SEC Tournament Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 10th, 2010

Paul Jordan of Wildcat Blue Blog is the RTC correspondent for the Southeastern Conference.  The SEC Tournament begins Thursday at Noon ET.

EAST

  1. Kentucky 29-2 (14-2)
  2. Vanderbilt 23-7 (12-4)
  3. Tennessee 23-7 (11-5)
  4. Florida 20-11 (9-7)
  5. South Carolina 15-15 (6-10)
  6. Georgia 13-16 (5-11)

WEST

  1. Mississippi State 21-10 (9-7)
  2. Mississippi 21-9 (9-7)
  3. Arkansas 14-17 (7-9)
  4. Alabama 16-14 (6-10)
  5. Auburn 15-15 (6-10)
  6. LSU 11-19 (2-14)

Despite all the hype and hoopla over the SEC being a much improved conference this season, at this time the SEC still has as many teams locked into the NCAA Tournament as they did last year — three. Kentucky finished up the regular season with their 44th SEC regular season championship and the number two ranking in both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today Top 25. Tennessee finished #13 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and #15 in the AP top 25. The Vanderbilt Commodores finished the season ranked #20 in the AP Top 25 and #23 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. Other than these three teams, no other SEC school even received votes in either poll so you would figure that if any other teams are to go dancing, they need to get some wins in the upcoming SEC Tournament.

Now that the regular season is over, I am pleased to present my first and second team ALL-SEC roster, as well as my choice for Player of the Year and Coach of the Year:

FIRST TEAM ALL-SEC

  • G- John Wall, Kentucky
  • G- Devan Downey – South Carolina
  • F- DeMarcus Cousins – Kentucky
  • F- Trey Thompkins, Georgia
  • C – Jarvis Varnado – Mississippi State

SECOND TEAM ALL-SEC

  • G – Courtney Fortson, Arkansas
  • G – Chris Warren, Mississippi
  • F – Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
  • F – Tasmin Mitchell, LSU
  • F – Chandler Parsons, Florida

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • John Wall, Kentucky

COACH OF THE YEAR

  • John Calipari, Kentucky

The SEC Tournament starts on Thursday in Nashville and here is the bracket:

As we mentioned earlier, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt have locked up NCAA Tournament bids. Kentucky is a lock for a number one seed, but both Tennessee and Vanderbilt could move their way into a top four seeding with a good showing in the SEC Tournament. Two wins there would put Tennessee at 25-7 and give them a semifinal game against Kentucky. A Tennessee win over Kentucky would lock up a top four seeding for the Vols, but with 25 wins, they may have it already, regardless of what happens there. If Vanderbilt wins two games in the tournament, they too would have 25 wins. I think that Vanderbilt’s fate, though, depends on Tennessee. Despite sweeping the Vols, the Commodores are still ranked behind them. If Kentucky beats the Vols, Vanderbilt gets a top four seed by advancing to the finals. If Tennessee is still alive, the Commodores would need to meet the Vols for the third time to get a top four seed.

Next we come to the bubble teams. Despite losing three games in a row to close the season, I think that Florida is in the NCAA by the thinnest of margins. They need to win two games in the SEC tournament to lock up that bid however. The Gators actually got a very favorable seeding as they would face Auburn and then Mississippi State. These are two very winnable games for the Gators. As a matter of fact, that Mississippi State/Florida game could act as a play in game , but I actually think Mississippi State may need two wins and that would require beating Vanderbilt. At this point, I think that Ole Miss is a NIT team. But if they win two games in the tournament, that would amount to wins over Tennessee and Kentucky. So there is a lot at stake in the SEC Tournament. When the dust has cleared, I see Florida becoming the fourth SEC team and Mississippi State and Ole Miss headed to the NIT. Of all the other teams, I think Alabama has the best chance to join the Mississippi teams in the NIT as an opening win would give the Tide 17 wins.

rtmsf (3737 Posts)


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