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2014 SEC Tournament Day 4 TV Schedule
There is no more real SEC bubble watch. Tennessee is in and Arkansas is out of nearly every projected Field of 68 you can find. Missouri, having failed to defeat Florida, is out too. Even if the Gators manage to stomp Tennessee like they did in January, it's very unlikely that taking a loss to the top-ranked team will knock the Vols out of the NCAA Tournament.
The SEC will get three bids unless Georgia manages to win the conference tournament. Pretty simple, no?
4 Tennessee vs. 1 Florida, 1:00 pm ET, ABC
Regular season: 1/25: Florida 67, Tennessee 41; 2/11: Florida 67, Tennessee 58
Yesterday Florida sleepwalked through much of its game before waking up three quarters of the way through, while Tennessee dominated its contest throughout. Sure the differing level of opponent plays into UT's more impressive showing, but Florida didn't just struggle because Missouri's season was entirely on the line.
Tennessee is playing its best ball of the season right now, and it has plenty to play for here. A win removes all doubt about its March Madness bid, though it should be in anyway. It also would give the committee reason to keep the Vols out of the stupid Dayton games on Tuesday. Florida has pride and that unblemished SEC record to play for, but it's getting a 1-seed in the South regional no matter what happens from here on out.
Motivation doesn't ultimately decide games, but UT will have more of it. With the tournament championship not being an immediate prize to be taken from this game, if Florida is going down, this is the most likely spot.
3 Georgia vs. 2 Kentucky, 3:00 pm ET, ABC
Regular season: 1/25: Kentucky 79, Georgia 54
UGA is going to have to do something here it hasn't done yet this year: actually hang with a tournament-caliber team. The Bulldogs are 0-5 in games against teams projected to make the Big Dance, and the average margin of loss is 17.6 points. They did particularly poorly agains the SEC's three tournament teams, losing by 19 to Tennessee, 22 to Florida, and 25 to these Kentucky Wildcats. That's the main reason why UGA has never been a serious bubble team despite securing the third seed here: the team not only lacks quality wins but lacks non-gruesome losses to quality teams.
If the plan was to sneak up on UK, it doesn't appear that it will work. The stars in blue aligned well inside the system yesterday as they blew out LSU. This is Catlanta after all. Based on what we saw yesterday, I can't think up too many reasons why this one should be close. UK got the easiest draw of the top teams, and if things go like I expect, it should be rested and ready for the final tomorrow.