SEC Tournament 2013 Bracket: When to Watch Important Bubble Dwellers

Tim KeeneyContributor IMarch 14, 2013

LEXINGTON, KY - MARCH 09:  Archie Goodwin #10 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates during the game against the  Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on March 9, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Southeastern conference tournament is the most important of the week.

Sure, the SEC may not have the electrifying, all-world matchups of the Big Ten, the allure of Madison Square Garden and the Big East or even the talent of the Patriot League.

But dang it, it has bubble teams! And a lot of them!

At this time of the year, bubble teams essentially rule the world. All eyes are on those fringe squads as they get one last chance to further impress (or you know, to disappoint the least) the selection committee gods. 

Judging by that, the SEC tourney is crucial.

Note: You can find the complete bracket here at SECDigitalNetwork.com. What follows is a closer look at when to watch the teams desperately fighting for their Big Dance lives. 

 

Tennessee

First Game: Thursday, March 14, at 3:30 p.m. ET (depending on the finish time of the proceeding game)

Opponent: Mississippi State

Watch: SEC Network or ESPN3

As long as the Vols don't have to play Georgia, they should be OK. Cuonzo Martin's squad is a scorching 9-3 in its last 12 with wins over Florida, Missouri and Kentucky, but it has lost twice to the No. 8-seeded Bulldogs. 

Overall, Tennessee has an RPI of 60, an SOS of 51 and four top-50 wins. While a win over MSU won't make the Vols a lock, a loss must be avoided. 

 

Alabama

First Game: Friday, March 15, at 3:30 p.m. ET (depending on the finish time of the proceeding game)

Opponent: Winner of Mississippi State vs. Tennessee

Watch: ESPNU

Trevor Releford saved the Crimson Tide's season on Saturday, but Alabama still has work to do. 

Anthony Grant's boys will likely meet up with Tennessee in the quarterfinals, and that will be a must win. Not only does Alabama have worse computer numbers (RPI 63, SOS 88), but it also has just one top-50 win and more bad losses than the Volunteers. 

Should 'Bama survive that game, it will likely get a chance for a crucial signature win against Florida. 

 

Kentucky

First Game: Friday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. ET

Opponent: Winner of Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas

Watch: ESPNU (in select markets), ESPN3 and SEC Network

The Wildcats are one of the more intriguing cases in the country.

While they have to be judged on how they've played without Nerlens Noel, that isn't exactly a negative thing. With the big man sidelined, John Calipari's squad has beaten Florida and Missouri and gone 4-3 overall.

However, those three losses have been ugly ones.

Judging by the opponent, a win in the quarters won't do much for Kentucky, but it will likely set up a key battle with Missouri or Ole Miss. 

 

Ole Miss

First Game: Friday, March 15, at 10 p.m. ET (depending on the finish time of the proceeding game)

Opponent: Winner of Texas A&M vs. Missouri

Watch: ESPNU (in select markets), ESPN3 and SEC Network

Ole Miss has a solid RPI of 55, but its SOS is a porous 133 and its only top-50 win is against No. 34 Missouri. 

Moreover, the Rebels are just 6-6 in their last 12 and faltering at the exact wrong time. 

Another win over Missouri, their likely quarterfinal opponent, would go a long way, but much like 'Bama, the Rebels need a trip to the finals to feel truly safe. 

 

Prediction

Kentucky, Tennessee: In

Alabama, Ole Miss: Out