NCAA Basketball: Ranking 5 Undefeated Teams in SEC
NCAA Basketball: Ranking the 5 Undefeated Teams in the SEC
If you had asked anyone before the college basketball season, which team was the most likely to go undefeated in the SEC, nine out of 10 people would have said the Kentucky Wildcats. However, the preseason No. 1 overall Wildcats already lost to the Michigan State Spartans.
Other top teams from the SEC have already dropped games as well. The Florida Gators have already dropped a game to the Wisconsin Badgers, the Tennessee Volunteers lost to the Xavier Musketeers, the Alabama Crimson Tide lost to the Oklahoma Sooners and the LSU Tigers lost to the UMass Minutemen. These four teams are all expected to have a legitimate chance at the 2014 NCAA Tournament as the best the SEC has to offer.
The teams that have already lost do have the most difficult schedules in the SEC, but still lost against teams that they have the talent to beat. Hopefully these early losses help to focus the top SEC teams, because it would be extremely disappointing to have another end to the season like the last, where only three teams made the tournament and five were considered bubble teams at some point.
Teams like the Georgia Bulldogs, Auburn Tigers, South Carolina Gamecocks and Vanderbilt Commodores were expected to have losses this early, but not teams like Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and LSU.
Just five teams remain undefeated in the SEC. Here is a list ranking them all from most likely to go to the 2014 NCAA Tournament to least likely to go to the NCAA Tournament.
Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS or add him to your network on Google.
No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies (4-0)
The Aggies looked to be one of the worst teams in the SEC with the loss of Elston Turner last season. However, with the elevated play of Kourtney Robinson, who is averaging nearly 17 points and nine rebounds a game, they look like they should be better than predicted. Unfortunately, the Aggies have one of the easiest schedules of any team in a major NCAA Basketball conference and will struggle once SEC play starts.
No. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks (3-0)
The Razorbacks are a team I want to count as a sleeper in the SEC, but their rebounding is terrible. They’ve played extremely weak opponents so far and should have dominated on the glass. Arkansas has an extremely weak non-conference schedule and could go undefeated. However, they face Texas A&M and then the Kentucky Wildcats and Florida Gators back-to-back to open SEC play and, unless Bobby Portis can double his scoring, are going to be crushed.
No. 3 Missouri Tigers (3-0)
Missouri continues to do what they did best last season – score. However, they aren’t playing very good defense. The Tigers don’t face a good team until they play the UCLA Bruins in December. I wouldn’t believe in this team going to the 2014 NCAA Tournament unless they win that game.
No. 2 Ole Miss Rebels (2 – 0)
The Rebels have looked shaky to start the season, but now have Marshall Henderson. If this team can step up and play defense instead of just offense, they could make a serious run in both the SEC and the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0)
I know it sounds crazy to pick this team as a sleeper to make the NCAA Tournament, but the Bulldogs are a lot better than anyone realizes. Fred Thomas, who is averaging 12.5 points a game, is playing like the player he was supposed to be, and Gavin Ware has exploded so far this season by averaging nearly 16 points a game and 13 rebounds. On top of those two players, Craig Sword, a member of the SEC’s All-Freshmen team last season, isn’t having the type of year he had last year. There isn’t a team on their non-conference schedule with the ability to beat them. However, the true test to determine if they are NCAA Tournament ready will come in their SEC opener against the Kentucky Wildcats.