Dooley’s Dribblings, Down the Stretch


Our weekly look at SEC basketball:

* Auburn’s loss at home to Texas A&M means the SEC race is back on with Tennessee only one game back and Florida two games behind. The remaining SEC schedules show that Florida is at a disadvantage. Here is each team with the conference record of its remaining opponents:

Auburn — 36-41.

Tennessee — 35-52.

Florida — 40-37.

The Gators begin their Revenge Tour Saturday at South Carolina with Georgia to follow back in Gainesville. Both teams beat the Gators earlier in the season. I still believe that UF can earn an NCAA bid simply by sweeping its home games because Auburn and Kentucky both come to the O-Dome. But another road win wouldn’t hurt. South Carolina is a bit of a mess right now with four straight losses since it won in Gainesville.

* Kentucky is one fluke play (against Vanderbilt) away from being under .500 in the league. The problem is on the offensive end where the Wildcats now have an assist-to-turnover ratio of minus 29 in SEC play. In losses to Florida, Missouri and Tennessee, they have held opponents to less than a point per play and have lost all three games. The Wildcats are down to 28th in the KenPom rankings and an inflated 17th in the RPI.

* There has been an assumption that Bruce Pearl will be the SEC Coach of the Year when the season ends and barring a collapse (doubtful), he will win the award. But you have to at least consider Rick Barnes at Tennessee. The most amazing job might be the one that Billy Kennedy has pulled off at Texas A&M. The Aggies were 0-5 in the conference and a mess but are now 5-6 with Kentucky on tap on Saturday.

* Speaking of the disparity between RPI and KenPom, Alabama — which is trying to play its way out of the NCAA Tournament — is 38 in RPI and 53 in KenPom. Florida is 47 in RPI and 36 in KenPom.