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SEC Basketball: 5 Teams That Could Sneak Into the 2014 NCAA Tournament

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SEC Basketball: 5 Teams That Could Sneak Into the 2014 NCAA Tournament

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Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Last season in the SEC, only three teams made it to the NCAA tournament. The Florida Gators and the Missouri Tigers made it to the big dance on tough non-conference wins coupled with a decent SEC performance. The third team, the Ole Miss Rebels, only made it by winning the SEC Tournament.

Three other teams from the SEC were seeded either No. 1 or No. 2 in the NIT. The Kentucky Wildcats, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers entered the NIT as favorites, but crashed out in disappointing fashion. Last season was not a good one for basketball in the SEC.

In the 2013-14 season, however, there are around 10 SEC teams that have a chance to make the big dance. There are three teams – Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida – that are expected to make it to the 2014 NCAA Tournament and four teams that have no chance: the Vanderbilt Commodores, the Auburn Tigers, the Texas A&M Aggies and the Auburn Tigers. Next to those teams, any of the remaining seven could sneak into March Madness.

Last season, the SEC was a shell of its usually talented self. The conference was filled with teams that were up and down. Some of the mid-level SEC teams won against the best teams, but lost against the worst teams. It’s impossible to make the NCAA tournament without consistency.

This season, which mid-level SEC teams could sneak into the 2014 NCAA tournament with a little consistency? Here is a list of the five teams most likely to do just that.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Arkansas Razorbacks

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Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

The Arkansas Razorbacks lost their two best scorers, but are gaining some fresh faces in talented freshmen Bobby Portis and Moses Kingsley. Their non-conference schedule is relatively easy, so they will have to show off in a much-improved SEC. Veterans Coty Clark and Madracus Wade must step up if the Razorbacks are NCAA tournament-bound.

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4. Missouri Tigers

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Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more underrated teams in the SEC, the Missouri Tigers are actually quite talented. Although losing Alex Oriakhi, Phil Pressey and Laurence Bowers hurts, Jabari Parker and company have the potential to finish in the top five of the SEC.

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3. Ole Miss Rebels

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Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Marshall Henderson is still not on the team and may not play this season. The Rebels will not have Murphy Holloway or Reginald Buckner. However, all is not lost for Ole Miss: Andy Kennedy’s side is still one of the better mid-level teams in the SEC and could pull off a few surprises.

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2. Alabama Crimson Tide

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Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

With the loss of Trevor Lacey to transfer, Alabama has lost a lot of talent. However, Trevor Releford and the Crimson Tide are one of the most experienced teams in the SEC. They could have a great season or an extremely bad one. Alabama is the most unpredictable team in the SEC.

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1. LSU Tigers

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Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

With a player like Johnny O’Bryant III, the Tigers have every opportunity to make it to the NCAA tournament. This team could also be a dark horse team to win the SEC Tournament later on in the season. LSU should not be underestimated and will most likely make the 2014 NCAA tournament.

Related: 5 Strongest SEC Nonconference Schedules

5 Weakest Nonconference SEC Schedules