Yesterday we showed you which SEC basketball squads “fit the profile” of a traditional NCAA Tournament team. Like Greg Brady fitting the suit of the new Johnny Bravo, 95% of the time, you call tell which teams will reach the Big Dance by simply looking at a few numbers: RPI, strength of schedule, record versus Top 50 RPI, quality road wins, bad losses to teams outside Top 100 RPI.
Last night, Florida further locked up a bid to the NCAAs with a win at Alabama. The Tide and Mississippi State failed to help their causes. LSU — which is too far off the bubble to begin with — got a nice win that should help its NIT status:
If the Gators weren’t a lock before last night — by the numbers they were between a “lock” and “probable” — they’ve punched their ticket now. Patric Young (19 points) and the Gators dominated Alabama inside for a nine-point road win. The win is the second road victory over a Top 50 RPI club for the Gators and it gives UF its 14th consecutive 20-win season.
Alabama struggled in the paint without suspended stars JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell. Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele did return for the Tide last night, but the team is now 0-2 with both Green and Mitchell out of action. Anthony Grant — who’s really paying an on-court price for taking a bold off-court stand — says he’ll evaluate the status of Green and Mitchell before Saturday’s game with Tennessee.
The fact that Bama was shorthanded shouldn’t impact the Gators’ tourney resume. Alabama, on the other hand, is now just 2-5 against Top 50 RPI clubs.
Rick Stansbury’s team had a chance to steal a road win at Baton Rouge last night. Instead, they saw their overall record fall to 19-7 as LSU’s Anthony Hickey sank a driving floater with 1.4 seconds remaining in overtime. The win pushes LSU’s record to 15-10 overall. The loss was the second in a row for MSU… both coming in overtime (Georgia won at Starkville on Saturday).
Ralston Turner led the Tigers with 17 points. Dee Bost and Rodney Hood scored 15 and 14 to lead the Bulldogs.
For MSU, last night’s loss did not hurt so much as it failed to help the Dogs’ NCAA hopes. We would conclude that their resume still lands them in the “probable” category for an invitation to March Madness.