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SEC RPI Watch – 3/4/13

gfx - by the numbersLast Friday we told you something that everyone else in the free world knew to be true: Florida and Missouri had already locked down spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.  We also told you that thanks to a stronger schedule, Tennessee — at that point — would be the most likely SEC team to grab a third tournament bid with Kentucky following closely behind the Volunteers.  We projected Ole Miss and Alabama as DOA thanks to a combination of RPI and schedule strength measures.

Over the weekend, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi adjusted his projection of this year’s tourney field and his view fell into line with ours: Florida, Missouri and Tennessee in… Kentucky and the others out.

For now, at least.

As we also noted on Friday, it’s tougher projecting the SEC’s tourney teams this year because, frankly, the league isn’t very good.  Usually it’s easy for us to eyeball the SEC’s teams, compare their numbers with the typical figures associated with NCAA at-large picks, and draw a clear line between the haves and the have-nots.  That’s not the case this year.  There are two haves and four or five almost-haves.

All that said, let’s take a look at the SEC’s resumes — all 14 of them — as they stack up with one week of regular-season play to go.  The digits in bold/italics are numbers to be concerned about, based on past NCAA Tournament selections:


  School   RPI   SOS   Vs Div I   Vs SEC   Vs RPI 1-50   Losses Vs RPI 100+   Losses Vs RPI 200+   Vs Non-Con (Away)   Non-Con SOS
  Florida   6   25   23-5   13-3   4-3   0   0   4-2   10
  Missouri   33   54   21-8   10-6   3-3   0   0   3-2   86
  Kentucky   51   59   20-9   11-5   1-4   0   0   1-3   69
  Tennessee   56   39   17-11   9-7   2-3   2   0   2-3   42
  Ole Miss   58   132   21-8   10-6   1-3   0   2   3-2   289
  Alabama   60   87   18-10   11-5   0-4   3   1   3-2   76
  Arkansas   80   81   18-11   9-7   3-4   1   1   0-3   110
  Texas A&M   84   56   17-12   7-9   2-3   4   0   2-2   41
  LSU   91   116   17-10   8-8   1-4   1   2   1-2   244
  Georgia   128   57   14-15   8-8   0-6   5   1   0-4   126
  Vanderbilt   132   68   13-15   7-9   0-4   0   1   2-4   59
  S. Carolina   204   135   13-16   3-13   0-3   5   2   3-1   316
  Miss. State   226   96   8-20   3-13   0-5   2   3   1-6   305
  Auburn   228   107   9-20   3-13   0-3   8   1   1-4   301


As you can see, Florida and Missouri have healthy resumes.

Tennessee has reason for concern with its RPI and those two losses outside the RPI top 100 (both to Georgia).  Kentucky must be worried about its RPI, its record versus RPI top 50 teams, and it’s non-conference record away from Rupp Arena.  (How the committee will view the Wildcats post-Nerlens Noel is also a concern.)

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SEC RPI Watch – 2/11/13

gfx - by the numbersAt this point, the SEC has pretty much nailed down the #8 spot in the conference RPI rankings.  And that’s not a good thing.

Judging only the team-by-team RPI ratings, four SEC schools appear to be in decent shape in terms of making the NCAA Tournament.  A fifth squad is on the bubble, but the league’s overall #8 ranking will likely make it tough for any SEC team ranked below 50th on the RPI chart to earn an at-large bid from the selection committee.

Below are the updated numbers…


  School   RPI   SEC Record   Div. I Record   Last Game
  Florida   4   9-1   19-3   83-58 W MSU
  Missouri   33   6-4   17-6   98-79 W UM
  Ole Miss   45   7-3   18-5   79-98 L @MU
  Kentucky   49   8-2   17-6   72-61 W AUB
  Alabama   64   7-3   14-8   60-57 W LSU
  Texas A&M   76   4-6   14-9   46-52 L @UGA
  Tennessee   85   4-6   12-10   66-61 W @USC
  Arkansas   100   5-5   14-9   49-67 L @VU
  Georgia   111   6-4   12-11   52-46 W A&M
  LSU   112   4-6   13-8   57-60 L @ALA
  Vanderbilt   146   3-7   9-13   67-49 W ARK
  Auburn   205   3-7   9-14   62-72 L @UK
  S. Carolina   209   2-8   12-11   61-66 L UT
  Miss. State   224   2-8   7-15   58-83 L @ UF



Kentucky and Georgia have both won five games in a row.  For UK, such a run was expected (inevitable).  For UGA, it’s a bit more of a surprise as Mark Fox has held his squad together and now led them back to the upper half of the SEC standings board.

