Bold Predictions from Day 2 of the SEC Tournament

Photo by

By Tucker Harlin

NASHVILLE, Tenn– Thursday of the SEC tournament promised to be an entertaining day.

It’s a day in which teams outside of the projected NCAA tournament field begin their quests to find a way in, a day in which upsets may reign supreme, and a day in which coaching vacancies open.

Mississippi State, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and XXX all left Bridgestone Arena victorious.

These are predictions, questions, and observations following each game Thursday.


Aside from a first half deficit, all went according to plan for Mississippi State to begin its time in Nashville.

LSU’s Hunter Dean managed to keep Tolu Smith scoreless in the first half while converting a handful of putbacks. Rebounds were a big help for the Tigers in the first as they beat the Bulldogs on the board 23-13.

The Tigers might have held the advantage on the scoreboard in the first frame, but the slow pace always favored the Bulldogs. The Tigers failed to dictate the tempo in the second half, and it ultimately resulted in their downfall.

Josh Hubbard constantly threatened for the Bulldogs on offense, getting to the free throw line on multiple occasions. Hubbard concluded his afternoon with 24 points.

Couple the constant danger of Hubbard with more battles won inside in the second half and the Bulldogs appear to have locked up a bid in the NCAA tournament.


The 2023-24 season has been a tumultuous one for Arkansas, and the loss on Thursday was a microcosm.

The Razorbacks stayed tight with South Carolina in the first half, but Meechie Johnson scored a buzzer beater at the rim that bolstered the Gamecocks’ momentum going into the locker room.

The Razorbacks quickly found themselves in a double-digit hole to start the second half and never found a way out. This was not a one off for the Razorbacks as its been a season full of awful second halves.

Consistent blowouts coupled with openings at other major college basketball programs across the country have Razorback fans wondering if this is the end of the road for Eric Musselman in Fayetteville. 

The Muss Bus drove to three consecutive appearances in the second weekend of the NCAA tournament from 2021-2023. This success should give Musselman attention from other programs if his tenure at Arkansas is indeed a lost cause.


The Buzz Williams era at Texas A&M has been full of very average regular seasons.

But when it’s time to play in the SEC tournament, the Aggies are usually guaranteed an extended stay.

In 2022, the Aggies were unimpressive for the majority of SEC play but heated up in the final weeks of the regular season. The Aggies knocked off both No. 1 seed Auburn and No. 4 seed Arkansas en route to the final, but they ran into a wall against Tennessee that left them short of the NCAA tournament.

Last season, the Aggies struggled in the non-conference portion of the season but played the SEC schedule well enough to earn the No. 2 seed in Nashville. They had another run to the final but ran into another wall in No. 1 seed Alabama, but they made the NCAA tournament.

This season, the Aggies were ranked to start but encountered an abysmal stretch in February. The Aggies are 4-0 in March and will play No. 2 seed Kentucky tomorrow.

It’s hard to tell if the Aggies are playing their best basketball right now.

One thing is for certain: like in 2022, this team must win the SEC tournament if it wants to dance.


Two years ago, Florida was at a breaking point with head coach Mike White. Sensing the jeopardy of his job status, White bolted north to take the vacancy left by Tom Crean at Georgia. 

But instead of exacting revenge on the Gators, White and the Bulldogs have been the punching bag in all five meetings.

The week leading into the game was a roller coaster for the Gators.

The Gators concluded their time in Exactech Arena this season with a blowout win over an Alabama team that had stayed around the top of the SEC standings all season long. However, the encore performance was a stinker in Memorial Gym against a Vanderbilt team that was five days from firing its coach.

The Gators did not need a win over the Bulldogs to secure an NCAA tournament bid, but they could ill afford another bad loss on their way to the big dance.