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SEC Tournament 2018: Bracket Seeds, Odds, Matchups and Predictions

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2018

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 04:  Jared Harper #1 of the Auburn Tigers drives against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half of an 80-61 Vanderbilt victory at Memorial Gym on January 4, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

There's no getting around it, the SEC tournament was built on Kentucky basketball.

But this year's tournament is exciting because there are other teams looking to change that.

The SEC doesn't have a team in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 this year, and that includes the Wildcats.

However, with Auburn ranked 14th, Tennessee ranked 16th and Kentucky ranked 23rd in the nation, the SEC tournament will be worth a watch.

The big change this year is that the tournament is leaving Nashville, Tennessee for St. Louis Missouri.

Fourteen teams will converge on the Scottrade Center from Wednesday to battle for the SEC title.

The Wildcats normally rule the SEC—they recorded their third successive triumph last year, beating Arkansas 82-65 in the final.

But 2018 is all about Auburn.

The Tigers clawed their way to their first regular-season SEC title since 1999 on Saturday with a 79-70 comeback win over South Carolina.

Auburn will have to share the title with Tennessee, but it is rolling and is set to enter the NCAA tournament after a 15-year drought.

SEC Tournament Schedule

All times ET.

1st Round—Wednesday

Game 1 | Georgia (12) vs. Vanderbilt (13) | 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Game 2 | South Carolina (11) vs. Ole Miss (14) | 25 minutes after Game 1, SEC Network

2nd Round—Thursday

Game 3 | Texas A&M (8) vs. Alabama (9) | 1 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Game 4 | Missouri (5) vs. Game 1 winner | 25 minutes after Game 3, SEC Network

Game 5 | Mississippi State (7) vs. LSU (10) | 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Game 6 | Arkansas (6) vs. Game 2 winner | 25 minutes after Game 5, SEC Network

Quarterfinals—Friday

Game 7 | Auburn (1) vs. Game 3 winner | 1 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 8 | Kentucky (4) vs. Game 4 winner | 25 minutes after Game 7, ESPN

Game 9 | Tennessee (2) vs. Game 5 winner | 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Game 10 | Florida (3) vs. Game 6 winner | 25 minutes after Game 9, SEC Network

Semifinals—Saturday

Game 11 | Semifinal 1 | 1 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 12 | Semifinal 2 | 25 minutes after Game 11, ESPN

Championship—Sunday

Game 13 | Championship Game | 1 p.m. ET, ESPN

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - FEBRUARY 27:  Head Coach Bruce Pearl yells at Mustapha Heron #5 of the Auburn Tigers during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on February 27, 2018 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

SEC Championship Odds

Odds according to OddsShark.

OddsShark @OddsShark

SEC Tournament Odds (BetOnline): Auburn +400 Tennessee +400 Kentucky +450 Florida +500 Mississippi State +800 Texas A&M +1000 Alabama +1200 Arkansas+1200 Missouri +1400 LSU +2500 South Carolina+3300 Georgia+5000 Ole Miss +10000 Vanderbilt +10000

Favorite: Auburn

Head coach Bruce Pearl is making Charles Barkley proud.

It's only been four years since Pearl took over the reins at Auburn (25-6, 13-5 in the SEC), but he's brought the program back to respectability and is taking time to celebrate with all of the Tiger alumni.

"There are guys like Charles Barkley right now ... who is celebrating this victory," Pearl said, per ESPN. "That was for you, Charles, and a lot of those guys who wore this uniform."

Southeastern Conference @SEC

TFW you clinch a share of the #SECMBB regular season title 🙌 #WarEagle @AuburnMBB https://t.co/LHzKUNBaWU

Another famous alumnus who wore the uniform was associate head coach Chuck Person, who was let go in November after being indicted in a federal grand jury. But despite that adversity, which included losing Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy, the Tigers have persevered.

With signature wins over Middle Tennessee, Tennessee and Arkansas, they are poised to continue surprising everyone until they hoist that SEC tournament trophy.

"It's unreal," said Bryce Brown, who scored 29 points, including eight three-pointers, to beat the Gamecocks, per ESPN. "It's unbelievable, knowing where the program came from. When I signed here, of course our goal was to win a championship. But I don't know if I really, truly felt like we were going to be able to. Three years later, here it goes."

                 

Sleeper: Kentucky

No matter where it stands in the rankings, Kentucky (21-10, 10-8 in the SEC) just can't be counted out.

It is the No. 4 seed in the tournament, but don't let that fool you. The Wildcats are loaded with talent, and they could easily turn it on and run a team off the court.

Kentucky Basketball @KentuckyMBB

Some other facts about the #SECMBB Tournament: 🔵 We've advanced to the championship game in seven of @UKCoachCalipari's eight seasons 🔵 We've won five SEC Tournament titles under Coach Cal 🔵 We've won three straight 🔵 We own a league-best 30 SEC Tournament titles

Kentucky's offense could use a lot of work, but its defense is improving. The Wildcats have a 96.3 adjusted defensive ranking on KenPom.com.

The Wildcats' inability to pass the ball was their Achilles' heel in their 80-67 loss to Florida on Saturday, during which they committed 13 turnovers and only dished out six assists.

But Kentucky has won 30 SEC championships, five under head coach John Calipari. With that much of a winning tradition, the Wildcats always have a chance.

               

Winner: Auburn

Tennessee and Florida are no jokes, but this is Auburn's year.

Led by Brown, the Tigers are poised to make their mark.

They are ranked 15th in adjusted offensive efficiency on KenPom and hold their own on the defensive end with a 97.5.

Auburn Basketball @AuburnMBB

When all that hard work pays off. ✂️ #WarEagle | #NetcuttinSZN https://t.co/O25UyncExF

Auburn has posted its second-most wins since 1999 and is not done etching its name into the history books.

Look for the Tigers to cut down the nets Sunday.

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