Although usually a glass half full guy, the loss tonight really puts our team in a tough spot. In fact, there is little room for error. The good news - I guess - is that what happened to us can happen to anyone so that some of the scenarios may not unfold as one would expect. Anyway, I go through some back of the envelope math of the loss after the jump - math that is not all that encouraging given the rest of our SEC schedule.
Here is the summary of my thoughts:
1) RPI impact not that big a deal (I don't think)
2) Looks to be a bad loss unless Ole Miss builds on the win
3) Getting to 10 wins in SEC will not require a sweep of UT, Vandy, or Florida - unless we lose at Arkansas or at home vs Miss State or USC
4) Getting a first day bye in the SEC Tournament may require us winning out.
First, the RPI. Given a road loss is -0.6, it is not as bad as a home loss. Just last week, Memphis lost to a bad Marshall team on the road and was flat to slightly up in the RPI. Yes, I know Memphis started with a worse RPI and it depends on what the teams around you in the RPI do, but the RPI is not where the math gets us, in my opinion.
Second, when looking at the NCAA Selection Committee's Nitty Gritty, this will more than likely rank as a bad loss. However, if this Ole Miss team can show up some the rest of the season, perhaps it will not end the year being as bad as it looks now. I guess Hotty Totty for the rest of the season.
Third, getting to 10 wins in SEC play. The remaining SEC schedule is mush tougher than the first 7 games - 2 versus UT, Vandy and Florida; Miss State and USC at home; A visit to Arkansas. With 3 losses, that means we have to split with UT/Vandy/Florida AND win ALL the remaining games with the SEC West teams. From easiest to hardest that would be USC, Miss State and @ Arkansas. Lose one of the SEC West games and we have to sweep one of the 3 top SEC East teams - top 3 other than us. It what is supposedly a down SEC, I would think a minimum of 10 wins in league play will be necessary to get a decent seed in the NCAA (I would say "and/or" make it, but with a 68 team field, UK will make it - barring a major meltdown from here).
Finally, as tough as getting to 10 wins will be, getting a first day bye in the SEC Tournament will be even tougher. We may want to tell ourselves a bye is not important, but with a 6 man rotation, I believe wining a bye is imperative to being in a position to make the finals of the SEC. Assuming UT and Florida win the games they are suppose to win (and in the SEC that is not a sure assumption), then I believe we could well have to win out to get a bye. The reason I say that is it would insure we carry a tie breaker against either team. Given the way things go in the SEC, we could probably lose 1, but if we lose 2 then we need all kinds of help to get the second bye.
I do not believe this loss at Ole Miss is like the one 2 years ago (which I believe marked the true beginning of the final act in the BCG show), but it does put us behind the eight ball given a difficult 2nd half + 1 game end to league play.