The SEC is the cream of the crop in football around this country and is not far from that ranking in college baseball. High school athletes dream of being able to play for a team in the SEC in these said sports. You cannot necessarily say that for SEC programs on the hardwood.
But wait a second, the SEC has won three of the last eight National Championships. That stat right there masks the true appearance of a very abysmal conference top to bottom. Only three teams out of the 14 team conference are ranked. All three of those teams are in the East which makes the West very hard to watch.
The SEC is a combined 2-15 against AP Top 25 teams. And without the help of one team, the SEC would be 0-13. Five of the teams have yet to even play a Top 25 opponent. I've got bad news for them; do not plan to bolster your NCAA Tournament resume this spring because it is not going to happen.
Florida Gators: The Gators have got to be the favorites in the East this year. Their only competition is a young Kentucky team and the Missouri Tigers.They are led by Scottie Wilbekin and Patrick Young; two senior laden guys that possess the power to take this team a ways. The Gators have won their last two over ranked opponents(Memphis and Kansas) and lost on a buzzer beater in Storrs to get beat by Connecticut.
Missouri Tigers: The Tigers are off to a 10-0 start, but they have yet to play anyone significant. The team is shooting right at a 50 percent clip from the field. They play well at home, but it will be interesting to see how they play on the road being that they have yet to play one away from home thus far. This team will be in the tournament when March rolls around.
Kentucky Wildcats: The Wildcats are young once again. Feel like they have been that way for the past six years now. Anyways, they have played a tough schedule early on. All three of their losses have come against ranked opponents and they have still yet to play the Louisville Cardinals. The Wildcats dominate the boards by hauling in over 44 rebounds per game.
Ole Miss Rebels: They have the most entertaining college basketball player in college hoops. Marshall Henderson. They look to be the favorites in the West just because that side is very weak. It will be interesting to see how Andy Kennedy molds this team to be as successful as his team from last year.
Texas A&M Aggies: Aggies are off to an 8-2 start, but have yet to play a ranked team. They have a pretty tough contest coming up this weekend as the host the Oklahoma Sooners. They are a very young team that has only one senior who plays significant minutes.
Tennessee Volunteers: The Vols might be the most frustrating bunch of the SEC. They have drones of talent, but for some reason Cuonzo Martin cannot get them clicking on all cylinders. The Vols have probably one of the most talented guards in the league with Jordan McRae. They are off to a slow start once again and this has hindered their chances of making the NCAA Tournament, as in the past.
Arkansas Razorbacks: Mike Anderson is trying to turn around the Arkansas basketball program. He has them playing high paced basketball. They will have a tough time making the tournament though. They are led by sophomore guard Michael Qualls who leads the team in points, assists, and rebounds.
Alabama Crimson Tide: Probably my favorite PG in the league plays for this team. Trevor Releford dominates the game. He is a little burst of energy and never holds back. Anthony Grant is in his fifth year in Tuscaloosa and it is about time to start seeing results. This team will ride as far as Releford takes them.
Mississippi State Bulldogs: Not too much going on in Starkville. Off to a 7-2 start, but they should be. Look for them to take a dive once the conference slate starts.
LSU Tigers: It is hard for me to see this team being successful. I feel like they haven't been good since they had Tyrus Thomas and Glen 'Big Baby' Davis. Look for them to be at the bottom of the SEC West this year.
Vanderbilt Commodores: It's crazy to think this program won an SEC Championship just two years ago. That was then and this is now. The Commodores do not have any offensive firepower and are very thin on the frontline. There have been rumblings from fans in and around Nashville that it is time for Kevin Stallings to go. With fan attendance dwindling, his seat has gotten a little bit more heated.
Auburn Tigers: Where to start with these guys? Not really sure. To tell you the truth, I am not even sure they have a program right now. Everybody in Auburn is more worried about this one football game coming up in early January. I do not recall a time when I have ever been impressed with Auburn basketball. Heck, even the camera angles at their arena are a little weird to me.
Georgia Bulldogs: The Bulldogs are off to a 4-4 start with a mediocre schedule. Enough said.
South Carolina Gamecocks: This very well might be the worst team in the conference. Off to a 2-4 start and they lost to Manhattan last night. And it was not a gut wrenching game either; they got beat by 18. I am not so sure Frank Martin knew what he was getting himself into when he took this job. I bet he still wishes he was coaching in the Big 12.
I see four SEC teams getting in the tournament. Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, and Missouri. Ole Miss will be the first one to miss out in my belief. It is just too hard for these teams to climb in RPI when they play nobody. And on top of that, any fluke loss in the SEC will do some damage.
So, cheers to me not having to write this piece again at the end of the year, and I hope some of these teams prove me wrong.