There was an upset on the first day of the Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Wednesday, but it didn’t affect Alabama. As expected, Mississippi State defeated LSU, cruising to a 79-52 win.
On bottom-dwellers day at the tournament, when the bottom four teams in the league begin the elimination processs, Missouri ousted Auburn with an 86-83 overtime victory.
Alabama, the No. 5 seed in the tournament, will meet 12 seed Mississippi State at approximately 2:45 p.m. CST Thursday (actually, 25 minutes after the conclusion of the Georgia-Tennessee game, which begins at noon).
The Crimson Tide is 17-13 overall and was 10-8 in SEC games, including two victories over the Bulldogs. State improved to 16-15 with the win over LSU. MSU was 6-12 in SEC regular season games.
Today’s game will be televised on SEC Network.
Bama started SEC play this season with a 68-58 win over Mississippi State in Starkville. The Tide closed out January play with a 71-62 win over the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa.
The winner of today’s game will meet South Carolina Friday afternoon. The Gamecocks earned a double bye into the tournament with its tie for third place in regular season play. Bama defeated the Gamecocks in Columbia in regular season play in a four-overtime thriller that ended up as a 90-86 Tide win.
Alabama has an all-time record of 62-50 in SEC Tournament5 play and has won six SEC Tournament titles (1934, 1982, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991). The SEC Tournament was conducted 1933-52 and then discontinued until being reinstated in 1979.
Coach Avery Johnson’s Alabama team has been led all year by true freshman Braxton Key, who leads the team with 12.3 points per game and who was named to the SEC Coaches All-Freshman team, and redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram, second in scoring (10.3 ppg) and first in assists (3.3 apg), steals (1.0), and three-point shooting accuracy (47.6 per cent).
In recent games, including going back to the last game against Mississippi State, the Alabama starting lineup has included Key and Ingram along with inside players Bola Olaniyan and either Donta Hall or Jimmie Taylor, and wing Riley Norris.