For those who haven’t been keeping up, the Southeastern Conference basketball season is turning into a nightmare. The league is low on good wins out of conference, high on bad losses. Things have been so bad, in fact, that Mike Slive’s league ranks #9 among conferences in overall RPI. Yes. Ninth.
Unfortunately for the SEC, now teams will just beat each other up in conference play. Wins won’t count for much because there aren’t many high RPIs inside the league. Worse, losses will be more damaging because there are so many low RPIs. At this point, it’s hard to imagine the conference getting more than three berths in the NCAA Tournament and that may even be pushing it.
Florida’s Billy Donovan knows that the SEC may have little luck in 2013 because of its bad performance in the final two months of 2012:
“What you do in November and December as a league, it just sticks with you for the rest of January, February and March. On Selection Sunday, they’re talking about games that happened on November 18th — five months ago. Maybe the team got better. But because of (the non-conference woes) the league gets put in a box. The only way you get out of it is get as many teams in the tournament and do something.”
But it won’t be easy to get many teams in the tournament thanks to November and December. And the fact that the league moved three teams into last year’s Sweet Sixteen, two into the Elite Eight, and captured the national crown won’t likely mean much when the tourney selection committee convenes in March to discuss this season.
In terms of a catch-up, we present our first Tourney Files of the year. We’ll be updating this chart throughout the season in order to keep you abreast of the league’s NCAA tournament hopes.
|RPI||School||Overall Record||SEC Record||Schedule Strength||Last 10||Vs Top 50||Vs Top 100||Losses Vs 100+|
The SEC is 12-29 versus RPI top 50 teams. It’s 25-40 versus top 100 teams.
Overall, SEC teams have suffered a whopping 19 losses to teams outside the RPI Top 100. That horror show goes as follows:
#106 Elon 65-53 over South Carolina
#112 Southern 53-51 over Texas A&M
#113 Tulane 53-50 over Alabama
#120 Georgia Tech 62-54 over Georgia
#124 Iona 81-78 over Georgia
#128 Texas 69-55 over Mississippi State
#132 Loyola-Chicago 59-51 over Mississippi State
#133 Virginia 46-38 over Tennessee
#138 Providence 73-63 over Mississippi State
#139 Boston College 50-49 over Auburn
#140 Youngstown State 68-56 over Georgia
#173 Mercer 66-59 over Alabama
#180 DePaul 80-76 over Auburn
#182 Rhode Island 78-72 over Auburn
#205 Clemson 64-55 over South Carolina
#229 Marist 50-33 over Vanderbilt
#234 Winthrop 74-67 over Auburn
#281 Troy 56-53 over Mississippi State
#302 Alabama A&M 59-57 over Mississippi State
* Four of the SEC’s losses outside the RPI top 100 came at the hands of ACC foes. If the league could have won those four games, its own overall RPI would be higher and the ACC’s lower. Instead, the ACC helped keep the SEC down.
* Best of luck to the teams who will face Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina and/or Mississippi State twice this season as part of the SEC’s new scheduling format. Those RPI 200+ schools are bad news and bad news only. Beat one of them and a team’s strength of schedule will drop. Lose to one of them and a team will take a massive RPI hit.
* Imagine where the league would be right now if not for the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M. The Tigers and Aggies currently rank #2 and #3 in the league in RPI and are a combined 22-5 overall.
* As of today, Florida and Missouri would be the only two SEC squads guaranteed of making the NCAA Tournament.
* Texas A&M, Kentucky, LSU and Ole Miss would be bubble teams at best if the tourney field were to be selected today.
* Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas will have to have fantastic in-conference records to garner at-large consideration. We’re talking 13-5 SEC records or better. Anything short of that and they’re all probably NIT bound.
* Fans of Vanderbilt, Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina and Mississippi State can go ahead and start looking ahead to 2013-14.