Conference Tournament Predictions.

March is upon us. The lead-up to the Big Dance will commence this week in the form of Conference Tournaments. Let’s look at the brackets for this week and who should be favorited to take home the tournament championships along with some dark horses to keep an eye on.

AAC

Regular Season

The Wichita State Shockers took home the regular-season trophy finishing 11-2 in conference play.


My Prediction: Houston (2 seed)

Houston actually had 3 more conference wins than the Shockers and only one more loss. This is what happens in a COVID season though. Regardless, the metrics back Houston to be the much better team and they will be playing for seeding coming down the home stretch before March Madness. This is a physical Houston team that has been dominant of late. Look for them to meet Wichita State in the finals and win in dominating fashion.

Team to watch: Memphis Tigers


ACC

Regular Season

The Virginia Cavaliers took home the regular-season trophy finishing 13-4 in conference play.


My Prediction: Florida State (2 seed)

This is a tournament that could go a lot of different ways. It is quite possible that the six seeded Tar Heels could come out on top. That being said, I would put my money on Florida State. The Seminoles are coming off a tough road loss to Notre Dame and their play in the conference tournament will influence their seeding for March Madness. I have faith in Leonard Hamilton and the high powered offense that ranks 10th in the country in Adjo.

Team to watch: North Carolina Tar Heels


Big 12

Regular Season

The Baylor Bears took home the regular-season trophy finishing 13-1 in conference play.


My Prediction: Baylor (1 seed)

Baylor will have a very tough conference tournament schedule, but nothing that the Bears can’t handle. Apart from a loss at Kansas, they have looked dominant the entire season. If they can hold off a hot Oklahoma State team I would expect them to get their revenge against Kansas in the championship round of the tournament. The Bears have the 3rd best offense in the country and a respectable defense to back it up.

Team to watch: Oklahoma State


Big East

Regular Season

The Villanova Wildcats took home the regular-season trophy finishing 11-4 in conference play.

My Prediction: UConn (3 seed)

James Bouknight. That is really all you need to know. The Sophomore guard is one of the best players in the country. After returning from injury in mid February, the Huskies are 5-1 winning in dominating fashion for the most part. With the injury to Villanova’s star point guard it would seem that UConn has a great chance to compete for the conference tournament championship. They will be a fun team to watch under the leadership of Dan Hurley down the stretch of March.

Team to watch: St. John’s



Big Ten

Regular Season

The Michigan Wolverines took home the regular-season trophy finishing 14-3 in conference play.

My prediction: Illinois (2 seed)

This conference tournament will represent around 15% of the March Madness bracket. You can say what you want about the Big Ten but it is unarguably the best conference in the country. The Illini are hot and the Wolverines are not coming down the home stretch. Look for Illinois to continue their climb to the top as they fight for a #1 seed in March Madness. It will be worth watching the Michigan State Spartans as they come off a win against Michigan, they still seem unlikely to win the tournament but I would never count Izzo out.

Team to watch: Michigan State



SEC

Regular Season

The Alabama Crimson Tide took home the regular-season trophy finishing 16-2 in conference play.

My Prediction: Arkansas (2 seed)

This will be a great conference tournament. It will likely be a rematch between Arkansas and Alabama to decide the outcome. That being said, I wouldn’t count out Ole Miss, Kentucky, or LSU. I struggled to make this decision but I decided to go with the Hogs who are one of the hottest teams in the country. Either way, the finals of the SEC tournament will be high-powered and could drastically impact seeding for March Madness. If it is Arkansas/Alabama, the winner would likely secure the #2 seed in March Madness while the loser would fall to the #3 seed.

Team to watch: Ole Miss



Pac 12

Regular Season

The Oregon Ducks took home the regular-season trophy finishing 14-4 in conference play.

My Prediction: USC (2 seed)

I love the Trojans this year. Led by the 7-foot freshman phenom, Evan Mobley, they have put together a good regular season. They are the best team from a metrics standpoint in their conference and have more experience than an Oregon team that has been plagued with cancellations. I really see Oregon and USC as the only real threats to win this tournament and we will likely see them meet in the finals. I expect the staunch USC defense to slow down the Ducks in a relatively close battle to finish the season heading into the Big Dance.

Team to watch: UCLA

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Selection Sunday



Bracketology: SEC Outlook Update

A look into which teams have hopes of making the Big Dance as they enter the backstretch of regular season play.

*Seeding is provided from bracketmatrix.com where they have compiled rankings from over 30 leading bracketologists based on past accuracy*

Resources:


The Prospects

Alabama 18-6 (13-2)

Best Seed: 2 // Worst Seed: 3 // Consensus: 2

The Tide are still looking like they will easily finish as the regular season conference champions in SEC. That being said, Nate Oats team has sputtered of late. Most recently they fell by 15 points to the Razorbacks in Fayetteville. They still are far and away the best team in the SEC from a metrics standpoint with the 29th ranked AdjO and 4th ranked AdjD.

My prediction: 3, Alabama is a very dangerous team for many reasons. They shoot a ton of threes and make 36% of them. They pair their fast-paced offense with lockdown defense that works to push teams late into the shot clock. I like Alabama against the majority of the teams in the country but they need to right the swaying ship before March. I see this as a team that can beat anyone and has Final 4 potential. I don’t like their chances against the likes of Gonzaga/Baylor/Michigan.

