In & around SEC men’s basketball

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

SEC Tournament Recap

Florida Gators defeated Kentucky, 61-60, in the SEC Tournament championship game last Sunday (Mar. 16) in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome. Florida head coach Billy Donovan captured his fourth tournament championship, his first since 2007. Including the regular season, Florida finished 21-0 in the SEC.

The Gators defeated Missouri and Tennessee to reach the championship game. Kentucky knocked off LSU in the quarterfinals and Georgia in the semifinals.

Defending tournament champion Ole Miss lost to Georgia in the quarterfinals. Alabama was knocked out of the tournament in its opening game against LSU. The Crimson Tide finished the season 13-19. 

NCAA Tournament

Only three teams from the Southeastern Conference received bids to the NCAA tournament. Florida, who won both the regular season and tournament championship, received the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed. The Gators are in the South Region, which also includes Kansas, Syracuse, UCLA, VCU and Ohio State. Florida faces Albany in its opening game. If the Gators win, they play the winner of Pittsburgh and Colorado.

Kentucky also received a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats are the eighth seed in the Midwest Region and take on Kansas State in the opening round. The winner of that game likely plays undefeated Wichita State in the second round. The Wildcats are in the same region as Louisville, Duke, Michigan and former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried’s N.C. State Wolfpack.

Tennessee earned the last bid for the conference. The Volunteers were one of the last four teams to make the field and received an 11th seed in the Midwest Region. In the First Four in Dayton, Tennessee faced the Iowa Hawkeyes. Despite a slow start, the Vols stormed back to force overtime. Cuonzo Martin’s team dominated in the extra session, outscoring the Hawkeyes 14-1 to win the game 78-65. Tennessee faces sixth-seeded Massachusetts in the round of 64. If they win, the Vols play the winner of Duke and Mercer. 

NCAA First Weekend Predictions

South Region

No. 1 Florida over No. 16 Albany

No. 9 Pittsburgh over No. 8 Colorado 

No. 1 Florida over No. 9 Pittsburgh 

Sweet 16: No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 UCLA; No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 7 New Mexico. 

Midwest Region

No. 8 Kentucky over No. 9 Kansas State

No. 1 Wichita State over No. 16 Cal Poly 

No. 11 Tennessee over No. 6 UMass

No. 3 Duke over No. 14 Mercer

No. 1 Wichita State over No. 8 Kentucky

No. 3 Duke over No. 11 Tennessee

Sweet 16: No. 1 Wichita State vs. No. 4 Louisville; No. 3 Duke vs. No. 2 Mi-chigan. 

East Region

Sweet 16: No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Michigan State; No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 3 Iowa State.

West Region

Sweet 16: No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 4 San Diego State; No. 22 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Creighton. 

NIT

Four SEC teams made the National Invitation Tournament. Missouri and Georgia received No. 2 seeds, Arkansas earned a No. 3 seed and LSU was given a No. 5 seed. In the first round, Missouri knocked off Davidson 85-77. The Tigers play Southern Miss in the second round. Georgia defeated Vermont 63-56, and face Louisiana Tech in the next round. Arkansas easily handled Indiana State, 91-71, and takes on California in the second round. Finally, LSU defeated San Francisco on the road, 71-63. The Tigers travel to Dallas to take on SMU in their next game.

 
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