Posts Tagged ‘SEC’

The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee announced its 65-team field on Sunday night. While a number of no-brainer decisions were made (e.g. Louisville as a #1 Seed), there were a number of controversial calls.

With the seedings determined and matchups made, it’s time to review who won and lost the most on Selection Sunday.


There’s not much to point out here except for the media/experts complete obsession with both of these conferences. I agree that these are the two best conferences in NCAA Basketball, and they were rewarded accordingly, each receiving a Tournament-Best 7 bids. The most astonishing feat by either conference is not how many bids they received, however, but what seeds their teams were given. Here is a team from each conference that was given major leniency:

Dajuan Blair and Pitt Have Found It Easy to Remain On Top

Dajuan Blair and Pitt Have Found It Easy to Remain On Top

North Carolina (ACC) – Entering the postseason, UNC was the consensus #1 team in basketball. UNC’s postseason, however, was nothing short of miserable. The Tarheels squeaked by an NIT-caliber Virginia Tech team then fell to Florida State in the ACC semi-finals. Their punishment for this? A #1 seed and two straight games in Greensboro, NC.
— Pittsburgh (Big East) – Pitt finished the regular season with wins over #13 Marquette and #1 UConn, vaulting them to the consensus #2 team in America. They responded by going one-and-done in the Big East tournament (losing by 14 points at home to West Virginia). Pitt then sat and watched other teams play basketball. The NCAA Tournament’s decision? Leave them right where they were: the #2 overall seed. This gives Pitt a #1 seed and two games within 500 miles of home.


Nothing quite says “We think you’re terrible!” like giving a conference two at-large bids, reluctantly giving conference tourney champ Mississippi State a 13-seed (yes, that is behind the mighty Northern Iowa Panthers), and giving your regular season champions an 8-seed. The Selection Committee proverbially flipped the SEC the bird this year, failing to reward a season mired in mediocrity.

No one doubts that the SEC had a down year, but consider this: 1) the Atlantic-10 received as many bids to the NCAA Tournament as the SEC, 2) the Mountain West Conference received two bids, both of which are equal to or higher any SEC bid, and 3) The SEC’s automatic-bid (Mississippi State) was ranked equal to or lower than the following powerhouse conference auto-bids: Missouri Valley Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Horizon League, Sun Belt Conference, and Big Sky Conference… yikes.

This was a down year in the SEC, and the Selection Committee responded how they saw fit.


Sure they lost twice to the arch-rival UNC Tarheels, but Duke was the only ACC team from North Carolina who finished the season on a winning note. Duke won their conference tourney, a feat which few other top10 teams can claim, and can now use that momentum to make a push for the Final Four. Yes, they had a case for a #1 seed, but give Duke the option of a #1 seed in the West or a #2 seed in the East, they would probably take the latter. Why? Because their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen can be punched by winning two games in Greensboro, NC. Not too shabby…


In the most recent rankings, Memphis was ranked #4 by the AP.  Here are the teams Memphis sat behind: #1 UNC, #2 Pitt, and #3 UConn. In conference tournament play, Memphis sat back and watched all three teams ahead of them implode. UNC was knocked out in the ACC semi-final, Pitt went out in their first conference tournament game, and UConn lost in a marathon game to Syracuse. Meanwhile, Memphis breezed through the C-USA tournament, winning their third straight C-USA Championship and extending their NCAA-Best win streak to 25 games.

"They All Lost and We're Still a #2 Seed?!"

"They Lost and We're Still a #2 Seed?!"

Let’s break down Memphis’ mindset before the NCAA Tourney field was released: First, the only teams ahead of Memphis all lost in their conference tournaments, meaning that if Memphis goes anywhere it should be up. Worse-case scenario Memphis could remain at #4 and accept one of the four #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, the NCAA Selection Committee caters to #1 seeds, and if Memphis earns the #1 seed in the South bracket, they can play Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games at home in Memphis, TN.

