For SEC fans, the 2009 NBA Draft was about as exciting as watching paint dry.
The beginning of conference play can be quite an adjustment for teams, especially if you rely on players who haven't been through league play before. That may have been what happened to #14 New Mexico in San Diego, where they slowly lost control of the game in a 74-64 loss to San Diego State in the Mountain West opener for both. But the Aztecs suffered a loss during the game with Billy White going down late in the first half to a high (right) ankle sprain.
The buzz around the SEC this year was how much stronger the conference would be, top-to-bottom, with so many key players returning and new faces ready to make an instant impact. A year after getting only three teams into the NCAA Tournament, this was supposed to be a rebound year, with as many as six or seven teams competing for berths in the Big Dance.
Things didn't look too good for Florida State at the half of the Old Spice Classic title game against Marquette, going into the locker room down 30-18 after having shot just 29.6% from the field with more turnovers (13) than field goals (8). But they were able to fight back thanks to a change in strategy from Leonard Hamilton, who went smaller to better match the quickness of the Golden Eagles. The end result: Florida State winning the game on a Solomon Alabi baseline jumper with 11.9 seconds left in the game to provide the 57-56 final.
A new era of Kentucky basketball begins, but will the likes of Mississppi St, Tennesse, or Vanderbilt spoil John Calipari's entrance. Perhaps no league is loaded with NBA talent like the SEC.
Ranking players is more art then science. How do you compare the potential of freshmen with seniors who have already peaked? How much does physical talent come into play versus intangibles and experience? How big a role do numbers play?