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March 11, 2008

NCAA Tournament Bubble Talk: SEC

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This week's SEC Men's basketball tournament provides some intriguing story lines. There will be coaches fighting for their jobs, fighting to make it on the bubble and to stay in the tourney picture. Plus, some quality match-ups across the bracket.

Let's look at the teams jockeying for NCAA position.

Mississippi State

Bubble Teams

Ole Miss

*Overall Record - Includes only RPI recognized wins. Games against Div II teams don't count for RPI ratings.
**RPI Data from Ken Pomeroy.
***Seeding courtesy of Joe Lunardi's Bracketology.

Moving On Up?:
  • Tennessee (E1)- With the #1 RPI and #3 strength of schedule, the Vols are looking very much like a #1 overall seed. If they make it to Sunday, I think they lock it up. They toughest match-up of the tourney for them could be Vandy on Saturday.

  • Vanderbilt (E3) - The Dores have a reasonable shot to make a ton of noise at the Georgia Dome. They will likely face a progressive run of Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee. I like Vanderbilt's chances for winning the tourney. If they win the tournament from the Thursday position, I think a #3 seed is within reach.

  • Mississippi State (W1) - The Bizarro Dawgs played a reasonably tough non-conference schedule, but they faired poorly against it. The losses to South Alabama and Miami-Ohio are particularly tough on the RPI. They will likely face the Gators on Friday after their first round bye. If they win that game, they get a banged up Kentucky squad on Saturday. I don't see them landing much higher than a 6 seed without winning the tourney.

  • Kentucky (E2) - For the record, I hate Kentucky Basketball. I hate their attitude, their fans and everything about them. Anyone that has ever been to the full SEC tournament knows that it's really the Wildcat Invitational. If they could lose on Wednesday before the tourney starts, that would be fine by me. ESPN's Bracketology site has the Cats generously listed as a 9 seed. The UK vs. UF/MSU winner on Saturday could be one of the better games of the tourney. I think an 8 seed is about as high as the Cats can climb.

  • Arkansas (W2) - Joe Lunardi lists the Razorbacks as a 10 seed. I think that's a very generous projection. If the Hawgs fall to Vandy on Friday, I think they are back on the NCAA bubble sweating things until the last moments of the selection show. Beat the Dores, and that 10 seed looks more realistic. The two competing forces tugging on my thought process here are: (1) I'm not impressed with Pelphrey in the least (2) This senior laden Hawg squad made the SEC Finals last year.

  • Florida (E4) - Bracketology projects the Gators as one of the first four teams left out of the Big Dance right now. I personally can't see how they are even that close. In my opinion, Donovan's crew needs to advance to Saturday via wins over Bama and MSU just to have a realistic shot at March Madness. Roll Tide.

  • Ole Miss (W3) - unfortunately for the Rebels, Georgia's RPI is so low that a win over the Dawgs in Round 1 will not help Andy Kennedy's squad at all on Selection Sunday. They need a win over the Wildcats in Round 2 in the worst way. If Kennedy were to advance to Sunday in this tournament, my interest in learning more about his resume would grow exponentially. I hope we beat them...but I'm just saying.

  • Alabama (W5) - The Crimson Tide (16-15 overall, RPI: 54) is currently on the outside looking in for the NIT according to Gottfried could use a first round win over the Gators to quiet some critics and lock down something more interesting than the CBI Tournament (aka "the Square Dance").
If you're wondering what scenario saves Dennis Felton's job. I have no idea, but this is the best bracket that he could've hoped for. If he gets to Saturday (at which point I'll faint), it'll be hard to boot him.

See Also:
-- Bracketology 101
-- The Bracket Matrix
-- Buy or Sell SEC Tournament Tickets



Unknown said...

Mmmm, yeah, I give up. I don't care, I don't care at all. G-day is right around the corner. Caleb better learn the dance.

What's with that "expect big crowds for G-day" stuff? Are we gonna go all Alabama this April 5th at Sanford?

blackertai said...

I swear, if they keep playing the song, they're going to kill it. The reason it worked is because it was popular right then. If they try and keep it going, it's going to get old and stale, and pointless. Find the new "jam the kidz like" and wear that out this season, but don't keep running with Soulja.

Anonymous said...

I've got this theory that if a coach is within a win or two or a loss or two of getting canned, that you might as well can him.

In this particular situation, what evidence is there that anything even remotely important is going to change about Felton's Georgia squads next season, or even the next season?

Why does winning a game or two in the SEC tournament even enter the equation when several seasons have been squandered - be that by recruiting players that can not live up to your program's standards or not running any semblance of an offense or by upsetting the AAU coaches in Georgia or whatever else?

I know Felton got a tough position when he took the Georgia job, but he got paid real well for the displeasure of taking over an SEC team with HUGE potential and hasn't made the moves that he needed to in order to have the team be successful on the court.

Again, the rhetorical question: How is winning a couple of games going to change any of that?

Of course, it's not.

It's time for him to go.

Anonymous said...

Andy - I'm expecting a big crowd at GDay because:

1. It doesn't conflict with Masters week for the first time in forever.

2. We have a full healthy lineup of OL and DL so we can actually have a game.

3. Caleb.

Anonymous said...

Tennessee may not get a 1 seed if two things happen:

1. Tennessee doesn't make it to the SEC Championship Game.

2. Texas wins the Big 12 Championship likely beating Kansas in the final.

This would be a nightmare for the committee because they would have to a lot of rebracketing. Tennessee no matter is going to play in Birmingham, but the 1 seed Texas would have to play in Omaha.

Anonymous said...

I'd be a lot more inclined to give Felton the benefit of the doubt if he had ever actually acted like he was happy to be here, and taken some pride in that fact rather than bitching and moaning about every little circumstance and detail that doesn't go his way.

Honestly- can anyone recall him assuming any accountability for a single failing of this- his- program over the last 5 years? I can't. All i ever hear is him blaming whatever misfortunes fall his way on the circumstances of the program he inherited, or university policy, or worse, on the kids themselves.

Obi's Sister said...

So PWD, howya feelin' now? Dawgs beat MSU and go to the Finals!

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