Posted: 9:30 pm Thursday, March 13th, 2014

4 questions from Day 2 of the SEC tournament 

By Mark Bradley

Arkansas' Michael Qualls looks down -- and probably out of the NCAA. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Arkansas’ Michael Qualls looks down — and probably out of the NCAA. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

1. Did Arkansas just play itself out of the NCAA tournament? Probably. Losing the regular-season finale by 25 points at 12-18 Alabama was bad. Losing to 13-19 South Carolina on a neutral floor Thursday was way worse. The Razorbacks appeared Dance-bound after winning six consecutive games and stunning Kentucky in Rupp Arena, but these two losses to terrible teams surely undid all the good work. The Hogs could never make South Carolina, which had played in Wednesday’s opening round, go fast enough for their liking, and even after the Gamecocks missed five free throws in the final 53 seconds Arkansas couldn’t make the basket it needed. Freshman Bobby Portis spun free for a 2-foot hook inside the final five seconds, but he pulled the shot wide left.

2. If Arkansas is out, does that mean Missouri is back in? Maybe not. The Tigers tried very hard to blow their tournament opener against Texas A&M. They trailed by four points inside the final two minutes of regulation and wasted a four-point lead in the final 12 seconds of the first overtime. They won in the second OT mostly because the Aggies, who saw four players foul out, ran out of bodies. At 22-10 with an RPI of 52, Missouri has slightly better numbers than Arkansas (21-11, RPI of 56), but the Tigers lack the sort of catchy wins that Arkansas managed in sweeping Kentucky. And Mizzou, lest we forget, was swept by Georgia, which is currently on nobody’s bubble.

3. Does Missouri have a chance against Florida in Friday’s quarterfinals? A chance, yes. The Tigers gave the nation’s top-ranked team a go in Gainesville on Feb. 4. (One night before football’s National Signing Day, in case you were distracted.) The Gators trailed 28-25 at the half and didn’t take a lasting lead until Michael Frazier II hit a 3-pointer with nine minutes to play. Frazier would hit two more treys in the next two minutes to give Florida a six-point lead. The Gators would win 68-58 but were outscored by six points from the field. Not so from the foul line, though: Florida took 33 free throws to Mizzou’s 12.

4. If Florida is the best in the land, then why are coaches saying that Tennessee is playing better than any SEC team? Because the Volunteers, who will face South Carolina in the second afternoon quarterfinal, have begun to function at peak capacity, and the Vols’ peak is as high as the Smokey Mountains. “We’ve got a bear tomorrow,” said Perry Clark, the South Carolina assistant who was on Bobby Cremins’ Georgia Tech staff when the Jackets got really good 30 years ago. “Tennessee is playing great right now.” The Vols closed the regular season by winning by seven points at Mississippi State, by 38 against Vanderbilt, by 28 at Auburn and by 27 against Missouri. That’s an aggregate margin of 100 points over four games.

10 comments
DawginLex
DawginLex

An SEC semifinal day of Mizzou vs SC and UGA vs LSU would be priceless as one of them would get a bid that otherwise would not be available


Kentucky has won it's last game this year already. 2 more losses and 4 of them to the NBA

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Ok, so Tennessee's playing real good right now, but having watched them beat Georgia a few weeks ago, and noting that them Vols were getting every call at the Stokeley ( or whatever cold cuts- named place they play in now). We'll see how that works here. Then again, I suspect that the SEC office will have informed their 'official' officials office, that their best shot for getting four teams into the 'show' or whatever they call that tourney thing, is to be sure UT wins a game or two...so I suspect that the 'O's' will in on the deal...it is still all about the money, ya know.

Dawg350
Dawg350

What's up brothers??? UGA gonna go to the big dance brothers...that's where we belong my brotha's........we fixing to tear ole miss up baby! UGA is the year of the funk my brotha's!

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

floriduh would never admit that we were playing better then anyone else in the confrence not after what we have done to them in football lately. and with arkansas getting kicked off the bubble we should be a shoe in for a ticket to the tournament.  now we just need to sell out the dome with dawg fans and celebrites to send a message that we are a team to be reckoned with

Obama_Joke
Obama_Joke

SEC Basketball?   I find it funny that people pretend to care.

POAD2013
POAD2013

All these 2 bye days has made these tournaments kind of bad. Very few teams that play on a Wed will EVER see a Sunday game. 

wowev
wowev

@MoistDawg  Who cares about football? This is basketball. The football season is over. You aren't a team to be reckoned with. You are UGA basketball.

P-Man
P-Man

@Obama_Joke Amazingly, you must care enough (or pretend to care) to read the article and comment...

Lejit
Lejit

@POAD2013 I suspect that's probably at least part of the purpose of the format. Dance tickets are too valuable to the conferences to allow a lesser weight to get hot during the conference tourney and then bow out in the first round of the NCAAs like Georgia did a few years ago.