Most surprising development so far?
As ideal as this start to the season has been, the most surprising development goes to the departure of Elijah Thomas. It's hard to speculate what exactly happened, but off-season injuries and a slow start to the season (coupled with the emergence of Tonny Trocha-Morelos) may have caused some frustration, leading to an eventual transfer. Certainly sad to see the highly regarded freshman leave knowing he still would have played an integral role this season and beyond.
Tonny Trocha-Morelos. His defense, rebounding, stamina, and range have been a huuuuge upgrade over where he was last year. His development makes the Thomas transfer less impactful in the short term, although it still hurts beyond 2016.
So far, it's been Jalen Jones. His good days put us on another level, and Danuel House has been a bit too reliant on volume scoring for my taste. Baylor was a nice bounce back to form for him, though. Hoping it continues.
Can depth be an MVP? There can be a case made for several players on the roster, but I'll give my vote to Tyler Davis. After struggling mightily last season in the rebounding department, A&M was desperate for a reliable big man and Davis has exceeded expectations. He plays like a seasoned veteran and has literally not missed a FG attempt since December 5th.
How wonderful was that Baylor game?
It was like a savage beating of that person you don't like or respect who hangs out with questionable characters and generally has no positive attributes. You know, hypothetically.
If you had to rank the Top 3 teams in the SEC, what would it be?
Kentucky, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt. Although we're much closer to #1 than we are to #3.
Kentucky, A&M, Vanderbilt. Kentucky looks vulnerable after falling to a not very good Ohio State team, but they still throttled Arizona State who just so happened to give the Aggies a pretty thorough beat down.
Predictions for the rest of the year?
A&M proved in the Baylor game that when they are dialed in, there isn't a team in the country they cannot beat. There are some interesting match-ups when #SECBasketballFever begins, including 2 games each against Vanderbilt and the Ben Simmons-led LSU Tigers. I'll take the Ags grabbing 2nd place to Kentucky and earning a 5-6 seed in their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2011.
If we stay healthy, we're looking at 13-5 in conference or better, with a real chance at making a run at the regular season title. It's not what I would call a likely outcome, but it's not impossible, either.
Areas of Improvement?
The offense has to look more fluid when Collins and Caruso are on the floor together. So far, Collins' outside shot has been enough to keep the defense honest, but history shows that won't last the whole year. If we ever get to a point where both of those guys are misfiring at the same time, we could have an awkward lineup decision on our hands.
It feels like the best has yet to come for Danuel House. His two best games have been against Gonzaga and Baylor (19 pts on 6-9 shooting vs Gonzaga, 17 pts and 8 rebounds against Baylor), but it still seems like he is finding his rhythm a bit. Fortunately, House has depth behind him to pick up the slack, but it'll take some star performances from the 1st-team All-SEC player if the Aggies want to contend for a SEC championship.