Five things: SEC Tournament

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The Southeastern Conference Tournament will be a prelude to the Big Dance for some teams, but for others, a ticket to the NCAA Tournament will largely depend on a good showing in Nashville this week.

The five-day even begins tonight with a pair of first round games featuring the bottom tier of the conference – Mississippi State, LSU, Missouri and Auburn – ushering in the league tourney.

The favorites

Kentucky, the regular-season champion, has won the past two titles in Nashville and the Wildcats, along with the Florida Gators, are the favorites this season. The two teams split during the regular season with each team winning on their home court. Kentucky has won four tournament titles under John Calipari and has won six straight tournament titles.

Darkhorses

Vanderbilt is one of four conference teams seeking to put a lock on an NCAA Tournament bid with a good showing in the tourney. Ole Miss and Alabama also will be look to pad their tournament resume. Vandy is the only conference school that swept Florida during the regular season.

Locks

Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas and South Carolina appear to be four teams that are sure locks to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens in Music City. That would give the SEC four teams and possibly five, depending on what happens in Nashville.

Maybe next year

Auburn, Mississippi State, LSU, Tennessee and Missouri have little to no chance of winning the tournament and receiving the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, leaving all four teams looking ahead to next year for better results.

Farewell tour

The tournament will be the last for Missouri coach Kim Anderson and likely the finale for Johnny Jones at LSU. Georgia’s Mark Fox is OK for the time being after his athletic director sent out a statement of support for the Bulldogs’ coach Tuesday night.

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