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In the SEC Conference tournament, the Tennessee Vols will be the team to beat. Tennessee is 26-3 overall as of this writing on March 5th, and 12-2 in conference play. Their two conference losses came at the hands of Vanderbilt and Kentucky and both of those losses were on the road. They even managed to go into Memphis and knock of the Tigers this year. If you don't have the Vols among your top picks to win the SEC Tournament, you're head may not be screwed on properly.
We need to try and come up with a few more picks in the SEC to potentially pull an upset or two and give the Vols a run for their money. When doing so, we want to look for some teams that can play well on the road against strong competition. For example, some teams were able to stay close with the Vols at home. Heck, last place Georgia came within 3 points. But no only two teams were able to stay close when playing the Vols at Tennessee and that was Kentucky and Mississippi. Mississippi did it early on, but Kentucky came within 3 on March 2nd, and beat the Vols in Kentucky back in January. So add Kentucky to our list of potential upset picks. They can play with Tennessee and can beat them on a neutral floor. They are also 8-2 their last 10 games straight up and against the pointspread.
Vanderbilt and Mississippi State have some momentum right now. Both are 4-1 over their last 5 games with Vandy being 4-1 against the spread as well. We always want to look for hot teams when looking for upset picks. We also want to take a look at the teams that are cold right now. The pretenders if you will. How about the Florida Gators. There was lots of NCAA Tournament talk surrounding the Gators. Back on January 27th they were 18-3 but everyone knew they had to finish strong because the Gators had an incredibly weak non conference schedule. Well, they were pretty much exposed down the stretch. Since being 18-3 on the 27th of January, they have dropped 5 of 8 games. Florida is a big time pretender.
Arkansas is another team that is perhaps not cut out to be added to our upset picks list. They are playing just .500 ball their last 10 games and are 0-5 on the road during that stretch. Matter of fact they have won just 3 times on the road all season. Remember, ultimately we are looking for teams that play well when taken out of the comfort of their home surroundings.
Below is a chart reflecting the last 7 games of each SEC team. The chart is courtesy of the Winpicks software from MicroBrothers. It gives us a quick look at how teams are playing right now. At quick glance, we see that Vandy is the hottest pointspread team at 6-1 ATS while Arkansas is the coldest at 1-6 ATS.
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2008 SEC Men's Basketball
First Round - Thursday, March 13
G1 Western Div. #4 vs. Eastern Div. #5 1:00 p.m.
G2 Eastern Div. #3 vs. Western Div. #6 3:15 p.m.
G3 Eastern Div. #4 vs. Western Div. #5 7:30 p.m.
G4 Western Div. #3 vs. Eastern Div. #6 9:45 p.m.
Second Round - Friday, March 14
G5 Game 1 Winner vs. Eastern Div. #1 1:00 p.m.
G6 Game 2 Winner vs. Western Div. #2 3:15 p.m.
G7 Game 3 Winner vs. Western Div. #1 7:30 p.m.
G8 Game 4 Winner vs. Eastern Div. #2 9:45 p.m.
Semifinals - Saturday, March 15
G9 Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner 1:00 p.m.
G10 Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner 3:15 p.m.
Finals - Sunday, March 16
G11 Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner 1:00 p.m.
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