RTC’s 2012 SEC Tournament PreviewPosted by EMoyer on March 8th, 2012
Eric Moyer is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Sun Conference and Southern Conference and a contributor to the RTC SEC Microsite. You can find him on Twitter @EricDMoyer.
- Kentucky is the top seed in the modified SEC Tournament. After 20 years of seeding based on divisional finishes, the 12 teams were seeded #1 through #12. This change allowed for four former “Eastern Division” schools (Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Florida) to claim the first-round byes. In previous years, the Commodores and Gators would have had to play first round games and the 9-7 Alabama and 8-8 Mississippi State squads would have had byes.
- Anthony Davis swept the SEC year-end awards, claiming Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Player of the Year. There exists some history of SEC Players of the Year leading his team to a tournament title and claiming Tournament MVP honors in the process. In 25 years of the Coaches SEC Player of the Year, five have doubled up with Tournament MVP honors. Four of those players came from Kentucky (Ron Mercer, 1997; Tayshaun Prince, 2001; Keith Bogans, 2003; John Wall, 2010). Only one Defensive Player of the Year, Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnadoin 2009, went on to earn Tournament MVP honors (the award began in 2004). No SEC Freshman of the Year has won Tournament MVP honors in the same season (that award began in 2001).
- The Wildcats will go for its fourth “three-peat.” Kentucky won SEC Tournament titles from 1944-50, 1992-95 and from 1997-99. The only other programs to win three straight SEC titles are Alabama (1989-91) and Florida (2005-07).
- Kentucky enters the SEC Tournament off a perfect 16-0 record in league games. In nine previous seasons, the Wildcats also posted perfect conference records leading up the conference tournament. Kentucky has gone on to win seven of those tournament titles, losing to Vanderbilt in 1951 and Mississippi State in 1996. The loss to the Bulldogs also came in New Orleans
- Tennessee, picked 11th in the preseason by the media surged to the No. 2 seed by winning eight of its last nine games. By going 7-1 in February, this Volunteer squad became the 16th in 103 seasons to lose one or fewer games in the month of February.
- Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins led the SEC in scoring for the second straight year becoming the first player in the league to do so since LSU’s Ronnie Henderson in 1995 and 1996.
- In the 52 previous SEC Tournaments only three leading scorers have led their respective team to a tournament title, and only one time since the tournament was renewed in 1979 (Ron Mercer, Kentucky, 1997).
- Florida posted a perfect 6-0 record against SEC West opponents and own a 17-1 mark over the previous three seasons.
- Bradley Beal became the ﬁrst Gator to be named ﬁrst-team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman in the same season. He led all SEC guards with 6.5 rebounds per game. He has had six games double-digit rebound games, while all other guards in the league have combined for ﬁve such games and no guard had more than one game with double-digit rebounds.
- Alabama has won two SEC Tournament games only once in the last 16 years. In 2002, they advanced to the title game, losing to Mississippi State.
- The Crimson Tide own a 3-0 record in true neutral site games. They claimed the Puerto Rico Tipoff in November at which they beat Maryland, Wichita State and Purdue over a four-day stretch.
- Since 1999, Mississippi State’s Rick Stansbury owns 16 SEC Tournament wins; only Kentucky and Florida have more over than time frame.
- Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy needs one win to tie Florida’s Billy Donovan for the sixth most wins by an SEC coach in his first six seasons.
- Ole Miss enters the SEC Tournament on a three-game winning streak, its longest win streak of the season since winning six straight from Nov. 21 to Dec. 14.
- As the only team with a home-state advantage, LSU is 2-2 in SEC Tournament games in New Orleans — losing in the first round in 1996 and advancing to the semifinals in 2003 (Both of those tournaments were in the Louisiana Superdome).
- Since January 1988, LSU has defeated three teams ranked top three in the nation in NO – once at the Superdome and twice at the Arena on the UNO campus … LSU is 22-6 overall at the Superdome-New Orleans Arena and 84-61 all-time in New Orleans since 1911. LSU will be making its first return to New Orleans for a game since January 2008.
- Arkansas has not advanced to the first round of the SEC Tournament since 2008 and are just 3-7 in First Round games, but are 11-2 in quarterfinal contests.
- Since scoring only three points against LSU on Feb. 4, B.J. Younghas put on a great closing kick, averaging 19.8 PPG while shooting 54.0 percent from the floor and 48.6 percent from the 3-point arc.
- Auburn’s only tournament title came by winning four games in four days (1985).
- The last three games between Auburn and Ole Miss have been decided by a combined 11 points.
- Georgia notched its first road victory against a ranked team since 2004 when the Bulldogs won in Starkville against then-No. 20 Mississippi State on Feb. 11
- Georgia has not won three straight games against Mississippi State since Feb. 28, 2001 to Feb. 1, 2003.
- The Bulldogs’ Dustin Ware need 16 points to reach the 1,000-point mark. He could become the third player in UGA history to reach that mark by making more 3-pointers than 2-pointers (joining G.G. Smith and Levi Stukes).
