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Second best in the SEC: Florida or Vandy?

There’s no question that the best team in the SEC, and maybe the country, is Kentucky. Yesterday, during the Florida Gators’ 70-48 shellacking of the Georgia Bulldogs, Jimmy Dykes posed the question of who was the second best team in the SEC behind the Wildcats and surprisingly (not really) he couldn’t come up with a definite answer. Although I think he is one of the worst broadcasters in the nation, Dykes did happen to say something I agree with. The number two team in the SEC is either Florida or the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Sure Mississippi State is ranked 20th, and you could mention Arkansas and Alabama because of their records and great coaching. You could also add that Florida recently loss to an 8-7 Tennessee team, and that Vandy has dropped 3 games on their home court to the likes of Indiana St. and Cleveland St., but as we have seen in college basketball it’s not how you start, but how you finish. No doubt Vandy and UF has had their early struggles, but I truly believe that both teams have the talent to compete favorably in the SEC tournament and the NCAAs. Let’s help compare the teams and give Dykes some help with his answer.


Coaching: It’s no secret that Kentucky’s first choice post-Gillespie was Billy Donovan, and for good reason. The kid can flat out coach and has two national titles to show for it.  Kevin Stallings… not so much. He is sub .500 (94-99) in conference play since his hiring in 1999, and has never won a conference tournament. Stallings also has never made it past the sweet sixteen and his most memorable appearance in the tourney was a first-round loss to Siena in 2007. Donovan is coming off an elite eight appearance in last year’s tournament, Stallings has never even heard of the elite eight.

Advantage: Florida

Talent: Both teams have a pretty good starting five. The Gators have three guards who can take over the scoring load at any time in Beal, Boynton, and Walker, and a decent frontline with Patric Young and and Erik Murphy. This team should be able to score in bunches come tournament time seeing that all five of UF’s starters average double figures in PPG. Vandy’s scoring mainly comes from the outside shooting of Jenkins, Taylor, and Tinsley, all of whom are shooting above 44% from trey. Both teams don’t really have much depth behind their starting five but Vandy starts four seniors and a junior. Eventually experience has to count for something, right?

Advantage: Vandy

X-Factor: When deciding on X-factor I tend to go with the team who has more NBA talent. If you follow me on twitter, you would know that I’m always raving about UF’s Patric Young when I catch a Florida game. I think he’s going to be an absolute stud in the NBA and he reminds me a lot of Amare’ Stoudemire. If Florida can have a good run in the NCAA tourney, he could solidify himself as a top 20 pick. Bradley Beal is a highly regarded NBA prospect as well. Most mock drafts have him going in the lottery based on his age and upside. Vandy doesn’t have much NBA talent on their roster. John Jenkins will be drafted late in the first round or early in the second and could end up being a good shooter in the league. Senior Jeffery Taylor has great size and athleticism, but scouts wonder why he disappears in big games so much. Center Festus Elizi has also gotten some attention, but he has a raw skill set and scouts don’t know if he can play with his back to the basket. Two first rounders > Three second rounders.

Advantage: Florida

So, based off the comparison, I’m going to go with UF as the second best team behind the Cats. Right now, no team has separated themselves from the pack and joined Kentucky, but I think Florida’s win over UGA is a positive sign of them being able to do so. Teams usually grow up during the stretch of conference play and reveal exactly who they are and what they have the capability to be. What say you? Who’s the second best team in the conference?

Help our boy Jimmy out.


Article written by Rashawn Franklin

16 Comments for Second best in the SEC: Florida or Vandy?

  1. GoCats!
    5:12 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    I gotta go with Vandy. Those bad losses were with the big guy (Ezeli) out with injury and they took Louisville (back when Louisville was good) to overtime in the chicken bucket. But they’ll probably blow it in the tourney as usual.

  2. jumpin jack flash
    5:16 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    WHO CARES!!!..Another meaningless post. What happened to this site? Does everyone in state of kentucky write for ksr these days?

  3. darryl isaac
    5:18 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    Mississippi St

  4. Always > U ..ofL
    5:27 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    @2. Yes, all of Kentucky – nearly four and a half million people – now write for KSR. …If you read the site more you’d realize Rashawn Franklin has been writing on here for a while. Who is #2 in the SEC is a compelling question, especially if you’re #1 – and hey look, UK is #1. So, the fact that you think it’s meaningless doesn’t mean the rest of us do. I say well done Rashawn.

  5. Always > U ..ofL
    5:29 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    …I’ll say FL too, although I’m not sure that will be revealed in SEC play, but might showcase come tournament time. I know that sounds absurd, but FL can play with the big kids and has the coaching to lead them. We can’t say that for a few other teams in the SEC based on their resume’s. Still, their are 4 teams that could end up #2 in the SEC this year. For now, advantage to FL.

  6. HOO HOO
    5:35 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    Hoosiers #1 and > than the Cayyyyyts

    What say you, hillbillies?

  7. NorthEasterner
    5:43 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    i love it when you folks from IN, WV, TN, and KY try to play the “those hillbillies, hilljacks, hayseeds, et all from (insert state)…” that thar is hick on hick crime!

  8. NJCat
    5:48 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    Miss St is the second best team in the conference… hands down. Both Florida and Vandy are flawed and have lost to bad teams. MSU has more size and talent and will whip them both.

  9. Big Blue Crystal Balls
    6:06 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    For Stallings I was thinking more of Patrick Star on Spongebob. Stallings seems like an uncontrollable drooler. One who would eat mayonaise right out of the jar. At least Kevin Malone tries to be cool. Stallings just has the kinda mug you’d love to punch. Did I mention I don’t care for the guy?

  10. BigBlueSkyDog
    6:09 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    Miss St.

  11. jww009
    6:23 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    I agree completely with the post. The Gators are hands-down the next best team in the conference…most notably on sheer talent alone. But lets face it, thats probably also gonna be true for the foreseeable future with Billy at the helm. Clearly, his program, attracts more blue chip talent than anyone in the SEC not named Kentucky. He is a heck of a good coach as well. Not going anywhere either. For a long time.

  12. old_school
    6:33 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    Vandy would get my vote.
    UK is the most talented team in the conference bar none – but Vandy combines good talent with experience – a deadly combination. Plus they have a decided home-court advantage – and maybe more than any other team in the SEC – this squad – because of their collective age and experience – are not in “awe” of UK.

    UK should win the conference outright – but if UK should stumble, and it could happen – I see Vandy at the top. Florida, Bama and others are legitimate NCAA tournament teams – but UK and Vandy are at the top of the heap.

  13. check it out
    6:35 pm January 11, 2012 Permalink

    try scrolling down to where you cut off the bald part of kevin stallings’ head. he actually looks pretty young and normal. then scroll back up and get another good laugh.

  14. bigcuzzz
    8:05 am January 12, 2012 Permalink

    Rashawn – it’s Gillispie with an “i”.

  15. Take it easy
    8:17 am January 12, 2012 Permalink

    I personally like Jimmy Dykes as a broadcaster. He is very passionate about college basketball, and he always shows lots of love for the Cats. Nothing wrong with either of those two qualities.

  16. Jimi Garden of Eden
    12:09 pm January 12, 2012 Permalink

    Kevin Stallings = Bill Doughtry on King of the Hill…