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Arkansas 91 – Indiana State 71

Video highlights of the Arkansas 91-71 win over Indiana State in the first round of the NIT.


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The SEC Pays The Price For Bad Hoops On Selection Sunday (Again)

Head in HandsIn the end, the Southeastern Conference lived down to its reputation once again.  The NCAA Tournament selection committee looked at the league’s #7 RPI rank among conferences and punished the league accordingly.  Florida was handed the overall #1 seed in the tourney but Kentucky was arguably under-seeded and Tennessee was thisclose to not even receiving a bid.

Now, we just hate to say “told ya so,” but… told ya so.  Below are a few of our resume breakdowns from throughout the regular season.  While Joe Lunardi and ESPN’s Bracketology page had the league with five or even six teams in the dance for much of the season, our high-water mark was four.  And for the vast majority of the season we focused on three, stating on numerous occasions that only two teams clearly deserved bids at all:

 

1/6/14: Six NCAA Bids For The SEC?  Looks Like Three Or Four To Us

1/27/14: The SEC A Two-Bid League? Latest Resumes Show 7 Fighting for Bid #3

2/10/14: The SEC Still Looks Shaky When It Comes To NCAA Tournament Bids

3/10/14: Two Teams In, 12 Remaining SEC Teams Battling For One Bid (Probably)

 

We show you this not to rain on Lunardi’s parade, but to remind you that we’re typically pretty good judges of what the SEC’s NCAA prospects are long before Lunardi’s calculator arrives at the same conclusion (his last report correctly projected Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee in the dance).

The best example of the committee’s disdain for the SEC this season is Tennessee.  The Volunteers finished with RPI #41 and a strength of schedule ranked 22nd best in the country.  The Vols won five of their last six (never even trailing in those five wins).  Four of their 12 losses this season came to teams that wound up with 1 seeds in the tourney (three to Florida, one at Wichita State).  Three other Vol losses came to NCAA Tournament teams Xavier, NC State and Kentucky.  The Vols spanked ACC regular-season and tournament champion Virginia in December.

All that and Tennessee still landed in a play-in game, one of the last four teams to make the field at all (along with Xavier and NC State, ironically).

So how have previous RPI #41 teams been seeded?  According to the NCAA’s own RPI archives for previous Selection Sundays, like this:

Temple was a 9 seed last season.  Xavier was a 10 seed in 2012.  Richmond was a 12 seed (and a conference tournament winner) in 2011.  Washington was an 11 seed in 2010.  Texas was a 7 seed in 2009.  And Texas A&M was a 9 seed in 2008.

None of those squads were forced to play in a First Four game (they’ve only been around for the last three tourneys), and most of those teams were seeded higher than Tennessee.  Some much higher.

Is that a sign of disrespect toward Cuonzo Martin’s squad?  No, it’s a sign of disrespect toward the Southeastern Conference.

When you struggle outside the league — as many SEC teams did this year — it’s going to come back to bite the whole league in March.  And when you schedule laughably bad non-conference games — as many SEC teams did this year — that will also come back to bite the conference in March.

This year, the SEC gave several teams a pass on their non-conference slates because it didn’t want to cost its schools money by forcing them to cancel games that were already on the books and contracted.  Expect the conference office to be a bit more forceful in its scheduling demands for 2014-15, though Alabama proved that just scheduling better foes guarantees very little.  Anthony Grant’s team played Oklahoma, Duke, Wichita State, Xavier and UCLA in November and December.  They won none of those games.  So that doesn’t help the SEC’s RPI much more than scheduling five creampuffs would have.

The real fix for SEC basketball is an overall, league-wide upgrade in facilities and coaches.  That’s the only way the SEC will ever be able to build itself back up in hoops.  That’s the only way SEC teams can go outside the league footprint to recruit successfully — which is a necessity in basketball.

Until SEC schools start throwing more money at the problem the league will continue to suffer on Selection Sunday.  This marks the third NCAA Tournament since 2009 in which the league only landed three teams in the field.  That didn’t happen once from 1991 through 2009.  It’s time to fix the problem by upgrading facilities and tossing big bucks at proven coaches.  But there’s a catch.  With the league struggling for NCAA Tournament respect, most of those proven coaches might not want to climb on board Mike Slive’s ship.

