The Black & Gold Standard SEC preseason rankings

The Black & Gold Standard is a second-year VandyRadio Blog featuring nuanced commentary and advanced statistical breakdowns following every Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball game and throughout the year. Robbie Weinstein of The Homefield Advantage will be bringing you the best analysis of Commodore basketball as the team looks to build on the success of last season’s NIT appearance. Check out The Black & Gold Standard for all kinds of new content as the Dores fight through the 2015-16 schedule. All stats courtesy of KenPom.com unless otherwise noted.

Welcome back, basketball! With college and NBA camps alike underway, The Black & Gold Standard makes its grand return with some preseason rankings, in the form of a batch of national power rankings as well as SEC standings predictions. A full Vandy preview is coming later this month, and that piece will include my reasoning for putting the Dores where I did. We can start with my preseason top 25 poll, complete with a somewhat unexpected #1 and an exciting and highly relevant group at #22.

Robbie’s Top 32

1 Kansas

2 Maryland

3 North Carolina

4 Kentucky

5 Virginia

6 Iowa State

7 Cal

8 Duke

9 Gonzaga

10 Oklahoma

11 Villanova

12 Baylor

13 Wichita State

14 Purdue

15 Indiana

16 Arizona

17 Utah

18 Michigan State

19 Notre Dame

20 Cincinnati

21 SMU

22 Vanderbilt

23 Boise State

24 Georgetown

25 Texas A&M

26 UConn

27 Xavier

28 LSU

29 NC State

30 Butler

31 Davidson

32 San Diego State

It’s important to note that these rankings represent how I feel teams stack up to start the season, rather than a few months from now. For example, Vandy has a lot more upside than Boise State, but the Broncos have experience while at the same time possessing less long-term potential than the Dores.

Let’s go ahead and move on to the SEC, as I’ve got some SEC awards predictions as well as conference rankings and a breakdown of each team.

SEC Awards

Player of the Year: Jamal Murray, UK

Defensive Player of the Year: Tyler Ulis, UK

Freshman of the Year: Jamal Murray, UK

Sixth Man of the Year: Jalyn Patterson, LSU

Coach of the Year: Bruce Pearl, Auburn

 

1st Team All-Conference

G Malik Newman, Mississippi State

G Jamal Murray, Kentucky

F Ben Simmons, LSU

F Skal Labissiere, Kentucky

C Damian Jones, Vanderbilt

(The SEC stupidly includes way more than five players on its all-conference teams, so I’ll add five more, in order)

G Tyler Ulis, Kentucky

F Danuel House, Texas A&M

G Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky

F Dorian Finney-Smith, Florida

G Wade Baldwin, Vanderbilt

 

Tier 1: National Title Contender(s)

1          Kentucky

Key losses: 7 out of 8 man main rotation

Key returners: PG Tyler Ulis, PF/C Marcus Lee, F Alex Poythress

Key additions: C Skal Labissiere, G Isaiah Briscoe, G Jamal Murray, F/C Tai Wynyard (spring semester)

Them Kentucky boys won't be laughing when Vandy drops bombs on 'em at Rupp January 23 (mostly kidding). Vicky Graff Photo
Them Kentucky boys won’t be laughing when Vandy drops bombs on ’em at Rupp January 23 (mostly kidding).
Vicky Graff Photo

Projected starters:

G Tyler Ulis

G Isaiah Briscoe

G Jamal Murray

F Alex Poythress

C Skal Labissiere

We start, once again, with Kentucky. UK lost the vast majority of its production from last year to the NBA, but they’ve restocked with elite talent including Haitian big man Skal Labissiere, the early co-frontrunner for the 2016 number one pick along with Ben Simmons of LSU. Even with Labissiere, the return of Alex Poythress from a torn ACL, and more playing time for Marcus Lee, the Cats’ frontcourt will take hit from last season’s all time group. Labissiere is a bit raw but can be a type of “Karl Towns Lite” with his all-around skillset, while Marcus Lee offensive rebounds and blocks shots. Poythress hasn’t made much progress offensively since coming to UK, but he adds defensive versatility and experience. The guard play on this year’s team, however, should be significantly improved. Tyler Ulis was effective last year and makes plays on both sides of the ball, while Canadian guard Jamal Murray was the star of this year’s Pan American Games for a Canada team that fielded former top pick Anthony Bennett along with Orlando’s Andrew Nicholson and Gonzaga All-American candidate Kyle Wiltjer. Isaiah Briscoe is a 5-star power guard that should make for a formidable top three in the rotation, and it’s hard for me to see UK not winning the SEC with that group. How Kentucky fares against fellow preseason top 10 teams Kansas and Duke away from Rupp Arena will offer a glimpse as to whether this team has enough to overcome backcourt inexperience to win it all. Regardless, they’re likely a 1 or 2 seed and should be multiple steps ahead of the SEC’s second place team.

