The SEC basketball tournament 2011 bracket was officially set today. Of course, the SEC basketball tournament 2011 bracket is different from most. Since the conference is split by divisions, East and West teams face each other to start things off. However, in this league, the most powerful teams are in the East, which could get 5 NCAA bids to the West’s potential zero. Therefore, it was fitting that the SEC basketball tournament 2011 bracket was settled by a showdown in the East.
Heading into today, Florida had already clinched the East’s top seed, and a bye for the first round. The second Eastern bye was determined when Kentucky visited Tennessee, as the winner would get a much needed off day. But the loser would need to play four days to win the automatic bid.
Kentucky completed the SEC basketball tournament 2011 bracket by getting the bye, with a 64-58 road triumph. The Wildcats secured the second seed from the East, while dropping Tennessee all the way to the fifth spot. Yet even at 8-8 in the conference, the Volunteers appear safe to make the NCAAs.
Vanderbilt won the tiebreaker over Georgia to place third, as the Bulldogs now need a win or two to secure their bid. Five potential NCAA teams have been crowded in the East all season, which has created a bit of an imbalance.
However, the SEC basketball tournament 2011 bracket had the Western seeds locked up yesterday. Alabama blew out the competition with a 12-4 record, yet their 20-10 overall record puts them in trouble. Despite being the West champions, the Crimson Tide may fall short of the NCAAs if they don’t reach the final.
Mississippi State has the other Western bye, since they’re the only other Western team with a winning conference record. Mississippi won a tiebreaker over Arkansas for third, with Auburn in fifth, and LSU in the basement.
As such, the SEC basketball tournament 2011 bracket starts on Thursday, with Auburn taking on Georgia, and South Carolina facing Mississippi. In the nightcap, Arkansas meets Tennessee, followed by LSU clashing with Vanderbilt.
On Friday, Alabama starts the quarterfinals against Auburn or Georgia, before Kentucky faces South Carolina or Ole Miss. Florida’s run begins with either Arkansas or Tennessee, with Mississippi State left to take on LSU or Vanderbilt. Yet once the semifinals start on Saturday, there’s a real chance that only Eastern teams will be left.
The league has been under the radar this season, with no real powerhouses to speak of. But if past history is an indicator, the SEC basketball tournament 2011 bracket should have a surprise team emerging. If anyone from the West other than Alabama makes a deep run, that would qualify as a shock.
SEC Sports- “Men’s Basketball Championships”
Yahoo Sports- “Kentucky 64, Tennessee 58”
Alligator Army- “Gators win the SEC in victory over Vandy; What’s next?”