The stars virtually aligned for Memphis to take the #1 seed in the South bracket. Instead, Memphis was given a #2 seed in the West. Who received the #1 seeds ahead of Memphis? You guessed it. North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and UConn were all given #1 seeds. The fourth #1 seed went not to Memphis, but to the team that was ranked behind Memphis in last week’s rankings— Louisville.

This is not to say that Memphis can’t win in this tournament. It’s just to say that everything seemed to come together for them during Championship Week then fall apart on Selection Sunday.


The Ever-Self-Promoting-Network actually lived up to their own billing on Selection Sunday. At 5:00pm CST I was tuned into CBS to watch Greg Gumbel (yuck) and the CBS All-Stars announce the tournament seeds. Approximately three-and-a-half seconds after Greg Gumbel announced the last team, my television flipped to ESPN. In several regards ESPN might not be great, but it’s certainly better than CBS.

On Selection Sunday, however, I was pleasantly surprised. Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis provided excellent opinions on each team, and the Bilas-Vitale bout was one for the ages. Dicky V finally conceded, saying that it’s pointless to argue because it’s not going to change (translation: if I keep arguing everyone might find out that I’m wrong). Not to mention that Bob Knight, despite being a crazy person, adds excellent perspectives on anything regarding college basketball.

ESPN’s football analysts are still god-awful. I will never forgive a network that puts Keyshawn Johnson and Cris Carter behind the same desk. Their college basketball crew, however, was thoroughly entertaining on Selection Sunday. Now if I could only find a way to keep Digger Phelps away for more than one night…


Only four teams from mid-major conferences received at-large bids to the 2009 NCAA Basketball Tournament. This number has steadily decreased over the last three years, dropping from eight in 2006 to only four this year. Many people attribute this drop-off to surprise conference tournament victories (e.g. Mississippi State, USC, etc.) since these unpredictable auto-bids deny several bubble teams a tourney invite. This year, however, the lack of mid-major teams might not have been due to a limited number of bids.

The Duke-Binghamton Game Should Look Something Like This

The Duke-Binghamton Game Should Look Something Like This

Here is a list of teams that one web site projected to fight for the last few NCAA Tournament bids: Arizona, Creighton, Minnesota, San Diego State, St. Marys, and Wisconsin. Of that list, only Arizona, Minnesota, and Wisconsin play in power-conferences, while Creighton, San Diego State, and St. Mary’s play in mid-majors. Despite the three mid-majors having noticeably better records, the NCAA opted to include Arizona, Minnesota, and Wisconsin as three of the last teams into the tournament. This raises the question of whether or not the NCAA Tournament has turned pro-power conference.

Of the 34 at-large bids up for grabs on Selection Sunday, 30 went to power-conference teams. Regardless of whether or not this trend might continue, mid-majors took a hit Selection Sunday.


That’s just a quick list of who I think both won and lost on Selection Sunday. Feel free to comment on who you think I wrongfully included, rightfully excluded, or anything else you feel like talking about.


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This was originally going to be a comment posted on a previous article. However, i ended up wasting too much time on it and decided to give it featured space.

When evaluating the strengths of major football conferences, one game cannot tell everything you need to know. in the wake of a Florida national championship, it has been widely accepted that the SEC established their dominance in college football this year. However, there are still dissenters to this conclusion (Anthony this isn’t aimed at you, I’m aware that you never held this opinion…publicly).

This Kid Understands

This Kid Understands

That being said, I believe that the SEC was a better conference than the big12 in every measure this year. Their play throughout the year and especially a stellar bowl season set them on a level above the Big12.

