March Madness is just around the corner. Many SEC teams have solidified a spot in the field of 68; others can’t wait for the season to be over; some are right on the bubble and are fighting for their lives in the upcoming pivotal weeks. Anything can happen in the conference tournament, but let’s take a gander at where these teams currently sit.
Alabama (19-9, 8-6 SEC) – BUBBLE - The Tide picked up a key win over Mississippi State Saturday and currently sits at fourth in the conference. Despite their looming inability to score, ‘Bama plays lockdown defense. As of now, the Tide is in, but that’s subject to change depending on the next few weeks.
Arkansas (18-11, 6-8 SEC) – OUT - Arkansas has had a tough year. They’ve lost 5-7, including winnable games to Tennessee and LSU. Marshawn Powell has been one bright spot for the Razorbacks. He’s averaged 19.5 points and six rebounds per game.
Auburn (14-14, 4-10 SEC) – OUT - There’s not much to deliberate here. Auburn isn’t quite there yet, but grade 94 2012 recruit Jordan Price may make a difference next season.
Florida (22-7, 10-4 SEC) – IN - Florida lives and dies by the three. Billy Donovan’s teams usually make a run in March. This team is capable of doing the same, yet it will need more consistency out of Kenny Boynton, who is a rather streaky three point shooter. Patric Young is one of the most improved young big men in the country.
Georgia (13-15, 4-10 SEC) – OUT – Georgia is second to last in the SEC. A date with Kentucky Thursday likely won’t help their cause. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been a bright spot for the Bulldogs, but his 40% field goal percentage is nothing to write home about.
Kentucky (28-1, 14-0 SEC) – OUT – It’s been a disappointing season for the Wildcats. They lost to Indiana in the most exciting game of the year and have trailed maybe three or four times all season besides that thrilling game. There’s no way they deserve to make the tournament. They really shouldn’t even be allowed to qualify for the SEC tournament. (Obviously this is a joke. Kentucky is the best team in the country and Anthony Davis’ slicing and dicing on the defensive end is the best thing since sliced bread).
LSU (17-11, 7-7 SEC) – OUT – The Tigers have actually not had a terrible season. After suffering a heartbreaking defeat to Alabama in the BCS National Championship game, the school immediately turned to the basketball team…oh wait…well, at least the Tigers will finish with a winning record. They picked up wins over Big East teams Marquette and Rutgers earlier in the season, but are coming off of a 24-point loss to Ole Miss.
Mississippi State (19-10, 6-8 SEC) – BUBBLE – MSU looked like a guarantee to make the tournament a mere few weeks ago. Lately, however the ‘Dogs have been barking up the wrong tree. They’ve lost five in a row, which really hasn’t been helpful in their pursuit of making the tournament. Arnett Moultrie will need to lead MSU to a strong showing the SEC tourney to warrant a spot in the field of 68.
Ole Miss (16-12, 6-8 SEC) – OUT – Looks like yet another “Big Ole Miss” for the Rebels. Ole Miss has not made the tourney since 2002 and will likely not end that futile dismal streak this season. Having said that, Ole Miss beat Miami and Mississippi State earlier in the year.
South Carolina (10-18, 2-12) – OUT – South Carolina is last in the SEC. Case closed.
Tennessee (16-13, 8-6 SEC) – BUBBLE – Trae Golden and Jeronne Maymon (how cool are those names?) have carried the load for the Volunteers this season. They beat Florida twice, nearly knocked off Kentucky, and have won six of seven. Things are looking good for Tennessee going forward.
Vanderbilt (20-9, 9-5) – IN – Vandy has key showdowns with Florida and Tennessee to close out the regular season. Wins in both of these games will likely give Vandy the #2 seed in the SEC tourney because Florida also has to play Kentucky. Jeffrey Taylor is capable of taking over games, Brad Tinsley’s tough at the point, and John Jenkins is a terrific shooter. Vandy is a lock for the tournament regardless of how they fare the rest of the regular season.