In & around SEC mens basketball - NCAA Tournament

 Only three Southeastern Conference teams made the NCAA Tournament, but all three teams advanced to the Sweet 16. At 7-0, the SEC is the only conference remaining in the tournament that is undefeated. Along with the Big 10 and the Pac-12, the SEC has three teams left in the bracket.

Florida defeated both SUNY-Albany and Pittsburgh en route to a Sweet 16 matchup with UCLA in Memphis. Despite slow starts in both games, the Gators dominated their opponents in the second half. 

Kentucky knocked off Kansas State, 56-49, in its opening round game. The Wildcats faced undefeated Wichita State in the second round, and in a back-and-forth game, Kentucky posted a 78-76 victory. Andrew Harrison led the Wildcats with 20 points, while his brother Aaron added 19 points. Kentucky has a rematch with rival Louisville in the Sweet 16. 

Despite being one of the last four teams to make the tournament, the Tennessee Volunteers are back in the Sweet 16 for the first time in the Cuonzo Martin era. After beating Iowa in the play-in game, the Volunteers defeated Massachusetts, 86-67, in the round of 64. In the next round, Tennessee beat Mercer, 83-63. The Vols play Michigan in the Sweet 16. 

Predictions

South Region – Memphis

No. 1 Florida over No. 4 UCLA; No. 11 Dayton over No. 10 Stanford; No. 11 Florida over No. 11 Dayton. 

Midwest Region - 

Indianapolis 

No. 8 Kentucky over No. 4 Louisville; No. 2 Mich-igan over No. 11 Tennessee; No. 8 Kentucky over No. 2 Michigan.  

East Region - 

New York City 

No. 4 Michigan State over No. 1 Virginia; No. 3 Iowa State over No. 7 Connecticut; No. 4 Michigan State over No. 3 Iowa State. 

West Region – Anaheim 

No. 1 Arizona over No. 4 San Diego State; No. 2 Wisconsin over No. 6 Baylor; No. 1 Arizona over No. 2 Wisconsin. 

National Invitational Tournament

All four SEC teams in the NIT field lost in the se-cond round of the tournament. Georgia lost at home to Louisiana Tech, 79-71. The Bulldogs finished the season at 20-14. Missouri lost to Southern Miss, 71-63. The Tigers ended the year at 23-12. Arkansas and LSU both had to travel in the second round, and both teams lost by double digits. The Razorbacks lost to California, 75-64. Mike Anderson’s team finished the season at 22-12. The Tigers were defeated, 80-67, by Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs. LSU ended the season with a 20-14 record.

Auburn Hires Pearl  

Auburn’s search for a new basketball coach lasted less than a week. AU athletic director Jay Jacobs hired Bruce Pearl to a six-year, 14.7 million dollar deal. Pearl previously served as the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Tennessee. Pearl made the NCAA tournament in all six of his seasons at Tennessee, including an Elite 8 appearance and two trips to the Sweet 16. Pearl also made the Sweet 16 at Milwaukee.

 
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