According to RealTimeRPI.com, the SEC’s “night of upsets” was a real kick in the pants for a league already struggling to land at-large NCAA Tournament bids.
Below are the RPI ranks, records and strength of schedule ranks for each SEC school as of this afternoon:
||Strength Of Schedule
1) The SEC is looking more and more like a three-bid league (or a two-BIT league, if you like). LSU and Tennessee are in and South Carolina should be.
Florida, Kentucky, Auburn and Mississippi State will need to win the SEC Tournament to grab a bid. I don’t believe that any of those teams’ resumes are strong enough to get them in by simply reaching the championship game, either. I think it’s win the tourney or go NIT-ing.
And deservedly so.
2) The league’s teams have shot themselves in the foot with their non-conference scheduling. In light of the other strength of schedule ranks around the SEC, Andy Kennedy deserves praise and Bruce Pearl should be up for sainthood.
Some probably think that if SEC teams have struggled so mightily inside the league, they would have been even worse off had they played tougher non-con games.
I disagree. While Florida has had trouble in the SEC (8-7 league record) they did beat Washington (#14 in the RPI) prior to league play.
Had Florida locked in just one more Top 50 win… or played a schedule ranked somewhere higher than #89, they might be locked into the NCAA Tournament right now. The same goes for other schools.
Remember, Tennessee’s record looks a tad pedestrian at 18-10, but their RPI and that gaudy strength of schedule will probably land them an eight-seed or better in the NCAA tourney (barring a late-season collapse).
A good loss can mean more than a bad win when the selection committee convenes each year.
SEC coaches should remember that next year.
3) Florida’s loss to Mississippi State dropped the Gators out of the RPI Top 50 and that hurts other SEC teams that have beaten them.
A component that the committee takes into consideration is record versus RPI Top 50 teams. Tennessee, for example, had two Top 50 wins against the Gators. Until last night. And South Carolina’s ONLY Top 50 win disappeared when UF dropped.
Carolina and Tennessee should be pulling for Florida to knock off Kentucky on Saturday. They should also hope that schools like UNLV, George Mason and Western Kentucky — all ranked just above Florida — lose in the next week. That might get the Gators back into the Top 50. And that would help the Vols’ and Cocks’ resumes.