Monday, July 13, 2015

Ranking the Difficulty of UGA's 2015 Games

c/o @FootballUGA

Preface: it's obviously too early, but why not. Also note that this isn't a "power poll" of the opponents, but more so my opinion taking location, timing, etc. into account. Obviously we can't know everything yet such as game times and such. Last year I had @SC #1 and Florida #4, but whiffed on Tech (as did UGA special teams late in the game).

1. at Auburn

Though it seems we've handled them when we should over the last few years, we should know going down to Auburn is never an easy task. Gus Malzahn is going to score points. He did it with Chris Todd, and has proven able with whatever talent he has. Last year we cracked them on defense, but I'm not sure the outcome is the same if the game isn't in a rocking Sanford Stadium. They will supposedly be able to stretch the field vertically this year with Johnson who has a nice compliment in Duke Williams. The offense is now more solidified in the system, and the defense looks to capitalize on the talent it has been amassing with the tutelage of Muschamp. Lastly, it falls near the end of the season. It could be a huge game for Auburn, but despite the size of the game Auburn always proves a hostile environment. They would be #2 in my power poll of opponents, but playing this one on the road vaults them to number 1. Just one of those games I feel like we're not talking about with Bama and Tennessee looming early.

2. at Tennessee

For many, this is the clear number one. I am not devaluing that notion at all. It will be a chance to Tennessee to get that big win they've been searching for on a national stage for a few years now. Going to Neyland is never easy. The only reason I have this one here is my comparison to Auburn, and the positive factors for UGA I have listed against Bama below. We do match up well against the Vols who averaged giving up 160 rush yards per game last year. They also should be plenty beat up having played at Florida and vs. Arkansas in the two weeks before (though we come off the Bama game). This game isn't hiding in the shadows behind Bama this year, as UGA certainly knows it's importance looking down the schedule. After two years of really ugly games, we should expect another. They are number 3 on my power poll of opponents, but #2 on the schedule list.

3. Alabama

This is the most talented team we will play this year. However they are in this position in my mind for a couple reasons. One, it's at home. If you don't think Sanford will be rocking well then you think people will have over served themselves during the day and half the crowd won't make it into the stadium. It's a perfect chance for UGA to reassert themselves (and Sanford Stadium for that matter) as a foe to be reckoned with. Two, it's timing in the season. I'd rather get them as early as possible than the alternative. With new offensive weapons having to get established better to play them early. Third, it will be Alabama's first road game with said new offense. Their biggest tests prior to are Wisconsin in Dallas and Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa. What will surely be a 3:30 or night game in Athens would hope to prove an eye-opening experience for the young Tide team in a rocking atmosphere. If we can remember to play the man rather than the name (or lack thereof) on the helmets and jerseys it has the potential to be a great day in Athens.

4. at Georgia Tech

I am probably giving this team too much credit from a talent standpoint, but as last year proved if you fall asleep in this one it can be your undoing. Revenge is certainly on the minds of the Dawgs. Even though you'll have about 25 fans cheering against you in Bobby Dodd, it has still proven over time a difficult place to play. The Jackets offense will surely be in end of season form, but our young defense should have a year of experience (plus a test vs. GA Southern the week before) in defending the option. I don't know why, but I'm very scared of this one... and I feel just as bad saying that.

5. Florida

The talent may not be there, and the O-Line is very very thin. After last year, I revert to the notion that you can never predict this game. With a who knows what the heck is going to happen offense in Gainesville, playing them later in the season can only help the Gators get more established. The defense should still be fine this year. I may be giving this team too much credit, but I will not understate that we all know you never know what happens in this game.

6. South Carolina

It feels strange putting them here, but this may be the year we become less scared of the Gamecocks. Getting this one as a night game in Athens certainly helps the cause as SC will be breaking in a new QB in a hostile environment. We're about due for a game that isn't close in this one. I feel like this is finally the year. If this game was away it would be in the top 3 or 4, but one should assume that the Athens home field advantage is the biggest factor in this one.

7. Missouri

It wasn't so pretty the last time they were in Athens, but we played much better obviously last year in Columbia. I think it's time to reset the course of Missouri in the SEC East. Getting them at home is a plus, and with key departures at WR and on defense they may struggle a little more this year. It won't be easy, and turnovers are always key versus a team you feel more talented than. The game also comes after the Bama / @Tennessee gauntlet, so hopefully the Dawgs still have something left in the tank before the bye week.

