Player of the Week
Jordan McRae - Tennessee
McRae has been the hottest player in the SEC over the last two weeks. He's averaging just below 30 points per game over his last four and has launched the Vols from NIT team to the NCAA bubble. The team lost a crucial game in Athens against the Bulldogs on Saturday but it wasn't the play of McRae that caused the Vols to come up short. He scored a game high 35 points on 10 of 15 shooting. He hit eight 3's, grabbed six rebounds, dished out 3 assists and added a block and a steal in the loss. He was the best player on the court for 39 minutes before fouling out against Georgia and is quietly making a name for himself and upping his draft stock going into next season. He has greatly improved his game from last season to this one and could be a legitimate pro prospect if he could add 10-15 pounds to his frame. He can score in a variety of ways and is an above average defender. At 6'5 he has the length to be an off guard in the league if he continues to improve on his All-SEC numbers from this season.
Charles Carmouche - LSU
The 5th year senior for the Tigers has had an up and down season but seems to have finally found his stroke over the last few weeks. He has four 20+ point games in his last five sandwiched around a 0 point three minute effort against Tennessee where he reportedly got into it with some of his coaches. The little spat might have been just what the doctor ordered for Carmouch and the team. The Tigers are currently not not in Joe Lunardi's bracket and likely won't be unless they can win out and make it to the Championship game in the SEC Tournament. Carmouche is trying to make that a reality. He's known for his three point shooting but up until recently had struggled with his shot leading to a roller coaster ride with minutes and opportunities for most of the season.
Elston Turner - Texas A&M
Turner has been the most important player on the A&M squad all season. He leads the team in scoring and has had career performances against Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tennessee scoring 40, 37 and 38 points respectively in those contests. Last week against Ole Miss and South Carolina, Turner posted two 10 for 17 games while going 4 of 8 from beyond the arc in both contests. Turner is a solid defender with great shooting touch. He can stroke it from deep but also has a silky mid-range game off the dribble. The Aggie season hasn't been that successful overall but Turner has made a name for himself moving forward. His NBA prospects aren't much currently but he has the game that could translate at the next level with some work and should latch on with a team as a free agent.
Marshall Henderson - Ole Miss
Henderson still leads the SEC in scoring but his numbers are inflated and anyone who watches Ole Miss basketball knows it. He has taken more than double the amount of shots than the next closes person on the team and his field goal percentage has dipped below 38% overall. Early in the season it was his timely shooting and fiery personality that led this team but now the shots aren't falling and the team is struggling. He's scored 34 points in the last two games but again, those numbers are inflated as he has shot the ball 19 times in both games. Out of those 38 shots, 31 of them were from three and he only hit 9 of them (29%). As much as Henderson has shot his team into some games this season, he has shot them out of just as many and going forward he needs to be more efficient or this team won't go anywhere in March.
Top 3 Story Lines Heading into the SEC Tournament
1. Does Kentucky have enough firepower?
Kentucky struggled this season with a healthy Nerlens Noel and now that he is done for the season, Kentucky is searching for answers. The team is currently one of the "Last Four Out" and will need to win their remaining two games plus at least one game in the SEC Tournament to guarantee a spot in the Big Dance. Ryan Harrow, Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin will need to all play exceptionally well over the next two weeks if Kentucky is going to have the firepower to take down the Gators and whoever they match up with in the Tournament.
2. Can Florida get healthy?
A rash of injuries has derailed the Gators lately and almost assuredly cost them a chance at a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Will Yeguete, and Michael Frazier are both healthy and both played against Alabama on Saturday. Casey Prather has rebounded from two early concussions to play well down the stretch. The Gators were one of, if not the best teams in the country when they were healthy early on in the season and will look to regain that form now that they have a completely healthy roster.
3. Can Tennessee get off the bubble?
The Vols had been one of the hottest teams in the SEC until Saturday's loss at Georgia. The Vols were walking a tight rope as it was with regards to their resume and the loss to the 13-15 Bulldogs didn't do anything to help their cause or their resume. Jordan McRae has done everything in his power to will this team into the tournament and will have one final shot coming to the SEC Tournament. If he can continue his stellar play and get the Vols to the Championship game on Sunday then they have a legitimate shot, otherwise it will a be an offseason of thinking about what might have been.
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