For further analysis, lets go hypothetical. Since this will never be determined on the field (with this years teams at least), we have to predict what would happen if the conferences squared off…

Lets say we lined up the SEC and the Big12 in a heads-up series, with each team facing their conference counterpart in terms of overall record. Here is the slate of games in reverse order of final standings:

Note: the rankings were determined on overall W-L percentage before bowl games. this allows teams that had a great season but took a bowl loss (e.g. Oklahoma) to maintain the position they held most of the year. additionally, a team may be moved up or down a position to match a team that they actually played in their bowl (e.g. tech v. ole miss)

Maxi-Tampon BowlBoise, ID

  • Iowa State (2-10) v. Mississippi State (4-8)

Great Value Douche Bag Bowl – Bentonville, AR

  • Baylor (4-8) v. Tennessee (5-7)

Trojan Rough-Riders BowlTampa, FL

  • Texas A&M (4-8) v. Arkansas (5-7)

Febreze BowlOklahoma City, OK

  • Kansas State (5-7) v. Auburn (5-7)

Oprah Magazine BowlPhoenix, AZ

  • Colorado (5-7) v. Vanderbilt (6-6)

Charmin Ultra-Soft BowlAtlanta, GA

  • Kansas (7-5) v. Kentucky (6-6)

Maxim.com BowlLas Vegas, NV

  • Nebraska (8-4) v. LSU (7-5)

Barack Obama BowlChicago, IL

  • Missouri (9-4) v. South Carolina (7-5)

Revenge of the Nerds Collector’s Edition DVD BowlMiami, FL

  • Oklahoma State (9-3) v. Georgia (9-3)

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia BowlSan Diego, CA

  • Texas Tech (11-1) v. Ole Miss (8-4) —SETTLED

Meineke Car Care BowlCharlotte, NC

  • Texas (11-1) v. Alabama (11-1)

Holiday Inn Express Tournament ChampionshipDallas, TX

  • Oklahoma (12-1) v. Florida (12-1) —SETTLED

My Scorecard: SEC Wins 9 Games – Mississippi State, Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn, Vanderbilt, LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, Florida. Big12 Wins 3 Games – Kansas, Missouri, Texas

Comment to criticize, react, and offer your own scorecards of how this series would play out.

Gotta love the hypotheticals…


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    The Little Twelve?

    Yesterday a friend in one of my fantasy leagues said something trying to get a response out of those of us (most in this league) that are from the Midwest and are fans of the Big 12: “I’m pissed off that no one will acknowledge that the Little 12 is far inferior to the SEC” he so sweetly exclaimed.   After a brief cooling off period and some reflection on what it really meant to be the ‘best conference’ in the nation an internal conclusion was reached.  The answer: a complete season.

    My sentiments exactly Sam.

    My sentiments exactly.

    Yes the Big 12 was and deserved to be the unanimous choice for best conference during the regular season, but a 4-3 mark by the conference in the most important games of the year, with the unstoppable South division of the group going 1-3 just won’t cut the mustard.  And yes, for all you mathematicians out there the little brother of the division went 3-0 with wins by Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.  To be fair the Northwestern’s, Minnesota’s and even the Clemson’s (this year) aren’t even in the same ballpark, and a win in OT by Mizzou and 5 point win by Nebraska means the conference I hold so dear was very close to a 2-5 turnout.  Heck, even Texas, one of the biggest brothers barely pulled out a win over a team many thought they would demolish in hopes of claiming a split national championship.

    It will be okay, the concession stand didn't really run out of nachos.

    It's okay...the concession stand didn't really run out of nachos.

    Alas, (my eyes nearly not trusting what they see appearing on the screen before them) the Big 12 doesn’t deserve the title of the best conference.  Not yet.  Until you can beat a middle of the pack SEC team in a near home game when you were supposed to be the team that was one game shy of the national championship?  Thank goodness they didn’t make it.  If you want to see the definition of no defense look no further than Lubbock, had they prevailed in the mid-November game in Norman they’d have embarrassed the conference against the Gators down in the title game.  The SEC remains strong as the best damn conference in the land, love it or hate it, you have to respect it, at least until somebody proves different for an entire season.


    My apologies to Les Miles.

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