By: Keegan Hartman
Of all of the potential NCAA tournament competition, the Southeastern Conference should be mentioned as one of the most competitive and dominant conferences heading into tournament play.
Of the top 15 teams in the AP Top 25, three are SEC schools. Likewise, the conference is the most dominant conference in terms of winning percentage- there are eight teams above .500.
All in all, from the top teams- No. 5 Tennessee, No. 6 Kentucky, and No. 13 LSU- the SEC has five teams in this week’s poll, along with No. 19 Auburn and No. 22 Mississippi State.
Though not ranked, Arkansas and Florida also hold a realistic place among Top 64 teams heading into SEC Tournament play. So what does this mean? Simply put, the SEC is presumably will make up ⅛ of the tournament field heading into the NCAA Tournament.
As we make our way towards SEC Tournament play, which starts this Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, here’s the teams to watch, as well as talents to keep an eye on.
Player to Watch: Bryce Brown, Guard, Auburn:
Gradually becoming a dark horse in the SEC tournament, Auburn could not and would not be where they stand currently without the shooting abilities of Bryce Brown. The 6-foot-3 senior guard from Stone Mountain, Georgia has slowly become a personal favorite of mine.
In total, Brown is averaging nearly 16 points-per-game, the sixth-best average in the SEC, and shooting 43 percent from the field and 40 percent from outside. The Tigers come into SEC play sitting at fourth overall, standing at 22-9 overall and 11-7 in conference. As for Brown, he is the team’s leading scorer, racking up 486 points, and has also been put on watch for awards such as the Jerry West Award.
Team To Watch: Mississippi State Bulldogs
If there was one team I could bank on to give every single competing team in the SEC bracket a run for their money, I would fully invest in Mississippi State Bulldogs.
They stand at 22-9 overall and just 10-8 in conference, but have shown promise throughout this year that they can compete with every dominant team available in the SEC. They sit outside the top five teams in conference, but Bulldogs played strong against the conference’s best like Kentucky and LSU, falling by four in both games. Additionally, they dominated South Carolina 76-61 in February.
Led by Senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, the Bulldogs sit at the No. 6 spot, and will await the winner of Vanderbilt vs. Texas A&M before they can compete for their chance at the SEC Championship.
In all, the SEC, I feel, fare well with a majority of the competition in the tournament- and we’ll surely get a preview of who has the best looks with the SEC Tournament.
Like I stated previously, the competition runs deep in terms of the representation of the Southeastern Conference in March Madness, and no matter who comes out champion at the end of it all in Nashville this week, I don’t think you can safely identify a “lock” team for the SEC in regards to Final Four play, or the National Championship for that matter. We will just have to wait and find out!!
Coverage of the SEC tournament begins live from Nashville, TN, starting with Mizzou vs Georgia. Tipoff is set for 7:00 central.
Be sure to tune into the game KCOU 88.1 FM in Columbia or kcou.fm in the blue box, with Matthew Terry and Chuck Bayoud on the call, follow @NashWalker9 on Twitter for in-game updates, or watch on SEC Network.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org