Team Tournament Capsules
- #1 Kentucky: Championship Appearances: 51; Record 117-22; Best Finish: Champion – 1933, 1937, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011) ; Last Season: Champion
- #2 Tennessee: Championship Appearances: 52; Record 60-47; Best Finish: Champion – 1936, 1941, 1943, 1979; Last Season: L, Quarterfinal
- #3 Vanderbilt: Championship Appearances: 51; Record 31-49; Best Finish: Champion – 1951; Last Season: L, Semifinal
- #4 Florida: Championship Appearances: 47; Record 35-43; Best Finish: Champion – 2005, 2006, 2007; Last Season: L, Final
- #5 Alabama: Championship Appearances: 53; Record 59-45; Best Finish: Champion – 1934, 1982, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991; Last Season: L, Semifinal
- #6 Mississippi State: Championship Appearances: 52; Record 27-48; Best Finish: Champion – 1996, 2002, 2009; Last Season: L, Quarterfinal
- #7 Ole Miss: Championship Appearances: 50; Record 24-48; Best Finish: Champion – 1981; Last Season: L, Quarterfinal
- #8 LSU: Championship Appearances: 53; Record 43-51; Best Finish: Champion – 1980; Last Season: L, First Round
- #9 Arkansas: Championship Appearances: 21; Record 20-19; Best Finish: Champion – 2000; Last Season: L, First Round
- #10 Auburn: Championship Appearances: 50; Record 27-47; Best Finish: Champion – 1985; Last Season: L, First Round
- #11 Georgia: Championship Appearances: 52; Record 39-49; Best Finish: Champion – 1983, 2008; Last Season: L, Quarterfinal
- #12 South Carolina: Championship Appearances: 21; Record 16-20; Best Finish: Runner-up – 1998, 2006; Last Season: L, First Round
Tournament Schedule (All games played at New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA)
- Thursday, March 8, 1:00 ET: #8 LSU vs #9 Arkansas (SEC Network/ESPN3); Season Results: Jan. 14 (at Arkansas 69, LSU 60), Feb. 4 (at LSU 71, Arkansas 65); Series Record: Arkansas leads 31-22; Tournament Series: Arkansas leads 2-1.
- Thursday, March 8, 3:30 ET: #5 Alabama vs #12 South Carolina (SEC Network/ESPN3); Season Results: Jan. 25 (at South Carolina 56, Alabama 54); Series Record: Alabama leads 22-13; Tournament Series: Alabama leads 3-2.
- Thursday, March 8, 7:30 ET: #7 Ole Miss vs #10 Auburn (SEC Network/ESPN3); Season Results: Jan. 14 (at Auburn 69, Ole Miss 68 OT), Feb. 11 (at Ole Miss 61, Auburn 54); Series Record: Auburn leads 73-51; Tournament Series: Tied 1-1.
- Thursday, March 8, 10:00 ET: #6 Mississippi State vs #11 Georgia (SEC Network/ESPN3); Season Results: Feb. 11 (Georgia 70, at Mississippi State 68); Series Record: Mississippi State leads 52-51; Tournament Series: Georgia leads 8-3.
- Friday, March 9, 1:00 ET: #1 Kentucky vs #8 LSU/#9 Arkansas Winner (SEC Network/ESPN3); Kentucky vs LSU: Season Results: Jan. 28 (Kentucky 74, at LSU 50); Series Record: Kentucky leads 81-24; Tournament Series: Kentucky leads 14-2. Kentucky vs Arkansas: Season Results: Jan. 17 (at Kentucky 86, Arkansas 63); Series Record: Kentucky leads 25-8; Tournament Series: Kentucky leads 7-1 .
- Friday, March 9, 3:30 ET: #4 Florida vs #5 Alabama/#12 South Carolina Winner (SEC Network/ESPN3); Florida vs Alabama: Season Results: Feb. 14 (Florida 61, at Alabama 52); Series Record: Alabama leads 73-59; Tournament Series: Alabama leads 7-4. Florida vs South Carolina: Season Results: Jan. 14 (Florida 79, at South Carolina 65), Feb. 2 (at Florida 74, South Carolina 66); Series Record: Florida leads 39-22; Tournament Series: Florida leads 2-1.
- Friday, March 9, 7:30 ET: #2 Tennessee vs #7 Ole Miss/#10 Auburn Winner (SEC Network/ESPN3); Tennessee vs Ole Miss: Season Results: Jan. 12 (at Mississippi State 62, Tennessee 58); Series Record: Tennessee leads 68-39; Tournament Series: Ole Miss leads 6-5. Tennessee vs Auburn: Season Results: Jan. 28 (at Tennessee 64, Auburn 49); Series Record: Tennessee leads 70-37; Tournament Series: Tennessee leads 8-3.
- Friday, March 9, 10:00 ET: #3 Vanderbilt vs #6 Mississippi State/#11 Georgia Winner (SEC Network/ESPN3); Vanderbilt vs Mississippi State: Season Results: (Mississippi State 78, at Vanderbilt 77 OT); Series Record: Vanderbilt leads 74-45; Tournament Series: Vanderbilt leads 8-5. Vanderbilt vs Georgia: Season Results: Jan. 14 (at Vanderbilt 77, Georgia 66), Feb. 19 (Vanderbilt 61, at Georgia 52); Series Record: Vanderbilt leads 87-48; Tournament Series: Vanderbilt leads 5-1.
- Saturday, March 10, 1:00 ET: Semifinal #1 (ABC)
- Saturday, March 10, 3:30 ET: Semifinal #2 (ABC)
- Sunday, March 11, 1:00 ET: Semifinal Winners (ABC)