Hope everybody has enjoyed Craig's series of March Madness Prediction articles from professional handicapper Craig Trapp. Craig has broken out this series of prediction articles by conference affiliation. Check out Craig's other prediction articles for March Madness: Pac-10, ACC, Big East, and Big 12. Craig will finish up this week with his breakdown and NCAA predictions of the Big Ten Conference teams.
Even though this conference is the weakest in recent memory, they could change many people's minds with a couple large upsets come the NCAA Tournament. The SEC will get four teams in the big dance, but which of the other four bubble teams make the dance is really tough.
- Winner of the SEC this year, and even though the conference was down, they only lost one game all year, which included some tough road games. The Tigers are led by Marcus Thornton and Tasmin Mitchell, who both can score in bunches and average over 15 points apiece.
- Most likely will be a No. 4 seed if they can win out. One and out this year—they will be beaten in the second round and be exposed as a team that has not beaten a great team all year.
- Big win this past weekend at Florida put this team in the big dance. Some still think they are on the bubble if they would lose in the first round of the SEC tournament, but Craig still thinks they are in. The best strength of schedule and a top 25 RPI puts them solidly in the tournament. Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism lead this team and have a ton of big game experience.
- This team will only have 19 or 20 wins but will end up with a No. 8 seed. This team is trying to go from bubble team to Sweet 16 team, but Craig predicts they win one and lose a close one to the No. 1 seed in their bracket.
- Bubble team for sure, but Craig is one of the few that is predicting them to win a couple in a row and make the big dance. Would be hard to keep this team out with a total of 23 wins at the end of the year. Nick Calathes is a huge difference maker, and he can carry a team from the point guard position.
- Craig has Florida as a No. 10 seed and has them playing one of the middle teams from the ACC or Big East. No way this team upsets anyone this year—Billy D. goes two seasons with zero wins in the big dance.
- Must have a couple big wins in the SEC tournament. It will come down to South Carolina or UK to make the big dance. UK's tough games out of conference are the difference and get them in barely. Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson are a dangerous combination that might be able to pull a huge upset come March Madness.
- A No. 11 seed for a UK team seems like it must be a misprint, but it is not. Actually think UK can beat a six seed, and heck, if they get hot, why not—they could make a Sweet 16 appearance. UK is the last SEC school in but is the only team from the SEC that makes the Sweet 16.
South Carolina is left on the wrong side of the bubble and does not make it in this year. The SEC's weak strength overall has cost more selections this year, but with the young talent from this league, the future is bright. Even though this conference might not put many in the NCAA Tournament, the last two weeks and the SEC Tournament will be huge in deciding which SEC bubble teams get in or are sent packing to the NIT.