3 SEC Teams Are Still Dancing
The Alabama Crimson Tide are not the only SEC team to have made the Sweet 16. After the dust has began to settle on what was once thought of as a down year for the Southeastern Conference, three total teams have made it through the first weekend of the greatest event in sports, tied with the Big East for the most of any conference.
Based on the season Alabama had, it would have been a massive disappointment for Nate Oats and Co. to not at least qualify for the Sweet 16, but the crystal ball didn’t necessarily foresee the other two. Tennessee, who at times in the regular season looked among the country’s best, lost their best offensive player in PG Zakai Zeigler to a torn ACL late in the year. Not to mention some head scratching losses during the season.
While they entered March as a 4 seed, it would be fair to say that expectations for the Volunteers were not particularly high. Very few predicted them to beat Duke, and they went out and physically dominated the Blue Devils en route to a 13-point victory. Rick Barnes and his squad have figured out how to play without Zeigler, and the Volunteers have as good a chance as anyone to advance to the Final Four out of the East region.
Then there’s Arkansas, who we knew all season long had the talent, but could not put it together to become an elite team until the tournament. Love him or hate him, Eric Musselman is a damn good tournament coach and has his team on the verge of their third straight Elite 8 appearance, which would be an unbelievably impressive accomplishment.
Say what you will about the SEC this season, but three teams are still dancing, and that’s in a “down year.” As they say, it just means more.