Floor: Sweet 16 // Ceiling: NCAA Championship // Guess: Elite 8

Arkansas 18-5 (10-4)

Best Seed: 3 // Worst Seed: 8 // Consensus: 5

The Hogs currently hold the SEC’s longest conference winning streak at eight wins. Many were worried after the 2-4 start to conference play but the doubters have since been silenced. They have relied on a stingy defense, ranked 15th in the country, to attack teams weaknesses. Eric Musselman has proven to be one of the best coaches in the conference this year as Arkansas looks prepared each and every game.

My prediction: 4, The red hot Razorbacks look to continue their success against LSU at home this Saturday. If they can win out in the regular season and win a game in the SEC tournament they will be positioned to earn a 3 seed. Regardless of seeding, they are one of the hottest teams in all of college basketball that looks poised to compete with nearly anyone. The Hogs have won every game they have been predicted to win so I see them with a high floor with a decent ceiling come March.

Floor: Sweet 16 // Ceiling: Final 4 // Guess: Sweet 16

Tennessee 16-6 (9-6)

Best Seed: 4 // Worst Seed: 8 // Consensus: 5

The Volunteers rely on their 3rd ranked defense and a slow pace. This has led to a respectable season. However, some would consider it to be an underperformance for a highly anticipated Tennessee team led by Rick Barnes. They struggle to score at times and are coming off a recent home loss to Kentucky where they were ultimately dismantled over 40 minutes of play.

My prediction: 5, The Volunteers have taken care of business for the most part against inferior teams but lacks any big wins at the moment. They are a team that should make it past the the round of 64 but does not seem to have high upside. That being said, they do have two five start freshman who are liable to change the trajectory of this team down the stretch.

Floor: Round of 32 // Ceiling: Elite 8 // Guess: Sweet 16

Missouri 14-7 (7-7)

Best Seed: 5 // Worst Seed: OUT // Consensus: 6

The Tigers have been very uninspiring of late. They suffered three straight losses including two with their star forward, Jeremiah Tilmon, missing due to a death in the family. Missouri is an interesting team that could move anywhere in seeding over the next few weeks. They don’t impress from a metrics standpoint, 39th AdjO and 65th AdjD, but that doesn’t take into account Tilmon’s absence.

My prediction: 10, The Tigers have to face Florida and LSU to finish up the season. If they drop both they will very much be a bubble team. I am surprised anyone has this team above the 8/9 line and see them ending up somewhere between 8-10. I think they sneed into March Madness to find an early exit.

Floor: OUT // Ceiling: Round of 32 // Guess: Round of 64

Florida 12-6 (8-5)

Best Seed: 5 // Worst Seed: 10 // Consensus: 7

Florida is a very balanced team, 34th AdjO and 26th AdjD, that has done well so far this year. Their resume stacks up nicely with wins at West Virginia and at home against Tennessee and LSU. Apart from a pari of ugly losses (Kentucky and South Carolina) the Gators look poised for post season play.

My prediction: 6, I like the Gators. They use a nice blend of guard play and are good in the paint as well. Their balanced approach leaves few weaknesses. Look for the Gators to surprise some teams down the stretch.

Floor: Round of 64 // Ceiling: Elite 8 // Guess: Sweet 16

LSU 14-7 (9-5)

Best Seed: 6 // Worst Seed: OUT // Consensus: 8

Will Wade is managing to waste a very talented LSU team yet again. They are as talented as anyone in the conference but have not performed at a high level. They have a dangerous offense, 7th AdjO, but struggle on defense with the 155th ranked AdjD. They have two opportunities to improve their resume to end the season at Arkansas and against Missouri.

My prediction: 7 The Tigers success will depend heavily on their seeding. They truly have the talent to beat anyone in the country but are inconsistent. They may be the toughest team to predict in March Madness. If they end up on the 8/9 line I would not want them in my bracket as a 1 seed.

Floor: Round of 64 // Ceiling: Final 4 // Guess: Round of 32

Ole Miss 13-9 (8-7)

Best Seed: 11 // Worst Seed: OUT // Consensus: OUT

The Rebels are currently on the outside looking in. What seemed impossible has changed as they have won five of their last six. They have an easy last three games and would need all three to move into the tournament. They struggle offensively but hold the 17th best defense in the country. They are led by Devontae Shuler and Romello White.

My prediction: 11, I think Ole Miss could very well sneak into the tournament. While it is an uphill battle they have looked up to the challenge of late. No one is going to want to see this team in the SEC tournament. The Rebels are looking great but I wouldn’t consider them a serious threat in the tournament.

Floor: OUT// Ceiling: Round of 32 // Guess: Round of 64


Darkhorse:

I have said all year I am not counting Kentucky out. At this point it would take a conference tournament championship to make the Big Dance but that isn’t impossible. Calipari has the young Wildcats playing better almost every week. Most recently, Kentucky knocked off Tennessee on the road in domination fashion. Do not be surprised to see them in the conference finals in early March.

