SEC March Madness Watch: And Then There Were Two

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

It's about as official as it can get at this point: the SEC is a two-bid league barring a conference tournament surprise.

You know how people say that in SEC football, anyone can beat anyone on any given day? It's mostly true, and it really helps out the conference's perception of strength.

Well, turns out the same is mostly true is basketball, and it really adds to the conference's perception of weakness.

The SEC basically only had two bubble teams left heading into Saturday: Tennessee and Missouri. Tennessee is a team that hammered KenPom No. 6 Virginia by 35, beat a pretty good Xavier team by 15, and lost by only nine to the nation's last unbeaten team, Wichita State. So naturally, the Vols went and lost to Texas A&M, a team that supplied a win to each of the SEC's current 3-11 teams and lost to North Texas by 20. Sure it was in overtime, but still: A&M is not good at all.

Mizzou, meanwhile, just can't find any consistency at all. The Tigers haven't won more than three straight since December, a factoid supported by its three-game winning streak falling on Saturday. The end came at the hands of Alabama, a reeling that that had won just two of its past ten and will probably be looking hard at a coaching change come April. In Columbia in January, MU dismissed the Tide by 21. Two days ago in Tuscaloosa, it was Bama winning by seven.

The conference now only has three teams in the Pomeroy top 50—Florida, Kentucky, and somehow Tennessee still—and there really isn't a compelling March Madness case to be made for anyone outside the Big Two. UT's increasingly fluky looking win over Virginia is about all that is keeping it afloat, and its habit of picking up bad losses is really not helping. After all, Saturday was the Vols' second loss to Texas A&M this year.

The SEC may be a league where everyone beats everyone else up—fully half the league is knotted up at 7-7 right now—but rather than it being because everyone is good, it's because everyone isn't that good. Thanks to that conference-wide weakness and the way the schedule worked out, no Big Dance aspirants can pick up resume-changing wins between now and Atlanta. Even the SEC Tournament doesn't have a ton to offer, as Florida and Kentucky have a maximum of one good win apiece to bestow on someone else. Given the way the bracket will work, beating both will require winning the whole thing anyway.

Until further notice, the SEC is a two-bid league. Oy.

Current prediction: Two bids—Florida and Kentucky

Key games: Missouri at Georgia, Tuesday; Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt, Saturday

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