Busting Brackets

SEC Basketball: 5 key questions and storylines for 2021-22 season

Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Auburn Tigers SEC Basketball Julie Bennett-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn Tigers SEC Basketball Julie Bennett-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Which projected top-40 team is most overrated in your eyes?


Now that the 2020-21 season is over, it’s only right for me to admit that I was one of the college basketball writers/analysts who overhyped the Tennessee Volunteers. I honestly expected stronger regular season and postseason performances from Rick Barnes’ club (because of how promising their roster appeared to be), but their 2020-21 season should simply be described as a major disappointment.

I’m definitely not ruling out the possibility of Tennessee surprising me this season, but based on the newcomers and returners that the Volunteers have on their squad, I don’t believe that it would be wise for me to jump the gun on them again this year.


In my eyes, it’s Auburn. The additions of Walker Kessler and 5-star freshman Jabari Smith are going to anchor their frontcourt. They should be solid on the glass no question. My biggest concern is their backcourt and depth. Losing Allen Flanigan to injury did them no favors.


LSU. The Tigers brought in multiple solid offseason additions but could struggle early on to replace the lost production of Cameron Thomas, Trendon Watford, and Ja’Vonte Smart, especially with notable matchups in the non-conference against Georgia Tech, Belmont, Penn State, and Liberty.


This one is tough because both Auburn and Mississippi State have much to prove this coming season after losing such significant chunks of their identity from last year – but I’ll err on the side of the Bulldogs being the most potentially overrated of the pair.  Few teams have reaped the benefit of the transfer portal quite like Mississippi State, but the Bulldogs – for all intents and purposes – have constructed a team full of power conference outcasts (for a lack of a better word).

Ben Howland’s team is coming off an optimistic appearance in the NIT Championship game, is losing two significant contributors in 16.0 point scorer D.J. Stewart and 6.8 rebounder Abdul Ado, and is adding a collection of transfers in UNC’s Garrison Brooks (the 2020-21 ACC preseason player of the year), Memphis’ D.J. Jeffries (once a 5-star recruit), N.C. State’s Shakeel Moore, and former Michigan State starter Rocket Watts.

It’s one of the most eclectic assortments of players strung together on any roster this season, and it may be the literal definition of an “experiment”.  Until Mississippi State can prove that this “experiment” works, I’m not nearly as high on the Bulldogs as most.