TV / Stream: SECN / WatchESPN
Radio: Oh, that's not a foul.
Numbers: Math class is hard!
There's not really anything left to say to preview the game. If Tennessee plays well, they'll win. If they go plaid, well, they're still likely to win, but it at least opens to the door. But to recap the action so far and to talk briefly about today's slate, here are bullet points.
- Auburn beat Florida 71-49 to open up the conference tournament, meaning that Auburn has finally gotten their act together (albeit too late for further tournaments) and that there is something wrong with Florida under the hood. Neither team should have finished this poorly, but here we are.
- Vanderbilt beat Alabama 66-56 to avoid an embarrassing end to a disappointing season. Injuries are partly to blame for Vandy's woes, as is the fact that the last two years consisted almost entirely of Foggie and Lister, and now those two crutches are gone.
- Arkansas beat Ole Miss 72-61 with a six-player rotation. Good on them for very likely cementing an NCAA berth with the win, but good luck with that lack of depth.
- Texas A&M beat Auburn 57-47 in which fatigue probably hurt Auburn more than the absence of Jones hurt TAMU. Of note: A&M is a midrange über alles kind of team, which will likely be their downfall at some point.
- Georgia beat Missouri 75-64 and will play Tennessee. This is the final chance that Georgia's seniors will have at beating Tennessee just once in their careers. Technically, they could do it by winning the SEC tournament to get into the NCAA tournament, but that would mean, you know, beating Tennessee today, so it's kind of a moot point. Of note: Georgia is 11th in the conference in shooting from the field (anywhere from the field). Tennessee is 3rd from two and 1st from three, which has to be the quietest three-point shooting title I've ever seen.
- Kentucky beat Vanderbilt 67-61 because Vanderbilt ran out of gas with about 11 minutes left. That's when there defense started leaving gaps for guard penetration and when their shots stopped falling. But they pushed Kentucky pretty hard in what probably turned out to be the best game of the day.
Ok, now for today's games:
- SOUTH CAROLINA VS ARKANSAS, 1 PM EASTERN That bit above about Arkansas using a 6-player rotation? Yeah, enjoy the NCAA tournament, Arky.
- LSU VS TEXAS A&M, ~3:30 PM EASTERN or about a half hour after the end of the SC/Arky game. This is probably the best game of the day, and just about anything can happen. Cheer for Caldwell's wardrobe and you can't go wrong. Winner plays South Carolina: LSU has a better chance at Carolina if they're on, but TAMU is more consistent, so pick your poison.
- TENNESSEE VS GEORGIA, 7 PM EASTERN Tennessee has the advantage of a day of rest and, you know, being Andy's kryptonite. The only question is whether we'll be hearing Mattingly's music during pregame.
- MISSISSIPPI STATE VS KENTUCKY, 9:30 PM EASTERN or a half hour after Tennessee wins, whichever. Winner plays Tennessee, so choose accordingly. MSU's certainly the better story this year, but Kentucky will have played two days in a row if they win tonight.
PREDICTION: 74 - 58 Tennessee. Someday Georgia will beat Tennessee. But given the streak and given how badly Georgia (read: Landers) has tended to collapse during these games, we are perfectly justified in being just a bit cocky until that happens.
REFCON: Level 3. It's a tournament, and orange tends to attract ponytailed refs. And whoever refs Tennessee in the SEC Finals (/cough) can't be reffing them tomorrow, so tonight's a good night to see them. However, they shouldn't be a deciding factor.