8. Kentucky

Sandwiched between the all important Florida and Auburn games, this could be a week where you're happy to just stay healthy and advance with any winning result. At times last year Kentucky showed glimpses of being able to play with anyone, having an excellent start to the season with a near win over Florida and win over the Gamecocks. Towards the end of the year they trailed off with blowout losses to LSU and Tennessee (UGA's was a blowout, but if you recall not really until the 2nd half). Towles will return who should lead a decent offense with a Stoops defense, but having this game at home makes it less dangerous than the bi-annual what the heck is going to happen game in Lexington.

9. at Vandy

Something in me wants to be scared of the outside factors of a second week 3:30 CBS away game, but after watching Vandy last year I feel a little less scared. Still it has the makings of a potential letdown game even in a win for the Dawgs, but it also could be another chance to develop momentum heading towards the Gamecocks in week 3. Their offense was anemic last year and seemed to lose a ton of momentum with the Franklin departure. I expect this year to hold more of the same for the Dores.

10. Georgia Southern

I could have honestly ranked them above Vandy in a power poll comparison, but the location places them here. They are picked to finish near the top of the Sun Belt once again and the option generally takes Georgia a bit to warm up to when we play them. They do return their leading rushers and QB, but over the years Georgia has proven to hold serve against the Eagles (though hopefully we don't give up 300+ rushing yards like the last time we played them).

11. Louisiana Monroe

After two years with a tough opponent to open, we revert back to the standard supposed cupcake. It couldn't come at a better time either as we will be breaking in a new QB and young WR unit. The Warhawks were a 4-8 team last year and are predicted to finish 6th in the Sun Belt this year. They return 8 on defense and have been one of the peskier throw away games in recent years. They beat Wake and nearly knocked off Texas A&M last year, but held serve with big losses to LSU and Kentucky. Hopefully the Dawgs can establish a new offensive rhythm against them.

12. Southern

While the Jaguars did reach the SWAC Championship game last year, this is an FBS team that is 0-8 all time versus current FBS teams.  They are a 9-4 team, but don't be fooled they lost to some mediocre teams by a good margin. #halftimeshow

Saturday, July 11, 2015

SEC Preseason Projected Finishes - SEC East

We've all come to know things can get sideways with how the divisions will finish... just look at Mizzou the last couple years, or out of nowhere teams like Auburn two years ago. Two of the main components I like to evaluate are the schedule draw as well as returning personnel. The luck of the draw in the scheduling can go a long way in seeing who gets to the Dome.

I'll also mention this is not a power poll, but a projected finish therefore it's not a reflection on who the best teams are in order. Much of my data was mined from Phil Steele, therefore I'll give credit where it's due.

SEC East

1. Georgia

Not just because of the homer pick, but if you really look at the East this year you have another situation of who just wants to hold serve. Their two biggest early season tests are at home (SC & Bama).  Both opponents will have to implement a new QB into their scheme as well as replace a good amount of folks on defense, and I'd rather face them before they have time to settle into a rhythm. The road slate is tough as well with @UT and @Auburn, but one would really think if UGA gets through their schedule with 2 or fewer SEC losses the rest of the division should get beat up on. Phil Steele did note they have the #37 schedule in the country as well as one of the bottom 4 most difficult in the SEC.

2. Tennessee

Everyone's media darling (as they have been the last few years) to reassert themselves. I think they certainly will be a formidable foe (after the last two games vs. them how could you not say that), but finishing 2nd in the East doesn't equate to real resounding success this year. They do return a ton of young talent. 10 offensive starters with key guys at the key positions (Dobbs, Hurd, North). They problem with Tennessee was their defense last year who averaged allowing 168 rush yards pg. That's not the way to win in the SEC. They will shock someone and get that big win they've been seeking this year to have a great season, just not sure it's the one that pushes them to the Dome yet. Arkansas and @Bama is a tough draw from the West.

3. Florida

This team is a complete enigma this year. Their only bright spot is they do return 7 starters from what was a pretty solid unit last year. The McElwain era of offensive genius will need to start very quickly, as this was their detriment last year. To further hamper this their O-Line has a 10 combined career starts, and even worse as of this Spring they only have 7 O Lineman on scholarship. Not exactly and optimistic stat heading in to the SEC war of the trenches. Still I think they find themselves here merely because the rest of the division may be pretty abysmal this year. Their West slate features Ole Miss in the Swamp which should be a win, but then traveling to LSU. 

