A look at SEC teams and their status for Selection Sunday


The Kentucky Wildcats pose for a photo after the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at the SEC Tournament Championship at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, on Sunday, March 13, 2016. Kentucky defeated Texas A&M 81-77. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

By Sadie Hobbs

The 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is just under a week away, and a handful of SEC teams are looking to make the cut. The SEC isn’t packed with bubble teams this season, rather the teams are pretty cut and dry. But for the few bubble teams there are, it will take a SEC tournament win or a few to make an appearance in the Big Dance.

Here is a look at where SEC teams stand entering the conference tournament:

Florida is a lock for the NCAA tournament. They rank fifth in RPI and are ranked sixth in Kenpom. The Gators were 14-4 in conference play, which puts them in the No. 2 spot for the SEC tournament. With their 22-point blowout against the Cats deep into the season, the Gators have established themselves as a contender.

Arkansas and South Carolina don’t need to sweat Selection Sunday as both look to be getting a spot in the NCAA tourney. Both teams are ranked inside the top 35 in RPI and both went 12-6 in the conference.

What Arkansas has that other teams in the SEC lack is the ability to perform in the second half. If a team can slow the Razorbacks down, then there is a chance for Arkansas to be upset this weekend and change their seeding.

For the Gamecocks it’s a matter of recovering from the four losses in their last six games played. Whether or not they can shake the funk they are in will determine their seeding.

Georgia really needed to take at least one from the Cats because that’s who they’ll need to beat in the quarterfinals if they can get past Tennessee. Ranked 49th RPI the Bulldogs tough loses may be permanent damage.

For Vanderbilt, with a 17-14 record overall, a 10-8 record in conference and 44th in RPI, at least one win will be crucial in Nashville. The Commodores will have to take down Texas A&M and then possibly a Florida team which Vandy swept in the regular season. For Ole Miss if they can win the SEC they are in.

For the Cats there’s no doubt a spot in the NCAA tourney; however, how their seeding, and how long their journey will last is yet to be determined.

The Cats finished the regular season 26-5 and are ranked sixth in RPI. UK is currently listed as the No. 2 seed in the South region by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. As a team, their 3-point shooting percentage can’t afford to decrease anymore and their defense needs to continue to show growth. The Cats have a good of a chance as any team making noise in the NCAA tourney, but it all starts with their first SEC tournament game on March 10.

Tennessee, Auburn, Texas A&M, Missippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss and LSU had a good run, but don’t expect to see these teams do much in the SEC tourney. Texas A&M may get lucky and pull out another win from Vandy but things should be more in Vandy’s favor. As for Tennessee, an 8-10 in conference record doesn’t seem to completely determine their fate but losing six of their last nine games sure says a lot.

The SEC tournament opened Wednesday with games between No. 13 LSU and No. 12 Mississippi State followed by No. 14 Missouri against No. 11 Auburn.