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The SEC has five teams in the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament. What kind of chance does each team have? Here are our predictions starting with the lowest seed.
Georgia Bulldogs (21-11, 9-7)
Georgia has exhibited up and down play the entire season. At times they have looked like they were capable of competing with anyone. Other times they look like they might not ever win another game. The Bulldogs face a talented Washington team that won the Pac-10 Tournament and is led by Isiah Thomas. It is very possible that Georgia could be shell shocked by their first tournament appearance since 2008, I am predicting a first round upset win for Mark Fox's Bulldogs as I think he will have them focused and ready to play after having plenty of time to prepare for Washington. The Bulldogs run will likely end in the second round against North Carolina.
Tennessee Volunteers (19-14, 8-8)
Tennessee is a No. 9 seed despite having a worse record than Georgia largely due to the strength of its wins over Pitt and Villanova. The Volunteers also lost to the likes of Richmond, Oakland, and College of Charleston. Two of those teams are in the tournament and are worthy opponents but as talented as Tennessee is they shouldn't be losing to schools of that caliber. With news of Bruce Pearl's uneasy job status at Tennessee leaking into the media on the eve of the tournament I have changed my mind on the Vols and am now predicting a second round loss to Michigan. Thus ending a short stay in the NCAA Tournament and perhaps the end of the Bruce Pearl era in Tennessee.
Vanderbilt Commodores (23-10, 9-7)
Vanderbilt is one of those teams that is hard to predict. If John Jenkins is healthy and playing well then I wouldn't be surprised to see the Commodores stick around for a while in the tournament. Jenkins however missed Vanderbilt's first game in the SEC Tournament and went just 3-15 in their loss to Florida in the semifinals. Compound that with drawing a very good Richmond team in the second round and I am predicting yet another upset loss and early exit for an SEC team.
Kentucky Wildcats (25-8, 10-6)
The Wildcats drew a No. 4 seed despite defeating the No. 2 seeded Florida Gators rather convincingly in the SEC Tournament championship. Kentucky was also rewarded by being sent to the East regional which just might be the toughest region in this year's tournament. At any rate, I see a sweet sixteen run for Kentucky and a collision course with Ohio State. The Wildcats are talented enough to knock off the Buckeyes but I am afraid that their lack of depth will ultimately cost them in the sweet sixteen. Kentucky over Princeton and West Virginia before falling to Ohio State.
Florida Gators (26-7, 13-3)
Despite losing to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament, Florida earns a No. 2 seed in the southeast region. While their performance against the Wildcats has given me pause, I still believe that Billy Donovan's club is good and has the best chance of any SEC team to reach the Final Four. I have the Gators knocking off Pitt in the Elite Eight before ultimately falling to Kansas in the Final Four.