SEC tournament brackets for 2016 begin on March 9. The updated SEC tournament schedule has just one first-round game, with No. 12 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Auburn. Missouri is not allowed to participate in postseason play due to sanctions, eliminating a second game that would have taken place on Wednesday. Instead, Mississippi State receives a first-round bye with the other top 11 teams in the SEC tournament brackets. Tennessee vs. Auburn will take place at 7 p.m. CT, with the winner advancing to play No. 5 Vanderbilt in a second-round match-up.
Second-round games in the 2016 SEC tournament brackets take place on Thursday, March 10. Day two begins with No. 8 Florida vs. No. 9 Arkansas at 12 p.m. CT. That game is followed by the Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee/Auburn game about 20 minutes later. The night games have No. 7 Ole Miss vs. No. 10 Alabama at 6 p.m. CT, and No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 11 Mississippi State 20 minutes later. The other four schools in the SEC Tournament received double-byes and await in the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinals in the SEC tournament schedule will get started on Friday, March 11. No. 1 Texas A&M opens day three at 12 p.m. CT against the winner of the Arkansas vs. Florida game. They are followed by No. 4 LSU against the survivor of Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and Auburn about 20 minutes after the opening game. The night games from Friday begin at 6 p.m. CT with No. 2 Kentucky playing the winner of Alabama vs. Ole Miss. Roughly 20 minutes after that game, it will be No. 3 South Carolina vs. the winner of Georgia vs. Mississippi State.
The 2016 SEC Tournament may be the final opportunity for many schools to make it into the 2016 NCAA tournament field. In the updated bracketology report from Joe Lunardi at ESPN, only four SEC schools are predicted to receive invites. Those schools are Texas A&M (24-7), Kentucky (23-8), South Carolina (24-7), and Vanderbilt (19-12). Lunardi doesn’t have any of the other SEC teams even listed on the bubble as the 2016 SEC tournament schedule begins.
Several schools need to make deep runs into the SEC tournament brackets and then hope for either an at-large bid of a tournament championship to earn the guaranteed invite. Those schools with a lot on the line include Ole Miss (20-11), LSU (18-13), Florida (18-13), and Georgia (17-12). LSU has Ben Simmons as an added bonus, possibly giving the team a push if it can get to the SEC Championship Game.
There are a lot of individual players to keep an eye on during the SEC Tournament, with several projected to be first-round selections in the 2016 NBA Draft. Those players are LSU forward Ben Simmons, Kentucky guard Jamal Murray, Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere, Vanderbilt center Damian Jones, Vanderbilt guard Wade Baldwin, Texas A&M forward Danuel House, Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis, and Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith. It could bring a lot of eyes to the SEC tournament brackets, including those of the NCAA Selection Committee.
SEC tournament odds list Kentucky as the overwhelming favorite to hoist another trophy. Vanderbilt and Texas A&M are the two schools receiving supportive odds to win the SEC Championship Game. After that, though, there are no other schools receiving good odds to nab that automatic berth in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. More so than any other major conference tournament, the SEC clearly has three favorites lined up to prevent upsets.
The action all gets started when the Tennessee vs. Auburn games tips off at 8 p.m. ET on March 9. Second-round games provide the opportunity for several upsets on March 10, but can any of the bottom nine schools in the SEC tournament brackets survive past the quarterfinals on March 11? Kentucky and Texas A&M possess the best chance for an SEC school to receive a top seed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, but they are resting thanks to securing a double-bye.
[Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]