By John Rader on March 12, 2014
The SEC Tournament tips off tonight in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome with a pair of first round games. Florida ran the table in SEC play this season and looks to be a No. 1 seed in next week’s NCAA tournament. Kentucky appears to be the only other team as a lock to get into the Big Dance, so that leaves several other teams fighting to keep their seasons alive.
South Carolina lost to Auburn in both of their regular season matchups, but also just beat Kentucky in the beginning of March. Auburn does not have a victory against a ranked team but lucky for them, South Carolina is far from ranked. Neither team plays very good defense, but they both have had their struggles scoring.
Prediction: Auburn wins 72-67
Mississippi State has lost 13 straight, including a loss to Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt has lost four straight. It could be an ugly game, but Vanderbilt plays very good defense so if they can limit the mistakes and make a few shots, they should advance.
Prediction: Vanderbilt wins 62-55
The two teams played only once this season, and it was just a week ago. The game was at Missouri and they won by just one point. Texas A&M had only one win on the road or at a neutral site all season, while Vanderbilt had six. Texas A&M plays good defense and slows the game down, but Vanderbilt shoots at a high percentage.
Prediction: Missouri wins 65-52
While Auburn was inconsistent down the stretch, Arkansas won eight of its last 10 and is hitting its stride at the right time. The two schools played once this season, and Arkansas dominated on their home court, winning by 19. Both teams like to push the pace and score, so it should be an entertaining, high-scoring game.
Prediction: Arkansas wins 82-75.
Both teams enter the tournament stumbling, going 3-3 over their last six games. They played once during the season, and LSU won by two at Alabama. LSU rebounds extremely well, and their ability to generate second-chance points and control the defensive rebounds will be the difference.
Prediction: LSU wins 78-70.
These two teams met twice during the regular season and Ole Miss won both games, including their regular season finale when Ole Miss won by only two points. Vanderbilt plays good defense and likes to slow the game down, while Ole Miss looks to push the tempo and take a lot of shots. They are in the top 50 in the nation in steals and blocks and use the fast break effectively.
Prediction: Vanderbilt wins 60-59
Florida won 23 straight heading into the conference tournament, including a 10-point victory at home against Missouri. If Missouri can somehow turn the game into a shootout, they will have a chance. Florida features one of the better defensive teams in the country, ranking fifth in the nation in points allowed per game.
Prediction: Florida wins 80-62
Both teams will desperately need to win this game to improve their tournament resumes. They met once this season and Tennessee defended their home court by seven. Tennessee enters the tournament having won four straight and five of six, while Arkansas has won eight of their last 10. Arkansas features the 17th-ranked scoring offense and Tennessee features the 18th-best scoring defense.
Prediction: Tennessee wins 74-73
LSU won both of the regular season matchups, including an overtime thriller at Kentucky at the end of February. Neither team is playing well entering the tournament, but hope to gain some momentum and make a run. Both teams’ strengths are scoring and rebounding, so it should be a physical game won in the paint.
Prediction: LSU wins 79-78
Georgia enters the tournament hot, winning eight of their last 10 games. The two schools played once this season and Vanderbilt won on the road by five points. Both teams like to slow the game down and play defensive basketball. Georgia will have the edge in rebounding, but it should be a close, hard-fought game.
Prediction: Georgia wins 55-54
Florida beat Tennessee in both of their regular season matchups, including a 26-point rout back in January. Tennessee will be playing some determined basketball this go around, as they can all but seal a spot in the NCAA tournament. Both teams are in the top 20 in points allowed per game, but Florida should be too much to handle.
Prediction: Florida wins 67-62
Georgia won both regular season games, including the season finale at LSU by eight points. LSU is very good on the boards and in the paint, and will need to stay out of foul trouble to have a chance. Georgia will rely on their stingy defense to control the pace of the game and frustrate LSU.
Prediction: Georgia wins 64-61
In their only meeting this season back in mid-January, Florida routed Georgia by 22 points at home. Florida is the hottest team in the country besides Wichita State, and it is hard to see them losing to anyone in the SEC tournament. Their defense is fierce and they are deep.
Prediction: Florida wins 68-59
July 28, 2015 by Taylor Sturm
Virginia will start the season just outside of the top five, but that just takes the pressure off the Cavaliers -- and makes them more dangerous. Read More
July 27, 2015 by Taylor Sturm
The Iowa State Cyclones head into the 2015-16 season as a top five team but not the favorite in the Big 12. Can they exceed expectations and win it all? Read More
Sleeping on the Kansas Jayhawks could be the biggest mistake anyone makes headed into the 2015-16 season. Read More
July 27, 2015 by Tim Letcher
The Kansas Jayhawks are one of the best teams in college basketball every year. Read More
July 26, 2015 by Reed Hunnicutt
With only seven weeks until the start of the college basketball season, here are the early preseason ACC awards. Read More
July 24, 2015 by Reed Hunnicutt
College basketball is just a few months away. Here is an early prediction for the All-ACC Third Team. Read More
July 23, 2015 by Bryan Zarpentine
A list of five way-too-early predictions for the Syracuse basketball team during the 2015-16 season. Read More
July 23, 2015 by Reed Hunnicutt
These players are expected to make a huge impact in the ACC. Here's an introduction to the early preseason All-ACC Second Team. Read More