Alabama (20-10, 9-7)
Strength of Schedule: 16
Quality wins: Wichita State, Purdue, VCU
The Crimson Tide rolled through their first seven games, including a Puerto Rico Tip-Off title over Maryland, Wichita State and Purdue.
Alabama struggled briefly, dropping three out of four to Georgetown, Dayton and Kansas State, but got right back on track against Oklahoma State to start a five-game winning streak.
Once again, Alabama ran into trouble, dropping four in a row to Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and…ahem…South Carolina.
The Tide shook off the losing streak and won seven of its next nine, but a season-closing loss to Ole Miss could do damage in lowering Alabama’s seed.
Alabama would do well for itself to take care of South Carolina in the first round of the SEC Tournament, and then work on Florida.
A win over Florida would do wonders to prevent Alabama from falling into the dreaded 12th-seed play-in games. However, with JaMychal Green missing four games due to suspension (he's since returned) and Tony Mitchell's dismissal from the team, some extra games might help.
Mississippi State (21-10, 8-8)
Strength of Schedule: 65
Quality wins: Arizona, West Virginia, Alabama
Mississippi State started the season 19-5 and was in cruise control to an NCAA tournament berth. Its first half of the season included wins over then-No. 18 Texas A&M and then-No. 16 Arizona. While the Arizona win isn’t bad, the win over Texas A&M isn’t nearly as impressive, as the Aggies have gone bad.
The Bulldogs had a shot at beating Baylor just before the New Year, but a layup in the closing seconds gave Baylor the two-point victory.
After win No. 19, the Bulldogs tanked, losing five straight games—the first two of which were two-point overtime losses to Georgia and LSU.
Auburn, Kentucky and Alabama rounded out the five, but just when you thought they were down and out, along came South Carolina to bail them out.
Mississippi State finished with a win over the Gamecocks and then beat Arkansas by 20.
The Bulldogs would be in if the NCAA tournament started today, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to take care of the other Bulldogs from Georgia on Thursday night to strengthen that ticket.