Tag: SEC Championship
SEC Tournament 2019
It’s been a strong season for SEC basketball, and some of the top teams in the country will be on display in the conference’s tournament this week.
The SEC tournament is back in Nashville this year, beginning on Wednesday, after it was held in St. Louis last season. The tourney is taking place at Bridgestone Arena, which hosted it from 2015-17.
Last year, no SEC teams were in the top 10 in the AP Top 25 poll entering the conference tournament. This season, there are three—No. 4 Kentucky, No. 8 Tennessee and No. 9 LSU. Auburn is also ranked at No. 22.
All 14 SEC teams will participate in the conference tournament, with a pair of first-round matchups starting the action on Wednesday.
SEC Tournament Schedule (All Times ET)
Wednesday, March 13
No. 12 Missouri vs. No. 13 Georgia (7 p.m., SEC Network)
No. 11 Texas A&M vs. No. 14 Vanderbilt (25 minutes after end of previous game, SEC Network)
Thursday, March 14
No. 8 Florida vs. No. 9 Arkansas (1 p.m., SEC Network)
No. 5 Auburn vs. Winner of No. 12 Missouri vs. No. 13 Georgia (25 minutes after end of previous game, SEC Network)
No. 7 Ole Miss vs. No. 10 Alabama (7 p.m., SEC Network)
No. 6 Mississippi State vs. Winner of No. 11 Texas A&M vs. No. 14 Vanderbilt (25 minutes after end of previous game, SEC Network)
Friday, March 15
No. 1 LSU vs. Winner of No. 8 Florida vs. No. 9 Arkansas (1 p.m., ESPN)
No. 4 South Carolina vs. Winner of No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 12 Missouri/No. 13 Georgia (25 minutes after end of previous game, ESPN)
No. 2 Kentucky vs. Winner of No. 7 Ole Miss vs. No. 10 Alabama (7 p.m., SEC Network)
No. 3 Tennessee vs. Winner of No. 6 Mississippi State vs. No. 11 Texas A&M/No. 14 Vanderbilt (25 minutes after end of previous game, SEC Network)
Saturday, March 16
Semifinal No. 1 (1 p.m., ESPN)
Semifinal No. 2 (25 minutes after end of previous game, ESPN)
Sunday, March 17
Championship (1 p.m., ESPN)
SEC Tournament Championship Odds (Via OddsShark)
Kentucky +200 (Bet $100 to win $200)
Mississippi State +1200
Ole Miss +4000
South Carolina +6600
Texas A&M +10000
Favorites: Kentucky and Tennessee
The Wildcats and Vols have the best odds to win this year’s SEC tournament championship, and it’s quite likely the two schools will match up in the semifinal on the bottom side of the bracket.
It’s easy to see why these two teams are the favorites entering the tourney. Kentucky and Tennessee played each other in last year’s tournament championship, and both have been strong teams this season.
The Wildcats are 26-5, with three of their losses coming against strong opponents in Duke, LSU and Tennessee. The Vols are 27-4, and they won 23 of their first 24 games this season.
Kentucky and Tennessee split its season series: The Wildcats won 86-69 on Feb. 16, while the Vols got revenge with a 71-52 victory on March 2.
There’s a good chance that whichever team wins the third meeting between these two schools in the semifinal will go on to win this year’s SEC tournament championship.
Last year, the Tigers shared the SEC regular-season championship with Tennessee. But as the No. 1 seed in the conference tourney, they lost their first game, falling to Alabama in the quarterfinals.
The outside expectations aren’t quite as high for Auburn this year. The Tigers are 22-9, winning their last four games of the regular season to climb to the No. 5 seed for this year’s SEC tournament.
However, Auburn could be building momentum at the right time after beating Tennessee to end the regular season.
If the Tigers reach the final, they may have to knock off No. 1 seed LSU in the semifinal. After falling as the top seed last year, this could be Auburn’s chance to have that happen to the Tigers this season.
The Wildcats have dominated the SEC tournament in recent seasons, and that run won’t come to an end yet.
Although the conference has more strong teams than in some past years, Kentucky is still the best among the group. With head coach John Calipari at the helm, the Wildcats typically round into form around March.
That won’t be any different this year. The Wildcats will win their fifth straight SEC tournament championship and secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Preview: Alabama vs. Georgia
Top-ranked Alabama will undoubtedly be part of the four-team College Football Playoff but fourth-ranked Georgia isn’t a lock as the two squads prepare for Saturday’s SEC championship game at Atlanta. The Bulldogs can clinch a CFP spot by beating the Crimson Tide but risk being bypassed for the playoff if they should lose the contest.
