I believe we'll probably go around 10-3 against that slate. That's a loss to Colorado at home, a loss to Tech (because that's what Fox does) and a loss in the preseason NIT. That's a net improvement of about 4 wins the non-conference slate.
Part of that optimism revolves around the emergence of Marcus Thornton. Consider Marcus' stats before and after SEC play this year.
Also, consider Kenny Gaines before and after SEC play started with particular emphasis on the final nine SEC games (including the tournament).
|Final 9 SEC Games||28.5||17.2||1.8||0.8|
Charles Mann also improved as did JJ Frazier. It seemed like Nemi regressed a bit, but I don't think it's something to worry about.
In SEC play, we should get UF, UT and UK at home; however, we'll have to face at least one of them more than once next year. Regardless, we have the chance to win 10-11 games in SEC play next year.
If we end up at 20-22 wins in the regular season, we'll be on the NCAA bubble going into the SEC tourney. If Fox wants more than that, he's going to need to find a legit post player to replace Donte Williams.
Interestingly, Temple's starting big man Anthony Lee (6'9" and 250 lbs) has announced he is leaving Temple for his senior year and will be eligible immediately elsewhere (aka the Russell Wilson rule). He averaged almost 14 points and 9 rebounds per game for Temple last season. That kind of presence would revolutionize our roster. We are reportedly pursuing him, and we apparently recruited him out of high school. However, we're a long shot. Half the teams in Div 1 need a guy of his skill set and size.
Still...something to watch.