SEC Tournament Preview
A 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament is on the line in the SEC if Kentucky and Tennessee can make a run to the finals. The Will Wade fiasco has a cloud over LSU right now but they are still a very talented team that can compete with the top of the league. Kentucky is peaking at the right time and Tennessee isn’t playing their best but Grant Williams and company are still strong. South Carolina somehow has the 4-seed and the middle of the conference is pretty good too. All said, it’s going to be a really fun tournament.
2018 Champion: Kentucky
1-seed LSU Tigers 26-5 (16-2)
Despite the Will Wade things that are happening and Javonte Smart being held out of the final game, LSU is good enough to win the league without both. Naz Reid needs to be consistent and the bigs need to dominate the glass.
2-seed Kentucky Wildcats 26-5 (15-3)
Cal has his guys playing some really good basketball right now. PJ Washington is one of the best players in the entire country. The health of Reid Travis will decide how this team does. He hasn’t had the year we all expected but he’s important to their defense and rebounding effort.
3-seed Tennessee Volunteers 27-4 (15-3)
Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield. That’s all we need to say. This is the best duo in the league and the supporting cast has been really good too. So maybe throw Jordan Bone in there as well, but Tennessee is a good team and needs to win the league to get a 1 seed.
5-seed Auburn Tigers 22-9 (11-7)
It’s been an up and down year for Bruce Pearl’s team. They’ve dealt with injuries and massive expectations early in the year. After 4 losses in 6 games early in conference season the expectations faded a bit and Auburn started playing better. They’re one of the most talented teams in the league and they need to be sharp defensively to win the league.
6-seed Mississippi State Bulldogs 22-9 (10-8)
Scoring. This team loves to score the ball and they’re one of the best teams in America at doing just that. Quinndary Weatherspoon is the guy for the Bulldogs. He shoots over 50% from the field and leads the team in scoring. Forcing turnovers will be the key, Mississippi State needs to get out in transition and grab some easy baskets.
4-seed South Carolina Gamecocks 16-15 (11-7)
Frank Martin’s team really struggled in the non-conference, they were 5-8 coming into SEC play and then turned it on. They played very well at home in the league going 7-2. The problem is they don’t play the SEC Tournament at home. The Gamecocks play good defense and have a star in Chris Silva. He needs to be elite in this tournament to get South Carolina into the field of 68.
7-seed Ole Miss Rebels 20-11 (10-8)
The Rebels caught the upset bug early in the conference season and that launched the team into the top-20. They had a shaky stretch following and then struggled to end the year. They were in the games but just couldn’t close. Breein Tyree is the key for Kermit Davis’s team. When Tyree is on he can score from anywhere and really gets his teammates involved.
8-seed Florida Gators 17-14 (9-9)
A big February saw Florida fight their way onto the bubble. The Gators picked up some crucial wins but still need one more quality win to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday. They blew chances against Kentucky and LSU to close the season and now shift their focus to the SEC Tourney. The Gators are very strong defensively and need to create turnovers to get extra possessions for the offense. With that being said, they also need to take advantage of any extra possessions.
9-seed Arkansas Razorbacks 17-14 (8-10)
Daniel Gafford. He’s very, very good and is the reason this team has won as many games as they have. Any additional production they get is gravy.
10-seed Alabama Crimson Tide 17-14 (8-10)
The Tide are fighting for an at-large bid. Alabama has such a strange resume and blew some golden opportunities late in the season. It comes down to their top players producing. John Petty can’t get lost in a game, they need Donta Hall to be tough inside, and Kira Lewis needs to pace the offense.
11-seed Texas A&M Aggies 13-17 (6-12)
A&M lost quite a bit from last season and it can be seen in their record. They are a very poor 3-point shooting team at 30.7% and have a turnover issue at 14 a game. They still attack the glass well and will need to clean up their misses and rack up 2nd chance points to stay competitive.
12-seed Missouri Tigers 14-16 (5-13)
The defense is there for Missouri but they really don’t have high quality scorers. Jeremiah Tilmon has not lived up to the billing since arriving on campus and the Tigers’ second leading scorer, Mark Smith, has played just twice since January 26.
13-seed Georgia Bulldogs 11-20 (2-16)
Georgia is better than their record shows. Tom Crean has the Bulldogs playing tough and competitive basketball. Nicolas Claxton is a lot of fun to watch and if the Dawgs can cut down the turnovers they’ll be tough.
14-seed Vanderbilt Commodores 9-22 (0-18)
Vandy’s only chance is if Darius Garland never got injured.
Georgia over Missouri
Texas A&M over Vanderbilt
Florida over Arkansas
Auburn over Georgia
Ole Miss over Alabama
Mississippi State over Texas A&M
LSU over Florida
Auburn over South Carolina
Kentucky over Ole Miss
Tennessee over Mississippi State
Auburn over LSU
Tennessee over Kentucky
Tennessee over Auburn