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Each SEC Program's Performance in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament


How far has every team gone in 'The Big Dance?'

--- Quote ---Some programs have won and contended for national championships on a regular basis, while others consider any NCAA tournament trip a good season.

Here is each SEC school's best finish in the NCAA basketball tournament [to-date]

14. Ole Miss: Sweet 16 (2001)
The Rebels have reached the NCAA tournament just nine times in school history, winning as many as one game only three times. Ole Miss has reached the Sweet 16 round only once, in 2001. Rod Barnes' third-seeded Rebels beat Iona in the first round and No. 6 Notre Dame in the second round, before falling 66-56 to No. 2 seed Arizona

13. Texas A&M: Sweet 16 (6 times)
The Aggies are one of just two SEC programs that has never advanced past the Sweet 16, though they've been to that round six times. Texas A&M reached the Sweet 16 in 1951, 1969, 1980, 2007, 2016 and 2018, the latter two times under Billy Kennedy. That tournament success wasn't enough to save Kennedy's job

12. Vanderbilt: Elite Eight (1965)
The Commodores have played in the NCAA tournament 15 times in school history, and reached the Sweet 16 six times (most recently in 2007). However, Vanderbilt's best team was the 1965 squad led by coach Roy Skinner and All-American Clyde Lee. Only 24 teams qualified for the tournament in those days [which means that Vandy got a bye into the Sweet 16], and the Commodores beat DePaul in the second round (after getting a first-round bye) before falling to Michigan 87-85

11. Auburn: Elite Eight (1986)
The Tigers have reached the NCAA tournament 10 times (including this year), advancing to the Sweet 16 in 1985, 1986, 1999 and 2003. That 1985 squad — led by All-American [and convicted basketball-related felon] Chuck Person — made the Elite Eight as an 8-seed. Auburn beat No. 9 seed Arizona, No. 1 seed St. John's and No. 4 seed UNLV before falling to Pervis Ellison eventual national champion Louisville 84-76 [fun fact: Charles Barkley was not on this team]

10. Alabama: Elite Eight (2004)
The Crimson Tide has made 21 NCAA tournament appearances, and has reached the Sweet 16 eight times (including three straight trips from 1985-87). However, Alabama's deepest tournament run came under Mark Gottfried in 2004, when the Crimson Tide made the Elite Eight. No. 8 seed Alabama beat No. 9 Southern Illinois, No. 1 Stanford and No. 4 Syracuse before falling to eventual national champion Connecticut

9. Tennessee: Elite Eight (2010)
The Volunteers have reached the NCAA tournament 22 times (including this year), advancing to the Sweet 16 seven times (most recently in 2014). However, Bruce Pearl's 2010 team made it to the Elite Eight. Sixth-seeded Tennessee beat No. 11 San Diego State, No. 14 Ohio and No. 2 Ohio State before falling to No. 5 Michigan State 70-69

8. Missouri: Elite Eight (5 times)
The Tigers are among the more successful programs never to reach the Final Four, playing in the NCAA tournament 27 times, reaching the Sweet 16 seven times and the Elite Eight five times — 1944, 1976, 1994, 2002 and [Mike Anderson's] 2009 [team]. Missouri did win a pair of national championships in the pre-NCAA tournament era, finishing atop the Premo-Porretta poll in 1921 and 1922.

7. Georgia: Final Four (1983)
The Bulldogs had their most successful NCAA tournament run in their first appearance (of 12 to date), advancing to the Final Four in 1983. That year's Georgia team, led by coach Hugh Durham, won the SEC tournament, then beat No. 5 VCU, No. 1 St. John's and defending champion North Carolina before falling to eventual national champion North Carolina State [Fun Fact: Dominique Wilkins left UG for the NBA in 1983.]

6. Mississippi State: Final Four (1996)
The Bulldogs have reached the NCAA tournament nine times, including three trips to the Sweet 16. However, the program's best showing came under Richard Williams in 1996. After winning the SEC tournament, No. 5 seed Mississippi State beat No. 12 VCU, No. 13 Princeton, No. 1 Connecticut and No. 2 Cincinnati to reach the Final Four. The Bulldogs fell 77-69 to Syracuse

5. South Carolina: Final Four (2017)
The Gamecocks have played in the NCAA tournament nine times, advancing to the Sweet 16 four times. That last Sweet 16 team, in 2017, went all the way to the Final Four. Frank Martin's seventh-seeded South Carolina squad beat No. 10 Marquette, No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Baylor and No. 4 Florida to reach the Final Four before falling 77-73 to Gonzaga

4. LSU: Final Four (4 times)
The Tigers have the most postseason success of any SEC team without a national championship, reaching the NCAA tournament 22 times (including this year), the Sweet 16 nine times and the Elite Eight six times. LSU has also played in four Final Fours, falling in the regional semifinal in 1953, 1981, 1986 and 2006. The 1986 team might have been the most unlikely, entering the tournament as an 11-seed and beating the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in its region before falling to eventual national champion Louisville [Fun Fact: That 1986 LS run is the reason that bracket rules restricting early conference matchups is in place. That team won over SEC opponents with the ultimate, the regional final win over Eddie Sutton's UK team to reach the Final Four. UK had beaten LS three times prior to the NCAA game.]

