Alabama Basketball's Final Four run is historic. What about other SEC programs?

Alabama Basketball set a program record with this season's Final Four. Check the history of how far each SEC program has gone in the Big Dance.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023-24 Alabama Crimson Tide reached a new milestone with the first Final Four in Alabama Basketball history. Alabama joins eight other SEC basketball programs that have advanced to a Final Four.

All 14 SEC basketball programs have participated in an NCAA Tournament. Of the nine SEC programs that have advanced to a Final Four three have become NCAA Tournament Champions. The three are Kentucky, Florida, and Arkansas. Alabama Crimson Tide fans hope the count goes to four on Monday night.

Led by Kentucky's eight NCAA Tournament Championships, SEC teams have won the Big Dance 11 times. The Florida Gators won a back-to-back in 2006 and 2007. Arkansas won in 1994. Kentucky also had a back-to-back in 1948 and 1949.

SEC Teams having advanced to Elite Eights, but not Final Fours

Only two SEC programs have failed to advance past Sweet Sixteens. It happened to Ole Miss in 2001. The Texas A&M Aggies have failed to get over a Sweet Sixteen hump five times, twice as members of the SEC in 2016 and 2018.

SEC programs are listed alphabetically below.

  • Missouri Tigers - Missouri has made four Elite Eights. All of them were before the Tigers joined the SEC. The seasons were 1976, 1994, 2002 and 2009.
  • Tennessee Vols - The Vols have made the Elite Eight twice. The first was in 2010 when Tennessee lost to Michigan State, 70-69. The second time was this season in a 72-66 loss to Purdue.
  • Vanderbilt Commodores - The 1965 NCAA Tournament had 23 teams and Vanderbilt received an opening round bye. The Dores then beat DePaul in OT, followed by a loss to an outstanding Michigan team 87-85.

SEC Final Four Teams without an NCAA Tournament Championship

  • Auburn Tigers - Bruce Pearl led Auburn to a Final Four in 2019. The 5-Seed Tigers beat New Mexico State, Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky, before losing to Virginia.
  • Georgia Bulldogs - After a 1983 First Round bye, 4-Seed Georgia beat VCU, St. John's, and North Carolina. The Bulldogs won the three March Madness games by a total of 10 points. The easiest win came over the Tar Heels. Unfortunately for Georgia, their Final Four matchup was against Jimmy Valvano's North Carolina State team that became that season's Champion.
  • LSU Bengal Tigers - LSU has made four Final Fours in 1953, 1981, 1986, and 2006. None of LSU's Final Four teams progressed to the Championship Final.
  • Mississippi State Bulldogs - In 1996, the Bulldogs knocked off Kentucky in the SEC Tournament to become the SEC automatic qualifier in the NCAA Tournament. The 5-Seed Bulldogs beat VCU, Princeton, UConn, and Cincinnati, before losing in the National Semi-Final, 77-69 to Syracuse. Kentucky won the NCAA Tournament that season.
  • South Carolina Gamecocks - In 2017, South Carolina was one-and-done in the SEC Tournament, losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Frank Martin followed the 11-point defeat by leading his team to victories over Marquette, Duke, Baylor, and Florida. In the NCAA Tournament Semi-Final South Carolina lost to Gonzaga, 77-73.

Alabama basketball historians have long wondered how far Johnny Dee's 'Rocket Eight' 1956 team would have advanced in the NCAA Tournament. His team was 21-3 and finished the season on a 15-game winning streak. Alabama was disqualified from the NCAA Tournament because all of Dee's starters had played as freshmen.

Note: Along with Wikipedia, most data for this post was provided by Sports Reference.

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