clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Tracking the #SECBasketballFever for 2014-15

The fever is there, but it might actually be breaking.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Our good friend PodKatt from ATVS coined the #SECBasketballFever term to describe the malaise that has descended over the conference's men's hoops realm over the past few years. This year, he's been tracking how many of the 31 other conferences the SEC has acquired losses to.

Mississippi State's recent loss to the Atlantic Sun's USC-Upstate (oofpushed the count up to 15. Here's a table of where each of the league's losses have come from:

Conference Loss Count Pct.
A-10 2 4.3%
AAC 2 4.3%
ACC 8 17.4%
Atlantic Sun 1 2.2%
Big 12 12 26.1%
Big East 4 8.7%
Big South 2 4.3%
Big Ten 4 8.7%
CUSA 3 6.5%
MAC 1 2.2%
MVC 1 2.2%
Pac-12 3 6.5%
Sun Belt 1 2.2%
WAC 1 2.2%
WCC 1 2.2%

Note: all rankings mentioned from here on are KenPom rankings as of the day of publishing.

Twenty of the losses have come to the Big 12 and ACC alone, which isn't bad on the face of it. The fact that three of the ACC losses came to No.128 Clemson (No. 33 Arkansas; No. 62 LSU; No. 147 Auburn) is not quite as encouraging.

But anyway, some of them really aren't bad at all. The West Coast Conference loss was No. 32 Georgia falling to No. 7 Gonzaga. Two losses are to No. 9 Kansas (No. 14 Florida, No. 98 Tennessee). Two more are to No. 19 Iowa State (Arkansas, No. 76 Alabama). Three of the four Big East losses are either to No. 28 Georgetown (Florida) or No. 29 Xavier (Missouri, Alabama).

Of course, there are some horrible losses in there too. Missouri may be the lowest ranked team in the league at 158, but that's no excuse for losing to No. 263 UMKC. No. 98 Ole Miss took on an awful one in No. 208 Charleston Southern. Only one of Mississippi State's five losses was to someone better than No. 120 Oregon State. South Carolina, despite somehow hanging onto the No. 34 spot, has two losses to teams in the 101-150 range. Only four teams with a loss (hey, Kentucky) have avoided falling to someone ranked 100th or worse: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Texas A&M. And Bama only is on that list thanks to a last-second win over No. 287 Appalachian State yesterday.

For what it's worth, the fever does seem to be breaking some. As it stands now, the SEC has the best average and median KenPom ranks its had in the past four seasons:

Team 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Alabama 27 60 92 76
Arkansas 132 79 52 33
Auburn 144 207 129 147
Florida 11 2 3 14
Georgia 108 103 72 32
Kentucky 1 67 11 1
LSU 97 100 58 61
Ole Miss 81 36 84 93
Miss State 87 250 208 146
Missouri 8 31 78 158
South Carolina 163 210 114 34
Tennessee 58 75 7 98
Texas A&M 119 105 121 62
Vanderbilt 12 95 112 72
Average 76.75 101.43 81.50 73.36
Median 84 87 81 67

Note: the average and median for 2011-12 do not include Missouri or Texas A&M, which were still in the Big 12 then.

There's plenty of time left for those ranks to move around a lot—and they will—but the trend from the 2012-13 nadir is moving in the right direction. The coaching roster in the SEC has slowly improved of late, and Bruce Pearl's return should get Auburn to new heights before too long. This year's Tigers don't have the players to make a huge impact yet, but they already do have something of a signature win with an overtime victory over Xavier from Saturday.

But you didn't come for optimism, and this conference ain't exactly performing like a true power league. So: how many more conferences could the SEC acquire losses to?

Team Future Opponent Conference KenPom Rank Opp. KP Rank Diff.
Vanderbilt Yale Ivy 72 101 29
Auburn Texas Southern SWAC 147 207 60
Tennessee ETSU SoCon 98 161 63
LSU Coll. Of Charleston CAA 61 177 116
Texas A&M Hartford America East 62 185 123
Miss State McNeese St. Southland 146 279 133
Ole Miss SEMO OVC 93 245 152
Tennessee Mercer SoCon 98 253 155
Georgia Norfolk St. MEAC 32 202 170
Vanderbilt Penn Ivy 72 247 175
Ole Miss Austin Peay OVC 93 282 189
Texas A&M Mercer SoCon 62 253 191
Arkansas N'western State Southland 33 229 196
Arkansas UW-Milwaukee Horizon 33 230 197
Georgia Mercer SoCon 32 253 221
Tennessee Tennessee St. OVC 98 329 231
LSU Savannah State MEAC 61 316 255
South Carolina NC A&T MEAC 34 342 308
Auburn North Alabama D-II 147 - -

There is potential for 10 more, if you include D-II as a "conference". It's not likely that we'll get anywhere close to that mark, given the disparity in quality in most of the games. The most likely additions to the list based on KenPom ranks are the Ivy, SWAC, and SoCon.