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Bracket Banter: SEC In Review


Alabama: Alabama’s 2nd overall, and there’s a bit of a gap between them and the #3 overall right now. 11-3 in Q1/2, and no losses outside of Q1 leave a great resume. Right now, they only have 2 Q1a wins, but they have the opportunity for at least 1 more on 2/15 in Knoxville. All of their metrics point toward a 1 seed, and I don’t see them giving it up coming down the stretch. Their floor is likely a 2 seed, but only if they have a losing record in their remaining 8 games. They have 1 each of Q3/4 games, 2 Q2, and 4 Q1’s upcoming. I believe that 6-2/7-1 is needed to maintain their position. Anything in the 5-3/4-4 or less will put them in the conversation to drop a line, although I believe they hang onto a 1 with 5-3; it does depend on the losses they take.

Tennessee: The Vols give me a TON of difficulty with seeding them; they’re 8-4 in Q1/2 but only have 2 Q1A wins. They do have 2 Q2 losses which, in my opinion, keeps them on the 2-3 border instead of higher. Right now, I have them as a high 3 seed, but they are still a ways away from being in the 1 seed conversation. Their result metrics - 7.5 indicate a 2 seed, but their predictive/NET does point toward a 1 seed. Right now, I believe that they will need to win 6 games to get to the 2 line and may need more to get into the 1 seed conversation for me. The good news for them is that they have 5 Q1 games, 2 Q2s, and only 1 Q4 game on the schedule, so the opportunity for them is there. Right now, my belief is that they end up on the 2 line, but they have to go out and prove it over the next month.

Should be in:

Missouri: I’m writing this after the Mizzou win over South Carolina but before their metrics update. With that being said, the best thing from tonight was the fact that It’s their final Q4 game they had to get past. They can now turn their attention to a tough 4 game stretch where they travel to Tennessee and Auburn before returning home to play Texas A&M and Mississippi State. Getting two of those games would be a HUGE boost to their resume and could lock them in. That being said, an 0-4 stretch propels them straight to the bubble. To close the season: at Georiga, at LSU, and home vs. Ole Miss. Those three are Q2/Q3/Q3, respectively; They have to this point, made the best of their opportunities by going 7-6 in Q1/2 with no losses outside Q1. Honestly, they’re not going to be locked for a while, but they could start to feel more secure about their positioning this week. They need 3 more wins to be in; 4 could potentially lock them into the bracket.


Auburn: The biggest issue that the Tigers face is their lack of Q1 wins. Their only one is against #28 in the NET, Arkansas. While the “Eye test” isn’t used to evaluate teams, it’s worth noting that since that Q1 win over Arkansas, Auburn hasn’t beaten a team in the field, and other while they’ve been competitive, results matter. Up next is a rivalry game at home vs. Alabama, a HUGE game for both teams. If Auburn’s to stay comfortably in, they need 5 wins remaining: 2 games with Alabama, 1 vs. Tennessee, one at Kentucky, and vs. Mizzou, at Vanderbilt, and one vs. Ole Miss. That equals 2 Q2s, 1 Q3, and 3 Q1 games. I believe that 5-2 leaves them in the 8/9 games, 4-3 likely leaves them on the lower side of the 9 line, and 3-4 could push them to the play-in, depending on what the bubble does. If they were any worse than 3-4, they would likely need to win multiple games in the SEC tournament to get in. From a metrics standpoint, Auburn’s well within the at-large grouping, but I’m just not sold on their wins. They have exactly 2 wins over projected tournament teams; Arkansas and Northwestern. I think they’ll sneak in, but it could be very close.

