Three teams on bubble as SEC basketball tourney begins - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Three teams on bubble as SEC basketball tourney begins

(RNN) - The Southeastern Conference Basketball Tournament gets underway in Atlanta's Georgia Dome on Wednesday night.

Here's the broad overview.

No. 1-ranked Florida and Kentucky will advance to the NCAA tournament, win or lose. Chances are, one or the other will win the tournament.

Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri need a good showing to drop inside the bubble. All have been notoriously inconsistent this season.

Wednesday night's low-seed pairings don't offer much in the way of interest. Auburn plays South Carolina at 7 p.m. ET, and then Vanderbilt faces Mississippi State.

The winner of Game 1 faces Arkansas (21-10) on Thursday afternoon in a must-win game for the Hogs, who concluded the season with a horrific 83-58 loss at Alabama to finish 10-8 in the SEC. Arkansas beat Auburn and South Carolina handily this year.

If Arkansas gets by the Tigers or Gamecocks, it will face Tennessee on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. The Volunteers (20-11) are on a four-game win streak and have won five of their last six regular-season game, losing only to Texas A&M in OT at College Station back on Feb. 22. They destroyed Vandy, Auburn and Missouri in their final three games. This team is hot enough to win the league and inconsistent enough not to make the tournament.

Eighth-seeded Mizzou plays ninth-seeded Texas A&M in Thursday's first game. The Tigers (21-10) finished with a flaky 3-3 record down the regular-season stretch, badly losing three road games at Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. They eked out a 57-56 win over the Aggies (17-14) at home during that span.

Florida (29-2) a bona-fide national championship contender, posted the league's first perfect 18-0 conference record. Led by four seniors, the Gators stomped Kentucky 84-65 in the season finale and have won 23 straight. Their last loss was a 65-64 heartbreaker at Connecticut on Dec. 2.

Kentucky, which began the season ranked No. 1, is 22-9 and lost three of its last four games, including an inexplicable 72-67 defeat at South Carolina. The Wildcats need a good showing just to have some momentum going into the Big Dance.

The tournament ends on Sunday with the 3:15 p.m. championship game. The NCAA tournament field will be announced that night.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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