SEC Tournament 2013: Predicting Players Who Will Shine in Nashville on Friday

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2013

Feb 5, 2013; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Florida Gators center Erik Murphy (33) walks off the court during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena. Arkansas defeated Florida 80-69. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Championship week is heating up across the nation as college basketball's best look to win the second-most important tournament of their season, the conference tourney. 

In Nashville, the 2013 SEC Tournament is just getting started, as the conference's top four teams—headlined by Florida and Kentucky—get set to tip off their journey to the SEC crown on Friday in the tournament quarterfinals.

With four SEC quarterfinal matchups on the horizon, here we'll highlight a trio of players who are set to shine.


Trevor Releford, Alabama

Trevor Releford is one of the best players in the SEC, but has flown under the radar for the most part this season. Alabama's basketball team hasn't enjoyed the same sort of media attention that the football team garners year after year. 

A junior guard out of Kansas City, Releford is the conference's fifth-leading scorer this season, averaging 15.6 points per game.

But he's much more than a scoring guard.

Releford can do a ton of things well on the basketball court. In addition to leading the team in scoring, he's averaging 2.7 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game this season for the Crimson Tide.

Releford is only 6'0", 195 pounds, but he plays with tremendous intensity and is capable of exploding for 20 or more points against any team in the country. 

There's nothing out of control about Releford's game either, hitting 49 percent of his shots this season and nailing more than 43 percent of his three-point attempts—he shot just 28 percent from downtown last season.


Erik Murphy, Florida

Florida's senior forward Erik Murphy is one of the most efficient players in college basketball this season.

The 6'10" Rhode Island native is shooting better than 53 percent from the field and leading the SEC by a landslide margin from beyond the arc, where he's connecting on close to 47 percent of his three-point bombs this season.

Murphy is sure to shine on Friday as the Gators look to earn a spot in Saturday's SEC Tournament semifinals. 

A matchup nightmare because of his ability to step out and hit three-pointers, Murphy has also improved as a rebounder over the years, adding bulk and a little bit of physicality to his game.

In Saturday's loss at Kentucky, Murphy recorded a season-high 11 rebounds to go along with his 17 points. 

Florida is the ninth-best shooting team in the nation this season in terms of percentage (.485), and that's in large part because of the remarkable efficiency of Erik Murphy.


Murphy Holloway, Ole Miss

The SEC's leading rebounder this season is Ole Miss star Murphy Holloway. The 6'7" senior forward is reeling in close to 10 boards per game this year, in addition to posting over 14 points per outing for the Rebels.

Like Florida's Erik Murphy, Holloway is an efficient offensive player, hitting 55 percent of his shots from the field. If Holloway has big weakness offensively its at the free throw line, where he's shooting less than 55 percent this season. 

But, as already mentioned, Holloway's impact will be felt on the glass more so than anywhere else. Although he doesn't boast a ton of size, the South Carolina native finds a way to get to nearly every loose ball—especially on the offensive end—where he ranks second in the conference with 3.4 offensive rebounds per game. 

Holloway's teammate, junior guard Marshall Henderson and his SEC-leading 19.7 points per game, are sure to dominate the discussion in Friday's quarterfinal, but expect the underrated Holloway to turn out another impressive effort.


2013 SEC Tournament Bracket


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