Okay, so, here we go: I’m going to post the matchups of the SEC Conference Tournament (Southeastern Conference Tournament, lol), and we’ll do a quick overview of each. Okay? Okay.
First: go see Annihilation in theaters, then come back and read this. Good? Awesome. Here we go.
12 Vanderbilt vs. 13 Arkansas
Vanderbilt played the 7th toughest schedule in the entire COUNTRY. They have a 4-8 record outside of conference, and poor stats. But playing the seventh-toughest record means something to me. Arkansas has the same record, and slightly better defense, and a worse offense. I am picking VANDERBILT.
11 Florida vs. 14 Ole Miss
Florida has the better numbers, up and down the board. I don’t think Ole Miss has much of a shot here, but I’ve been punched in the mouth by the universe before, so what do I know. I am picking FLORIDA.
12 Vanderbilt vs. 5 Texas A&M
Texas A&M has the fourth-best offensive points per possession (OPPP) and the ninth-best defensive points per possession (DPPP) in the SEC. Vanderbilt has the 11th and 14th, respectively. Texas A&M has played the 32nd toughest schedule, Vanderbilt the 7th. This will be a tougher game than most would think, but in the end, it’ll be too much for Vanderbilt. I am picking TEXAS A&M.
11 Florida vs. 6 Missouri
Missouri has a very, very strong offense, ranking third out of 14 teams. Their defense is closer to average, but still better than Florida’s, which is 12th. Missouri has a tougher schedule than Florida, and a better record, inside and outside the conference. Unsurprisingly, I am picking MISSOURI.
10 Auburn vs. 7 Tennessee
Auburn has the worst offensive points per possession and the sixth-best defensive point per possession. They’ve played the 34th toughest schedule in the nation. Their opponent, Tennessee, has the 5th best OPPP and the 3rd best DPPP, and the 19th toughest schedule. Hey, look— I’m picking TENNESSEE.
9 Kentucky vs. 8 Alabama
Kentucky and Alabama are essentially mirror opposites; their defenses and offenses are nearly flip-flopped versions of each other. The only real difference is that Kentucky has played the 33rd most difficult schedule in the country, and Alabama has played the 71st. Oh boy, I am picking KENTUCKY.
5 Texas A&M vs. 4 LSU
I’ve detailed Texas A&M above, so I won’t rehash here. LSU has the 10th OPPP in the SEC, and the 7th DPPP. That is not very impressive, though they have the 29th toughest schedule to contend with. Still, that does not really challenge my conceptions about Texas A&M. I am picking TEXAS A&M.
9 Kentucky vs. 1 Mississippi State
Kentucky has been fairly impressive, but let’s be real: Mississippi State is the best team in the conference, and maybe the country. Number one in the conference in both OPPP and DPPP, they are 30-0 on the season and 16-0 in the conference. Guess what?! I am picking MISSISSIPPI STATE.
6 Missouri vs. 3 Georgia
Georgia’s offense is merely average, in regards to the conference, but they have the best defense. Missouri has played a tougher schedule, and is ranked higher in Jeff Sagarin’s rankings than Georgia, but I think Georgia’s defense outweighs Missouri’s offense, and also, as a native Georgian, I refuse to endorse (without concrete evidence) a Missouri team over a Georgia team. I am picking GEORGIA.
7 Tennessee vs. 2 South Carolina
Tennessee is dope, as detailed above. South Carolina is pretty close to Tennessee in both DPPP and OPPP. I think that Tennessee is better, but I could easily be wrong. Tennessee has a slightly better defense, and I think that will make the difference in the end. I am picking TENNESSEE.
5 Texas A&M vs. 1 Mississippi State
Mississippi State has one weak point when looking at the stats; they have played the fourth-easiest schedule in the SEC. I don’t think that’s enough to take them down, even for as much respect as I have for Texas A&M. Mississippi State is just too much of a juggernaut. I am picking MISSISSIPPI STATE.
3 Georgia vs. 7 Tennessee
I’ve talked about both Georgia and Tennessee above. As much as I hate to admit it, I think Tennessee is better than Georgia. When you factor in strength of schedule, of which Tennessee has the vast, vast advantage, it becomes pretty clear who the better team is. I am picking TENNESSEE.
1 Mississippi State vs. 7 Tennessee
This is going to be one heck of a matchup. I think it’ll be a close, tightly-contested game, and I think that it really could go either way. I’ve been waffling on this, even though Mississippi State has superior numbers, I can’t get Tennessee out of my head. It’s that darn strength of schedule; Mississippi State is at 46th, and Tennessee is at 19th. How much does that matter? I usually give a fairly hefty weight.
Jeff Sagarin ranks Mississippi State ten spots higher, at #3, versus #13. That also factors in. My brain is telling me that Mississippi State is clearly the better team, but there is a nagging feeling that Tennessee could really make this a contest. Hm.
FINAL VERDICT: I AM PICKING TENNESSEE