Working from home sometimes gets boring. I work with some great people at SDS, but I’ve only met them in person once (at the 2018 SEC Media Days), and that lack of day-to-day human interaction can make a guy lonely sometimes.
However, when it comes to this time of year, working from home is the absolute greatest thing in the world. I can say that this is probably my favorite time of year (and not just because today is my birthday).
Working from home allows me to watch all the basketball I want. Yes, I would watch basketball in the office back when I worked at the newspaper in Park City, but my boss sometimes made me feel a little bit guilty about it.
For the next three weeks, though, I’m going to have basketball on from the time the first games tip off to the time the West Coast games come to an end late at night. Add in spring training baseball (and eventually, Opening Day) and it’s a great time to be a sports fan.
So, enjoy postseason basketball and enjoy this week’s SDS Mailbag. Here are your questions:
So the SEC might get 7 or 8 teams in the NCAA Tournament. Last year, the SEC got 8 teams in, but only 2 (Texas A&M and Kentucky) made it to the second weekend and none made it to the Elite Eight. Which teams do you see going furthest this year?
Well, hopefully they’ll at least get one team in the Elite Eight, so let’s start there. As you know, a lot of it comes down to matchups and how the bracket stacks up.
However, when you look at last year, Tennessee was the highest-seeded SEC team, earning a No. 3 seed before losing to a Cinderella in red-hot Loyola-Chicago. Auburn was a No. 4 seed and Kentucky was a No. 5 seed. This March, Tennessee and Kentucky are still in the mix for No. 1 seeds and LSU should be at least a No. 3 seed (even with all the trouble surrounding the program).
I think this is the year Tennessee makes a deep run, with it being Admiral Schofield’s (and likely Grant Williams’) last run in a Vols uniform. This team will be hungry, and that means they won’t lose to any mid-major darlings like Loyola-Chicago this time around. Kentucky also has all the makings of an Elite Eight squad (or better), especially if they’re the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the South region.
Then, for a couple of other options, I think Auburn and Ole Miss are both dangerous teams because of their guard play. Guards are so important in March, and both teams have dynamic backcourts.
Even if the SEC gets 7 teams in this year instead of the 8 they got last year, I think more teams will make the second weekend of the tourney. That speaks a lot to the talent level of the conference, which is quickly becoming the No. 2 conference in college basketball (behind the ACC).
I enjoyed your breakdown of the SEC Tournament on the podcast on Tuesday. Now that it’s Friday, how are your predictions holding up? Also, since it’s Friday, happy birthday!
Thanks, Dad! Happy birthday to you on Tuesday! As far as my predictions go, I’m actually writing this on Thursday, but so far, so good. I predicted both Mizzou and Texas A&M to win and then not advance any further, so good call there on my part.
I also jokingly predicted that Vanderbilt would score exactly 57 points in the game against Texas A&M and almost came through on that one. I actually picked the under, and they scored 52 points, so good job by me.
So far, the tournament is setting up to have some great matchups on Friday, though, so you can bet I’ll spend a good part of my birthday on the couch, drinking a beer and watching LSU, Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina play for the first time in Nashville.
My prediction of Tennessee beating Auburn in the final is still alive, too, so that’s a good thing.
Now that Jacob Eason will get to start, will he look better than Jake Fromm? Stats? Eye test?
Will Feleipe Franks outperform Jake Fromm in yards and touchdowns AGAIN in 2019?
It’s interesting that we had two questions this week about other quarterbacks outperforming Jake Fromm, so I decided to lump them together. First of all, I find it important to note that Franks did not outperform Fromm in either category in 2018.
Fromm threw for 2,761 yards and 30 touchdowns, while Franks threw for 2,457 yards and 24 touchdowns. As for this year, it wouldn’t surprise me if Franks outperformed Fromm statistically, but that doesn’t mean I think the Gators will be better than the Bulldogs.
Georgia has to replace Terry Godwin, Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley and Isaac Nauta in the passing game, so that will be difficult. Yes, they still have plenty of talented athletes, but with a new offensive coordinator and a talented backfield that will feature D’Andre Swift, I could see Fromm taking a step back statistically as the Dawgs rely more on their running game.
Franks, meanwhile, has a strong running game returning, too, so I think it’ll be close. Both are talented players, but Franks will have a shorter leash if he struggles. Dan Mullen could decide to make the switch to Emory Jones if Franks struggles for a game or two.
As for Eason, I’d almost be more surprised if he didn’t put up better numbers than Fromm. Eason would potentially be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft if he didn’t get hurt back in 2017. Yes, the Dawgs made the right call by sticking with Fromm, but Eason is still a special talent.
Add in the fact that he plays in the Pac-12, which doesn’t have the same defensive profile as the SEC, and he could put up some big numbers for Washington this fall.
As a Mizzou graduate, it seems the Tigers have had some awful luck in football and basketball in recent years. Are they the unluckiest school in the SEC?
As a fellow Mizzou grad, I find it tough to argue. The Tigers have been banned from the 2019 postseason in what seems like a harsh penalty from the NCAA. This past year, they also lost to South Carolina in a biblical rain storm and lost to Kentucky on an untimed down that came following a very questionable pass-interference flag.
Move to the hardwood, and the luck isn’t much better. Last year, they landed elite 5-star recruit Michael Porter Jr. and he got hurt in the first half of his first game with the Tigers (and still hasn’t returned in the NBA). His brother, Jontay, was a bright spot last year and was expected to fill that role again in 2018-19, but suffered a season-ending torn ACL before the year even began. Now, he’s likely off to the NBA, too (understandably), and the Tigers will be left wondering what happened.
Here’s how I’d rank the three unluckiest fanbases in the SEC:
- Mizzou — As I detailed above.
- Georgia — Brutal losses to Alabama the past two years, several narrow losses in basketball this year.
- Auburn — Wins title and then watches as their two biggest rivals become juggernauts.
Have a question for next week’s SDS Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.