The SEC went down to Nashville, each team with its own agenda and expectations, some that were outlined in this space last week. I teased the tourney with three storylines, Kentucky beating everyone again, would A&M and Ole Miss right their collective ships and book their ticket to the dance and would Vandy upset everyone? Well sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss. Thanks Vandy for making me look foolish! For their part, Ole Miss did attempt to shoot itself in the foot and Texas A&M went and did shoot itself in both feet. And Kentucky, well Kentucky did what Kentucky does, win and win with ease.
Kentucky, well, they won again and again, and again. All they've done this year is win and that didn't change in Nashville. Kentucky looked dominant and appeared to have no trouble with any of the teams they played whether it was Florida, interloper Auburn or Arkansas. At this point betting against the Cats would be silly and the only way they seem likely to lose would be if they did it to themselves.
Arkansas meanwhile had a closer game than you would have expected with Tennessee Friday night but otherwise acquitted themselves quite well in tournament action taking out Georgia and the aforementioned Vols. The loss to Kentucky in the finals was not surprising and while it did hurt their NCAA Tournament seeding it did nothing to put a smear on their overall great season.
Following the Hogs we've got Georgia, who after a great finish to last year's season and run through the SEC finish third in our power rankings and found their way into the NCAA tournament by beating South Carolina, who had upset Ole Miss in round 2 and then were dispatched in the semi finals by Arkansas with ease. Georgia earned a 10 seed and have a date with Michigan State and Tom Izzo who seems to always win in the tourney.
In fourth, fifth and sixth you've got LSU, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. All three teams ended the season on low notes with both A&M and Ole Miss losing their first games at the SEC tournament, Ole Miss on a fouled three point shot (after making their own four point play seconds before), A&M to surprisingly good Auburn and LSU to again, Auburn. The losses definitely hurt all three teams in their seeding or in A&M's case lack of invite to the dance. LSU received a 9 seed and Ole Miss heads to Dayton for a date with BYU as a member of the first four Tuesday night. Texas A& who had played so well at the start of the season seemed to fade down the stretch in February and March and had to settle for a 2 seed in the NIT.
In the gooey middle of the SEC post Tourney we've got Vanderbilt, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. Tennessee made a little noise by beating Vanderbilt in the second round after having been down for most of the game, but were then dispatched by Arkansas in the quarter finals Friday night. As for Florida, they did something that neither Alabama or Vandy could do which was win their first game. Alabama and Vanderbilt will both play in the NIT so their season will continue, though in Bama's case without a coach. So long Anthony Grant....
In the bottom of our rankings we've got the tier of Auburn and South Carolina, teams that looked good in their games in the SEC Tournament and Mississippi State and Mizzou who both did not. Auburn showed the flash of potential winning two games in the tournament and shocking LSU in overtime. However, once they had to play Kentucky the run stopped and it didn't help that their two biggest guys were suspended for fighting and something else, the mysterious violation of team rules. South Carolina managed to upend Mizzou and then shocked Ole Miss at the end of the game with three foul shots to secure victory from the jaws of defeat and probably sent the Rebels to Dayton. Mizzou and State meanwhile did what they've been doing all year, losing!
For the most part the rankings were pretty solid but there were some slight disagreements on how high or low certain teams should be ranked, but for many teams our voters were in agreement on where each team fits in the grand scheme of things.
