There is now a clear distinction between the haves and have nots in SEC basketball.
Seven SEC programs have reached the Final 4.
Seven have not.
Now that South Carolina has transitioned from one category to the other, the have-nots include Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.
Is there any reason to believe one of those seven could soon find themselves in the enviable position the Gamecocks currently enjoy?
The answer is that all seven have reason for optimism.
Alabama has the No. 4 recruiting class in the country joining a very good young nucleus.
Auburn will challenge for being the most talented team in the league next year.
Missouri is bringing in Michael Porter Jr., the top recruit in the country for next season.
Tennessee has a Final 4 coach in Rick Barnes.
Lottery pick Robert Williams just announced he’s returning to Texas A&M.
Vanderbilt has been close to championship level in recent years.
And Andy Kennedy has won at least 20 games in seven of the last eight years, and has reached a Sweet 16.
So maybe we won’t be as shocked when one of those teams crosses over from the have nots as we are by South Carolina’s success.
For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.