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SEC March Madness Update: Tennessee Chasing No. 1 Seed

Things will be pretty interesting when the SEC tournament gets going based on how the regular season played out, with the top five teams separated by just one game in the standings. Tennessee’s NCAAB odds of securing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament took a slight hit after a loss to Kentucky in the final game of the regular season.

With three SEC teams in the top 10 in the NCAA NET rankings and Kentucky in the top 20, the SEC will have plenty of March Madness representation when it comes to the March Madness odds.

SEC March Madness Update: Tennessee Chasing No. 1 Seed
Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers | Eakin Howard/Getty Images/AFP

Five of the six SEC teams with winning conference records are also ranked in the Top 25 in the latest Associated Press poll. Those are the teams to keep an eye on when it comes to the March Madness projections.

The SEC tournament gets underway on Wednesday when Vanderbilt faces Arkansas followed by the Missouri-Georgia game. South Carolina is the first of the ranked teams who will hit the court in the second round on Thursday.

When looking at the odds of winning March Madness, Tennessee leads the SEC with +1100 championship odds followed by Kentucky at +2000, Auburn at +2200, and Alabama at +3500.




Here’s a look at the NCAA Tournament hopes for the SEC teams going into the SEC tournament:


Big Dance-Bound

Tennessee is fifth, Auburn is sixth and Alabama is eighth in the NCAA NET rankings, so the SEC will have three teams seeded high when the March Madness bracket is released.

Tennessee is the SEC team with the best chance of earning a No. 1 seed with six wins over ranked teams. The Volunteers would be in even better shape had they topped Kentucky in their most recent game. Tennessee has a 7-6 record in Quad 1 games. Alabama and Auburn are a combined 4-16 in Quad 1 games.

Tennessee and Auburn could be on a collision course in the SEC semifinals while Alabama might need to contend with Kentucky in the semifinals.

Auburn has played 13 Quad 3 and Quad 4 games and that is the most among any team in the top 15 in the NCAA NET rankings.

Kentucky is getting hot at the perfect time. When the Wildcats topped Tennessee, it extended their winning streak to five games and that is the longest active winning streak in the SEC.

South Carolina has won 25 games and finished in a tie for second in the SEC standings. The tiebreaker did not work in favor of the Gamecocks as South Carolina is seeded fifth to just miss receiving a bye into the SEC quarterfinals.

South Carolina will meet Ole Miss in the second round of the conference tournament. The Gamecocks are just 49th in the NCAA NET rankings. The two Quad 3 losses and nine Quad 4 games are likely to impact the seed in the March Madness bracket.

Florida is 35th in the NCAA NET rankings with a 4-7 record in Quad 1 games. If the Gators win their SEC opener, there would be a quarterfinal showdown with Alabama so that could be a chance to add another quality win to the resume for the Gators.

On the Bubble

Mississippi State has gone from 33rd to 42nd in the NCAA NET rankings despite winning three games in a row. The Bulldogs are just 4-8 in Quad 1 games while 14 games versus Quad 3 and Quad 4 opponents won’t help their chances when the tournament field is announced.

Texas A&M had lost five games in a row before wins over Georgia and Mississippi State to move into the top 50 in the NCAA NET rankings. The Aggies ended the regular season with an impressive win at Ole Miss.

Wait ‘Til Next Year

Ole Miss dropped out of the “On the Bubble” category as the Rebels lost their last two games.

The Rebels are now 90th in the NCAA NET rankings. An 0-7 record against ranked teams and a 2-7 mark in Quad 1 games has Ole Miss looking more like a team that will be left out of the March Madness bracket.

LSU does have a pair of wins over top 25 teams but a 5-13 record in Quad 1 and Quad 2 games overshadows a 17-14 overall record.

Thirteen of Georgia’s 16 wins have come against Quad 3 and Quad 4 teams. The Bulldogs are 1-7 in Quad 1 games and 2-8 in Quad 2 contests so it would take a run to the SEC tournament title for the Bulldogs to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Arkansas has moved in the right direction in the NET rankings but is still just 108th with a 3-14 record in Quad 1 and Quad 2 games.

Vanderbilt is 0-12 in Quad 1 games while Missouri finished 0-18 in conference play during the regular season.



Questions of the Day

Which SEC teams have the best record against the spread against ranked teams this season?

Kentucky is 6-1 against the spread when facing teams in the Top 25 in the national polls this season. South Carolina has covered in four of its six games versus ranked teams.

Which SEC team has the best odds to win March Madness?

Tennessee leads the way at +1100 in the college basketball championship odds. Kentucky (+2000), Auburn (+2200), and Alabama (+3500) aren’t far behind.

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