Welcome to SEC Basketball Fireside Chat. It is here for many years we have analyzed and summarized how teams in the Southeastern Conference are faring at various points throughout the college basketball season.
Last month, we took the approach of each team looking at their season's syllabus and trying to figure out if it has a "drop the lowest test grade" policy, and if so, whether or not they should take it now, or wait until further down the road.
This month, we have approached mid-term exams. Let's see how the class looks roughly halfway through conference play:
SEC basketball teams with passing grades
Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee
When half of the conference passes their mid-term, that is a good indicator it is one of the premiere basketball conferences in the country. The SEC is neck and neck with the Big 12, and while the Big 12 may have more teams ranked, I bet we will see some interesting head-to-head matchups come March.
Of these seven, however, I believe only four have a chance to cut down the nets for the regular-season championship at the end of the year. That being said, the SEC Tournament in Nashville could be anybody's to take.
Six of these teams are basically locks for a NCAA Tournament spot - barring a catastrophic collapse at the end of the year. Mississippi State is probably the only not a lock at this point, but their physical play gives them a chance to win nearly every game.
SEC basketball teams who need to pick up the books
Florida, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M
These four teams represent "the middle of the pack" if there ever was one. It seems they can beat anybody on any given night, and all have overall records over .500, but they are just too inconsistent. They will have to pick up their performance if they want to finish the season well.
SEC basketball teams who are in danger of failing grades
Arkansas, Missouri, Vanderbilt
Once again, no matter what the sport (at least the high revenue-making ones) Arkansas and Vandy find themselves at the absolute bottom of the standings. There is only one win between those two, and that was a 1-point Arkansas home win against A&M. After three straight really good years under Eric Musselman, the Razorbacks are starting to resemble their football team.
Missouri is somewhat surprising to see winless through seven games. Combine that with a poor non-conference portion of their schedule, and you have yourself a lost season at this point.
We'll see how the Razorbacks, Commodores, and Tigers do next year, because this year is over.