SEC Basketball is Overlooked Every Year

Here are the SEC teams by division and their current records:

Eastern Division
Kentucky – 18-0 (3-0, SEC)
Vanderbilt – 14-3 (2-0)
Tennessee – 14-2 (2-0) – Beat Kansas, Ole Miss; lost to Purdue by 1
South Carolina – 11-6 (2-1)
Florida – 12-5 (1-2) – Beat Michigan State, Florida State
Georgia – 8-8 (0-3) – Beat Georgia Tech

Western Division
Mississippi State – 15-3 (3-0)
Arkansas – 8-9 (1-1) – Lost to #1 Texas 96-85
Ole Miss – 13-4 (1-2) – Beat Kansas State
Alabama – 11-6 (1-2) – Beat Baylor
LSU – 9-8 (0-3)
Auburn – 9-9 (0-3)

If you listen/watch/read the “reporting” of some mainstream media outlets, you’d think the SEC was an absolute bottomfeeder conference that, besides Kentucky, belongs with the ranks of teams in the Colonial and Southland conferences. It is, however, interesting to me that the SEC has merely one lone team with a losing record: Arkansas. The Big Ten has three (Indiana, Iowa, Penn State). The PAC-10 has three (Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA). The Big East also has one (Depaul). The Northeast Conference has nine (I will not bother listing the teams because nobody cares about the Northeast Conference, just thought I would throw that in there to show that some conferences really and truly suck hard).

One of, if not the, worst team in the SEC, Arkansas, lost to the now number 1 team in the country by 10, scoring 85 in the process. Several SEC teams have marquee wins over Top 25 teams. Every SEC game Kentucky has played thus far has pretty much gone down to the wire. The conference has also consistently had around half of their teams in the NCAA tournament every March. Here’s a breakdown of how many SEC teams were a part of Madness through out the past decade:

2000 – 6
2001 – 6
2002 – 5
2003 – 5
2004 – 6
2005 – 5
2006 – 6
2007 – 5
2008 – 6
2009 – 3

Everyone has heard the saying “Any given Sunday” regarding the NFL; sometimes all that matters is who shows up, not how much talent you have. Sometimes powerhouses go down to teams with limited individual ability. The SEC as a whole may not be brimming with national talent every year, but the teams know how to get up for big games, as evidenced by every SEC team Kentucky has played this year. It can be argued that UK just hasn’t played that good (and at times they certainly haven’t), but credit has to be given to Georgia, Florida, and Auburn for playing UK so close when two of those games were expected to be more or less blowouts. My point, if I have one, is that any given day in college basketball any good team can go down to an inferior one. Mentality, team chemistry, fundamentals, and “luck” (when teams get in a ridiculous zone) can sometimes trump raw talent. SEC basketball will never have as rabid of fans as SEC football (except for UK, to be sure), but teams in the SEC have good players and certain intangibles, which are all equally part of the game. And that’s why they play it.

Here’s a former SEC star who made news last week, showing how to perform under a 10-day contract:

Well, the video won’t post to the site, nor is it letting me link to it (it’s either my terrible laptop or WordPress problems), so go watch Sundiata Gaines drain a buzzer-beater from 3 to beat Lebron and the Cavs on Youtube.

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