Checking in on… the SEC

Posted by rtmsf on February 23rd, 2010

Paul Jordan of Wildcat Blue Blog is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.

SEC Standings

EAST

  1. Kentucky 26-1 (11-1)
  2. Vanderbilt 20-6 (9-3)
  3. Tennessee 20-6 (8-4)
  4. Florida 19-8 (8-4)
  5. South Carolina 14-12 (5-7)
  6. Georgia 12-13 (4-8)

WEST

  1. Mississippi State 19-8 (7-5)
  2. Arkansas 14-13 (7-5)
  3. Mississippi 17-9 (5-7)
  4. Alabama 14-12 (4-8)
  5. Auburn 13-14 (4-8)
  6. LSU 9-17 (0-12)

Storylines

As we enter the last two weeks of the SEC season, Kentucky is closing in on the regular season title as they withstood two big road challenges at Mississippi State and Vanderbilt this week. They currently lead the SEC East by two games with four games to go, but they do hold the tiebreaker over second place Vandy whom they swept. Keep in mind that in the SEC Tournament the top two teams in each division get a first round bye so there is still a lot at stake. Vanderbilt currently has a pretty good grasp on that bye position as they are 3-0 against trailing Tennessee and Florida. The Vols and Gators both had 2-0 weeks to stay in competition for the bye game. South Carolina and Georgia are strictly spoilers at this point, but it would appear that Georgia could get a great moral victory by not finishing last in the East.

The West appears to be the division no one wants to win as the Bulldogs and Arkansas went 1-1 on the week. Getting the first round bye would be a great coup for Arkansas. Mississippi had a horrible week as they appear to have fallen out of the race altogether. Alabama started off the season with promise, but they have fallen on hard times. They, along with Auburn, are just playing out the string while LSU is trying desperately to avoid the winless conference season.

The SEC’s presence in the polls is still dominated by the East division. Kentucky remains at #2 in both polls. Vanderbilt continues to move up, despite losing games. They are now #16 in the AP Top 25 and the #20 in the ESPN/USA Today edition. The Volunteers are still registering in both polls at #19 in the AP Top 25 and #17 in the ESPN version. Mississippi State was ranked the equivalent of 34th in the AP Poll. For the weekly awards, Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins took home the SEC Freshman of the Week award and Tennessee’s Wayne Chism won the Player of the Week.

As of right now, the SEC has three teams penciled into the NCAA Tournament: Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Tennessee. Kentucky is very close to having a number one seed locked up, and you would figure that wins this week over South Carolina and Tennessee will seal the deal. Vanderbilt is in a good position as well and they have two winnable games this week versus Georgia and Arkansas. If Vandy can go 2-0 this week, they are knocking on the door of a number four seed in one of the four regions. Of all the SEC teams currently in, Tennessee is the most tenuous. You would think that they are a lock right now, but this week’s schedule features a trip to Gainesville and then a date with the #2 Wildcats. The Florida game has become a must win for both teams, as UT would have to beat Kentucky to avoid a 0-2 week. Tennessee would still be a NCAA lock losing both games. but their seeding could fall to the #7-#8 range. If Tennessee can pull off two wins, they can compete for a top 4 seed as well.

As of right now, Mississippi State and Florida sit firmly on the bubble. I think that Mississippi State is in with another two wins and they could lock up their bid with wins over Alabama and South Carolina. The Bulldogs also need these wins to try to win the SEC West. Florida was a very impressive team this week and I would say they are on the “in” portion of the bubble right now thanks to their tough win over Mississippi. However, Florida needs two more wins and a win over Tennessee could almost seal the bid for them. As I see it, Florida has to beat Georgia this week and win one of the following three: Tennessee, Vandy, and Kentucky. Florida has Tennessee right where they want them … in the O’Dome and they need to take advantage of it.

Ole Miss is firmly on the bad side of the bubble but if they can go 4-0 and make the semis of the SEC Tournament, they may go dancing. Mississippi has a favorable schedule this week with Auburn and Alabama on the schedule. If Mississippi can not close strongly, they are doomed for the NIT. I do think that Arkansas, South Carolina and Alabama have a good shot at the NIT, although they all need about three wins each (includes the SEC Tourney) to secure it. Arkansas is also in the position of fighting for the SEC West Title and faces LSU and Vanderbilt this week.

CAN’T MISS GAMES

  • 2/23 – Tennessee @ Florida – 9PM – ESPN
  • 2/24 – Arkansas @ LSU – 8 PM – ESPN 360
  • 2/24 – Alabama @ Mississippi State – 9 PM – ESPN 360
  • 2/25 – Georgia @ Vanderbilt – 7 PM – ESPNU
  • 2/25 – South Carolina @ Kentucky – 9 PM ESPN
  • 2/27 – Kentucky @ Tennessee – 12 PM – CBS
  • 2/27 – Vanderbilt @ Arkansas – 1:30 – ESPN 360
  • 2/27 – Florida @ Georgia 4:00PM – ESPN 360
  • 2/27 – Mississippi State @ South Carolina – 6PM – ESPN
rtmsf (3725 Posts)


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