Thursday, March 11, 2010

SEC Tournament Preview

March Madness is here! I love this time of year! You have all the small schools competing for their place in the dance, while the losers have to sit there and watch the other team celebrate.

Also, some of the greatest basketball games in history take place in conference tournaments. Who can forget UConn and Syracuse playing a 6 OT classic last year? Jesse and I sure don't!

Today the SEC Tournament tips off and the Vols face LSU. What stinks about this is that Tennessee is the #13 team in the country and had the third best record in the SEC, yet they still have to play on day one because of the way the seedings in the SEC Tournament work.

In the other conferences that have 12 teams (Big XII and ACC) they do not divide the teams into divisions in basketball and rank them 1-12 and the top four teams would get a first round bye. Here is how it would look in the SEC:

1. Kentucky 14-2
2. Vanderbilt 12-4
3. Tennessee 11-5
4. Florida 9-7
5. Mississippi State 9-7
6. Ole Miss 9-7
7. Arkansas 7-9
8. South Carolina 6-10
9. Alabama 6-10
10. Auburn 6-10
11. Georgia 5-11
12. LSU 2-14

In this formula Tennessee would have a first round bye and play the winner of Ole Miss vs. Georgia. However in the SEC, the teams that finish 1 and 2 in both the east and west divisions get the byes. So despite the fact that Tennessee has a better record and beat MSU and Ole Miss head to head, the Bulldogs and the Rebels have the byes and if Tennessee is to win the tournament, they would have to play four games.

Yes it is not fair to Tennessee this season, and I am sure this system has benefited Tennessee in the past, but it should be something the SEC changes for next year.

As for today, Tennessee has to be on the lookout for LSU. Yes they were only 2-14 in the SEC, but the Tigers played the Vols tough in Baton Rouge earlier this season and Tasmin Mitchell is a great player who can take over a game. I still think the Vols get the win but it will not be easy.

Today's winners:

South Carolina over Alabama/Tennessee over LSU/Florida over Auburn/Georgia over Arkansas

Enjoy the games and the Madness!

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