The postseason is finally here and that means conference tournaments! Some teams have already punched their tickets to the NCAA Tournament, while others have yet to begin their conference tournaments. The 2020 SEC Tournament could prove to be an exciting weekend of basketball. In a crazy season where it seems that any team could beat any other depending on the night, there’s no telling what may happn.
Kentucky is the number one overall seed this year, followed by Auburn, LSU, and Mississippi State respectively. These four teams will have a double-bye and won’t have to play until Friday. Arkansas, Ole Miss, Georgia, and Vanderbilt compile the bottom four who will need to win five games in a row if they want to make the big dance. All other teams would have to win four games in a row in order to be crowned champions.
Potential Quarterfinal Matchups
The quarterfinal games will take place on Friday, March 13th and will feature the winners of the first two rounds up against the fresh legs of the top-four teams with a double-bye. I think that there will be a couple of great matchups in this round. Tennessee is going to face Kentucky for the third time this season after they take care of Alabama, Georgia will move on to face Mississippi State, Texas A&M will move on to play Auburn and Arkansas makes it into the quarterfinal game to play LSU on Friday. These games will be fun and competitive and it’s college basketball in the middle of the day, so who’s complaining?
Georgia has the highest ceiling based on their seed in this tournament. I think that is because of the star power of probable top-five NBA Draft pick Anthony Edwards. I think they are the team to upset a Florida squad in the second round who may be without Kerry Blackshear Jr., during the conference tournament. Edwards uses this opportunity to get hot in March to show the scouts that he is their guy this summer and then when Georgia’s season ends against Mississippi State on Friday, he will train and get ready for the draft. As for the other Friday matchups, I think that it will end up being chalk for everyone. The top-four seeds will move on just fine, in my opinion. So how does that leave the semifinals? Let’s take a look.
Potential Semifinal Matchups
The 2020 SEC Tournament semifinals will feature the top four-seeds if my predictions win out. Kentucky has been on a roll and I don’t think they will find much trouble with Mississippi State. It isn’t a matchup that is going to be favorable for the Bulldogs and I think that Nick Richards is just too much for them to handle. Ashton Hagans should be back and leading the Cats, look for Hagans to have low turnovers and high assists as he gears up for the NCAA Tournament and possibly getting ready for the NBA Draft.
In the other game, LSU and Auburn, I think that the Tigers are going to win….just kidding! Bruce Pearl has been able to get his teams to peak and play right at the perfect moments in the last few seasons. Auburn is a program that gets the most out of their players and takes advantage of every opportunity. However, LSU won’t be a pushover in this game. They will be looking to get any extra advantage to up their seed come time for the NCAA Tournament and will give Auburn everything they have. In the end, I think Auburn wins in a close one thanks to three-point shooting and free throws. Auburn versus Kentucky for the SEC Tournament title sounds like a pretty good game to me!
Potential Championship Matchup
Now I know I said that this season has been unpredictable and there is no telling what might happen, and up to this point I’ve chosen pretty much just favorites. However, what is more unpredictable in an unpredictable season than sticking with the most traditionally predictable outcomes? It’s just when I look at the matchups in front of me this is how I see it playing out. Also, Kentucky versus Auburn is going to be a hell of a game.
The two teams at the top of the SEC are going to put on a good show and that is because they have some of the most electrifying players in the league. Richards and Hagans already mentioned but throw in Tyrese Maxey and the trio of Samir Doughty, Austin Wiley, and J’Von McCormick will have the crows in Nashville rocking. In the end, once again, I think that John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats are going to take home the 2020 SEC Tournament title on the performance of Nick Richards, who will be tournament MVP.