One of the best things that could have happened to the SEC was a down season, because it makes for a wide-open field in the conference tournament that begins on Wednesday in Nashville.
Florida earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament thanks to a 14-4 SEC record (24-6 overall). The Gators have been ranked in the top 10 most of the season and will be the prohibitive favorite to win the SEC for the first time since 2007, when they also won the national championship.
Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama were the other teams that earned a double bye in this tournament, though all three of those teams have significant question marks. Kentucky, which just defeated Florida in the final game of the regular season, is still adjusting to life without Nerlens Noel.
Mississippi can put up a lot of points, despite not being a good shooting team. It also hurts the Rebels' case that they have lost non-conference games to Middle Tennessee and Indiana State.
Alabama doesn't have a victory over a ranked team this season with losses against Mercer, Tulane, LSU and Auburn.
So much chaos in the SEC, with so little time left to settle the madness. Here is a look at all the information you need to find the SEC Tournament on your television or streaming device.
Where: Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN
When: Wednesday, March 13 thru Sunday, March 17
Watch: SEC Network, ESPN U, ABC (Semifinals and Championship)
Live Stream: All games stream live on ESPN3.com
|1||South Carolina vs. Mississippi State||March 13||7:30 p.m.||SEC Network|
|2||Texas A&M vs. Auburn||March 13||10:00 p.m.||SEC Network|
|3||Georgia vs. LSU||March 14||1:00 p.m.||SEC Network|
|4||Game 1 Winner vs. Tennessee||March 14||3:30 p.m.||SEC Network|
|5||Arkansas vs. Vanderbilt||March 14||7:30 p.m.||SEC Network|
|6||Game 2 Winner vs. Missouri||March 14||10:00 p.m.||SEC Network|
|7||Game 3 Winner vs. Florida||March 15||1:00 p.m.||ESPN U|
|8||Game 4 Winner vs. Alabama||March 15||3:30 p.m.||ESPN U|
|9||Game 5 Winner vs. Kentucky||March 15||7:30 p.m.||SEC Network (ESPN U in Select Markets)|
|10||Game 6 Winner vs. Mississippi||March 15||10:00 p.m.||SEC Network (ESPN U in Select Markets)|
|11||Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner||March 16||1:00 p.m.||ABC|
|12||Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner||March 16||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|13||Game 11 Winner vs. Game 12 Winner||March 17||1:00 p.m.||ABC|
In a testament to just how down the SEC has been this season, Florida is the only team from the conference ranked in the Top 25. There was a time when the Gators were playing like one of the best teams in the country, though that hasn't been the case for the last month.
Florida has gone just 6-4 in its last 10 games, including a loss at Kentucky to close out the regular season. If you are a team that wants to be considered a potential Final Four squad, you have to win those big games away from home.
All four of those losses have come away from the O'Connell Center. Despite their recent struggles, the Gators are still the best team in the SEC. They are a very efficient group on both sides of the ball, shooting a high percentage from the field and being a strong defensive unit.
We keep waiting for Kentucky to fall off the map after losing Nerlens Noel to that gruesome knee injury. There were struggles, as the Wildcats lost games to Arkansas and Georgia. But look at their last 10 games, they have the same record as Florida (6-4) with a victory over the Gators.
John Calipari is one of the best coaches in America, and even without Noel, this team still has as much talent as anyone in the country. It is all young talent that hasn't figured out how to play as a unit, so this team could flame out as quickly as it wins the conference tournament.
Don't sleep on the Wildcats, at least in the SEC tournament. If they are fortunate enough to make it into the NCAA tournament, then you can question how high their upside really is.
If you were to list the teams that had the best overall records among SEC schools, I wonder how long it would take before knowing that Missouri was No. 3 with a 22-9 mark. This team won more games than everyone except Florida and Mississippi.
The Tigers are the sixth seed in this tournament because of an 11-7 conference record, but they are strong in all the tangible areas that you look for when determining whether a team can have success in March.
Missouri's offense is terrific, averaging 77.2 points per game and shooting 46.2 percent from the field. The Tigers are one of the best rebounding teams in the country, ranking third with 41.1 per game.
Keep a close eye on Missouri in this tournament.
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