|Team||Points||Ranking||Ranking Last Week||Change||Highest Rank||Lowest Rank|
|Ole Miss||70||5th||6th||Up 1||5th||5th|
|Texas A&M||63||6th||5th||Down 1||6th||6th|
|Tennessee||37||9th (Tied)||10th||Up 1||7th||12th|
|South Carolina||24||12th||11th||Down 1||11th||12th|
|Mississippi State||14||13th||12th||Down 1||13th||13th|
Points were distributed 1st = 14, 2nd = 13, 3rd = 12, 4th = 11, 5th = 10, 6th = 9, 7th = 8, 8th = 7, 9th = 6, 10th = 5,
11th = 4, 12th = 3, 13th = 2, and 14th = 1
If Anthony Grant stays, preseason pick to finish last? (Dawg Sports)
I'm currently sitting on the beach drinking a beer. I will have to be limited to picks alone this week, haha.(Roll Bama Roll)
In the least surprising news of the season, Alabama will have a new coach next year.(Anchor of Gold)
The hogs are talented enough to make a deep run in the tournament. (Red Cup Rebellion)
Did plenty enough this year to establish itself as the clear runner-up in the league.(And the Valley Shook)
Their Tourney game is taking place in Jacksonville, I'm sorry Hogs... (Rock M Nation)
I'd like to thank them for making me look less foolish in the tournament. Now please let these recruits be overrated so Bruce Pearl can go away.(Dawg Sports)
Auburn finally looked like the team we expected them to be at the end of December and placed themselves firmly on the bubble of the CBI.(College and Magnolia)
Before you go thinking that Auburn's surprise SECT run is a harbinger of a turnaround, Auburn has four seniors in their seven-man rotation.(Anchor of Gold)
A KenPom special, capable of playing anybody in the country to a single-digit game but just not enough offense to win much. (And the Valley Shook)
All those four- and five-star recruits got the Gators all the way to 16-17. (Anchor of Gold)
Well Gators there's always football season... (Rock M Nation)
"Thanks for all of your money, BBN" - City of Nashville. (Red Cup Rebellion)
As the third supposed "lock" for the tourney, I guess this is the 3rd best. But lose any starting player, and it plays like the 9th or 10th.(Dawg Sports)
There was always a cluster after Kentucky and Arkansas but after the tournament, Georgia is the clear #3 because they didn't lose to Auburn or South Carolina.(College and Magnolia)
Like there was a doubt. (And the Valley Shook)
Death, Taxes, Dick Vitale screaming inchoherently about something and Kentucky being atop this poll, things you can set your watch by. (Rock M Nation)
Before you assume they're running the table, the best team they played to get to 34-0 was... Kansas? North Carolina? (Anchor of Gold)
Amazing what that team can overcome considering the in-game coaching skill of Johnny Jones.(Red Cup Rebellion)
They land here by default, really. Very few teams in the middle of the league put a great foot forward in Nashville. (And the Valley Shook)
This bubble is of your own making Johnny Jones. You looked bad, and you should feel bad.(Dawg Sports)
Subjectively, the fact that the players are (mostly) staying in the program suggests that they believe in Rick Ray... and why he probably gets another year.(Anchor of Gold)
If a coach gets fired in Starkville and no one is around to notice, did it actually happen? (Rock M Nation)
Just a whole lot of nothing this year from the Bulldogs.(And the Valley Shook)
Thankfully, the misery is over. (Anchor of Gold)
It could have been worse, I suppose their plane could have crashed in the Andes and they would have had to eat each other for survival... (Rock M Nation)
At least the baseball team seems to be winning.(And the Valley Shook)
I really thought Ole Miss was going to stay hot in the tournament and possibly reach the finals . . . Welp.(College and Magnolia)
The Rebels did all kinds of stumbling down the stretch and still somehow they found themselves in the tournament. (THE PLAY IN GAME IS STILL THE TOURNAMENT OKAY GUYS!!) They're going to need to find their shots quickly if they want to stay within 10 of BYU. (Red Cup Rebellion)
Well, I guess the Rebels can go here at 5. Does Andy Kennedy have reason to worry after another late season swoon? (Dawg Sports)
Nice run in the tournament and all but they still went 6-12 in the SEC regular season. (And the Valley Shook)
Unlike Auburn, SECT performance could be a sign of things to come with only one senior on the roster.(Anchor of Gold)
Worst dressed team at the tournament, what was Under Armor thinking? (Rock M Nation)
Beating LSU in the final week and halting Vandy's win streak did enough to land them in the league's top half.(And the Valley Shook)
At least they can end their season on a high note beating Vandy as the rebuild continues.(Dawg Sports)
Remember when this looked like an NIT team? Then they went 2-7 down the stretch. (Anchor of Gold)
Your bubble was delicious Texas A&M.(College and Magnolia)
POP! (Rock M Nation)
Welcome to the NIT, Aggies! (Anchor of Gold)
That winning streak down the stretch and a core of underclassmen means Vandy makes a leap. Next year.(And the Valley Shook)
A better performance than expected this year, and now Vandy fans hold their breath that there won't be a repeat of the 2013 offseason.(Anchor of Gold)
If they make the NIT, please don't let them host a game. (Dawg Sports)
And that will take care of that! Good luck to all the teams in the NCAAs and the NIT and the CBI, and for those whose seasons are over, I imagine your fans are fine with that.
We'll have one more ranking following the tourney that we'll use as a way too early SEC power rankings for the 2015 - 2016 Season so stay tuned!
Enjoy the madness.