SEC Tournament: The bubble will burst for ‘Bama or Georgia

Graham Watson
The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

The Dagger will be previewing eight of this week's conference tournaments. Here's our look at the SEC tournament.

SEC Tournament

Dates: March 10-13

Site: Georgia Dome (Atlanta)

Draw: Click Here for link to the bracket

Favorite: This is the first time the tournament is returning to the Georgia Dome since 2008 and no team has had more recent success in Atlanta than Florida. The Gators won the SEC titles at the Dome in 2005 and 2007 and also won their second national championship there in '07. The Gators, who were not the favorites to win the SEC East at the start of the season, shocked the conference and finished three games ahead of second-seeded Kentucky.

Three others who can win it: Obviously Kentucky's talent makes it a team to watch in this tournament, but the fact that the Wildcats have won only three road games this season is disconcerting. Kentucky is the reigning conference tournament champ and has won four of its 26 titles at the Georgia Dome... Although Mississippi State is coming out of the lowly West Division, the Bulldogs have been hot, winning four of their last five. They also have the league's hottest scorer in Ravern Johnson, who averaged 23 points and 5.5 rebounds in his final two regular season games... And, of course, Alabama, winners of the West Division, are also in the hunt for the SEC Tournament title if for nothing else than to ensure a place in the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson Tide are teetering on the bubble right now because of a weak schedule and need some wins to gain the selection committee's favor.

Three players to watch:

* Kenny Boynton, G, Florida — In the past four games, Boynton has averaged 48 percent from 3-point range.

* Chris Warren, G, Ole Miss — Warren's play has kept the Rebels in some games this year and his .935 free throw shooting percentage will come in handy.

* Brandon Knight, G, Kentucky — Knight has been the most impressive freshman in the league this year and he'll be looked upon to lead the Wildcats to another title. {YSP:MORE}

Bubble implications: Few teams in any major conference have more to play for than Alabama and Georgia. Both teams are 20-10 and both are teetering on the bubble. Depending on the day, mock brackets often have one team in and one team out, but which team is which fluctuates. If Georgia can get past Auburn in today's first round, the Bulldogs will go head-to-head with Alabama for one of those final NCAA Tournament spots.

Projected champ: Florida has been the most consistent team this year, though the Gators might hit a roadblock in the semifinals against Mississippi State, a team to which they've already lost. But if they can get through that game, the Gators have a good chance of exacting revenge on a Kentucky team that beat them 76-68 at the end of last month.

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