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Six NCAA Bids For The SEC? Looks Like Three Or Four To Us

calculatorEach year as the NCAA Tournament draws near, we do a pretty darn good job of telling you which SEC teams will land bids and which won’t.  That’s not because we’re blessed with a sixth sense or a high basketball IQ; it’s because we’re blessed with a calculator.

Season in and season out, about 95% of NCAA Tournament field can be predicted by us, by bracketologists like Jerry Palm and Joe Lunardi, and by you.  If a team’s RPI is within the top 30 in the nation, it’s pretty much a lock to make the 68-team field.  If it’s in the 40s, 50s or 60s, that team’s chances are slim.  If it’s 70 or up there’s a high probability it’s NIT time.

So when we saw ESPN’s Lunardi predict last week that six SEC teams would make the tourney field we did a double-take.  Six?  Try four.  At least going by the math as it currently stands.

Below are the up-to-date tourney resumes for each SEC squad as we enter the conference portion of the 2013-14 schedule.  You’ll see there’s a pretty wide gap between the top schools and those bringing up the rear.  We compare each team’s record, RPI and strength of schedule ranking (from RealTimeRPI.com), and record against top 50 RPI teams.  Finally, we tally each squad’s remaining games against top 50 RPI competition to see which teams have the most chances to improve their standing with the selection committee:

 

  School   Record   RPI Rank   SOS Rank   Vs Top 50 RPI   Rem. Gms Vs Top 50 RPI
  Florida   11-2   16   48   3-2   3
  Kentucky   10-3   19   12   2-3   3
  Missouri   12-1   29   105   1-1   2
  LSU   9-3   53   67   0-2   4
  Tennessee   8-4   54   27   2-2   5
  Ole Miss   9-4   79   86   0-2   4
  Arkansas   11-2   83   212   2-1   5
  Vanderbilt   8-4   94   108   0-1   4
  S. Carolina   7-6   95   37   1-3   4
  Alabama   5-7   119   9   0-5   5
  Auburn   8-3   161   259   0-2   4
  Texas A&M   9-4   177   242   0-2   3
  Miss. State   10-3   183   336   0-0   4
  Georgia   6-6   257   264   0-2   4

 

So what do we know at this point?

 

1.  The SEC is once again a pretty bad basketball league.  In fact, a terrible weekend dropped the league from sixth in conference RPI all the way back down to eighth, where it languished for most of last season.

2.  The SEC is just 11-28 versus current top 50 RPI clubs.  That’s horrible.  Especially considering the fact that eight of the conference’s teams have played two or fewer top 50 teams.  To generalize, most SEC teams haven’t scheduled well —  Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M, MSU and Georgia all rank below 200 in strength of schedule — and those that have tested themselves against stiff competition have mostly flopped.

3.  Looking at the far right column you’ll find that teams can’t expect to do a lot of real resume-boosting in conference play.  At the moment there are only three SEC squads in the top 50 of the RPI.  Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama all have five games against league-mates, but most schools will only play three or four top 50 teams inside the league.  Missouri will only play Florida and Kentucky once each… that’s it… no other top 50 RPI games for the Tigers.

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Palm Releases Rankings For All 124 FBS Schools

Computer guru Jerry Palm has posted his full college football rankings at CBSSports.com — from Team #1 (LSU, even without the Honey Badger) to poor, sad, Team #124 (Texas State and head coach Dennis Franchione).

For those of you just interested in seeing where your favorite SEC team ranks, here’s how his computer spit ‘em out:

 

 

1.  LSU

3.  Alabama

6.  Georgia

8.  South Carolina

11.  Arkansas

23.  Florida

26.  Auburn

47.  Mississippi State

63.  Missouri

64.  Texas A&M

68.  Tennessee

78.  Vanderbilt

92.  Kentucky

93.  Ole Miss

 

To put the rankings of UK and UM in perspective, Palm’s laptop says Eastern Michigan ranks #89.  Ouch.

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Bracketologists Break Down The SEC’s Tourney Chances

The bracket brainiacs are out in full force trying to project this year’s NCAA Tournament field.  (You can read our take on who in the SEC fits the NCAA profile and what they need to do in the league tourney right here.)  From ESPN to CBSSports.com to Sports Illustrated to Yahoo! Sports, everyone’s got an opinion.

For the sake of argument, here are those latest opinions:


Joe Lunardi, ESPN

SEC: 5 bids (Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt)

Tennessee is listed among “first four out” and Ole Miss is listed as “also considered.”


Jerry Palm, CBSSports.com

SEC: 5 bids (Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt)

Ole Miss is listed among “first four out.”


Brad Evans, Roto Arcade and Yahoo! Sports

SEC:  5 bids (Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt)

Tennessee is listed as being “on the bubble.”



Andy Glockner, SI.com

SEC:  5 bids (Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt)

Neither Ole Miss nor Tennessee is listed among the last four out.


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NCAA Expert Palm Rips SEC West, Auburn

How bad is the SEC West in basketball?  Pretty darn bad.  Just ask NCAA basketball guru Jerry Palm… as Paul Finebaum did yesterday on his radio show:

“When you look at the West, that’s an unmitigated disaster.  There isn’t one good team in the West… Mississippi is remotely competent, but if that division was a league unto itself it would rank below the Ivy League in the college RPI rankings.”

Ouch.  But Palm also took aim on Auburn specifically.

“Auburn might be the worst team ever in a major conference.  Or at least in the last generation in a major conference, not just the SEC.”

Where have ya gone, Charles Barkley?  (We know, Vegas.)

“This is my 19th year that I’ve been tracking the RPI and when you look at the big six conferences, Auburn has a chance to be the worst team in the RPI probably by 40 or 50 spots over the last 20 years from a major conference.  That’s how bad they are.  They are dreadful.  The numbers don’t lie.”

Actually, they might.  Palm says Ole Miss is “remotely competent.”  But on the hardwood they’re a miserable 1-4 in league play.

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