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bayswater mulberry Live at 9 with Kevin Scarbinsky: Is the SEC better with Alabama football, Kentucky hoops at their best? Nick Saban (left) has put Alabama football back on top, and John Calipari has done the same for Kentucky basketball.

Stop me if you've heard this one before. The SEC is better when Alabama football - or Kentucky basketball - is really, really good.

It sounds good. But is it true?

That's certainly been the case since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. He's been there for seven seasons. During that time, the SEC has played in all seven BCS Championship Games and won six of them.

Alabama has been at the front of that dominance with three titles, but three other schools - LSU, Florida and Auburn - also have won national championships in that time. Auburn came within 13 seconds of winning a second title in January.

The bottom line makes it clear that the combination of Saban and Alabama has helped push the entire conference to the best run of national prominence in its history.

You can't say the same about SEC basketball since John Calipari got to Lexington. Like Saban with the Crimson Tide, he's brought back the good old days to the Big Blue Nation.

The Wildcats are in the Final Four for the third time in four years, and they're two wins away from their second national championship in three years. Calipari's the fifth Kentucky coach to win a national title, but he has a chance to become the only one besides Adolph Rupp to win more than one.

Kentucky's resurgence hasn't exactly spurred SEC basketball to great heights as a conference, and never mind that Florida has joined UK in the Final Four, making just the fourth time in league history the SEC has supplied half of the Final Four.

A great postseason run shouldn't obscure the fact that the SEC has put only three teams into the NCAA Tournament for two straight years.

Until Auburn went out and hired Bruce Pearl last month, SEC basketball programs haven't exactly gone out to hire big-name coaches that might challenge Calipari and Kentucky and Billy Donovan and Florida.

Bottom line: The old saying is only half right. SEC football has been at its best in recent years with Alabama at its best. The same hasn't been true for SEC basketball with Kentucky back on top.

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