February 24th, 2014 11:01 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: MU, RPI, SEC, UT
As far as the NCAA Tournament bubble goes, this past weekend was one big ol’ needle for the SEC. The league’s two top candidates to join locks Florida and Kentucky in the big dance both fell and fell hard on the road.
From an RPI perspective, Missouri’s loss at Alabama (RPI 94) was its worst defeat of the season. The Tigers’ own RPI dropped to 43rd. Meanwhile, Tennessee continued its yo-yo act losing at Texas A&M (RPI 133). Making matters worse — A&M upset the Vols in Knoxville earlier in the season to pull the season sweep.
It’s unlikely, but this could be the year that the 14-team SEC bottoms out with just two NCAA invites. Yes, it’s that bad.
Below we’ve run the numbers for the nine SEC squads that could still wind up with at least an 11-7 record inside the league. Now, we don’t believe anyone outside of Florida and Kentucky — who are already there — will actually get to 11 league wins, but for the sake of argument and comparison, that’s who we’ve included in this exercise.
Using much of the same information the selection committee will use, see how many of these SEC dossiers look tourney-worthy to you…
|Avg RPI W||117||115||137||145||173||155||175||166||164|
|Avg RPI L||18||36||46||54||54||72||64||70||80|
|Non-Con RPI Avg.||117||101||152||138||182||162||162||160||167|
|Vs RPI 1-50||5-2||3-4||1-2||1-5||2-5||3-3||1-5||1-4||1-5|
|Vs RPI 100+||11-0||8-0||10-0||8-2||11-1||11-2||12-1||11-2||10-4|
|Remain. Gms RPI 1-50||1||1||0||1||1||1||0||1||1|
Missouri is better than Tennessee in just about every category so the Tigers currently have the inside track on a third SEC bid. But an RPI of 43 — matched with an #60 strength of schedule — is no guarantee of a spot on the dance floor. Plus, UT and MU will square off in Knoxville in both squads’ regular-season finale. If the Vols win that one it might not push Cuonzo Martin’s team into the tourney, but it could nudge Frank Haith’s team out.
We’ve pointed to Georgia several times this season as being a bad news team for the SEC. The Dawgs still are. Mark Fox’s team went 6-6 in their non-conference portion of the season. That against an non-conference slate with an average RPI of just 167. Yet the Bulldogs have gone 9-5 inside the league and have won five of their last six games.
For the record, the SEC’s current RPI rank as a league #7.
Florida and Kentucky are locks. Missouri is ahead of everyone else. And the SEC is a three-bid league at best as we it.
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