Looking forward to the NCAA Tournament, we wanted to provide you with a team-by-team comparison of all the current SEC hoops resumes. Below you’ll see the league’s NCAA hopefuls as well as the NIT wannabes… all the way down to the duds of the league in 2010-11.
You’ll be able to find each SEC squad’s:
* Overall record
* SEC record
* Current RPI
* Current strength of schedule
* Current computer rating (from Ken Pomeroy)
* Record over their last 10 games
* Record versus RPI Top 50 teams
* Record versus RPI Top 100 teams
* Record versus RPI Top 200 teams
* Losses Outside the Top 100
Teams are listed below according to their current RPI:
||Vs Top 50
||Vs Top 100
||Vs Top 200
At this point Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Tennessee are all expected to be in the NCAA Tournament. Bracket masters Joe Lunardi, Jerry Palm and Andy Glockner place all four in their latest mock-ups.
But Tennessee is an unusual case. They have some very good wins (Villanova, Pittsburgh, at Vanderbilt) and they would get credit for two more wins versus Top 50 RPI squads if Belmont were to move up a slot from #51.
But the Vols have struggled down the stretch losing six of their last nine games. Against RPI Top 50 squads, UT has lost four of its last five.
Thursday, they face Arkansas in the first round of the SEC Tournament, a team that beat UT in Fayetteville in January. A win would definitely secure an at-large bid for Tennessee, but a loss? The Vols are probably in the field now, but to be safe, they can’t afford to tank against the Hogs.
Georgia is in the field according to Palm, but not according to Lunardi and Glockner. Lunardi has UGA as one of his “first four out” meaning they just miss his cut.
When you look at the other teams on the bubble from across the country — as we did here — you’ll find that the Dawgs stack up quite well. But they still have to do work in Atlanta to lock up a bid. First, UGA must face improving Auburn. The Tigers’ won’t help Georgia’s RPI or strength of the schedule, they’ll just be an added victory (if, of course, Mark Fox’s team gets by them). Beat Auburn and the Dawgs will face a potential play-in game with Alabama — another bubble team — in the second round.
UGA has a better resume than Alabama, but if they lose twice to the Tide in the final seven days of the season, will they get a bid over Bama? While most forecasters projected six SEC teams into the Big Dance for much of the year, we’ve sat patiently at five. Now that two gurus have dropped the SEC to four teams, we’re feeling even better about our prediction of five teams. UGA needs to beat Auburn and Alabama to feel secure about grabbing that fifth slot.
Alabama is the true wild card in all of this. They have finished strong, yes, but their strength of schedule (#125) is one of the worst among bubble teams. Even their nifty SEC record (12-4) was dampened by a 2-3 record against RPI Top 50 foes.
The Crimson Tide are the only SEC bubble team with a big reason not to include them — that strength of schedule. We spend so much time talking about why teams deserve to be in, occasionally we should reverse our thinking. Which team’s have a reason to be left out? If the selection committee takes that approach, then it’s hard to imagine Alabama getting a bid.
That said, could the committee ignore the fact that Bama would have beaten Georgia twice in seven days (if they defeat them in the SEC tourney’s second round)? Tough call.
To be safe, Alabama needs to put together a strong, deep SEC tourney run. In fact, they probably need to win at least two games and reach the league finals to earn an at-large bid. And even then things could still get tricky.
Our projections going into the SEC tourney:
Florida is a #3 seed in the Big Dance and could possibly grab a #2 seed if it wins the SEC tourney.
Kentucky is a #4 seed, but the Wildcats’ consecutive wins over Vanderbilt, Florida and Tennessee (on the road) have them on the rise.
Vanderbilt is in and likely headed toward a #6 seed, depending on their play in Atlanta.
Tennessee is in, but they can’t afford a bad loss to Arkansas in the SEC tourney. If they get in, they’re looking at anything from a #9 seed to a #12 seed.
Georgia and Alabama need to take care of business at the Georgia Dome to secure bids. More than likely, they’ll wind up playing in the second round for the SEC’s final berth. And that’s if UGA gets by Auburn.
UPDATE – Misters Glockner, Lunardi and Palm will update their brackets all week. This report was based upon their Monday night brackets.