Weighted Total Shot Ratio (MAX 2.00)
1.45 – (1) Texas A&M
1.26 – (2) Florida
1.21 – (3) Kentucky
1.18 – (5) South Carolina
1.06 – (7) Alabama
1.06 – (6) Auburn
1.06 – (8) Georgia
1.02 – (9) Arkansas
1.00 – (4) Missouri
0.97 – (10) Tennessee
0.90 – (DNQ) Ole Miss
0.78 – (DNQ) Vanderbilt
0.63 – (DNQ) LSU
0.54 – (DNQ) Mississippi State
Schedule (WTSR difference in parentheses by home side/higher seed)
SEC Tournament First Round (11/03)
(7) Alabama (+0.09) vs (10) Tennessee – 4:30 PM
(8) Georgia (+0.04) vs (9) Arkansas – 7:00 PM
SEC Tournament Quarterfinals (11/05)
(1) Texas A&M vs TBA
(2) Florida vs TBA
(3) Kentucky (+0.15) vs (6) Auburn
(4) Missouri (-0.18) vs (5) South Carolina
SEC Tournament Semi-Finals (11/07)
TBA vs TBA
TBA vs TBA
SEC Tournament Final (11/09)
TBA vs TBA
Because I’m truly a geek, I was more than a little giddy that the WTSR ratings for the SEC showed that the “right” ten teams made the conference tournament. In fact, WTSR rankings matched the top three and bottom five exactly.
As such, it’s probably a good bet to roll with the chalk in making predictions. Texas A&M’s a heavy favorite on WTSR and shouldn’t have too much trouble with whoever comes from the 8/9 game, especially with more rest. The Aggies are still battling for a #1 seed, and with three wins, they might just have a very good case for themselves, especially if they can take down Florida in the process. The Gators also look like good bets to get to the final, but they’ve got a much tougher path, especially if Alabama dispenses with Tennessee in the opening round. The Crimson Tide are #5 in the WTSR and played Florida tough in the regular season. Add in a semi-final where Florida is likely to only be slightly favored against Kentucky, and it’s far from a given the Gators will be playing on Sunday.
#3 seeds have had a notoriously tough time in Orange Beach over the years, a fact that probably isn’t lost on Kentucky. Auburn’s shown themselves to be accomplished at navigating this competition over the years as well, so the Wildcats will be wary of an upset. Honestly, given their momentum though, Kentucky will fancy a quarterfinal win and a real chance at beating Florida again in the semi-finals.
It’s largely a mystery after that. Missouri and South Carolina meet in the always unpredictable 4/5 game on Wednesday night. Those tipping Missouri will point to their head-to-head win over the Gamecocks early in the league season in South Carolina. Those predicting Carolina to even the score will note SC is #4 in WTSR, while Missouri comes in at a paltry #9. Regardless of the winner, most will tip Texas A&M to roll right through whoever does emerge if the Aggies win their quarterfinal.
The adage is that if you play on Monday, you won’t be playing on Sunday in Orange Beach. Since the tournament’s expansion, no team in the opening round has made it to the semi-finals. There’s little reason to think that’ll change this year. Tennessee was solid in just making it into the field under pressure but look like clear underdogs against an underseeded Alabama. Both will be eliminated from NCAA Tournament contention with a loss, while Tennessee likely needs a run to the semi-finals to merit consideration.
Elimination might be the theme of the second match of the night as well. Arkansas looks to be on the wrong side of the bubble going into the week and will be sweating nervously if they don’t win at least two games in Orange Beach. The Lady Razorbacks have won just one of five, that coming against bottom dwellers Mississippi State. Opponents Georgia have also won just one of five, that coming against an almost equally pitiful LSU. They’re in a little better shape with the RPI and with wins against UCF and South Carolina, but do you really think a team losing four straight to lose the season in a middling SEC will get the benefit of the doubt? I’m not so sure.
(No WTSR stats here. Boo.)
Horizon League Tournament Quarterfinals (11/03)
(3) Oakland vs (6) Cleveland State – 7:00 PM
(4) Wisconsin-Green Bay vs (5) Youngstown State – 8:00 PM
Horizon League Tournament Semi-Finals (11/06)
(1) Valparaiso vs TBA
(2) Detroit vs TBA
Horizon League Tournament Final (11/08)
TBA vs TBA
It’s almost a case of who’s not here being more notable than who is. Longtime league juggernaut Wisconsin-Milwaukee finished a stunning eighth in the final table, being let down by one of the league’s worst defenses, which offset a capable offense. It’s a failure that snapped a long NCAA Tournament streak for the Panthers and that has sent shockwaves through the league.
Still, that’s ignoring a great story in the form of a Valparaiso side that came from nowhere to be one of the few sides in the nation to pull off a perfect league season at 8-0-0. The Crusaders hadn’t had anything to put on the mantle in an eon, making this dominating title triumph something to savor. Valpo’s offense scored five more goals in the league than anyone else and conceded five fewer goals than any league rivals also, so they would appear to be solid favorites to do the double, though without much of a postseason pedigree, you never know.
Detroit ended up finishing second and sealing the bye into the semi-finals, but it’s hard to put much faith in the Titans considering how they backed into it, losing their last two league games and a non-conference match to Northern Kentucky to boot. First-year boss Margaret Saurin and Oakland may be more of a sound pick having won two games to end the season and finish third after a horrific start to the season. Another great story has been Kacey Burke, installed on a short-term contract at Wisconsin-Green Bay, who has helped lead the Phoenix to the postseason after so many seasons of futility. The Phoenix have been much more exciting in front of goal this season, but it’s come at the cost of their defensive solidity, which could haunt their hopes this week.
Cleveland State and Youngstown State edged their way into the tournament ahead of Wright State based on tiebreakers. Both come into the competition having lost their final two league games, so it’d be a surprise if they were still standing on Sunday afternoon.