Heading into last week the SEC had four teams in the field. But after a week with plenty of upsets, the league is back down to three bids. With Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina looking like locks for the NCAA Tournament, plenty of teams still have a chance to get into the field.
All RPI and strength and schedule ratings (SOS) taken from ESPN. Seed projections are my own.
Kentucky: 19-5 (9-2)
RPI: 10 ... SOS: 13 ... Projected Seed: 3
Kentucky has dropped three of five and now has a record of 5-5 against the RPI top 50. After losing by 22 at Florida, they knocked off LSU by seven at home. Kentucky is going to have to pick it up down the stretch to stay on the three seed line, let alone move up to the two. They travel to Alabama tomorrow before playing Tennessee on Valentine’s Day. They still have a trip to Georgia and a home game against Florida on the schedule.
Florida: 19-5 (9-2)
RPI: 8 ... SOS: 16 ... Projected Seed: 4
There’s no doubt that the hottest team in the SEC resides in Gainesville. Florida has won five straight since losing at home to Vanderbilt. They blew out Kentucky by 22 before winning on the road in Athens to complete a sweep of Georgia. Florida is now in the drivers seat to take home the SEC crown. Their next three games are tricky (A&M, @Auburn, @Miss. State) but if they can past those they can win the SEC before March. They host USC before going to Kentucky at the end of the month.
South Carolina: 19-5 (9-2)
RPI: 23 ... SOS: 47 ... Projected Seed: 5
The Gamecocks survived a tough test at home against Georgia last weekend. But they could not survive another one in the week, losing to Alabama in four overtimes. The loss is not a bad loss, as the Tide are set for the NIT and with some work could find themselves in the NCAA tournament. The loss does keep USC as a five seed though. It also knocks them out of sole possession of first place in the SEC. The key for the Gamecocks is not to let the Alabama loss cause another loss. They travel to Mississippi State this weekend before hosting Arkansas in the week.
Arkansas: 17-7 (6-5)
RPI: 46 ... SOS: 77
Arkansas is one of the first teams out of the tournament. The Hogs were in the field last week but find themselves out after losing to Missouri and at home to Vanderbilt. They have lost three of four and are now tied with Tennessee for fifth in the SEC. They travel to LSU and South Carolina this week. If they can’t stop the skid, they’ll be off the bubble by next weekend.
Tennessee: 14-10 (6-5)
RPI: 33 ... SOS: 4
The Vols could have been in the field had they held on to a double-digit lead in Starkville. The loss to Mississippi State knocked them down a peg but they bounced back to beat Ole Miss. They host Georgia before travelling to Kentucky this week. They’ll need another win to go with the one they have over Kentucky if they are to make the field. They travel to South Carolina later on.
Alabama: 14-9 (7-4)
RPI: 56 ... SOS: 44
The Crimson Tide looked to be on the NIT bubble after losing at home to Auburn, their second lost to the Tigers this year. But they responded by winning at South Carolina in four overtimes. That win probably locks up a spot in the NIT. It also revives their slim NCAA hopes. They host Kentucky tomorrow, a win that would put them firmly on the bubble. It is a tough game to win in the first place, let alone after four overtimes. After that they play at Missouri and against LSU. They sit in sole possession of fourth place in the SEC.
Auburn: 16-8 (5-6)
RPI: 60 ... SOS: 94
Auburn picked up a pair of wins, completing a sweep of Alabama before knocking off Mississippi State. If they can find some consistency, they can move their way onto the bubble. They still sit under .500 in SEC play, which is what is holding them back. They travel to Ole Miss before hosting Florida this week.
Ole Miss: 14-10 (5-6)
RPI: 69 ... SOS: 30
The Rebels split a pair a games in Tennessee, knocking off Vanderbilt before losing to Tennessee. They host Auburn and LSU this week. If they can pick up a pair of wins, they’ll likely swap with Auburn in the NIT hunt.
Georgia: 13-11 (4-7)
RPI: 59 ... SOS: 18
The Bulldogs have had a rough time over the last few weeks. They’ve only won one of six, going 0-5 in SEC play during that run. They will likely finish under .500 in SEC play with tough games at Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas sill on the schedule, as well as playing Kentucky again. That also gives them a chance to move up as well but there is little room for error in Athens.
Mississippi State: 14-9 (5-6)
RPI: 108 ... SOS: 129
Mississippi State picked up a big win over Tennessee before dropping a close one at Auburn. They have fallen out of the NIT with the rise of the other teams. There numbers don’t do them any favors either. They still have two with South Carolina on the schedule as well as trips to Georgia and Vanderbilt and a home game against Florida. They host South Carolina tomorrow before hosting Georgia this week.
Vanderbilt: 12-12 (5-6)
RPI: 47 ... SOS: 1
Another week at .500 is keeping the Commodores out of postseason play. They lost at home to Ole Miss before winning in Arkansas. They travel to Missouri before hosting Texas A&M this week. Four of their last five are against South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and Kentucky. They need to be above .500 to make the NIT.
Texas A&M: 13-10 (5-6)
RPI: 92 ... SOS: 52
A&M picked up a pair of wins over LSU and Missouri this week to keep their slim hopes alive. They need to keep the wins coming in to find themselves in the NIT. They travel to Florida and Vanderbilt this week. They still have Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas on the schedule, so they have a path.
LSU dropped two again this week, running their losing streak to 10. Missouri picked up their first win in SEC play by knocking off Arkansas. The two still have plenty of chances to play spoiler.