by Zachary Harmuth
The SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament tipped off Wednesday night in Duluth, Ga. at 6 p.m. and will culminate in Sunday’s Championship game on ESPN at 3:30 p.m.
South Carolina (1 seed), Kentucky (4 seed), Tennessee (2 seed) and Texas A&M (3 seed) all earned first round byes and do not play until Friday.
The first two games, on Wednesday, were play-ins and both were upsets. Mississippi State (13 seed) moved past Missouri (12 seed) 73-70; and Ole Miss (14 seed) overtook Arkansas (11 seed) 63-62.
The rest of the action starts Thursday at high noon when 8-seed Vandy plays 9-seed Georgia, at the top of the bracket. Vandy beat the then 12-1 Bulldogs 66-58 on Jan. 2, but the Commodores really sunk lately, losing 8 of their last 10 games.
After winning the tournament last year, Vandy fans may want to temper their hopes of a repeat. Though anything is possible in the SEC.
Anyway, whoever wins will find South Carolina waiting at noon for the first game on Friday.
At 2:30 p.m. Thursday Florida (5 seed) takes on Miss State. It will be interesting to see what the narrative of Miss State playing two games within less than 24 hours: will the adrenaline power the underdog even further, or will the physical toll turn the game into a nice warm-up lap for Florida? Kentucky will take on the winner in Friday’s second game at 2:30 p.m.
LSU (10 seed) takes on Alabama (7 seed) in the third game on Thursday at 6 p.m., and the winner gets to see what it can do against UT Friday in the day’s third game at 6 p.m.
UT fans have to be hoping Alabama wins, considering that LSU gave the Volunteers one of their five losses this season, back on Jan. 2 80-77.
In their one contest this season, UT beat ‘Bama by 10.
Though, last Thursday, UT got its revenge on LSU, winning a rematch 72-67. But the prospect of playing the Tide Friday evening can’t be nearly as nerve-wracking as going for 2 out of 3 against the Tigers, what with the slim 2 point advantage the Vols hold overall against them this year.
On the bottom of the bracket, Auburn (6 seed) plays the last game Thursday against Ole Miss at 8:30 p.m.
Texas A&M will await to play the winner in the last game on Friday, at 8:30 p.m.
The semifinals are on Saturday, starting at noon with the SC-Vandy/Georgia winner versus the Kentucky-Florida/MSST winner.
Then at 2:30 p.m., the UT-LSU/Bama winner will play the A&M-Auburn/Ole Miss winner.
On a side note, the bracketology proved crazy for the tourny this year, with five teams tying for the six seed and all kinds of esoteric, way down the line tiebreakers had to be used.