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Selection Sunday

Top 25 Power Rankings

  1. Baylor 17-0 (9-0)

    Key Wins: n-Illinois, Oklahoma, @TCU, @Texas Tech, Kansas, @Oklahoma State, Auburn, @Texas
    Key Losses: TBD
  2. Gonzaga 21-0 (12-0)

    Key Wins: n-Kansas, n-Auburn, n-West Virginia, n-Iowa, n-Virginia, San Francisco, BYU, @Saint Mary’s, St. Mary’s
    Key Losses: TBD
  3. Michigan 15-1 (10-1)

    Key Wins: Penn State, @Maryland, Northwestern, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maryland, @Purdue, @Wisconsin, Rutgers
    Key Losses: @Minnesota
  4. Illinois 15-5 (11-3)

    Key Wins: @Duke, Minnesota, @Penn State, Indiana, Purdue, @Northwestern, Penn State, Iowa, @Indiana, Wisconsin, Northwestern
    Key Losses: n-Baylor, @Missouri, @Rutgers, Maryland, Ohio State
  5. Ohio State 18-4 (12-4)

    Key Wins: n-UCLA, Rutgers, @Rutgers, Northwestern, @Illinois, @Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State, @Iowa, @Maryland, Indiana, @Penn State
    Key Losses: @Purdue, @Northwestern, @Minnesota, Purdue
  6. Iowa 16-6 (10-5)

    Key Wins: North Carolina, Purdue, Northwestern, @Rutgers, Minnesota, @Northwestern, Michigan State, Rutgers, @Michigan State, @Wisconsin
    Key Losses: n-Gonzaga, @Minnesota, Indiana, @Illinois, Ohio State, @Indiana
  7. Alabama 17-5 (12-1) +1

    Key Wins: Ole Miss, @Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, @Kentucky, Arkansas, @LSU, Mississippi State, Kentucky, LSU
    Key Losses: n-Stanford, n-Clemson, Western Kentucky, @Oklahoma, @Missouri
  8. Virginia 15-4 (11-2) +2

    Key Wins: @Clemson, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, @Georgia Tech, North Carolina
    Key Losses: n-San Francisco, n-Gonzaga, @Virginia Tech, @Florida State
  9. USC 18-3 (12-2) +4

    Key Wins: n-BYU, Utah, @Arizona, @Stanford, UCLA
    Key Losses: n-Connecticut, Colorado, @Oregon State
  10. Villanova 13-3 (8-2) -3

    Key Wins: @Texas, @Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence, @Seton Hall, Marquette
    Key Losses: n-Virginia Tech, @St. John’s, @Creighton
  11. Houston 17-3 (11-3) -2

    Key Wins: n-Texas Tech, @SMU, Wichita State, Tulsa, SMU
    Key Losses: @Tulsa, @East Carolina
  12. Florida State 12-3 (8-2) +3

    Key Wins: Indiana, Florida, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia
    Key Losses: UCF, @Clemson, @Georgia Tech
  13. Creighton 16-5 (12-4) +5

    Key Wins: @Connecticut, Xavier, @Providence, Seton Hall, Connecticut, @Seton Hall, @Marquette, Villanova
    Key Losses: @Kansas, Marquette, @Butler, Providence, Georgetown
  14. Tennessee 15-5 (10-6) -3

    Key Wins: Colorado, @Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Kansas, @Kentucky
    Key Losses: Alabama, @Florida, Missouri, @Ole Miss, @LSU
  15. Wisconsin 15-8 (9-7) -3

    Key Wins: Rhode Island, Louisville, @Michigan State, Minnesota, Indiana, @Rutgers, Northwestern, @Maryland
    Key Losses: @Marquette, Maryland, @Michigan, Ohio State, @Penn State, @Illinois, Michigan, Iowa
  16. Colorado 16-7 (10-6) +1

    Key Wins: @USC, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona, @Stanford
    Key Losses: @Tennessee, @Arizona, @UCLA, @Washington, Utah, @California, @Oregon
  17. West Virginia 14-6 (7-4) -3

    Key Wins: Richmond, @Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas, @Texas Tech
    Key Losses: n-Gonzaga, @Kansas, @Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma
  18. Texas Tech 14-6 (6-5) -2

    Key Wins: @Oklahoma, @Texas, @LSU, Oklahoma
    Key Losses: n-Houston, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, @West Virginia, West Virginia
  19. Arkansas 17-5 (9-4) +5

    Key Wins: @Auburn, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, @Kentucky, @Missouri, Florida
    Key Losses: Missouri, @Tennessee, @LSU, @Alabama, @Oklahoma State
  20. Oklahoma 13-5 (8-4)

    Key Wins: @TCU, West Virginia, TCU, Kansas, @Texas, Alabama, @West Virginia
    Key Losses: @Xavier, Texas Tech, @Baylor, @Kansas, @Texas Tech
  21. Texas 13-5 (7-4) -2

    Key Wins: n-Indiana, n-North Carolina, Oklahoma State, @Kansas, @West Virginia, TCU
    Key Losses: n-Villanova, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Baylor, @Oklahoma State
  22. Kansas 16-7 (10-5) +3

    Key Wins: n-Kentucky, Creighton, @Texas Tech, West Virginia, @TCU, Oklahoma, TCU, Oklahoma State
    Key Losses: n-Gonzaga, Texas, @Oklahoma State, @Baylor, @Oklahoma, @Tennessee, @West Virginia
  23. Purdue 14-8 (9-6) -2

