SEC Basketball Tournament: Game times and predictions
With the regular season complete, the SEC Basketball Tournament will being on Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn.
The Kentucky Wildcats are the No. 1 seed, having finished 16-2 in conference play. Kentucky is led by freshman guard Malik Monk, who was top scorer in the SEC. The other 3 teams with double byes are Florida, the No. 2 seed; Arkansas, the No. 3 seed; and South Carolina, the No. 4 seed.
The top 4 seeds are fairly well established as NCAA Tournament teams. The fifth team vying for tournament berth is Vanderbilt, which swept Florida in the regular season and pushed Kentucky both times the teams met. The Commodores are the No. 7 seed in the tournament. Ole Miss and Georgia also have at-large chances. Those teams are the No. 6 and No. 8 seeds, respectively.
The tournament opens with LSU, the No. 13 seed, facing Mississippi State, the No. 12 seed. Wednesday’s second game has Missouri, the No. 14 seed, against Auburn, the No. 11 seed, The 2017 SEC Tournament concludes on Sunday. Its winner receives an automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Selection Sunday is March 12. First Four games are March 14 and 15, and the tournament’s first round begins March 16.
SEC Basketball Tournament schedule
All times ET
|Date||Teams||Time||TV Network||Game number|
|3/8||No. 13 LSU vs. No. 12 Mississippi State||7 p.m.||SEC Network||G1|
|3/8||No. 14 Missouri vs. No. 11 Auburn||9 p.m.||SEC Network||G2|
|3/9||No. 8 Georgia vs. No. 9 Tennessee||1 p.m.||SEC Network||G3|
|3/9||Winner of G1 vs. No. 5 Alabama||3 p.m.||SEC Network||G4|
|3/9||No. 10 Texas A&M vs. No. 7 Vanderbilt||7 p.m.||SEC Network||G5|
|3/9||Winner of G2 vs. No. 6 Ole Miss||9 p.m.||SEC Network||G6|
|3/10||Winner of G3 vs. No. 1 Kentucky||1 p.m.||SEC Network||G7|
|3/10||Winner of G4 vs. No. 4 South Carolina||3 p.m.||SEC Network||G8|
|3/10||Winner of G5 vs. No. 2 Florida||7 p.m.||SEC Network||G9|
|3/10||Winner of G6 vs. No. 3 Arkansas||9 p.m.||SEC Network||G10|
|3/11||Winner of G7 vs. Winner of G8||Noon||ESPN||G11|
|3/11||Winner of G9 vs. Winner of G10||2 p.m.||ESPN||G12|
|3/12||Winner of G12 vs. Winner of G11||Noon||ESPN||G13|
SEC Basketball Tournament predictions
Game 1: LSU vs. Mississippi State
These teams played on Saturday with the Bulldogs winning 88-76. At one point, LSU lost 15 consecutive SEC games. Expect the Bulldogs to stay at least another night in Nashville.
Game 2: Auburn vs. Missouri
Like the teams in Game 1, Auburn and Missouri met on the final Saturday of the regular season. Auburn came away victorious, and with Austin Wiley leading the charge, Auburn will again knock off Missouri.
Game 3: Georgia vs. Tennessee
These teams met once this season with the Bulldogs pulling out a 76-75 win. Georgia forward Yante Maten missed large chunks of the game because of foul trouble. His status for this game is in question because of an injury. Still, with guard J.J. Frazier leading the charge, the Bulldogs should have an advantage and move on.
Game 4: Mississippi State vs. Alabama
The Crimson Tide got a nice win over Ole Miss last week but stumbled on the final Saturday of the regular season. Alabama should win and move on to the quarterfinals.
Game 5: Texas A&M vs. Vanderbilt
The Commodores made a late push for the NCAA Tournament, but a loss to the Aggies would be devastating. With support from the hometown crowd, Vanderbilt avoids disaster and moves on to a matchup with Arkansas.
Game 6: Auburn vs. Ole Miss
Ole Miss split its games last week, losing to Alabama and beating South Carolina. With hopes of making the NCAA Tournament, the Rebels should be able to beat the young Tigers.
Game 7: Georgia vs. Kentucky
Both of the Georgia-Kentucky games went down to the wire this season. And while the Bulldogs will be the more desperate team, Georgia is 0-7 against the top 4 teams in the conference. Monk and the Wildcats will make it 0-8.
Game 8: Alabama vs. South Carolina
Frank Martin turned around the South Carolina program. Now the NCAA Tournament seems the next step for the Gamecocks. A win and revenge against Alabama, which beat them in a 4-overtime game, would lock up the bid.
Game 9: Florida vs. Vanderbilt
Beating a team 3 times in a season is a challenge. Beating a team as talented as Florida 3 times would be incredible — and would lock up an NCAA Tournament bid. The Commodores won’t be able to do it.
Game 10: Ole Miss vs. Arkansas
Ole Miss desperately needs this game to make the NCAA Tournament. But the Razorbacks enter the tournament among the hottest teams in the SEC, having won 6 of their past 7 games. They’ll be well rested and will knock off the Rebels.
Game 11: Kentucky vs. South Carolina
This would be a matchup of the top SEC player of the year candidates Malik Monk and Sindarius Thornwell of South Carolina. The difference in this game will be Kentucky freshman center Bam Adebayo. The Wildcats advance to the finals of the SEC Tournament for a fourth consecutive year.
Game 12: Florida vs. Arkansas
This is another matchup in which a team will try to beat its opponent for the third time. Florida controlled both regular-season games against Arkansas and will likely do so again. This game could have huge implications on NCAA Tournament seeding.
Game 13: Kentucky vs. Florida
These teams split their regular-season games. Kentucky will have the home-court advantage — Wildcats fans always flood Nashville for the SEC Tournament. But it needed 30 second-half points from Malik Monk to beat the Gators last time. Since this game won’t be played in Rupp Arena, the Gators will do enough to win the SEC Basketball Tournament.