Source: Andy Lyons / Getty Images North America

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.

To play this tournament at FanPicks…click here

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)

Tennessee +200

Auburn +400

LSU +450

Mississippi State +1200

Florida +1400

Ole Miss +4000

Alabama +6600

Arkansas +6600

South Carolina +6600

Missouri +10000

Texas A&M +10000

Georgia +15000

Vanderbilt +30000

 

Predictions

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.

Winner: Kentucky

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.

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured: Smokey (Volunteers Mascot)
Source: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images North America

Preview: Tennessee at Ole Miss

Seventh-ranked Tennessee looks to keep pace in its quest for the SEC regular-season title, after losing twice in the last three games, when they pay a visit to dangerous Ole Miss on Wednesday night. The Volunteers were routed at No. 4 Kentucky and lost in overtime at No. 14 LSU on consecutive Saturdays to fall into a tie with those two for first place in the league to start the week.

To play this game at FanPicks…click here

Tennessee had a two-point lead in the final seconds of overtime at LSU before giving up a rebound basket and fouling with less than one second remaining after missing a 3-pointer to lose 82-80 on Saturday. “When we don’t execute the way I think we need to, you learn from it, and we need to look at the things that we need to do to continue to get better,” Volunteers coach Rick Barnes told reporters. “We know we are going to be in games like this the rest of the way. … We have got to make sure we know how to handle situations, and we have to do a better job obviously.” The Rebels have won five of their last six games but don’t own a win over a team currently ranked this season, so beating Tennessee would help impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee. “They’ve got great character, depth and physicality that you’ll have to match,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis told reporters of the Volunteers. “Our guards are going to have to be terrific in the game. I know this, this place will be rocking on (Wednesday).”

TV: 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network

ABOUT TENNESSEE (24-3, 12-2, SEC): Barnes would like to see a few changes on offense, telling reporters: “Our guards do need to get fouled more. The only way they are going to do that is being more aggressive attacking the basket as opposed to settling for jump shots.” Junior forward Grant Williams tops the team in scoring (19.0) and rebounding (7.6) while senior guard Admiral Schofield adds 16.9 points per game after scoring 27 at LSU. Junior point guard Jordan Bone runs the show, averaging a team-high 6.3 assists, and is 17-of-30 from the field over the last three contests.

ABOUT OLE MISS (19-8, 9-5): Junior guard Breein Tyree leads the team in scoring (18.4) on 48 percent shooting from the field and is averaging 21.1 over the past nine games. Senior guard Terence Davis does a little bit of everything, scoring 15.6 per contest while leading the team in rebounds (5.9) and assists (3.4). Sophomore guard Devontae Shuler is averaging 12.8 points the last four games after scoring 16 on Saturday in a win over Georgia to push his season mark to 9.8 with a team-high 1.8 steals.

TIP-INS

1. Davis needs two made 3-pointers to pass Jason Harrison (163) for seventh on the Rebels’ all-time list.

2. Tennessee junior Gs Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner are a combined 12-of-51 from the field the last three games.

3. Ole Miss senior F Bruce Stevens managed nine points combined the last two games after matching his season high with 17 versus Missouri.

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Source: Tom Pennington / Getty Images North America

Preview: South Carolina at Tennessee

Tennessee puts its No. 1 ranking – and its program-record 18-game winning streak – on the line when it hosts South Carolina for an SEC matchup on Wednesday. The Volunteers have matched the best start to conference play in school history by winning their first 10 SEC games, including eight by double digits.

To play this game at FanPicks…click here

That includes a 92-70 rout of the Gamecocks at South Carolina on Jan. 29 in which Tennessee shot 56.3 percent. The Gamecocks have been much better defensively in their three games since and held Arkansas to 38.6 percent from the field in a 77-65 home win on Saturday. South Carolina remains one of the biggest surprises in SEC play, sitting fourth in the league standings after a disappointing non-conference slate. The Vols have won 22 straight at home dating to last season, the second-longest active streak in the nation.

TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network

ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (12-11, 7-3 SEC): Coach Frank Martin’s teams typically are known for their defensive prowess, but this year’s squad has broken the mold a bit and ranks higher in offensive efficiency than defensive efficiency. The Gamecocks have developed a strong one-two punch at the offensive end with Chris Silva (13.7 points, seven rebounds) and freshman guard A.J. Lawson (13.7 points). Hassani Gravett (10.7 points) also has emerged as a scoring threat, shooting 40 percent from 3-point range.

ABOUT TENNESSEE (22-1, 10-0): The Vols are one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country and shoot 51.6 percent from the field, which ranks second in the nation. They also limit their mistakes as their 10.6 turnovers per game are the fewest in the SEC, which is a testament to point guard Jordan Bone (13.3 points, 6.6 assists). Bone has plenty with which to work, including star forward Grant Williams (19.9 points, 7.3 rebounds) and versatile swingman Admiral Schofield (16.5, 6.3).

TIP-INS

1. Tennessee has scored 40 or more points in the paint in 14 games this season, including five of its last seven.

2. South Carolina is 1-13 all-time against top-ranked teams, with the win coming at home against Kentucky in 2010.

3. The Vols are 16-0 when they shoot 50 percent or better from the field.

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured: Quinndary Weatherspoon
Source: Scott Halleran / Getty Image North America

Preview: Louisiana State at Mississippi State

After having its 10-game winning streak and perfect record in the Southeastern Conference halted, No. 22 Louisiana State looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the second time this season when it visits No. 21 Mississippi State on Wednesday night. The Tigers dropped a one-point decision to Arkansas to deny their bid for their first 8-0 start in SEC play since 1981.

To play this game at FanPicks…click here

LSU committed a season-high 21 turnovers in Saturday’s 90-89 setback and coach Will Wade knows his team must play better at Mississippi State, one of three road games in the next four. “They’re a very, very good team and I know the atmosphere will be good Wednesday night,” Wade said. “It will be probably the toughest road game we’ve had to this point. We’re going to need to play very, very, very well.” The Bulldogs went 3-2 during a five-game stretch in which they played four times on the road after winning at Mississippi 81-75 behind 27 points from Quinndary Weatherspoon. Mississippi State owns a 10-1 record at home but will face consecutive rugged tests against LSU and No. 5 Kentucky on Saturday.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2

ABOUT LSU (17-4, 7-1 SEC): Sophomore Tremont Waters, who leads the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game and pumped in a season-high 36 in a win over Texas A&M on Jan. 30, was among 10 players nominated for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard. Waters is averaging 6.0 assists, handing out at least 10 on four occasions, and has registered an SEC-leading 3.0 steals per game. Freshman sensation Naz Reid, projected to be a high pick in this year’s NBA Draft, snapped out of a two-game shooting slump with his second double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds versus the Razorbacks.

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (16-5, 4-4): Reggie Perry is coming on strong in his first season with the Bulldogs, earning SEC freshman of the week honors after scoring 18 points at Alabama and following it up with a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds at Ole Miss. “My confidence has been up pretty much since we started (the SEC schedule),” Perry said after Saturday’s game. “My teammates have done a good job of getting me in the right positions and keeping me motivated.” Leading scorer Weatherspoon averaged 20.8 points over the past five games on 53.1 percent shooting (34 of 64).

TIP-INS

1. Mississippi State has won 14 in a row when Weatherspoon scores 20 points.

2. Waters has scored in double figures in 12 consecutive games.

3. Bulldogs G Lamar Peters, averaging 12.9 points, scored 24 against LSU in last season’s SEC tournament.

Download the FanPicks Fantasy App. Click on the links below.

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks