SEC Basketball Tournament 2011: Ranking the Potential Upsets
The SEC tournament is officially just a few hours away.
Teams like Georgia and Alabama are on the NCAA "bubble," trying to fight there way into the tournament.
Other teams like Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt and Tennessee are fighting for a better seed in the tournament.
Then you have schools like Ole Miss, Arkansas, LSU and South Carolina only have a chance of making the big dance by an automatic bid.
So let's get right down to it.
Here is the power ranking of SEC schools' chances of upsetting a higher seed, and gaining better position to reach the big dance.
10. LSU over Vanderbilt
This one is ranked 10 for a good reason. LSU doesn't stand much of a chance.
LSU has the worst record in conference games, and the worst overall record in the SEC.
LSU and Vanderbilt played a couple of weeks ago, and the outcome wasn't pretty. Vanderbilt ran away with the game at LSU, beating the Tigers 90-69.
Expect a similar score in this first round matchup, but much crazier things have happened.
This would be the first of several games that LSU would have to win to get a bid into the NCAA tournament.
Be cautious Vanderbilt, nobody can ever be overlooked in college basketball these days.
9. Arkansas over Tennessee
Arkansas is beyond streaky in SEC play this year.
They have beaten Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt all within the past few months.
On the other hand, they have lost to the bottom tier teams of the SEC, killing their resume along the way.
Arkansas and Tennessee last played on January 8th. The Razorbacks upset the Volunteers 68-65 at home.
However, that game was during the eight game suspension of Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl.
Even if Tennessee has their coach back, Arkansas has shown their ability to knock off the top teams.
Arkansas' very slim chances start with a "must win" over Tennessee in the first round of the SEC tournament.
8. South Carolina over Ole Miss
Both of these teams are on the outside looking in on the NCAA tournament.
Their long roads to get an automatic bid both start with winnable games against each other.
South Carolina is 5-11 in the SEC, but plays in the tough East side of the conference. Ole Miss is 7-9 in the conference but plays on the easier West side of the SEC.
Both of these teams will be looking to stay alive, and it all starts with a first round win.
Whoever wins this game will be matched up with Kentucky in the second round, which is a terrible match up for both teams.
Good luck to both of these schools, it appears they will need it.
7. Ole Miss over Kentucky
If Ole Miss can take care of business verse South Carolina, they will square off against Kentucky the following day.
This game will be a rematch of the February 1st game where the Runnin' Rebels upset the Wildcats, 71-69.
The bad part for Ole Miss? Kentucky will want revenge.
Not only do the young Wildcats want revenge, they need to get some wins for a higher seed in the NCAA tournament.
This won't be an easy win for Kentucky by any means, since Ole Miss has shown they already know how to beat them.
Watch out Kentucky, this is what we call a "trap" game.
6. Georgia over Alabama
Once Georgia cruises over Auburn, they are on to possibly their biggest game of the year.
Both Georgia and Alabama currently sit on the "bubble," and a win over another bubble team will surely boost their tournament stock.
Georgia and Alabama recently played on March 5th, with the Crimson Tide coming away with a 65-57 win at home.
It's well known that it's tough to beat a team twice, especially when you just played them a few days ago.
It's hard to describe how huge this game is for both teams.
For all we know the tournament committee will let in the team that wins this game and not the other. It's that simple.
This matchup will easily be a "battle of wills," and the team who wants it more will likely win.
Get around your TV for this one, it will be the biggest game of the SEC tournament for both teams.
5. Mississippi State over Vanderbilt
Mississippi State has come on strong recently, so many experts have placed the Bulldogs on the controversial "bubble."
The Bulldogs will likely matchup against Vanderbilt in the second round.
These two schools last squared off on January 27th, and Vanderbilt escaped with a seven-point victory.
The Bulldogs will need more than revenge to get into the big dance.
If Mississippi State is serious about an at large berth to the NCAA tourney, it all starts with a win over the Commodores.
Watch out for these Bulldogs, they have won four of their last five in SEC play.
4. Tennessee over Florida
If Tennessee can cruise past Arkansas, they will face the top-ranked Florida Gators in the second round.
Judging by past games, this one could be another great one.
In two matchups this year, Tennessee lost to Florida in both. Tennessee lost in overtime in the first game, and by just a single point in the next one.
This is a major chance for Tennessee to redeem themselves, and show they can beat the best in their conference.
On the other hand, Florida has a chance to prove how good they are.
Beating a good team three times in a row is a very hard thing to accomplish, and will be a true testament to the Gators' competitiveness if they can do so.
Have your TV ready for this one, as these two schools are a great matchup for each other.
3. Alabama over Kentucky
Even if Alabama can move past Georgia, there is no guarantee they will be in the big dance.
A win over Kentucky would solidify their at large status.
In their only matchup this year, Alabama took down Kentucky by a score of 68-66.
Unfortunately for Alabama, the Wildcats will want revenge. Not only revenge, but they are in the middle of jockeying for a higher seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Crimson Tide have lost two of their last three, and will need to rebound quickly to beat Georgia and upset Kentucky.
Alabama freshman point guard Trevor Releford has come a long way this season, and he will have to prove it in these crucial games.
Don't be surprised if this game comes down to the wire just like the last one. Who comes out on top is a complete mystery.
2. Georgia over Kentucky
If Georgia can get out of their huge game against Alabama, they will have the tall task of taking on the Kentucky Wildcats.
Just a few weeks ago, Georgia was nearly a "lock" to make the big dance. Now they are where no team dreams of being, on the "bubble."
Georgia split the season series verse Kentucky, winning by seven in one game and losing by six in the other.
The common denominator? Home court. Both of these teams won on their home court.
The great part about the SEC tournament? There is no home court.
Georgia has a long road to get to this game, but they are more than able to beat Kentucky again.
Get ready for this matchup, since Georgia might actually be more athletic than the young Kentucky squad.
1. Mississippi State over Florida
Mentioned earlier, the Mississippi State Bulldogs are on the "bubble."
Beating the Florida Gators would most certainly take them off of that bubble.
Mississippi State would have huge momentum if they can top Vanderbilt, something that is tough to stop in a consecutive day tournament.
The Bulldogs have already beaten Florida this year, showing they can hang with the top teams in the SEC.
If Florida wants to prove their number one seed, it comes with a win over a team they haven't beat yet.
It's well known that the Bulldogs are hot heading into the tournament, so whoever is going to take them down will have to do it in a big way.
Watch out Gators, you don't want a second round exit in the tournament you're favored to win.