All times Eastern; all games on ABC
1:00 - #4 Florida vs. #1 Kentucky
3:30 - #7 Ole Miss vs. #3 Vanderbilt
What to Watch for in Florida-Kentucky
The two previous Gators-Wildcats games were very different based on venue. In Rupp Arena, UK blew the doors off of UF to the tune of 78-58. In the O'Connell Center, UK pulled away late in an otherwise closer game 74-59. The atmosphere in New Orleans will be a lot closer to the former, as Kentucky fans have (as they always do) taken over the site of the SEC Tournament.
The 'Cats were not who we thought they were yesterday as they struggled to put away LSU, but they'll likely be a bit more up for this game. With Syracuse falling in the Big East Tournament yesterday, UK can lay claim to the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Dance by winning out here. Florida got a much-needed win yesterday over Alabama to stop its late-season bleeding, but it will take something we haven't yet seen from this team to pull off the upset. Principally, that something is good long distance shooting against UK; the Gators are a combined 12-49 (24.5%) versus Big Blue from downtown. When the threes aren't falling, Florida struggles to beat anyone.
What to Watch for in Ole Miss-Vanderbilt
The Rebels have replaced Tennessee as the SEC's longshot hope for a sixth team in March Madness (assuming Mississippi State's late season swoon didn't knock the Bulldogs out). They probably aren't in yet, so they must pick up a quality win over Vandy today to be a legit bracket contender. The team has a short turnaround after last night's emotional overtime win over the Vols, but the good news for them is that the Commodores had an even later game. Which team has fresh legs today could very well decide this one.
Vanderbilt is comfortably in the field of 68, but it shouldn't be comfortable with its spot there. VU figures to be about a 7-seed right now, but everything is so fluid that there's no guarantee it will stay there. Win, and the Commodores could be up to a safer 6-seed; lose and they're in danger of being demoted to the dreaded 8-seed line. They won the regular season matchup with Ole Miss in a 102-76 laugher, but it goes without saying that everything is closer in March. That loss came in the midst of a 2-6 stretch for the Rebels where the two wins came over dreadful South Carolina and Auburn. With Mississippi playing much better with its postseason life on the line, you can bet the final margin here won't be 26 points again.