Grand Canyon

For the first time in the history of the March Madness era, the NCAA tournament committee decided to release the top 4 seeds in each region. You could tell this was derived from the idea of the College Football Playoff giving weekly updates on the top 4 teams who could compete for the national title. I think the concept of the revealing was great and as the president of the committee released each seeding line it made you feel as if you were in the room with the committee hearing out their explanations. Not only did it update each team on where they currently stand nearing the end of the season, it also gave the common fan a look in to the decision-making process the committee goes through every March. And despite my constant bashing of the SEC, two teams managed to be acknowledged as top 16 teams as Kentucky and Florida both landed on the 3 line. Are these seeds going to stay the same come Selection Sunday? Absolutely not. But, for those people who tune into college basketball season following football Sunday coming to an end, it’s a nice way to play catch up. And more importantly, each team knows where they stand, and where they could be.

Player of the Week

Canyon Barry (Florida)

Canyon BarryCanyon BarryLike father like son. Well, at least from the charity stripe. Canyon Barry took a page out of his ole man’s book, and continued his legacy by shooting free throws Granny-Style. I’m glad someone proved this technique can still be efficient after watching Chinanu Onuaku brick free throw after free throw during his time at Louisville. Not only is Barry efficient, he is almost automatic, he is top-20 in the country in free throw percentage, and 1st in the SEC. His dad challenged him, and Barry made it his goal to hit 90% from the line this season. Barry is currently .899% on freebees. Barry just broke the all-time school record at Florida for most consecutive free throws made with 42. His streak came to an end in a 114-95 victory over Auburn where he attempted 12 and made 11. Barry also scored a career-high in that game when he dropped 30 to go along with knocking down 3 trey balls. Canyon Barry is making a name for himself at Florida, and isn’t trying to be remembered just as Rick’s kid. Canyon is the leading scorer for the Florida Gators who are currently riding a 7-game winning streak and are playing as well as any team in the country. He isn’t where he is because of his father’s name, but because he can ball. But, he should credit his father for having a minor influence in how he shoots his free throws.

Who’s Hot

Terence Davis (Ole Miss)

Ole Miss’ backcourt can put up points in bunches. When you roll up to the newly renovated Pavilion, your defense is going to be in for a tough one with the backcourt duo of Deandre Burnett and Terence Davis. We know Burnett is a fit for defenses after putting up a 40 spot against Oral Roberts earlier this year. But as of late, Terence Davis has figured it out on the offensive end and has been shooting lights out. In his past two games, he is shooting 24-34 which is good enough for 71% from the field in two victories over Auburn and LSU. In those games, he scored a combined 59 points, but he is not just contributing in the scoring column, in each of those games he grabbed 6 boards. Andy Kennedy was getting constant production from Burnett and [Sebastian Saiz], but outside of that there was a lot to be desired. Ole Miss is still in the fight for a potential spot in the tournament, and with the emergence of Terence Davis they might grab that potential bubble spot. The trio of Saiz, Burnett, and Davis could be lethal and pose a huge inside-out threat that would be tough for teams to guard. Don’t expect Davis to consistently put up 25+, but as long as his offensive production is still relatively efficient, the Rebels will be in good hands.

Who’s Not

The Health of the SEC

In basketball, it is rare to see many injuries occur throughout a season that are crippling to teams. Do they happen? Of course, but teams more than not do not come hobbling into the tournament. Not like Texas A&M could even dream about making the tournament this year, but their 3rd leading scorer and potential first round pick coming into this year, DJ Hogg suffered a foot injury that is going to sideline him for the rest of the season. But, that isn’t even the biggest injury news coming out of the SEC this week. Florida’s leading rebounder, John Egbunu is out for the rest of the year after suffering a torn ACL. You never want to see a player get injured, but especially not on a team that could potentially contend for a national title. Egbunu did not accel on the offensive end of the floor, but he made hustle plays, grabbed offensive rebounds, and did the dirty work for Mike White’s squad. This could potentially be a huge blow to Florida’s season going forward, but more importantly a setback in Egbunu’s career. Hogg and Egbunu will most likely be back with their teams next season, but right now they have no other choice but to look on from the sideline.

Since the NCAA committee gave us a look into their potential seeding a week ago, I thought I’d try my best to emulate Joe Lunardi coming off another week of turmoil.

Projected Bracketology:

Kentucky (3) – Kentucky finally seemed to get back on track after an impressive performance against Tennessee. If Cal can get his kids putting as much effort on the defensive end as they do on the offensive end, their seeding could potentially move up.

Florida (3) – I wanted to move up Florida into the 2 seed range because I think they’re playing as well as any basketball team in the country right now, but their resume does not stack up with what should be current 2 line (Florida State, North Carolina, Louisville, Oregon). I think Florida has the most to lose over these next coming weeks because they’re going to have to adapt to life without John Egbunu.

South Carolina (8) – I have been fighting all year for South Carolina to get national recognition and claiming that they should be amongst the top 5 seeds come tourney time. But, as of late I have lost my argument following two questionable losses in the last three games to Alabama and Arkansas. Sindarious Thornwell should still be in the SEC player of the year discussion, but his team is falling fast.

Arkansas (Play-in 11) – Arkansas could grab a bubble spot right now. Coming off a huge resume boosting win against a ranked South Carolina team, that victory could have saved their season.

Fighting for their Tourney Lives: Alabama, Ole Miss, Georgia

I don’t think any of these teams will end up getting a chance in the big dance, but they’re all still alive right now. Avery Johnson has his team playing well. Ole Miss’ backcourt always gives them a shot to run the table. And Georgia should not be on here with their record and resume, but they play Kentucky this weekend which can be a resume booster. Also, I wouldn’t want to run into JJ Frazier in the SEC tournament. It will be his last go-around, and I don’t think he is going to give up a chance to play in the tournament.

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