 

Tier 2: Second Weekend Would Be Cool

2          Vanderbilt

Key loss: PF James Siakam

Key returners: C Damian Jones, PG Wade Baldwin, G Riley LaChance, 6 out of 8 man main rotation

Key additions: SG Nolan Cressler (transfer), C D’Jery Baptiste

That ref only put Vandy fourth in his preseason rankings. Pssh. (Don Feria)
That ref only put Vandy fourth in his preseason rankings. Pssh. (Don Feria)

Projected starters:

G Wade Baldwin

G Riley LaChance

G Matthew Fisher-Davis

F Luke Kornet

C Damian Jones

As you can tell from my top 25, I’m “down” on Vanderbilt compared to most “experts” even after I was higher on them than most in the spring. My opinion hasn’t changed too much, but nearly everyone is picking Vandy as their surprise team that will break into the top 15 after having missed the NCAA Tournament the year prior. I don’t necessarily disagree, and simply remind everyone that my top 25 specifically represents how I feel each team stands right now rather than down the road. As far as the SEC goes, I give the Dores a slight edge over Texas A&M for three main reasons: coaching, the traditionally large jump we see freshmen take heading into sophomore year, and the fact that A&M will have to rely on some freshmen for production rather than just depth. My full Vanderbilt preview will go much more detailed than this, and it’ll be out sometime in mid-October.

 

3          Texas A&M

Key losses: C Kourtney Roberson, G/F Jordan Green

Key returners: PG Alex Caruso, F Jalen Jones, F Danuel House

Key additions: PG Anthony Collins (transfer), C Tyler Davis, C Elijah Thomas, SF D.J. Hogg, G Admon Gilder

Projected starters:

G Alex Caruso

G Admon Gilder

F Danuel House

F Jalen Jones

C Tyler Davis

If you compare pure, raw talent, Texas A&M would probably be ahead of Vanderbilt in these rankings. The Aggies bring in a top 10 recruiting class headlined by a pair of big men in Elijah Thomas and Tyler Davis who can replace and eventually surpass Kourtney Roberson in the middle. This team is filled with high 4-star recruits and even includes a former 5-star in Danuel House, but they played underwhelming basketball last year and I’m not convinced Billy Kennedy is a good coach. All this culminated in a disappointing year-end KenPom rating that was five spots behind Vandy’s following the SEC tournament and 26 spots behind after the NIT. At the SEC tournament, a media member who covers the Aggies told me he felt strongly that they would’ve made noise coming down the stretch if it weren’t for Danuel House’s injury. A&M went 18-8 with House in the lineup compared to 3-4 without him, but the bottom line is LSU was the only NCAA at-large team the Aggies beat with or without House. A&M should at least be a tournament team this year, however. Point guards Alex Caruso and Alex Robinson are very talented but need to cut down on the turnovers, while and incoming freshmen wings D.J. Hogg and Admon Gilder should combine with House to provide more perimeter shooting than the Aggies have had in years. For me, though, something just feels like it’s missing from this team. I see them as a 7 seed in the tournament next year, but I wouldn’t bet on them to advance far and I don’t see a ton of upside.

 

4          LSU

Key losses: PF/C Jordan Mickey, F Jarrell Martin

Key returners: G/F Tim Quarterman, G Keith Hornsby, G Jalyn Patterson

Key additions: F Ben Simmons, G Antonio Blakeney, G Brandon Sampson

This is why LSU can't have nice things. (Steve Franz)
This is why LSU can’t have nice things. (Steve Franz)

Projected starters:

G Tim Quarterman

G Keith Hornsby

G Antonio Blakeney

F Ben Simmons

C Darcy Malone

Back in March LSU was a popular 2016 Final Four pick, but that was before star big men Jarrell Martin and Jordan Mickey bolted for the NBA. LSU features number one pick contender Ben Simmons as well as numerous talented guards and wings, but I wonder if there are a few too many mouths to feed. The Tigers will be best served having Simmons and Tim Quarterman play as point forwards and handle the ball, but highly touted guards Antonio Blakeney and Brandon Sampson will need touches as well as Keith Hornsby, Jalyn Patterson, and even disappointing transfer Josh Gray. Blakeney has the reputation as a bit of a selfish gunner, so I have quite a few questions about how these pieces fit together; it certainly would help to not have one of the worst coaches in college basketball. What’s more, LSU has no good options at center, as Simmons’ fellow Australian Darcy Malone looks like the only option despite an unproductive 2015 season. LSU comes close to Kentucky in terms of talent alone, and I’d give them the benefit of the doubt if I was confident in their coaching staff. But alas, as long as Johnny Jones is at the helm in Baton Rouge I’m not buying the Tigers’ chances. They’ve got the talent of a 1 or 2 seed but roster imbalances, coaching issues, and questionable fit mean I’m pinning LSU for an 8 seed and a disappointing 4th place SEC finish, with UGA hot on their heels.

 

Tier 3: Bubble at Best

5          Georgia

Key losses: PF Marcus Thornton, PF Nemanja Djurisic

Key returners: G Kenny Gaines, PG J.J. Frazier, PF/C Yante Maten, G Charles Mann

Key additions: C Derek Ogbeide

Projected starters:

G J.J. Frazier

G Kenny Gaines

G Charles Mann

F Yante Maten

C Derek Ogbeide

UGA was among the more undervalued teams in the nation last year, and unfortunately for the Dawgs a highly competitive first round loss to Final Four participant Michigan State didn’t do much to change perception. Georgia loses its top player in big man Marcus Thornton as well as fellow frontcourt starter Nemanja Djurisic but they’re in luck as it looks like sophomore Yante Maten is ready to step in after a great freshman year. Freshman center Derek Ogbeide should be a factor as well, and UGA retains its talented and versatile backcourt including explosive guards Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier. A weak nonconference schedule could mean bad things for UGA, however, especially considering their unbelievably awful home and home SEC schedule (Missouri, South Carolina, Florida, Auburn, and Ole Miss. Yuck.) Ultimately, I’d expect the Dawgs to sneak in to the tournament, but with a better record than last year to go with the weaker schedule. While 23-9 could mean a 6 seed for A&M or Vandy, that might mean a10 or 11 for UGA, but with the right matchup their extremely physical frontcourt could make things uncomfortable for the opposition. Fifth place in the SEC is probably the lowest Georgia would be ok with, but there’s top 4 potential here due to the relative lack of question marks surrounding this team as well as the absurdly easy conference schedule. Road games at UK, VU, and LSU mean UGA isn’t likely to win any top-4 tiebreakers for SEC tournament seeding.

 

6          Florida

Key losses: SG Michael Frazier, SG Eli Carter, C Jon Horford

Key returners: F Dorian Finney-Smith, G Kasey Hill, SF Devin Robinson

Key additions: SG Brandone Francis-Ramirez, C John Egbunu (transfer), SG KeVaughn Allen

Keith Stone or Keith Stone? I'm not even sure myself.
Which Keith Stone is your favorite Keith Stone?

Projected starters:

G Kasey Hill

G Brandone Francis-Ramirez

F Devin Robinson

F Dorian Finney-Smith

C John Egbunu

Rumors toward the end of last season that Billy Donovan was looking to move on from Gainesville ended up being true… But the quantum leap Donovan made in taking one of the best coaching opportunities in the world in Oklahoma City leaves Florida’s future in doubt. New coach Mike White has a good reputation despite zero NCAA Tournament appearances in four years at Louisiana Tech after winning at least a share of a conference championship each of the last three years. The cupboard isn’t as bare for White as it may seem, however. Star Michael Frazier dumbly decided to enter the NBA Draft (nobody picked him), but the most other contributors return to a team that the metrics liked despite a 16-17 record. Dorian Finney-Smith could be preseason First Team All-SEC and while Kasey Hill, Devin Robinson, and Chris Chiozza are nice complementary pieces, this ranking assumes strong production from UF’s strong incoming class. That includes wing Brandone Francis-Ramirez, a partial qualifier last year who may represent the team’s best individual talent. Up front, transfer big man John Egbunu steps in for Jon Horford after a great freshman year at South Florida. The Gators need wing scoring and perimeter shooting from 4-star freshmen KeVaughn Allen and Keith Stone (!!!) to supplement whatever Francis-Ramirez gives them, and if they get it they could surprise people and end up as a 7 or 8 seed. Regardless of seeding, any NCAA berth probably requires a double digit scoring year from Francis. If Donovan were still around I’d feel very comfortable picking the Gators as a tournament team, but I’m cool on White so I’m pegging Florida for the First Four on the strength of its willingness to play away from home in nonconference play.

 

7          South Carolina

Key losses: G Tyrone Johnson

Key returners: G Sindarius Thornwell, G Duane Notice, F Laimonas Chatkevicius

Key additions: G P.J. Dozier, F Chris Silva

Projected starters:

G P.J. Dozier

G Sindarius Thornwell

G Duane Notice

F Michael Carrera

F Laimonas Chatkevicius

South Carolina has had some nice pieces for a while but hasn’t really come close to breaking through. If it doesn’t happen this year in Columbia, then it might take a local 5-star recruit to turn the Gamecocks around, which isn’t a possibility any coach would want to rely on. But what a coincidence! ACL-less local 5-star point guard P.J. Dozier enters the fray this year, granted I’m not sure he fixes the Gamecocks’ problems. USC was generally respectable last year and lost a lot of close games in SEC play, but its offense is anemic. Carolina shot a toxic 30.1% from three last year and Dozier isn’t known for his three point shooting. USC actually ranked 51st in the country last year in the percentage of made shots that were assisted on, so ball movement doesn’t seem to be the problem. If talented 2 guard Sindarius Thornwell shoots the ball more like he did his freshman year when he was at 37% from three than Carolina could be very dangerous, as this team has a lot of upside and experience. Guard Duane Notice is steady and Laimonas Chakevicius, Mindaugas Kacinas, and Michael Carrera combine to form a solid but unspectacular frontcourt along with athletic freshman Chris Silva. Coach Frank Martin’s defense will be intimidating, but I’m not confident there will be enough offensive improvement to earn an NCAA bid. Lots of talent though, so welcome to the top half of the conference, Gamecocks.

 

8          Mississippi State

Key losses: F Roquez Johnson

Key returners: F Gavin Ware, G Craig Sword, 7 out of 9 man main rotation

Key additions: G Malik Newman, SG Quinndary Weatherspoon

Somebody looks excited to live in StarkVegas.
Somebody looks excited to live in StarkVegas.

Projected starters:

G I.J. Ready

G Malik Newman

G Craig Sword

F Travis Daniels

F Gavin Ware

Spots 7 and 8 in the SEC have potential to be strong this year, as many experts have Mississippi State pegged for a jump in the standings, while Florida and South Carolina could also land in one of these two spots. MSU returns almost everyone from a core that has had little success in the SEC, but that’s probably better than not returning anyone at all. The additions of coach Ben Howland and All-American freshman Malik Newman make things very interesting. The Bulldogs’ offense was one of the worst of any power conference team last year, but the defense was at least ok in ranking 103rd nationally in efficiency. Newman is known as a good shooter with deep range and the addition of another promising freshman in Quinndary Weatherspoon gives MSU one of the deepest backcourts in the SEC when you include capable players such as Craig Sword, Fred Thomas, and I.J. Ready. Will Howland opt to play small ball with as many as four guards on the court at a time? That would be my recommendation based on State’s lack of quality big men aside from Gavin Ware, especially considering Ware’s excellent overall rebounding numbers from last year to go with strong defensive rebounding percentages from the guards that will make up most of MSU’s rotation. It’s one of the few ways the Bulldogs can open up the court for their offense, and in a league full of hulking big men the change of pace could play to Howland and Co.’s advantage if they fully commit to flying up and down the court and pressing. Howland will try to eliminate Newman’s poor shot selection, and an uptick in efficiency for the freshman could combine with his impressively active on-ball defense to make Newman a handful for SEC backcourts. If Newman emerges as a massive star and a number one pick candidate then maybe he can carry this team to tournament contention, but that would be a major surprise based on MSU’s metrics from last year and the capable but unspectacular supporting cast. I see more of a lower tier NIT team.

