Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
There is a clear cut top three in the SEC this season; Kentucky, Florida, and Tennessee. The fourth best team is up for grabs but I think the LSU Tigers are in a good position to claim that spot.
Last season: T-8th, 9-9 in SEC, 19-12 overall
Projected SEC Finish: 4th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Johnny O’Bryant (Jr)/John Odo (Jr)/Darcy Malone (Fr)
F: Jarrell Martin (Fr)/Jordan Mickey (Fr)/Brian Bridgewater (Fr)
G/F: Shavon Coleman (Sr)/Shane Hammink (So)
G: Andre Stringer (Sr)/Malik Morgan (So)
PG: Anthony Hickey (Jr)/Tim Quarterman (Fr)
Gone: G-Charles Carmouche, F/C-Eddie Ludwig, PF-Jalen Courtney (transfer-Morehead State), C-Andrew Del Piero, PG-Corban Collins (transfer-Morehead State)
Head coach Johnny Jones returns four starters all who averaged double digit points per game. Former McDonald’s All-American Johnny O’Bryant anchors that group in the middle as he led the team in scoring and rebounding. The physical big man figures to be joined in the starting frontcourt by another McDonald’s All-American, Jarrell Martin. Martin is an athletic forward who should complement O’Bryant and possibly make LSU’s entire starting five surpass ten points per game.
LSU will have improved depth inside with four other newcomers. Jordan Mickey is the best of that group and has plenty of upside as a combo forward. He was initially ruled ineligible by the NCAA but has since been cleared to play. JUCO transfer John Odo and Darcy Malone add size behind O’Bryant while Brian Bridgewater is an undersized but physical power forward.
The Tigers have plenty of experience in their backcourt with the undersized duo of Andre Stinger and Anthony Hickey. Combined they have 133 starts between them and use their speed and quickness to be nuisances on the defensive end. Hickey will spend most of the time running the point though Stringer can play the one as well. Stringer is also the team’s top three-point threat as he connected on nearly 41% of his triple tries last season.
After spending a decent chunk of last season playing out of position at power forward, Shavon Coleman slides back to his more natural small forward spot and moves from LSU’s sixth man to the starting five. Malik Morgan will once again be a valuable reserve while Shane Hammink adds more depth on the wing. Tim Quarterman could see spot minutes at the point.
UNC-Asheville transfer Keith Hornsby also joined the Tigers program this summer. He averaged 15 points per game last season as a sophomore but will have to sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules. (Fun fact, his dad is legendary musician, Bruce Hornsby.)
Heading into this season, there really are a handful of candidates that could be considered the fourth best team in the SEC. The LSU Tigers will rely heavily on their talented starting five and if they can get enough production from their bench, should end their four year NCAA Tournament drought.
Player to Watch: Jarrell Martin
It was a huge get for Jones to keep the Baton Rouge native in his home state and perhaps the biggest recruit LSU has secured in a decade. He is extremely explosive and athletic while also being a terrific rebounder. His length will be problematic on the defensive end and while he may not be a star right away due to the upperclassmen joining him in the starting five, Martin should be a terrific role player/glue guy in year one with the Tigers.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/12 at UMass
11/28 vs. St. Joseph’s (Old Spice Classic)
11/29 vs. Memphis/Siena (Old Spice Classic)
11/28 vs. Oklahoma State/Purdue/Butler/Washington State (Old Spice Classic)
12/18 at Texas Tech
12/21 vs. UAB
1/4 at Rhode Island
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#56 Saint Mary’s
#60 Florida Gulf Coast
#64 Florida State
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#70 Miami FL
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#84 Washington State
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks