SEC Tournament 2021: Schedule and Bracket Predictions for Conference Tourney

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 5, 2021

Arkansas guard Moses Moody (5) looks for a rebound against South Carolina guard AJ Lawson (00) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. Arkansas won 101-73. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Sean Rayford/Associated Press

The SEC men's basketball regular season has had a football feel to it, with the Alabama Crimson Tide on top for most of the winter.

Nate Oats' high-scoring Crimson Tide head into Nashville as the No. 1 seed, but the team on the opposite end of the bracket could enter the NCAA men's basketball tournament with a conference tournament crown.

The Arkansas Razorbacks are one of the hottest teams in Division I, and they have a chance to upset Alabama's season-long reign atop the conference.

The remaining seeds will be determined throughout the final few days of regular-season play, and there are plenty of situations in play.

Six teams beneath Alabama and Arkansas have eight, nine or 10 SEC victories, while two more programs have seven conference triumphs.

Some of the squads in that collection need to pull off miraculous runs in Nashville to enter the field of 68. With the way SEC play has gone this season, it would not be a surprise to see a team win four games in a row to snatch an automatic bid.


SEC Tournament Schedule

Wednesday, March 10: First Round (7 p.m., SEC Network)

Thursday, March 11: Second Round (Noon, 2 p.m., 7 p.m., 9 p.m., SEC Network)

Friday, March 12: Quarterfinals (Noon, 2 p.m. on ESPN; 7 p.m., 9 p.m. on SEC Network)

Saturday, March 13: Semifinals (1 p.m. and 3 p.m., ESPN)

Sunday, March 14: Championship (1 p.m., ESPN)

All Times ET.


Bracket Predictions

Arkansas Wins SEC Tournament

Michael Woods/Associated Press

Eric Musselman's coaching impact is starting to be felt at the top of the SEC.

The 56-year-old earned the Arkansas job by leading the Nevada Wolf Pack to three consecutive men's NCAA tournament bids, a 2017 Mountain West tournament victory and a Sweet 16 berth in 2018.

Musselman knows what it takes to win in March, and he has the Razorbacks playing the most consistent basketball in the SEC. The conference's second-ranked team has not lost since January 30, and its best win from that seven-game stretch was at home over Alabama.

In that contest, the Razorbacks restricted the Crimson Tide to 66 points and won by 15 points despite shooting 28 percent from three-point range. If Arkansas improves its three-point shooting in a potential championship game against Alabama, it could storm into the Big Dance with a wave of momentum behind it.

Musselman built his roster through a combination of transfers and high-profile recruits. The group is led by freshman Moses Moody, who averages 17 points per game and eclipsed the 20-point mark in two of his past three games.

If Moody continues to score at a high level, the supporting cast will only have to knock down a few shots each to push the Razorbacks to victories.

JD Notae, Justin Smith and Jalen Tate all average more than 10 points per game, and four players who have appeared in more than 20 games shoot 35 percent or better from three-point range.

Arkansas' fast pace and effectiveness from beyond the arc make it hard for any team to stop, and it has played better defense of late. Each of its past four opponents were held to a maximum of 75 points.

If the Razorbacks outscore all of their foes in Nashville and lock down opposing shooters for a few minutes in each half, they could cruise to the league's automatic bid.


Ole Miss Makes Push Toward NCAA Tournament Bubble

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Ole Miss could not have asked for a better way to boost its confidence ahead of the SEC tournament.

The Rebels face the last-place Vanderbilt Commodores at home Saturday, and a win should help them avoid Arkansas in the SEC tournament bracket.

Ole Miss is seventh in the league standings, but there is a path toward a higher seed in Nashville.

The third through sixth teams in the SEC play each other Saturday and Sunday. The LSU Tigers make a trip to play the Missouri Tigers, while the Florida Gators take on the Tennessee Volunteers. The result Ole Miss needs the most is a Missouri loss to LSU, which would drop the Tigers' winning percentage to .500. The Rebels would be 10-8 in league play with a win over Vanderbilt.

If Kermit Davis' team lands in the No. 6 seed and advances to the semifinals, it would bolster its resume for the selection committee to consider it more seriously.

On Thursday, ESPN's Joe Lunardi listed Ole Miss on the "next four out" line, but there is room for improvement since the Duke Blue Devils and Syracuse Orange could be knocked out of the ACC tournament early.

Since the start of February, Ole Miss has beaten all three of its ranked opponents, and it could avenge its poor loss to Vanderbilt on February 27 by beating the Commodores on Saturday.

Were LSU to beat Missouri and move up Ole Miss to the No. 6 seed, the Rebels would have a shot at the Tigers in the quarterfinals. The regular-season contest between the programs was cancelled.

If Ole Miss beats a surefire NCAA tournament team and plays tight against Arkansas, it could do enough to convince the committee to put it into the field of 68.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.