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A Look At The SEC’s Tourney Resumes – 2/15/11

It’s less than a month until the NCAA’s Selection Sunday and teams across the SEC are jockeying for postseason position.  Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt are playing for higher seeds.  Tennessee is trying to keep a bid from slipping away.  And Georgia and Alabama are battling to earn at-large berths.

Currently, most of the big-name bracketologists project six SEC teams into the NCAA tourney field.  If we were talking about the period of time from 1999 to 2004, then we’d agree with them.  For those six consecutive seasons, the Southeastern Conference landed six squads in the Big Dance.  But that hasn’t been the case recently.

The league landed five bids in 2005, six in ’06, five in ’07, six in ’08, just three in ’09 and four last season.  As a league, the SEC ranks just 5th or 6th in conference RPI this season, depending on the service you use.  Add it up and we still believe the league is looking at five bids, not six. 

That said, what we don’t know is this: How the committee will fill the three new slots it’s created for this year’s tourney (big names or mid-majors?) and how many upsets will take place in league tournaments across the country… upsets that gobble up at-large bids from bubble teams.

Below, we’ll look at the league’s tournament resumes as of today.  Included are each squad’s overall record, conference record, current RPI rank, current strength of schedule rank, record in their last 10 games, and their record against Top 50 RPI teams, Top 100 RPI teams and Top 200 RPI teams.

Those last two stats are very important according to computer guru Jerry Palm.  According to Palm, no team has won an at-large bid without at least three RPI Top 100 wins.  And only two teams in the last 17 years have made the March Madness field without posting a .500 record versus Top 200 teams.

We’ll post these numbers in order of each team’s current RPI rating:


RPI
School
Overall Record
SEC Record
SOS
Last 10
Vs Top 50
Vs Top 100
Vs Top 200
12
Florida
20-5
9-2
6
8-2
8-1
11-2
17-5
14
Kentucky
17-7
5-5
10
5-5
5-5
6-7
12-7
15
Vanderbilt
18-6
6-4
13
7-3
4-4
9-4
17-6
25
Tennessee
15-10
5-5
3
5-5
6-4
10-7
11-10
41
Georgia
17-7
6-4
40
5-5
2-7
4-7
10-7
61
Ole Miss
16-9
4-6
42
4-6
2-5
3-8
9-9
87
Alabama
16-8
8-2
120
8-2
2-2
3-4
8-8
110
Arkansas
15-9
5-6
101
4-6
2-5
4-6
6-8
119
S. Carolina
13-10
4-6
82
4-6
2-7
3-8
6-9
143
Miss. State
13-11
5-5
103
5-5
1-3
2-7
5-10
218
LSU
10-15
2-8
133
2-8
0-4
0-8
2-14
271
Auburn
8-15
2-8
172
2-8
1-4
1-6
4-12



From this table, we’ll give you our own current SEC Hot List… our 1 to 12 rankings of the best teams in the league:


1.  Florida — If the tourney started today, the Gators might be a quiet contender for a #2 seed.  Look at their records against Top 50 and Top 100 foes.  To date, UF has been the absolute class of the conference.

2.  Vanderbilt — The Commodores have a slight edge over Kentucky for the league’s second-best seed.

3.  Kentucky — The Wildcats just barely hold the lead over Tennessee for the SEC’s third slot in the NCAA tourney.

4.  Tennessee — The Vols’ are just 8-10 since a 7-0 start to the season (which included big wins over Villanova and Pittsburgh).  UT needs to stop the bleeding to hang on to their at-large bid. 

5.  Georgia — The Bulldogs inch past Alabama for — in our view — the league’s fifth and final NCAA bid.  UGA can’t afford to stumble down the stretch, however.

6.  Alabama – The eye test says Alabama is better than Georgia right now.  This team’s defense makes it a tough foe for anyone.  But RPI and strength of schedule still must be considered and UGA is better in both areas.  For now.

7.  Ole Miss — Andy Kennedy’s team is haunted by a slow start in conference play.  But the NIT will take them… again.

8.  Arkansas — The Razorbacks (like Ole Miss) are an average basketball team.  Barring a collapse, the NIT awaits.

9.  South Carolina — If they can avoid a late-season swoon, they can earn an NIT bid.

10.  Mississippi State — MSU would have jumped ahead of Carolina on this list if not for a horrific loss to Auburn over the weekend.

11.  Auburn — We’ll go with Auburn.  The Tigers knocked off MSU recently and they also have at least one quality win (over Florida State).

12.  LSU — Zero wins against RPI Top 100 foes and an 8-game losing streak.  That’s how you steal the basement from Auburn.

 


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