January 6th, 2014 01:30 PM║ 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: Gms Vs Top, Jerry Palm, LSU, RPI, SEC
Each 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|
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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