In & around SEC men’s basketball

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Alabama week in review

The Crimson Tide finished the regular season with a 61-60 road win over Texas A&M. Alabama improved to 18-13 overall, and 8-10 in league play. Due to the win, Alabama earned the No. 9 seed in the SEC Tournament this week. The Crimson Tide plays Florida in the second round. If UA wins, it will meet Kentucky in the quarterfinals. 

Auburn week in review 

The Tigers ended the regular season with a close home loss to Georgia. Auburn entered the SEC Tournament as the 13-seed and played 12-seed Mississippi State in the first round on Wednesday (Mar. 11). Despite a slow start, the Tigers knocked off the Bulldogs, 74-68, to advance to the second round against Texas A&M. Auburn currently is 13-19 overall, and 4-14 in conference play. 

SEC men’s basketball rankings 

1. Kentucky (31-0, 18-0)

2. Arkansas (24-7, 13-5)

3. LSU (22-9, 11-7)

4. Ole Miss (20-11, 11-7)

5. Georgia (20-10, 11-7)

6. Texas A&M (20-10, 11-7)

7. Vanderbilt (19-12, 9-9)

8. Florida (15-16, 8-10)

9. Alabama (18-13, 8-10)

10. South Carolina (16-15, 6-12)

11. Tennessee (15-15, 7-11)

12. Auburn (13-19, 4-14)

13. MSU (13-19, 6-12)

14. Missouri (9-23, 3-15)

SEC Tournament Preview 

The biggest storyline for the SEC Tournament – and all of college basketball – is Kentucky’s pursuit of perfection. The Wildcats are aiming to become the first college basketball team to finish the season undefeated since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. Kentucky possesses more talent than any other team, and John Calipari found a way to balance the minutes of nine different players. Calipari is known for re-cruiting players with the premise that they will only be in college for one season. 

However, this Kentucky squad features several players who have been in Calipari’s system for multiple seasons. Center Willie Cauley-Stein is a junior, and his development into an elite defense presence has been vital to the Wildcats’ success this season. 

Twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison have improved in their sophomore season. The only freshman on the team that will likely be a top five pick next season is forward Karl Anthony-Towns. 

Outside of Kentucky, a handful of SEC teams will likely make the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas is definitely in the field as an at-large. Georgia, LSU, and Ole Miss should also make the tournament, although none of those teams have much room for error. 

After a couple of losses down the stretch, Texas A&M might be on the outside looking in. Either way, the Aggies probably need to win at least two SEC Tournament games to feel good about their chan-ces.

Vanderbilt has been one of the hottest teams in the country down the stretch. However, the Commodores are a long shot to receive an at-large bid. They probably will not win the SEC championship because it is unlikely anyone beats Kentucky. If Vanderbilt makes the finals, however, the Nashville squad might have an outside chance of sneaking into the field. 

SEC Championship Prediction

Kentucky over Vanderbilt

 

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