SEC Basketball Bubble Blurbs - 2/28 Update
The Teams That Are In:
1. Florida - They've struggled down the stretch, but the Gators are the best team in the conference. They need to finish strong though if they want to keep their No. 1 seed. Last night's whipping at Tennessee didn't help their cause as Kansas has looked strong and will be tough to seed at No. 2 if the Gators falter any more.
2. Vanderbilt - Vandy was in the moment that Brandon Powell punched their ticket. They have nine conference wins and should add two to that total before heading to Atlanta.
3. Tennessee - The Vols won big last night and how could they not? Coach Summitt would have run them until they puked if her cheerleading routine went to waste. (Phil looked on with his finger up his nose. ) The Vols are in whether or not they beat UGA Saturday.
4. Kentucky - The Wildcats are clinging to their NCAA bid, but it is proving slippery. Yes, they have a wonderful RPI, a ridiculous strength of schedule, and will likely get their twentieth win tonight in Rupp. But, if they were to lose tonight and Saturday against the Gators, they would have an 8-8 conference record. If that were to happen, how could the NCAA keep Georgia out? (See below.) Kentucky will get in because they are Kentucky.
Sitting Squarely On the Bubble:
5. Georgia - The Dawgs have a strong schedule, some quality wins, and the potential to get a winning conference record if they beat Kentucky tonight in Rupp (not likely) or Tennessee in Athens Saturday (maybe?). If they win one of those games, especially at UK, I think it will be tough to keep them out. If they drop both, they will need a strong showing in Atlanta, including at least one big upset, to dance. My prediction: the Dawgs win Saturday and get in. UPDATE: Reports abound that UGA guard Levi Stukes is out tonight and maybe for the rest of the year. If Stukes can't play Saturday, I don't like Georgia's chances to win or make the NCAAs.
6. Alabama - Bama has a good record, but they also have lots of visible warts. First, they played a mediocre schedule in the preseason. Second, they fell apart during conference play, including two losses to Auburn. Third, they need to win out to finish at .500 in the SEC. The Tide will need to win out and win a game or two in Atlanta to have a chance. My prediction: Bama falls in Starkville Sunday and misses the NCAAs.
Need a Big Finish:
7. Ole Miss - The Rebs look like they should have a shot, but their RPI and their schedule is weak. They have two more winnable games. If they win them both and get one in Atlanta, they will be in good shape. Drop one of the next two and their toast. Prediction: Ole Miss will lose in Auburn and miss the dance.
8. Mississippi State - State has a similar profile to Ole Miss. Their record isn't as good as the Rebs, but their schedule was tougher. Both teams have similar RPIs. The problem for State is that they have two tough games remaining: in Fayetteville and Alabama at home. State, like Ole Miss, needs those two games and probably a tournament win to be considered. My prediction: State loses in Fayetteville tonight.