Pretty Good Off Weekend

Well everything didn't go Florida's way this weekend, but all in all Florida has to be relatively pleased with how their time off played out. Florida saw Ole Miss suffer a very damaging loss, and Tennessee strengthened every SEC team‘s resume with a huge win over Memphis.

Sure the Gators would have liked for South Carolina to finish off an upset of Mississippi State and Arkansas beating Kentucky would have been nice, but when you put your fate somewhat in the hands of others you can't get greedy.

Not that the Gators have completely done that. Florida certainly continues to control its own destiny, but when your RPI is No. 57 this late in the season you need all the help you can get.

Updating SEC Teams' Status

There's no reason to both listing Tennessee and Vanderbilt. They are both in, period. There are five other SEC teams competing for anywhere from two to four additional invitations to the NCAA Tournament. I believe the SEC will end up being a six bid league, but others feel five is the maximum and four is more like it. With that, let's examine those five teams heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.

Mississippi State (18-8, 9-3, RPI #41) --- The Bulldogs are in the best shape of the five after surviving a near disaster at South Carolina. Their RPI is nothing special, but topping the SEC West has to count for something. State hosts a suddenly hot Auburn team Wednesday before traveling to Gainesville on Saturday. If they avoid a major slip up they should be the third SEC team into the NCAA field.

Arkansas (18-8, 7-5, #38) --- John Pelphrey's squad would have been in great shape if they had gotten the win over Kentucky. Still, their RPI is solid and they are No. 2 in the SEC Western Division. This week they visit a fast-fading Alabama and host a critical game against Vanderbilt. They really need that Vandy game badly.

Florida (20-7, 7-5, #59) --- A crummy non-conference schedule has the Gators RPI a bit less enticing than they would prefer. Thus they need a significant win or two in the final two weeks. Florida should get every benefit of the doubt as the two-time NCAA Champs, but they need to improve there resume anyway. Wednesday at Georgia is a must win, and then Saturday at home against Mississippi State give the Gators a chance to build a lot of support for their candidacy.

Kentucky (15-10, 9-3, #64) --- The final two teams on this list are really tough to figure because their seasons offer such a contrast. The Wildcats are 9-3 in the SEC and normally that would be the end of the discussion, but they are 6-7 outside the league with two of the worst non-conference losses anyone in the SEC has suffered. The selection committee will have a heck of a time here; so I would advise the ‘Cats to keep adding all the wins they can. This week Kentucky hosts Ole Miss and visits Tennessee. No wins they are in big trouble. One win and they are about where they are now. Two wins and they are on the verge of clinching a bid. The good news for the Gators – the Kentucky/Ole Miss game helps Florida no matter what.

Ole Miss (18-8, 4-8, #45) --- It's astounding to me how Ole Miss can have an RPI that is so good with a 4-8 SEC record, but I don't live in my mom's basement and don't wear a pocket protector so it stands to reason. Anyway, the Rebels can't be ruled out just yet, though it is hard to see an SEC team getting an at large bid with a losing league record. Ole Miss, as you now know visits Kentucky Wednesday and then hosts Alabama. I gotta believe they must win out to have a real shot at a bid.

And there you have it!

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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