Below is a look at all seven SEC teams set to play basketball this week and their paths to the Final Fours of the NCAA Tournament and the National Invitational Tournament…

 

SEC in the NCAA

 

1 Florida vs 16 Albany or 16 Mount St. Mary’s

March 20th, South Region

Next Possible Foes: 8 Colorado or 9 Pittsburgh

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 8 Colorado, 4 UCLA, 2 Kansas

 

8 Kentucky vs 9 Kansas State

March 21st, Midwest Region

Next Possible Foes: 1 Wichita State or 16 Cal-Poly or 16 Texas Southern

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 1 Wichita State, 4 Louisville, 2 Michigan

 

11 Tennessee vs 11 Iowa (First Four, Play-In Game)

March 19th, Midwest Region

Next Possible Foe: 6 UMass

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 6 UMass, 3 Duke, 2 Michigan, 1 Wichita State

 

SEC in the NIT

 

3 Arkansas vs 6 Indiana State

March 18th

Next Possible Foes: 2 California or 7 Utah Valley State

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 2 California, 1 SMU

 

4 San Francisco vs 5 LSU

March 19th

Next Possible Foes: 1 SMU or 8 UC-Irvine

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 1 SMU, 2 California

 

2 Missouri vs 7 Davidson

March 18th

Next Possible Foes: 3 Southern Miss or 6 Toledo

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 3 Southern Miss, 1 Minnesota

 

2 Georgia vs 7 Vermont

March 19th

Next Possible Foes: 3 Louisiana Tech or 6 Iona

Top-Seeded Path to Final Four: 3 Louisiana Tech, 1 Florida State

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Wow Headlines 12/24/2012

Saturday SEC Basketball
Kansas State 67 – Florida 61
Missouri 82- Illinois 73
Arkansas 95 – Alabama A&M 68
Winthrop 74 – Auburn 67
South Carolina 63 – Manhattan 57
Kentucky 82 – Marshall 54|
Indiana State 87 – Ole Miss 85 (OT)
Southern 53 – Texas A&M 51
Mississippi State 79 – Central Arkansas 72
Marquette 84 – LSU 80
Mercer 66 – Alabama 59
Georgia 64 – Southern Cal 56
Sunday SEC Basketball
Ole Miss 85 – San Francisco 78

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Florida Loses To Kansas State, Missouri Gives Illinois Its First Loss, SEC Goes 6-6 Saturday

1. Kansas State 67 – Florida 61. Gators drop second game of the year.  Patric Young scores 19 and grabs 10 rebounds for fourth double-double of the year. Video Highlights.

2. Missouri 82- Illinois 73. Tigers dominate inside with 58-35 rebounding advantage and 44-24 points advantage in the paint. Video Highlights.

3. Arkansas 95 – Alabama A&M 68. Twelve players score for the Razorbacks, led by 20-points from Marshawn Powell.

4. Winthrop 74 – Auburn 67. Tigers make only 3-of-23 three-point shots.  Tony Barbee: “A huge step back.”

5. South Carolina 63 – Manhattan 57. Third win a row for the Gamecocks – Brenton Williams scores 17 points.

6. Kentucky 82 – Marshall 54. Career-high 23 points from Ryan Harrow. Video Highlights.

7. Indiana State 87 – Ole Miss 85 (OT). Rebels rally to tie game in second-half but lose in overtime despite 27 points from Marshall Henderson.

8. Southern 53 – Texas A&M 51. Aggies can’t hang on to late five-point lead. Video Highlights.

9. Mississippi State 79 – Central Arkansas 72. First career double-double for freshman Gavin Ware – 22 points and 13 rebounds.

10. Marquette 84 – LSU 80. Down by 21 points, Tigers make it close – season-high 20 points from Andre Stringer.

11. Mercer 66 – Alabama 59. Crimson Tide blows double-digit lead – outscored by 19 points in just over 10 minutes to end the game.

12. Georgia 64 – Southern Cal 56. 12-2 run for the Bulldogs to start second halfVideo Highlights.

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UK Hires Minter As Assistant

It’s not official yet, but it looks like Joker Phillips has already decided on who to add to his staff.

Last week, running backs coach Larry Brinson and safeties coach Chris Thurmond were let go.  On Saturday, Steve Pardue — a Georgia high school coach who fed a number of players to the Cat program — and Rick Minter — former head coach at Cincinnati — attended a UK practice session.

Yesterday, Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com reported that Minter “has been hired as defensive coordinator at Kentucky.”  The job is believed to co-defensive coordinator along with current coordinator Steve Brown.

According to Chip Cosby of The Lexington Herald-Leader, Phillips served on Minter’s Cincinnati staff in 1997 and 1998. 

Minter comes to UK from Indiana State where he has been serving as linebackers coach.

Pardue is expected to join Phillips’ staff as well.

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