Well, folks, we’ve officially made it! There are several conference basketball tournaments going on around the country, and the major conferences will start their postseason tournaments next week.

Sunday will mark 1 week until Selection Sunday (also my 30th birthday, FYI), and from there, March Madness begins!

It’s truly one of the best times of the year to be a sports fan, and I can’t wait for nonstop basketball weekends from now until April!

First, though, let’s answer some Mailbag questions. Here are your questions this week:


Which SEC teams will make the NCAA Tournament?

That’s a good question, and the answer could be between 4 and 7. According to ESPN bracketology expert Joe Lunardi’s projections at the start of the week, 4 SEC teams were solidly in the field — Kentucky, Auburn, LSU and Florida.

From there, 3 bubble teams remain — Arkansas, South Carolina and Mississippi State. I think Mississippi State will get in. I also want to say Arkansas will make the field.

Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, a win against Vanderbilt on Saturday (if they get it) wouldn’t do much to impress the Selection Committee. They’d need a couple of wins in the SEC Tournament, and that won’t be easy.

As of right now, I’ll say 6 SEC teams make the field. However, Arkansas and Mississippi State will need to win Saturday and avoid a 1st-round upset in the SEC tourney.


In 20 years, will the top 30-40 college football programs still be part of the NCAA?

Well, the College Football Playoff and the bowl system already falls outside of the NCAA jurisdiction. The NCAA recognizes North Dakota State (the FCS champ) as its official football champion.

Therefore, it wouldn’t be too big of a surprise to see top teams do their own thing in football on an even larger scale. I don’t think it would be 30-40 teams, though. The number would be 65, which is the number of schools in the Power 5 conferences plus Notre Dame.

The idea has been batted around (including by Alabama coach Nick Saban) about having the Power 5 schools only play each other. That would probably lead the Group of 5 to have its own championship.

Yes, that sounds a bit crazy at this point, but it took a while for the Playoff to take hold, too. Don’t be surprised if college football shifts dramatically again in 20 or so years.


Which team has the best specialty hot dog at the SEC Tournament?

Oh man, those all look absolutely delicious. I love hot dogs, and I’d eat any of them (leaving off the shredded cabbage that somehow found its way onto a couple of them).

As far as favorites go, though, I really like that Kentucky bourbon dog. I’m a sucker for bourbon sauce and onion straws. The Texas dog would be a close second.

For my least favorite, I’m going to have to go with the Georgia peach dog. I’m not a huge fan of peaches, and I certainly don’t need them on my hot dog. That seems like a bit of a forced combination.


If you could add 1 current SEC player from a team that isn’t going to make the NCAA Tournament to a team that likely will make the tourney, who would it be?

It’s tempting to say I’d take Mason Jones from Arkansas and add him to Kentucky’s roster. Adding Jones’ dynamic scoring ability to the Wildcats would make Kentucky perhaps the favorite to win the title.

However, I think the Razorbacks are going to squeeze their way into the NCAA Tournament, so I’ll have to pick someone else.

How about adding Alabama’s John Petty to LSU’s roster? I know that won’t be a popular choice, what with the rivalry between the Tide and Tigers, but Petty has knocked down 45% of his 3-pointers this year. LSU desperately needs a consistent 3-point threat.

I think adding him to that roster makes LSU a threat to make a deep run in the tourney. If only that were actually legal. Alas.

Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.