The two squads met in last season’s national title game with Alabama prevailing 26-23 in overtime in what was the coming out party for Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who came off the bench to throw three touchdown passes. “He can sit in the pocket and make every throw,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said during a press conference. “He’s very confident, and he’s got a presence about him in the pocket. He doesn’t fear rush; if he’s got guys bearing down on him, he sidesteps and gets the ball out, and that’s what makes him very special.” Alabama has been dominant all season but coach Nick Saban is very wary of Smart – his former defensive coordinator – and the Bulldogs. “Georgia is one of the most complete teams in the country,” Saban said at a press conference. “I think Kirby’s done a fantastic job there in terms of taking the players that were there and developing them in the style that he wants and doing a great job of recruiting to get new players to come and buy into their system. This is going to be the biggest challenge we’ve had to date.”
TV: 4 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Alabama -13.5
ABOUT ALABAMA (12-0, 8-0 SEC): Tagovailoa has thrown a school-record 36 touchdown passes against two interceptions and the sophomore fuels an offense averaging 49 points per game. Jerry Jeudy is enjoying a standout season with 56 receptions for 1,079 and 11 touchdowns while fellow sophomore receiver DeVonta Smith (27 receptions) will forever be remembered in Alabama lore for catching the game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass in the national championship game. The Crimson Tide give up an average of 13.8 points with sophomore nose guard Quinnen Williams recording a team-leading 16 tackles for loss and senior defensive end Isaiah Buggs notching a team-best 9.5 sacks.
ABOUT GEORGIA (11-1, 7-1): Sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm was intercepted twice in last season’s title game but has been picked off just five times this season while passing for 2,236 yards and 24 touchdowns. The attack that produces an average of 40.1 points per game also relies on two standout running backs in sophomore D’Andre Swift (962 yards, nine touchdowns) and junior Elijah Holyfield (896 yards, seven scores). The defense allows an average of 17.2 points with senior linebacker D’Andre Walker (team-high 6.5 sacks) and sophomore safety Richard LeCounte (team-leading 64 tackles) among the standouts.
1. Alabama has won the past four meetings.
2. Bulldogs junior WR Mecole Hardman leads the SEC with a 21.8 average on punt returns – he has one touchdown – and also averages 26.2 yards on kickoff returns.
3. Crimson Tide junior LB Terrell Lewis (knee) returned to practice from summer surgery and his availability will be determined later in the week.
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SEC Championship Preview
Alabama Crimson Tide vs Florida Gators
Top-ranked Alabama has such a cushion in the College Football Playoff rankings that it will qualify for the four-team national championship competition even if it should lose to No. 16 Florida in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game at Atlanta (Enter Contest). Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban grows irate at such a suggestion and is fully focused on guiding the squad to its third consecutive conference crown.
Alabama, which has won 24 consecutive games, is the only undefeated team from a major conference and is considered a shoo-in to be part of the playoff. But it would still be huge upset if the Gators were to win the game. Coach Jim McElwain was a former Alabama offensive coordinator and a win against them would definitely taste good for him. This is the ninth time Alabama and Florida square off in the SEC title game. Both teams won four of the previous matchups.
ABOUT ALABAMA (12-0, 8-0 SEC)
Senior defensive end Jonathan Allen (seven sacks, two fumble return touchdowns) is the only defensive player among the five Walter Camp Player of the Year finalists and he is leader of a defense that ranks first nationally in scoring defense (11.4 points per game), total defense (246.8 yards per game) and rushing defense (68.7). Sophomore Marlon Humphrey (leg) is ailing but Saban feels he will recover in time to play, and the cornerback is a standout in a secondary that is receiving superb play from sophomore strong safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (team-high four interceptions). Senior outside linebacker’s Ryan Anderson (team-best 16 1/2) and Tim Williams (15) have combined for 31 1/2 tackles for losses. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts paces the offense by accounting for 32 total touchdowns (20 passing, 12 rushing) while passing for 2,425 yards and rushing for 840.
ABOUT FLORIDA (8-3, 6-2 SEC)
The Gators rank fifth in scoring defense (14.6) and sixth in total defense (291.9) but will be without six starters, including standouts such as senior linebacker Jarrad Davis (ankle), junior linebacker Alex Anzalone (arm), junior defensive end Jordan Sherit (knee) and senior safety Marcus Maye (arm). Sophomore quarterback Luke Del Rio (shoulder) will be available only in an emergency so senior Austin Appleby (964 yards, six touchdowns, two interceptions) will again be under center for an offense averaging just 16.3 points in his last three starts. Sophomore running back Jordan Scarlett has rushed for 778 yards and six touchdowns, while junior cornerback Teez Tabor has a team-best four interceptions. Wideout Antonio Callaway leads the squad with 43 receptions and 603 yards, but the second of his two receiving scores came on September 10th.