Cecil Hurt gets it right this morning in the Tuscaloosa News, writing that the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee sent the SEC an undeniable message on Sunday night.
As a league, the SEC was told that whatever it did in 2012-13, it needs to do something different.
The rebuke, in terms of bids (three) and seeding, was a clear message that SEC teams need to schedule more road games and win a few of them.
Only tournament champion Ole Miss, plus at-large teams Florida and Missouri were given bids. We’re talking about a 14-team league here. Defending champion Kentucky did not make the 68. Neither did Tennessee or Alabama.
Middle Tennessee did make it and chairman Mike Bobinski said on the CBS Selection Show that the committee liked the fact the Blue Raiders went 13-5 on the road and played a tough non-conference road schedule.
Look at the SEC scheduling. According to the Sagarin Ratings, Florida played the 28th toughest schedule in 2012-13. Tennessee’s schedule was ranked 33rd. No other league team played a top-50 schedule in terms of strength, according to Sagarin.
Compare that to the Big Ten. Michigan State’s scheduled ranked No. 1, Wisconsin No. 2, Minnesota No. 3, Nebraska No. 4, Penn State No. 5, Illinois No. 6, Michigan No. 10, Ohio State No. 11, Indiana No. 13. That’s in the country.
In the Big East, Villanova played the seventh-toughest schedule in the nation. Louisville’s schedule was ranked at No. 8.
Consider that Fresno State, which finished 9-19 overall and near the bottom of the Mountain West, played a tougher schedule than all but two SEC teams. Fresno’s schedule was ranked 35th by Sagarin.
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