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SEC Conference Tournament
Preview - Picks - Current Odds
The Southeastern Conference isn’t just for football schools. The SEC is very strong in basketball this year and several teams have a shot at getting a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky and Tennessee are highly thought of and will be rewarded with a high seed. Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Florida are all strong teams. The Kentucky Wildcats will be a big favorite and they will guarantee themselves a #1 seed in the Big Dance with a solid showing in the SEC Tournament. Tennessee and Vanderbilt can strengthen their profiles if they are able to take the top honors.
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Kentucky Wildcats - It’s amazing the difference a new coach and a team full of top recruits can make. Just one year ago Kentucky missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 18 years. They now found themselves in the top 5 of the rankings. Freshman G John Wall is a large part of the reason. He averages 17.0 PPG and 6.2 APG. Although this is his first year in the NCAA, he plays like a senior. Fellow freshman Demarcus Cousins is also pivotal for the Wildcats. He puts up 15.9 PPG while grabbing 10.1 RPG. Senior Patrick Patterson is also instrumental with 15.0 PPG. The Wildcats have lost just twice this year and they own victories over Connecticut, Florida, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee. They aren’t going to cruise through this SEC Tournament, but they are certainly the team to beat.
Vanderbilt Commodores - This is a very balanced team with four players getting over 10 PPG and three of them getting just under 14 PPG. They own wins over Missouri, Florida (twice), and Tennessee. Junior C A.J. Ogilvy will be called upon to steady the Commodores. He put up 25 on Missouri and he is an imposing force in the paint at 6’ 11”. Vandy has come on strong in the second half of the year, but they will probably have to get through UK to win this tournament. That is something failed to do twice in the regular season.
Tennessee Volunteers - This is the “now” team in the SEC. They are hot off a victory over Kentucky and could parlay that momentum into a win in this SEC Championship. Senior Wayne Chism has come on strong for the Vols. He dropped a 30 point bomb in a 79-53 win over South Carolina. Scotty Hopson, Tyler Smith, Bobby Maze, and J.P. Prince are also key parts of this team. The Volunteers are really coming together and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Florida Gators - Winners of the 2006 & 2007 NCAA Tournaments, the Gators may be in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year. The Gators started the year 8-0, but weren’t able to keep winning consistently. They have wins over Michigan State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Tennessee. When Billy Donavan’s squad is playing their best ball they can keep up with anyone. They have 5 players getting 10+ PPG. Anything is possible for this Gators team, but one thing is for sure. They NEED to have a strong showing in this SEC Tournament to have a chance to make the Big Dance.
Ole Miss and Mississippi are both fringe contenders in this tournament. They have stumbled in the second half of the year. Taking the top honors would be a lot to ask of either team. South Carolina is a nice long shot candidate. They are powered by G Devan Downey who guaranteed a win over UK and came through on that promise. If he gets hot and the team gets a little luck who knows how far they can go. Our pick will be the Tennessee Volunteers. They are playing well right now and have something to prove after playing second fiddle to UK all year.
Current Odds to Win SEC Tournament
Miss St 7/1
Ole Miss 12/1
South Carolina 15/1
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