In the first game of the day, Florida shook off a slow start to pull away from Missouri 72-49.
The first half was not one of the prettier ones the Gators have played this year, while Mizzou understandably looked like the more motivated team. These two went into halftime tied, and they remained close for the first ten minutes after. However right on schedule, the game took a sharp turn with about 10:03 to go. From there the Gators closed it out with a 34-10 edge, as they finally looked like the No. 1 team. The run began with seven quick points inside a minute, and you could tell at that point that the shell shocked Tigers were done.
Florida lit it up from behind the arc, with both Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier scoring 15 points each from back there. UF shot 57% on 21 shots, while MU made just one of 13 from deep. Jabari Brown had 18 for Missouri, which is now going to be headed for the NIT.
The winner of the second game is getting the Gators, and that team is Tennessee. The Vols did not have a lot of trouble in their 59-44 win over South Carolina.
UT was already up 12-2 at the second TV timeout, and the margin didn't get much closer than than the rest of the way. Tennessee's tough defense smothered the Gamecocks, who shot just 27.1% from the field and 25% from three. There isn't much else to say about the game flow, as the Vols went up early and very slowly expanded the lead.
South Carolina had no answer for Jarnell Stokes, who scored 22 and pulled down 15 rebounds. Jordan McRae backed him up with 14 on the game. No Gamecocks managed to even hit double digits in points, though Brenton Williams came close with nine.
After the dinner break, Kentucky showed it isn't out of things just yet with an 85-67 destruction of LSU.
This game was all about answering critics for UK, which had slumped down the stretch and fed the narrative that the team lacked enough experience to win in March. LSU hit a trio of quick threes in the opening two minutes, but the Wildcats didn't let it faze them. LSU did hold tough and lead a lot of the first half, but a 9-2 run in a 1:41 span late in the first half gave Kentucky control. The Tigers made a run early in the second half to pull closer, but Kentucky was far too strong over the final eight minutes as it closed this one out.
James Young led all scorers with 21 for the Cats, while Julius Randle had 17 and 16. Willie Cauley-Stein also had six blocks off the bench. Johnny O'Bryant was the top Tiger with 18, and Jordan Mickey had a double-double with 12 points and 13 boards.
In the final game, the third-seeded Georgia captured a win late to outlast Ole Miss 75-73.
It was something of a war of attrition between these teams as two Rebels fouled out, three more had four fouls, and three Bulldogs had four fouls as well. In addition to being physical, it was a close game throughout. A nine-point lead early on for Ole Miss was the largest either team had, the biggest second half lead for either side was four, and it was a one-possession game literally for the entire final 10:11.
Jarvis Summers hit a jumper to put the Rebels up by one with 17 seconds to go, and they had plenty of chances to put it away on the next possession. Kenny Gaines missed a three, but Brandon Morris snagged the rebound. He tried a put back layup, but that missed too. Charles Mann then snared it and hit a running scoop shot down the lane to edge the Bulldogs ahead by one. Marshall Henderson missed a triple on the other end, Marcus Thornton made one of two from the line, and Summers missed a contested three as time expired.
Mann led the way for UGA with 16 points, while Morris and Gaines each had a dozen. On the other side it was the Summers and Henderson show, as the former had 26 and the latter 19. It was a classic Marshall Henderson game, as he somehow managed those 19 despite being 5-21 from the field (including 2-16 from downtown). Shot selection was an issue for the whole bunch, which hit 66% of its twos but just 8% of its 25 three-point attempts.