With their 64-61 win over Tennessee in the SEC Basketball Tournament final, the Mississippi State Bulldogs earned an automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament (Printable Bracket). Only two other SEC teams, the LSU Tigers and Tennessee Volunteers, made the Big Dance.
Why so few SEC teams? It probably has something to do with the league’s RPI, which is only 6th. And the three teams that made it received poor seeds. LSU, the regular season champ, received an 8 seed, Tennessee a 9 seed and Mississippi State a 13 seed.
The Georgia Bulldogs may have played a small role in keeping two teams out of the basketball tournament. The Hoop Dawgs sprung major late-season upsets on Florida at home and Kentucky at Rupp Arena. After losing nine of their last 13 games, the Wildcats ended their streak of 17 straight tournament appearances.