Bracketology: Which five SEC teams are guaranteed to go Dancing?
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi predicts eight SEC teams will be in the NCAA Tournament, second behind Big Ten.
Only three teams are predicted to receive a top-four seed, while the majority float between the 7-10 seed positions. Despite the current three-game skid Arkansas is on, Linardi still believes they are worthy of an eighth seed.
If Lunardi’s prediction is correct, they will join a group of SEC teams to make the NCAA Tournament with a losing SEC record.
With the regular season ending, five teams in the SEC will likely be invited to the dance without another win on their resume. To avoid confusion, Arkansas is not a part of this list.
So let’s see which SEC teams will most likely make it to the NCAA Tournament.
No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Feb 25, 2023; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama guard Jahvon Quinerly (5) slips a layup around Arkansas guard Ricky Council IV (1) at Coleman Coliseum.
Ncaa Basketball Arkansas Razorbacks At Alabama Crimson Tide
Regular season: 26-5 (18-2)
Quality nonconference wins: Michigan State, North Carolina, Houston
The Crimson Tide took a tough loss in their season finale, but they have one of the best resumes in the field. Their nonconference schedule includes two wins against No. 1 teams, North Carolina and Houston. The Crimson Tide can receive the first top-seed in school history.
No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies
Feb 15, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies guard Dexter Dennis (0) shoots over Arkansas Razorbacks guard Ricky Council IV (1) during the second half at Reed Arena. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Regular season: 23-8 (15-3)
Quality non-conference wins: None
The Aggies’ run during the SEC season will land them in good standing with the selection committee because they are outside looking in without it. The Aggies’ non-conference schedule holds little weight and lacks NCAA Tournament-caliber teams. But the Aggies went 10-2 in their last twelve games, capped by a convincing win over No. 2 Alabama.
No. 14 Tennessee Volunteers
Feb 28, 2023; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Josiah-Jordan James (30), forward Tobe Awaka (11), guard Santiago Vescovi (25) and forward Olivier Nkamhoua (13) during the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Regular season: 22-9
Quality nonconference wins: Kansas, Maryland, USC
The Volunteers’ biggest win of the season came against Alabama a couple of weeks ago, but the selection committee will look at their early season work with wins at home against tournament-caliber teams in three different conferences.
No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats
Mar 4, 2023; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) drives to the basket as Arkansas Razorbacks forward Jalen Graham (11) defends in the first half at Bud Walton Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Regular season: 21-10 (12-6)
Quality nonconference wins: None
The Wildcats are just like Texas A&M, with a solid conference resume. Kentucky’s recent win over the Hogs was impressive enough to get them off the bubble and give them a legitimate case to be a team worthy of an NCAA Tournament spot.
Jan 18, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers guard Kobe Brown (24) dunks the ball against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the second half at Mizzou Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Regular season: 23-8 (11-7)
Quality nonconference wins: Illinois, Iowa State
The Tigers have a couple of good wins outside of the conference and mixing that with a late-season win against Tennessee, the Tigers got off the extended list of teams on the bubble in the SEC.