We’ve known the SEC West was bad. We’ve known this for a long time.
But on Saturday, the worst division in major conference basketball may have been rock bottom.
All six SEC West teams played on Saturday. Only Ole Miss won, knocking off East Tennessee State 71-50.
Arkansas blew a nine point lead in the second half to Texas A&M, eventually losing to the Aggies in overtime thanks to 31 points from Khris Middleton. Wichita State got a three from Garrett Stutz with seven seconds left the knock off LSU 70-69. Alabama fell to Oklahoma State 68-60 in Oklahoma City.
But Mississippi State and Auburn had, without a doubt, the worst losses of the day.
Auburn is not only the worst major conference basketball team, they are one of the worst teams in the entire country. On Saturday, the Tigers dropped to 3-7 on the season when they lost to the Prebyterian Blue Hose 62-59. Auburn had to rally just to make it that close; they were down 30-12 at one point in the first half. That Presbyterian team lost to Vanderbilt by 41 earlier this season.
Auburn already had lost to Campbell, Samford, UNC-Asheville, Jacksonville, Rutgers, and South Florida this season. Their three wins? By two over Middle Tennessee State, by four over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and a win over Georgia Southwestern, a D-II team.
Then there was Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs were supposed to be the best team in the SEC West. They were supposed to compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. And while they have struggled earlier in the season, getting Renardo Sidney back was supposed to be the difference.
Well, he wasn’t, and Mississippi State ended up getting beaten by Virginia Tech 88-57 in a game played in the Bahamas.
Sidney struggled, scoring just 12 points and grabbing just three rebounds in 25 minutes before fouling out. More importantly, however, the Bulldogs didn’t play a lick of defense. The result was a 31 point beatdown.
The gap between the Eastern and Western divisions in the SEC is quite astonishing. There is a valid argument to be made that every team in the East is better than any team in the West. That argument got stronger after Mississippi State was blown out with Sidney playing.
The question was posed on twitter over the weekend, but I’ll say it again here: how many games will the SEC West win against the SEC East this year? Last season, they went 9-27, and every one of those nine wins came against Georgia and South Carolina. While the Gamecocks are not as good as they were last season with Devan Downey, they aren’t as bad as many people expected them to be this season. Georgia, led by Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, will more than likely be in the bubble conversation come March.
I say there’s no way the West eclipses those nine wins this season.