Thursday, March 8, 2012

2012 SEC Tournament Preview: Will the Cats Rule Again?

What a boring logo!  The ACC one is much better!
Here is a quick primer for the SEC Tournament, beginning today in New Orleans:

Favorite:  Kentucky
This one is pretty obvious.  Not only is Kentucky the favorite here, but will probably be the odds on favorite to win the national title once the brackets are announced on Sunday.  They are arguably the best team in the country, but hands down the best in the conference, hence the 16-0 record.  It'll take some team's best game (maybe a team fighting for life) combined with a lack of focus from the Wildcats for them to be taken down.  The only question on Big Blue Nation's mind is what to call New Orleans.  Each March, they refer to Atlanta as CATlanta, but they'll have to come up with something new for New Orleans. 

Team Most Likely to Beat Kentucky:  Alabama
I think Alabama plays well enough on the defensive end to compete with Kentucky (only lost by 6 at Rupp) and could score just enough to win a grinder against the Wildcats.  This is more of a hunch pick, but this could be a semifinal matchup if Bama could knock off a sinking Florida team on Friday.

Polishing the Resume:  Tennessee
The Vols have been playing great basketball as of late, and are back in the mix for an at-large berth.  They are held back by a few bad losses early in the season (Austin Peay, Oakland and Charleston) but have compiled some good wins as well (Florida twice, UConn and Vanderbilt).  I think they deserve to be in, but most think there is work to be done.  A win over the Ole Miss/Auburn winner is a must, and a win in the semifinals would lock up a bid, in my opinion. 

Most to Prove:  Mississippi St.
About a month ago, the Maroon Bulldogs were a lock for the NCAA tournament, but they have come undone in the last month.  Starting with a home loss to Georgia (their first round opponent) the Maroons went on a five game losing streak, only to bounce back with two wins to end the regular season.  Expect Dee Bost to lead the charge and shoot it well from deep.  Arnett Moultrie needs to play big (see below) and if wild-card Renardo Sidney plays to full potential, the Bulldogs could at least make an appearance in the finals.  However, a win over Georgia and maybe another win over Vanderbilt will help Stansbury and company feel better come Sunday.

Fighting for His Life:  Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss
It seems like Kennedy has had a season ticket on the hot seat this year, and with a trip to the Dance highly unlikely again, this could be his last stand for the Rebels.  Ole Miss has ruined a few good seasons lately with early exits in the SEC Tourney, and a loss to Auburn would most likely spell doom for Kennedy's job.  By drawing the #7 seed, Ole Miss gets Auburn, then a potential matchup with Vandy in the quarterfinals.  It'll be tough to get past a Commodore team that drilled them by 26 on their home floor a couple weeks ago, but you never know.  Judging by then way Ole Miss has played in the postseason under Kennedy, I just don't see that happening. 

Best Player:  Anthony Davis, Kentucky
This dynamo has the chance to pull off the "Triple Crown" of amateur basketball.  He WILL win National Freshman of the Year, COULD/SHOULD be National Player of the Year, and MOST LIKELY will be the #1 pick in the NBA Draft.  He is the key cog in the Wildcats' outstanding defense, making up for teammates' shortcoming by swatting everything that comes in the paint. 

Breakout Star:  Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi St.
Unless you follow SEC basketball regularly, you probably haven't heard of this 6-11 forward who averages a double-double (16.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg) each night.  If the Bulldogs are going to make that run to secure a spot in the Big Dance as mentioned above, Moultrie will need to produce.  In case you haven't heard, now you know.

How it Goes Down
LSU over Arkansas-tough call, but it really looks like Arkansas has tanked this year in the last few weeks
Alabama over South Carolina
Ole Miss over Auburn
Mississippi State over Georgia

Kentucky over LSU
Alabama over Florida
Tennessee over Ole Miss
Mississippi State over Vanderbilt

Kentucky over Alabama
Mississippi State over Tennessee

Kentucky over Mississippi State

Remember, you can follow me on Twitter @jordandrushing and as always Don't Buy the Hype!


  1. Kentucky is head and shoulders better than every other team in the SEC. Conference Tournament have little to no meaning in the modern NCAA. Still, I would be shocked if they loss!

  2. Conference Tournaments should be viewed as tune-ups for the NCAA for teams like Kentucky. Neutral site games against teams you should beat. Conference Tournaments still have're just making excuses for why Carolina typically doesn't try in the ACC Tournament.

  3. I love it Nick, never afraid to take a shot at a UNC fan. Duke can have all the ACC Tournament Championships they want and UNC can keep racking up Final Fours and National Championships, deal? And I know UNC doesn't try in the ACC Tournament, did you watch my ACC Tournament Preview? It's right under this one...