College Basketball Preview
M College BB
Weekly lineup
 Friday, November 5
Southeastern Conference
By Larry Conley
Special to

 There is no question that the balance in the Southeastern Conference has shifted east. There was a period when I thought the West would be a lot better, but not this year. Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee lead the way in the Eastern Division. Out West, it's all Auburn -- no one else is close.

Florida will be loaded with talent, so much that it's hard to tell how good Billy Donovan's team will be. Thanks to his tireless recruiting, Donovan has 11 players who can play. This may be the deepest, best team Florida has ever had, and that includes the 1994 Final Four team under Lon Kruger.

Other than Auburn out West, Mississippi and Misssissipi State have produced some pretty good clubs during the decade, but I think they are both down. LSU isn't where it should be. The club that might surprise in the West is Alabama. the Tide have some good young talent, and I think Mike Gottfried is an excellent baskeball coach. Plus, they picked up Schea Cotton, a terrific player from Long Beach, Calif., who should start for the Tide.

The conference has some greaet individual talent. Mike Miller and Chris Porter are the two top player-of-the-year candidates. Jules Camara may have a breakout year for Kentucky. People will look at Camara and wonder, "Where did this guy come from?" He and Jamaal Magloire should form quite a shot-blocking tandem in the middle.

All-conference team
Chris Porter, senior, F, Auburn: 16.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg
Dan Langhi, senior, F, Vanderbilt: 17.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg
Jeremy Hays, senior, C, Alabama: 12.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg
Tony Harris, junior, G, Tennessee: 12.4 ppg, 3.1apg
Mike Miller, sophomore, F, Florida: 12.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg

Player of the year: Chris Porter
Porter is so athletic -- I've never seen a 6-foot-7 player explode to the basket the way he does. I'm not sure I like his offensive game. I don't think he is as consistent as he should be shooting from 15 feet out. But when a ball goes up to the glass, a body will fly through the air -- and it's his. He attacks the glass. He is very good on defense, kind of like a middle linebacker. He is so quick from side to side that Cliff Ellis just lets him roam. He is a terrific basketball player. He made the difference on Auburn last year.

All-newcomer team
Donnell Harvey, freshman, F, Florida
Matt Bonner, freshman, F, Florida
Torris Bright, freshman, G, LSU
Keith Bogans, freshman, G, Kentucky
Ezra Williams, freshman, G, Georgia

Newcomer of the year: Keith Bogans
Bogans is a solid player with a great all-around game. He can shoot from long range, handle the ball and play defense. He came from a fine high school program that teaches the right skills. The Wildcats got the complete package when they got him.

Best backcourt: Auburn
The Tigers probably have the best long-range shooter in Scott Pohlman and one of the best handlers in Doc Robinson. They form one of the best backcourts in the country. The second best is Florida's with Teddy Dupay and Kenyan Weaks. They are only a notch below Auburn's duo.

Best frontcourt: Kentucky
Kentucky lost Michael Bradley, who transferred to Villanova, but retained Camara, Magloire and sophomore Tayshaun Prince. Nate Knight and Marvin Stone will back up those three and be solid. The five players give Kentucky a formidable and active frontcourt.

Team on the rise: Florida
The Gators will improve over last year and continue to get better and better. They have a stable full of great, young players -- freshmen and sophomores. If they stay at Florida for a while, the Gators have a shot at the national title. They are ready to next step as one of the elite teams in the country.

Team on the fall: LSU
Coming out of the '80s, the Tigers were probably as good as any team in the country under Dale Brown. But for the last five years, they have been going down hill. They desperately need a good season to turn it around.

Unsung player: Isiah Victor, Tennessee
Victor has been coming off the bench for the Vols, but at 6-9, 230 pounds, he really gets up and down the court well. He has a strong inside game and is quick and explosive to the basket. He does just about everything Jerry Green wants from him. He is a good all-around player.

Toughest road game: Arkansas
The crowd is so much fun at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark. The Razorback fans really get on the opposing team from the time they walk onto the floor. The students will read the media guide and get to know the other team's players. Then, when the players come out for the pregame shootarounds, the students unload on them. They are there two hours before the game, screaming and yelling at the opponent. It's a great crowd.

Postseason teams
NCAA: Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas
NIT: Alabama, Georiga, Vanderbilt, South Carolina

Mississippi State
South Carolina

America East
Atlantic 10
Big East
Big Sky
Big South
Big Ten
Big 12
Big West
Conference USA
Ivy League
Mid-Eastern Athletic
Missouri Valley
Mountain West
Ohio Valley
Sun Belt
West Coast

 Dick Vitale previews the SEC.
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