I have watched college gameday all year and early on they said Kenyucky and Florida maybe the only two to make the Dance! By mid season they were saying maybe SC and Ark up until we hit the rough stretch and then it was we cant be taken seriously and hard to judge in such a weak conference as well as a couple said about SC and it made me laugh because Vandy, Ole Miss, Bamma, Tenn, Georgia, Auburn and yes Miss. St. all could have gone into the dance and played well enough to win 2 or 3 and most SEC fans knew it! Well the proof is in the pudding boys, 3 in the elite Eight with a chance of two getting to the final four and the Championship! Its only going to get better over the next several years so they may have to expand gameday more than an hour to give us our due instead of banking it around the ACC and Big 12 with a throwout to another conference hear or there for a minute and the weekly SEC as a conference bashing minute allowed! I mean really, if not for 3 straight end of a game bad calls we might have still been in play for a all SEC Final FOUR!!! I love this years end of force feeding SEC Basketball down their throats!!!
Disagree about most of the SEC fans knowing the conference was better than the pundits claimed. All I saw, especially during our mid-season struggles, were Hog fans complaining bout how poor a team we were, and this while playing in the terrible SEC. I also remember only a week or so ago the UK fans complaining that they were too good a basketball program to be mired in the undeserving SEC. I agree with the rest of your post, though. I just wonder if this one season of success will change the pundits’ minds, or will the conference need to prove it against next season? I hope the Hogs and the conference can continue to make inroads.
A lot (but certainly not all) of that has to do with “earning” that respect, which I am glad to see the conference is doing in the tournament. In all honesty (as noted by many of the fans that you cite) I do not think that we (the conference as a whole, which includes our Hogs) have done a lot of the earning in the past few years. Hopefully this is the beginning of a change to all of that, with hopefully our Hogs being awesome next year. Some national “pundits” will be harder to bring on board than others, but winning against quality opposition can change a lot of minds. Perhaps in this case “force feeding” is a good term for such.
The national media’s hate for SEC football, brought on the bashing of SEC basketball. I never thought that we were as bad as they made us, and we were not as good as we should be. Now all SEC basketball teams are on the rise. As for this year’s success, people have short memories and have tendency to revert to old habits. We have got their attention now, but must earn our respect the old fashion way, win consistently.