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Monday, May 23, 2011
SEC considers ditching divisions

By Eamonn Brennan

One of the loudest annual college hoops complaints comes during conference tournament time. Specifically, it comes from the SEC. The conference has long had divisions for its basketball schedule, and because teams are seeded in the conference tournament by division, the stronger SEC East's teams are punished while the weaker SEC West places mediocrity on some of the top seed lines. It's a horrible system, and it needs to go.

Good news, then: The SEC might do exactly that. From the Birmingham News:
[Commissioner Mike] Slive said the conference office will present ideas to coaches and athletics directors about a 12-team league without divisions and how to schedule. Most conferences don't have divisions in basketball, and there's a feeling by some that the SEC's structure gives a false picture of its best teams to the NCAA Tournament selection committee. [...] Slive said he has no preconceived notion about whether to scrap divisions. The catalyst to consider the possibility was having nationally-ranked teams play in the opening round of the SEC Tournament with better records than some teams on byes, he said.

I can't help but think the SEC is suffering from a bit of paralysis by analysis on this one; this really isn't a tough fix. You don't need to totally scrap divisions if you don't want to. You can merely change the way the SEC tournament is seeded. As long as that much goes by the wayside, and the SEC starts seeding its tournament top-to-bottom like every other league in college hoops, it would count as a vast improvement over the current model.

Get it done, SEC. The days of Ole Miss receiving a first-round by while Florida plays Vanderbilt should have been over long ago.