2015 SEC Basketball Tournament for March 13: Who, What, Where, and When

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Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

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#1  KENTUCKY WILDCATS 31-0 (16-0)
#8 FLORIDA GATORS 16-16 (8-10)

The Kentucky Wildcats have been the story of college basketball all season long and they are nine wins away from total perfection.  Kentucky is loaded at every position but the real key to this team is their defense.  Kentucky allows just 53.4 points a game and they allow their opponents to shoot just 35.1% from the field.  Willie Cauley-Stein is up for the defensive player of the year but he will hurt you on both ends of the court.  Aaron Harrison leads the team in scoring with 11.2 points per game and he has cemented his reputation as one of basketball’s top clutch shooters.  Devin Booker  is the large range sharpshooter at 43.6% and Karl-Anthony Towns dominates the paint and is a contender for the top NBA Draft pick.  This team is the definition of unity as they play well together on both ends of the court and feature nine McDonald’s All Americans.  Kentucky is winning their games by an average of 21.2 points this year.

It seems only fitting that Kentucky would have to beat Florida a third time to wrap up the perfect SEC season.  The Gators swept Kentucky last year in three games.  The Gators will need strong performances from Dorrian Finney-Smith and Michael Frazier to have any hopes of the upset.  Frazier has not looked sharp in his two games since returning from a high ankle sprain.  If the Gators can get PG Kasey Hill (7.3 points avg) untracked in the scoring column, they could make a run.  He looked great against Kentucky with 15 last week but he has been inconsistent this year.  Look for an all out assault from behind the 3-point line from Florida as they plan to go down guns a’blazing.  The Gators shot 29 3-pointers yesterday, but Kentucky is a better defensive team than Alabama.

Kentucky has won both meeting this year, although Florida did play very well in parts for both games.  Kentucky won at Gainesville 69-61 and at Rupp 67-50 last Saturday.

#4 LSU TIGERS 22-9 (11-7)
#13  AUBURN TIGERS 14-19 (4-14)

In my opinion, the LSU Tigers are a potential Sweet 16 team. After a brief rough stretch, they closed the season strong, winning three of four games and closing with a 81-78 win over #22 Arkansas. The Tigers feature two bigs that could play in the NBA soon. Sophomore Jarrell Martin is one of the best big men in the SEC, averaging 16.9 points and 9 rebounds a game. Martin can dominate a game like he did verses Arkansas with 27 points and 8 rebounds. Sophomore Jordan Mickey averages 16.0 points and 9.9 rebounds a game. He is also a solid interior defender with 3.7 blocks a game. Sophomore Tim Quarterman is the straw that mixes the drink for the Tigers with 11.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists a game.  The Tigers can play with anyone on the country as evidenced by the fact they only lost by two versus Kentucky 71-69.

The Tigers of the Auburn variety are the story of the 2015 SEC Tournament so far.  After two improbable wins, they look to keep the magic going.  Auburn is led by senior guard KY Harrell who averages 18.4 points a game. Harrell has taken his game to another level and hits . Antoine Mason, a transfer from Niagra, averages 14.3 points and hits 39.0% of his three pointers. 6’7 Cinmeon Bowers has been big in the paint, averaging almost a double-double with 12.3 points and 9.6 rebounds. Mason has not had a good tournament so far, so if he gets untracked, this could be interesting.  However, this is not a good rebounding team and Auburn is going to have a tough time in the paint versus LSU.

Auburn and LSU have split their two games this year.  Auburn won at LSU 81-77 while LSU returned the favor 84-61 on Auburn’s home court.