SEC Tournament Preview: No clear favorite and numerous teams with chance to win it
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Here is a look at the 2018 Southeastern Conference Tournament:
WHEN/WHERE: March 7-11 at Scottrade Center, St. Louis.
SCHEDULE (All times EST):
Wednesday, March 7 (First round)
- Game 1: No. 12 Georgia (16-14) vs. No. 13 Vanderbilt (12-19), 7 p.m. (SECN)
- Game 2: No. 11 South Carolina (16-15) vs. No. 14 Mississippi (12-19), 9:30 p.m. (SECN)
Thursday, March 8 (Second round)
- Game 3: No. 8 Texas A&M (20-11) vs. No. 9 Alabama (17-14), 1 p.m. (SECN)
- Game 4: No. 5 Missouri (20-11) vs. Game 1 winner, 3:30 p.m. (SECN)
- Game 5: No. 7 Mississippi State (21-10) vs. No. 10 LSU (17-13), 7 p.m. (SECN)
- Game 6: No. 6 Arkansas (21-10) vs. Game 2 winner, 9:30 p.m. (SECN)
Friday, March 9 (Quarterfinals)
- Game 7: No. 1 Auburn (25-6) vs. Winner of Game 3 winner 1 p.m. (ESPN)
- Game 8: No. 4 Kentucky (21-10) vs. winner of Game 4 winner, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
- Game 9: No. 2 Tennessee (23-7) vs. Game 5 winner, 7 p.m. (SECN)
- Game 10: No. 3 Florida (20-11) vs. Game 6 winner, 9:30 p.m. (SECN)
Saturday, March 10 (Semifinals)
- Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
- Game 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, March 11 (Championship game)
- Game 13: Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS: Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Missouri. According to BracketMatrix.com Auburn and Tennessee are currently No. 3 seeds, UK is a No. 5 seed, Florida is a No. 6 seed, Texas A&M and Arkansas are No. 7 seeds and Missouri is a No. 8 seed.
ON NCAA BUBBLE: Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State. Alabama is currently a No. 11 seed according to BracketMatrix.com, but the Crimson Tide lost five in a row to close the season and probably won't make it if they lose their second-round game against Texas A&M. LSU is listed among the second four out and has some work to do, like beating Mississippi State and Tennessee for starters and probably reaching the championship game. Mississippi State's 2-7 record against Group 1 teams leaves it needing a march to at least the championship game to have a chance at an at-large berth.
TEAM TO BEAT: Tennessee. There just isn't a dominant team in the league and the Volunteers are playing well, winning 11 of their final 13 games, including a win at UK and over Florida.
DARK HORSE: Texas A&M. The Aggies started 0-5 in SEC games, but in their last 10 games won at Auburn, beat UK, beat Arkansas and beat Alabama.
UK'S ROAD TO THE TITLE: The Wildcats getting the final double-bye into the quarterfinal round gives them a fighting chance. They just beat likely quarterfinal foe Missouri 87-66, and likely semifinal foe Auburn lost three of its final five games. UK went 0-4 though against possible championship game opponents Florida and Tennessee.
PREDICTED OUTCOME: Florida won its final three regular-season games over Auburn, at Alabama and over UK and seem to have figured out the way it wants to play. The Gators were a top-5 team earlier in the season and while they aren't playing quite to that level right now, they are playing well enough to win this wide open tournament.