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NCAAB: SEC Tournament preview

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March 9th, 2020

The time has finally come. It is every basketball fan’s favorite time of year. The NCAA tournament is just around the corner, but before the Big Dance starts, we get a little taste of the madness with the conference tournaments.

I grew up in Kentucky, so the SEC Tournament has always been the focal point for me. It tips off Wednesday in Nashville, for what will be a nice distraction from the real-world woes facing the city over the past few weeks.

Let's break down the tournament and separate the teams into three categories—no chance, pretenders, and contenders. This should give us a good idea about which team will give us the best value as the SEC Tournament winner.

SEC Tournament Winner

TeamOdds
Kentucky Wildcats
+200
Auburn Tigers
+300
LSU Tigers
+500
Florida Gators
+525
Mississippi State
+1500
Tennessee Volunteers
+2000
South Carolina Gamecocks
+3500
Arkansas Razorbacks
+3800
Alabama Crimson Tide
+3800
Texas A&M Aggies
+10000
Ole Miss Rebels
+10000
Georgia Bulldogs
+11000
Missouri Tigers
+15000
Vanderbilt Commodores
+20000

No chance

These four teams are not even worth entertaining as a possibility or an explanation.

  • Vanderbilt Commodores
  • Georgia Bulldogs
  • Ole Miss Rebels
  • Missouri Tigers

Pretenders

Alabama Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide has a tough road. Starting with Tennessee, which defeated Alabama by a point in Tuscaloosa, the Tide would have to face Kentucky. The Wildcats defeated Alabama by nine points back when Kentucky was going through some struggles.

Tennessee Volunteers

The Vols are too inconsistent to put together a four-game run against tough competition. They have not won more than two games in a row since the early season, when they started 5-0 against much weaker competition.

South Carolina Gamecocks

The Gamecocks would have been a contender if this were written three weeks ago. However, they fell apart at the end of the regular season. They lost four of their final six games, and one of the two wins was an overtime win over a terrible Georgia squad.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Bulldogs also struggle with inconsistency. The good news is they have the two byes before they have to play Friday. The bad news is that they likely have to face Florida in that first game. Even if they get that victory, they Kentucky would likely be next. I can't see this team making it through that.

Contenders

Arkansas Razorbacks

I know it is crazy that I have a team with two byes in the pretenders category, and I have a team with no bye listed as a contender.

This team has some terrible losses but also has the makings of a dark horse that can make a run because of one player—Mason Jones. He has averaged more than 32 points per game in his last four games. Teams with the best player have a history of success in tournament formats.

Watch out for the Razorbacks.

Texas A&M Aggies

The Aggies have been the surprise of the SEC this year. They were projected to finish 13th during the preseason but managed to finish as the seventh seed. They have also won five of their last seven games. A&M swept Missouri in the regular season and just recently defeated Auburn. Those are the first two teams the Aggies would have to defeat in the tournament.

If the Aggies get through those two games, anything can happen in the semifinals and final. You can get these guys at +10000!

LSU Tigers

LSU fell apart at the tail end of the season, but the remnants of a national contender are still there. The Tigers will start with either South Carolina or Arkansas. If their road to a title is Arkansas, Auburn, and Kentucky, you are looking at a revenge tour against three teams they lost to by a combined 13 points.

Florida Gators

The Gators dropped to the No. 5 seed after their collapse Saturday against Kentucky. However, it gave them a rather easy road to the semifinals. If the Gators get Kentucky in the semifinals, it will be difficult for the Wildcats to defeat them for a third time. Florida has a solid road to the finals if Kerry Blackshear is healthy.

Auburn Tigers

The Tigers had some disappointing losses in February and early March, but they typically bring their best in big games. They will likely need to start it off with a revenge game over Texas A&M, and then another big game with LSU. They could finish it off with a third game against Kentucky that they were able to win last year, in a similar situation—the Elite Eight.

Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats are the hottest team in the conference and one of the hottest teams in the nation. A collapse at home to Tennessee was followed up by an amazing comeback at Florida without two of Kentucky's best players for all or most of the game. If the Wildcats are at full strength, they will be extremely tough to beat in Nashville, which will be a home environment for them.

The Pick

Kentucky is my favorite to win the tournament, given its talent and recent surge. The Wildcats also own this tournament. They won four straight SEC Tournament titles, before a loss last year to Tennessee in the semifinals. If I am just picking a team without looking at odds, I love the Wildcats to take the tournament.

However, we are looking at the odds. That is why I love Florida at +525. The Gators should easily handle their first game, against Ole Miss or Georgia, and then follow that up with a win over Mississippi State. They will then get revenge against Kentucky and follow it up with a title-game victory over LSU.


The madness is just beginning. Check out all of our college basketball betting options at. BetAmerica!

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