Georgia's shocking withdrawal from this weekend's SEC Tournament left conference officials scrambling Monday to revise the brackets for Thursday's opening round. As a result of Georgia's exit, Vanderbilt's seed in the Eastern Division improved from sixth to fifth, and the Commodores now open Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. CST vs. Alabama, instead of 2:15 p.m. vs. LSU.
Georgia President Michael Adams and Athletics Director Vince Dooley announced Monday afternoon that the Bulldogs would withdraw from both the SEC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament, due to findings of academic fraud involving players Rashad Wright and Chris Daniels. Georgia also announced that Coach Jim Harrick, Sr. had been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigations, and that the two players had had their eligibility revoked.
The announcement came on the heels of allegations made last week by former Georgia player Tony Cole, which led to the dismissal of Assistant Coach Jim Harrick, Jr. The 18th-ranked Bulldogs had earned the No. 3 seed in the East for the SEC Tournament, and were considered a shoo-in for at worst an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Southeastern Conference released new brackets for the conference tournament, which begins Thursday afternoon at the Louisiana SuperDome in New Orleans. All four of Thursday's matchups were affected: LSU will now open with Arkansas; South Carolina will now open with Ole Miss; and Tennessee will receive a bye.
Vanderbilt (10-17, 3-13 SEC) will now open Thursday night against Mark Gottfried's Crimson Tide (17-10, 7-9), one of three SEC teams the Commodores defeated in the regular season. Vanderbilt bested Alabama 70-69 on Jan. 11 in Nashville, at a time when the Tide was ranked No. 4 in the nation. Alabama is looking for another win or two to bolster its NCAA Tournament hopes.
Should Vanderbilt get past Alabama on Thursday, the Commodores would meet regular-season champion Kentucky (26-3, 16-0) at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The Wildcats easily defeated Vandy in two regular-season games.
The revised SEC Tournament bracket is as follows:
2003 SEC MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
March 13-16 * Louisiana Superdome * New Orleans, La.
March 13 (Thursday)
Game 1 [W5] Ole Miss vs. [E4] South Carolina [JP] Noon
Game 2 [W6] Arkansas vs. [W3] LSU [JP] 2:15 p.m.
Game 3 [E5] Vanderbilt vs. [W4] Alabama [JP] 6:30 p.m.
Game 4 [E6] Georgia (withdrawn) vs. [E3] Tennessee (bye)
March 14 (Friday)
Game 5 Game 1 Winner vs. [W1] Mississippi State [JP] Noon
Game 6 Game 2 Winner vs. [E2] Florida [JP] 2:15 p.m.
Game 7 Game 3 Winner vs. [E1] Kentucky [JP] 6:30 p.m.
Game 8 [E3] Tennessee vs. [W2] Auburn [JP] 8:45 p.m.
March 15 (Saturday)
Game 9 Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner [JP] Noon
Game 10 Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner [JP] 2:15 p.m.
March 16 (Sunday)
Game 11 Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner [CBS] Noon
All Times Central