A programming note: no previews of the games today because of parenting duties. Will have post-game posts.
The SEC Tourney Friday nightcap features several interesting matchups. Florida, the SEC Regular Season Champion, will need all the seasoned leadership it can get from it's core of seniors and juniors to get past a desperate Tennessee team. The Mississippi State, embroiled in controversy early in the season, looks to replicate its season-ending form against a Vandy team that is better than a 3rd seeding. And maybe tonight I'll actually stay awake!
If you can't watch on a local SEC Network partner (PDF), perhaps you can watch via ESPN3. I'll be taking one of my kids to an event tonight, so there will probably be no Quick, Fake summaries tonight. Enjoy the games!
E5 Tennessee vs. E1 Florida
In January, Florida won in overtime 81-75. Florida's starters all scored in double-digits and the Gators as a team shot 52.5% FG against the Volunteers. In the February rematch at Gainesville, Tennessee junior guard Scotty Hopson scored 22 points and he and his teammates took Florida senior forward Chandler Parsons out of the game. But it wasn't enough, as junior guard made a game-winning layup to propel the Gators to a 61-60 victory.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character That Best Describes The Team: Wario. Seemingly can recover from hits that would knock other teams out. Much better in approach/transition game than advertised. Solid defensively and has a knack for collecting offensive rebounds and steals. When used correctly, can be a very dangerous team to play, but is pretty-much worthless when a coach is just button-mashing (or distracted).
How They'll Win This Game: Harassing Florida's Chandler Parsons is a good start, as limiting his use will stall Florida's offense. But the Vols will need to play defensive without the reckless abandon they showed last night against Arkansas. Florida's non-Parsons players will be able to score if they are left open.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character That Best Describes The Team: Meta Knight. This senior-laden team means that they can recover from nearly anything. Offensive attacks ebbs and flows freely and efficiently. Limits opponents second chances and then successfully counter-attacks.
Stupidest Thing That Happened To Them This Season: This team is the best Florida team since the back-to-back National Championship teams, and the average home attendance was just 10,186.
How They'll Win This Game: Playing much better team defense by limiting Scotty Hopson's and freshman forward Tobias Harris' offensive output. Florida should also flatten Tennessee's emotional play by frustrating every shot and not letting the Vols have a significant run or hardly any offensive rebounds.
Florida by 4. Florida should have no problem dominating pace of play. Tennessee will furiously rally through the game, but won't have enough at the end to win.
E3 Vanderbilt vs. W2 Mississippi State
It took a 12-0 run late in the second half that was fueled by a full-court press that let Vandy pull away from the Bulldogs 81-74. Vandy junior forward Jeffery Taylor had 25 points, 2 assists and 3 steals and sophomore guard John Jenkins had 21 points.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character That Best Describes The Team: Snake. Can punish opponents from near, from far away or from the free-throw line. Can rush or contain opponents. Not the greatest defense but does enough to slow the other team down. Powerful and deadly when focused.
Stupidest Thing That Happened To Them This Season: Mr. C, the Vandy mascot, is a bit of a dick.
How They'll Win This Game: Getting John Jenkins well enough to drive and create is going to be important against Mississippi State's defense. Vandy should make sure Mississippi State forward Renardo Sidney stays frustrated and disinterested as possible.
About Mississippi State
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character That Best Describes The Team: King Dedede. Will slug it out with you if you let him. Will gladly throw teammates into the fray (and off the board).
Stupidest Thing That Happened To Them This Season:: The Renardo Sidney investment being moderately successful. Head Coach Rick Stansbury going insane in the membrane at the end of the season was an entertaining subplot.
How They'll Win This Game: Miss. St.'s Ravern Johnson has got to go ham. It seems the small forward is the spot that Vandy can't defend very well, and Johnson should exploit it. Sidney and junior guard Dee Bost have to make a positive impact, even if they don't score a lot of points.
Vandy-Mississippi State Prediction
Vandy by 6. Vandy has just too many weapons and Mississippi State can't stop them all.
Like any good horror monster, Chris Warren and the Ole Miss Rebels wouldn't go away. 3-pointer after 3-pointer kept falling; Terrence Henry and Reginald Buckner did just enough to keep the Wildcats in foul trouble inside. If the Wildcats had succumbed to their fears, Ole Miss might have taken the night.
Instead, the Wildcats found the poise they didn't have back in Oxford. Kentucky players Darius Miller, Doron Lamb and Brandon Knight contributed a constant flow of scoring in the final minutes, which held off Ole Miss' desperate charge. The evil banished back to it's warren as Kentucky wins 75-66. Mississippi's basketball season is over. Sleep well, Nightmare Rebels; may you torment teams yet again next fall.