4. Missouri

Another complete who knows. They somehow found themselves in the Dome the last two years, but it seemed we never believed they were a team that deserved it. They do return Mauk which I'm still not sure if that's a good or bad thing. They do lose some key personnel on defense at key positions. The West slate isn't awful getting MSU in Columbia and traveling to Arkansas. I think this is the year that Florida and Tennessee garner wins against the Tigers amidst their other losses to knock them down a few pegs.

5. South Carolina

This is the team in my opinion that takes the downturn this year. For the first time in a while the QB position is one of uncertainty. They only return 4 starters on offense, and 8 from a defensive unit that struggled mightily at times last year.  Their road and Western slate may do them in traveling to UGA, UT, A&M and then drawing LSU in Columbia. In my opinion we're looking at a 5-loss potential conference team here.

6. Kentucky

Finding themselves here because they can't be as bad as Vandy. Towles does return at QB, they return 2/3 top RBs, and their top 2 WRs. They draw Auburn and @Miss St from the West and have tough division games @SC and @UGA. They have the potential to pop someone this year, and despite all Stoops is doing with what he's got it's more of the same for the Cats.

7. Vandy

When you're trying to build a program, it's never fun to travel to SC, UF, and UT, having 7 straight games to finish the season with 4 of those on the road. Their potential starting QB left football this year. Their were times last year when Vandy looked abysmal...a la the Temple game. The departure of Franklin has hit them hard, and this year will be more of the same.

SEC Preseason Projected Finishes - SEC West

We've all come to know things can get sideways with how the divisions will finish... just look at Mizzou the last couple years, or out of nowhere teams like Auburn two years ago. Two of the main components I like to evaluate are the schedule draw as well as returning personnel. The luck of the draw in the scheduling can go a long way in seeing who gets to the Dome.

I'll also mention this is not a power poll, but a projected finish therefore it's not a reflection on who the best teams are in order. Much of my data was mined from Phil Steele, therefore I'll give credit where it's due.

SEC West

1. LSU

Yes this may seem a bit looney at this point, as Bama seems to be the clear cut favorite. LSU in my opinion is going to be a surprise team this year (watch out for them in a national ranking finish as they have no tough OOC games). They return 9 starters on offense and 6 on defense. QB is obviously a major concern, but there are weapons all around including Leonard Fournette and their top 4 WRs (watch out for Malachi Dupre this year). As far as the schedule goes they draw @SC (who should be down this year) and Florida at home from the East. Not a bad draw. Their obvious circled game is @Bama. That being said they have the benefit with a still emerging team of getting them later in the season... honestly they could be undefeated at this point. They also draw Auburn and Arkansas in Baton Rouge. LSU to me is the team that benefits from having the rest of their division beat up on each other.

2. Alabama

The Crimson Tide is obviously strong from a talent standpoint, but replace the QB position as well as 7 players on defense. They draw @Georgia  and home versus what everyone thinks is an upstart Tennessee team from the East. They also have to play Georgia earlier in the season before their defense really has a chance to gel in what is sure to be a tough environment. Further down the road they get @Texas A&M, @Mississippi State, and @Auburn which should be tougher tests than expected. In fact Phil ranks them as having the toughest schedule in the country. They also play 3 teams that are coming off bye weeks (though the LSU game is a mutual bye). This could be another case of Bama being the best team in the conference, yet not finding their way to the Dome due to a brutal schedule.

3. Auburn

Auburn will look to have a more vertical threat from the QB position this year with Johnson, and an improved defense under Muschamp. They draw @Kentucky and UGA at home from the East. Their big test will be in week 3 at LSU while will be a hopeful re-emergence game for the Bayou Bengals. @Arkansas will be a tougher test than expected. With their one bye week coming earlier in the season they also finish with 7 straight games, 6 of which are in conference. The defense may be improved, but Gus may have a tough time finding his offensive rhythm again with only 4 returning starters. However, I'm pretty sure he could score with anyone so it will be interesting to see how they develop.

4. Arkansas

If these guys didn't have such a brutal schedule I may honestly rank them higher. Remember this team that finish blowing out 3 of their last 4 opponents last year (LSU, Ole Miss, and Texas) only losing that oh so brutal game versus Mizzou. The offense should be loaded returning 9 starters including QB Brandon Allen, a RB two headed horse in Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, as well as their two two WRs. The road schedule is incredibly tough drawing @Tennessee, @Bama, and @LSU. I think the Razorbacks are set to surprise potentially in a big game this year and take care of a good bit of their business to finish higher than expected.

