Conference champion Auburn and Kentucky join the fray at the SEC tournament in St. Louis Friday afternoon. But are we backing either the Tigers or the Wildcats with our free college basketball picks? Free College Basketball Picks: Friday Afternoon at the SEC Tournament.
The Tigers just went 13-5 in SEC play to claim a share of their first conference championship since 1999. Auburn actually lost three of four late, but beat South Carolina in the regular-season finale last Saturday 79-70 to clinch the title.
The Tide, meanwhile, finished 8-10 in conference play, ending with five straight losses. But ‘Bama pulled a mild shocker Thursday with a 71-70 victory over Texas A&M on a basket at the buzzer. Alabama shot 48 percent from the floor Thursday, while holding the Aggies to 39 percent, winning outright as 4-point dogs.
These rivals split two meetings during the regular season, each winning at home. The Tide won in Tuscaloosa 76-71 in mid-January, but the Tigers won at Auburn 90-71 a month later.
Also, while the first meeting played under a total of 154, the second meeting played over 152.
Alabama just played Thursday, while the Tigers have had almost a week off. But this might be another one of those conference tournament situations where the team that’s played more recently holds an edge. We’ll take the points here.
Free SEC Tournament Pick: Alabama
The Wildcats went 10-8 in the SEC this season. They lost four in a row back in February to fall out of contention in the conference race, but then won four in a row. Kentucky then finished with an 80-67 loss at Florida last Saturday.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, went just 7-11 in conference this year, losing three of their last four. But they opened this SEC tournament with a 78-62 victory over Vanderbilt Wednesday, then upset Missouri Thursday 62-60. Georgia fell down to the Tigers 10-0, scored 12 in a row to take a 12-10 lead and never trailed after that, winning outright as a 4-point dog.
Kentucky took the only meeting between these teams during the regular season 66-61 back on New Year’s Eve in Lexington. The Bulldogs actually led most of that game, but the Wildcats finished with a 17-8 run for the win. However, UGA covered at +9.
Also, that game played way under a total of 146, as the teams combined to shoot just 36 percent from the floor.
Georgia’s actually played some decent ball over the last month, going 5-3 SU, 6-2 ATS over its last eight games. But Kentucky is 4-1 SU and ATS its last five times out, and will probably put on a better performance here than it did against the Gators last Saturday. We’ll give the points.
Free SEC Tournament Pick: Kentucky