Crimson Crossover SEC Projected Order of Finish and Team Previews

With the season just under a week away, the Crimson Crossover staff has conducted a poll predicting the order of finish in the SEC for the 2021-22 season. Along with this poll, a series of team previews for each team will be linked in this article so you can view a more in-depth breakdown of each team, similar to last season’s SEC team previews.

The panel of voters includes 11 of the Crimson Crossover staff writers and analysts, who all voted for their predicted order of finish. Each voter ranked all 14 teams, and all of those votes were then aggregated together to create an average place ranking. The average ranking for each team was then ranked in order to create the predicted order of finish. The voters are:

● Andrew Parrish (@andrewparrish1)

● Matthew Landry (@Landry1117)

● Christian Sykes (@ctsykes13)

● Andrew Terry (@aterry65)

● Alex Boothe (@boothe_alex)

● Alex Brehm (@ajbrehm24)

● Gottfried Grant Johnson (@GGrantJohnson)

● Hunter Cruse (@HunterCruse14)

● Blake Byler (@blakebyler45)

● Griffin Smith (@BurnerGSmith)

● Mathey Gibson (@BCUPodcast)

Without further ado, here is the official Crimson Crossover SEC Predicted Order of Finish (with links to full team previews)!

1. Kentucky (8 first place votes)

Average League Position: 1.36

Highest: 1st by 8 voters

Lowest: 3rd by Smith

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: Kentucky’s 2020-21 misfortunes are long forgotten after bringing in a number of high-major transfers (Sahvir Wheeler from Georgia and Oscar Tshibwe from West Virginia, notably) and another top-tier recruiting class (five-stars TyTy Washington and Daimion Collins, notably). Calipari’s men should be back in their normal position at the top of the conference next season.

2. Alabama (3 first place votes)

Average League Position: 1.82

Highest: 1st by 3 voters

Lowest: 3rd by Gibson

The Skinny: Alabama brings back a number of key contributors from last season’s Sweet 16 team (Jahvon Quinerly, Jaden Shackelford, Keon Ellis and Juwan Gary, to name a few), and while they lose a number of seniors in Herb Jones, John Petty and Alex Reese, the new talent from the transfer portal (Furman’s Noah Gurley) and from the high school ranks (JD Davison and Charles Bediako, namely) should keep them among the upper echelon of the league.

3. Arkansas

Average League Position: 3.27

Highest: 2nd by Gibson

Lowest: 4th by 3 voters

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: Eric Musselman brings back three of their main contributors in JD Notae, Davonte Davis and Jaylin Williams, but the transfer class of South Dakota’s Stanley Umude, Miami’s Chris Lykes and Pittsburgh’s Au’Diese Toney should help bolster some of the losses and keep Arkansas as one of the contenders for an SEC title, even after losing Moses Moody, Justin Smith and Jalen Tate.

4. Tennessee

Average League Position: 4

Highest: 2nd by Smith

Lowest: 5th by 4 voters

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: The SEC’s top recruiting class, headlined by five-star guard Kennedy Chandler and five-star forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, will help replace the losses of Yves Pons, Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson, while John Fulkerson, Josiah-Jordan James, Santiago Vescovi and Victor Bailey bring a wealth of Power-5 experience to Knoxville. Throw in Auburn transfer Justin Powell to the mix and Rick Barnes and company should be in contention for a double-bye at the SEC Tournament and a comfortable Selection Sunday.

5. Auburn

Average League Position: 4.82

Highest: 3rd by Byler

Lowest: 6th by 3 voters

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: JT Thor and Sharife Cooper left for the NBA and a number of rotation players hit the transfer portal, but Bruce Pearl’s incoming transfer class of North Carolina’s Walker Kessler, Eastern Kentucky’s Wendell Green and College of Charleston’s Zep Jasper will help fill in around the core of Allen Flanigan and Devan Cambridge. Throw in five-star recruit Jabari Smith in the frontcourt and Auburn should be much improved from their disappointing 2020-21 campaign.

6. Florida

Average League Position: 6.55

Highest: 5th by 2 voters

Lowest: 8th by 2 voters

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: Keyontae Johnson’s medical condition that has kept him out of playing basketball for almost a year will be a huge factor as to how good Florida can be, but even if Johnson is unable to return to the floor, the Gators have a number of solid players in the form of Colin Castleton, Penn State transfer Myreon Jones, Tyree Appleby and Anthony Duruji. Mike White will be looking to have yet another NCAA Tournament team this season and perhaps take this team further than they’ve been since Billy Donovan departed.

