The quarterfinals of the 2016 SEC tournament are officially upon us, as eight teams will battle it out to try and lock up and automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
There were a couple of upsets in the second round of Friday, as Tennessee kept its Cinderella run going with a win over Vanderbilt, and No. 10 Alabama knocked off Ole Miss.
Today, we see the heavy hitters like Texas A&M and Kentucky take the court at Bridgestone Arena, plus a few other intriguing matchups.
Sports and Entertainment Nashville will once again be live from the arena for all four games, so stay up to date on everything that’s happened by refreshing this page throughout the day.
No. 1 Texas A&M 72 vs. No. 8 Florida 66
No. 4 LSU 84 vs. No. 12 Tennessee 75
No. 2 Kentucky 85 vs. No. 10 Alabama 59
No. 3 South Carolina 64 vs. No. 6 Georgia 65
Texas A&M holds off pesky Florida team
We all knew it would be an unusual game between the No. 1 and No. 8 seeds in this year’s SEC tournament. That’s because Florida hasn’t exactly equaled an 8-seed for most of the season.
And the Gators didn’t look like an 8-seed against the Aggies on Friday.
But in the end, it was the regular season champions that walked away with a 72-66 victory.
Florida started strong with a lot of momentum early, which is what we’ve come to expect from teams that have already played in this tournament. However, once Texas A&M was able to match their momentum, the Aggies seemed to settle in and get much more comfortable in the flow of the game.
Danuel House stepped up and started to find a rhythm, which obviously didn’t bode well for the Gators. House finished with 15 points, and freshman center Tyler Davis also added in 15 for the Aggies.
Now Texas A&M will turn its attention to the winner of the second semifinal in the noon game on Saturday.
LSU stops Tennessee’s cinderella run
After Tennessee knocked off No. 5 Vanderbilt in the second round, many thought the Vols had a great chance to do the same to No. 4 LSU on Friday.
That wasn’t meant to be, as the Tigers managed to pull away late for an 84-75 victory.
LSU took a bit of a hit early when phenom freshman Ben Simmons went to the bench with two fouls, but the Tigers managed to rally from a one-point halftime deficit to extend their season.
Of course, the win also puts LSU two wins away from clinching an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The Tigers will need to win it all in Nashville in order to get in, as their overall resume doesn’t pack enough of a punch to get them in as an at-large team.
Simmons and company will look to take another step forward on Saturday when they meet the Aggies in a crucial semifinal matchup.
The two teams split the season series, with both winning on their home court.
Kentucky rolls into the semis with win over Alabama
Despite being the No. 2 seed in the tournament, Kentucky entered the week as the favorite to hoist the trophy come Sunday.
The Wildcats certainly looked like the favorite in their 85-59 win over Alabama.
It was a decent enough first half, as the Crimson Tide found a way to stick around for a while. But once Kentucky got going, it couldn’t be stopped.
It was the performance by Alex Poythress that got the most attention, with the Clarksville native scoring 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds in front of what was undoubtedly a pro-Kentucky crowd in the arena. And that’s putting it lightly.
The huge victory had to give the Wildcats a massive boost of confidence as they head into Saturday’s semifinal against either Georgia or South Carolina.
Both are favorable matchups for John Calipari’s team, and there’s no doubt that Kentucky will be the favorite to move into Sunday’s title game.