The last time both Kentucky and Florida were outside the top two seeds in the SEC tournament was in 2009, but that streak comes to an end this week in St. Louis, as regular season co-champions Auburn and Tennessee lead the way for the 2018 tourney.
Still, while Auburn and Tennessee are the favorites, No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Kentucky are nevertheless right in the mix of contention, while the potential return of Michael Porter to No. 5 Missouri could make the Tigers just as dangerous. Put it all together, and this stands as the deepest SEC tournament in years.
Live Stream Info
The tournament starts on Wednesday, March 7, and concludes with the championship on Sunday, March 11. All 13 games will be televised nationally on either ESPN or SEC Network (full schedule of games and TV listings can be found here), but if you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch a live stream of every SEC tournament game by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live TV channels, including both ESPN and SEC Network. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the games on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
DirecTV Now: ESPN is included in all of DirecTV Now’s four main channel packages, while SEC Network is included in the “Just Right,” “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get a free Amazon Fire TV if you prepay two months. Once signed up, you can watch all the games live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Sling TV: ESPN is included in the “Sling Orange” channel package, while SEC Network is in the “Sports Extra” add-on. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch all the games live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
After splitting the regular season title, Auburn earned the No. 1 seed over Tennessee due to winning the lone head-to-head matchup back in early January.
However, after starting off SEC play at just 3-3, the Volunteers proceeded to win 10 of their remaining 12 games, including four straight to end the season. Their stifling defense, which ranks fourth in the nation in efficiency per Ken Pomeroy, has given up just 59.25 points per game over that stretch, plus they have the conference player of the year in Grant Williams.
But while Tennessee enters as one of the hotter teams in the country, Auburn stumbled down the stretch, losing two of three and three of five to close the season. Still, the Tigers are one of the more efficient teams in the country, and if they get hot from deep, they can be incredibly difficult to beat.
After the co-favorites, the ol’ powerhouses await. Florida and Kentucky are both loaded with talent, both struggled with inconsistency for much of the year but both started playing their best basketball of the year as the calendar approached March. The Wildcats, a super-young team with NBA players all over the court, won four of five down the stretch, while the Gators impressively beat Auburn, Alabama and Kentucky to end the season. Either Kentucky or Florida has been in the SEC championship in eight straight years, and it wouldn’t be surprising if that streak continued this week.
The biggest wild-card has to be fifth-seeded Missouri. The Tigers are just 2-3 in their last five, but they’ve played extremely well without potential Top-5 pick Michael Porter this season. He could return this week, and if he does, it will be interesting to see if his supreme talent boosts Missouri to a new level, or if takes them time to adjust with him.
Throw in some sleepers like Alabama, who have a player capable of taking over any game in Collin Sexton, or Texas A&M, who boasts wins over Auburn, Kentucky and Missouri, and you have a potentially wide-open SEC tournament.