Slightly different kind of faux-hawk.
And, like so many of his colleagues in the biz, Gary Parrish has been duped into believing that a bunch of guys from Florida who have yet to do anything significant, and may not have even made the NCAA tournament last year if not for some extremely fortunate breaks (Chandler Parsons from 75 feet, anyone?), will all of the sudden turn into a powerhouse. Forgive me for not agreeing, but considering we’ve been waiting for what seems like forever for Parsons and the Gators to even remotely live up to the preseason hype that’s annually bestowed upon them, I think I might be onto something. Adding Patric Young is great and he will be a very good player, but the addition of one freshman doesn’t turn a team that lately has been softer than a snowshoe hare on a memory foam mattress into the army of Atilla. It just doesn’t.
I understand that preseason rankings are purely based on conjecture, and because of that can take solace in knowing that Florida will not be on top of the SEC when the time for postseason rankings rolls around, but it’s still epically frustrating when people essentially assume that because people who have always sucked are older now they’ll magically be worth a flip. I must admit that my pea-sized brain falls short of believing that.
And now that the rant about Florida already being overrated is complete, please enjoy what Parrish has to say about the top teams in the conference for the upcoming season.
The Gators return every relevant player from a team that made the NCAA tournament, then added a freshman in Patric Young, who has the body and ability to make an immediate impact around the rim. Detractors point out that Florida only won 21 games last season, only finished 9-7 in the league, and then they insist that’s not quite the same as returning five starters from a national championship team as Billy Donovan did in 2006. Guess what? I agree. But based on what was accomplished last season and what’s back for this season, the Gators should be picked atop the SEC East, and the SEC in general. NCAA tournament? Yes
I’m not sure how many coaches could lose five first-round picks and still be considered a serious threat to win a league title, but I know John Calipari is one of them. He enrolled the nation’s best recruiting class for the second straight year, and his Wildcats will be led by a freshman point guard for the second straight year, this time Brandon Knight. If Enes Kanter gets eligible, UK could win the national title. Either way, the Wildcats will be good. NCAA tournament? Yes
Bruce Pearl will make a sixth straight NCAA tournament at Tennessee as long as he’s allowed to continue coaching through March despite admitted NCAA violations. Fair or not, that’s the storyline overshadowing the Vols’ season, and it won’t go away until UT receives a notice of allegations. So calm times in Knoxville, these are not. But the on-the-court product should be solid enough to keep the Vols nationally relevant thanks to the return of Scotty Hopson and addition of Tobias Harris. NCAA tournament? Yes
You can find the rest of what he has to say about the SEC, and proof that there will, in fact, be basketball played in the western division this year, by following this link.
Boo Gators. Go Big Blue.