3. Arkansas: National champion (1994)
Nolan Richardson's Razorbacks were a dominant program in the 1990s, reaching the NCAA tournament all but one year from 1988-2001, making the Final Four three times and winning the national title in 1994. Arkansas beat Duke 76-72 to that year win its only national championship, then returned to the title game a year later before falling 89-78 to UCLA. All told, the Razorbacks have reached the NCAA tournament 32 times, the Sweet 16 11 times, the Elite Eight 10 times and the Final Four six times.

2. Florida: National champion (2 times)
The Gators have made the most of a relatively limited number of NCAA tournament appearances (22), reaching the Elite Eight nine times, the Final Four five times and the national title game three times. The Gators won back-to-back championships under Billy Donovan in 2006 and 2007, become one of just a handful of repeat champions in college basketball and just two in the SEC. In going 12-0 in the NCAA tournament in those two seasons, Florida featured the same starting five

1. Kentucky: National champion (8 times)
The Wildcats are the all-time NCAA leaders in wins (2,263), NCAA tournament appearances (59) and NCAA tournament wins (126). They rank second ... in Final Four appearances (17) and national championships (Eight). In addition to pre-tournament poll championships in 1933 and 1934, Kentucky cut down the nets in 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998 and 2012. Five difference coaches (Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and John Calipari) have won titles with the Wildcats. In a 28-year span since 1992, the Wildcats have made the NCAA tournament in all but two years (2009 and 2013).
--- End quote ---

Number of Teams the SEC placed in the Mens NCAA-T from 1992 Tourney to present with seeds in parentheses:

2019 [7]: Tennessee (2), Kentucky (2), LSU (3), Auburn (5), Mississippi State (5), Ole Miss (Eight), Florida (10)  [The best SEC seeding performance]

2018 [8]: Tennessee (3), Auburn (4), Kentucky (5), Florida (6), Arkansas (7),
A&M (7), Mizzou (Eight), Bama (9)  [The most SEC teams selected]

2017 [5]: Kentucky (2), Florida (4), South Carolina (7), Arkansas (Eight), Vandy (9)

2016 [3]: A&M (3), Kentucky (4), Vandy (11)

2015 [5]: Kentucky (1-overall), Arkansas (5), LSU (9), Georgia (10), Ole Miss (11)

2014 [3]: Florida (1-overall), Kentucky (Eight), Tennessee (11)

2013 [3]: Florida (3), Mizzou (9), Ole Miss (12)

2012 [4]: UK (1-overall), VU (5), UF (7), Bama (9)

2011 [5]: UF (2), UK (4), VU (5), UT (9), UG (10)

2010 [4]: UK (1), Vandy (4), UT (6), UF (10)

2009 [3]: LSU (Eight), UT (9), MSSt (13)

2008 [6]: UT(2), VU(4), Hogs(Eight), MSt(Eight), UK(11), UGa(14)

2007 [5]: UF(1), UT(5), VU(6), UK (Eight), Hogs (12)

2006 [6]: UT(2), UF(3), LSU(4), Hogs(Eight) ,UK(Eight), Bama(10)

2005 [5]: UK(2), UF(4), Bama (5), LSU (6), MSt (9)

2004 [6]: UK(1-overall), MSt(2), UF(5), VU(6), Bama(Eight), SC(10)

2003 [6]: UK(1), UF(2), MSt(5), LSU(Eight), Bama(10), AU(10)

2002 [6]: Bama(2), UG(3), MSt(3), UK(4), UF(5), OM(9)

2001 [6]: UK(2), OM(3), UF(3), Hogs(7), UG(Eight), UT(Eight)

2000 [6]: LSU(4), UT(4), UF(5), UK(5), AU(7), Hogs(11)
1999 [6]: AU(1), UK(3), Hogs(4), UT(4), UF(6), OM(9)

1998 [5]: UK (2), SC (3), OM (4), Hogs (6), Vols (Eight)

1997 [5]: UK (1), SC (2), UGa (3), OM (Eight), VU (10)

1996 [4]: UK (1), State (5), UGa (Eight), Hogs (12)

1995 [5]: UK (1), Hogs (2), State (5), Bama (5), UF (10)

1994 [4]: Hogs (1), UK (3), UF (3), Bama (9)

1993 [4]: UK (1), Vandy (3), Hogs (4), LSU (11)

1992 [4]: UK (2), Hogs (3), Bama (5), LSU (7)

2019 has promise to a be an accomplished SEC season in the NCAA but you play the games on the court and not in a a committee room.