5. Texas A&M

Texas A&M had their fall back to earth year last year, but does return 8 starters on each side of the ball. From the East the draw is probably the best in the West getting SC at home and traveling to Vandy. These guys could be a surprise team from the West, but in my opinion will fall victim to a murderous SEC West. They do get Bama and Auburn at home, but finish the season on the road vs. LSU. I'm not sure the talent (especially with questions at QB) is ready to take the next step.

6. Ole Miss

Last year may have been a ceiling for the Rebels, but they do return some pretty decent talent. That being said I feel this year is more a regression to the man. Replacing Bo Wallace despite your opinion of him will be a test, though they do return their top 2 RBs and an experience set of WRs including a healthy Treadwell. The schedule is tough, drawing @Bama week 3, @ Florida, and @Auburn. Their three game stretch (including a bye) of at Auburn, vs. Arkansas, and vs. LSU will prove to be a difficult stretch. They do have a very experienced OL returning, though that may now be hampered with the Tunsil news. Ole Miss will be seeking to very swiftly erase the TCU result from bowl season.

7. Mississippi State

Last year Mississippi State was my surprise pick to overachieve in the conference which they certainly did. While Dak Prescott is a shining returner at QB, they only return 3 other offensive starters and 4 on defense who was a bright unit last year. They also lose the ability to sneak up on anyone this year. The road schedule is probably the toughest in the division having to go to Auburn, A&M, and Arkansas. Couple this with games vs. Bama and LSU (though at home) and you could be seeing a 5-6 loss team in the Bulldogs. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Phil Steele Previews The Dawgs

There has been a long hiatus from posting. A new job, coaching spring baseball, work trips, and vacations will do that to you. Apparently we've had a QB controversy and we're killing it on the recruiting trail. There... I've caught myself up with the spring. My college football season officially begins with a trip to Publix these days to pick up Phil Steele's preseason magazine. A buddy of mine got me hooked on Phil back in college and quite simply he's the most information packed, most accurate, and best preparer to get you squared away for the upcoming season. If you'd like more info on Phil please click here and look for him on ESPN in various facets this season.

Below is not his full preview, but a summation and some interesting tidbits I picked up on this year's roll through of the Dawgs.

Rankings & Predictions:

Preseason Rank (6). Noting that his is not a "power ranking" it takes into account all data to accumulate a projected team ranking finish. Key notes here are drawing the best west opponent at home, having only 3 true SEC road games, and riding the OL & RB corps to the Eastern title. Georgia falls behind projected finishers: Ohio St., TCU, USC, Bama, and then Baylor.

Power Poll Rank (7). This is more a true measure of team strength in his eyes. Not much of a different slot from the preseason rank, but UGA dips down one. Power poll ranks are Ohio St., TCU, Bama, USC, Baylor, and Oregon, with Stanford right behind us.

Bowl Prediction: Sugar Bowl vs. Baylor. Bama goes on to the playoff in his model, so obviously this predicts us losing to them in the SECCG.

SEC East: Champion (loss to Bama in Dome)

Schedule Ranking: 37th Most Difficult. That's the 3rd easiest in the conference according to him in front of Kentucky and Missouri. Bama ranks the #1 toughest schedule.

Unit Power Rankings:

QBs: N/A Apparently the Ramsey, Lambert, Bauta three headed monster didn't register.

RBs: (1) Ranked above Ohio State due to the caliber of Chubb, Michel, the up in the air Marshall, and then depth at #4/5.

WRs: (24) A certain question mark area where folks need to fill spots for UGA

O-Line: (3) Behind Michigan State & USC. Replacing the center, but experienced returners elsewhere.

D-Line: (29)

Linebackers: (9) The 3rd ranked corps in the SEC, behind Bama and Ole Miss. This will certainly be the tone setting element of the defense.

Defensive Backs: (30)

Special Teams: (19) This is a unit that showed a good bit of improvement last year with the threat of a return game and near the top of the conference in net PR and KR yards (even if we didn't boom it).

Projected All-Americans:

Nick Chubb - 1st Team RB
Greg Pyke - 3rd Team OG
Leonard Floyd - 1st Team LB
Jordan Jenkins - 4th Team LB
Isaiah McKenzie - 2nd Team PR

Random Nuggets:

During his 14 years, Mark Richt has never finished worse than 3rd in his division and during that span no other SEC team has accomplished that feat. That probably fans the flames of Mediocrichty, but also serves to bolster we've never been to the cellar.

