With the SEC Tourney going on this week and various teams getting their tickets punched for the NCAA tournament, I wanted to take a look at the SEC teams and their chances of getting into the post season tournaments.
First, let's take Kentucky, Vandy and Tennessee out of the mix. They are in the NCAA tourney, even if they lose their first games by 20. Just guessing, but UK will be a one seed. Vandy and Tennessee can be as high as four and as low as seven. I am going with five for both, just to be safe, but Vandy has the better chance of being a three or four.
We can also take Georgia, LSU, Arkansas and Auburn out of any postseason discussion. Georgia, Arkansas (who is the 3rd place team in the West) and LSU have to win the SEC tourney to make any postseason tourney. Hey, the weather is predicted to be stormy in Nashville on Thursday. Auburn has to at least make the SEC championship game to be assured a winning record. Even then, there is no guarantee they make the NIT, CBI or the other guy (I know, Collegeinsider.com).
So that leaves, Florida and South Carolina from the East and Old Miss, and Miss State and 'Bama from the west.
Good chance of making the NCAA:
- Florida. At 20-11 (9-7) and an RPI of 52 (SOS 35), the Gators have to win their first game to be comfortable. They get Auburn, whom they beat by 8 earlier in Gainesville if their first round game. To be a lock, they need to win the second round game against Mississippi State, should they advance. Lose to Auburn and it is a very long wait until selection Sunday, but they probably get in anyway.
Fair chance of making the NCAA:
- Old Miss. At 21-9 (9-7) and an RPI of 56, you'd think they'd be locked up. Not so much. They have an SOS of 88 but a marquee win against Kansas State. It is possible they get in with a loss to Tennessee (who is playing LSU in the first round). Beat Tennessee and they are definitely in.
Long shot of making the NCAA:
- Mississippi State. At 21-10 (9-7) and an RPI of 69 and an SOS of 118, they have plenty of work to do. They have a terrible loss to Rider at the beginning of the season. Also, they have no marquee wins. To not be the team everyone bitches about getting in, they have to beat Florida in the second round (their first game). To lock it up they have to at least play in the SECT championship game, beating Vandy on Saturday.
Playing for pride (and the NIT):
- Alabama. At 16-14, they are a lock to play in a post season tourney. The get South Carolina, who has a lot to play for, in the first round. If I were a betting man, I'd say the Gamecocks win, so 'Bama is probably looking at the CBI, but with an RPI of 66 and SOS in the mid-60s, they *could* sneak in to the NIT.
- South Carolina. At 15-15, they have to win at least two games ('Bama and Kentucky). I like their chances against 'Bama. While anything can happen if Downey gets hot (as evidenced on their win over the 'Cats in Columbia), I just don't see them beating Kentucky again. If they do, they are assured an CBI berth.
In the end, I think the SEC gets five teams into the NCAA, with Florida and Old Miss making it. Mississippi State, not so much. Before you get mad, Bizzaro Dawg fans: You lost to Rider! All that could change for UF and Mississppi if teams like Arizona State, Boston College and St. Louis wins their respective conference tourneys. The Rebs will snag a 12 seed. Look for them to be an upset special on day one.