SEC football fans might not be pumped about adding Missouri and Texas A&M to the conference landscape. But hoops mostly love the idea of the Tigers and Aggies.
Count John Calipari among them.
The Kentucky coach – who’s led the Wildcats to SEC titles in each of this three seasons in Lexington and is coming off a national title – expressed his delight at what the new schools mean for the SEC’s overall strength, particularly when it comes to landing NCAA tournament bids.
“Last year’s league was really strong and prepared us to do what we did, to win a national title. There’s no question about it,” Calipari said on the SEC coaches teleconference, via ESPN. “You think about our league and the teams that we had, now you add Texas A&M and Missouri.
“Think about what happens now. Now we start moving up a notch in where everybody is. I think, again, seven teams in our league, half of our league is going to be in the NCAA tournament. That’s what I believe. And I think that will be from here on in.”
I’d buy that. With Kentucky, Florida, Vandy and Alabama coming off 2012 berths and Mizzou and A&M doing the same, finding one more team – probably Tennessee or Arkansas next season – to snag a seventh bid is doable.
Still, half the league is what should happen in a power conference.
The Big East routinely lands at least half of its 16-team conference in the Big Dance. Same with the Big 12 and Big Ten. The deck is stacked for those schools to boost tourney résumés throughout the season and pick up impressive wins late in the season.
Now, why the ACC and Pac-12 can’t manage that is beyond me.
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