SEC Conference Tournament Complete Preview and Predictions

Ryan BothmannSenior Analyst IIMarch 12, 2014

GAINESVILLE, FL - MARCH 08: Head coach Billy Donovan of the Florida Gators cuts off a piece of the net after the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on March 8, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators were 18-0 in the SEC Conference and undefeated at home this season. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Rob Foldy/Getty Images

TV Schedule

SEC Tournament Schedule Time (ET)


Wednesday, March 12
7 p.m. No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 South Carolina, SEC TV
Following Game 1, No. 11 Vanderbilt, No. 14 Mississippi State, SEC TV


Thursday, March 13
1 p.m. No. 8 Missouri, No. 9 Texas A&M, SEC TV
Following Game 3, Game 1 Winner, No. 5 Arkansas, SEC TV
7 p.m. No. 7 LSU, No. 10 Alabama, SEC TV
Following Game 5, Game 2 Winner, No. 6 Ole Miss, SEC TV


Friday, March 14
1 p.m. Game 3 Winner, No. 1 Florida, ESPNU
Following Game 7, Game 4 Winner, No. 4 Tennessee, ESPNU
7 p.m. Game 5 Winner, No. 2 Kentucky, SEC TV
Following Game 9, Game 6 Winner, No. 3 Georgia, SEC TV


Saturday, March 15
1 p.m. Game 7 Winner, Game 8 Winner, ABC
Following Game 11, Game 9 Winner, Game 10 Winner, ABC


Sunday, March 16
3:15 p.m. Game 11 Winner, Game 12 Winner, ESPN

 

The Favorite

Florida

The Gators have been the best team in college basketball this season and have certainly been the dominant team in the SEC. Florida went 18-0 in conference play and has not lost a game since December 2. The Gators will be mentally locked in this weekend as well. A tournament win should give them the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

 

The Dark Horse

Missouri

COLUMBIA, MO - JANUARY 25:  Jordan Clarkson #5 of the Missouri Tigers controls the ball during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Mizzou Arena on January 25, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Tigers are so talented and in a not-so-talented conference that generally translates into a lot of wins. Instead, the Tigers are the No. 9 seed in the tournament this week after finishing conference play with a 9-9 record. Missouri has proved that it is good enough to compete with anyone in this conference, and since the No. 1 team is in the SEC, that means Mizzou is talented enough to play with any team in the conference. The Tigers will likely have to win the SEC tournament this weekend to make it to the NCAA tournament, and the sense of desperation may just bring out the best in Missouri.

 

The Bubble

Tennessee

The Volunteers absolutely smacked Missouri on Saturday. The win likely secured an NCAA tournament spot for Tennessee, but another win would likely solidify that spot. The Volunteers have a bye through the first two rounds, so they will just need to win a quarterfinal game on Friday to lock up their tournament spot.

 

Arkansas

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 27:  Madracus Wade #1 of the Arkansas Razorbacks celebrates after the 71-67 OT win over the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on February 27, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Razorbacks need a strong showing this weekend. A trip to the semifinals should solidify a tournament spot for the Razorbacks, but an early tournament loss should knock them out of contention for a tournament bid. If the Razorbacks win one game and lose the next in the quarterfinals, their fans will be very anxious on Selection Sunday.

 

Missouri

I already mentioned the Tigers as the dark horse for this tournament. Mizzou's season will likely come down to one game. If the Tigers beat Texas A&M in their first game on Thursday, they will get a shot at Florida in a game that could lock up a tournament spot. If Mizzou wins against Florida though, there is no reason it cannot finish things up over the weekend and grab the automatic bid by winning the SEC tournament on Sunday.

 

The Champion

Missouri

It all comes down to one thing: How bad does Missouri want it? That is the question the Tigers will answer this weekend. Can they take down the Gators and grab a tournament spot, or will they fade off with a late-season collapse and see their tournament hopes shatter?

This weekend will belong to the Tigers. They will finally rise up like they are capable of. A stunning upset of Florida in the quarterfinals will propel Missouri all the way to an SEC championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament.