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Deep, talented SEC hoops relying heavily on newcomers -- except Tennessee and Texas A&M
The Kentucky Wildcats no longer preside quite so comfortably over the Southeastern Conference, which is harder to do these days
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Kentucky Wildcats no longer preside quite so comfortably over the Southeastern Conference, which is simply harder to do these days.
Instead, it is preseason No. 9 Tennessee that is favored to win it, and No. 24 Alabama was the champion and the NCAA Tournament's No. 1 overall seed last year. No. 15 Texas A&M has the league’s best returning player in Wade Taylor IV. No. 14 Arkansas has made the Sweet 16 three years running.
So yes, the Wildcats are as always right in the mix, but they have plenty of company at the top of a deep league. They are leaning heavily on the nation’s top freshman class, other contenders need multiple transfers to deliver, and teams like the Volunteers and Aggies have their top players back.
“It’s so hard right now to project,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose team is ranked 16th and picked fourth in the league. “It’s never been this hard. So, you can project anybody you want.”