SEC Tourney pix

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I’ve been looking forward to the Southeastern Conference Tournament coming to Tampa for a long time. Our media hotel is right next to the St. Pete Times Forum and Channelside Entertainment District, which is a perfect location to let out a little late-night deadline steam.

For those selfish reasons, there’s a part of me that would like to see Florida make a deep run in the SEC Tourney. And I think the bracket and the matchups set up pretty well for the Gators. Because of that, and because the Gators should enjoy a semi-home court advantage, I’m picking Florida to reach the SEC tournament finals before running out of steam against eventual champion LSU.

Here’s how I see the tournament unfolding:

THURSDAY

Kentucky over Ole Miss – Billy Gillispie won’t have Jeannine Edwards around to distract him.

Mississippi State over Georgia – No miracle for the ‘Dogs this time around.

Alabama over Vanderbilt – Best game of the day, decided on a game-winning shot from Alabama senior guard Alonzo Gee.

Florida over Arkansas – Billy Donovan improves to 3-1 against his former top assistant, John Pelphrey.

FRIDAY

LSU over Kentucky – ‘Cats sent packing to their old Kentucky homes, NIT bound.

Mississippi State over South Carolina – MSU center Jarvis Varnado presents a matchup problem for the Chickens inside.

Alabama over Tennessee – Vols have never played well in the SEC Tournament under Bruce Pearl.

Florida over Auburn – Pro-Gator crowd should propel Florida in a must-win game.

SATURDAY

LSU over Mississippi State – LSU’s tandem of Tasmin Mitchell and Chris Johnson will neutralize Varnado in the post.

Florida over Alabama – In a wild, high scoring affair.

SUNDAY

LSU over Florida – Tigers will rout gassed Gators.