After almost a month of basketball, the SEC is starting to look just as crappy as it has been each of the past three seasons. Since 2011 the SEC has only placed 12 teams in the NCAA Tournament, and last year if it wasn’t for Ole Miss winning the SEC Tournament the conference might have only had two teams get in. To put that into perspective, the Big East had 11 teams make the tourney in 2011 alone. Granted, the SEC is known as a football conference, but when only one team in your conference can make the tournament in a three-year span, Florida, it’s hard to take you any more seriously than a mid-major conference. That’s right, not even Kentucky has made the tournament all three seasons. The WCC has Gonzaga making the tournament every year and one or two other teams in contention, and they are an afterthought as a whole when it comes to college basketball. Why should we see the SEC has a major conference when they are barely outdoing the WCC?
This was supposed to be the year that the SEC finally got back on track to having five or six teams in the Field of 68, but things aren’t looking too hot for the boys down South. There are two teams currently ranked — No. 3 Kentucky and No. 15 Florida — but outside of those two teams who is stepping up? Florida already has one loss this season and narrowly beat a bad Florida State team on Friday night. Tennessee and LSU were supposed to be the two other sure-shot teams in the SEC this year. Both had promising ends to last season, both were bringing back the majority of their players, and both were adding a good recruiting class. Tennessee already has two losses to teams outside of the top 25, and LSU has two losses as well — both were to top 25 teams, but they have zero wins against teams in the RPI top 100 and only Butler is left on their non-conference schedule to allow them a RPI top 100 win before SEC play starts. And to anyone that wants to tell me that Northwestern State is currently 80th in the RPI, come talk to me in a month.
The SEC needs at least two, and more than likely three more teams to step up for the conference before we can even start to consider them more than a mid-major. This season the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Pac 12 and Big East will all have at least five NCAA Tournament teams, with the AAC, Atlantic 10 and Mountain West all having three or four teams in the Big Dance. The way things are looking the SEC is at best the sixth-best conference in college basketball, and if a of couple teams get a few bad breaks the conference could be as bad as the ninth.
With all the money that is poured into SEC schools via football — big-time boosters, bowl games, and TV contracts — the SEC schools have the best resources and have put together the best facilities of any conference in the country. They have all the money in the world to lure top-notch coaching. They have the allure of warm weather and college chicks in sundresses, but if they don’t start putting more high quality teams together the SEC is nothing more than the southern, mountain-less Mountain West.
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