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2016 NCAA Tournament: SEC Gets Three Bids in Texas A&M, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt

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It's down one from last year, but we're not down to the depths of three.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 NCAA Tournament bracket is set, and the SEC has put just three teams into March Madness.

The best seeded team is the Texas A&M Aggies, which are the 3-seed in the West regional. A&M will first play the Horizon League champs 14-seed Wisconsin-Green Bay, which is the KenPom No. 117 team. TAMU, for its part, is 100 spots better in 17th. If the Aggies beat UWGB, they'll play the winner of 6-seed Texas and 11-seed Northern Iowa. Those first two rounds are in Oklahoma City, while the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in the region are in Anaheim.

The Kentucky Wildcats are the next best seeded team as a 4-seed in the East regional. UK will play 13-seed Stony Brook in Des Moines, Iowa in their first game. The Wildcats are eighth in the KenPom while the Seawolves are 91st. If UK wins that one, it'll play the winner between 5-seed Indiana and 12-seed Chattanooga. The regional semis and finals are in Philadelphia.

The Vanderbilt Commodores are the weakest seeded team from the league, as they're an 11-seed in a First Four game in Dayton with Wichita State in the South region. Vandy is No. 27 in the KenPom ratings, while WSU is No. 12. If VU gets past the Shockers, it'll play 6-seed Arizona. Win that too, and the 'Dores will get the winner of 3-seed Miami (FL) and 14-seed Buffalo. The post-Dayton games will be in Providence, Rhode Island, while the regional semis and finals are in Louisville.

It's a disappointment that the South Carolina Gamecocks didn't make the NCAA Tournament. Carolina finished the non-conference schedule undefeated, finished third in the SEC, and went 8-5 against the RPI top 100. On the downside, though, they finished with just one top-50 RPI win while accruing two RPI 100-150 losses and an RPI 150+ loss. The Selection Committee has greatly frowned upon bad non-conference schedules in recent years, and the Gamecocks' non-con SOS ended up near the 300 line. If there's one thing that kept Carolina out, it's probably that.

Update

OU AD Joe Castiglione, speaking for the committee, cited South Carolina's one RPI top-50 win versus four for Tulsa as a reason why the Gamecocks didn't get in but the Golden Hurricane did.