SEC Tournament 2019: Nashville Schedule, Bracket and Storylines to Watch

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 10, 2019

LSU's Tremont Waters (3) shoots between Kentucky's Reid Travis (22) and Ashton Hagans, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. LSU won 73-71. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
James Crisp/Associated Press

The SEC tournament has belonged to the Kentucky Wildcats over the last four years.

The Wildcats have welcomed all challengers and have defeated three different opponents in the four finals they've won since 2015.

For the 2019 edition of the conference tournament in Nashville, Tennessee, John Calipari's team has to get through a tough semifinal matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers just get to the final.

The top half of the bracket, headlined by regular-season champion LSU, is much easier to navigate, and there are a few teams like Auburn, South Carolina and Florida ready to make a statement with an upset win over the Tigers.

                                

SEC Tournament Bracket

                        

SEC Tournament Schedule (All Times Eastern)

Wednesday, March 13

No. 12 Missouri vs. No. 13 Georgia (7 p.m., SEC Network)

No. 11 Texas A&M vs. No. 14 Vanderbilt (9 p.m., SEC Network)

                     

Thursday, March 14

No. 8 Florida vs. No. 9 Arkansas (1 p.m., SEC Network)

No. 5 Auburn vs. Winner of Missouri vs. Georgia (3 p.m., SEC Network)

No. 7 Alabama vs. No. 10 Ole Miss (7 p.m., SEC Network)

No. 6 Mississippi State vs. Winner of Texas A&M vs. Vanderbilt (9 p.m., SEC Network)

                      

Friday, March 15

No. 1 LSU vs. Winner of Florida vs. Arkansas (1 p.m., ESPN)

No. 4 South Carolina vs. Winner of Auburn vs. Missouri/Georgia (3 p.m., ESPN)

No. 2 Kentucky vs. Winner of Alabama vs. Ole Miss (7 p.m., SEC Network)

No. 3 Tennessee vs. Winner of Mississippi State vs. Texas A&M/Vanderbilt (9 p.m., SEC Network) 

                         

Saturday, March 16

Semifinal No. 1 (1 p.m., ESPN)

Semifinal No. 2 (3 p.m., ESPN)

                    

Sunday, March 17

Championship (1 p.m., ESPN)

                        

Storylines to Watch

How Does LSU Deal with Messy Situation?

LSU is far from your typical No. 1 seed at a conference tournament.

Before their regular-season finale, Tigers head coach Will Wade was suspended and guard Javonte Smart was held out of the game because of the ongoing NCAA basketball corruption trial.

Wade was suspended Friday after a wiretap was released that allegedly caught him discussing an unspecified offer to a recruit and referring to the "Smart thing."

Yahoo's Pat Forde, Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel broke the latest news regarding Wade in the corruption scandal Thursday.

As if that weren't enough to deal with, the Tigers played Saturday's game against Vanderbilt without Naz Reid, who was dealing with injuries suffered against Florida in the penultimate regular-season contest.

Now the Tigers enter Nashville with an interim head coach and questions surrounding two of their top four scorers for much different reasons.

BILL FEIG/Associated Press

Even with only Tremont Waters, Skylar Mays and Kavell Bigby-Williams running the show, the Tigers are still a formidable force on the court.

But one has to wonder how much the off-court drama will affect them, especially with questions coming at them about the matter for most of the week.

LSU needs to be able to lock in for the quarterfinal matchup against either Florida or Arkansas, two teams that caused the Tigers trouble in the regular season.

Florida beat LSU in overtime on February 20 and then pushed the Tigers into another overtime game Wednesday, while Arkansas also split with the Tigers, with one of those contests going into the extra period.

Even if the Tigers get through to the semifinals, they'll face a tough matchup against either an Auburn team looking to correct its inconsistency or a South Carolina program flying well under the radar.

                          

Kentucky, Tennessee Hunting for No. 1 Seed

Kentucky and Tennessee aren't the No. 1 seed in Nashville, but they'll be fighting for a top seed at the NCAA tournament during the week.

The Volunteers, who are the third-seeded team going into Bridgestone Arena, currently reside on the No. 1 seed line in ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi's bracket projection, while the Wildcats are a No. 2 seed.

However, CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm has the Wildcats as a No. 1 seed and the Vols as a No. 2 seed in his most recent bracket projection.

Since both teams are teetering between the No. 1 and No. 2 seed lines, a possible rematch in Saturday's semifinals could go a long way in determining where both programs land on Selection Sunday.

Wade Payne/Associated Press

The two programs split their regular-season series, so having a head-to-head advantage for either team should help out the selection committee.

Tennessee might need the victory more than Kentucky, as it's coming off a road loss to Auburn, while Kentucky's only loss since February 16 is to the Vols.

A second win over a potential high seed might not be good enough for the Vols or Wildcats, depending on what happens over in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the ACC tournament, so a championship victory over LSU the day after a semifinal triumph might be needed to lock up a top seed.

                                 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

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