For the second straight year, the Southeastern Conference makes a massive basketball statement by winning the SEC/ Big 12 challenge on Saturday by a margin of six games to four. Saturday was a banner day for the SEC once again after proving once again that the Southeastern Conference is a superior basketball conference and not only a conference that cares about one sport.
For years, folks around the Southeastern Conference didn’t care much about basketball; it was a football first, and baseball as a secondary love. Money wasn’t flowing into programs like it was now, and in most years, the SEC saw maybe three to four teams earn bids to the NCAA Tournament. Most of the time, it was Kentucky, then a second or third school would bring up the rear for the conference.
When you go back in history, you’ll see brief stints for SEC programs not named Kentucky that they would have a good year or two even winning a National Championship as Florida and Arkansas have done. But often, those programs would fall off the map of relevance, causing more harm than good to the SEC Basketball world.
Take this weekend, for example; not only did the SEC win the challenge with the Big 12, but the Southeastern Conference was somehow able to keep Bruce Pearl in the conference rather than bolting for the Louisville job. We’ve seen the same storyline play out across the SEC over the last five or so years, with big-name coaches either leaving their schools to come crawling to coach in the SEC or current SEC coaches telling many other schools no to stay in the Southeastern Conference.
What’s so crazy about the outcome on Saturday is the fact that the challenge wasn’t just dominated by one team in Kentucky. It was a collective effort from teams both at the top of the SEC and towards the bottom. Saturday was supposed to be the day the Big 12 reclaimed their dominance over the rising SEC, but that never happened.
In the six wins for the Southeastern Conference, SEC programs outscored their Big 12 counterparts by a margin of 478-404. Included in that were three double-digit victories by the likeness of Ole Miss, Auburn, and Kentucky.
Overall, Saturday was a banner day for the Southeastern Conference as the conference continues its dominance of college athletics, with several programs within championship contention this season. Saturday could be the tide turning point that the SEC looks back on, on April 4th in New Orleans when an SEC program is cutting down the nets on a National Championship.