Hurtling towards the end of the regular season and with Adriana Lima watching closely, the Hogs managed to lose another road game on Tuesday night. The loss to Ole Miss in Oxford leaves the Hogs with a 2-6 road mark in SEC play and a 2-7 road record overall. Arkansas plays Auburn in Fayetteville tomorrow in the regular season finale. A win will put the Hogs at 20-10 overall and 9-7 in league play. Will that be enough to secure an NCAA Tournament berth. Wally Hall says no, while national bracket experts say yes. You can decide who's more knowledgeable. On with the rundown:
1. Mississippi State (20-9, 11-4, RPI 35)
2. Arkansas (19-10, 8-7, RPI 41)
3. Ole Miss (20-9, 6-9, RPI 42)
4. LSU (13-16, 6-9, RPI 159)
5. Alabama (15-15, 4-11, RPI 134)
6. Auburn (14-14, 4-11, RPI 155)
1. Tennessee (27-3, 13-2, RPI 1)
2. Kentucky (17-11, 11-4, RPI 47)
3. Vanderbilt (25-5, 10-5, RPI 7)
4. Florida (21-9, 8-7, RPI 63)
5. South Carolina (13-16, 5-10, RPI 149)
6. Georgia (13-15, 4-11, RPI 144)
Tennessee - The Vols clinched the SEC regular season title with wins over Kentucky and Florida this week. A win at home over South Carolina should lock up a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens at the SEC Tournament.
Vanderbilt - Vandy lost at Arkansas and won a heart-stopper over Mississippi State this week. Shan Foster's nine three-pointers propelled the Commodores to an 86-85 OT win over MSU. Vandy will be the 3 seed from the East and have to play on Thursday at the SEC Tournament unless they win at Alabama and Kentucky loses at home to Florida.
Mississippi State - MSU clinched the West division title last week and had a chance to win the overall title going into Wednesday night. However, Tennessee's win coupled with the Bulldogs loss at Vanderbilt left them two back of the Vols with only one game to play. MSU should win their regular season finales at home against LSU, and that will leave them with a 12-4 SEC mark. State could conceivably get a 5 or 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a conference tourney title.
Work Left To Do:
Kentucky - The Wildcats resume keeps on getting stronger. They lost a tough one at Tennessee on Sunday, but they won at South Carolina on Wednesday to run their league record to 11-4. The Wildcats RPI has climbed into the Top 50, so a win at home against Florida on Sunday may be all they need to complete their improbable run to an at-large berth.
Arkansas - The Hogs aren't as in bad a shape as it may appear. They got a big win over Vanderbilt last Saturday, and as mentioned above a win at home over Auburn will give the Hogs a winning SEC record. The RPI is solid, and Arkansas has good non-conference wins over Baylor and VCU on neutral courts. The weakness of the bubble teams around the country also helps the Razorbacks chances.
Florida - The loss to Tennessee was a heartbreaker. The Gators find themselves in need of win at Kentucky to finish above .500 in SEC play and to give them a quality road win. Florida only has one win over an RPI Top 50 team, and their non-conference strength of schedule is awful. A loss to Kentucky will likely leave Florida on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament unless they can win the SEC Tournament.
Ole Miss - Ole Miss is only 6-9 in SEC play, but a win at Georgia coupled with three wins in the SEC Tournament would put them in the same boat as last year's Arkansas team that garnered one of the last at-large bids. Anything short of winning the next four leave the Rebels in the NIT. Of course, if Ole Miss could win that 5th game, they would get the automatic bid and not have to worry about anything.
Automatic Bid Only - South Carolina, Georgia, LSU, Alabama, Auburn