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SEC Hoops Update 12/19/11

Five and a half.

That’s the over/under for SEC teams making the NCAA Tournament in March.  And that number was set by our guys at the fabulous Casino and Resort in fabulous Possum Trot, Kentucky… in case you’re wondering.

As of last week, the SEC had five programs ranked in the Top 25, though some will likely topple out this week.  In terms of current RPI rankings, the league features five teams in the RPI Top 50 and a sixth at #62.

If the Big Dance started today, five SEC teams would likely receive invites.  But now toss in the fact that Mike Slive’s conference has had two teams reach the Elite Eight in each of the last two tourneys and the selection committee might be a little more liberal with the invitations this time around.  In addition, the SEC standings table won’t make the strengths and weaknesses of the divisions — and the SEC is still using divisional scheduling this season — quite so obvious to those on the outside looking in.

As we roll into Christmas week, here’s a quick look at how each league squad is doing in terms of overall record, RPI and strength of schedule:

Mississippi State
Record: 11-1
Streak: Won 10

RPI: 62
SOS: 193
Vs RPI Top 50: 1-0

Last Game: Beat Detroit 80-75
This Week: Northwestern State

Tourney Chances: Despite a weak schedule, MSU’s chances are likely good if they can keep winning.


Record: 9-1
Streak: Won 1

RPI: 21
SOS: 86
Vs RPI Top 50: 2-1

Last Game: Beat Chattanooga 87-62
This Week: Samford and Loyola (MD)

Tourney Chances: Are you kidding?  It’s just a matter of the Cats earning a #1 seed.


Record: 6-1
Streak: Won 2

RPI: 99
SOS: 289
Vs RPI Top 50: 0-1

Last Game: Beat North Florida 84-71
This Week: Florida A&M and at Hawaii

Tourney Chances: With that schedule, Tony Barbee’s team would have to get on one heckuva roll in league play.

Ole Miss

Record: 9-2
Streak: Lost 1

RPI: 41
SOS: 88
Vs RPI Top 50: 1-2

Last Game: Lost to Southern Miss 86-82
This Week: at Middle Tennessee State

Tourney Chances: The Rebels have shown that they could reach the upper-middle of the SEC pack which — thanks to an improved schedule — could earn Andy Kennedy a much needed bid.

Record: 8-2
Streak: Won 3

RPI: 50
SOS: 108
Vs RPI Top 50: 1-2

Last Game: Beat Texas A&M 84-64
This Week: Mississippi Valley State and Florida State

Tourney Chances: Barring major injuries and a complete collapse, the Gators will go dancing.


Record: 8-3
Streak: Lost 1

RPI: 24
SOS: 11
Vs RPI Top 50: 1-2

Last Game: Lost to Kansas State 71-58
This Week: Oklahoma State

Tourney Chances: The Tide have lost three of four.  Despite playing solid defense, Anthony Grant’s squad hasn’t shown much consistency yet.  Still, expect them to reach the tournament.


Record: 7-3
Streak: Won 4

RPI: 74
SOS: 110
Vs RPI Top 50: 0-1

Last Game: Beat UC-Irvine 66-59
This Week: Marquette

Tourney Chances: Pretty slim.


Record: 6-3
Streak: Won 1

RPI: 120
SOS: 152
Vs RPI Top 50: 0-2

Last Game: Beat SE Louisiana 62-55
This Week: East Kentucky and Louisiana Tech

Tourney Chances: The knee injury that took down Marshawn Powell for the year likely killed the Hogs’ hopes of reaching the NCAA tourney, too.


Record: 6-4
Streak: Lost 1

RPI: 12
SOS: 1
Vs RPI Top 50: 0-4

Last Game: Lost to Indiana State
This Week: Longwood and Lafayette

Tourney Chances: The SEC’s most-experienced team has been dealing with injuries so far.  Expect them to right the ship and reach the Dance.


Record: 5-5
Streak: Won 1

RPI: 86
SOS: 38
Vs RPI Top 50: 0-1

Last Game: Beat Southern Cal 63-59
This Week: Mercer and Furman

Tourney Chances: Slim.

South Carolina

Record: 4-6
Streak: Lost 1

RPI: 204
SOS: 129
Vs RPI Top 50: 0-2

Last Game: Lost to Ohio State 74-66
This Week: SE Louisiana

Tourney Chances: Not good against an SEC “East” schedule, but getting their best player in Bruce Ellington back should help.


Record: 3-6
Streak: Lost 4

RPI: 276
SOS: 148
Vs RPI Top 50: 0-1

Last Game: Lost to College of Charleston 71-65
This Week: UNC-Asheville and East Tennessee State

Tourney Chances:  Nil.  Cuonzo Martin inherited a roster with more holes than a slab of Swiss cheese.


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