March 25th, 2013 12:00 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: BCS, CBS, RPI, SEC
You have to wonder if the SEC’s football and basketball fortunes passed one another on some great lucky escalator in the sky. With the league mired in mediocrity at the moment — two of its three NCAA Tournament teams combined for one win and two exits — it’s interesting to look back and see when/where the SEC started having hoops issues. Interesting for two reasons.
First, there is a clear dividing line between SEC basketball goodness and SEC basketball blah-ness.
Second, because that line falls at exactly the same point in time when the league’s football success began to soar.
Below is a look at SEC basketball since the turn of the century. From left to right you’ll see the SEC’s rank among conference RPI (each year on March 25th, today’s date), it’s actual RPI, and the number of NCAA Tournament bids it received:
|Year||Conf. RPI Rank||Conf. RPI||NCAA Bids|
See the split?
In the last six seasons the SEC has had an average conference RPI rank of 5.33. In the previous seven seasons, the SEC’s average rank among leagues was 2.14. That’s a drop from second-best to fifth-best, on average.
Over the last six years the SEC’s average league-wide RPI has been .555. In the seven seasons prior it was .574, never falling below .561.
Since the 2007-08 season, the SEC has not ranked better than fourth in conference RPI. From 2000-01 thru 2006-07, the league finished worse than fourth only once. It ranked as the best basketball conference in country three times in that span. Five times the SEC ranked in the top two.
Naturally, the SEC never received fewer than five NCAA Tournament bids during its seven-year hot streak. It’s received fewer then five on four different occasions in the six years since.
It’s pretty clear that the SEC’s decline can be traced back to the 2007-2008 basketball season. Ironically, it was in January of 2007 that Florida won the first of the SEC’s seven-straight BCS championships. Looking for a turning point in recent SEC athletics history? Look no further than January ’07.
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