The three SEC squads that did make this year’s NCAA Tournament each had a nice run. Tennessee reached the Sweet Sixteen and was three missed free throws away from making the Midwest Regional final and SEC versus SEC showdown. Kentucky went on to win that regional and advance all the way to the national title game before finally running out of steam. And on the other side of the bracket, Florida cruised all the way to the Final Four before falling to eventual national champ, UConn.
Will that success lead next year’s NCAA Tournament selection committee to send the SEC a few more invitations to the Big Dance? Probably not.
Hey, in theory, impressing in this year’s tourney could sway next year’s panel when it comes to SEC teams on the bubble. But the committee doesn’t often take last year’s success/failure into account when doling out at-large bids. First example: After winning back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007, Florida’s bubble was popped two years in a row sending the Gators to the NIT. In 2012, Kentucky won the national title. In 2013, UK was given a thumbs-down on Selection Sunday, dropping them into the NIT. One year’s success or failure doesn’t have much impact on who the committee picks and doesn’t pick for its tournament the following year.
On the flipside, perhaps the tournament runs by UF, UK and UT will have a positive impact on the SEC’s overall conference RPI ranking. That might not guarantee more bids in 2015, but it couldn’t hurt.
Early top 25 rankings look awfully familiar
Will the SEC be better next season? Not in the eyes of a couple of national hoops writers. ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan posted an early top 25 preview for next season. He has Kentucky — with a new batch of highly-touted freshmen — ranked #3 in the nation and Florida ranked #8. That’s it. Two ranked teams. He does mention Tennessee among his group of 15 teams that “may crack the list at some point before November.”
Meanwhile, Rob Dauster of NBC and College Basketball Talk has posted his own early top 25 rankings. Kentucky is ranked #5. Florida is ranked #14. And that’s it. No other Southeastern Conference squad earns a mention from Dauster.
UConn’s basketball success doesn’t mean much in a football-crazed culture
Connecticut’s men’s basketball team has won four national championships in 16 seasons. Over that same span the UConn women’s team has won seven national crowns and will be playing for their eighth tonight. If there’s a D-I campus where basketball is king, it’s the one in Storrs, Connecticut.
And that fact hasn’t helped the Huskies one bit in terms of conference affiliation opportunities.
UConn has campaigned try and gain inclusion in the ACC. No dice. Boston College wants to be the New England team in John Swofford’s conference. For that reason, Louisville — hardly a team located on the Atlantic Coast — got the nod to replace Maryland over UConn and others.
Connecticut hasn’t had much luck talking their way into the Big Ten, either. UConn lacks the resume — meaning a membership in the Association of American Universities — for which Jim Delany’s league lusts. Maryland and Rutgers received Big Ten invitations instead.
Conference expansion/realignment has been driven by just about every factor out there except basketball. And that’s a shame for Connecticut because UConn is fast becoming Basketball U with both its men’s and women’s teams.
What would a big game be without a few couch fires
Pity the poor, innocent couches. It’s become commonplace in recent years for college students to burn couches after big losses (Ohio State). They also light ‘em up after big wins (West Virginia). Mostly they just burn them when they’re feeling good and liquored up, regardless of a big game’s outcome. Last night, Kentuckians got in on the act.
According to The Lexington Herald Leader, there were 19 couch fires, several small trash fires, 31 arrests, and 23 injuries after Connecticut topped Kentucky 60-54. It was a disappointing, immature reaction that’s made news all across the web, the nation and the world.
There are worse things, however. Like being stuck with a tattoo bearing the words “2014 National Champions” above the UK logo. For the record, Tyler Austin Black says he’s going to keep the tattoo.
Betcha he has some work done to cover up the “2014″ at least.