Isaiah McKenzie is the leading statistical punt returner coming back to play this year (with the departures of Quan Bray & Andre Dubose) in YPR.

Over the last 10 years UGA has the 3rd best SEC record at 54-26.
Over the last 5 years UGA has the 3rd best SEC record at 28-12.
Over the past 3 years UGA has the 2nd best SEC record at 18-6.

Nick Chubb is the leading YPG RB returning to SEC play this year with 119 YPG. That's nearly 30 yards above anyone else returning (and was only 4 ypg from leading the conference last year).

Nick Chubb is currently 5th in his preseason Heisman poll behind Kessler (USC), Boykin (TCU), Elliot (Ohio St.), and Henry (Bama).

UGA was +16 in turnover margin last year. This was obviously a vast improvement from prior years, but a number Phil expects to go down.

UGA actually went 7-5 against the spread last year... which we never seam to be on the positive side of. Unfortunately looking back we were favored in every game we entered by Vegas last year. Did you know we only covered 3 times in 2013...granted there were two pushes.

More along the gambling lines... we're 60-64-5 over the last 10 years ATS. About the only time we seem to edge Vegas is when we are away favorites. Don't bet on us in conference as that's where our worst stats are, thanks probably to all those way too close UK, Vandy, etc. games.

UGA is 12-1 in it's last 13 SEC home games (Mizzou '13).

UGA is 17-1 since '97 in Sanford Stadium openers (SC '11). Sure most are normally cupcakes but that does include Boise State, Oklahoma State, and Clemson. The last time we played La Monroe was 2005 where we won 44-7.

Jeb Blazevich is our leading returning receiver. Noteworthy here of course were last year's injuries to Malcolm Mitchell and Scott-Wesley.

Southern actually went to the SWAC championship last year. UGA is 8-0 in their most recent FCS games, while Southern is 0-8 all time vs. FBS. Average UGA win margin was 39ppg during stretch.

UGA is 8-1 in their last 9 SEC West regular season games (Auburn '13), but 0-2 in the SECCG. I didn't believe it either until I verified it.

Georgia has won 5 in a row versus the Vols. Can't remember the last time that held true. I assume it was before I was born.

UGA is career 21-3 versus Kentucky. I was in school for one of the 3...

Lastly... He predicts Brice Ramsey as our starting quarterback.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

In My Opinion - Nothing to Worry About Regarding the Bubble

Some pundits have moved Georgia to a "bubble position" since the loss to Arkansas. More commonly we've dropped to a 10 seed. I don't think there's anything to worry about as the last major conference at larges get in as 12's.

With the A&M and Ole Miss one and dones in the tourney we saw our top 50 RPI wins become non top-50. That being said I don't think the committee should have that much difference in viewing wins vs. #49 or #53. The top 100 marks still looks good, plus we played a good non-conference schedule.

UGA finished 3rd in the SEC. Furthermore the SEC "bubble teams" A&M, LSU, and Ole Miss all slipped in the tourney. They should have much more bubble worry than we should.

The win / loss columns look good. Getting over the 20 hump and staying under the 12 hump in the loss column bodes well for us (complimented by that decent non conference resume).

Finally, the eye test. After the Kentucky game at home where we finally played at full strength, I think it was apparent to everyone we were one of the 65 best teams in the nation (or top 25 at large). Luckily for us it was on a national stage and ESPN gave it enough attention.

All that being said as many have noted it may serve us better to be a 10/11 seed. Avoid the numbers ones in the second round and have statistics / history more in favor for an upset. In the end winning one game in the tourney would be wonderful, and making the Sweet 16 would be a better than expected ending to the season.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dawgs Bracketology Update: Locked In

Due to a Kenny Gainless hard fought victory in Auburn, you'll be able to see Georgia in your office bracket pool this year for the first time since 2011. While officially not set in stone, for all intents and purposes Mark Fox will be leading his second UGA team to the big dance.

ESPN considers it a forgone conclusion. They actually moved the Hoop Dawgs to "lock" status before the Auburn game which I saw as a little iffy. Now that is even more solidified.

