SEC Tournament Preview

Eight NCAA Tournament bids from the Southeastern Conference was the discussion two weeks ago, but after a Saturday that saw three bubble teams lose key games in the conference, the battle for who can make the field of 65, has suddenly been downsized to as little as 5.

Regardless of the tournament "talk," the SEC Tournament is the means for the teams to do the "walking."

Georgia and Auburn face off in what should be the best of the first round games. Georgia, who is still a longshot to get in the tournament, greatly helped their case with a win over Vanderbilt on Saturday, but still needs at least two victories in the Southeastern Conference Tournament to become apart of the picture. The Bulldogs continue to pin their hopes on their two victories over Kentucky and an early season victory over Georgia Tech.

Arkansas and South Carolina face off in the last game of the first session on Thursday. Nobody needs a victory more then USC does after seeing themselves go from a virtual lock in the tournament three weeks ago to a bubble team, after losing to last place Tennessee on Saturday.

Ole Miss and Vanderbilt face off in the most meaningless game of the SEC Tournament. Vandy is in the tournament regardless of what happens. They are perhaps the most solid of the group playing on Thursday this season. Vanderbilt's win only strengthens their case and helps their seeding.

Alabama, which ruined a great opportunity to become an NCAA Tournament lock with a win over Mississippi State, most likely needs only one victory against Tennessee on Thursday night to assure their place in the Tournament. They face off in the late game at 9:45.

Friday features perhaps the strongest quartet of games across the country. Kentucky could face off against Georgia, a team that beat them twice in the regular season, in the first game on Friday afternoon. LSU, who has lost 5 of their last six games down the stretch to put themselves back on the bubble, most likely will face off against a USC squad that will be desperate for a victory to stay in consideration.

Mississippi State and Vanderbilt face off against each other in a battle of two tournament ready squads. Vanderbilt, whom has not played their best basketball of late, won't need a victory against MSU to get in the tournament, but does have the size and shooting to beat the Bulldogs.

Florida and Bama could face off in what should be the best game of the entire tournament. Florida has been hot of late, with the exception of the dominating loss they experienced on Sunday. On the other hand, Bama has been equally as hot, playing very well down the stretch to get into tournament consideration. They have the athletes to give Florida's guards fits and Billy Donivan's SEC Tournament record is disappointing to say the least. Bama could steal this one.

Regardless of the tournament talk, the SEC Tournament could possibly showcase all 8 possible NCAA tournament teams on Friday. A very impressive feat and conclusion to a great year for the conference.

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