Arkansas: I’m writing this after they beat Kentucky Tuesday night; with that, the Razorbacks moved up to the upper 10 seed line for me. Recently, the Razorbacks have figured out how to play better basketball, and they must carry that momentum into the next month to make the tournament. They get Mississippi State at home on Saturday before going to Texas A&M next Wednesday. Overall, they have 3 Q1, 3 Q2, and then 1 Q3 game on their schedule. If they could go 5-2 to end the year, they could climb some in the bracket and be comfortable going into Selection Sunday. If they move more toward 3-4 in the next games, they could be in a little more danger. They have the metrics to get them into the bracket, but they still lack some high-quality wins. Their two Q1’s are SDSU in Maui, and then the @ Kentucky game Tuesday night. I believe this team is figuring it out at the right time, and they could be dangerous come March.

Kentucky: Just evaluating UK’s wins/losses brings up some major red flags. They have exactly one win over a tournament team; yes, it’s a win over Tennessee in Knoxville, but was that a poor team upsetting a good team on an off night, or was that a glimpse of more to come? Calipari and the Wildcats must figure it out ASAP if they want to be in the bracket come March. The good news for the BBN faithful is that they have 4 Q1 opportunities remaining on their schedule and only 2 Q2s and 1 Q1 game. If the Wildcats can steal 2 Q1 wins and win their Q2/Q3 games remaining, I like their chances. This is very much a resume that could land in Dayton come March. Some of the potential matchups for the wildcats sound more like an elite 8 game than a First-four-game, but the Wildcats are struggling. Most of UK’s metrics put them in the bracket right now, but what they need to do is get the resume up to the metrics, or the metrics will start to fall. I’d say it’s 50/50 if the Wildcats get into the bracket this year, and we should know a lot more by this time Saturday, 2/18.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs started this season so well, but even though the record looked amazing, they amassed 2 Q2 wins (neither team in the projected at-large field) and one really good win vs. Marquette in Fort Myers. Since that start vs. opponents they should have beaten, they are 4-8 since. With that, their wins are Q3/Q1/Q4/Q2, so while we don’t use the eye test, this team HAS to find a way to beat some meaningful opponents, which they haven’t done much of. The TCU/Marquette wins are both great and to off the resume, but after that, it’s a win over Missouri and not much else. That brings us to a Q1/2 record of 5-8 and no losses outside of Q1/2. Most of their metrics are trending upper 40s and 50s, leaving them firmly on the bubble for now. They’re my 6th team out, but in that region, those teams are all VERY close and will continuously change with metric movements. For perspective, they’re about 2 team points away from being over Memphis and in the bracket, that’s not much, and any shift in metrics or a Q1/2 win could move them up. I’d still say they’re 2 wins or more away from getting to the bracket. If they were able to beat LSU Wednesday night and then win at Arkansas, they could slide into my bracket come Monday, but other results would have to go their way.

Texas A&M: The Aggies are yet another team who appear like they’re in good shape… until you get to Q4 and find their 2 Q4 losses. Q1/2 record is 5-5, they have 3 wins over projected tournament teams, but none of them are high-end wins. From a metrics view, the Aggies are in the upper 30s on average, but their out-of-conference strength of schedule is 251 and will be a detrimental mark on their re

sume. 7 games remain, and 5 of those are Q1 opportunities, while they only have 1 each of a Q2/Q3 game on the schedule. 5 of these games are tournament teams, and they have 2 opportunities for QA wins at home. If they could find a way to get one of those, it would really help to push them into the bracket. Other than Tennessee/Alabama, they get Arkansas at home, which is a great opportunity. A record of 4-3 could push them into the bracket if they don’t lose outside of Q1. I think that Texas A&M will need a win or two in the SEC tournament to get into the bracket.

Florida: A NET of 42, and most of their other metrics roughly in the upper 30’s/the lower 40s, and their out-of-conference strength of schedule is solid at 36th. From a win standpoint, they have wins over Mizzou and Tennessee, but no other wins over tournament teams to this point. Tonight? They’re at Bama in a game that could push them into the bracket if they could win. After that, they only have 1 Q1 game left, paired with 3 Q3s and three Q2s on the schedule. Florida’s likely going to need to go 6-2 to get in the tournament, or they’ll need a DEEP run into the SEC tournament. I’m not sure they have enough firepower to get into the bracket, but it could be very close.

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