RBISPORTS - Last year the SEC got three teams into the Big Dance. It was one of the biggest disappointing SEC seasons in my lifetime. Consequently, as a result of last year’s dismal showing, the question a SEC fan has to ask them self is, “how many teams will the SEC send to the Dance this year?”
The SEC is making a better showing thus far if only based on poll comparison to last season. The only top 25 team at this point last season was LSU but this year the SEC has three. The Kentucky Wildcats are currently ranked #2 in the nation and joining them in the top 25 are Vanderbilt (17) and Tennessee (20). Interestingly enough they are all from the SEC East.
Tennessee has been ranked all season long but their stock has fallen like the economy and Vanderbilt has been a team that garners little respect outside of the SEC because of their strange losses to the likes of Western Kentucky, Georgia, and Cincinnati. Kentucky is the only team that has lived up to the hype and yet most pollsters see them climbing up to the top on the heels of losses by Big East Teams. It seems if some of the pollsters had their way every team in the Big East would be rated in the top 25. I know the Big East is good but perhaps the Big East as a whole is the basketball media’s version of the Obama crush.
What makes figuring how many teams the SEC will get in the Big Dance is the absolute failure of the SEC West to have some standout team. In fact outside the State of Mississippi, the SEC has no one to boast from the SEC West. Mississippi (17-7) and Mississippi State (18-7) are the two best teams and Mississippi is (6-4) in the conference is tied for the West with Arkansas (13-12) which to make matters worse is barely a .500 team so how are the teams from Mississippi and for that matter the SEC? The only other team with a shot right now is Florida (17-8). Aside from those mentioned no other team has an RPI in the top 65.
I would suspect that most SEC fans feel they deserve at a minimum six teams from the SEC to be represented in the field of 64. In all likelihood I suspect they will get six but no more. The SEC also needs to hope there are no surprises in the conference tournament championship. Of course one has to think that has a good chance of happening. South Carolina is one of those SEC teams that can come out of nowhere. Right now I see Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and assured of a spot. Mississippi is almost certain to get an invite but they need to win the West. Mississippi State will need to finish above Arkansas. Florida is the bubble team. The loss to Xavier really did not serve them well. Gators, you need a strong finish,