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Hobbs Column: SEC doesn’t really miss the Madness

Last Modified: Friday, April 05, 2013 9:31 AM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

There’s a cozy enough gathering going on in Atlanta right now, the Final Four they call it, and it’s alleged to be the greatest spectacle in all of sports.

So, right now, I’m looking to see how the Southeastern Conference fits into all of this and … hmmm.

Must be some kind of mistake here.

I’m still looking, but …

Oh, there it is … oops, no, Louisville doesn’t count.

Kentucky must be in here somewhere.

Nada.

Are you telling me the greatest conference on Earth doesn’t have squat in the greatest sports spectacle on earth when it’s being played right in the SEC’s own backyard? The Georgia Dome, after all, is a favorite gathering spot for SEC fans.

Let me check one more time. Louisville, Wichita State, Michigan, Syracuse.

Nothing.

Shut out.

So the rumors are true.

This, of course, has sent shockwaves resonating throughout a disbelieving fan base.

Somebody will have to pay for this oversight.

In fact, a random sampling of SEC fans would likely turn up the following heated responses:

“Really? I hadn’t noticed.”

“So how does that affect football?”

“Seven straight football championships, though.”

“Yeah? Who’s LSU’s Sunday starter going to be?”

“Coulda fooled me.”

“I thought the Georgia Dome was for football.”

“Michigan’s in, you say? That poor guy ever find his helmet after Jadeveon Clowney decapitated him?”

“You know, I hear LSU hasn’t huddled all spring.”

“Seven, baby, seven straight.”

“And what sport did you say this was again?”

“Not even Kentucky?”

“My bracket was toast the first day. Kind of lost track since then.”

“And this affects football how?”

“I thought Florida was pretty good.”

“You think Les Miles is really going to leave the new coordinator alone and keep his nose out of it?”

“S-E-C! S-E-C!”

“I hear football is going to have a final four. Now that’s what I want to see.”

“Wake me up when the freshmen report in August.”

“Roll Tide!”

So it would appear the SEC will survive the embarrassment of being on the outside looking in for the Final Four.

It’s not like it’s anything really important, like, you know, football or anything.

The SEC did give it the old college try. It did play basketball this season, in a manner of speaking at least, though it was mostly bad-to-mediocre basketball, pinpointed by some as even being historically bad.

It wasn’t a total waste, even if only three teams even made the NCAA tournament and three others clogged up the NIT bracket for a week or so.

That’s three out of the now expanded 14. The Mountain West, for instance, got five of its nine in.

And the South shall yawn again.

Florida wasn’t bad. Apparently it wasn’t real great, either, but the Gators were the best the SEC had to offer. They dominated the league about as thoroughly as Kentucky did last year when the Wildcats won the national championship. Got horsewhipped by 20 by Michigan in the Elite Eight.

Speaking of Kentucky, it is re-examining the once-popular one-and-done recruiting approach to national championships. There are apparently some flaws in it.

But it wasn’t a total loss for the league.

What few SEC basketball fans there are outside of the Bluegrass had the giddy, giggly moment of watching the Big Blue not only relegated to the NIT and not only shipped to a 3,000-seat road gym, but were rewarded with the near-out-of-body experience of watching the ’Cats get upset by something called Robert Morris.

It’s priceless moments like those that the NIT was invented.

Missouri started the season with a good team, kind of lost its way and the really gagged its first round NCAA tournament game in losing to that noted basketball terror Colorado State.

It was the first real hint yet that Mizzou has any intention of trying to get along in its new league with its new playmates.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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