    Key Wins: Ohio State, Maryland, @Michigan State, @Indiana, Penn State, @Ohio State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan State
    Key Losses: n-Clemson, @Miami, @Iowa, @Rutgers, @Illinois, Michigan, @Maryland, @Minnesota
  24. San Diego State 16-4 (10-3) -2

    Key Wins: UCLA, @Arizona State, @Saint Mary’s
    Key Losses: BYU, Colorado State, @Utah State, @Utah State
  25. LSU 13-6 (8-4) NEW

    Key Wins: Ole Miss, Arkansas, @Mississippi State, Tennessee
    Key Losses: @Saint Louis, @Florida, Alabama, @Kentucky, Texas Tech, @Alabama

Dropped From Rankings: Loyola-Chicago

Arkansas Update:

Ken Pom: 22, Sagarin: 20, Massey: 23, NET: 24

The Razorbacks are rolling as they move down the homestretch. Riding a 7 game conference win streak, the Hogs have added a couple resume building wins. With wins at Kentucky, at Missouri, and home against Florida they have put themselves in great position for March Madness. At this point it seems like more of a question of where the Hogs will be seeded rather than if they will make the Big Dance. Arkansas fans will have to wait until Wednesday as their latest matchup with Texas A&M was postponed due to COVID in the Aggies program. The Wednesday meeting with Top 10 Alabama may very well be the biggest home game the Hogs have played in this century.

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Selection Sunday

Conference Tournament Predictions.
March is upon us. The lead-up to the Big Dance will commence …
6 Teams That Can Make the Final 4 Outside of the AP Top 4
As we approach Selection Sunday, let's take a look at a few …

SEC POWER RANKINGS (02/17/21)

Power rankings based off KenPom, Sagarin, NET, and the good ol’ fashioned eye test. I am including resumes for each team that has a chance at an at-large bid.


  1. Alabama 17-5 (15-2)
    KenPom: 8, Sagarin: 9, NET: 8

    Key Wins: Ole Miss, @Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, @Kentucky, Arkansas, @LSU, Mississippi State, Kentucky, LSU
    Key Losses: n-Stanford, n-Clemson, Western Ketucky, @Oklahoma, @Missouri
  2. Tennessee 15-5 (10-6)
    KenPom: 17, Sagarin: 16, NET: 13

    Key Wins: Colorado, @Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Kansas, @Kentucky
    Key Losses: Alabama, @Florida, Missouri, @Ole Miss, @LSU
  3. Arkansas 17-5 (9-4)
    KenPom: 21, Sagarin: 21, NET: 24

    Key Wins: @Auburn, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, @Kentucky, @Missouri, Florida
    Key Losses: Missouri, @Tennessee, @LSU, @Alabama, @Oklahoma State
  4. LSU 13-6 (8-4)
    KenPom: 27, Sagarin: 27, NET: 26

    Key Wins: Ole Miss, Arkansas, @Mississippi State, Tennessee
    Key Losses: @Saint Louis, @Florida, Alabama, @Kentucky, Texas Tech, @Alabama
  5. Florida 10-6 (6-5)
    KenPom: 30, Sagarin: 31, NET: 30

    Key Wins: LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, @West Virginia
    Key Losses: @Florida State, @Alabama, Kentucky, @Mississippi State, South Carolina, @Arkansas
  6. Missouri 13-6 (6-6)
    KenPom: 51, Sagarin: 55, NET: 43

    Key Wins: n-Oregon, Illinois, @Arkansas, @Tennessee, TCU, Kentucky, Alabama
    Key Losses: Tennessee, @Mississippi State, @Auburn, @Ole Miss, Arkansas, @Georgia
  7. Ole Miss 12-8 (7-6)
    KenPom: 48, Sagarin: 58, NET: 56

    Key Wins: @Mississippi State, Tennessee, Missouri
    Key Losses: @Dayton, @Alabama, Wichita State, LSU, @Florida, Georgia, @Arkansas, @Georgia
  8. Kentucky 7-13 (6-7)
    KenPom: 63, Sagarin: 56, NET: 76
  9. Auburn 11-11 (5-8)
    KenPom: 58, Sagarin: 59, NET: 8
  10. Georgia 13-8 (6-8)
    KenPom: 86, Sagarin: 80, NET: 65
  11. Mississippi State 11-111 (5-8)
    KenPom: 79, Sagarin: 81, NET: 94
  12. South Carolina 5-10 (3-8)
    KenPom: 87, Sagarin: 91, NET: 110
  13. Texas A&M 8-7 (2-6)
    KenPom: 130, Sagarin: 118, NET: 138
  14. Vanderbilt 6-11 (2-9)
    KenPom: 112, Sagarin: 124, NET: 127
2021-03-14T18:00:00

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Selection Sunday

Conference Tournament Predictions.
March is upon us. The lead-up to the Big Dance will commence …
Bracketology: SEC Outlook Update
A look into which teams have hopes of making the Big Dance …
Top 25 Power Rankings
Top 25 Power Rankings with an update on the Razorbacks.
Game Preview: Arkansas at Missouri
In a true showdown of the "eye test" vs metrics, the unranked …

Game Preview: Arkansas at Missouri

In a true showdown of the “eye test” vs metrics, the unranked Razorbacks travel to Columbia to take on the 10th ranked Missouri Tigers. Despite the large gap in ranking and home court advantage, the metrics point to a real showdown on Saturday afternoon. Here are some important facts to consider in preparation for a big matchup in the SEC.

