SEC Tournament 2013: Underdogs That Will Threaten Tourney's Top Contenders
With March Madness just around the corner, the SEC tournament will get underway next week with a few underdogs taking aim at the championship.
The conference only has three teams that are in great shape to make the tournament: Florida, Missouri and Tennessee. The Volunteers' tough non-conference schedule helps them in regards to being on the bubble.
Those three teams are the favorites to take home the SEC title, but some other teams have the ability to get hot.
Ole Miss is sitting at 22-8 and 11-6 inside the SEC. Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com currently has the Rebels as part of the "first four out." It will probably take a win in the SEC tournament to lock up a spot in the tournament.
Alabama is also in the "first four out" but doesn't have a win over a ranked opponent this season. It will take at least one win for the Crimson Tide to work their way into the tournament.
The focus of the tournament will be on Kentucky. The Wildcats are 20-10 but have lost two straight road games. Since losing star freshman Nerlens Noel, the team is only 3-3. Kentucky needs to win multiple games in the SEC tournament to get into the NCAA tournament.
So the top of the conference is in pretty good shape, but what underdog teams could make a run at stealing a bid from a bubble team?
Junior Marshall Henderson has made plenty of headlines with his attitude on the court, but his Rebels are currently on the bubble.
In the SEC, Ole Miss is the most likely underdog to make a run at the title. The Rebels are one of the few SEC teams with quality wins. They have taken down Missouri and Tennessee (twice).
Henderson has the talent to carry his team on winning streaks. His team has gone on a six-game winning streak as well as a nine-game tear. The latter was good enough to lift the team to No. 23 in the nation.
The junior has nine games with at least 25 points, and his team is 7-2 when he reaches that plateau.
Every underdog needs a player with swagger who can get hot. Ole Miss has that guy in Henderson, and the Rebels will be a dangerous team in next week's conference tournament.
Unlike Ole Miss, Arkansas has some serious work to do in the conference tournament. The Razorbacks are currently 18-12 and are only 9-8 in the SEC.
They also have some quality wins on their résumé. With wins over Tennessee, Florida and Missouri, Arkansas has shown glimpses of being a tournament team. The Razorbacks have also kept games tight against Wisconsin, Syracuse and Michigan.
Who has the better chance to win the SEC tournament?
At the end of the day, those count as losses. Now they probably have to win the SEC tournament in order to make the NCAA tournament.
Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, they don't have a player of Henderson's caliber. Marshawn Powell has been arguably their best player. The junior is averaging 14.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He is shooting 49.7 percent from the field, which is second on the team.
Sophomore BJ Young has also been a top performer on this team. His play helped knock off Tennessee and Florida in back-to-back games.
Although they have not backed down from the tough games on their schedule, the Razorbacks are in major need of a deep run in the SEC tournament. They have the talent to make a run, so don't be surprised if they get hot.
*All stats are from ESPN.com
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