 

Tier 4: Pray for the NIT

9          Auburn

Key losses: G K.T. Harrell, G Antoine Mason, G Malcolm Canada

Key returners: PF Cinmeon Bowers, F Jordon Granger

Key additions: F Tyler Harris (transfer), G Kareem Canty (transfer), SF Danjel Purifoy*, PF Horace Spencer, G/F T.J. Dunans (JC)

I'm sure Brucey Bruce will get a similar reception in Nashville January 12. (Lauren Barnard)
I’m sure Brucey Bruce will get a similar reception in Nashville January 12. (Lauren Barnard)

Projected starters:

G Kareem Canty

G T.J. Dunans

F Tyler Harris

F Jordon Granger

F Cinmeon Bowers

Auburn represents a unique situation for 2015-16. The Tigers are bringing in more talent than any other team in the league (with the obvious exception of Kentucky), but they lose criminally underrated star guard K.T. Harrell. After struggling mightily all season this squad rallied in Nashville at the SEC Tournament with Bruce Pearl leading what seemed like a real cultural revolution for this program. I got a chance to see this phenomenon up close and there’s no question these players believe in Pearl and would do just about anything for him. Will the momentum and good vibes carry over into this season? How long will it take the newcomers to mesh, and how effectively can AU fill the huge hole left by Harrell? I say that missing production will hold Auburn back another year as Kareem Canty, T.J. Dunans, Danjel Purifoy (we still don’t know if he’ll be cleared by the NCAA)*, and Horace Spencer settle in, but this is a program that is undoubtedly trending upward. Pearl has the athletes to effectively run his pressure system, and Auburn was indeed 43rd nationally in defensive turnover percent last year. The Tigers, however, were one of the worst offensive teams in the country inside the arc, and the team’s clear best two outside shooters in Harrell and Antoine Mason are gone. Providence transfer Tyler Harris is a proven player who should help round out a solid frontcourt, but I see a highly inefficient backcourt consisting of guys who will take too many bad shots and hamstring the offense. Auburn will be feisty, but I see 8-10 in the league as a best-case scenario. The NIT would be a stretch because nonconference play will be a struggle with so many new players to integrate into the team.

10       Alabama

Key losses: G Levi Randolph, G Ricky Tarrant, F Rodney Cooper

Key returners: F Shannon Hale, G Retin Obasohan, F Michael Kessens

Key additions: PF Donta Hall, F Nick King (transfer)

Projected starters:

G Justin Coleman

G Retin Obasohan

F Riley Norris

F Shannon Hale

C Jimmie Taylor

Bama is in a holding pattern for now until at least next year when new coach Avery Johnson brings in gifted wing Terrance Ferguson. For now, Johnson has a bit of talent but not much experience. Similarly to Mississippi State, the Tide need big production from their guards if they want to vault to the top half of the conference. Obasohan is solid if a bit streaky, while sophomore Justin Coleman has the type of big upside that Johnson will need to take advantage of immediately. Coleman simply looks like a basketball player, but his shooting numbers were putrid last year (seriously, 23% from three on 103 shots and 27% from two) as he struggled to adjust to major college basketball with his 160 pound frame. Jimmie Taylor is strong defensively and Kessens is a great rebounder, but Bama would be better off starting Shannon Hale at power forward in order to provide adequate floor spacing. The Tide may have to rely on freshmen wings Dazon Ingram and Brandon Austin too much for shooting, and I expect them to have a tough time offensively unless Hale shoots in the high 30s or better from three. If the Tide can shoot 35% from three on the year they’ll make the NIT, but there isn’t much shooting on this team and there certainly isn’t an obvious star. The most realistic best-case scenario is probably a similar year to 2014-15.

 

11       Tennessee

Key losses: G Josh Richardson, F Willie Carmichael III

Key returners: F Armani Moore, SG Robert Hubbs III, G Kevin Punter

Key additions: F Ray Kasongo

This is a real tweet.
This is a real tweet.

Projected starters:

G Kevin Punter

G Robert Hubbs III

G Devon Baulkman

F Armani Moore

F Derek Reese

Donnie Tyndall made me look dumb for picking UT for last place last year while he coached his butt off in dragging a thin Volunteers team to a .500 record. In case you hadn’t heard, however, things have changed and the esteemed Rick Barnes is the new man in charge on Rocky Top. Tennessee’s starting lineup should be able to keep them in games with their quality experience at guard, but Robert Hubbs will need to step up following the loss of Josh Richardson. Richardson singlehandedly kept UT in some games last year, so while Hubbs has the talent, it’s hard to envision the junior taking such a major step forward. Armani Moore probably represents the Vols’ best player right now, but it’s difficult to have much success in this conference with a 6’5” starting power forward unless his name is Charles Barkley. Punter, Baulkman, and Reese are all solid, but this team has no depth and needs to avoid injuries if they it wants to be able to compete. Barnes will bring in talent in the long run, but let’s not forget he only got Texas to a 4 seed with this guy and D.J. Augustin on the same team.

