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PODCAST: Preview Time! Blake Lovell chats with Sam & Matt about SEC Hoops

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Sam and Matt are joined by Blake Lovell to get you ready for the madness that is SEC Basketball

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NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

With college hoops tipping off next week, Sam and Matt brought on Blake Lovell of Clutch Points and Blue Ribbon basketball to take an annual stroll through the SEC. Let’s be honest, we know Kentucky and Florida will be good, while South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt will likely bring up the rear. In this episode, Sam, Matt and Blake tried to make sense of the murky middle.

Who should you buy stock on? Who should you sell? Where are teams finishing, and yes, that includes Mizzou! If you are looking to impress people with extensive knowledge of SEC Basketball, you’re in the right place.

Episode Breakdown:

  • 0:15 – 11:33: Welcome to Friend of the Pod and esteemed college basketball writer, Blake Lovell, to Dive Cuts, and welcome back, everyone! The weather is getting chilly and it’s about time to sit by the fire and watch some hoops! Let’s jump right in and discuss the potential fortune of the oh-so-controversial, LSU Tigers. They’ve brought in a good recruiting class, because surprise, surprise, the guy who cheats can still woo 5-star talents. Who are some players to watch? Where might they run into some issues- where did the bigs go? How does Blake see them shaking out in the standings?
  • 11:34 – 22:35: Speaking of hollowed out rosters, Tennessee is up next, and Sam is worried he’s picked them too high. Blake feels a bit down on the Vols this season, despite the fact that they have some good pieces returning. You’d be hard pressed to find a better duo than Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams were excellent at the intangibles, and they will surely be missed off that Elite 8 squad. Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden are going to need to be “the guys.” Can they handle it? And if Tennessee lost so much production, why is the SEC media giving them the benefit of the doubt and still ranking them highly? What do the Vols look like this season? How thin is the rotation? Is this all moot with Rick Barnes on the sidelines?
  • 22:36 – 34:57: Auburn is fresh off a Final Four run, and like the Vols, faces some serious retooling. All three of the main guys who led them to the Final Four are gone. How different is the situation on the Plains? Blake just can’t bet against Bruce Pearl, though he claims they are going to slow things down and run through Austin Wiley. Can he get them 18/11 a night? Will they be good en masse since they are deep? If they run through Wiley, that’s good news for Mizzou (and others in the middle)!
  • 34:58 – 41:46: Next up is Georgia. Look, we know Anthony Edwards is good, but what’s behind him? We know Tom Crean can coach offense. But are we buying or selling the rest of what Georgia has to offer? Last year, they couldn’t shoot, and turned the ball over all the time. Tom Crean is not known for his defensive prowess with young rosters, and they’ve got a lot of youngsters. Matt compares Georgia to a ponzi scheme, but you guys- it will be fun to watch nonetheless. Sam says the media has a tendency to overrate recruiting classes. Not all “good” recruiting classes are created equally (i.e. Georgia’s good recruiting class is not the same as Kentucky or Duke). To have that kind of impact, Anthony Edwards would need to be amazing every single night.
  • 41:47 – 52:23: Let’s talk about Mizzou! Blake is in line with Sam and Matt, but what are some possible pitfalls for this team (hint- it’s the same every year)? All are hoping for Jeremiah Tilmon to progress, obviously, and everyone has a fair amount of faith in Zo’s defense. It’s increasingly difficult to imagine the Tigers NOT getting to 8-10 conference wins, and if they get that far, guess what media? That isn’t 13th! Sam wonders if Kim Anderson did more outside damage to the program than what we originally thought, given the media’s ideas of this team. Matt offers up some reasoning behind the media’s (wrong) prognostications, and refuses to get enraged about the disrespect. Cuonzo doesn’t tend to oversell his teams, and he has guarded optimism this time around. Lastly, they look at the schedule. Whewwww-weee, those first five conference games are tough!
  • 52:24 – 59:32: Rounding out the murky middle of the SEC, what does Alabama look like this year? Sure, the Tide have some injuries along the front line, but how much does that matter with a player like Kira Lewis back in the mix? Alabama has been missing an efficiently run offense, and that’s exactly what they went out and got with Nate Oats. Ken Pom stats say Alabama will get 13th in the SEC... that isn’t right. Blake still thinks Bama is top 5 without ‘Nova transfer Jahvon Quinerly. What are their thoughts on Jaden Shackelford? Will the backcourt make this team? Does Alabama have a darkhorse SEC Player of the Year candidate on their roster?
  • 59:33 – END: Quickly, to wrap things up, the guys do a rapid-fire question and answer session, taking over/under bets on the remaining teams’ places in the league. Thanks, Blake for coming to chat! Next week’s pod might be recorded on Monday, given that there is actual basketball starting!

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