The Southeastern Conference has been filled with upsets this season. Many teams who stood out in the beginning find themselves running with the middle of the pack as tournament time approaches. Keeping the entire season in mind may seem important to some, but watching these teams will likely be a better predictor in the outcome of the SEC tournament, and the seeding of the national tournament later this month.
Big players this season have shifted greatly, but Florida has remained consistent and at the head of the pack in the conference and nationally. Florida’s consistency and abilities make them a front runner for seeding in the national tournament. While their success against teams in the March is left to be determined, they will likely receive a number two or three seed come the tournament time as a result of losses in their last two games. Nationally, Florida has something to prove, but their SEC play, even with several embarrassing road losses (Arkansas, really?!) makes them somewhat of a shoe-in for the SEC championship title this season.
A loss for Florida at the hands of two bubble teams will likely prove to be the momentum Tennessee and Mizzou need in order to secure a decent seed in both the national tournament and the SEC tournament. Tennessee is currently ranked the dead center of the SEC and behind Arkansas in some polls. Even though Arkansas scored a win over Florida, their success come tournament time both in the SEC and nationally will be largely overestimated in they score a better seed than Tennessee. Arkansas has managed to win several games by a stroke of luck, and their lack of consistency proves that many of the wins were largely undeserved. Somehow, Arkansas has managed to have great days whenever their opponents are having their worst days of the season, and this luck does not make them worthy of their current SEC standing. Tennessee on the other hand, while right on the bubble, is a hot team right now. However, their loss to Georgia was disappointing to say the least. Tennessee, excluding their loss to Georgia, could be a threat to land an upset or two in the next few weeks, as proven by their win early on against Kentucky. Mizzou has been up and down throughout SEC play as well, but wins against teams that were once on top could make them a possible contender come the SEC tournament as well.
More than likely, the SEC tournament champ will be the Florida Gators, resulting in a solid number two seed come the national tournament. Kentucky will likely fix whatever has been ailing them in the SEC tournament and possibly make it to the championship game, securing a number four seed in the national tournament. Ole Miss could also take Kentucky’s place in the SEC tournament, but since the Rebels have lost their mojo lately, I don’t see this happening.
Finally, the Gamecocks round out the bottom three teams and without a miracle, USC will likely not make it past one game in the SEC tournament and will be left out of the NCAA tournament again this year.