SEC Basketball: Have Alabama and Georgia Done Enough?

Allen SmithContributor IMarch 13, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11: Gerald Robinson #22 of the Georgia Bulldogs has the ball stripped by Charvez Davis #24 of the Alabama Crimson Tide and teammates during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 11, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After leaving the Georgia Dome today, we clearly saw who the two best teams in the conference are—when each kicks it into another gear.  Today, both Florida and Kentucky showed why they are serious Final Four contenders. 

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt and Tennessee are sizing up their Dance shoes for a long waltz; there are two bachelors that are still trying to find a ticket. 

The odd thing is, I thought yesterday we settled this; but apparently, we haven’t.  Let’s run through the resumes of Alabama and Georgia.  All stats are using the CBSSports RPI.


Alabama (21-11, 13-5) SEC Western Division Champion

RPI: 73

Record vs. RPI Top 50: 4-4

W: Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia (twice)

L: Kentucky, Florida, Purdue, Vanderbilt


Bad Losses Outside of Top 100: Four

Seton Hall, Arkansas, Providence, Iowa


Georgia (21-12, 10-8)

RPI: 46

Record vs. RPI Top 50: 3-9

W: Kentucky, UAB, Tennessee

L: Notre Dame, Florida (twice), Kentucky, Vanderbilt (twice), Xavier, Temple, Tennessee


Bad Losses Outside of Top 100: Zero


Looking at these resumes, you would question why we are having this discussion, but I believe that the committee will take into account the deeper meaning of the resumes.  First off, Georgia has a better RPI, and no bad losses, but had many more opportunities that weren't taken advantage of.

Conversely, Alabama has some ugly losses, but it had fewer opportunities and took advantage of those it had.  I realize that going .500 isn’t a "wow" factor, but it is better than most bubble teams, and it certainly looks better than Georgia’s 3-9.  Plus, Alabama beat Georgia twice this season, which bodes well for the Tide.

Now let’s look at the teams Joe Lunardi has in front of both of them.  Virginia Tech, Colorado, USC and Penn State.  I’m going to go ahead and say there isn’t an argument against Colorado and Penn State—both of those teams have done enough in their respective tournaments to earn at-large berths.  I’m mainly looking at the Hokies and Trojans; let’s look at their resumes:


USC (19-14, 10-8)

RPI: 67

Record vs. RPI Top 50: 5-5

W: Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, UCLA, Washington

L:  Kansas, Arizona (twice), UCLA, Washington


Bad Losses Outside of Top 100: Six

Rider, Oregon (twice), TCU, Oregon St., Bradley


Virginia Tech

RPI: 61

Record vs. RPI Top 50: 2-5

W: Duke, Penn State

L: North Carolina, Purdue, Kansas St., UNLV, Duke


Bad Losses Outside of Top 100: Three

Virginia (twice), Georgia Tech


After looking at these resumes, I can’t see why Virginia Tech is in.  No offense to the Hokies, but Alabama, Georgia and USC have more quality wins than you, so you are out.  I put Georgia in because although they didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities they had—they didn’t have a bad loss.  The Bulldogs should be rewarded for that.  

Now it is between Alabama and USC.  I put Alabama in, simply because the Tide beat Georgia twice and don’t have as many (or as ugly) losses as USC does.  USC has three losses outside of the Top 200; Alabama has none.  

I know that I’m an SEC homer, and Alabama alum, but you can’t argue with the numbers.  If that is what everyone is punishing Alabama for, the prognosticators need to look at the numbers behind the numbers.  Behind the curtain, Alabama and Georgia look better than the rest waiting for their ticket to March Madness.  RPI is a big thing, but it isn’t the only thing.