Few could seen this coming at the start of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. But as just eight teams remain, it’s fairly clear that SEC has had an outstanding tournament.
The three teams in the Elite Eight are the most by any conference. No other league has more than one team playing in the final eight. Oh and there are zero Big Ten teams in the final eight.
And it’s already been guaranteed that at least one SEC teams will get into the Final Four, as South Carolina and Florida will square off against each other in the East Regional final. Two teams from the Southeastern Conference will meet in Madison Square Garden to advance to the Final Four. Commissioner Greg Sankey couldn’t have dreamed up a better scenario. And he was there in person to watch both South Carolina and Florida win.
OT begins! pic.twitter.com/9Dx3f2xd0q
— Greg Sankey (@GregSankey) March 25, 2017
Related: Updated 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket
The NCAA Tournament performances by Kentucky, Florida and South Carolina shouldn’t drastically change how people view these three programs, as they were a clear top-three for most of the season, with Arkansas entering the mix thanks to a late season run. The Razorbacks shouldn’t be forgotten as they very nearly toppled North Carolina in the round of 32.
But what these three runs do is change the national narrative about the conference. For the last few years it had been viewed as a “Kentucky and everyone else conference.” Now Mike White has Florida back up to the Billy Donovan standards. Frank Martin managed to turn around one of the worst programs in all of college basketball.
Oh and if you look beyond these three teams, there’s even more good news coming for the conference. Missouri picked up a commitment from Michael Porter Jr., the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2017 on Friday. Alabama is bringing in the No. 4 recruiting class in the country. And Texas A&M will be bringing back a potential lottery pick in Robert Williams.
People keep asking if Duke or the Big Ten is back. We’ll just about everyone is starting to think, yeah the SEC is back and better than ever.