In & around SEC basketball

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Alabama Week 10 Review

The Crimson Tide en-ded the regular season with back-to-back losses to Arkansas and Georgia, and Alabama’s NCAA Tournament chances took a serious hit with those defeats. At 17-13 overall and 8-10 in conference play, Alabama likely must at least make the SEC Tour-nament championship game to have a chance for an at-large bid. Alabama plays Ole Miss in the second round of the conference tournament, with the winner of that game facing Kentucky in the quarterfinals. 

Auburn Week 10 Review

Auburn’s season came to a close with a humiliating 97-59 loss to Tennessee in the SEC Tournament. The Tigers finished the year at 11-20 overall, the worst season of Bruce Pearl’s coaching career. Despite the bad record, Auburn did knock off Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia and UAB this season. Those wins, however, were overshadowed by numerous dou-ble-digit losses. Pearl has a good recruiting class coming in, though, and next year will be a pivotal season for the Tigers. 

SEC rankings

1. Kentucky (23-8, 13-5)

2. Texas A&M (24-7, 13-5)

3. Vanderbilt (19-12, 11-7)

4. South Carolina (23-6, 10-6)

5. LSU (18-13, 11-7)

6. Ole Miss (20-11, 10-8)

7. Florida (18-13, 9-9)

8. Georgia (17-12, 10-8)

9. Arkansas (16-15, 9-9)

10. Alabama (17-13, 8-10)

11. Mississippi State (14-16, 7-11)

12. Tennessee (14-18, 6-12)

13. Auburn (11-20, 5-13)

14. Missouri (10-21, 3-15)

SEC Tournament Preview 

Week 10: 7-0; season: 73-34

Several teams are on the NCAA bubble entering the SEC Tournament, and there probably aren’t many spots available for those squads. Kentucky, Texas A&M and South Carolina are all solidly in the NCAA Tournament field at this point, while Vanderbilt likely only needs one win to secure a bid. However, teams like Florida, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, and Ole Miss have a lot of work to do if they want a chance to make the Big Dance. 

Florida has the best chance of those teams to sneak into the field. The Gators certainly need to beat both Arkansas and Texas A&M, and might even need to reach the tournament championship game to seal the deal. 

Several mid-majors such as Wichita State, Monmouth, St. Mary’s and Valparaiso lost in their respective conference tournaments, and there’s a chance that the bubble shrunk. LSU, Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss all have considerable work to do in Nashville, and all four teams might have to win the tournament outright to make the field. 

Texas A&M is the top overall seed, but Kentucky remains the favorite to win the SEC Tournament. The Wildcats are loaded with talent and led by SEC Player of the Year Tyler Ulis. Ulis runs the point as well as any John Calipari point guard since John Wall and has the Wildcats poised to make another run this March. 

One other team that has been playing well down the stretch is Vanderbilt. The Commodores looked to be on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament in late January, but they’ve played as well as any team in the conference in the last few weeks. 

SEC Tournament championship game prediction: Kentucky over Vanderbilt

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