March Madness is upon us, and although the Southeastern Conference is much more well-known for its prowess on the gridiron, they play a little bit of basketball as well. This year, fourteen teams will gather in the “capital of the south” for a week-long run at an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and the winner will be crowned as 2014 SEC Tournament champions.
The SEC features the current #1 team in the country in the Florida Gators, and Billy Donovan’s team ran rough shot through the competition during the regular season. In fact, Florida ran the table at 18-0 in conference play, becoming one of only a handful of teams in recent memory to accomplish that feat in a high-major conference. The Gators are a prohibitive favorite in the tournament itself, and anything short of a cruising victory would be considered a disappointment.
After Florida, the rest of the SEC is a bit of a mash-up. Kentucky entered the season with crazy expectations before swooning down the stretch and finishing with a 12-6 mark, but at the same time, they were able to hold on to the #2 seed and have multiple 1st-round NBA Draft picks on the roster. The Wildcats aren’t exactly playing their best basketball right now, but they have shown the propensity to play lights-out basketball for 20-minute periods, and that makes them dangerous.
Behind the “big two”, Georgia is the biggest surprise in the league, tying Kentucky with a 12-6 mark and finishing with the #3 seed in the tournament. However, the Bulldogs aren’t on anyone’s bubble radar based on their lack of big-time wins, and they will likely need to run the table to make the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee, as the #4 seed, presents probably the best match-up for Kentucky and Florida in terms of talent, but they have been wildly inconsistent, and that is the reason they are on the bubble.
A deeper look at the rest of the field lends a bunch of teams that are the same. Ole Miss and Missouri were both considered to be NCAA Tourney locks before faltering in different ways, while LSU is a giant that is still asleep, and Arkansas can’t seem to get out of its own way. Still, any of these squads have the talent to make a run to Sunday, and that makes things quite interesting.
Here’s a look at the particulars for the event itself:
In short, this is Florida’s tournament to lose, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be beaten by a small fistful of teams in this league. Kentucky has pure talent that rivals anyone in America, and the 3rd-seeded Georgia Bulldogs could have a default “home” game against the Gators if they are able to outlast Kentucky in the semifinals. Either way, this should be a compelling week of high-level hoops, and we can ask for nothing more. Stay tuned!
Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Arkansas Razorbacks Auburn Tigers Florida Gators Georgia Bulldogs Kentucky Wildcats LSU Tigers Mississippi Rebels Mississippi State Bulldogs Missouri Tigers South Carolina Gamecocks Tennessee Volunteers Texas A&M Aggies Vanderbilt Commodores