There is a lot of uncertainty in the world today, with global instability and an uncertain future. It’s been reported that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has been considering implementing its own cryptocurrency trading platform for 2021. Here are some questions about this plan: What would be an ICO on a SEC-owned exchange? Will there be trade restrictions? How will it affect crypto prices?
SEC 2021 football is a new league that will be starting in 2022. The SEC was the first conference to announce it’s involvement with the new league. Read more in detail here: sec 2021 football.
As the countdown to the commencement of the 2021-22 college basketball season on November 9 begins, an ESPN panel of experts has made predictions for all of the country’s biggest leagues. So far, we’ve looked at Gonzaga and the best teams from the mid-major conferences (Atlantic 10, C-USA, Ivy, MAC, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, SoCon, Sun Belt, and WCC), as well as Memphis, Houston, and the AAC, the Villanova-dominated Big East, UCLA, and the resurgent Pac-12 Conference, and a Big 12 on the verge of a second consecutive national title. We continue our series with the SEC, where 10th-ranked Kentucky continues to make headlines despite a season that ended in an unimaginable 9-16 finish.
With an eye on recovering SEC dominance and making what has lately been an elusive trip to the NCAA tournament’s third weekend, John Calipari and the Wildcats have significantly retooled their team. The current SEC champion Alabama Crimson Tide, a well-stocked Arkansas Razorbacks team coming off an Elite Eight run, and mega-talented Tennessee Volunteers and Auburn Tigers teams are among the schools who are unlikely to go quietly in the 2021-2022 SEC championship fight. Underneath those squads, clubs like the LSU Tigers, Florida Gators, and Missouri Tigers from the 2021 NCAA tournament lurk in an increasingly powerful top-to-bottom league.
With that in mind, ESPN’s writing team of Myron Medcalf, Jeff Borzello, and John Gasaway analyzed all of the league’s best teams and stories, as well as their projections (which differed significantly in some instances) for where the SEC’s 14 current teams would finish.
Superlatives | Roundtable | Picks | Superlatives
Superlatives in SEC 2021-22
Athlete of the Year
Jahvon Quinerly, Alabama Medcalf Jahvon Quinerly, Alabama, Borzello Scotty Pippen Jr., Vanderbilt: Scotty Pippen Jr., Vanderbilt: Scotty Pippen Jr., Vanderbil
Newcomer of the Year is a prestigious award given to a newcomer
Jabari Smith, Auburn, Medcalf Borzello: Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jabari Smith, Auburn, Jabari Smith, Jabari Smith, Jabari Smith, Jabari
Writers’ roundtable for SEC 2021-22
Kentucky’s most recent trip to the Final Four was seven years ago in April, and the Wildcats last earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament was in 2015. Is there any reason to believe that any of those droughts will end this season?
TyTy Washington, a freshman, will be one of the most closely watched backcourt players in the nation this season. Jordan Prather is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
Medcalf: If Kentucky achieves its ceiling this year, both droughts will be over. When compared to Gonzaga, Kansas, or Texas, I don’t believe this team has an abundance of skill. However, I believe it contains eight or nine guys who might all enter the starting lineup at some time in the future. If CJ Fredrick (if he’s healthy) or Davion Mintz (last year’s top scorer) play with John Calipari’s second unit, Kentucky might have an experienced bench. Kentucky’s ticket to a top seed and the Final Four is its depth, not its brilliance, and it has the components to be a great team by the end of the season.
Since winning the national championship in 2012, Calipari’s finest teams — the 2015 (Final Four) and 2017 (Elite Eight) teams — have been loaded with NBA prospects. While TyTy Washington has the potential to be a star, and Daimion Collins is an equally fascinating possibility on a team with other players who have the potential to become professionals, I don’t believe they’ll have the skill advantage that 2015 and 2017 had in most games. During the nonconference season, the 2015 team defeated six of the top 50 KenPom teams, five by double digits. Before SEC play, this team will face four of the top-50 KenPom teams (per preseason rankings). After these Wildcats finish their schedule, we’ll know a lot more about their chances of capturing a No. 1 seed and making a long run.
Borzello: I believe Kentucky is just outside the top tier of Final Four possibilities, therefore I believe the Wildcats may play in New Orleans as early as April. It’s a different roster than the freshmen-heavy teams we’ve seen Calipari use in the past, but it’s still full of rookies, which makes job assignment and chemistry two of the season’s biggest uncertainties. But if Calipari gets it out, Kentucky has the talent to win the SEC and compete for a high seed on Selection Sunday.
