Now that we're hitting the home stretch, it's time to look at our NCAAs chances again. So, without out further ado, here we introduce another one of Gamecock Man's highly unscientific approach to projecting our chances.
First of all, I think we likely need to finish 10-6 in conference and get one--hopefully more--victories in the SECT to make the NCAAs. With our underwhelming OOC performance--our only relatively impressive victories came against the USF Bulls and the Richmond Spiders--we need an exceptional conference performance to get an invite. Even ten wins may not be enough, as we saw last year. This isn't the Big East. Hanging around .500 will not even nearly do it without signature OOC victories, as you can see by looking at our current RPI projections. I think it might be this year, though, because of the higher quality of the SEC. We will have a signature victory over the Kentucky Wildcats to our credit, another nice victory over a likely tourney team in the Florida Gators, and if we actually get to 10 wins, we'll probably have to beat some combination of the Vanderbilt Commodores, the Tennessee Volunteers, or the Mississippi St. Bulldogs, all good teams. That resume should get us in.
Now for the getting there. We're currently at 5-4 in the SEC. We've hovered around .500 for most of league play, so we need to start winning some consecutive games if we're going to have a chance. We also need to win some games on the road, which we've failed to do outside of the win over the relatively hapless Auburn Tigers.
Here's what we have coming up: at UGA, at Arkansas, Tennessee, at Kentucky, Mississippi St., Alabama, and at Vandy.
We can hope for miracles, but Kentucky and Vandy are very likely losses. Tennessee, too, despite it being on our hospitable home court, is a bad matchup for us. 'Bama is a likely win. Now for the tough calls: UGA, Arkansas, and Mississippi St. UGA is a tough one to call; the Dawgs have been up and down, but are often good at home, so we should expect a tough game, with the odds probably slightly in UGA's favor. Same goes for Arkansas, which is away against a team that is heating up big time. Mississippi St. I think we have a very good chance against.
In other words, I only see two likely--one more so than the other--wins on our horizon. That would get us to seven wins. Getting an upset in one of the other games is fairly likely. That gets us seven. Any more, though, would probably be a feat for this team, although a victory over the Vols at home is a relatively distinct possibility.
This is all to say that we're facing a huge hill to get in the big dance. If we start playing inspired road ball this weekend in Athens, I might change that assessment. But right now, I'd put our chances of making the tournament at 20%.