On the other end of things are South Carolina and Mississippi State.  The Gamecocks have lost four in a row while Rick Ray’s thin roster of Bulldogs has endured eight straight defeats. NCAA Tourament Projection as of 2/11/13

If the tournament began today, Florida would be in with either a #1 or #2 seed.  The Gators are the only SEC team with a winning record versus the RPI top 50 (5-2).  Missouri would be in as well.  Ole Miss and Kentucky — with RPI ranks of #45 and #49 respectively — would likely get at-large bids.

Alabama is currently on the bubble with the nation’s 64th best RPI, but with the SEC down, that number probably wouldn’t provide the Tide with a bid.


Midweek Schedule

Kentucky at Florida (Tuesday, 7pm ET) — It’s a shame this head-to-head battle for the SEC lead won’t feature injured Gator Will Yeguete.

Alabama at Georgia (Tuesday, 9pm ET)

Ole Miss at Texas A&M (Wednesday, 7pm ET)

Missouri at Mississippi State (Wednesday, 8pm ET)

Tennessee at Vanderbilt (Wednesday, 8pm ET)

Arkansas at Auburn (Wednesday, 9pm ET)

LSU at South Carolina (Thursday, 7pm ET)

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SEC RPI Watch – 2/5/13

gfx - by the numbersWith everyone turning their attention to recruiting this week, we’re a day behind with our usual RPI check of SEC basketball squads.  The extra day hasn’t made much difference.

The Southeastern Conference still looks to be a three- or four-bid NCAA Tournament league to us.  The conference’s #8 ranking in the RPI just doesn’t inspire confidence that the SEC will be rewarded come Selection Sunday.  After all, while some other leagues have been getting six to nine bids in recent years, the SEC has consistently stayed in the three- to five-bid range since 2009.  Mike Slive’s league last grabbed six invitations in 2008.  So if the NCAA selection process has viewed the SEC as being so-so to sub-par in recent seasons, there’s no reason to believe this year will be any different.

Here are this week’s numbers:


  School   RPI   SEC Record   Div. I Record   Last Game
  Florida   3   8-0   18-2   78-64 W UM
  Missouri   34   5-3   16-5   91-77 W AUB
  Ole Miss   44   6-2   17-4   64-78 L @UF
  Kentucky   48   6-2   15-6   72-68 W @A&M
  Alabama   60   6-2   13-7   58-54 W @VU
  Texas A&M   78   3-5   13-8   68-72 L UK
  Tennessee   84   3-5   11-9   60-73 L @ARK
  Arkansas   104   4-4   13-8   73-60 W UT
  LSU   115   3-5   12-7   69-68 W @MSU
  Georgia   130   4-4   10-11   67-56 W @USC
  Vanderbilt   154   2-6   8-12   54-58 L ALA
  S. Carolina   200   2-6   12-9   56-67 L UGA
  Auburn   218   2-6   8-13   77-91 L @MU
  Miss. State   235   2-6   7-13   69-68 L LSU



Florida has won 10 games in a row and the Gators continue to hold each of their opponents below its scoring average.  Meanwhile, Auburn and Mississippi State have both dropped six games in a row after getting out to 2-0 starts in league play. NCAA Tournament Projection as of 2/5/13

Florida would be a #1 seed if the tourney began today.  Missouri, Ole Miss and Kentucky would get bids as all have RPI scores inside the top 50.  Alabama at #60 would be pretty far back on the bubble.  No one else would receive consideration.  At this point.


