The SEC Plays Basketball Too?

Jimmy SmithCorrespondent IDecember 16, 2008

The glorious triumphs for the Southeastern Conference on the gridiron does not necessarily translate into ninety feet of dominance on the court.

In the wake of Alabama and Florida garnering national publicity for the successes achieved this fall on the football field, the SEC is still looking for an identity in the winter and spring for basketball.

The history of SEC basketball has predominantly been controlled by Kentucky.  Kentucky has forty three SEC Championships, more than all SEC teams combined.  A staggering, yet pathetic statistic. 

Recently, Florida and Tennessee have also achieved success in the SEC.  Florida in 2006 and 2007 won back-to-back National Championships.  Last season, Tennessee won their first SEC Championship in almost 20 years. 

Those two schools aren't the only schools recently to take the championship from Kentucky.  SEC success is cyclical, unless your name is Kentucky.  Earlier in the decade, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi State all had the teams to win the SEC.

This season not only has no team from the SEC stepped forward to proclaim dominance in the conference, but the conference has suffered some embarrassing defeats to the hands of non-conference opponents.

Mercer, from the Atlantic Sun Conference, went to Alabama and Auburn and came away with victories.  Ole Miss went to New Mexico and suffered an abysmal 34 point defeat to the Lobos.  Illinois-Chicago went to Memorial Coliseum and handed Vanderbilt a twenty point setback.  Loyola-Chicago defeated Georgia by double digits.  Mississippi State lost to sub-.500 Charlotte at home.  The College of Charleston defeated South Carolina in overtime.  Finally, SEC Power Kentucky lost to VMI in the season opener.

Don't think Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, and LSU are world beaters either.  Only LSU is the only undefeated team, having played no one significant.  Tennessee recently got smoked by Temple on the road.  Florida lost to rival Florida State earlier this month and Arkansas was defeated by Missouri State.

The SEC is ripe for the taking if a team would step up and take it.  With the weeks dwindling down towards conference play there are several times prime to make a run at the SEC Championship in the midst of the embarrassment which has placed the SEC as the 8th best conference according to the RPI.

Currently, the team that looks to be in the best shape to win the SEC is the LSU Tigers.  The Tigers have a favorable schedule only having to play at Tennessee and Kentucky as the real tough road tests.  The Tigers get Florida and South Carolina at home.  The Tigers also do not have two road games back to back. 

Another advantage for the Tigers is that the majority of the tougher teams slated in the SEC are in the Eastern Division, so realistically LSU only has to play each team one time.  I predict the Tigers will win the Western Division and challenge for the SEC Title.

Wait a second, they play basketball in the SEC?  Oh well, only four more months until spring practice right?