USA TODAY Sports
The semifinals are upon us as Selection Sunday gets ever closer.
1:00 pm ET, ABC
|Record||21-11 (12-6)||25-6 (14-4)|
|Head-to-Head||Florida won 64-52 on 3/2|
Alabama is not a team that got a lot of buzz coming into the tournament in Nashville, as the Tide was generally considered a "next four out" kind of team with marginal March Madness hopes. After knocking out fellow bubble team Tennessee, Bama is now perhaps just one win away from locking up a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
That potential is there because it ended up on Florida's side of the bracket. Santa Claws tried to give gifts of dancing tickets to Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, but all three have since faltered and squandered the opportunities given to them by virtue of beating the SEC's top team. Will Florida be in a giving mood this afternoon? It certainly wasn't yesterday when it beat LSU by a deceptively close 22-point margin.
Anthony Grant knows Billy Donovan as well as anyone does, and his team had a second half lead on the Gators two weeks ago that just didn't hold. Alabama has the ability to frustrate the Gators with its style of play, and it certainly has more riding on this game than Florida does. While those reasons for optimism are very real, it looked yesterday like the Gators have gone back into Hulk-smash mode. If that remains the case today, Bama ain't winning this one.
The pick: Florida 67, Alabama 49
3:30 pm ET, ABC
|Record||16-16 (8-10)||24-8 (12-6)|
|Head-to-Head||Ole Miss won 89-79 (OT) on 1/15|
Can anyone stop Kevin Stallings in the SEC Tournament anymore? The Commodore boss has upset one bubble team's chances in knocking off Kentucky, and now he gets a chance to possibly disrupt Ole Miss's chances in his next game.
These teams haven't played each other in just over two months, and a lot has changed since then. Vanderbilt is closing the season well, as evidenced by their tournament play, while Ole Miss fell down hard from its run that allowed it to get to 17-3 before February began. The Rebels have lost to far worse than what this Vandy team is today, although they've also beaten better (just last night, for starters). That's a very verbose way of saying that either team could easily win this game.
Vanderbilt is starting to take on a team of destiny feel here in its home town, and we've seen a lesser team than these Commodores win this thing before. Ole Miss's charmed win last night also gives them the feel of a contender, so that's maybe not a big deal. The fresher team will probably end up taking this one, and Vandy wasn't the one that got a double bye. Look for the Rebels' firepower to carry the day here.
The pick: Ole Miss 70, Vanderbilt 60