EDIT: Alabama beat Georgia -- updated 2011 SEC Tournament bracket here.
The first round of the SEC Basketball Tournament is in the books, with all of the highest seeds advancing. There wasn't a lot of drama in the first round, but there'll be some juicy matchups in the second:
- Georgia vs. Alabama, 1 pm ET, WPCH or ESPN3
- Ole Miss vs. Kentucky, 3:30 pm ET, WPCH or ESPN3
- Tennessee vs. Florida, 7:30 pm ET, WPCH or ESPN3
- Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State, 10 pm ET, WPCH or ESPN3
We'll be getting our first look at Kentucky in the tournament this afternoon, and the Wildcats (22-8, 10-6 SEC) make for an interesting case. As usual, John Calipari's team was pegged as an SEC title contender in the preseason, and raced out to a 12-2 start, but lost their SEC opener in a big upset to Georgia and muddled through losses to Alabama, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt before winning five of their last six to finish the season. While that may only be a so-so campaign by UK standards, they're still ranked #15 in the AP poll and #16 by the coaches, and Blogging the Bracket has them pegged as a #4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. There's a chance they could move up to a #3 if they make a championship run through the SEC tourney.
Their opponent, Ole Miss (20-12, 7-9) handled South Carolina 66-55 yesterday afternoon but isn't going to sniff the NCAA tournament unless they win the SEC. Barring that, this looks like the fourth time in coach Andy Kennedy's five seasons in which a 20-win Rebel squad will be headed to the NIT.
The game tips off at 3:30 this afternoon and will be televised on the SEC Network. Check out SBN blogs A Sea of Blue and Red Cup Rebellion for more.