NEW ORLEANS -- The SEC is holding more meetings to decide future scheduling this week, and most of the focus is on football. But it’s not the only sport up for debate.
The conference decided to get rid of divisions for men’s basketball, and the result is on display for the tournament this year: The top four seeds are all from the former East Division.
So does that validate the decision? And with Missouri and Texas A&M joining the conference, should it stay that way for next year?
Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said the verdict on eliminating division will come Sunday, when the NCAA field is announced.
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“We thought there was a perception issue with the league being two different conferences (East and West),” Barbee said. “So we’ll tell on Sunday whether there’s been a change or not.”
That seemed the consensus answer on whether it worked this year. As for future years, no coaches seem to have a firm opinion on which way to go. The only certainty is that there will be an 18-game conference schedule. But who plays who, and whether it happens under a division framework, is a mystery.
“It’s new territory for everybody,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “No league has found a formula proven to be successful because no league’s had that many teams.”
As for football, the athletics directors are set to meet this weekend, but Georgia’s Greg McGarity deferred to commissioner Mike Slive.
Earlier in the week, the presidents at South Carolina and Texas A&M said their two schools would begin an annual cross-division rivalry. That would indicate that Georgia’s longtime series with Auburn would continue, but McGarity wouldn’t confirm that.
“(We’re) just continuing the conversation and any news on progress would come from (Slive),” McGarity said.
LSU head coach Trent Johnson mentioned “balance in this league” three times during his media appearance Wednesday.
On its face, the balance seems laughable: Kentucky went 16-0, last-place South Carolina went 2-14.
But in between only five games separate second place from 11th, and three teams are tied for second place.
In fact, the 5-12 and 6-11 matchups feature rematches of games in which the higher-seeded team won the regular-season matchup: South Carolina over Alabama and Georgia over Mississippi State.
“You got to come prepared every night, and when we went to South Carolina, we weren’t prepared, they made us play and just had more energy than wee did,” Alabama forward JaMychal Green said.
Georgia will serve as one of four hosts for next season’s Legends Classic, along with UCLA, Indiana and Georgetown. Those four team will each host a four-team, two-game pod and then move on (whether they win the pod or not) to play in Brooklyn, N.C. The games will take place in November.
So Georgia will play two games at Stegeman Coliseum against unspecified teams, then move on to Brooklyn to play UCLA, Indiana or Georgetown in a semifinal and then another of those three schools in a championship or consolation game.