Vols have a shot at SEC greatness

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

If you haven't noticed this past week, the date has rolled over; February is gone and March is here.

And that can only mean one thing:

March Madness, baby!

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It's this time of year when the NCAA actually gets it right and decides the championship for one of its athletic programs where it should be decided: on the field.

Or court, as the case may be.

After this week's conference tournaments, the NCAA tournament bracket will be announced and the field will be set.

In anticipation of Sunday's announcement, here are my picks for the men's SEC Tournament round two games, semifinals and championship.

Round 2:

Kentucky vs. Mississippi State

If the Wildcats get past the Tide, they will be hard to stop. The Bulldogs are not playing their best ball and should be rewarded with their first-place western division finish by exiting the tournament in one game.

WINNER: Kentucky

Arkansas vs. Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt is a tough team to play at home, but the dome neutralizes everything. Vandy's speed should be able to counter Arkansas' size and speed, thus sending the Commodores into the semifinals.

WINNER: Vanderbilt

Florida vs. Auburn

The Tigers have given the Gators fits every now and then, but this won't be one of those times. Florida is a championship program looking to repeat their feat from last year. Auburn is improving, but the Tigers still have mountains to climb.

WINNER: Florida

Tennessee vs. Ole Miss

Ole Miss has not been dominant, but they do know how to win. But so does Tennessee. The Vols will keep things going once they see they will have to face the Gators.

WINNER: Tennessee


Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt

The crowd will play a huge part in this game and no team travels in basketball like the Wildcats. Vanderbilt is good, but those Wildcat faithful will have the Georgia Dome rocking.

WINNER: Kentucky

Florida vs. Tennessee

The Gators are without a doubt the best team in the SEC, but the Vols may be the best coached. Look for the Gators to be looking ahead toward a No. 1 berth and the Vols will be right there waiting.

WINNER: Tennessee


Kentucky vs. Tennessee

In a much surprising final game, the Wildcats and the Vols will put on a spectacular offensive show, but only one team can advance. Tubby Smith is a championship coach, but the Wildcats aren't a championship team this season. This one goes to the Big Orange.

WINNER: Tennessee

Austin Phillips is The Greenville Advocate sports editor and can be reached by phone at 334-382-3111 ext. 122, by fax at 334-382-7104 or by e-mail at austin.phillips@greenvilleadvocate.com