2020-21 SEC Tournament Predictions

SEC Tournament
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The SEC Tournament is as wide open as it has ever been. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Arkansas Razorbacks made the leap from ninth and tenth place a year ago, respectfully, to snag the top two seeds in this year’s tournament, while juggernaut Kentucky has fallen from grace to the middle of the pack. In March, anything can happen. And as for the SEC Tournament, you should expect all the March Madness you can handle.

2020-21 SEC Tournament: A Wide-Open Gauntlet

Though several teams have the ability to work their way through the ranks of the SEC Tournament, there are six teams that sit atop in prominence. The aforementioned Tide and Hogs should be considered the favorites to reach the title game, but LSU, Florida, Tennessee, and yes, even Kentucky cannot be counted out along the way. I know, I know. They finished with a losing record in conference play and an abysmal 9-15 record overall, but history has taught me to never count the Wildcats out.

Of course, the Missouri Tigers and Ole Miss Rebels will be in the mix as well and could cause problems for anyone they match up with. The only few teams that can be considered dead-on-arrival in Nashville are the bottom feeders such as Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Georgia, and South Carolina. They might snag a victory somewhere, but they have no real shot in this one.

First Round: Wednesday, March 10

No. 12 Vanderbilt vs No. 13 Texas A&M

Winner: Vanderbilt. The Commodores might be the best 8-15 team out there with a handful of close losses.

Second Round: Thursday, March 11

No. 8 Kentucky vs No. 9 Mississippi State

Winner: Kentucky. Don’t bet against John Calipari this early.

No. 5 Florida vs No. 12 Vanderbilt

Winner: Florida. They’re just the better team, and it isn’t even close.

No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 10 Georgia

Winner: Missouri. Again, they’re the better team.

No. 6 Ole Miss vs. No. 11 South Carolina

Winner: Ole Miss. South Carolina isn’t making another magical run this year.

Quarterfinals: Friday, March 12

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 8 Kentucky

Winner: Alabama. The Tide win the rematch in a similar fashion to their first contest. If the Wildcats pull this one out, though, start sweating.

No. 4 Tennessee vs No. 5 Florida

Winner: Florida. The first upset of the tournament. This one is a toss-up, but the Gators get the edge on gut-feeling alone.

No. 2 Arkansas vs. No. 7 Missouri

Winner: Arkansas. The Razorbacks are too hot right now to fall this early.

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 6 Ole Miss

Winner: LSU. This is where the serious contenders start separating themselves.

Semifinals: Saturday, March 13

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 5 Florida

Winner: Alabama. This could easily be one of the best matchups of the entire tournament, but the Tide are the top seed for a reason.

No. 2 Arkansas vs. No. 3 LSU

Winner: Arkansas. In the Battle for the Golden Boot (basketball edition) the Hogs advance to the SEC title game.

SEC Tournament Championship: Sunday, March 14

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Arkansas

Winner: Arkansas. I’ll elaborate.

Tournament Winner: Arkansas Razorbacks

I can already see the hate mail I’m going to get from my fellow Last Word on Sports staff. They’ve joked all along that I would pick the Razorbacks — I am the lone Arkansan in the basketball department, after all — and here we are. However, this is as close to an unbiased choice as I can make. I truly believe the Razorbacks are the best team in the conference, and if not for a sluggish start without one of their key pieces, they could have notched the top seed in the SEC Tournament. They’ve won 11-straight SEC contests, mostly by decent margins. They’re hitting their stride at the perfect time, and it might just result in their first SEC Tournament title since 2000 (their only title).

Of course, let’s address the (literal) elephant in the room. The Alabama Crimson Tide could very well win the SEC Tournament, and may even be considered the favorites if this matchup happens. They’re a legitimate Elite Eight-caliber team with the SEC Coach of the Year in Nate Oats and SEC Player of the Year Herbert Jones. In this budding rivalry, round one against Arkansas was a 30-point blowout. Round two was a double-digit win for the Hogs, but there was a massive free-throw deficit in favor of Arkansas. Now, if it happens, round three should be the most entertaining bout yet, and could go either way.

However, I fully believe the Razorbacks will win this game, biased or not. If I’m wrong, I’ll eat crow (and never hear the end of it).

Tournament Sleeper: The Middle of the Pack

In our other previews, one sleeper team was selected for this section. However, in the SEC, there’s a logjam just below the top two spots that features a handful of sleepers. If the Missouri Tigers get hot like they were at the start of the season, they could quickly move through the bracket. The same goes for the LSU Tigers, Tennessee Volunteers, and Florida Gators. Any of these teams could catch fire and make their way to the SEC title game. The Crimson Tide and Razorbacks are my picks to claim those spots, but any of these four teams could upset anyone in the field.

Here’s to hoping for some good, old-fashioned March Madness over the next few days.

SEC NCAA Tournament Prediction

Alabama: 2-seed

Arkansas: 3-seed

Tennessee: 7-seed

Florida: 8-seed

Missouri: 9-seed

LSU: 9-seed

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