Here is the third and final question that the five SEC blogging sites answered about Texas A&M and Missouri joining the prestigous SEC. Before I give you the question I want to remind my readers where you can find my SEC companions and their websites. For Tennessee follow along at allfortennessee.com or @allfortennessee on twitter, for Florida go to hailfloridahail.com or @hailfloridahail on twitter, For Alabama go to bamahammer.com or @bama_hammer on twitter, and for Missouri go to zoulogy.com or @mizzouzoulogy on twitter. Here is our final question…
In football, most SEC teams can still grab some great players because of the conference prestige; is it the same way in basketball?
Tenessee: Somewhat. The fact that Kentucky is in the conference greatly affects recruiting, but I don’t think the SEC has priority or first take. The ACC, especially now that it will add Syracuse and Pitt next season, is the basketball powerhouse, and any recruit that wants to play college ball will want to play in the ACC. The SEC gets some solid recruits, and occasionally has a really good team come out of it, but year in, year out, the ACC will be the conference to beat.
Ole Miss: Basketball in the SEC and football in the SEC are two totally different things. While the SEC is the most dominant in football I would have to say the ACC is the most dominant in basketball. Not only will Missouri and A&M have to compete with the ACC for top prospects, they will also have a challenge bringing in great players in the SEC with Kentucky and Vanderbilt grabbing them up. It will definitely be a new experience for these two newcomers and we will see how they react to the new pressures of joining the SEC.
Missouri: Maybe once Missouri and Texas A&M establish themselves as SEC schools. Until then, the ACC, Big East, and to an extent the Big 12 have better brand recognition in basketball.
Alabama: Basketball, as it comes to the SEC, is a different recruiting beast. So much of basketball recruiting, whether it be in the SEC or the Big East or anywhere, is tied into immediate playing time, AAU connections, NBA pipeline, etc. The SEC has been able to compete nationally not because they get the five-star studs every year (Kentucky excluded) but because they are able to put more complete teams on the floor. I don’t see the expansion changing that dynamic much at all.
Florida: Conference prestige, no. Program prestige, yes. Kentucky gets players because its Kentucky. Florida doesn’t pull in all of the top talent, but has been among the finalists of a number of big names in recent years. I think there’s less conference pride when it comes to basketball though. Not necessarily among fans, but among players. Think about the difference between the SEC championship games in each sport. One is a national event. One is practically just another game. I’m not in the heads of the recruits, so I don’t know what they’re thinking, but I tend to think there are few basketball players thinking “I want to play in the SEC.” Not because the conference is a bad one, but just because the perception is that much different than it is for football.