7. LSU

Average League Position: 7.09

Highest: 5th by Johnson

Lowest: 9th by Smith

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: Losing Trendon Watford, Javonte Smart and Cam Thomas from last year’s team sees the Tigers take a bit of a tumble down from their 3rd-place finish last season. Adam Miller’s ACL injury in preseason workouts further compounds these losses, but the return of Darius Days and the incoming group of Missouri transfer Xavier Pinson, Cincinnati transfer Tari Eason and five-star freshman Efton Reid should help fill in the gaps from day 1. Throw returning players like Mwani Wilkinson and Eric Gaines into their rotation along with a top recruiting class and the Tigers still have a very good shot of being an NCAA Tournament team this season.

8. Mississippi State

Average League Position: 7.82

Highest: 6th by 3 voters

Lowest: 11th by Johnson

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: DJ Stewart and Abdul Ado are gone, but Iverson Molinar and Tolu Smith’s return to Starkville has brought some optimism despite those losses. Memphis transfer DJ Jeffries, Michigan State transfer Rocket Watts, North Carolina transfer Garrison Brooks and North Carolina State transfer Shakeel Moore are the headline additions, but a solid returning base of Derek Fountain, Cameron Matthews and Javian Davis should help sustain the Bulldogs to a level where they could have a chance to make the tournament on the right side of the bubble this season.

9. Ole Miss

Average League Position: 9.91

Highest: 9th by 5 voters

Lowest: 12th by Johnson

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: Another team that loses some senior leadership in Devontae Shuler and Romello White takes a bit of a dive after finishing 6th last season. Incoming transfers Nysier Brooks (Miami), Jaemyn Brakefield (Duke) and Tye Fagan (Georgia) should be helpful in making up for a lot of that production, and when you throw in the returns of Jarkel Joiner and Matthew Murrell and the addition of four-star Daeshun Ruffin, the Rebels have a lot of upward mobility if it all works.

10. Missouri

Average League Position: 10.64

Highest: 8th by 2 voters

Lowest: 12th by 4 voters

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: Missouri’s 2020-21 team was built on senior leadership, and now that that leadership has departed, the Tigers are left relatively barren. Xavier Pinson was expected to be a key piece for them, but he’s departed for LSU, and the incoming crop of transfers (Ball State’s Jarron Coleman from Ball State, Green Bay’s Amari Davis and Massachusetts’ Ronnie DeGray III) is a bit underwhelming for an SEC program. Still, the Tigers have a top-half coach in Cuonzo Martin who can buoy them a bit, but the Tigers will need to figure out some things before the regular season begins.

11. Texas A&M

Average League Position: 11

Highest: 9th by Terry

Lowest: 13th by 3 voters

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: Texas A&M lost a good portion of their returning talent to the transfer portal in the form of Emanuel Miller (TCU), Savion Flagg (Sam Houston State) and Jay Jay Chandler (South Alabama), but they bring in some incoming transfers from big-time programs themselves in the form of Henry Coleman (Duke), Javonte Brown-Ferguson (UConn) and Tyrese Radford (Virginia Tech), as well as Marcus Williams (Wyoming) who comes from a smaller program but has some individual pedigree. Andre Gordon and Quenton Jackson return to College Station to fill in the backcourt, but the depth outside of the players listed is relatively limited, lowering their ceiling to a mid-tier SEC team.

12. South Carolina

Average League Position: 11.64

Highest: 9th by 2 voters

Lowest: 13th by 3 voters

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: The Gamecocks bring back notable players in Jermaine Couisnard and Keyshawn Bryant, but bring in a number of transfers that don’t necessarily move the needle in the form of James Reese (North Texas), A.J. Wilson (George Mason), Erik Stevenson (Washington) and Chico Carter Jr. (Murray State). The loss of A.J. Lawson to the NBA is a huge loss for the Gamecocks, especially considering that they didn’t bring in anyone to directly replace him in the starting lineup that can match that level of production, limiting their potential to rise out of the bottom four of the conference.

13. Vanderbilt

Average League Position: 11.91

Highest: 7th by Sykes

Lowest: 14th by 2 voters

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: The team that had the most variation in voting is the Commodores, who have been the bottom feeders of the league for a few years now under Jerry Stackhouse, but should be improved with the incoming transfer of Minnesota center Liam Robbins. The Commodores also bring back SEC Preseason Player of the Year Scotty Pippen Jr., who raises their floor significantly. The key for the Commodores will be finding quality players to fill out around those two players, which will be a significant challenge for the team that has won 6 SEC games in the last 3 seasons.

14. Georgia

Average League Position: 13.18

Highest: 12th by Gibson

Lowest: 14th by 9 voters

Team Preview Link:

The Skinny: Georgia lost the vast majority of their production from last year to the transfer portal, and they were unable to replace those players with talent that is proven at the collegiate level. Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Virginia) has a lot of talent at the guard spot, but there is a distinct lack of talent with collegiate production. PJ Horne’s ACL injury is another knock to their roster, as he is the only returning player that played significant minutes last season (not including walk-on Jaxon Etter, who was used as a rotation player at times last year). Look for the Bulldogs to be a bottom-feeder in an SEC that is expected to be even better than last year.

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