Busting Brackets

SEC Basketball: Alabama, Auburn leads way-too-early power rankings for 2024-25 season

The 16-team SEC is set to be one of college basketball's most talented conferences.
Clemson v Alabama
Clemson v Alabama / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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9. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State was a stingy group last year, bolstering a hard-nosed, KenPom top-25 defense. The Bulldogs would earn a trip to the Big Dance as an eight seed but would lose in the first round to Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans, finishing the season with a 21-14 (8-10) record.

All things aside, it was another successful season in Starkville under Chris Jans. However, where the Bulldogs struggled the most was taking care of the basketball. They averaged 13 turnovers per game, according to TeamRankings. Expect that number to change (for the better) with their dynamic backcourt in place.

Josh Hubbard, one of the SEC’s best freshmen and the team’s leading scorer, will return. Jans will also welcome Riley Kugel (Florida), Kanye Clary (Penn State) and Claudell Harris Jr. (Charleston Southern/Boston College) to round out their talented backcourt.

However, the roster is disproportionate in terms of proven backcourt and frontcourt production. For example, replacing Tolu Smith, the heartbeat of the Bulldogs frontcourt, was never going to be easy. Returning Cam Matthews, who earned All-SEC defensive honors, was a start. Landing Michael Nwoko (Miami FL) was another plus, although his production is rather unproven. 

In typical Chris Jans fashion, the Bulldog's frontcourt pieces will crash the boards and clean up the glass -- which can open the floor for their guards from the perimeter. It’s a talented roster, but it might take some time to gel into a finished product come March.