The preseason SEC player of the year had the option to go to the NBA draft after his performance last season, but chose to return to Vanderbilt for his junior year. So far, he has not disappointed: Pippen averaged 22.5 points per game and led Vanderbilt to a 2-0 start on the season with wins over Alabama State and Texas State.
"Scotty Pippen Jr. and the Commodores are bringing an energy to Nashville that is unmatched from previous seasons. Vanderbilt has outscored their opponents by 19 points in both of their first games. Don't be surprised to see juniors Jordan Wright and Scotty Pippen Jr. to make a formidable push into March Madness," said Andrew Wilf, assistant sports editor of the Vanderbilt Hustler to Reflector staff this past week.
Vanderbilt's last winning season was in 2016-17 when they made the Big Dance.
GAMES TO WATCH:
Vanderbilt vs. VCU, Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Central Time on SEC Network+
Scotty Pippen Jr. looks to continue his stellar play against the Rams of VCU. VCU was a team that made the NCAA Tournament last season, but had it snatched away because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the program. The Rams have not gotten off to a good start this season, but this is an opportunity for a quality win for Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt has three players averaging more points per game than the Rams' top scorer, as the Commodores have scored almost 35 more points per game than the Rams.
Texas A&M vs. Houston Baptist, Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. Central Time on SEC Network+.
The Aggies of Texas A&M currently hold a share of the best record in the SEC at 3-0, with wins over North Florida, Abilene Christian and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Led by sophomore forward Henry Coleman III, this team currently leads the SEC in free throw percentage, which proved to be important in the double-overtime win against Abilene Christian.
Kentucky vs. Mount St. Mary, Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. Central Time on SEC Network.
Kentucky opened the season as the top-ranked SEC team before losing their first game to Duke in the Champions Classic. The Wildcats did bounce back in a trampling over Robert Morris Friday evening.
Junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe has the most absurd statline through one week of college basketball, averaging 15.5 points, 20 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.
"Kentucky 6-9, 254 pound sophomore center Oscar Tshiebwe looks like he could average 16 plus rebounds a game, lead the SEC in rebounding if he can stay on the floor. guy is a beast." -Dick Weiss (@HoopsWeiss on Twitter).
Tshiebwe has set the Kentucky record for most rebounds in a player's first two games for the Wildcats (40). The transfer from West Virginia has had a huge impact for Kentucky early in the season.
QUICK HITS ACROSS THE SEC:
Alabama has looked dominant in both games so far this season, leading the SEC in points per game with 98.5.
Florida is the only team with a ranked win, with their win over then No. 20 Florida State, earning them a top-25 ranking at No. 24.
Arkansas, Tennessee and Auburn have handled business as expected for ranked SEC teams, each winning both of their respective games by double-digits.
South Carolina and Georgia have each lost a game they were expected to win, a brutal start for two teams picked to finish in the bottom-third preseason.
Ole Miss has dominated on the offensive side so far, averaging 87.5 points per game and winning both games by at least 20 points.
MSU has looked like one of the better defensive teams in the nation, holding both opponents they've faced to under 50 points, including a 16-point first half against Montana.
LSU looks like a team, especially in their win over Liberty, that will make some noise throughout the season, led by senior forward Darius Days. This can easily be a NCAA Tournament team, one that can make a deep run as well with talent on the roster from top to bottom.
Missouri has one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the SEC, and they took a brutal loss Monday evening to University of Missouri- Kansas City. This is the worst loss of any SEC team this week, as UMKC came into the game winless on the season.
FIVE OTHER MATCHUPS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Marquette at Ole Miss - Thursday at 6:00 p.m. Central Time on SEC Network.
Auburn at South Florida - Friday at 6:00 p.m. Central Time on ESPN+.
Georgia Tech at Georgia - Friday at 8:00 p.m. Central Time on SEC Network.
Villanova at Tennessee - Saturday at 12:00 p.m. Central Time on ESPN News.
SMU at Missouri - Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Central Time on CBS Sports Network.