Last season, Kentucky’s greatest problems were on offense, with turnovers and outside shooting toward the top of the list. Those concerns have been addressed by Calipari. Washington is one of the finest point guards in college; Sahvir Wheeler, a Georgia transfer, topped the SEC in assists last season, and veteran Mintz is back. Calipari went out and got high-scoring Davidson transfer Kellan Grady and Iowa transfer Fredrick, possibly the finest shooter in the portal, to help with shooting. Lexington has a higher level of experience than typical. Oscar Tshiebwe and Collins have plenty of size, and the perimeter additions will be noticeable right away.
Gasaway: UK may have a better chance of reaching the Final Four than obtaining the No. 1 seed. That’s a trick we’ve seen this show pull before, right? In 2011, as a No. 4 seed, the Wildcats advanced to the national semifinals, and in 2014, as a No. 8 seed. In terms of the current Final Four drought, Calipari has won 11 more games than would be projected based on seeding alone in nine tournament campaigns at Kentucky. This is also the moment at which I remind out that the Cats have played until the 40th minute of the Elite Eight twice since 2015 (2017 and 2019), only to lose 0-2.
In the field of 68, Calipari can coach my team any day, but I’m not convinced the SEC as a whole can produce a No. 1 seed in 2022. In the case of the Wildcats, the last time we saw them, they were out of the tournament and ranked dead last in the SEC in 2-point accuracy. True, I anticipate a significant improvement in Lexington this season, as does everyone else. Tshiebwe might top the country in offensive rebound percentage, and Washington could be the next in a long line of Calipari point guards to start their careers in the first year. However, a No. 1 seed seems to be a reach.
One of the league’s other preseason Top 25 teams, Alabama (14), Arkansas (No. 16), Tennessee (No. 18), and Auburn (No. 22), do you think has the most chance of making a deep run, and which do you have the most reservations about?
In 2021-22, Jahvon Quinerly will contribute to the defending SEC champion Crimson Tide’s success. Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
Borzello: I rank Arkansas as the top of those four teams, so I’m leaning toward the Razorbacks as the team to beat in March. When it comes to transfers and keeping players happy and getting them to buy in, I have complete trust in Eric Musselman. With three big-name transfers joining a squad that reached the Elite Eight last season — Stanley Umude, Chris Lykes, and Au’Diese Toney — he’ll have to do it all over again. One of the NCAA tournament’s breakthrough stars, Davonte Davis, is expected to take the next step and become a reliable offensive danger.
Auburn has the lowest ranking of the four, but I believe the Tigers have the best upside if Allen Flanigan returns healthy and Wendell Green Jr. takes over at point guard. As a result, I’ll choose Tennessee as a team to watch. The Volunteers have a lot of pieces, but Kennedy Chandler is carrying a lot of them. Chandler, perhaps the finest point guard in the 2021 high school class, is fantastic, but he’ll have to be the team’s top player from the start. For a freshman, that’s a lot. Rick Barnes has surrounded him with enough supporting pieces for Tennessee to be a second-weekend factor if he achieves that.
Gasaway: In a parallel world in which Alabama makes better than 2-of-6 free throws in the last 150 seconds of regulation to beat UCLA in 40 minutes and go to the 2021 Elite Eight, I believe the Crimson Tide would be the league’s top-ranked team in the 2021-22 AP preseason poll. Last season, they were by far the top team in the SEC, and Nate Oats returns with about the same proportion of possession minutes (i.e., not many) as the league’s other rated teams. Quinerly’s 3-point accuracy may fall back down to earth this season, but if it doesn’t, the rest of the league will be in serious trouble.
On the other hand, although I’m easily persuaded, I’m adopting a wait-and-see approach with Auburn. My choice for newcomer of the year is Jabari Smith, and I believe he will have a huge influence. The ability of Smith, his teammates, or all of the above to reduce the number of shots taken by opponents will determine if that influence converts into a push for the league championship. In conference play last year, the Tigers failed to force turnovers and were outmanned on the defensive boards.
Medcalf: Rick Barnes’ combination of skill and experience at Tennessee appeals to me. According to hooplens.com, the Vols forced turnovers on roughly a quarter of their opponents’ possessions last season and hit 37 percent of their 3-point attempts on offense with Victor Bailey Jr., John Fulkerson, and Josiah Jordan-James on the floor together. When you throw in Kennedy Chandler and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, I believe you have a team with a good mix of young and seasoned players that Barnes can lead to the second weekend.
I’m curious about Auburn. Past season, the Tigers went 7-12 in their last 19 games, and Bruce Pearl’s last two teams have mirrored his early Auburn teams, which were plagued by turnovers and bad three-point shooting. You lose Sharife Cooper, who dominated the NBA Summer League and won a position on an Atlanta Hawks team. To boost this team’s ceiling, you’re essentially banking on Jabari Smith to play some extraordinary basketball. Even with Smith’s skill set, that’s a lot to expect of a rookie.
