When you take in a live game, sometimes you can just sense that the home team thinks it can win. Everything about the aura in Colonial Life Arena on Saturday told me the Gamecocks felt they had a chance against the number one Wildcats. The crowd was into it, the team gave 100 percent, and after a three pointer from Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina led by one with just 4:31 left in the first half. It just wasn’t meant to be for a Gamecocks squad that looked much improved from their last couple of times out on the floor, but there were several key takeaways that we will see play out through March for Kentucky and the rest of the Southeastern conference.
1) “Stop saying the SEC isn’t any good” - South Carolina coach Frank Martin was emphatic in making sure the media knew his stance on the conference. As he was answering another question, he just couldn’t let the moment pass. “By the way, stop saying the SEC isn’t any good,” he said to a room full of media. He has a point. At the time of this writing, the SEC has eight teams in the top 60 in RPI ranking. Kentucky (1), Arkansas (24), Georgia (26) Texas A&M (32), LSU (44), Alabama (52), Tennessee (54), and Ole Miss (59) all are in position to be considered for an NCAA tournament bid. According to Ken Pomeroy and his advanced statistics, the SEC is the fourth best conference in the country, behind the Big 12, Big East, and ACC. The SEC has proven its worth, and Selection Sunday should assist in shedding the label that the league is Kentucky and everybody else.