The SEC has been considered a weak basketball conference in recent year. Only three teams made the NCAA tournament.
Two of them, however, are in the Final Four with Florida and Kentucky. So is the conference can’t be that weak?
Most inside the SEC feels more teams should have made the conference. Alabama coach Anthony Grant was very outspoken about the SEC on Wednesday.
“I think yeah that’s been talked about for the last several years,” he said of the weak conference. “You look at this year’s tournament, Florida gets the No. 1 overall seed and the second-place team, Kentucky, gets an eight seed, and I think the fourth-place team in Tennessee has a play in game. Obviously all three teams had success advancing to at least the Sweet 16. I think you look at the other teams in our league that had opportunities to go to the NIT, none of them went in as a one seed.”
Grant went on about what to do to change the perception of the SEC. Note the length of the answer. He never talks that much in response to anything. So he must be very passionate about the view of the SEC.
“So I think the perception of our league, whether you feel like it’s warranted or not, as coaches, we have to look at it and self evaluate and say, ‘Yeah our league needs to get stronger, needs to get better.’ The only thing that each of us can do is look within. At least that’s what I try to do. And how can we get better, how can we improve our teams and improve the reputation or standing of our league?”
“And that’s what we’re trying to do and that’s one of the reasons why, for us, last year, we played one of the top five nonconference schedules in the country, to try to put ourselves and our league in a position where we can all elevate the reputation, the status of our league.”
“But as always what you have to do when you do this is you have to win. That’s what it comes down to. When you do that, obviously you improve the overall standing and reputation of your league. In spite of the troubles that we had last year in terms of the results, the win-loss record, we still finished as one of the top 100 teams in the country in RPI, despite the losses. I think for us, to do our part, we’ve got to continue to play an extremely competitive nonconference schedule. I think what we’ll need in our league is for all the teams to understand how we can help each other and be willing to go out and challenge ourselves.”
“Like I talked about with our team a lot, as a coach, I’m not afraid to fail. I’m not afraid to put ourselves out there. Because I understand the vision I have, I understand where we want to take this program and what needs to happen in order for us to be able to do that. And we’ve got to be willing to go out and do that. So I think as a league, we have to be willing to do that.”
“And you can argue, everybody’s got their opinion, which league is the best in the country, this league gets six teams in, this league gets four teams in or five, and the SEC only deserve two, three, for or whatever. Right now we’ve got two teams in our league that are playing for a national championship, that are in the Final Four. So it’s an opportunity for all of us in the league to try to raise the profile individually and then do that collectively for our league. I think that’s the goal every coach wants to try and accomplish.”