The College Basketball season is another week old, and the SEC consistently provides the sport with several talented players and teams. Selection Sunday just took place, and here are the predictions and analysis for every SEC team’s path in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Despite losing twice to Tennessee in the regular season, the Wildcats won the SEC Tournament over the Volunteers on Sunday. There is no question that Kentucky is playing its basketball of the season as the committee awarded Kentucky with a 5-seed in the NCAA tournament. That’s just insane.
However, the Wildcats have been wildly inconsistent on the season and their path to the NCAA Championship is not an easy one. Expect a wild roller coaster of an NCAA tournament for these young Cats.
Prediction: The Wildcats certainly got a bad draw with potentially playing Arizona in the second round. The fact the committee did that despite UK winning the SEC tournament is breathtakingly bad. The SEC Tournament seems like it didn’t matter at all in the decision making process. Period.
That being said, I think Arizona is just better than the Kentucky Wildcats as much as it hurts to say. UK has the ability to pull off the second-round upset and make a big run, but I think that DeAndre Ayton is just too good. Kentucky most likely loses in the second round.
The Volunteers should not be taken lightly in the NCAA Tournament. Even with their disappointing result in the SEC Championship, this team can shoot and defend the 3-point line better than any team in the country.
Rick Barnes has this team ready for a big run in the Big Dance. When Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams are playing their best basketball, this team can beat anyone.
Prediction: The Volunteers got the easier side of UK’s bracket, and I think that will pay huge dividends for their tournament hopes.
I really like their potential second-round matchup with Miami, and I like their potential sweet-sixteen game against Cincinnati even more. I really like the Volunteers to make the Elite Eight where they will play either Virginia/Arizona, or even UK and lose.
The Tigers were co-champions of the SEC in the regular season, but they suffered an extremely disappointing loss in their first game of the SEC tournament.
However, this team has the talent to make some noise in the NCAA tournament. Bruce Pearl will keep Auburn in every game they play. The question is whether or not they will suffer a huge upset early or make a big run thanks to star Bryce Brown.
Prediction: The Tigers have enjoyed a surprising season, but I don’t see them getting past Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen. Charleston could upset them in the first round, and even the winner of Clemson/New Mexico St. could beat them in the second round.
No matter what I don’t see them getting past Kansas in the sweet sixteen.
Yea, good luck guessing what this team will do in March. On one hand, they were able to beat UK twice on the season, but on the other hand the Gators had some embarrassing losses including an early exit in the SEC Tournament.
However, the Gators can beat any team in the country if they are feeling it thanks to the talents of Jalen Hudson and Chris Chiozza.
Prediction: Somehow, someway the Florida Gators got an easier path in the NCAA tournament than UK did. That should tell you all you need to know about the priorities of the committee.
Their hardest game is against St. Bonaventure in the first round. If they can get past that, I think they have an incredibly easy path towards the elite eight if they can just beat either Purdue or Arkansas in the sweet sixteen.
The Gators should be thanking the committee after tonight.
The Razorbacks are admittedly another boom or bust squad coming from the SEC. As a seven-seed, they have a decent chance of upsetting Purdue in the Big Dance.
Jaylen Barford and Daniel Gafford combine for a lethal duo to lead Arkansas towards a deep NCAA tournament as they have the athleticism to compete with anyone.
Prediction: While I love the young passion of the Razorbacks, I see them either losing in the first round to Butler or in the second round to Purdue. I just don’t see it finishing it any better than that.
The big storyline with the Tigers right now is obviously just how much Michael Porter Jr. will affect this team moving forward.
Few players in the nation can match his talent, and how Missouri implements him into their talented roster will determine just how far they advance.
Prediction: I see Missouri having a similar finish as Auburn in this tournament. They could possibly win in the first round against Florida State, but if they do I just don’t see them beating Xavier in the second round.
Expect a first weekend ending for Missouri in this tournament.
The Aggies have experienced quite the tumultuous season due to a slew of injuries and suspensions. They never quite reached the peak of their talent, but they can’t be underestimated.
Robert Williams and Tyler Davis are incredibly experienced and talented so expect them to make some big plays next weekend.
Prediction: I will freely admit that this is my hot take of this article, but I think Providence will beat the Aggies in the first round.
Texas A&M is playing some bad basketball right now and Providence is playing really good. This is just a bad draw for the Aggies overall. They won’t survive the first weekend no matter what.
Collin Sexton is the man. Period. This guy could lead the Crimson Tide to a huge, Kemba Walker-like run, or they could lose in the first round.
No matter what the result is, the Crimson Tide earned their way into the tournament and they should be delighted to make the Big Dance thanks to the play of their freshman superstar.
Prediction: I think the best that the Crimson Tide can do in this tournament is make the second round as well. As much as I love Sexton and his ability, there is no way that I see them beating Villanova in the second round.
Like Missouri and Arkansas, I think that the Crimson Tide will not make the second weekend of the tournament.