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Thursday, February 28, 2008

SEC Teams and the NCAA Tournament - Round 2

Another disastrous road loss by the Hogs last night to Alabama has them sitting squarely on the bubble. Right now Arkansas is 18-9 overall, 7-6 in SEC play, 6-6 in their last 12 games, and a woeful 2-6 in true road games. Onto the SEC breakdown:

SEC East
1. Tennessee (11-2, 25-3, RPI 1)
2. Kentucky (10-3, 16-10, RPI 60)
3. Vanderbilt (9-4, 24-4, RPI 7)
4. Florida (8-5, 21-7, RPI 51)
5. South Carolina (4-9, 12-15, RPI 147)
6. Georgia (3-10, 11-14, RPI 139)

SEC West
1. Mississippi State (10-3, 19-8, RPI 41)
2. Arkansas (7-6, 18-9, RPI 45)
3. Alabama (4-9, 15-13, RPI 123)
4. Auburn (4-9, 14-12, RPI 127)
5. LSU (4-9, 11-16, RPI 164)
6. Ole Miss (4-9, 18-9, RPI 48)

Tennessee - The Vols won at Memphis and lost at Vanderbilt this week. Tennessee is ranked No. 1 until the polls come out next Monday, and they are still No. 1 in the RPI. Tennessee's lead in the SEC East and overall standings has been trimmed to one game over Kentucky and Mississippi State. Tennessee should lock up a No. 1 seed if they can win the SEC regular season title with wins against Kentucky, Florida, and South Carolina. Depending on how the other teams vying for a no. 1 seed do down the stretch, Tennessee may need to win the SEC Tournament as well for a chance at the overall no. 1 seed. Tennessee is a stellar 11-3 in road/neutral court games, 3-2 against the RPI Top 25, and 9-2 against the RPI Top 50.

Vanderbilt - Vandy's win over Tennessee makes them a lock for the NCAA Tournament, and they can claim a top four seed if they finish strong. The Commodores are No. 7 in the RPI, and have quality wins against Tenn., S. Alabama, UMass, Wake Forest, Ga. Tech, Ky, and Florida. Vandy's road/neutral court record is a respectable 6-4.

Mississippi State - MSU moves into the lock category on the Razorpod Blog. The Bulldogs clinched at least a share of the West Division Title with their win over Auburn last night. If MSU can finish strong, they have a shot at a share of the SEC overall title. Their road/neutral court record is 8-5 with a 5-3 record in true road games, and they are also 9-3 in their last 12 games. The Bulldogs so-so non-conference record may prevent them from getting a high seed as well as their 2-7 record against the RPI Top 50.

Should Be In
Nobody is in this category

Work Left To Do
Arkansas - Arkansas has gone from playing for seeding to the outside of the bubble by losing 4 of their last 5 games (all four losses were on the road). The Hogs have a huge opportunity to right the ship with Vanderbilt coming to Fayetteville on Saturday. Arkansas' RPI is an okay 45, and they own quality wins over Baylor, Mississippi State, VCU, and Florida. The road/neutral court record is 5-8 with a pathetic 2-6 record in true road games. Losses to South Carolina, Georgia, and Appalachian State also hurt. The Hogs can slide comfortably back inside the bubble by winning their final three regular season games - Vandy, at Ole Miss, and Auburn.

Florida - The Gators are 8-5 in SEC play and 21-7 overall. However, they only have one marquee win - a home win over Vanderbilt. They are 1-5 against the RPI Top 50. However, Florida can secure a berth if they can win 2 of their final 3 against Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Kentucky. MSU and TN will be home games, while the Gators can sweep the season series if they can get a win at Kentucky. If Florida loses 2 of 3, it may take a couple of solid wins in the SEC Tournament to get them back into the NCAA Tournament picture.

Kentucky - Kentucky is coming on strong down the stretch. Two more wins this week put the Wildcats at 10-3 in the SEC with a chance to win the regular season title if they can upset Tennessee in Knoxville on Sunday. Once considered a longshot just to get onto the bubble, Kentucky can stake its claim to an at-large bid with 2 more regular season wins. Their RPI has climbed to 60, and they are 4-5 against the RPI Top 50. Kentucky's margin of error still remains razor thin, however. A loss at Tennessee coupled with another loss either at South Carolina or home against Florida could leave the Wildcats in need of an SEC Tournament Title to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Ole Miss - At 4-9 in SEC play, the Rebels have pretty much squandered their 14-0 start. It's hard to imagine a team receiving an at-large berth with a losing conference record this year as the SEC is perceived to be a little down when compared to the other BCS conferences. However, Ole Miss can at least give the committee something to think about if they can manage to win out against a relatively easy schedule. Alabama and Arkansas visit the Tad Pad, and the only road game left is against East cellar-dweller, Georgia.

Automatic Bid Only - South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, LSU.

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