Starting on Wednesday March 7th the SEC will take over St. Louis for its annual men’s basketball tournament.
This years regular season ended in a tie between Auburn and Tennessee and while the two will share the regular season title it is Auburn who will be the tournaments number one seed thanks to a 94-84 win over the Vols in Knoxville back on Jan. 2nd.
The loss caused Volunteers to be the two seed in St. Louis, but still get the double bye and a share of the regular season title.
Three seed Florida and four seed Kentucky will join Auburn and Tennessee in receiving the double bye and will not have to play until quarter-finals on Friday.
The action will get underway for this years SEC tournament on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET at the Scottrade Center when 12 seed Georgia takes on 13 seed Vanderbilt. That game will be followed by the 11 seed South Carolina Gamecocks taking on the 14 seed Ole Miss Rebels with a scheduled start time of 9 p.m. ET, however it will actually get underway about 25 minutes after the UGA vs. Vandy game comes to an end.
Both first round games could be a lot more entertaining then your normal conference tournament opening round game.
Georgia has been and up and down team this season, but still has a lot of talent and could make a run in the SEC tournament.
As well, the Gamecocks of South Carolina could look to make a run.
While this years South Carolina team is nowhere near as good as last years team that went to the final four, they could still do some damage in the SEC tournament.
Chris Silva leads the Gamecocks in points per game, field goal percentage, rebounds per game and blocks per game.
He will be a major challenge for Ole Miss and assuming South Carolina moves on to the second round he could still cause a challenge for any opponent USC may wind up facing.
It should be the Bulldogs and Gamecocks that move on to the second round so we will go forward with that being the case.
The second round will get started on Thursday at noon when eight seed Texas A&M will play nine seed Alabama.
The Aggies started the season off inside the top 15 and where a early favorite to win the SEC regular season title. However, the Aggies season has had more ups and downs then almost anyone in the league and in the country for that matter.
The Aggies finished the regular season 20-11 and saw Robert Williams be named the SEC defensive player of the year. The Crimson Tide have plenty of talent as well, including Collin Sexton who was named the SEC co-freshman of the year.
This one will come down to if A&M shows up or if it is the Collin Sexton show.
The second game on Thursday will see the five seed Missouri Tigers take on the winner of game one, which should be Georgia.
This game really comes down to one question…
Does Michael Porter Jr. play, the talented freshman played just minutes early in the year before suffering an injury that has kept him out for the entire season. Reports have him possibly being able to play in the tournament and Missouri’s chances could really rely on if Porter can play.
If he does the Tigers could go on a run, but if not the Bulldogs could get back-to-back wins and move on to face Kentucky.
It’s not like Missouri only has Porter, but to go on a big run in the tournament they will need him.
UGA will rely heavily on their star Yante Maten, who should be able to power the Bulldogs through to the third round if Porter does not play.
The night portion of the second round will get under way with 10 seed LSU taking on seven seed Mississippi State at 7 p.m. ET.
Both the Tigers and Bulldogs have enough to make it to Friday, but the Weatherspoon brothers should be to much for LSU and push the Bulldogs on to the third round and a matchup with Tennessee.
Closing out Thursdays action will be six seed Arkansas taking on the winner of game two, which should be South Carolina. This is where the Gamecocks should see their trip come to and end as the Razorbacks have just to much talent for USC.
So, if everything goes the way we think that gives you the following quarter-final match-ups on Friday.
No. 1 seed Auburn vs. the winner of A&M vs. Bama at 1 p.m. ET, a game that should be to close to call before it gets underway.
No. 4 seed Kentucky vs. the winner of Missouri vs. Georgia around 25 minutes after the end of the Auburn game. We think it should be the Bulldogs that take on Kentucky, which could equal one of the best games of the tournament.
No. 2 seed Tennessee vs. the winner of Mississippi St. vs. LSU at 7 p.m. ET.
It should be State that moves on to face the Vols, but the Big Orange would love a easier match up with LSU that is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Closing out Friday’s action will be No. 3 seed Florida vs. the winner of Arkansas and South Carolina, around 25 minutes after the UT game ends. This one could be a big time upset as it should be the Razorbacks playing Florida and the Gators should be on upset alert.
Saturday will be the semi-finals witch get underway at 1 p.m. ET with the winners of the first two games on Friday battling it out for a shot at the SEC Tournament title.
The winners of the last two games on Friday will play each other around 25 minutes after Saturday’s first game has come to an end.
The Championship game will be played on Sunday March 11, at 1 p.m. ET.
The first two rounds will be televised on the SEC Network, while the first two games on Friday will move to ESPN before the evening games on Friday will also be on the SEC Network.
Saturday and Sunday’s games will all be televised on ESPN.
The WUTK sports department will be keeping you updated on everything dealing with the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament and of course all affecting Tennessee in St. Louis. during our Rock Solid Sports show on Friday from 7-8 p.m. ET and on our twitter account (WUTKSPORTS).
Written by: Sam Forman
Edited by: Colin Castleberry