Within this very challenging league, Tom Crean (Georgia), Buzz Williams (Texas A&M), Frank Martin (South Carolina), and Jerry Stackhouse may all benefit from some momentum (Vanderbilt). Which of the initiatives has the best chance of succeeding in 2021-22?
Buzz Williams’ Texas A&M team has gone 12-16 in SEC games in two seasons, but there is cause for hope at College Station. Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire photo
COVID-19 had an influence on every squad in the nation, according to Medcalf. Few teams, though, encountered the challenges Williams did in his second year at Texas A&M. From January 30 to March 3, the Aggies did not play. They were having trouble before the break started, but this is a squad that was never given the opportunity to improve. This season, that should change. The transfers Williams has brought in, notably Wyoming standout Marcus Williams, could aid a club that is getting back on track. After a strange year, Williams is in the strongest position of the coaches named to make a change.
Borzello: Williams and Texas A&M were 10-8 in SEC play and finished above.500 overall only two seasons ago. So Williams has only had one bad year since relocating to College Station. This season, I believe the Aggies will be able to climb back up the ranks. They saw a few players, including top scorer Emanuel Miller, join the transfer portal, but they also used it to sign Williams and Tyrece Radford (Virginia Tech), as well as three other high-major transfers. Three players, headed by double-figure scorer Quenton Jackson, who played significant roles down the stretch of the season, have been included to that group.
Gasaway: We may discover this year at the SEC that different meanings of turning the corner exist. At the very least, Vanderbilt looks capable of leapfrogging its way out of the league’s basement and into the league’s lower midsection? That’s a step forward, and Scotty Pippen Jr. is my pick for SEC Player of the Year. Last season, Stackhouse’s offense was SEC-level average, but a porous defense and a terrible 1-7 record in conference games decided by single digits resulted in an ugly 3-13 league record. It’s time for the ‘Dores to arrive.
Who is the SEC club that isn’t getting nearly enough attention?
Last season, Iverson Molinar led Mississippi State to the NIT final. Mark Humphrey/AP Photo/Mark Humphrey/AP Photo/Mark Humphrey/AP Photo/Mark Hu
Borzello: Throughout the summer, I had Mississippi State on the outside of my preseason top 25, and although the Bulldogs are on the outside looking in heading into the season, I believe Ben Howland’s squad has the potential to be a big challenge in the SEC. DJ Stewart, an All-SEC guard, has left, but Iverson Molinar and Tolu Smith have returned from a squad that advanced to the NIT Championship game last season.
The upcoming transfer class is the actual cause for Starkville’s excitement. Garrison Brooks (North Carolina), Rocket Watts (Michigan State), D.J. Jeffries (Memphis), and Shakeel Moore (NC State) are all big-time players who might start right away. Watts is going to be the deciding factor. He was a high-level scoring guard in high school, but his time with the Spartans was cut short. Mississippi State will be in excellent position if he can generate offense while also hitting some shots from the distance.
Gasaway: Borzello, what’s up? Mississippi State received at least five votes in the preseason AP poll. My selection, on the other side, was not mentioned by any AP pollster once. There are no votes! When Florida qualifies for the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in a row with plenty of space to spare, that goose egg will seem ridiculous. Tyree Appleby and Colin Castleton are seniors who recently received a No. 7 seed, and Penn State transfer Myreon Jones will join them. Although the Gators’ opponents are unlikely to miss as many threes as they did last season, there’s still a lot to appreciate about a rotation that makes its 2s and is led by three seniors.
Medcalf: It’s always crucial to remember with LSU that the NCAA violations case against Will Wade and the school might be resolved at any time via the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP). What are you going to do till then? LSU will compete, and the Tigers have some intriguing players, notably Darius Days, who will serve as the team’s backbone after opting out of the NBA draft. With five-star prospect Efton Reid, you get Xavier Pinson (13.6 PPG at Missouri last season) and a legitimate big man in Xavier Pinson. Shareef O’Neal seems to be healthy heading into his college season. This season, he will turn 22. Due to health concerns and injuries, he hasn’t been able to get enough repetitions on the court, but this might be the year he takes the next step. The news that Adam Miller’s season will be cut short due to a knee injury was upsetting. However, this team still seems to be capable of climbing to the top of the SEC and competing for a berth in the field of 68.
SEC 2021-22 anticipated finish order
1. The state of Kentucky 2. Tennessee (tie) 2. Alabama (tie) Arkansas (4), Auburn (5) Mississippi State is ranked sixth. Florida is number seven. 8. Louisiana State University Ole Miss is ranked ninth, while Texas A&M is ranked tenth. 11. The state of South Carolina 12. Vanderbilt University Missouri is number thirteen. Georgia (n.d.)
The “ieee sec 2021” is the IEEE Standard for Safety of Electromagnetic Compatibility. It is a guideline that helps companies make products that are safe to use with electricity and electronics.
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