2015 SEC Tournament for March 15: Who, what, where, and when

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So when all is said and done and all the dust is cleared, the two best teams in the SEC will face off for the 2015 SEC Tournament Championship today.  And it should be a heck of a game.  Arkansas has played second fiddle to Kentucky all year, but the Razorbacks are a Sweet 16 team and should get a #4 seed.  Note that I said they should, but they will probably get a #5.  And the Razorbacks will havve the disrespect card to play on in today’s game.  Kentucky ran the Razorbacks out of Rupp Arena two weeks ago and will be looking for revenge.  Kentucky?  Well the Wildcats are still chasing history and that undefeated season and that is all the motivation that they need. The game tips off one ESPN at 1:00 PM today.   How did these teams get here?  Let’s look at yesterday’s action.

In a way, you had to feel sorry for the Auburn Tigers when the news came out that both Jordan Granger and Cinnmeon Bowers were out for this game.  Auburn’s run had been so miraculous and fun to watch so far.  You knew that it would probably come to an end against Kentucky and it did in a  100-50 blowout loss to the Wildcats. but you just hoped they would be a full strength and go down swinging.

Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers took a 2-0 lead but Aaron Harrison answered with a 3-pointer and the Wildcats quickly increased that lead to 15-4 at the first TV timeout.  Kentucky was never challenged after that and increased the lead to47-29 at the half.  From there, Kentucky rolled to a 91-67 win.  Even though Auburn was outmanned, they did fight hard and got the lead down to 13 at one point.  Kentucky was led by Willie Cauley-Stein with 18 points and 7 rebounds.  Four other Wildcats had double-digits, including Devin Booker with 12 points.  For the game, Kentucky shot a blazing 56.3% and hit 7-14 3-pointers.

Auburn was led by Antoine Mason with 23 points and Malcom Canada with 16.  The Wildcats forced the Tigers to shoot just 33.3% and the Tigers were outrebounded 39-25.  Leading scorer KY Harrell scored 13, but the majority of that was from the charity line.  Harrell shot just 1-12 from the field and could not get untracked, going 0-6 on his 3-pointers.  The Tigers bench scored just 5 points and the Tigers finished the season at 15-20.

Even though Arkansas is known primarily for their offense, this team can still play some defense and they showed that in their 60-49 win over Georgia.  Arkansas pulled a page from Kentucky’s book and held the Bulldogs to 17 points in the first half and held them to 32.7% shooting.  The win over the Bulldogs was actually not as close as the final score indacated as Arkansas flirted with a 20 point lead and kept the Bulldogs at bay the entire 40 minutes.  This came on a day that Bobby Portis did not have a very good day.  The SEC’s leading scoring duo of Portis and Qualls scored just 19 points against the Bulldogs, proving that the Razorbacks are a complete team.

Anthlon Bell had a couple of 3-pointers and finished with 10 points.  For the game, Arkansas shot just 37.3%, so they proved they can win on an off day as well.  The Razorbacks pass so well and do so many things right, it is hard to come back on this team if they get a lead on you and Georgia had no answer.  Marcus Thornton and Cameron Forte had 13 points apiece for the Bulldogs but the recurring injury bug did the Bulldogs in.  Kenny Gaines did not play and Juwan Parker played just 6 minutes before aggravating his leg.  The Bulldogs finish at 21-11.  Hopefully they can get some players healed before starting tourney play.

Now, let’s look at today’s matchup.