Well the SEC regular season has come to a close and it's time to embrace championship week. For the SEC we'll be live from Nashville (Bridgestone Arena...'cause, c'mon) from Wednesday through Sunday with a few things to be decided.
- Will Kentucky lose a game due to lack of focus? This happens in conference tournaments and is entirely possible...but not really.
- Will Ole Miss and Texas A&M get their act together and lock up their NCAA berths? Many think Ole Miss is squarely in, but lose to Mizzou or South Carolina on Thursday and things get murky. As for A&M, can they get back to good with a resume that seems bare?
- Can Vandy upset everyone? Seriously, them getting past UT and then upsetting Arkansas and Georgia (presumably) would not surprise anyone.
But that's for later this week, what happened in the SEC this week? Well Kentucky finished the season without a loss. Kentucky fans have not had a bad morning after this season, it's crazy to think, but there it is. They were challenged a few times all season, but otherwise the looked solid. Last week Georgia had them and let it slip away, c'mon Dawgs...
Arkansas has been funny of late, games have been closer than you'd imagine and then they lost to everyone's favorite team that they have no idea what they're going to do not only from game to game but from minute to minute LSU. Arkansas still hold the two seed going into the SEC tournament and should be favored in the games they have up until the finals...but again, look out for Vandy.
Georgia and LSU come in at third and fourth respectively and both had good weeks. Georgia (as stated above) were leading Kentucky late into the second half when the wheels pretty much came off. They closed out the season with a closer than you'd expect game at Auburn having to survive via free throws to end the game. LSU on the other hand, in the same week managed to lose to Tennessee at home and beat Arkansas on the road. If anyone here has any idea what that team is doing, let me know. Being an LSU fan must be tough, your team is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and then 7 other personalities we haven't figured out yet. I predict LSU to do something in the SEC and NCAA tournament...though what that something is, I have no clue. Hell, if they passed on playing to go get some ice cream I wouldn't even be that surprised.
In 5th and 6th place we have A&M and Ole Miss who are supposed to be getting the SEC their 5th and 6th tourney bids and bringing the conference back to respectability, but I think they're getting the stage fright and last week kind of barfed all over themselves. A&M closed out the season with consecutive losses to Florida and at home against Alabama. This is not a good look Aggies. A&M is going to need to do a bunch of things in the SEC tournament to get right, and that's gonna take winning at least two games. As for Ole Miss, they finished the season beating Alabama and RUINING senior night, but then having Vandy do the same to close out the Tad Pad. Many people still view Ole Miss as a lock, I'm less convinced because outside of the Arkansas win there's not too much to hang their hats on...and then there's the matter of Charleston Southern. They say what happens in November matters, so Ole Miss could be sweating on Sunday, win some games Rebs, win some games...
In 7th is Vandy who is straight up shooting up the rankings, going from 10th to 7th after playing some of the best basketball of the SEC season the past month and change. Vandy looks a lot like Georgia did last year at this time. Really hot, maturing and potentially making a run in the SECs but will fall just short and then will be everyone's sexy pick to make the big dance next year after a hot finish this season. When your team hits threes like they do, it's gonna be tough sledding for whoever has to face them. Looking at you Hogs, be careful...Vandy's scary, and I'm not just talking about those uniforms...yikes!
From here on we've got the not so good teams of the conference to the down right hideous.
Florida and Alabama both finished their seasons under .500 in the conference and will face off in round 2 of the SEC Tournament this coming Thursday. Alabama managed to sneak past A&M on the road on Saturday, while Florida put up a good fight against Kentucky but just came up short. Will Grant be back next year? That's really the most pressing question, and will either of these teams be NIT bound?
Tennessee was a mirage all season long. They started out hot, getting some wins here and there but when it came time to play the best of the conference they foundered. This past week they got a surprise win at LSU and then followed that up with a home loss to South Carolina. Tennessee only won three home games this year, three! That's incredible. Following Tennessee is another disappointing team in South Carolina. The Cocks started the non con hot and got some big, big wins, but when the SEC season came around they just fell apart. It looks like Frank Martin's team is still a year away.
Finally we get to the dregs of the conference, Mississippi State, Auburn and Mizzou. These three teams all need to spend the offseason doing something to not look so rank. Mizzou and Mississippi State's game on Saturday was a mess, and no one should have to be exposed to that level of play. Both teams should be ashamed of themselves!
Auburn meanwhile has got some keys to build on and appear to be the most confident and brash team I saw all year, maybe next year their play will back up a bit of that swagger.
To the final Regular Season Rankings!