Looking back, 2014 was an overachieving SEC performance with a 12-3 overall, 8-seed UK in the finals, UF in the Final Four, and the Vols making a run.

But the 1994 to 1996 three year run is the standard, not just since Arkansas burst on the scene like the Kool-AidTM Man, but in the history of the league. Remember that prior to the mid-70's only one team got a bid per conference and some SEC teams declined their bid before the mid-60s.

1994 was great but 1996 (14-3 .824) is the standard for a multi-team SEC tournament performance. Nolan's Hogs and Tubby Smith's last Georgia team made the Sweet 16. Richard Williams' Mississippi State five won the SEC Tournament and made the Final Four. Some regard the '96 UK National Champion as their best team ever.

Will the 2019 group rank among the best ever?  It is hard to match the percentage precedent with that many teams (in the best case they will at least have to beat each other). But they could have most wins, most teams at benchmark levels like Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final 4, and so on.

The 2018 Eight looked great after Thursday one year ago.  They petered out.

Through the Years

Here is the actual achievement of SEC schools in the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament since Arkansas joined the SEC. Any misprints, and there will be, are solely owned by the SEC

What SEC Coach has the most wins in the NCAA Tournament while he was coach of an SEC school?

2019 NCAA Tournament Record by Conference after Round One (two or more teams)

Four SEC teams have made it to the Sweet 16 for the third time.  How does that compare?

In 1986, all four SEC teams that were selected made the Sweet 16.  LSU made the Final Four.

As mentioned earlier in the thread, four SEC teams made the Sweet 16 in 1996. State made the Final Four while UK won the national title.  This is considered as the SEC's best overall NCAA performance.

NCAA Records by Conference

No. of Teams in Sweet 16: ACC 5, SEC 4, B1G 3, any else 1.

SEC 2019 is guaranteed to get one team in the Final Four and guaranteed to only get one team in the Final Four. 

Cannot equal the best performance ever in 1996 when Arkansas, Bama, Mississippi State and Kentucly went to the Sixteen and two Final Fours and a Champ emerged.

SEC 2019 is similar to SEC 1986 when LSU upset Eddie Sutton's first Kentucky team to be the only SEC team of four Sweet Sixteen participants to make the Final Four.


“Making history is why I came to Auburn”

— Horace Spencer

“To this point yes”

— Izzy Gould

Auburn with their first Final Four appearance may have had their greatest three game run with wins over Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.


--- Quote from: jbcarol on March 24, 2019, 06:05:02 pm ---Four SEC teams have made it to the Sweet 16 for the third time.  How does that compare?

In 1986, all four SEC teams that were selected made the Sweet 16.  LSU made the Final Four.

As mentioned earlier in the thread, four SEC teams made the Sweet 16 in 1996. State made the Final Four while UK won the national title.  This is considered as the SEC's best overall NCAA performance.

--- End quote ---

1996 will continue to be the SEC's best overall NCAA tournament performance.

In 2019, seven teams were selected.  Auburn was the only team to make the Final Four with UK making the Elite Eight.  Tennessee and LS made the Sweet 16. Florida advanced to the Round of 32. The Mississippi schools were both eliminated in the first round.

In a nod to the increasing parity and rise of top teams in the SEC is a Kentucky observation:

If UK fails to win the SEC regular season in 2020 it will be only fourth time in SEC history that they have had a three-year or more futility stretch.

‘87-‘93: the Eddie Sutton run into near death penalty and Arkansas entry included a vacated title in ‘88 and a best conference record that was not eligible due to probation in ‘91.

‘06-‘09: the end of Tubby’s run and the BCG’s years.

‘59-‘61: Known as the Lean Years coming off a home state ‘58 NCAA Title, UK got to go to the NCAA Tournament due to Mississippi State and Auburn’s fear that might have to meet a team with a black player.



--- Quote from: jbcarol on March 21, 2019, 03:17:18 pm ---What SEC Coach has the most wins in the NCAA Tournament while he was coach of an SEC school?

--- End quote ---

Billy Donovan, 35-12 has the most wins at this time with back-to-back national championships in 14 overall appearances.

Adolph Rupp coached mostly in a time when his team was placed in the Round of 16 (and even the Round of Eight) in the same geography (Mid-East) each season. Rupp's teams went 30-18 with four national championships and only missed the tournament seven times between 1948 and 1972, when only one conference team could participate in the the NCAA. He missed one year due to the death penalty and got in some years due to SEC champs declining their NCAA bid due to opposition to integration.

After the 2019 tournament, John Calipari passed Rupp for second most wins. His 31-8 record in nine appearances at UK sets him up to pass Donovan in the near future.


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