With eight teams chosen for the NCAA Tournament and two more selected for the NIT — it would have been three but Georgia players voted to decline an NIT bid after the firing of head coach Mark Fox — the league stood alongside the other Power 5 conferences (or above them) as basketball equals. It’s been a league priority for several years now, with leadership urging teams to upgrade coaching and facilities, which in turn helps to improve recruiting. The SEC has also provided help with scheduling, which made a big difference when Selection Sunday came around. There were, for example, teams that had better overall records than Alabama but had accumulated preseason wins against softer schedules. The committee made a statement that 19 wins against a Top 5 schedule was better than 21 or 22 wins against a tray of Christmas cupcakes.

Will this turn into a sustained run of success that will cover several years? Time will tell.

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