What Happened Last Night
The Vanderbilt Commodores are flying under the radar, but the Commodores improved to 15-13, 8-7 in the SEC with a 67-56 win over the Tennessee Volunteers. Vanderbilt has won four of its last five and now its strong SOS numbers and a slew of top 50 wins (not including the Vols) could come into play in the Selection Committee room.
They still could use a couple more wins, but this could be the fifth SEC team in the tournament. The Vols are now 15-13, 7-8 in the SEC and while they similarly have strong SOS numbers their bubble is nearly burst.
Note that I said “"fifth.” The fourth should be the Arkansas Razorbacks, who beat the Texas A&M Aggies 86-77 to pick up their fourth win in a row and improved to 21-7 overall and 10-5 in the SEC. The Hogs don't have a slew of great wins, but in context of the rest of the bubble, it’s getting harder and harder to see them missing the tournament. Texas A&M’s now a disappointing 14-13 overall and 6-9 in the SEC as the crash from last year’s SEC title has been hard and swift.
Alabama is on the fringes of the bubble and the Tide, at 9-5 in the SEC, are still in play for a coveted top-four seed in next month’s SEC Tournament. A win by Alabama would keep pace with Arkansas and South Carolina, which are both 10-5 in conference play, and Alabama would be second in a hypothetical three-way tie with the Gamecocks and Razorbacks.
As for Georgia, the Bulldogs have missed all their chances at a quality win this year — their best win was either a home win over Vanderbilt or a road win at Tennessee, depending on the day of the week — and the story of their season has been a slew of close losses to good teams, most recently a five-point home loss to Kentucky. The more consequential loss was Yante Maten, who hurt his knee two minutes into the game and is now out for the season.
That said, Alabama is a 6-point favorite and even with Maten out, that seems like a bit too much given that (a) Alabama’s offense kind of sucks and (b) as far as I know JJ Frazier is still playing for Georgia. So I will take the underdog here to at least cover.