Tournament to be played at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Alabama Crimson Tide vs Kentucky Wildcats (-10.5, 137)
Two more wins in the SEC Tournament would earn Alabama an unlikely automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament – but one more might be enough to make the Crimson Tide an interesting topic for the selection committee. The fifth-seeded Crimson Tide aim for their 20th victory when they face surging No. 1 seed Kentucky in an SEC Tournament semifinal Saturday. Alabama is in the conference semifinals for the first time since 2013 after a 64-53 win over No. 4 South Carolina on Friday. “We’ve had an up-and-down year in a lot of ways and haven’t been able to put together complete games, especially in back-to-back games, but we did it tonight,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson told reporters. “I’m proud of our guys. They were hard-nosed, they fought and they were scrappy.”
The Crimson Tide have a much bigger challenge ahead, as Kentucky has won a season-best nine straight games including a 71-60 victory over No. 8 seed Georgia in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats won the only regular-season meeting, 67-58 at Alabama on Feb. 11 and have won seven straight in the series. The Wildcats proved they are more than a one-man team by beating Georgia despite a season-low two points from leading scorer Malik Monk (20.6 points). Fellow freshman De’Aaron Fox (15.7 points, 5.0 assists) and sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe (13.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists) scored 20 points apiece against the Bulldogs, and freshman Bam Adebayo (13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds) recorded a double-double to carry Kentucky.
* Crimson Tide are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Wildcats are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games as a favorite.
* Under is 5-0 in Crimson Tide last 5 neutral site games.
* Under is 5-0 in Wildcats last 5 games as a favorite.
* Favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
Vanderbilt Commodores vs Arkansas Razorbacks (OFF)
With a run to the SEC Tournament semifinals, Vanderbilt might have finally done enough to secure an NCAA Tournament bid, but the Commodores would prefer to win two more games in Nashville and remove all doubt. The surging Commodores’ next shot at padding their resume comes Saturday when they take on Arkansas with a trip to the championship game on the line. The Commodores dominated the extra period in a 72-62 overtime win over No. 2 seed Florida on Friday – their third win over the Gators this season. That sets up a rubber match with Arkansas, as the teams split the regular-season series with each winning on the other’s home court. The Commodores are one of the SEC’s best 3-point shooting teams, and they knocked down 11 from behind the arc against the Gators. Reserve guard Matthew Fisher-Davis (13.8 points) and Riley LaChance (10.4 points) were hot from outside Friday, and 7-foot-1 forward Luke Kornet (13.4 points, 6.2 rebounds) collected a double-double despite going 0-for-4 from long range.
The Razorbacks have won seven of their last eight games since a 72-59 home loss to the Commodores on Feb. 7, and they eked out a 73-72 win over Ole Miss on Friday behind 17 points from Daryl Macon. Arkansas is trying to earn its second trip to the SEC Tournament championship game in the last three years. The Razorbacks have a balanced attack, but it has been sharp-shooting guard Dusty Hannahs (14.6 points) who has lit up the Commodores in the previous two meetings, averaging 20.5 points. Macon (13.3 points) was the man Friday, scoring 17 off the bench including 9-of-10 from the foul line, as the Razorbacks were 20-of-23 from the stripe.
* Commodores are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Razorbacks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
* Under is 14-2 in Commodores last 16 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 12-1 in Razorbacks last 13 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Commodores are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings.