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SEC Conference Tournament Quarterfinals Betting Preview

The SEC rolls on to the quarterfinals Friday afternoon in Nashville. The crowd favorite Tennessee Vols will continue their Cinderella run as they, of course, must win the conference tournament in order to get a spot in the NCAA Tournament after a horrible regular season. Ben Simmons and the LSU Tigers are up next.

Tournament to be played at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

Florida Gators vs. Texas A&M Aggies (-4, 140)

* The Gators are excellent defensively, which they showed by holding a potent Arkansas team to its fourth-lowest point total of the season. Forward Dorian Finney-Smith (15 points, 8.2 rebounds) leads a trio of players who average double-digit scoring, but it was reserve Kasey Hill (8.3 points) who led the way against the Razorbacks with 18 points. Center John Egbunu (11.4 points, 6.4 rebounds) was able to play through a torn ligament in his thumb to collect eight points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench Thursday, and his presence will be critical to the Gators’ chances of upsetting the Aggies.

* The Aggies’ length on the wings makes them a difficult matchup for anyone, as 6-7 swingmen Jalen Jones (15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds) and Danuel House (15.3 points, 4.8 rebounds) provide a difficult one-two punch to guard. Freshman center Tyler Davis (11.2 points, 6.0 rebounds) is another tough defensive assignment in the post, and point guard Alex Caruso (7.8 points, 5.1 assists) is an excellent distributor who can score when needed.

Betting Stats:

Florida – 19-13 SU, 15-14-1 ATS, 16-14 O/U
Texas A&M – 24-7 SU, 13-11-2 ATS, 10-16 O/U

Trends:

* Gators are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Aggies are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. Southeastern.
* Under is 4-0 in Gators last 4 games following a straight up win.
* Gators are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.

Tennessee Volunteers vs. Louisiana State Tigers (OFF)

* The Volunteers were the surprise of the day Thursday, upsetting No. 5 seed Vanderbilt 67-65 despite playing without leading scorer Kevin Punter Jr. due to a season-ending foot injury. With Punter sidelined, the Volunteers needed someone to step up at the offensive end, and sophomore guard Detrick Mostella has answered the call with 35 points in the first two games of the tournament. Armani Moore (12.4 points, 7.7 rebounds) and Robert Hubbs III (10.3 points) also scored in double figures against Vanderbilt and continue to be Tennessee’s most consistent offensive players without Punter on the floor.

* LSU also will be without one of its top players, as senior guard Keith Hornsby had a season-ending procedure for an internal injury. The Tigers hope to avoid bowing out in the quarterfinals for a second consecutive year after losing to No. 13 seed Auburn in overtime in their first game of the tournament a year ago. The Volunteers clobbered the visiting Tigers 81-65 on Feb. 20 before losing their final four regular-season contests.

Betting Stats:

Tennessee – 15-18 SU, 16-15-1 ATS, 12-17-3 O/U
Louisiana State – 18-13 SU, 10-18 ATS, 12-16 O/U

Trends:

* Volunteers are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up win.
* Tigers are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 Friday games.
* Under is 6-0 in Volunteers last 6 games following a ATS win.
* Under is 5-1 in Tigers last 6 games following a straight up loss.

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Kentucky Wildcats (OFF)

* Alabama committed only nine turnovers in its mild upset over seventh-seeded Ole Miss, and senior guard Retin Obasohan scored all 17 of his points in the second half. Obasohan averages a team-best 17.7 points and also leads the Crimson Tide with 44 steals. The late-season slide has the Crimson Tide well aware that they need to win the SEC tourney to make the NCAA Tournament, and they got off to a strong start with 12 3-pointers and a season-best 12 blocked shots in the victory over the Rebels.

* Second-seeded Kentucky has won three SEC titles in John Calipari’s previous six seasons as coach and looks to take a step toward another when it meets 10th-seeded Alabama in Friday’s conference tournament quarterfinals at Nashville, Tenn. Kentucky sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis headlines the club after averaging 16.6 points and 7.4 assists while winning SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Betting Stats:

Alabama – 18-13 SU, 15-14 ATS, 13-16 O/U
Kentucky – 23-8 SU, 15-16 ATS, 16-14-1 O/U

Trends:

* Crimson Tide are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. Southeastern.
* Wildcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Friday games.
* Under is 4-1 in Crimson Tide last 5 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 4-1 in Wildcats last 5 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.

Georgia Bulldogs vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (OFF)

* J.J. Frazier has posted four 20-point outings during his six-game hot stretch, and he leads the Bulldogs in scoring (16.8) and assists (4.3). Frazier (73) and senior guard Kenny Gaines (79) have combined for 152 of the Bulldogs’ 194 3-pointers and the two players combined for 39 points in Georgia’s recent 74-72 road win at South Carolina. Sophomore forward Yante Maten is strong in the interior with averages of 16 points and a team-best eight rebounds while Gaines (13.4) and senior guard Charles Mann (10.5) also average in double digits.

* South Carolina figures it has done enough to reach the NCAA Tournament, but that also complicates the decision on whether or not to play leading scorer Michael Carrera when the third-seeded Gamecocks face sixth-seeded Georgia in Friday’s SEC Tournament quarterfinals in Nashville, Tenn. Carrera missed the regular-season finale against Arkansas with a hip injury, and the senior forward is hoping to be fit enough to play against the Bulldogs, who defeated South Carolina twice in the regular season. Carrera, a senior forward, averages 14.5 points and a team-leading 7.7 rebounds, and coach Frank Martin expects to be challenged by the feisty leader if he opts to rest him.

Betting Stats:

Georgia – 14-16 SU, 17-10 ATS, 14-13 O/U
South Carolina – 17-12 SU, 16-13 ATS, 16-13 O/U

Trends:

* Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Southeastern.
* Gamecocks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
* Over is 6-0 in Bulldogs last 6 vs. Southeastern.
* Under is 7-1 in Gamecocks last 8 Friday games.