Battle of the Heavyweights: Southeastern Conference Tournament to be a Slugfest
The annual Southeastern Conference Tournament will pit a few of the best teams in America against one another in the hunt for the conference title.
While schools like Auburn and Kentucky will dominate the headlines, there is not enough attention being paid to the likes of Arkansas, LSU, and Alabama, all of which are more than capable of causing upsets along the way, just like they all did during the regular season.
The games will begin Wednesday, March 9, and run until the championship on Sunday, March 13.
SEC Boasts a Stacked Bracket
If nothing else, the SEC Tournament is going to be a fun watch. The Auburn Tigers spent a lot of their season as the number-one team in America, their first time being ranked as such; the Kentucky Wildcats have also come on strong as of late, making them the most feared team in the region.
Not enough love has been shown to the Tennessee Volunteers, the third seed in the tournament, after they finished their season on an absolute tear. UT won nine of its last ten games, dropping a lone contest to Arkansas but also beating the favored Kentucky and Auburn teams.
There is not necessarily a disparity in quality between Tennessee, Auburn, Kentucky, and the rest of the conference, but there is a gap in consistency; in a best-of-one scenario, however, that does not matter, and there are sure to be plenty of higher seeds getting past the favorites in their way.
SEC Tournament Betting Prediction
Kentucky Wildcats has the best odds of winning the tournament at +150, per the Action247 sportsbook. The true blue went 25-6 with a 14-5 conference record this season, playing very consistently over long stretches of the season; this is extremely important in March Madness and is a reflection of Kentucky’s team being older and more experienced than they typically have been in the one-and-done era.
National Player of the Year candidate Oscar Tshiebwe headlines a talented Kentucky roster, averaging a ridiculous 17.3 points and 15.3 rebounds per night. Four other Wildcats score at least 10 points per outing, including guard Sahvir Wheeler, whose 6.9 assists per game is the third-highest total in America.
Auburn is a close second in betting odds to win the SEC Tournament at +200. The Tigers went 27-4 (15-3) and won the regular-season title, though they did begin to show vulnerabilities at the end of the campaign. This team has speed, size, shooting, defense, rebounding, coaching, and everything else in between, making them hard to beat in the absence of a knockout punch.
Freshman Jabari Smith handles Auburn’s scoring burden, averaging 17.1 points and 43.6% three-point shooting and pitching in with 6.9 rebounds. Auburn also has one of the most intimidating low-post players in sophomore Walker Kessler, whose stat line reads 11.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks per game.
Tennessee Volunteers and Arkansas Razorbacks
Tennessee is third in the betting odds at +325 and is the last team with similar odds to the top two before a noticeable change. UT does not have the most electric scorers, but they take care of the ball, play solid defense, and limit their mistakes.
Arkansas (+700), LSU (+1000), and Alabama (+1500) comprise the tier of teams with true upset potential, but that has struggled for consistency; Alabama has the biggest boom-or-bust potential of them all because of their absurdly quick pace of play.
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.