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    SEC log5

    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.

    Southeastern Conference
    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

    Projections:

                    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.