Bridgestone Arena will provide the seating, concessions and floor action for the 2013 SEC Tournament, and bettors are presented with some very similar college basketball odds for the two openers on Wednesday.
The Mississippi State Rebels and South Carolina Gamecocks face off in the opener while the Auburn Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies, the two coldest teams in the conference heading into this tournament, close off Day 1's events. Whoever wins the Rebels/Cocks matchup draws Tennessee in the next round while the Tigers/Aggies victor goes against Missouri.
Bulldogs & Gamecocks Tip Tourney
It's the third get-together of the season for Mississippi State and South Carolina, the most recent just a week ago when the Gamecocks evened the score with a home triumph after losing in their SEC opener at the Bulldogs on Jan. 9.
The folks backing USC are going to have to lay 5 to 5.5 points on a team that went 4-14 and is facing another 4-14 squad in the 'Dogs. It is always tough to lay any points on a team that has dropped two of its last 12, even against a team that come up short 14 of the last 16 times on the hardwood.
Mississippi State comes in the hottest if only because the Rebels have won two of their last three, covering all three. The biggest issue has been poor offensive results, dead last on the conference schedule averaging a puny 58.9 PPG, and that's after a strong showing in the last three games when the club mustered 72+ point efforts at the end.
The 72-point mark came in the loss last Wednesday at South Carolina, and the Gamecocks aren't exactly known for their defense ranking ninth in the SEC (68.7 ppg). That matchup was a far cry from the 56-54 slowdown game won by MSU at home to begin the conference slate for each. The Rebels were 4-point home favorites in that meeting.
South Carolina doesn't exactly light it up as well, and the 79 points the Gamecocks scored a week ago vs. MSU was their first time over 68 since Jan. 26. Junior guard Brenton Williams scored 38 of 'em, a career best. The Bulldogs responded by netting just 64 in this town last Saturday in a loss to Vanderbilt.
The dog in this fight seems the way to go for our NCAAB Picks.
Aggies Battle Auburn in Nightcap
How can you like either team in this matchup? Granted, Mississippi State and South Carolina isn't exactly a marquee clash, but Texas A&M and Auburn both saw their seasons end on a downer, and it just may be another case of nobody worthy of laying points.
The Aggies are favored by 5.5 according to SBR's live odds. There has been a dip in the total from 120 to 119, and it's the second battle of the year between the two after A&M posted a 65-56 road win three weeks ago.
Auburn was 1 point chalk in that affair, as hard as that may be to believe for a team that dropped its final nine and 15 of the last 16. In addition to losing the last nine outright, the Tigers have failed to cover the last eight.
The Aggies haven't been much better as they reach their first SEC hoops gala losing four of their last five, straight up and against the spread. Leading scorer Elston Turner is not 100% with a hand injury that held him out of A&M's regular season finale, and the 40 turnovers the past two games are disconcerting. I'm inclined to take the points but will instead make a play on the OVER.
Season: 40-33 ($3.70)