The SEC enters the 2015-16 basketball season with higher expectations than normal, but the conference still hasn’t gotten a ton of respect with just days before tip off.
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi listed four teams in his preseason bracket prediction. Kentucky (1 seed), Vanderbilt (5 seed), LSU (6 seed) and Texas A&M (8 seed) each made Lunardi’s first cut. UGA, who made the tournament last year, was one of Lunardi’s first four teams out of the tournament.
Five teams from the SEC made the tournament field last year, but only the Wildcats advanced to the Sweet 16. Kentucky will have to reload once again after losing seven players to the NBA draft. LSU possesses arguably the best player in the country in freshman Ben Simmons, while Vandy and A&M return plenty of talent from good teams last season.
The conference also had the fewest number of teams in Lunardi’s field among Power 6 conferences. The ACC led the way with eight teams, followed by the Big Ten with seven, then the Big 12 and Big East with six teams. The Pac 12 produced five teams with the SEC bringing up the rear with four.
The SEC still has something to prove at the beginning of the 2015-16 campaign.