Midweek Schedule

Florida at Arkansas (Tonight, 7:00pm ET)

South Carolina at Kentucky (Tonight, 9:00pm ET)

Alabama at Auburn (Wednesday, 8:00pm ET)

Vanderbilt at LSU (Wednesday, 8:00pm ET)

Georgia at Tennessee (Wednesday, 8:00pm ET)

Mississippi State at Ole Miss (Wednesday, 9:00pm ET)

Missouri at Texas A&M (Thursday, 9:00pm ET)

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SEC RPI Watch – 1/28/13

gfx - by the numbersEach Monday we re-set the basketball table for you with a look at the current records and RPI rankings for all of the SEC’s 14 teams.  Things haven’t changed much since last week, unfortunately.  The league still has just three top 50 RPI teams.  The conference is still ranked as just the eighth best conference overall.

Oh, and we still believe the SEC is in line for just three NCAA Tournament bids based on its own performances and the selection committee’s past actions.

If you’re an SEC fan hoping for more squads in the Big Dance, you need to see one or two league teams get on serious rolls.  That or you need all the other bubble teams across the country to maintain their mediocrity.  This doesn’t look like a particularly deep year for tourney teams and that could work in the SEC’s favor, but that #8 conference RPI number is pretty hard to ignore.  And with six league members outside the RPI top 100, any team getting hot in league play still won’t see very much bounce in its RPI score.  For that matter, playing the likes of Vanderbilt, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, Auburn and Mississippi State will hurt most teams’ strength of schedule ranking win or lose.

As we said, things aren’t looking great for Mike Slive’s league right about now.  This week’s numbers:


  School   RPI   SEC Record   Div. I Record   Last Game
  Florida   5   6-0   16-2   82-47 W @MSU
  Missouri   25   4-2   15-4   81-59 W VU
  Ole Miss   31   6-0   17-2   63-61 W @AUB
  Kentucky   62   4-2   13-6   75-70 W LSU
  Alabama   63   4-2   11-7   53-54 L @UT
  Tennessee   79   2-4   10-8   54-53 W ALA
  Texas A&M   83   2-4   12-7   52-59 L UGA
  Arkansas   94   3-3   12-7   54-75 L @USC
  Vanderbilt   115   2-4   8-10   59-81 L @MU
  Georgia   147   2-4   8-11   59-52 W @UGA
  LSU   150   1-5   10-7   70-75 L @UK
  S. Carolina   193   2-4   12-7   75-55 W ARK
  Auburn   210   2-4   8-11   61-63 L UM
  Miss. State   222   2-4   7-11   47-82 L UF



Ole Miss (9 wins in a row), Florida (8 wins in a row), Auburn (4 losses in a row), MSU (4 losses in a row), and Texas A&M (4 losses in a row) NCAA Tournament Projection as of 1/28/13

Florida, Missouri, and Ole Miss are in for now.  Kentucky and Alabama are barely on the bubble.  Tennessee, Texas A&M and Arkansas would require miraculous finishes just to reach the bubble as it will likely take more than 20 wins for an SEC team to earn an NCAA invite this season.  Reminder: There are only 37 at-large bids available, making life pretty difficult for teams outside the RPI top 50.


Midweek Schedule

Tennessee at Vanderbilt (Tuesday, 7:00pm ET) — Tourney implications:  Tennessee can’t afford a loss to a sub-100 team

Kentucky at Ole Miss (Tuesday, 9:00pm ET) — Tourney implications:  Ole Miss can push Kentucky further off the bubble

Auburn at Georgia (Wednesday, 7:00pm ET) — Tourney implications:  None

South Carolina at Florida (Wednesday, 8:00pm ET) — Tourney implications:  Florida’s is playing for a #1 seed at this point

Missouri at LSU (Wednesday, 8:00pm ET) — Tourney implications:  A loss at LSU could really damage Mizzou’s RPI

Texas A&M at Mississippi State (Wednesday, 9:00pm ET) — Tourney implications:  If A&M dreams of turning things around, the Aggies can’t lose in Starkville

Arkansas at Alabama (Thursday, 9:00pm ET) — Tourney implications:  Alabama could fall off the bubble with a loss… Arkansas’ bubble could burst entirely

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