SEC has some work to do before March arrives

Florida's  forward Will Yeguete, second from right, struggles to keep the ball as he struggles with Southeastern Louisiana forward Jan Petrovcic, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

Florida's forward Will Yeguete, second from right, struggles to keep the ball as he struggles with Southeastern Louisiana forward Jan Petrovcic, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

The sermons can begin being penned.

SEC men's basketball coaches should make use of Christmas break to get the wording just right. The verbiage might need to cut through the facts come March.

That's when the NCAA tournament selection committee will make its annual pilgrimage to Indianapolis. When it does, voices will travel up from I-65 North and I-75 North, and over from I-70 East preaching the SEC's worth.

"This is the home of the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats."

"This conference has produced 23 NCAA tournament wins in the last three years."

If the first five weeks have proved anything, it's that the sales pitch might need to be better than that.

Trying to fit the league into one early season frame, look at the SEC through to the scope of Ken Pomeroy's popular team efficiency rating system. In most simplistic terms, it ranks all 347 Division I teams looking at who a team has beaten and how they have beaten them.

It doesn't paint a pretty picture of the SEC, despite slotting Florida at No. 1 and placing three more teams — Kentucky (13), Ole Miss (19) and Missouri (23) — inside the top 25.

Use a wide lens, looking at the SEC's overall accomplishments … or lack thereof.

The SEC is 2-11 against teams ranked Nos. 1 to 25 and 15-34 against the top 100. Only three league teams — Florida, Missouri and Tennessee — own a victory against a top-50 opponent.

Yet the conference's 14 teams have accumulated 82 wins.

How?

A healthy 51-2 record against teams ranked 200-347 certainly helps.

Against the worst of the worst, the rating's sub-300 teams, the SEC is 26-1.

That reliance on college basketball's leftovers trumps any other league. The Big East, long an unyielding bully to nameless punching bags, counts 17 wins over sub-300 teams, despite having one extra team in the conference. The ACC, a league categorized as being in a "down year," has two less teams, but just 14 wins over the dreck.

And against the top 100, of which the SEC boasts just 15 wins? The Big East has 24 wins. The ACC has 20.

All this might add up to March Sadness.

Since the NCAA tournament expanded from 48 to 64 teams in 1985, the SEC has earned at least four bids every year expect 1990 and 2009, when three were invited.

At this time, it's hard to envision the 2013 NCAA tournament without No. 8 Florida (7-1), No. 12 Missouri (9-1) and unranked Kentucky (7-3).

After that?

Don't take a fourth bid for granted. A large and potentially historically bad league basement may drag everyone down the well.

Ole Miss and LSU are both 7-1. The Tigers' lone loss came to Boise State and their best wins are home against Seton Hall and at UC Irvine. The Rebels have one — just one — win in the top 200. It was Rutgers.

Neither Ole Miss nor LSU is likely to dance without a run in league play.

Assuming it rolls through a gauntlet of Southern, Army and Houston Baptist, Texas A&M will close non-conference play championing marquee wins over Washington State and Stephen F. Austin and an 11-2 record. The Aggies fall alongside the boys from Oxford and Baton Rouge.

Tennessee?

A 6-3 record. No Jeronne Maymon.

There are issues.

Preach on.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 28

GerryOP writes:

What is this dude trying to say? Very confusing! I'll try to remember to go back to this thread in the morning.

CoverOrange writes:

Agree, Gerry. The last four sentences don't make any sense.

