After this weekend's slate of SEC match-ups, preseason picks assumptions are starting to be proven true.
Florida is leaps and bounds better than everyone. Kentucky is young, but it appears that they will be a team that will finish with a middle seed going into the NCAA Tournament with a chance to make some noise. And Ole Miss has surprised a lot of people with their excellent record, but against the best in conference they haven't gotten it done.
Then there is everyone else.Teams that are struggling to score, break 60 points and are unable to win anywhere other than their home court.
The SEC is all about who can steal a road win this season, but no one seems to be able to do it. Minus the No. 4 Gators, who are 10-0 at home and 6-2 on the road — the best mark in the conference — SEC teams are a combined 118-37 (76 percent) on their home floor and 26-60 (30 percent) away from their friendly confines. Including two teams — Missouri and Tennessee — who are winless on the road this season. Four other SEC teams — Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State and South Carolina — only have one road victory.
That is amazing to me.Most figured this would be a down season for the conference, but there was optimism with the addition of Missouri and the Volunteers' surge into second place by season's end in 2011-12.
Besides the Gators, only three teams have a road record above .500. Kentucky is 5-4, Ole Miss is 5-2 and Texas A&M is just 3-2 — how they have gotten away with playing just five road games up this point I have no idea, and they'll only have 11 all year.
Yes, numbers at this point might be a little skewed because these teams are in conference play and there has to be a winner and a loser, but the fact that 10-4 have sub .500 records away from home just proves to me how bad the conference is this year.
Knoxville News Sentinel columnist Mike Strange wrote a piece this weekend about the SEC's lack of scoring ability — four of the six SEC midweek games failed to see a team reach 60 points — and maybe that plays into a team's inability to win on the road, but nothing appears to work.
Teams are just different on the road.Is it the hostile environment? Lack of experience? Mental toughness?
I don't know what the answer is. It's going to be different for every team, but the simple fact is that the SEC has shown its true colors for the year.
A conference, outside of the top two and maybe three, of mediocre teams who don't have what it takes to get the job done where it really matters: on the road.
— Austin Bornheim is a sneior in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.