The SEC basketball tournament 2010 is set to start on Thursday. The story of the SEC basketball tournament 2010 bracket will be Kentucky, and a bunch of bubble teams. At this time last year, the conference was treading water and had no real national contenders. But this year, one of the top teams in the nation, two potential Sweet 16 programs, and many teams on the bubble are coming. When the SEC basketball tournament 2010 begins, the conference will be back in the championship week spotlight once again.
The SEC has one of those most unique conference tournament formats in the nation, as they match seeds from two divisions. The two top seeds in the East and West get byes until the quarterfinals, while the 3-6 seeds from each division clash. On Thursday, those teams begin their run through the SEC basketball tournament 2010 bracket, although only one has an NCAA bid guaranteed.
Tennessee was the odd team out in the crowded SEC East, as the division’s third seed behind Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The Volunteers will get solid fan support this year, since the tournament is in Nashville, Tennessee, and get the SEC West’s worst team, LSU, for their first round game. They would face the West’s second seed, Ole Miss, with a win.
The only other game in the SEC basketball tournament 2010 opener with NCAA implications features Florida. The Gators are on the wrong side of the bubble, and need at least a few wins to get in. They have to start with Auburn, and would face the West’s top seed, Mississippi State, if they win.
The other two first round games have South Carolina vs Alabama, and Georgia vs Arkansas – neither of which have any NCAA stakes. But in the past, teams have come out of nowhere to win the SEC basketball tournament, though in 2010, the odds are long.
This year, there are three guaranteed teams getting in, each of which could be dangerous in March. Kentucky leads the way, as they have returned to power and have a certain top seed in the NCAAs. As such, they could be caught sleeping, though John Calipari likely won’t allow it.
Their biggest competition is from their division, as Vanderbilt and Tennessee could be dark horse contenders in March – and the Commodores would have virtual home court in a final against Kentucky.
Aside from those three programs, the rest of the SEC basketball tournament 2010 bracket has bubble teams, or programs playing out the string. In the Western division, no one is assured of a bid, with Mississippi State and Ole Miss desperately needing victories. Florida’s hopes took a hit by losing to Kentucky today, but they could have a “play-in” quarterfinal against Mississippi State.
Now that Kentucky is back on top, and the conference has dangerous teams again, the SEC basketball tournament 2010 bracket is one to watch. The action kicks off on Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee, and ends with one of the last conference title games on Selection Sunday.
Jacksonville.com- “SEC men’s basketball tournament schedule and seeds”
Sporting News- “With UK loss, Florida hears more bubble babble”
The Kentucky Kernel- “Winning SEC is nice, but not enough”