The Sunday Blog comes at you a little late because I didn’t know we lost an hour last night. Or did we gain an hour? All I know is I have a headache. Saturday was that much fun.
1. Seriously, it wasn’t enough to beat Kentucky to make history. The Gators had to pummel the Wildcats. They recorded the largest UF win over Kentucky in program history. They teased the Kiddies there in the second half and then pulled away the candy. The game Saturday was this entire season in microcosm. Florida was able to push distractions aside and played with tremendous focus. The Gators played as a team, finishing the game with 20 assists on 28 baskets. They also held Kentucky to four baskets in the first 15 minutes of the game. Meanwhile, I give you Kentucky. The Wildcats played hard for a good 10 minutes, then went back to being the selfish and undisciplined team they usually are. It’s pretty obvious that the Harrison twins have hit a wall (6-of-21, five turnovers Saturday and it wasn’t an aberration). And that Julius Randle only plays when he feels like it. And John Calipari is ridiculously-overrated as a coach (a zone defense with three minutes to play and Florida up 14? Hey, Gators, run the clock down as far as you want. We don’t care anymore.) But that’s the problem for the Big Blue Nation to worry about. Take a few days to enjoy this Gator fans. What are the chances you’ll ever see 18-0 again?
2. So the brackets are set for the SEC Tournament and the match-ups are less than enthralling because, well, the SEC isn’t very good. But there are two that have potential. If LSU advances to play Kentucky, that should be great theater. And the Arkansas-Tennessee game will send the winner to face Florida (if the seeds hold) where one of them can get a NCAA-clinching win. Which brings us to …
3. SEC BUBBLE WATCH!
It’s the last week for The Watch because a week from today we’ll know who got in (Florida and Kentucky and who knows?) and who did not.
TENNESSEE 19-11 RPI 47
That was a big win Saturday over Missouri and the Vols look to be comfortably in the tournament right now. They are 7-8 vs. the top 100 and would like to beat Arkansas in the SEC quarters on Friday just to make sure.
ARKANSAS 21-10 RPI 54
The Razorbacks had a terrible loss on Saturday, getting hammered by 25 at Alabama. That puts their candidacy in question. They are 8-8 against the top 100 but may need to wins in the Tournament to get a bid. They will play the winner of Auburn-South Carolina on Thursday and then Tennessee Friday. Might that be a play-in game?
MISSOURI 21-10 RPI 58
If the Tennessee-Missouri game was supposed to be crucial for the Tiger’s NCAA hopes, why did they fail to show up? The 72-45 loss will be a black smudge on their resume. Mizzou is 7-8 against top 100 teams and probably needs to win twice in Atlanta, which means it would beat No. 1 Florida in the quarters.
GEORGIA 18-12 RPI 70
I included the Bulldogs because I think you have to look at a team with the third-best conference record. Let’s see 0-9 vs. RPI top 50 teams? That’ll do it. The Doggies probably need to win the whole thing to get to a regional.
4. It seems clear to me that we know who three of the top seeds are for the NCAA Tournament. Florida, Arizona and Wichita State appear to be locks no matter what happens in their conference tournaments. If I was a Shockers fan, I’d be hoping the committee looked at my 113th-ranked strength of schedule and dropped my team to a two seed just to tick them off. So who is the fourth No. 1 seed? It may depend on how these teams do in the conference tournaments, but let me make my argument for Wisconsin.
A. The Badgers are the only team with a win over a No. 1 seed (Florida).
B. Kansas has eight losses. Duke has seven. Those teams cannot be No. 1 seeds.
C. Villanova has an argument at 28-3 but is 1-3 against top 25 teams while Bucky Badger is 5-1.
D. The consensus seems to be that the Big 10 was the best conference this year. Shouldn’t it have a one seed?
The last argument is the most questionable because Michigan won the Big 10 and most believe Michigan State is the conference’s best bet to win it all. But they both have seven losses.