A new SEC team has jumped into Joe Lunardi’s NCAA Tournament field in his newest edition of Bracketology.
That team would be the LSU Tigers.
The Tigers are listed as the last team to qualify for Lunardi’s field. LSU was listed as a No. 11 seed and slated to battle Cincinnati in a first round play-in game The Tigers would earn a second round contest with Indiana in St. Louis if they could knock off the Bearcats.
LSU has responded nicely after an ugly non-conference slate that featured more disappointing defeats than signature victories. The Tigers are 5-2 in the SEC, but still have a lot of work to do to earn a spot in the field come March. Beating No. 1 Oklahoma this weekend would be a nice addition to the tournament resume.
Texas A&M earned the highest seed in the field among SEC teams. The Aggies earned a No. 2 spot in the East Region and would square off with New Mexico State out of the Sun Belt conference in the opening round. The No. 5 Aggies have rolled to a 7-0 start in SEC play behind a senior-laden group led by guard Jalen Jones.
Kentucky received a No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region. The Wildcats would battle James Madison in Denver then could face Purdue, Clemson or Washington in the Round of 32. Kentucky bounced back nicely with two double-digit victories against Arkansas and Vanderbilt last week after falling on the road against Auburn. The Wildcats could drastically improve their seeding if they can walk into Lawrence, Kan., and defeat the No. 4 Jayhawks on Saturday.
South Carolina was next up in Lunardi’s field as a No. 8 seed in the East Region. The Gamecocks drew Connecticut in their first matchup in Raleigh, N.C. If the Gamecocks were to beat the Huskies, they would most likely play No. 2 North Carolina in the Round of 32. The Gamecocks fell outside of the Associated Press Top 25 after losing to Tennessee last weekend, but still have an impressive 17-2 record to boast.
The Florida Gators continue to quietly win basketball games and have caught Lunardi’s attention. Florida earned a No. 9 seed in the West Region and would tip-off the tournament against Michigan in Brooklyn, N.Y., with a contest against Villanova waiting in the wings. Florida sits atop a three-way tie for second place in the SEC with a 5-2 conference record.