As the NCAA Tournament gets under way with underwhelming SEC participation, Mr.SEC.com says he saw it coming.
Only three teams are in the Dance — Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee — and Tennessee is in the play-in game.
A year ago Ole Miss was a 12 seed facing 5 seed Wisconsin.
Winning the SEC tournament got the Rebels out of the play-in game discussion, but it seems likely they could have been in the play-in game without the win over No. 13 Florida for the SEC title.
The selection committee chairman said on the conference call that Ole Miss was in the tournament regardless of its outcome against Florida last year. He didn’t speculate as two where an SEC running-up Rebels team would have landed.
I know the discussion already under way a year ago was whether Ole Miss in the play-in game would really get the NCAA tournament monkey off Andy Kennedy’s back from those looking to diminish the achievement.
That’s the discussion Cuonzo Martin faces now.
How Tennessee fares in the tournament is important for the SEC.
Florida is a deserving No. 1. Kentucky’s freshmen are talented and appear to be peaking.
Tennessee represents everybody else. From the passel of teams that were grouped around that third and fourth spot for some time, Tennessee earned its way into the field.
Georgia was the 3 seed at the SEC tournament and was playing well, but the pre-conference season has to matter.
SEC coaches tell us it’s a good basketball league and that the conference’s monster football reputation hurts the basketball discussion on the national level.
Tennessee has a chance to add credibility to that argument and show that there’s depth in the SEC and not just two teams.