Furthermore, Joe Lunardi has the Dawgs pegged as an 8-seed. CBS currently has us a 10 for some reason. The key factor to look at in Lunardi's bracket as well is that the Dawgs would be considered a high-8. They are currently listed in the West / Villanova bracket. We can assume that Villanova is the last number 1 seed of the four (relegating them far away from home), so one could view that per his perception the Dawgs are getting a little easier slot being on that side. We'll look to see if that fourth number one changes over the coming week.

Another nuance from the weekend is that the Dawgs notched the 3-seed in the SEC tournament earning the double bye. While at first I didn't know if it would be better for them to have an earlier / easier win in the tournament to bolster the resume, with the Auburn win they are now better positioned. At this point it's likely they won't suffer a bad loss assuming Ole Miss (somewhat on the bubble themselves) is their first opponent. If not the Rebels they would face either Mizzou or South Carolina (who seems to be our nemesis this year). Losing to Arkansas or Ole Miss in games one or two wouldn't hurt the Dawgs, but could potentially serve to help them. Any further seeding movement would probably come only from reaching the SEC final, but I still see that maybe not being enough. On the flip side if SC, Mizzou, or Vandy (who is on fire right now) beat us you could see movement downwards to a 9.

Regardless, from a bracket perspective, any outcome wouldn't be enough to drop the Dawgs 3-4 seeds which is where the last major conference at-large teams get in.

While the record isn't as pretty as some other recent locks or on the fence teams currently sit, the body of work is. UGA has also done what the committee has asked in playing a tough non-conference schedule and playing well in league action. RPI currently sits at 39, with a 9-8 record vs. the current RPI top 100, and an 11-7 conference record further the cause. In what was certainly a confusing and roller coaster season at times, the end result is one that gets the job done. While inexplicable home losses to Auburn and South Carolina were ugly, those key road wins at Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Alabama proved icing on the cake down the stretch.

Once again the season has been quite refreshing as the barometer for success in the UGA Hoops world right now is merely making the dance. Some may want more, but it's a key step for now. Kudos to Mark Fox and company for getting the job done.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dawgs Bracketology Update

This season has been an absolute roller coaster. Every game is tough, and we've yet to truly blow someone out. I was joking today with a friend that when we looked at the schedule forecast about a month ago, it now seems every game we thought we'd win we've lost and vice versa. After the absolutely deflating losses to Auburn and South Carolina at home, we have somehow rallied with gutcheck road wins at Alabama and Ole Miss. However with three games to go we now know trying to calculate anything as a surefire win or loss is a meaningless task. Here's how we currently stand / are perceived...

Joe Lunardi Updated Bracket Seed: 8
RPI: 29
BPI has us in the mid 20s, which actually takes into account injuries and the like
SOS: 33

Record: 18-9 (9-6)

It seemed after the non-conference 20 wins would be the magic number and 10-11 SEC wins depending on the opponent would get the job done. It's been a strange path to get there but we are certainly on target.

Solid Wins (RPI):
at Texas A&M (34)
Ole Miss (x2) (46)
Seton Hall (68)
at Alabama (78)
Tennessee (85)
at Kansas State (86) thanks for the big win over Kansas
Florida (89)

These are some teams to root for down the stretch hoping they help to solidify their top 100 RPI marks and don't slip outside.

Bad Losses:
South Carolina (x2) (104)
at Georgia Tech (109)
Auburn (136)

The good thing is no losses outside the top 150. Also the non conference slate didn't have an abundance of patsies but was sprinkled in with the likes of Minnesota, Colorado, etc. We're 3-4 vs. the RPI top 50 and 8-5 vs. the RPI top 100.

At this point with Mizzou, Kentucky, and at Auburn remaining there are a few likely scenarios...

W,L,W seems to be the most hopeful. That would be 20-10 (11-7). Pretty much a shoe in for the tourney and definite with an SEC tourney victory. Keep an eye on keeping that first round bye in the tourney (not the double bye).

W,L,L. Would need a victory in the tourney to feel any sort of safety.

I keep tricking myself into assuming a Mizzou win, but you could argue based on our up and down performance we're just as likely to lose to both Tigers and beat Kentucky.

The Kentucky game is all about seeding. Beating them (though unlikely) could be the only trigger other than a deep SEC run that moves us off the 8/9 mark. Nevertheless we're close to where we want to be, as my barometer for Hoop Dawgs success rest solely on making the tourney.

Don't play the what if game about potential wins it will just make you mad. You could do the same for some of the wins like Alabama.