South Carolina basketball: SEC projections for 2020 season

Frank Martin of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Frank Martin of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
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John Petty Jr. #23 of the Alabama Crimson Tide.(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

#10. Texas A&M

The Aggies overachieved in Buzz Williams’ first year, finishing at 10-8 in the SEC standings. Can he keep the momentum rolling in year two? They finished strong, going 13-9 over their last 22 games, and return about 2/3 of last season’s contributions. Williams needs another year or two before he catches up to the league’s top teams, though.

#9. Ole Miss

The Rebels lose one of the league’s great scorers in Breein Tyree, but they do return senior guard Devontae Shuler. Shuler has managed double digit production in each of the last two seasons, and he’ll be expected to take the reins of the offense in 2020.

The Rebels’ season could hinge on the success of transfers and the incoming freshman class. Romello White, Dimencio Vaughn, and Matthew Murrell were all highly touted and will look to make an instant impact.

#8. Arkansas

Arkansas loses Mason Jones, but they thought they’d received a big boost when Isaiah Joe announced that he’d be returning to Fayetteville. Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, Joe has now opted back into the NBA draft, leaving Arkansas to scrap together a team with freshmen and transfers.

A top-10 recruiting class keeps the Razorbacks hopeful, but it may be too much to ask. Freshman Moses Moody will be asked to make an immediate impact, and the five new graduate transfers will need to adjust quickly. Arkansas is likely trending towards the NIT.

#7. Auburn

The Tigers lose their top six contributors from last year’s team that finished second in the SEC standings. Of the six losses, five were seniors, which means the Tigers will need to rely on a young group to perform in a grueling SEC slate.

Youth doesn’t mean there’s no talent on the roster, though. Auburn has recruited will over the last few cycles, and one should never count out a Bruce Pearl led team.

#6. Alabama

This is where things start to get interesting. There’s really not much separating the team ranked at the No. 6 spot and the top of the league. Alabama returns John Petty and Jaden Shackelford in the backcourt, and they landed highly sought-after big man Jordan Bruner, who transferred from Yale.

Coach Nate Oats has the Tide trending in the right direction, and the group should have a chance to earn an NCAA tournament berth in 2020.