What the metrics say about Arkansas at Missouri:

Missouri: 38th in Ken Pom RankingsArkansas: 25th in Ken Pom Rankings
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency39th40th
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency51st25th
Adjusted
Tempo
127th20th

Key Players

Missouri –

Jeremiah Tilmon: The 6’10 senior had a career day in the earlier matchup between the Hogs and Tigers. He went for 25 points and 11 rebounds in a dominant performance. That being said, the Razorbacks were missing a key piece in Justin Smith last time these teams met. Look for Tilmon to remain impactful but not to the same extent as their previous meeting. You will likely see the Tilmon setting picks on a regular basis, working with Xavier Pinson at the top of the key.

Xavier Pinson: Another player who imposed their will against the Hogs earlier this season. The athletic guard went for 23 points in the game in Fayetteville. He will need to step up in this matchup as the Hogs should be better protected in the paint. His ability to work in the pick and roll and share the ball will be key to the result of this matchup.

Arkansas –

Moses Moody: The freshman star will need to step up on the road if the Hogs want to compete in this one. The young guard is averaging over 16 points per game. Look for Moody to work the midrange and perimeter to stretch the Missouri defense. If Moody is able to become the center piece of this offense the Razorbacks could become a very dangerous team.

Justin Smith: The Razorbacks were missing the Indiana transfer in a bad way in their last meeting with Missouri. Arkansas will need his physicality and defense to slow down Jeremiah Tilmon. Smith is not 100% healthy but seems to be getting healthier each game. If the Hogs were to win on the road it would be hard to pinpoint a more significant difference from the last game than Justin Smith.


Breakdown:

This should be a great game in Columbia. The Tigers will look to get back on track after a 21 point loss to Ole Miss in their last game. The Razorbacks will look to add an elusive marquee win to their resume. The Tigers are favored by half a point in Vegas, essentially making this one a toss-up. Ken Pom has Missouri winning 76-75 while Haslametrics also has it as a coin flip with a prediction of Missouri 76.67, Arkansas 76.58. Expect Musselman to have a few answers to the Missouri pick and roll game but it will still be hard for the Razorbacks to overcome the 10th ranked team in the country.

Prediction:

I expect this to be one of the most competitive games of the year. If the Hogs lose it will be damaging from a metrics standpoint, but nothing too detrimental. In a way the Hogs have a ton to gain and not a much to lose in this matchup. A road victory over a top 10 team is exactly what the Razorbacks need on their resume but is much easier said than done. Look for Eric Musselman to utilize some half-court traps to disrupt the pick and roll game. If Missouri executes from the perimeter they will be heavily favored to come out with a win. The Razorbacks need to avoid a slow start and play aggressive in transition. Again, I could see this going either way but it just feels like the Hogs are ready to get over the hump. In true battle of metrics vs the eye test I see the final outcome being:

Arkansas 72 Missouri 69

Bracketology: SEC Outlook Update

A look into which teams have hopes of making the Big Dance as they enter the back stretch of regular season play.

The Prospects

*Seeding is provided from bracketmatrix.com where they have compiled rankings from over 30 leading bracketoligists based on past accuracy*

Alabama Crimson Tide: 16-5 (11-1)

Best Seed: 2

Worst Seed: 4

Consensus: 2

The Tide finally dropped a conference game at Missouri this past weekend. Nate Oats team came out sloppy and undetermined. A late 21-2 run wasn’t enough to complete the comeback on the road. That being said they still hold the best defense in the country and a respectable offensive attack. The Tide have about as easy of a schedule possible remaining, apart from a road matchup with the Razorbacks.

My Projection: 2 – The Crimson Tide have looked a little sloppy over the last couple of games. They are still are playing at a much higher level than the majority of the league right now, and with an easy back slate they should finish at least 5-1 to complete a 16-2 conference record. This would leave the Tide as a strong 2 seed going into the Big Dance.

Floor: Sweet 16

Ceiling: Final 4

My Guess: Elite 8

Key Wins: Ole Miss, @Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, @Kentucky, Arkansas, @LSU, Mississippi State, Kentucky, LSU, @South Carolina
Key Losses: n-Stanford, n-Clemson, Western Kentucky, @Oklahoma, @Missouri

Tennessee Volunteers: 14-4 (7-4)

Best Seed: 2

Worst Seed: 5

Consensus: 3

As the pair of Tennessee freshman look more like their 5 star ratings, the Volunteers are looking increasingly dangerous each game. Tennessee currently holds the 2nd best defensive efficiency in the country and plays at a slow pace. This style of play breaks teams down over the course of the game and has brought them to a 14-4 record.

My Projection: 3 – The Volunteers also have five relatively easy games left apart from a road game with LSU. If they can pick up four of these they will be primed for a 3 seed come selection Sunday. This team looks very solid with a floor but probably lacks Giant Killer capabilities past the Sweet 16.

