By Phil Bush
SEC Digital Network
ATLANTA - I was doing commentary this past week at Texas A&M, my first trip to one of the new members of the Southeastern Conference. The Aggies are impressive in person. They have a deep and veteran team on which every starter is part of the offensive attack. It's also known for the following:
The 12th Man is alive and well. They were right behind our broadcast position, and are "in" to the match from first serve to final point.
The A&M band was great, again right behind our position.
Reed Arena is a great venue, and they block off one end zone so the crowd stays at the sidelines - Smart move that all who play in "big" arenas should do!
More on A&M in a moment, they are just outside of the top-25 right now.
This coming week, on FS South, I will be calling a match featuring the other new member of the conference, Missouri- these Tigers visit Ole Miss and I am looking forward to seeing them play. The match will be on the FSN networks at 8 p.m. ET. As the saying goes, check your local listings.
There are seven teams in the SEC inside top 50 in RPI right now:
13 - Florida
18 - Kentucky
20 - Arkansas
21 - Tennessee
24 - Texas A&M
45 - Auburn
47 - Missouri
All of these teams are in the mix to win the conference title but, more importantly, to go to the NCAA Tournament. Any time you have a match with two of these teams together, it can get very intense very fast. Ask Tennessee and Missouri what was easy about their 3-2 Match or Florida and Kentucky's 3-2 match? Nothing is easy in the SEC.
Watch these matches if you can get to them.
The SEC in the national picture: There are three conferences that are ahead of the SEC top to bottom: Pac 12, Big 12, and the Big 10. Not surprisingly, these are the only three Conferences that the SEC does not have a winning record against. However, the SEC has continued to make strides. Auburn, South Carolina, and Georgia have second-year coaches and have made strides based on their RPI. I think the overall conference will continue to improve. The coaches in the conference are amongst the best, and I can see further improvements in multiple areas.
Team Stats Superlatives:
Team Category Rank:
Texas A&M Assists Per Set 3
Missouri Blocks per Set 24
Mississippi State Digs Per Set 28
Florida Hitting Percentage 5
Texas A&M Kills Per Set 3
That is every team category and all of the SEC is in the middle of the high end of the NCAA Division I statistics.