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SEC Coaches Open Up About Re-Seeding The SEC Tourney

Last year, the SEC East dominated the SEC West.  The four best teams in the league were all in the East Division.  But when the SEC held its basketball tournament in Nashville, there were two West squads enjoying the divisional seeding plan and the byes it produced for them.

During the SEC’s meetings last spring, the league’s coaches briefly discussed the idea of re-seeding the conference tournament 1 through 12, tossing out the division records.  But nothing came of the talk.  And now here we are again, with three of the league’s top four teams once more residing in the East.

According to The Mobile Press-Register,
Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings would like to see changes made.

“I do think it would reward the teams with the best records and I think it would be more fair.  We’ve had two or three years in a row now where a team from the East that finishes third or even fourth might have been in a position to get a bye.”

“I’m sure we’ll take that up at the conference meeting and see what the powers that be think,” Vandy’s coach continued.  “We had some discussions last year at our meeting.  It didn’t seem to generate a whole lot of traction… but I could see this aspect of it gaining maybe a little more.”

Stallings isn’t alone.  The Macon Telegraph reports that Georgia’s Mark Fox also favors changes.

“Everything is cycles.  And the last couple years the East has been maybe a little stronger.  And there may be years where the West is stronger.  I think the one way to protect against that if things get out of balance is to re-seed for the tournament.”

Andy Kennedy has said that he is still interested in re-seeding and Anthony Grant is also “open to discussing changes.”  Kudos to two West Division coaches for being open-minded.

The SEC should be in the business of getting as many teams as possible into the NCAA Tournament.  The best way to do that is to protect the league’s top teams with first-round byes in the SEC tourney. 

As Fox said, there will eventually be years when the West outperforms the East.  Changes to the tourney format shouldn’t be made (or not made) depending on which division is on top right now.  The changes should be made for the long-term benefit of the entire league.


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