SEC Basketball Tournament Matchups: Semi-Final Round Top Picks

Doug Upstone

Saturday, March 12, 2016 3:33 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 12, 2016 3:33 PM UTC

This SEC Basketball Tournament has gone according to plan. Sure, Tennessee winning twice was not expected but Georgia knocking off South Carolina was not a stunner.

Based on where we are at this moment, it sure looks like a collusion of the top two seeds but when you add in a point spread, that could certainly change the viewpoint of those trying to figure the NCAA basketball odds.

We promised yesterday to do better with our NCAA basketball picks and we did, hitting three of four. Here is to picking two more winners today.


1:00 ET - (1) Texas A&M vs. (4) LSU
This will be the rubber match between these SEC combatants as each won and covered at home. Texas A&M (25-7, 13-11-3 ATS) took the first game 71-57 as 7.5-point home favorites, with LSU the winner three weeks later in Baton Rouge 76-71 as two-point home faves.

There are no bad sides numbers this time of year, but still was amazed to see the Aggies open as 8-point favorites, thinking that was a high figure. The stakes to advance are rather high for both clubs. With Indiana and Oklahoma losing, Texas A&M has a chance to move up the seed board by wining this event, while LSU would like nothing more than to put a largely disappointing season behind them and reach the field of 68.

As expected, the Aggies had a tough time with Florida and their two best players Jalen Jones and Danuel House had off games, shooting a combined 11 for 35. But what baled the Aggies out was a +5 in the turnover battle and the nine points from backup center Tonny Trocha-Morelos.

After playing in inspired first half against LSU, the Tigers took control of tempo by playing faster and pulled away from the leg weary Vols by 10.

Texas A&M has not had an issue shooting the ball well against the Tigers connecting on 48.3% and 55.8% and should be able to have similar success today. What the Aggies have to avoid is running up and down with LSU and getting in scattershot contest, playing too fast and not establishing any rhythm.

Ben Simmons might have the best potential of anyone playing college basketball, but there are at least 10 players that want it more than him and if LSU wants to beat Texas A&M he needs to be a leader. With the Aggies 8-17 ATS in their last 25 neutral site games, take the points with the Tigers.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: LSU -6.5
Best Line Offered: at Bovada


3:30 ET - (2) Kentucky vs. (6) Georgia
Kentucky will have the fresher team in the second semi-final, having toyed with Alabama 85-59. Georgia showed guts and determination, overcoming 11-point deficit and took the lead for good when J.J. Frazier nailed a free throw with 1.2 second left to give Bulldogs thrilling 65-64 victory.

Georgia is one of only two teams to reach the semis in this tourney the past three years (Kentucky is the other), but they have an enormous task ahead of them today. In the lone meeting between these clubs, the Wildcats could do no wrong while the Bulldogs could not hit water with a beach ball standing next to lake. In being throttled 82-48, Georgia shot 22% with 11 made baskets in 50 attempts.

It barely has to be said, coach Mark Fox crew has to shoot better and the best method to attack Kentucky is with the mid-range jump shot. To go inside against all those big bodies is a waste of time. Granted, trying to draw more fouls is noble approach, the facts are Georgia does not have the players to try and make it free throw shooting contest.

By now, John Calipari knows what kind of team he has and it runs through hands of guards Tyler Ulis and sharp-shooter Jamal Murray. When big guys like Alex Poythress have 20 points like yesterday, Kentucky can blow teams out.

I just do not see where the Georgia has enough offense to stay close. I am anticipating a line of Wildcats by 12 and they squeak by it.

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NCAA Basketball Pick Kentucky -10.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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