SEC Basketball Power Rankings: March 17

Kevin C. Cox

It's official, the SEC is a 3-bid league in the NCAA, a 4-bid league in the NIT and a 1-bid league in the CBI.

1. Florida Gators 31-2 (18-0), RPI 1, LW: 1

They are the hands down favorite (4:1 odds) to win the NCAA Tournament. It's hard to believe the seventh best basketball conference produced the tournament favorite. Could you imagine that in college football? That's like the winner of the MAC being the favorite for the BCS Title game. I know it is an apples and oranges comparison, but it's why I love college basketball.

2. Kentucky Wildcats 24-9 (12-6), RPI 15, LW: 2

They are an eight seed in that "group of death" division they call the midwest bracket. I could see them beating Kansas State and Wichita State to make it to the Sweet Sixteen, or losing in their first game against Kansas State.

3. Tennessee Volunteers 21-12 (11-7), RPI 41, LW: 4

We learned how important non-conference strength of schedule is to the NCAA selection committee when the Volunteers showed up as a participant in one of the "First Four" play-in games. The Volunteers, with a non-conference SOS of 41, get in over bubble team SMU (303), or even Arkansas (202).

4. Missouri Tigers 22-11 (9-9), RPI 48, LW: 6

Another victim of their non-conference SOS, they beat North Carolina State in Raleigh and had a better RPI than the Wolfpack. But, Missouri's non-con SOS is 150, and NC State's is 87.

5. Georgia Bulldogs 19-13 (12-6), RPI 76, LW: 3

The NIT selection committee rewarded them for finishing tied for second in the SEC standing. As a two seed in the NIT, I think they win their bracket and go to the NIT final four.

6. Arkansas Razorbacks 21-11 (10-8), RPI 68, LW: 5

Not only did the Hogs lose a chance at continuing to build their shot to receiving an at-large bid, but the loss to South Carolina in the SEC tournament probably knocked them out of hosting a second round NIT game. The Razorbacks would have been a lock for the NIT final four if they didn't have to go on the road in the second round, if California wins..

7. LSU Tigers 19-13 (9-9), RPI 80, LW: 7

They snuck in the back door of the NIT tournament. They are in Arkansas' quadrant and if both teams win their first two games, they could come to Fayetteville with a chance to go to New York on the line.

8. Mississippi Rebels 19-14 (9-9), RPI 92, LW: 8

By not accepting a bid to the CBI, we must say "goodbye" to #whitegirlwednesday. What Dennis Rodman is to North Korea, maybe Marshall Henderson could become for Russia when he goes there to play his pro ball.

9. Texas A&M Aggies 17-15 (8-10), RPI 146, LW: 10

Congratulations on becoming the first team in the SEC to accept a CBI bid. VCU was the 2010 champion and then went on to the NCAA final four in 2011. Could Texas A&M be the next team to do that or... LOL guys I'm just kidding.

10. Vanderbilt Commodores 15-16 (7-11), RPI 114, LW: 9

It is the second season in a row they haven't made any type of post season play and seven years since they last made the sweet sixteen.

11. Alabama Crimson Tide 13-19 (7-11), RPI 124, LW: 11

Anthony Grant was retained for the 2014-15 season. That probably had something to do with his $5 million buyout.

12. South Carolina Gamecocks 14-20 (5-13), RPI 137, LW: 13

They won four of their last six games to wrap up the season. I bet they'll improve again next year under Frank Martin.

13. Auburn Tigers 14-16 (6-12), RPI 165, LW: 12

After letting Tony Barbee go, Auburn has apparently garnered interest from several well respected coaches. I doubt they get a Buzz Williams or Bruce Pearl. I might throw my name in the ring. If any of y'all want to get that started on twitter, I'd appreciate it.

14. Mississippi State 14-19 (3-15), RPI 243, LW: 14

Congratulations that your season is over.

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