Before Ronald Steele decided to take a medical redshirt, many were thinking a return to the NCAAs and competing for the SEC Championship (regular season). Now, what should we expect?
Me, I still expect a return to the NCAAs. I say that thinking we'll we glued to the TV on Selection Sunday hoping for a 9, 10, or 11 seed. With Steele I figured to be a top 15 squad.
As for the SEC, IMO Tennessee is the class of the SEC with Arkansas being a close 2nd (on talent). After that, the conference is wide open, with the exception of South Carolina who should be as terrible as they were last season. I expect us to be fighting for 2nd place in the West with Mississippi State (or as Alias likes to call them- M$U). 2nd place in the West should be good enough to make the NCAAs (I know it wasn't good enough last year, but the whole SEC West well... sucked).
I'd like to project a decent run in the SECT, but history tells me the team is packed up by Friday evening on the bus back to Tuscaloosa. Still, a run to the semis would be great.
Making it to the NCAAs would be enough for me... unless the team we play against pulls a Wisconsin-Milwaukee on us (got Pearl his job at UT).
The talent is there... I feel pretty good about a starting 5 of Hendrix, Gee, Riley, Torrance, and Jemison. If the freshman are as good as advertised, Coleman gives solid minutes off the bench, and Tubbs comes up with key 3s, I think we're going to be alright. At least this season we know there's no Steele coming back and the team has to move on.