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SEC Halftime: Checking in on Women’s Basketball Around the Conference

How’s every other team doing and what should we expect from the last leg of the season before the tournament?

Bon Secours Wellness Arena, site of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament

We’ve played a hard, hard conference schedule so far against some of the best teams in the country. It’s been a tough ride, but now we’re halfway through. I’m looking around the conference after Monday’s games to see where we stand now and where I think everyone could be by the time we visit Greenville for the SEC Tournament.

LSU Tigers 21-0 (9-0)

LSU is the only undefeated team in the country besides South Carolina, in large part because Angel Reese is top 5 in the country in scoring AND rebounding. I felt decent about limiting her in our matchup, and she still scored 21 with 17 rebounds. The rest of the team is no slouch, either: LSU is fifth in the country in field goal percentage, a whole 2 percentage points higher than South Carolina. Their matchup on February 12 can’t come fast enough.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Second Seed; Runners-up
Tournament Prediction: One Seed; Final Four

South Carolina 21-0 (9-0)

It’s pretty simple: they’re the best in the country. South Carolina’s smallest win came against a top 5 Stanford by 5 points. Their largest win? Guess. No, it’s higher than that. Higher. Still not there. Okay yes, it was a 70-point win over ETSU to start the season. I know right? Aaliyah Boston is the best player in the game and will go first overall in the WNBA Draft. They are just outclassing every team they play in every aspect of the game. LSU and UConn are the only two ranked teams remaining on their schedule, but if last year’s championship game is any indication, I don’t think South Carolina has much to worry about.

SEC Tournament Prediction: First Seed; SEC Champions
Tournament Prediction: Top Overall Seed; National Champions

Tennessee 16-8 (8-1)

Tennessee puzzled me a little bit when I was first looking at them. We actually had a better record in nonconference play than they did, so I thought maybe they were just getting lucky now. I realized that their early losses were almost all against teams that were or are now ranked on an absolutely daunting nonconference slate. They’ve proven they can take care of business against teams like us, but it’s also very clear they can’t punch up very far.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Fourth Seed; Quarterfinals
Tournament Prediction: 8th seed; Round of 32

Ole Miss 18-4 (7-2)

By all accounts, Ole Miss is a well-balanced team. Angel Baker leads the team in scoring, but no one really jumps off the paper. We even stayed close in the first half against them, but they put us away with more players and a little bit more talent on the floor. I think they could avenge their loss against Bama later this season and win most of their remaining games on their way to a successful SEC Tournament.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Third Seed; Semifinals
Tournament Prediction: Seventh Seed; Sweet Sixteen

Alabama 16-6 (5-4)

The men’s team may be getting all the attention this year, but the women’s basketball team is having an excellent season, too. Their success seems to rest almost entirely on Brittany Davis’s shoulders, so all it takes to lose any game is to have her slip up. Been there, done that. Having depth certainly helps the Tide. They have a few big wins plus one close loss (relative to most teams) to South Carolina, but I don’t think they’re all that special.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Sixth Seed; Quarterfinals
Tournament Prediction: Ninth Seed; Round of 32

Georgia 15-8 (4-5)

That loss to A&M is going to come back to haunt this team over and over again. Otherwise, they are a solid middle-of-the-pack team with the misfortune of playing South Carolina for a second time later this season. Add in a game against LSU and the Bulldogs are by no means going to have an easy end to their season. Their healthy, balanced roster may be able to hold on and take care of business, but they could just as easily slip up in close games and bottom out.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Seventh Seed; Second Round
Tournament Prediction: Ninth Seed; Round of 64

Arkansas 17-7 (4-5)

We were oh so close to beating Arkansas. That game has confused me to no end while evaluating teams, but I think I’m starting to accept that it was more just a fluke than Arkansas being especially worse than their record. The Razorbacks also have an easier second-half conference schedule and so much scoring that I only expect things to improve for them.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Fifth Seed; Semifinals
Tournament Prediction: Seventh Seed; Sweet Sixteen

Mississippi State 15-7 (4-5)

I may be undervaluing Mississippi State, but have you thought that maybe they should just win more games if that’s the case? The Bulldogs have looked fine so far, and I’m sure they’ll keep looking just fine the rest of the season.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Eighth Seed; Quarterfinals
Tournament Prediction: Ninth Seed; Round of 64

Missouri (Spits) 14-8 (3-6)

Mizzou is up next for us, and I don’t really know what to think. This team is sliding right now, having most recently lost by 20+ to a Kentucky team they beat just a month prior. At the same time, they are only projected to be “Last Four Out” by the people who predict these things. I don’t see any injuries or other immediate reasons for their recent tough losses, so maybe they are just in a rut and we can capitalize on that.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Ninth Seed; Second Round
Tournament Prediction: WNIT Semifinals

Auburn 13-8 (3-6)

Auburn is the last team on our schedule, so I’ve looked at them the least. Glancing at their schedule, most of their wins were either eked our or came against really soft competition. They don’t really instill me with confidence, but they have pulled out 3 conference wins while we only have 1 so they must be doing something right.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Eleventh Seed; Second Round
Tournament Prediction: WNIT Second Round

Florida 13-8 (2-6)

This loss probably hurt the most, but when our second and third best scorers in Sacha Washington and Marnelle Garraud both go 2-11, there’s never going to be much of a chance. This is not that great of a team, and if we hadn’t been coming off the demoralizing South Carolina loss then maybe we could have held our own. This team is inconsistent, though, so a lot could happen.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Tenth Seed; Quarterfinals
Tournament Prediction: WNIT Quarterfinals

Kentucky 10-11 (2-7)

I’m excited to get to play Kentucky this year. We may even get to play them twice! The Wildcats seem a little sporadic in when they choose to perform, and I think we can easily win against a team like that. While we’ve had a tough year, we’ve given a consistent effort that I don’t think this Kentucky team can match.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Twelfth Seed; First Round
Tournament Prediction: WNIT Second Round

Vanderbilt 10-12 (1-7)

The story of the year has been injuries. I think it’s still possible we could win 2 or 3 more games with the remainder of our schedule as light as it is. With a full team, we would have at least been middle of the SEC which would have been huge for the direction of the program. It’s hard to tell what will happen now, but I think we could have a chance to finish the season as good as 4-4 and win a game or two in the conference tournament before we finally get to rest. Last year we made the WNIT with a losing record, and I think it could happen again.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Thirteenth Seed; Second Round
Tournament Prediction: WNIT Third Round

Texas A&M 6-13 (1-8)

They’re the worst team in the conference by what I would call a decent margin. Much of what I’ve already said about Texas A&M is all true, that they have been dealing with injuries and that the wins they do have came against teams that didn’t need to try nearly as hard to beat them as they had to try against us. Something else I noticed in the game is that they are horrible at shooting. They are last in the conference in every shooting category by at least 1 percentage point, and it showed. It was ugly and unpleasant to watch.

SEC Tournament Prediction: Fourteenth Seed; First Round
Tournament Prediction: Couch