The 2016 SEC basketball tournament begins in earnest today with four second round contests. The names and history are intriguing but this has really been a down year for this conference.
Having an exciting and competitive conference tournament would at least bring some headlines and while it does not appear the quality is in place, the SEC annually offers a team or two that did not look at that strong but is so athletic, they make at least a Sweet 16 run into the NCAA Tournament.
What should we expect for today for NCAA basketball picks, anything is possible.
1:00 ET – (8) Florida vs. (9) Arkansas
Florida (18-13, 14-14-1 ATS) captured lone meeting between these teams with a 87-83 win in Gainesville as 7.5-point home favorite. The Gators might be short-handed, literally with sophomore center John Egbunu tearing a ligament in his right thumb during practice Tuesday and will have to play with his hand in some kind of brace that will alter his ability to grasp and shoot the ball. It’s not like Florida was playing well anyways at 4-6 and 2-8 ATS since February. Everyone associated with the Arkansas (16-15, 15-11 ATS) basketball program understood this could be challenging year. Most knowledgeable Razorbacks fans thought the team actually performed somewhat better than expected. Arkansas opened as 2.5-point underdog according to the NCAA basketball odds and will need to defend and rebound to advance. Without injury Egbunu, advantage Hogs.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Arkansas +2.5
3:30 ET – (5) Vanderbilt vs. (12) Tennessee
No team in the league has inside-out threats like Vanderbilt (19-12, 15-14 ATS), who tout 7-footers in the frontcourt and an array of sharpshooters on the perimeter. Having finished 7-3 (6-4 ATS), the Commodores are playing to preseason expectations and if they win this contest like they should, they are as good as anyone remaining in one game scenario with the likes of center Damian Jones (14.2 PPG), guard Wade Baldwin 14.3 PPG), and forward Luke Kornet ( 9.0 PPG). After four straight losses in front of partisan crowd, Tennessee was ready to go and ambushed Auburn early setting up battle in Volunteer State. Armani Moore will likely need 22 points again to help his team’s cause. Tennessee lost a pair of double games to Vandy and is a 10-point underdog who could stumble again.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Vanderbilt -10
7:00 ET – (7) Mississippi vs. (10) Alabama
Ole Miss (20-11, 17-13 ATS) coach Andy Kennedy has been preaching to his team “they have everything to gain and nothing to lose”.