Why the SEC is now the Best Conference in College Basketball

Rick Barnes, Bruce Pearl, Eric Musselman, Nate Oats, Buzz Williams, Chris Beard and Lamont Paris. These are coaches that have joined the SEC since 2015 and have elevated the conference to being talked about amongst college basketball's elite.

Arkansas v Kansas
Arkansas v Kansas / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

SEC Basketball has without a doubt been on the rise over the past few seasons. The elevation in coaching is transparent and the league is paying dividends.

Excluding two seasons where the Florida Gators won back-to-back national championships under head coach Billy Donovan in 2006 and 2007, the SEC has been synonymous with one school only it seems like forever- the Kentucky Wildcats.

While the Wildcats still boast a great program under head coach John Calipari, other schools have elevated the conference as a whole bringing in some elite coaching.

Between 1995 and 2017, the Wildcats who are currently coached by John Calipari won or had a share of the SEC regular season title 11 times. Since then, the Wildcats have only won it once in 2020. Again, they are still a great program, but the decrease in frequency of them winning the regular season conference title is one way it speaks to the recent parody in the SEC.

What SEC Coaching Additions have Elevated the Conference

Since 2015, Rick Barnes, Bruce Pearl, Eric Musselman, Nate Oats, Buzz Williams, Chris Beard and Lamont Paris have joined schools throughout the SEC that have raised the performance of the conference overall.

Amongst the schools they have joined, the Auburn Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, Texas A&M Aggies, Ole Miss Rebels and South Carolina Gamecocks have never or rarely been thought of as national powers when it comes to college basketball, let alone SEC powers. That dialogue has changed.

The SEC and Big 12 were the two strongest conferences this year in college basketball. Rewind to more than five years ago, and that would not have been the case.

Will the strong coaching remain? Time will tell as SEC schools tend to put a lot of their money and resources into football. But for now, the conference as a whole is drawing eyes nationally more than ever before.