by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, March 10, 2014
I’m using my ratings and Bill James’ log5 formula to estimate the chances of each participating team advancing to a particular round of its conference tournament.
Location: Atlanta (Georgia Dome)
Dates: March 12-15
Chance of bid thief: 13% (Assuming Tennessee and Arkansas get at-large bids)
Current kPOY: Jordan McRae, Tennessee
Rd1 Qtrs Semis Final Champ 1 Florida 100 100 88.1 61.9 49.2 4 Tennessee 100 100 75.9 30.0 20.3 2 Kentucky 100 100 71.3 51.8 18.3 3 Georgia 100 100 59.6 21.5 4.3 5 Arkansas 100 71.7 20.3 4.5 2.1 7 LSU 100 57.2 17.9 9.8 2.0 6 Mississippi 100 59.3 25.4 7.6 1.2 8 Missouri 100 66.5 9.3 2.8 1.1 10 Alabama 100 42.8 10.9 5.2 0.9 11 Vanderbilt 77.8 36.3 14.3 3.9 0.6 9 Texas A&M 100 33.5 2.5 0.5 0.1 12 Auburn 53.3 15.7 2.2 0.3 0.07 13 S. Carolina 46.7 12.6 1.6 0.2 0.04 14 Miss. St. 22.2 4.4 0.7 0.07 0.003
Florida was one of three conference unbeatens, to go with Stephen F. Austin and Wichita State, and not surprisingly the Gators are favored to win the SEC tournament. But how can we not devote most of the words here to Tennessee, the ultimate paradox in basketball?
John Calipari should know that if I had my way, the Vols would be the most analyzed team in the history of the game. In SEC play they had the best per-possession numbers on both offense and defense among schools not located in Florida. A decent share of those good numbers was piled up in mauling of fellow conference opponents. Only one of Tennessee’s 11 SEC wins was by single-digits, and only one of their seven conference losses was by double-digits. The Vols have won their last three by a combined 93 points.
Yet people are so down on Tennessee that they’re not even a lock for the NCAA tournament at this moment. However, people are high on Tennessee when defending Wichita State’s schedule. See, the defenders say, Tennessee is so good they beat Virginia by over 30 points. But people are down on Tennessee when criticizing Wichita State’s schedule, too. See, the critics say, Tennessee got swept by lowly Texas A&M. There are a lot of contradictory signals here.
With Bruce Pearl’s show cause penalty set to expire in August, most Vols fans seem to want their coach fired, so they wouldn’t mind an early loss here which might send Tennessee to the NIT. As for me, I’d welcome either a deep run in the tournament or a trip to the NIT. The former would be another example about how we all suck at evaluating coaches. The latter could lead to an NIT champ being rated higher than the NCAA champ. Those two possibilities may be the only way Tennessee could top a very unusual regular season.