|Team||Points||Ranking||Ranking Last Week||Change||Highest Rank||Lowest Rank|
|Texas A&M||82||5th||3rd||Down 2||5th||7th|
|Ole Miss||79||6th||5th||Down 1||4th||6th|
|South Carolina||38||11th||12th||Up 1||10th||12th|
|Mississippi State||25||12th||11th||Down 1||11th||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
The athletic department has a decision to make soon about Grant's future as the coach of their beloved Tide. Does he survive the off season?(Red Cup Rebellion)
Similar to Florida, Alabama just lost too many close games this year. The season-ending injury to Ricky Tarrant was what ultimately doomed this team to another mediocre finish.(Roll Bama Roll)
Who's going to coach the team next year?(Anchor of Gold)
That loss to LSU at home will not do their seeding any favors. (A Sea of Blue)
A good team, but South Carolina game was second time in last two weeks that Hogs watched a big lead evaporate. (Anchor of Gold)
Despite the home loss to LSU, Arky is the clear #2 team, and Mike Anderson has his best team in Fayetteville since he's been there. Is this the return of the Hogs or will Portis and Qualls bolt leaving another rebuilding project next year? (Rock M Nation)
Lost 6 straight, with a roster that doesn't look like it lacks talent. Is Pearl really going to be able to do it?(Dawg Sports)
I'm fully expecting the Tigers to make me look like a genius for putting them ahead of State on Wednesday.(Roll Bama Roll)
As expected this year, but you can bet they'll be better next season.(A Sea of Blue)
It just wasn't the Gators year. Injuries and close losses told the tale but I don't expect them to be down long. (Red Cup Rebellion)
I don't expect them to stay this low for long. (Dawg Sports)
Tough year for the Gators. Get to the offseason and regroup, pretty sure Coach Donovan will have them back at the top of the SEC before too long. (Rock M Nation)
Another outstanding job by Mark Fox this season. It's really hard to believe he had the hottest seat in the SEC circa January 2014. Georgia's balanced scoring attack was too much for many teams this season, and now that they are fully healthy, the Dawgs could make some noise in the postseason.(Roll Bama Roll)
It's a thin team with little room for poor games or injuries, but when healthy, this team has been able to hang with anyone.(Dawg Sports)
Really rose to the top at the end of the season. Auburn got close, but winning the close ones one the road is the mark of a good team.(A Sea of Blue)
Kentucky had seniors to start on Senior Day? Who knew? (Anchor of Gold)
When you win them all, you're going to be in the top spot. (A Sea of Blue)
The discussion these days is where they rank against past teams, not their competition. And if they finish strong, that will always be the debate. (Dawg Sports)
I've said it in this space before and I will say it again: If LSU can get good play from their guards (as they did on Saturday) we could end up seeing them on the second weekend of the tournament.(Roll Bama Roll)
Is it just me, or does LSU succeed despite the not-so-good in game coaching by Johnny Jones? Good season, Tigers.(Red Cup Rebellion)
Winning at Arkansas three days after you lose to Tennessee by 15 -- at home! -- is seriously like the most LSU thing ever. (Anchor of Gold)
Rick Ray gets all he possibly can out of his players, the problem is that his players aren't very good.(Red Cup Rebellion)
Curious if progress this year is enough to save Rick Rays job, but no doubt that things are looking better in Starkville. (Rock M Nation)
MSU can barely score. It's amazing they finished this well.(A Sea of Blue)
How's baseball going? (Dawg Sports)
This is the worst basketball I've ever seen...and I watched the Michael Jordan led Wizards in person. (Rock M Nation)
I feel for you, Tiger fans. Frank Haith was a real jerk.(Red Cup Rebellion)
Of the four team jumble, they lost to LSU both times and Georgia both times. They should be on the good side of a bubble also, but Andy Kennedy seems to have issues with late February/early March.(Dawg Sports)
Putting it nicely, the Rebels sputtered to the finish. With Jarvis Summers' inability to get out of his scoring funk and no one consistently stepping up to help carry some of the scoring weight from Moody, Ole Miss does not look like a confident team heading into post-season play. They still appear to be dancing, but no team will be scared to see the Rebs on their schedule. (Red Cup Rebellion)
Finished the season with a whimper. Not a good sign for tournament play (A Sea of Blue)
The Gamecocks just couldn't shoot the ball this season. As it turns out, that's pretty important in basketball. (Roll Bama Roll)
They're suddenly making shots... which makes them potentially dangerous in the SEC Tournament if they can keep doing that.(Anchor of Gold)
4-4 in their last 8 is hopefully a sign of changing time for Frank Martin who has been fighting an uphill battle for a while in Columbia East. (Rock M Nation)
The end of the season has been very unkind for this crew, but their early season results give some hope for the future. (Dawg Sports)
In the middle of the season, they looked better than expected. The last 10 games have returned them to reality.(A Sea of Blue)
[Insert Dennis Green "They are who we thought they were speech]. (Rock M Nation)
Suddenly looking very pedestrian, and at the worst possible time.(Anchor of Gold)
A truly bad final week for A&M, dropping back-to-back games against likely NIT competition. They are still on everybody's bubble, but zero quality wins outside of LSU will prevent them from getting in. The selection committee doesn't like teams who haven't shown that they can beat other tournament level opponents. (Roll Bama Roll)
Said the same about Ole Miss, losing 3 of their last 4 isn't a good look for a team that felt good about their tournament chances just a few weeks ago. (Rock M Nation)
Since losing 7 straight in January, they've rattled off 8 wins out of 10. A young team is apparently growing up, and looking very dangerous for next season.(Dawg Sports)
Shooting 51 percent from three over last five games. It's kind of hard to lose when you're shooting like that.(Anchor of Gold)
The Dores are shooting like the basket is the size of a swimming pool right now. That shooting display they put on in Oxford to close the season was nothing short of spectacular. (Red Cup Rebellion)
And that will do it! The regular season is over, but we've still got a few more sets of rankings to come forth. So grab your popcorn and sit back and let's see what the SEC can do in Nashville, make the most of it and send 6 teams to the dance, or just blow the whole thing up and send four...should be fun to find out!