We’ve all complained about how bad the SEC has been in basketball this season, but after my post last week detailing the RPI and KenPom rankings for each of the 14 squads, one of our readers, Zachary Thomas, emailed me with a deeper look into how the conference ranks up against others in the sport. Using KenPom’s average of adjusted efficiency (points per possession controlled for strength of schedule), Zach discovered that the SEC may not be the worst conference in all of college basketball, but it is the second worst of the Power 5 conferences and only the fifth best overall:
|Conference||Average of AdjEM2|
|1. Big 12||19.3|
|3. Big East||14.7|
|4. Big 10||13.6|
|8. Atlantic 10||4.4|
Note that these numbers were calculated before yesterday’s games, but still, they’re pretty telling. Right now, of the Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) only the Pac 12 is worse than the SEC in basketball. Last night’s game is a good example of what’s going on in the league right now: after an influx of better coaches (Rick Barnes, Avery Johnson, Ben Howland, etc.), recruiting has improved, but teams are just really, really young. And, unlike Kentucky, that talent doesn’t always click right away, leading to some of the wild Jekyll/Hyde performances by teams like Mississippi State, who dropped games to teams like Lehigh, ETSU, and UCF early on but more than held their own vs. the Cats at home last night.
So, while the SEC is categorically bad, there’s hope for the future. (Maybe.) Until then, let’s just hope we don’t lose to anyone not named Florida or we can kiss a #1-seed goodbye.