean 13-10, but closer to 18-12 to go along with 3 blocks per game. Every time I read about Williams, people love to bring up his per 40 stats and how dominant of a player he would if he got that many minutes on a nightly basis. For the Aggies to be successful this year, they are going to have to run their team through him, and doing so should work out very well.
I know I’m going out on a limb with a lot of these takes, but they are meant to be both bold and semi-realistic. I think all three of these things could potentially occur, and I’m excited to see whether or not they come to fruition. Whether you agree with me or not, I hope you enjoy this college basketball season, and that you’re just as excited as I am for its start.
All stats and info courtesy ESPN
Cover photo courtesy worldnow.com.