Did LSU and Tennessee improve their seeding on Friday?
Chris Lee • 3/13/2021 in Basketball
Trendon Watford photo courtesy of LSU athletics
Tennessee's win over Florida bolsters Vols' résumé
The Vols had an impressive showing in their 65-54 win over Florida, one that should restore a bit of confidence in the Vols' ability to win some games in the NCAA tournament.
Of course, beating the Gators also improved Tennessee's résumé. The Vols now had a 14 NET rating, which puts them in four-seed territory. Tennessee's 6-5 record against Quad 1 teams also compares well with most other teams in that territory.
Tennessee also had a nice trio of wins against top-15 NET teams (Colorado-11, Kansas-12 and Arkansas-13).
The Vols also got some help with teams like USC, Purdue, Villanova and West Virginia losing.
The weakness of Tennessee's body of work is a 2-2 record against Quad 2 teams, and a mediocre 4-4- road record. But all teams in this range have some flaws, and the Vols don't have a glaring one--for instance, no losses in Quad 3 or 4.
Tennessee may need to beat Alabama to get a four, especially if Colorado, Florida State and/or Creighton continue to win in their conference tournaments. But the Vols at least put themselves in a good position with their work on Friday.
LSU gets a quality win over Ole Miss
One of the flaws with LSU's résumé has been that it's lacked quality wins. But knocking off Missouri in Columbia last weekend helped, and the Tigers' win over Ole Miss on Friday night--though it's just a high-Quad-2 win--helped a bit.
The Tigers may need another one to get out of that dreaded 8-9-seed range, which of course gets the winner of that game matched with a No. 1. But like the Vols, LSU saw some teams in its range take losses this week, with Clemson, Oregon and Connecticut taking losses to teams nowhere near the NCAA tournament field.
I think the Tigers may be a seven-seed entering Saturday. They may need to beat Arkansas to keep it, but the events of Friday helped.
Ole Miss out, others hold serve
Barring circumstances in which teams can't play in the NCAAs due to Covid-19, Ole Miss needed to beat LSU to get in the field. Obviously that didn't happen and so the Rebels will await a likely NIT bid.
Alabama looked terrific in clocking Mississippi State, but the win did nothing to move the Crimson Tide up. Gonzaga and Baylor are locks as No. 1 seeds, and it's hard to see Illinois and Michigan not getting ones also. I'm not sure that either losing to Tennessee on Saturday moves the Vols down to a two-seed, or that winning out gets 'Bama a one, either.
Arkansas has a shot to move up to a two if it beats LSU. But that scenario may need to include losses by Ohio State or Houston, too.
Houston will be tough to seed; the Cougars have a NET of 5, but have only one win (Texas Tech) over a sure-fire NCAA tournament team. The Cougars also have road losses to Tulsa (133 NET) and East Carolina (183). while Arkansas's worst loss is a home defeat to Missouri.
As for Missouri, the Tigers' net dropped to 46 with Friday's loss, but Missouri looks like a six-seed as of Saturday morning and shouldn't drop further than a seven given a terrific résumé of quality wins.