But I understand the point about the SEC dregs scheduling dregs and being left out of the dance in March. It has been said for years. Guess Slive doesn't care about bball to make them change.

underthehill writes:

Seems to me Quinn is saying the SEC may have just 3 teams..Fla..Mizzu ..Ky..in the big show..and UT without Maymon is not likely to make it..I think UT would have made it with Maymon..now I think the new guys are going to have to really step up for the Vols to make it..

wazzya69vol writes:

I wish CBJ would issue an accurate statement on status of Maymon, at this POINT in time. I saw his father's statement on here few days ago, "needing to get into shape, etc.". I just don't understand the hush-hush about his possible return. Many of my friends, including myself, have gone to "best of luck, get well soon", to "what the hell, wussy". And this frustration comes out cause we knw nothing!! I think we as fans need to know what to expect with his future role on team--we are the paying fans to cheer for our Vols, and should have a quesstimate for his return. Forget HIPPA laws, he can sign off and provide some input. Hope to see you soon on the floor ; love watching you play. Good luck Maymon, Wazzy

atnvol#283282 writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

For now maybe....but they will lose to the Vols in BB as usual...

LovinMyVols writes:

in response to wazzya69vol:

I wish CBJ would issue an accurate statement on status of Maymon, at this POINT in time. I saw his father's statement on here few days ago, "needing to get into shape, etc.". I just don't understand the hush-hush about his possible return. Many of my friends, including myself, have gone to "best of luck, get well soon", to "what the hell, wussy". And this frustration comes out cause we knw nothing!! I think we as fans need to know what to expect with his future role on team--we are the paying fans to cheer for our Vols, and should have a quesstimate for his return. Forget HIPPA laws, he can sign off and provide some input. Hope to see you soon on the floor ; love watching you play. Good luck Maymon, Wazzy

I thought the word was that he developed a significant infection in his knee after the second surgery and that it may have caused additional damage.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to atnvol#283282:

For now maybe....but they will lose to the Vols in BB as usual...

I understand this response to the troll but am not convinced right now that Florida is beatable...by us. We DO have a very good history even against their NC teams. We need to get healthy and we need to keep this better guard play up!. Makan may be the key to our bigs opening up for passes to Stokes. He may demand a double team himself. That said I think we need Miller, Hall, AND Maymon all healthy to make a run in the SEC tourney and assure ourselves a spot in the NCAAs. Who knows though? We may come together as is?

UKblue02 writes:

in response to underthehill:

Seems to me Quinn is saying the SEC may have just 3 teams..Fla..Mizzu ..Ky..in the big show..and UT without Maymon is not likely to make it..I think UT would have made it with Maymon..now I think the new guys are going to have to really step up for the Vols to make it..

Gonna be a wait and see on UK, a lot of talent but a lot of work needs to be done by tourney time.. The sec road win chances is less than 50% for a really good team...

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to underthehill:

Seems to me Quinn is saying the SEC may have just 3 teams..Fla..Mizzu ..Ky..in the big show..and UT without Maymon is not likely to make it..I think UT would have made it with Maymon..now I think the new guys are going to have to really step up for the Vols to make it..

A lot of the questions come from the 3 losses Kentucky has as well as UT I guess. The other question may be about to whom the SEC teams have lost. But these questions may diminish if the top teams at least can keep winning.It's hard though to see a team with 5 or more losses making the NCAAs. UT's got a tough road now. We need to win the SEC tourney. If we're healthy and in shape we can win out. I'm beginning to see Kentucky as beatable at their house. It could possibly be Kentucky that's left out!!?hehe

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to UKblue02:

Gonna be a wait and see on UK, a lot of talent but a lot of work needs to be done by tourney time.. The sec road win chances is less than 50% for a really good team...

See previous post.hehe

underthehill writes:

in response to UKblue02:

Gonna be a wait and see on UK, a lot of talent but a lot of work needs to be done by tourney time.. The sec road win chances is less than 50% for a really good team...

Too much talent to consider UK a wait and see..I have a retired coach friend..who knows far more basketball than I..he says the current freshmen at UK will be a tournament team by the end of the year and none of them are likely to be first round draft choices and will stay another year..he thinks next year will be another strong UK team....I still hold hope for UT to make the big show..and I think the key is to how much help comes from the bench..

Basketvol writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

February 26, 2013, 9:00 PM. See you then. Until then, slither away.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Agree, Gerry. The last four sentences don't make any sense.

But I understand the point about the SEC dregs scheduling dregs and being left out of the dance in March. It has been said for years. Guess Slive doesn't care about bball to make them change.

