As Kentucky goes, so goes the SEC — still
Twelve teams remain in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. None of them are from the SEC. That’s another way of saying Kentucky lost.
The SEC had never had more than six teams make the tournament before this year. This year that number was eight, but the result was still largely the same. Late Thursday night, Kentucky was the last team standing to carry the SEC banner.
When the Wildcats lost to 9 seed Kansas State, the SEC was out.
Based on seeding, the eight SEC teams were supposed to win a total of nine games. While Alabama, Texas A&M and Kentucky all exceeded their expected win totals by one game, Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas and Missouri did not live up to their seeding. Florida, which won one game, played exactly to its seeding.
But as much as the other seven SEC teams wanted to win, it was again Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation that expected to win. That was especially true after all four of the top seeds in the South Region were eliminated.
If Kentucky had reached the Final 4, the SEC would have reached or exceeded what was expected from the eight conference teams.
So, the theme of this NCAA Tournament for the SEC is that even though a record number of teams made the field, SEC success and failure is still defined by the Wildcats from Lexington.
For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.