March is finally here. If you're a college basketball fan this time of the year is like Christmas, only better because you don't feel inclined to buy gifts for family, friends and co-workers that you aren't quite sure you like. I've been taking days off for the tournament since I was a boy. My father would be kind enough to let me skip school on the first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA Tournament, and I've been blowing off school, work, friendships and any other responsibility for the tournament ever since. Thanks, Dad.
I usually don't take off for the SEC Tournament unless I have the means to attend the event, preferring instead to keep up with it while at work. However, this year's tournament promises to be an entertaining affair due to the parity in the middle of the conference and the recent unsteady play of Florida at the top. Not to mention, a brother can use a day off now and then.
For those of you in need of an SEC Tournament bracket, click here
Obviously our beloved Crimson Tide basketball team enter this tournament in dire need of victories in order to boost its at-large hopes. The road will not be easy as Alabama faces potential tests from the hottest team in the conference (Tennessee) and a rematch with the top dog in the conference (Florida) just to reach the final game on Sunday. Alabama isn't the only bubble team looking to make a statement in Nashville. Only Florida and Missouri (strangely enough, the 6 seed in this tournament) are projected safely in the field at this point. Kentucky, Tennessee, Ole Miss and even the likes of Arkansas and LSU all still have at-large hopes should they make it to Sunday. The competition should be fierce, resulting in plenty of good basketball.
This is also the first year of the new format in the SEC involving fourteen teams. As a result, the SEC Tournament begins a day earlier on Wednesday with opening round games featuring the bottom four teams of Texas A&M, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Auburn. These teams are all long-shots to go far in this tournament, but never underestimate a desperate team playing to extend their season by one more game.
Here are my predictions for the tournament. Please include your own predictions in the comments section. Those of you who score the highest number of correct picks win......nothing. Sorry. We're not that kind of blog.
Mississippi State>South Carolina
Alabama>Tennessee (picking with my heart, not my head)
Alabama>Florida (really picking with my heart)
Missouri>Alabama (my heart only holds so much sway over me)
Should Alabama do my heart proud and make it to Sunday, would that be enough to get over the at-large hump? Let's hope that question is still relevant come Sunday morning.