I think BQ was saying that without Maymon the Vols are both not as good as they could be and that they are not as good an attraction if the Vols are on the bubble for an NCAA selection. The bit about "keep preaching" referred back to the top of the article where BQ was talking about the league's talking points to hopefully convince the NCAA that the SEC was not as bad as the current numbers say it is. At least that is my take.

As for your comment about the SEC scheduling dregs, a number of league teams have either new coaches or very young teams or both. There is a body of opinion that playing weak teams early gives a young team a chance to gain confidence and experience that will help them later when they get into conference play. I can't say I agree with it, and the experience of Alabama only last year would seem to argue against any good that comes from feasting too heavily on cupcakes early in the season. By any measure, the SEC is not among the powerhouse conferences this year, which gives the Vols a good chance to break through. They may have to win about three-quarters of their conference games to be sure of a bid. Hopefully that will be enough!

UKblue02 writes:

in response to underthehill:

Too much talent to consider UK a wait and see..I have a retired coach friend..who knows far more basketball than I..he says the current freshmen at UK will be a tournament team by the end of the year and none of them are likely to be first round draft choices and will stay another year..he thinks next year will be another strong UK team....I still hold hope for UT to make the big show..and I think the key is to how much help comes from the bench..

I hope your friend is right...i honestly think UT will make the show this year...It's going to be a interesting season though..

johnlg00 writes:

in response to wazzya69vol:

I wish CBJ would issue an accurate statement on status of Maymon, at this POINT in time. I saw his father's statement on here few days ago, "needing to get into shape, etc.". I just don't understand the hush-hush about his possible return. Many of my friends, including myself, have gone to "best of luck, get well soon", to "what the hell, wussy". And this frustration comes out cause we knw nothing!! I think we as fans need to know what to expect with his future role on team--we are the paying fans to cheer for our Vols, and should have a quesstimate for his return. Forget HIPPA laws, he can sign off and provide some input. Hope to see you soon on the floor ; love watching you play. Good luck Maymon, Wazzy

You can't just "forget" HIPPA laws. Like them or not they ARE laws and there are consequences for violating them. We are all frustrated with the lack of information, but once we do learn the true story, if we ever do, it might make more sense why they withheld it.

UKblue02 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

See previous post.hehe

I have the same concerns at this point...DOH!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to LovinMyVols:

I thought the word was that he developed a significant infection in his knee after the second surgery and that it may have caused additional damage.

In the absence of definitive information, there could be something to that. What if he has a MRSA infection? You know, the dreaded "flesh-eating" bacteria. In that case, there may be grounds for lawsuits against the hospital or doctors that performed his surgery. Making injudicious comments about a situation like that may well result in serious legal complications.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

Too much talent to consider UK a wait and see..I have a retired coach friend..who knows far more basketball than I..he says the current freshmen at UK will be a tournament team by the end of the year and none of them are likely to be first round draft choices and will stay another year..he thinks next year will be another strong UK team....I still hold hope for UT to make the big show..and I think the key is to how much help comes from the bench..

I too would not be surprised if most of the current UK players come back for another year. I am sure they will have another strong class coming in, but maybe not as many of them if none of the current players goes pro. I hope they do get better, since it will be better for UT if they should beat the Cats at least once. The Vols have managed in the past to beat some of the best Cat teams ever with teams no better than this year's Vols are.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh, yeah, the Vols are the ONLY team that sometimes gets "home cooking". Give it a rest, jerk!

johnlg00 writes:

PS, TT: The Gators might draw more fouls if they went inside occasionally instead of sniping from the outside all the time. The Vols drew a lot of fouls against Wichita because they kept taking it strong to the basket. Funny how that works out. And don't tell me about Young and Yguete; they average maybe ten shots a game between them and Murphy--I think that's his name--lives on the three-point line.

