As had been known following Alabama’s win over Ole Miss last week, the Crimson Tide men's basketball team will be the No. 5 seed in the 2017 Southeastern Conference Tournament and will play the winner of Wednesday’s game between No. 12 Mississippi State and No. 13 LSU at 2:30 p.m. CST Thursday. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
The tournament is in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and will conclude with the championship game next Sunday.
The Tide (17-13, 10-8 SEC), whose fifth-place SEC finish is the best since finishing in fourth back in 2012-13, swept the season series from both the Tigers and Bulldogs. The winner of Thursday’s contest will advance to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals where they will square off against fourth-seeded South Carolina on Friday at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Four teams that finished last in regular season standings will open the tournament on Wednesday. Alabama’s second day opponent will come from the first game when No. 12 seed Mississippi State meets No. 13 LSU at 6 p.m. CST. That will be followed by No. 11 seed Auburn playing No. 14 Missouri. The winner of Auburn-Missouri moves on to play No. 6 seed Ole Miss in the final game on Thursday.
Ironically, the four bottom dwellers will be replaying the last games of regular season play Saturday. Auburn defeated Missouri, 89-78, and Mississippi State downed LSU, 88-76.
Other Thursday games are No. 9 seed Tennessee vs. No. 8 Georgia starting things at noon (followed by the Alabama game) and No. 10 Texas A&M drawing hometown favorite and No. 7 seed Vanderbilt at 6 p.m.
Should Alabama prevail in its first game, it will meet No. 4 seed South Carolina. Bama defeated South Carolina, 90-86, in a four-overtime game in Columbia during regular season play.
The top four seeds earned a double bye in the tournament and so the Friday game will be the first for the top four seeds.
Also on the Alabama side of the bracket is No. 1 seed Kentucky, awaiting the winner of the Tennessee-Georgia game in the first game on Friday at noon.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed Florida will play the winner of A&M-Vandy and No. 3 seed Arkansas will play the team that comes out of Auburn-Mizzou winner vs. Mississippi.
Saturday’s semifinals will begin at noon Saturday, with the finals at noon Sunday.
It may be a good thing that Alabama does not play until Thursday, giving the Tide one more day to put its last regular season game behind. Bama managed to blow a 16-point second half lead in losing at Tennessee, 59-54, as Alabama managed to score only 18 points in the 20 minutes of the second half.