Floor: Sweet 16

Ceiling: Elite 8

My Guess: Sweet 16

Key Wins: Colorado, @Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Kansas, @Kentucky
Key Losses: Alabama, @Florida, Missouri, @Ole Miss

Missouri Tigers: 13-4 (6-4)

Best Seed: 2

Worst Seed: 5

Consensus: 3

Missouri picked up a huge resume booster with a win over Alabama at home. They proceeded to lose to Ole Miss by a shocking 21 points. The Tigers have an impressive resume but their metrics fall far behind their AP Rank. The Tigers rank 39th in AdjO and 49th AdjD. Look for the metrics to catch up with them down the stretch.

My Projection: 4 – I have to side with the metrics on this one. The Tigers are well rounded but they don’t do anything particularly well. Look for them to finish 4-2 in conference play and come into March Madness as a 4 seed. Missouri is talented enough to make a run but I would bet against it myself.

Floor: Round of 64

Ceiling: Sweet 16

My Guess: Round of 64

Key Wins: n-Oregon, Illinois, @Arkansas, @Tennessee, TCU, Kentucky, Alabama
Key Losses: Tennessee, @Mississippi State, @Auburn, @Ole Miss

Florida Gators: 10-5 (6-4)

Best Seed: 6

Worst Seed: 9

Consensus: 7

The Gators are hard to get a grasp on this season. With big wins over West Virginia, Tennessee, and LSU they looked the part for a moment there. They have since dropped an ugly home loss to South Carolina and have been on COVID pause. Their offense ranks 20th in AjdO while their defense has struggled coming in at 50th in the nation.

My Projection: 8 – The Gators have three big matchups down the stretch that will shape their tournament resume (@Arkansas, @Kentucky, and Missouri). I have them finishing at 13-8 and grabbing a 9 seed in March Madness. Once there they have shown ability to hang with good teams but would likely face a 1 seed in the second round. Their seeding should dictate their ceiling in March.

Floor: Round of 64

Ceiling: Sweet 16

My Guess: Round of 32

Key Wins: LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, @West Virginia
Key Losses: @Florida State, @Alabama, Kentucky, @Mississippi State, South Carolina

Arkansas Razorbacks: 15-5 (7-4)

Best Seed: 7

Worst Seed: 12

Consensus: 9

The Razorbacks are starting to put it all together down the stretch and have a healthy squad at the moment. They have one of the hardest back halves of the schedule in the league with games against at Missouri, Florida, Alabama, LSU, and at South Carolina to wrap up the regular season. This stretch should be a good indicator of what the Hogs are capable of going into March.

My Projection: 8 – A well rounded Arkansas team coming off a nice win in Lexington has every reason to feel confident right now. This confidence will be tested and potentially broken near the end of the regular season. If the Hogs manage to win four of their last six they could start pushing for the important 7 seed in March. I have them finishing 3-3 and coming in as an 8/9 for the Big Dance. This is a good team but if they matchup with a 1 seed in the second round I wouldn’t bet on any miracles.

Floor: Round of 64

Ceiling: Sweet 16

My Guess: Round of 32

Key Wins: @Auburn, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, @Kentucky
Key Losses: Missouri, @Tennessee, @LSU, @Alabama, @Oklahoma State

LSU Tigers 12-6 (7-4)

Best Seed: 8

Worst Seed: OUT

Consensus: 11

The Tigers should be a lock with some serious talent building up their roster. Will Wade seems to be doing his best to slow this squad down as they have fallen in a lot of areas metrically. The Tigers are currently a true bubble team but they should be able to squeeze into the tournament. They have a powerful offense (6th in the country) but rank 148th in AdjD. If they can shore things up on the defensive end they become a real threat down the stretch.

My Projection: 10 – The Tigers have the talent of a 3-5 seed but have struggled to prove that this season. If they make the tournament I expect them to be dangerous but they need to get to that point first. If they come in as a 8/9 they would have the potential to knock off a 1 seed but it would still be very unlikely. LSU had only one “bad” loss on the season, at Saint Louis, but that was also the second game of the year. The Tigers will be interesting to watch down the stretch.

Floor: Round of 64

Ceiling: Elite 8

My Guess: Sweet 16

Key Wins: Ole Miss, Arkansas, South Carolina
Key Losses: @Saint Louis, @Florida, Alabama, @Kentucky, Texas Tech, @Alabama


Darkhorses:

Kentucky: Again, this team is too talented to not be a threat in the SEC tournament. If they hit their stride they could very easily make the Conference Championship game in early March. This is a long shot but I am not counting the Wildcats out quite yet.

Ole Miss: The Rebels are hitting their stride right now with three big wins in a row. Their last win coming with a 21 point beatdown of the Missouri Tigers. They have shown they can hang with anyone in this league and could make a push in the conference tournament.

2021-03-14T18:00:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Selection Sunday

SEC POWER RANKINGS (02/08/21)

Power rankings based off KenPom, Sagarin, NET, and the good ol’ fashioned eye test. I also share some insights into the lates bracketology outlooks for relevant teams.


1. Alabama Crimson Tide 15-5 (10-1)

KenPom: 7, Sagarin: 11, NET: 8

The Tide nearly pulled off an insane comeback but fell just short this past Saturday in Columbia. A lack of energy and pace in the first 35 minutes of the game ended up costing Alabama their perfect record in conference. A controversial no-call as time winded down sealed the home victory for Missouri. That being said, they still look the part to make a deep run this year.

