It was a disappointing season for the SEC with only three teams — conference tournament champion Kentucky, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt — representing the conference in the 2016 NCAA Tournament after the field of 68 was announced Sunday.
Texas A&M received the highest seed among the SEC entrants at No. 3 in the West Region. The Aggies will face No. 14 Green Bay on Friday in Oklahoma City in their first NCAA tournament game since 2011. A win could set up a matchup between Texas A&M and in-state rival Texas. The No. 6 Longhorns face No. 11 Northern Iowa on Friday. CBS analyst Seth Davis picked Texas A&M to win the West Region, and to make it all the way to the Final Four in Houston.
Kentucky got a tough draw despite beating A&M in the SEC tournament final on Sunday. The Wildcats were handed a No. 4 seed in the East Region despite Sunday’s win over the Aggies. They will take on No. 13 Stony Brook in Des Moines, Iowa. A matchup with Big Ten regular-season champion Indiana could loom if Kentucky gets past the Seawolves.
Despite a rocky season littered with missed opportunities, the Commodores (19-13, 11-7 SEC) squeaked into the field as a No. 11 seed. However, their tournament will start Tuesday with a play-in game in Dayton, Ohio, against fellow No. 11-seed Wichita State.
While it has been a great year for Texas A&M, other SEC programs struggled to keep pace with the Aggies and perennial power Kentucky. Texas A&M and Kentucky both finished the SEC tournament ranked in the top 20 in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and Ken Pomeroy’s advanced metrics rating (KenPom). No other SEC team finished in the top 50 in the RPI or the top 40 in the KenPom rankings.
Five teams from the SEC made the 2015 NCAA Tournament. Kentucky reached the Final Four before losing to Wisconsin, while the other four teams lost in the Round of 64. Ole Miss did win an opening-round game in Dayton, Ohio, as one of the “first four” teams.
While only three SEC teams made the field in 2014, Tennessee advanced to the Sweet 16, and both Florida and Kentucky reached the Final Four.
Check out the entire 2016 NCAA Tournament field here.