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I too would not be surprised if most of the current UK players come back for another year. I am sure they will have another strong class coming in, but maybe not as many of them if none of the current players goes pro. I hope they do get better, since it will be better for UT if they should beat the Cats at least once. The Vols have managed in the past to beat some of the best Cat teams ever with teams no better than this year's Vols are.

Same here..I think UT does have a chance to beat the Cats at least one time..and with Maymon at his best.. I thought it was almost a sure thing at home..and I still think the Vols have the best chance of being in the top 4 teams in the SEC and getting to the big show..but I also think the young guys are going to have to step up big for this to happen...going to be interesting..

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I think BQ was saying that without Maymon the Vols are both not as good as they could be and that they are not as good an attraction if the Vols are on the bubble for an NCAA selection. The bit about "keep preaching" referred back to the top of the article where BQ was talking about the league's talking points to hopefully convince the NCAA that the SEC was not as bad as the current numbers say it is. At least that is my take.

As for your comment about the SEC scheduling dregs, a number of league teams have either new coaches or very young teams or both. There is a body of opinion that playing weak teams early gives a young team a chance to gain confidence and experience that will help them later when they get into conference play. I can't say I agree with it, and the experience of Alabama only last year would seem to argue against any good that comes from feasting too heavily on cupcakes early in the season. By any measure, the SEC is not among the powerhouse conferences this year, which gives the Vols a good chance to break through. They may have to win about three-quarters of their conference games to be sure of a bid. Hopefully that will be enough!

I don't think there is any question your take is right..all conferences want as many teams in the big show as they can get and they make as strong of a case as possible to do so..as history indicates..The SEC is more likely to get 4 than 3...

bobe4544 writes:

The SEC is down this year.

Volbound1700 writes:

The SEC will get 5 teams: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee.

Outside chance for Texas A&M, Ole Miss and LSU but I don't see it.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Volbound1700:

The SEC will get 5 teams: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee.

Outside chance for Texas A&M, Ole Miss and LSU but I don't see it.

I hope you're right, but the facts stated in the article would seem to argue against it. On the other hand, stats like RPI rank only rank teams relative to each other. I have seen many games this year involving teams from all parts of the country, and I've gotta say this looks like somewhat of a down year for college basketball in general. Many of the same things we gripe about concerning the Vols--such as poor free-throw shooting, poor long- and mid-range shooting, poor passing, inability to hold leads, etc.--seem to plague most other teams, at least at times. There are as always a number of pretty good teams, but I don't see anybody as head-and-shoulders above the rest, except maybe Duke. All the Vols or any other team can do is go out there and give it their best see how they stack up against everybody else at the end.

1vavolfan writes:

Not sure why Quinn used Pomeroy, though interesting the selection committee uses RPI. Florida is #17, Texas A&M is 25th, other than that everyone else sould be worried. Ole Miss is 37th but has an SOS of 163. UK is #56 and UT #68, neither are tournament teams unless they can beat someone. The Wichita game may prove huge for UT but the Xavier and Memphis games will be too, the Vols need both to be wins. UK needs something on its resume, if not they are headed to the NIT.

http://realtimerpi.com/rpi_Men.html

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

There is no way Ky does not go to the dance.Even as freshmen, that is a tournament roster by middle of Feb. TV loves the Big Blue. I think 4 will get in easily. Too early to tell if Bama or A&M can slip in. SEC winner may have 6 losses this yr, unless Fla. drastically improves.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

There is no way Ky does not go to the dance.Even as freshmen, that is a tournament roster by middle of Feb. TV loves the Big Blue. I think 4 will get in easily. Too early to tell if Bama or A&M can slip in. SEC winner may have 6 losses this yr, unless Fla. drastically improves.

I stated above that we may not get in with 5 losses. I think I was outright wrong on that now that I think about it. There WILL probably be SEC teams to make NCAA with 6 or more Losses.
I guess what I was trying to say is that the conference may be down at the top at least and that top to bottom we may be more competitive. It could go any direction from here. Who's gonna step it up? I hope it's UT. UT does seem to be better at this point than we were last year.

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