2. Tennessee Volunteers 13-4 (6-4)

KenPom: 12, Sagarin: 10, NET: 10

Tennessee completed a comeback victory over Kentucky in a fast paced game on Saturday night. The Volunteers struggled early but were led to a come from behind win by the play of their two 5 star freshman. They still perform well metrically with the top ranked defensive efficiency in the country. Look for Rick Barnes squad to be a 3 or 4 seed in the Big Dance.

3. Missouri Tigers 13-3 (6-3)

KenPom: 29, Sagarin: 32, NET: 24

The Tigers added a signature win over Alabama this weekend. At times they appeared dominant but also had perhaps the worst five minutes of league play this season. I cannot decide if that is cause for concern or impressive that they still won after giving up a 21-2 run near the end of the matchup. Probably a little of both. Regardless, the Tigers continue to exceed my expectations. Missouri currently holds the largest gap between AP ranking and KenPom ranking in the country.

4. Florida Gators 10-5 (6-4)

KenPom: 28, Sagarin: 29, NET: 31

The Gators have shown flashes of being a real threat at times but exposed their weaknesses as well. After a signature road victory against West Virginia they dropped a brutal home game to a struggling South Carolina team. I see Florida as a team with high upside but is liable to lose to just about anyone. They will need to execute down the stretch as they aren’t quite a lock for March Madness just yet.

5. Arkansas Razorbacks 14-5 (6-4)

KenPom: 26, Sagarin: 23, NET: 29

The Razorbacks boast an impressive record but lack any signature wins. A road game against Kentucky could provide the Hogs with another Quad 1 win depending how the Wildcats finish the season. The Hogs have a tough stretch of games ahead of them but can make the tournament if they simply win the games they are expected to. The Hogs are still missing a scorer that can create space for themselves but Moses Moody and Devo Davis continue to improve.

6. LSU Tigers 11-6 (6-4)

KenPom: 43, Sagarin: 40, NET: 42

Will Wade. Doing the least with the most and cheating all along the way. The American Gangster’s team is struggling at the moment and need to turn things around fast if they want to play in March. The good news for the Tigers is they have more than enough talent to do so. If they can put together 4 wins in their last 6 (against 4 weak opponents) they will be living life on the bubble.

7. Kentucky Wildcats 5-12 (4-6)

KenPom: 56, Sagarin: 55, NET: 80

What a strange year. The uber-talented Wildcats look like they are right on the cusp of finally turning the corner. With their lone hope for a tournament appearance coming in the SEC tournament the upcoming weeks will be about building confidence in this young team. Do not be surprised to see Kentucky in the SEC championship game at the end of the Conference tournament.

8. Ole Miss 10-8 (5-6)

KenPom: 66, Sagarin: 62, NET: 65

Ole Miss finds themselves on the outside looking in as March approaches. Barring a 6-2 finish in conference play (including their current two game win streak) the Rebels will not receive too much attention in regard to the Big Dance. They continue to struggle on the offensive end of the floor but have some easier matchups to finish league play.

9. Auburn Tigers 10-10 (4-7)

KenPom: 59, Sagarin: 57, NET: 66

Auburn is another young team with plenty of talent that is struggling this season. The Tigers high powered offense wasn’t enough this weekend as they dropped another league game to Ole Miss. This team could be a threat in the SEC tournament but likely doesn’t have quite enough ability to make serious noise down the stretch.

10. Mississippi State Bulldogs 11-9 (5-6)

KenPom: 65, Sagarin: 68, NET: 73

The Bulldogs have struggled in conference play and lack many dangerous weapons. They hold the 39th ranked defense but when paired with their 82nd ranked offense there is much left to be desired.

11. Georgia Bulldogs 12-6 (5-6)

KenPom: 90, Sagarin: 83, NET: 100

The Bulldogs don’t have a horrible record but they perform horrible in most major metrics. There isn’t much to be excited about with this squad and the next few weeks could be hard to watch with a tough stretch on the schedule.

12. South Carolina Gamecocks 5-7 (3-5)

KenPom: 84, Sagarin: 11, NET: 110

Road win at Florida. Home loss to Mississippi State. That should tell you what you need to know about Frank Martin’s Gamecocks this season. At the end of the day they do not pose a formidable threat to most opponents with a lackluster offense and defense.

13. Texas A&M Aggies 8-7 (2-6)

KenPom: 124, Sagarin: 112, NET: 135

Buzz Williams team has struggled this season with the worst offensive efficiency in the conference. The Aggies are lucky to be bailed out by a bad Vanderbilt team to avoid holding the worst record in the conference.

14. Vanderbilt Commodores 5-9 (1-7)

KenPom: 130, Sagarin: 131, NET: 146

This is where they belong. This is around where they will be for a for a few years unless they make some drastic changes. The days of Vanderbilt being a basketball school have come to an end, but hey, at least they can look forward to baseball.

SEC Game Predictions (02/06/21)

Heading into the weekend the SEC now has five matchups after two games were postponed. The weekend slate will be highlighted by a 11:00 matchup between Alabama and Missouri.

