In & around SEC basketball


By Cole Frederick/Staff Correspondent
SEC Tournament Review
The Kentucky Wildcats won the Southeastern Conference in the regular season and followed that up with their 31st tournament championship. The Wildcats defeated Arkansas 82-65 in the SEC championship game and knocked off Alabama in the semifinals and Georgia in the quarterfinals.
UK point guard De’Aaron Fox was named Tournament MVP after he scored 18 points in the title game. Guard Malik Monk and center Bam Adebayo each scored 17 points in the win over the Razorbacks. Arkansas’ path to the title game included wins over Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.
Alabama made a strong showing in the tournament. The Crimson Tide dominated Mississippi State 75-55, and followed that up with a win over South Carolina. Alabama played well in the semifinal loss to Kentucky but came up just short in a 79-74 loss.
Auburn’s stay in the SEC Tournament was cut short in a loss to Missouri. Auburn led for most of the second half but Missouri stormed back to tie the game late and sent the contest into overtime. Auburn’s season finished at 18-14.
NCAA Tournament Preview
Five SEC teams made the NCAA Tournament – Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas and Vanderbilt. The Wildcats earned a No. 2 seed, the Gators a No. 4 seed, South Carolina a No. 7 seed, Arkansas a No. 8 seed and Vanderbilt a No. 9 seed.
Kentucky faces Northern Kentucky in its first game and will play the winner of Wichita State and Dayton if the Wildcats win.
Florida plays East Tennessee State. If the Gators win, they will play the winner of Virginia and UNC-Wilmington. UF coach Mike White will make his first appearance as a head coach in the NCAA Tournament.
South Carolina plays Marquette and will face either Duke or Troy with a win. The Gamecocks earned their first bid since 2004.
Arkansas is making its second bid in the last three seasons. The Razorbacks take on Seton Hall in their opening game. If they Hogs win, they likely will play North Carolina in the second round.
Vanderbilt became the first team to ever receive an at-large bid to the tournament with 15 losses. The Commodores made the tourney in Bryce Drew’s first season as head coach. The Commodores take on Northwestern and likely will play Gonzaga if they move on to the next round.
NIT Tournament
Three SEC teams made the National Invitational Tournament and two were eliminated in the first round. Alabama lost at home to Richmond to finish the year at 19-15, while Georgia dropped a home game to Belmont. The Bulldogs also finished 19-15. Ole Miss went on the road and defeated Monmouth, 91-83. The Rebels play Syracuse on the road in the second round of the tournament.

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