Welcome to March. Tennessee and Georgia do battle in a few hours; we'll be right here for that one as well. But one of the best parts of being in tournament contention and being in play for a bye in the SEC Tournament is how important and interesting all the other games become as well. And so today, you've got plenty of options:
Alabama at #8 Florida - 12:00 PM - ESPN
This one isn't complicated: the Vols want the Gators to win to push Alabama backwards on the bubble and in the SEC standings, and keep our elite win elite. Believe it or not, Alabama would actually move into first place in the SEC if they're able to pull off a win in Gainesville; the Tide play a similar brand of basketball to us, so don't be surprised if they give Florida a run for their money.
Tennessee at Georgia - 1:45 PM - SEC Network
Plain and simple, keep winning and you stay more than alive in the bubble picture. In the latest Bracket Matrix updated Thursday night, the Vols were the second team out, appearing in 26 of 45 brackets that had been updated since the Florida win. I continue to believe we control the conversation here: win out, we'll be in spectacular position. More Trae Golden and more defense should get the job done today.
Wichita State at Creighton - 2:00 PM - ESPN2
Teams currently ranked 41 and 42 in the RPI square off with The Valley conference title on the line as both teams are 12-5. I think both will dance. A Wichita win on the road should ensure the Vols' win over the Shockers remains a Top 50 W the rest of the way home.
UMass at Xavier - 2:00 PM - CBS College Sports
Of note simply because it's two of our Ws playing each other. UMass could sneak into the Top 50 still, currently at 57, while Xavier is hanging on in the Top 100 at 85. We'd get a little more RPI juice out of UMass because we beat them on a neutral floor.
Kentucky at Arkansas - 4:00 PM - CBS
Here's the real test for Kentucky: on the road against a team that plays great basketball at home, do they have what it takes this time around? This is a huge game for Kentucky's tournament hopes; if you're Tennessee you want the win over UK to mean something, but now Kentucky is also bubble and standings competition. Again, I think if we keep winning we're fine, so Arkansas is probably the better pick here; two losses in UK's final three games would move us past them in the standings if we win out.
LSU at Missouri - 4:00 PM - SEC Network
Missouri is in the "should be in" category, and we can take care of them ourselves in the SEC standings, so I'm pulling for the home tigers in this one to make a season ending victory over them mean more for us if we can get it. LSU is a game behind us in the SEC standings and we own the tiebreaker.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State - 5:00 PM - Fox Sports Net
Putting this one on here just to hope the Rebels lose, but MSU has lost thirteen games in a row and has taken some 40 point beatings along the way. It's a rivalry, so anything can happen, but we're better off hoping to catch Ole Miss in the standings with losses elsewhere.
Additionally, here are other bubble teams to cheer against (on the left) today:
- Maryland at Wake Forest - 12:00 PM - ACC Network
- Arizona State at USC - 3:00 PM - Fox Sports Net
- Baylor vs #13 Kansas State - 7:00 PM - ESPN2
- Boise State vs Colorado State - 8:00 PM
- St. John's at Providence - 8:00 PM - ESPN3