Two days after just three SEC schools were included in the NCAA Tournament field, the conference has hired a special advisor for men’s basketball.
Mike Tranghese, a former commissioner of the Big East and a veteran of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, will consult with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and associate commissioner for men’s basketball, Mark Whitworth, to improve the overall quality of men’s basketball in the league.
“Men’s basketball in the SEC gained positive momentum during the last 12 months, but we are not meeting our own expectations,” Sankey said in a press release. “As a conference, we seek continuing improvement in the national competitive success of our men’s basketball programs. Mike’s knowledge and experience will be an asset for me, our staff and the athletics programs of the SEC as we accelerate our men’s basketball enhancement efforts.”
The SEC has come under scrutiny for the lack of overall strength in the sport, especially as it pertains to the strength of schedule in nonconference play, and Tranghese will be responsible for reshaping the league’s image.
Texas A&M and Kentucky were the only two schools to solidify themselves in the round of 64. Vanderbilt made the tournament, but will play Wichita State Tuesday in a play-in game.
South Carolina, despite going 24-8, was the biggest surprise in the SEC, as the Gamecocks led the list of SEC teams who did not make the field. Florida, LSU and Alabama were also among the schools on the outside looking in when the selection committee made its picks Sunday.
Time will tell what impact Tranghese will have on the future of SEC basketball, but it’s safe to say that the league is not satisfied with being a three-bid league for the third time in the last four seasons.