Here are my picks for this weekend:

Alabama @ Missouri

If the Tide can improve to 11-0 they will all but secure the SEC regular season title. This will no easy task on the road against a Missouri team sitting in second place in the league. Jeremiah Tilmon will play a key role in this matchup and Alabama should struggle to contain the Tigers big man. That being said there is no way I am betting against Nate Oats and Alabama. Expect both teams to score the ball at a decent rate but the Tides defense to outlast Missouri down the stretch.

My Prediction: Alabama 76 Missouri 71

Betting Play: Alabama -2.5

Mississippi State @ South Carolina

In a less significant game the Bulldogs travel to South Carolina for a 2:30 meeting. Neither team is impressive statistically coming in at 71st and 75th in the latest KenPom rankings. The Gamecocks are coming off a huge road victory over Florida that really shocked the SEC. The Bulldogs on the other hand lost by double digits in an ugly road game in Fayetteville. Expect a low scoring affair where the Gamecocks edge out Mississippi State at home.

My Prediction: South Carolina 68 Mississippi State 65

Betting Play: South Carolina ML (-132)

Ole Miss @ Auburn

These two middle of the pack squads meet at 3:00 on ESPN 2. This isn’t the most exciting matchup of the weekend but still could make for a good game. Sharife Cooper will need another solid performance to lead the Tigers over an average Ole Miss team. Expect the game to run through the star point guard. If he goes for 20 or more I see this being an easy win for the Tigers.

My Prediction: Auburn 77 Ole Miss 70

Betting Play: Over 139.5

Vanderbilt @ Georgia

It’s hard to even think of something to write for this matchup. Uninspiring teams with uninspired coaching. It is hard to pick the Bulldogs this year but Vanderbilt is just that bad. That’s all there is to really say about this bottom of the barrel game.

My Prediction: Georgia 80 Vanderbilt 71

Betting Play: Georgia -5.5

Tennessee @ Kentucky

Capping off the night for the SEC will be the Volunteers and the Wildcats. Easily the second best game of the day in the conference and should be a competitive matchup. I am still waiting to see Kentucky be the Kentucky we have come to know. Barring a sudden click in chemistry for the Wildcats we should see them struggle to score against Tennessee’s top rated defense. Expect the Volunteers to take care of business and cover the spread.

My Prediction: Tennessee 64 Kentucky 54

Betting Play: Tennessee -3.5

Strange Year in the SEC: Parity or Inconsistency?

02/03/21

Another night in the SEC with strange scores, weird runs, and unexplainable upsets. To start the night we saw Florida, an 8 point favorite at home, lose to a typically uninspiring Gamecocks team. This is the same Florida who just put together a huge win on the road against West Virginia. I would pin this on a “hangover” game after a big win but this has become the norm in the SEC this year. Ole Miss lost to Georgia but beat Tennessee. Missouri beat 6th ranked Illinois but lost to Mississippi State by 15. Tennessee beat Kansas by 19 just to fall to Ole Miss three days later. And so on and so on.

That being said Alabama continued to be the sole consistent team in the conference. They did more than just handle business as they dominated the LSU Tigers 78-60. The Tide did this behind 19 points from Jaden Shackelford and a good defensive performance. Missouri finished the night with a 75-70 win over the struggling Wildcats. Neither team looked wildly impressive but Missouri continues to move up the SEC rankings notching their 12th win to move to 5-3 in conference play.

The cannibalization we are seeing in the SEC has somewhat been mirrored in the Big 12. There isn’t enough data to go ahead and just say it’s because of COVID, and I am not sure what that would even entail. SEC teams can only hope that members of the selection committee see this as parity and competition but statistically SEC teams are struggling to keep up. The overall impact of this strange season won’t be fully realized until Selection Sunday. Bubble teams like Arkansas, LSU, and potentially Florida will have to shape up or face the possibility of being left out come March.


SEC Game Predictions (02/03/21)

After the postponement of the Texas A&M vs Vanderbilt game, the SEC now has 3 matchups on the Wednesday slate.

South Carolina @ Florida

This should be a good matchup for the Gators high powered offense as they face the 82nd ranked defense in country. Expect a high scoring game in which Florida is just too much to handle for the Gamecocks. The home favorites take this one by double digits after pulling away down the stretch.

My Prediction: Florida 81 South Carolina 70

Betting Play: Florida -8.5

Kentucky @ Missouri

Here comes my bias again. I just can’t bring myself to pick Missouri in this one. I think we could see the Wildcats close out a close one in Columbus if their offense can find scoring. This to me is a toss up but my gut tells me to go with Kentucky on the road. It should be a great matchup down low between Olivier Sarr and Missouri big man Jeremiah Tilmon in one of the best games of the night.

My Prediction: Kentucky 67 Missouri 64

Betting Play: Kentucky +4.5

LSU @ Alabama

I am very excited for this matchup and I expect a good game from start to finish. Two of the better offenses in the country will face off tonight in Tuscaloosa. The difference is the Crimson Tide have the 8th ranked defense compared to a struggling defense on the Tigers end (146th). Look for Alabama to push the tempo in a closer game than some might think. Don’t be surprised if this comes down to the wire. If it does we have seen LSU struggle to finish games, most recently in Lubbock where they blew a 7 point lead with 1:30 remaining this past weekend.

My Prediction: Alabama 80 LSU 76

Betting Play: LSU +8.5