You may or may not be watching the games currently going on in Bridgestone Arena. I’ll bet that you’re not. In fact, unless you saw my Session 1 post earlier, I’ll bet that you may have forgotten there were games tonight. This is the first year we have had games on Wednesday at the SEC Tournament. Due to the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri, there is now a need for two “play in” games to fill in the traditional bracket we’ve had that usually begins on Thursday.
As is the KSR mantra, the following previews will be delivered with limited facts and research and much ridiculousness.
GAME 1: #8 Georgia Bulldogs vs. #9 Louisiana State Tigers
Thursday, March 14th at 12:00 p.m. CST
Tipping off what used to be known as the 1st round will be Mark Fox’s Georgia Bulldogs and Johnny Jones’ LSU Tigers. It’s been an up and down year for both teams as they finished with identical 9-9 conference records. They both lost four of their first five in league play, so give them some credit for fighting back. But not too much.
Georgia has lost 5 out of 8 coming into this game. But they did pick up their best win of the season over Kentucky 6 days ago, prior to losing to Alabama on a Trevor Releford half court buzzer beater last Saturday. I have no idea what to expect out of this Georgia team at noon on a Thursday.
LSU is 7-4 since the beginning of February. This stretch included their best wins of the season. Home wins over Missouri & Alabama. LSU is also deep. Not necessarily talented. But deep. They have 10 players averaging over 24 minutes per game. Additionally, Johnny O’Bryant is a first team all SEC performer and he doesn’t look like what you think a Johnny O’Bryant would look like.
Previous Meeting(s) this year: Georgia won the only meeting between these two teams this year, a 67-58 win in Athens.
Players that score the most points:
Georgia- The Bulldogs are led by SEC Player of the Year Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP averages 18 PPG while grabbing 7 rebounds and 2 steals all while shooting 37% from beyond the arc.
LSU- LSU has five players that average double figures, led by Johnny O’Bryant’s 13.8 ppg. Kentuckian Anthony Hickey averages 11 points and three other gentlemen toss in just over 10 per game.
My Uneducated Pick: LSU will win in a game that will be ugly. Or they might lose. I don’t know. I had to pick one of them.
GAME 2: #5 Tennessee Volunteers vs. South Carolina/Mississippi State winner
Thursday, March 14th at 2:30 p.m. CST
Tennessee is THE hottest team in the SEC coming into this tournament. The Vols have won 8 out of their last 9, a streak that includes a 30 point beat down of your beloved Wildcats and a six point win over regular season conference champion Florida.
I’ve already previewed both South Carolina and Mississippi State and it really doesn’t matter. Neither team will be much a factor against the red hot Vols. Tennessee could probably beat the Lakers right now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vol nation descend on Nashville and carry their team to an SEC title and subsequent NCAA tournament bid.
(Those two paragraphs were in no way, shape, or form a reverse jinx. Nope. Not at all. I would never do such a thing.)
Previous Meeting(s) this season: The Vols played at home against Mississippi State and won by 15, while traveling to Columbia to defeat the Gamecocks 66-61.
Players that score the most points:
Tennessee- Jordan McRae has carried most of the scoring load during this recent resurgence in the Volunteers season. McCrae is averaging 16.2 points while shooting 37% from beyond the arc. Jarnell Stokes scores 12.4 points and grabs 9.4 rebounds. He can also stretch.
South Carolina/Mississippi State- These teams score by committee.
My Uneducated Pick: Tennessee IS A LOCK
I hope everyone has a great Thursday at the SEC tournament. Have fun, be responsible. Take cabs. Or walk. Welcome to Nashville.