What Would March Madness Brackets Have Looked Like For SEC Teams
One of the most interesting and watched sporting events in our country would be tipping off on Thursday morning to start their run to crown a college basketball national champion.
March Madness brings fans from all walks of life and the four corners of the country to the party, and one of the biggest parts is people filling out their brackets from day one to who they believe will be the eventual national champions.
People lost that in the wake of the tournament's cancellation, but the good folks at Sports Illustrated decided it would be a good thing to make a bracket anyway. It might not be what the NCAA Selection Committee would have produced and announced on Sunday given the opportunity to do so, but for people struggling with the absence of sports and the interruptions to their daily lives thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, this is certainly better than nothing.
Vanderbilt fans already knew the Commodores would not be in the field, having struggled throughout the season and losing in the first round of the SEC Tournament last week, but what of the remainder of their conference brethren?
Conference regular seasons champs Kentucky (3 seed) would have opened this bracket facing Belmont (14 seed), winners of the OVC in Greensboro, a game the Cats would have been heavily favored in.
Auburn (5 seed) would be in Tampa to face Yale (12 seed) in round one and the Tigers would be the favorite here.
Florida and LSU, both 8 seeds would be off to Spokane and Omaha respectively to fave 9 seeds USC and Arizona State in two SEC-Pac-12 matchups on opening weekend.
Both those contests as 8-9 matchups would be toss-up games for the Gators and Tigers, and could send half the conferences four teams home on the opening weekend.
The interesting thing here is that the conferences two best teams, Kentucky and Auburn, who split a pair of games during the regular season and would likely have met in the SEC Tournament are both in the Midwest Region and could be meeting for the fourth time under this bracket.
Kentucky's road forward after Belmont would have included potential matchups with Iowa, Illinois, a rematch with Texas Tech and Villanova before seeing Auburn, Maryland, or #1 seed Baylor in the region finals. Auburn would have had to deal with those teams in their half of the Midwest bracket before seeing Kentucky again, assuming either team made it that far.
For LSU, a first-round win would have placed them in round two of the South Regional against #1 overall seed Kansas, where the Tigers would be a huge underdog and likely heading back to Baton Rouge.
A similar situation would face Florida, as a first-round victory would send them against Gonzaga, the #1 seed in the West Region and likely end the Gators run after two games.
While it is likely that none of the four would win the whole thing, the Cat and Tigers were certainly good enough, when playing their best to have made it interesting and could have possibly won that region and made it to the Final Four.
This would have been one of the most wide-open tournaments in recent memory and one that would have been fun to have watched unfold.
It still can, as every one of you can take this bracket, fill in the blanks and not lose a single game in picking the field.