Scouting The Field

Eastern Division Tennessee Volunteers

Record: 19-11, 10-6 SEC.

Coach: Bruce Pearl (fourth season).

Why they'll win the tournament: They are battle-tested after a relentless schedule, and they have Tyler Smith as an experienced leader.

Why they'll lose their first game: They rely too much on 3-pointers for a team shooting 31.5 percent beyond the arc.



South Carolina Gamecocks

Record: 21-8, 10-6 SEC.

Coach: Darrin Horn (first season).

Why they'll win the tournament: They start the SEC's most talented, most scoring-oriented backcourt in Devan Downey and Zam Fredrick.

Why they'll lose their first game: They can't rebound with consistency, commit too many turnovers and don't play all that much defense.



Florida Gators

Record: 22-9, 9-7 SEC.

Coach: Billy Donovan (13th season).

Why they'll win the tournament: They have possibly the best all-around talent in the SEC running their offense in sophomore Nick Calathes.

Why they'll lose their first game: They allow the worst field goal percentage in the SEC, and they rank 10th in the league in rebounds.



Kentucky Wildcats

Record: 19-12, 8-8 SEC.

Coach: Billy Gillispie (second season).

Why they'll win the tournament: They sport the dangerous scoring combo of Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks and lead the conference in free throw shooting.

Why they'll lose their first game: They rank last in the SEC in turnover margin, constantly playing carelessly on offense and conservatively on defense.



Vanderbilt Commodores

Record: 19-11, 8-8 SEC.

Coach: Kevin Stallings (10th season).

Why they'll win the tournament: They enter the tourney as the hottest team in the Eastern Division, having won seven of their last 10 games.

Why they'll lose their first game: They simply don't display near the collective athleticism of Alabama, their first-round opponent in Tampa.



Georgia Bulldogs

Record: 12-19, 3-13 SEC.

Coach: Pete Herrmann (interim coach).

Why they'll win the tournament: They won four straight to unexpectedly take last year's SEC Tournament, so they have recent memories to draw from.

Why they'll lose their first game: They have no consistent scorer other than Terrance Woodbury, evident by their league-low 65.1 scoring average.



Western Division



LSU Tigers

Record: 25-6, 13-3 SEC.

Coach: Trent Johnson (first season).

Why they'll win the tournament: They possess plenty of NBA talent, such as Marcus Thornton, the SEC's Player of the Year, and Tasmin Mitchell.

Why they'll lose their first game: They didn't finish the regular season like a Sweet 16 contender, losing consecutively to Vanderbilt and at Auburn.



Auburn Tigers

Record: 21-10, 10-6 SEC. Coach: Jeff Lebo (fifth season).

Why they'll win the tournament: They might need to win out to earn an NCAA Tournament berth, and they exhibit more balance than other teams.

Why they'll lose their first game: They sit a distant last in the SEC in free throw shooting at 60.2 percent.



Mississippi State Bulldogs

Record: 19-12, 9-7 SEC.

Coach: Rick Stansbury (11th season).

Why they'll win the tournament: They can devastate opponents with their 3-point shooting, and superb shot-blocker Jarvis Varnado can intimidate in the paint.

Why they'll lose their first game: They have overachieved considering their youth and inexperience, and they could wilt under the SEC Tournament spotlight.



Alabama Crimson Tide

Record: 17-13, 7-9 SEC.

Coach: Philip Pearson (interim coach).

Why they'll win the tournament: They put more talent on the court than most think and are riding momentum after Anthony Brock's 30-foot buzzer-beater.

Why they'll lose their first game: They get stagnant on offense too easily (11th in the SEC in assists) and rank 11th in turnover margin.



Ole Miss Rebels

Record: 16-14, 7-9 SEC.

Coach: Andy Kennedy (third season).

Why they'll win the tournament: They might as well keep this improbable season going in which they have adequately replaced three injured standout guards.

Why they'll lose their first game: They watched freshman Terrico White earn Freshman of the Year honors, but they still rely on way too many youngsters.



Arkansas Razorbacks

Record: 14-15, 2-14 SEC.

Coach: John Pelphrey (second season)

Why they'll win the tournament: They finished the season so badly that they may show up with a carefree attitude, allowing them to play loose.

Why they'll lose their first game: They have no depth, they saw coach John Pelphrey suspend Jason Henry and they field the SEC's worst scoring defense.

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