12       Ole Miss

Key losses: G Jarvis Summers, G LaDarius White, F M.J. Rhett, F Dwight Coleby

Key returners: G Stefan Moody, F Sebastian Saiz

Key additions: F Tomasz Gielo (transfer)

Projected starters:

G Stefan Moody

G Rasheed Brooks

G Martavious Newby

F Tomasz Gielo

F Sebastian Saiz

Ole Miss lost four very productive players from last year’s NCAA team, although electric scoring guard Stefan Moody has proven himself to be a strong option as a high volume scorer. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Rebels after seeing them play in December in Dayton, and their blowout loss to Xavier shouldn’t have been surprising. As such, I’m skeptical of this team’s chances for this year since they haven’t added much talent or experience. Ole Miss will likely rely on Liberty transfer Tomasz Gielo to start, and while the Polish big man had a decent run with the Flames he’s making a big jump in competition. Andy Kennedy has a lot of work to do to recover from the departure of talent, and there isn’t enough quality or depth in Oxford for me to think Ole Miss has more than an outside shot of being competitive.

 

Tier 5: Better luck next year

13       Arkansas

Key losses: PF Bobby Portis, G/F Michael Qualls, G Rashad Madden, F Alandise Harris

Key returners: G Anton Beard*, G Anthlon Bell, C Moses Kingsley

Key additions: G Dustin Thomas*, G Jimmy Whitt

Projected starters:

G Nick Babb

G Anthlon Bell

G Manuale Watkins

F Trey Thompson

C Moses Kingsley

Arkansas took a big enough hit when Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls left for the NBA, but off the court issues with key returners Anton Beard, Jacorey Williams, and Dustin Thomas have really put coach Mike Anderson in a bad spot. Williams has been dismissed from the team, while Beard and Thomas remain indefinitely suspended.* The Razorbacks have a lot of young and unproven players they’ll have to lean on, and if guys like Nick Babb, Trey Thompson, and incoming freshman Jimmy Whitt can surprise, then things might get interesting for this team if Beard and Thomas are eventually allowed to rejoin the team. Right now, however, I have no idea who will provide the scoring here. The Hogs’ weak defense last season was masked by a highly efficient offense and lots of forced turnovers, so Anderson will have to integrate his young players into his system quickly in order to force opponents into enough mistakes to keep Arkansas in games early in the year. Even then, I still don’t think the Razorbacks will have even a capable offense unless Beard and Thomas are reinstated. As such, this is a team that is looking toward the future.

14       Missouri

Key losses: F Johnathan Williams III, G Montaque Gill-Caesar, G Keith Shamburger

Key returners: G Wes Clark, G Namon Wright

Key additions: PG Terrence Phillips, G Martavian Payne (JC transfer)

Presented without comment.
Presented without comment.

Projected starters:

G Wes Clark

G Martavian Payne

G Namon Wright

F D’Angelo Allen

F Jakeenan Gant

It was a disastrous year in Columbia for new head coach Kim Anderson, and it doesn’t look like things are getting better, either. Missouri’s best player, Johnathan Williams III, took off for Gonzaga while well-regarded freshman Montaque Gill-Caesar similarly left for San Diego State. Martavian Payne is a highly ranked junior college prospect who will need to contribute immediately, while Jakeenan Gant and D’Angelo Allen actually do provide some immediate hope to go with potential up front. Mizzou will have to play without any big bruisers in the frontcourt if they want to have any success this year, as it’s time to move on from Ryan Rosburg and his dismal 46.4% true shooting percentage. You look at Mizzou’s KenPom page and it’s just about all red; there isn’t a single aspect of basketball that the Tigers were good at last year. Since the best two players are gone and there aren’t any obvious breakout candidates, it stands to reason that Missouri will be back in the cellar once again.

Check out VandyRadio’s comprehensive Vanderbilt sports blog series. Building the Masonic Tradition covers Commodore football, The Black & Gold Standard covers VU hoops, and Eyes of the Hawk covers Vandy baseball. VandyRadio.com is your home for year-round coverage of your favorite Vanderbilt teams.

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