The SEC may play the best football in the land, but it continues to embarrass itself on the hardwood. The league had two huge opportunities to get a big road win over a quality opponent this weekend, but fell short in both. Kentucky fell 82-77 to North Carolina and Tennessee lost to Wichita St. 70-61. With most teams 10 games in, the SEC still does not have a significant road win. The entire league has only 3 quality wins total. LSU beat Butler on a neutral court in Orlando, Missouri beat UCLA and Florida beat Kansas.
Kentucky continues to suffer from youth. With no upperclassmen to lean on, the Wildcats still haven't found their leader on the floor. They have plenty of talent, but they haven't been able to put it together against the top teams. They will get better, but a tough draw could await them without the resume building wins they're accustomed to getting. They'll have one more shot when Louisville comes to Rupp on December 28.
Florida has the best resume of any SEC team right now. They have a win over a very good Kansas team and their only losses are on the road against a very good Wisconsin team and a last second loss at UConn. They can add to that if they can pick up a win against Memphis Tuesday night in New York. With seniors Patric Young and Scottie Wilbekin both playing well, they could be poised to make a deep run.
Tennessee continues to struggle against quality opponents under Cuonzo Martin. They leave too many points on the floor with missed layups and free throws. The only consistent scorer they have is Jordan McRae, the rest of the team is inept offensively. Until they stop watching McRae on offense, Tennessee will continue to lose to good teams.
While Missouri and LSU both have decent wins (and LSU over Butler is a stretch), the rest of their schedules are fairly weak. In fact, outside of Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee; the entire non-conference schedule is incredibly weak. Wins against the Gardner-Webbs and Woffords of the world won't get you very far when it comes time for tournament selection. With so much of the conference scheduling so poorly, it weakens the entire league. With strength of schedule such an important component of the selection process, the top teams end up with poor schedule rankings because of the poor scheduling by the rest of the league. Cuonzo Martin and John Calipari both talked about the need for the league to schedule more aggressively after receiving only three NCAA bids last March.
With so few games against top notch opponents, SEC teams need to capitalize on the opportunities they do have. So far, they haven't. Couple the lack of big wins to losses to such powerhouses as Northwestern St., SMU, Utah St., and Davidson, the conference is really hurting itself. As it stands now, Joe Lunardi has 6 SEC teams in, but Tennessee, LSU and Arkansas are all 10 seeds or worse. If their play doesn't improve, I could easily see the SEC being a three-bid league once again.