College Basketball: SEC Power Rankings NCAA Tournament Edition

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SEC Power Rankings

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Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

In this week of the SEC power rankings we will see what each team will have to do to make the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

With as many bubble teams as there are in this conference, many teams will have to do some work in the SEC tournament, however, there is one exception and that is the Florida Gators.

Florida has consistently been the best team in the conference all year and it just won the SEC regular season title with a victory over Vanderbilt. With that said, the Gators are a lock to make the big dance and if you don’t agree with that I really don’t know what to tell you.

Although Florida will enter the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed, it played kind of sloppy down the stretch and could easily lose to one of the peskier teams trying to get an at-large bid. Just a year ago, the Kentucky Wildcats entered the conference tournament as the No. 1 team in the nation and did not lose an SEC game all season long, but still were not able to win the conference tournament.

This week’s power rankings will be much different than one’s in the past. We will divide teams that have to win it all to dance and then look at the other teams individually that can still possibly receive an at-large bid.

Without further ado, let’s go dancing in the SEC in the last power rankings article of the season for this conference.

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9-14. Auburn, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Georgia and Vanderbilt

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14. Auburn Tigers (9-21, 3-14 SEC)

13. Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-21, 3-14 SEC)

12. South Carolina Gamecocks (14-16, 4-13 SEC)

11. Texas A&M Aggies (17-13, 7-10 SEC)

10. Georgia Bulldogs (14-15, 8-8 SEC)

9. Vanderbilt Commodores (13-16, 7-10 SEC)

All six of these teams will have to win the conference tournament to make the NCAA tournament. However, stranger things have happened and we are in that magical month known as March. Out of these six teams, Georgia and Vanderbilt definitely have the best chance to win the SEC, but those chances are pretty small compared to the other teams in the conference.

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8. Arkansas Razorbacks (18-12, 9-8 SEC)

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Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

The Arkansas Razorbacks did not shy away from a tough out-of-conference schedule, playing Wisconsin, Syracuse, Arizona State, Oklahoma and Michigan. However, this team could only manage a win against Oklahoma.

The Razorbacks had great wins in the conference against Tennessee, Florida, Missouri and Kentucky. You would think that those four wins alone would be enough to push Arkansas into the big dance, but they are not.

The Razorbacks have to win their last game of the season against Texas A&M and just to be safe, they probably need two victories in the SEC tournament. That should push them into the tourney, but we will not know until Selection Sunday.

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7. LSU Tigers (18-10, 9-8 SEC)

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Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Although the LSU Tigers are ranked higher than Arkansas in the standings, they will likely have to do more to make it to the dance. That is because of the lack of competition in the non-conference schedule. However, the Tigers did beat Missouri, Alabama and Arkansas this year.

LSU will likely have to make it all the way to the SEC championship just to earn an at-large bid, but a win against Ole Miss in the final game of the regular season would look really good on the resume.

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6. Alabama Crimson Tide (19-11, 11-6 SEC)

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Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The way Alabama has played in the SEC this season, you would think that they would be in the tournament, but that is not the case. That is a result of how the Crimson Tide are finishing down the stretch.

Alabama has lost its last three out of four games, so it better close out the season with a W over Georgia. This team should make it with one victory in the conference tournament, but two victories would ensure a tournament bid.

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5. Ole Miss Rebels (22-8, 11-6 SEC)

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Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

The loss against Mississippi State to start off the month of March really hurt Ole Miss, but the Rebels did follow that up with a victory against Alabama.

If the tournament committee looks at what this team has done all season long, then it should be a no brainer that Ole Miss is a tournament team. To ensure that, the Rebels cannot have an early exit in the SEC tournament. I think a win against LSU in the last game of the season should put the Rebels in the dance, but the SEC is only predicted to get four teams into the NCAA tournament.

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4. Tennessee Volunteers (18-11, 10-7 SEC)

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

After a six-game winning streak that included victories over Kentucky and Florida, Tennessee lost to Georgia.

If the Volunteers can beat Missouri this week, it could be very interesting in terms of who makes the dance out of the SEC.

Sure, Tennessee has been one of the hottest teams in the SEC, but that is how it was last year down the stretch and the Volunteers still managed to miss the dance. To ensure a bid this year, this team needs to take care of business by knocking off the Tigers and have a good outing in the conference tournament.

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Should Be In: Missouri and Kentucky

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Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

3. Missouri Tigers (22-8, 11-6 SEC)

2. Kentucky Wildcats (20-9, 11-5 SEC)

Both Missouri and Kentucky should be in the tournament field, but if both teams lose their last games of the season and then take an early exit in the SEC tournament, they will both be sweating it out on Selection Sunday. It is crazy to think that these two teams are so high up in the standings and still might not make the dance, but that is how many bubble teams are in the SEC this year. Not to mention, the Wildcats and Tigers have not distinguished themselves from the rest of the conference.

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Lock: 1. Florida Gators (24-5, 14-3 SEC)

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Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators will make the NCAA tournament even if they lose against Kentucky in their last game and lose their first game of the SEC tournament. However, unlike last year, they better receive a seed that is higher than No. 7.

Last season Florida was consistently ranked in the top 10 and received a No. 7 seed in the dance, which made no sense. The Gators then marched all the way to the Elite Eight for the second straight season.

However, Florida is the best team in the conference and should win its conference tournament. If the Gators can pull that off, then they will likely get a No. 2 seed in the dance.

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