Will it be Kentucky Blue Again, or is it Tennessee's Time in SEC?

Doug Upstone

Sunday, March 11, 2018 11:43 AM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 11, 2018 11:43 AM UTC

For a fifth straight season, Kentucky has advanced to the Southeastern Conference Championship game. Will John Calipari's crew make it four in a row or will Tennessee knock them off?

Sunday College Basketball: SEC ChampionshipKentucky Wildcats vs. Tennessee VolunteersFree NCAAB Pick: Tennessee +1Best Line Offered: YouWager

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If you know anything about the state of Tennessee, they hate people from Kentucky, especially those associated with the state university. Everyone from the Volunteer state knows Tennessee is going to be in the NCAA Tournament, which makes this battle about state pride an adding a rare accomplishment. The game is basically a Pick on the college basketball odds board, with a 1-point spread going either way depending on the sportsbook.

Go Figure, Kentucky Playing Well in March

Kentucky (23-10, 15-17-1 ATS) has been a focal point of discussion all season and most of it was not positive. As compared to most of the recent vintage groups coach John Calipari has brought into Lexington, this contingent was not oozing NBA-ready talent. These Wildcats did not always play together and seemed unsure of themselves.

When the Wildcats lost four SEC games in a row to start February, not only were Big Blue fans stunned but talk radio and basketball writers were wondering if Kentucky might miss the NCAA Tournament altogether.

But Calipari kept coaching and preaching, and this group started to click. There is more cohesiveness in their play and an obvious trust factor that was not there a month ago. This team is now running more and is getting outside shooting and is on 6-1 SU and ATS move, just like we usually see from the 'Cats this time of year.

For Tennessee, It Is About Imposing Their Will

If you followed the SEC this season and were making college basketball picks, you knew the Vols (25-7, 18-12 ATS) were probably the best team in the conference. Auburn was playing fabulous and jetted out to a big lead, bue signs were there they might wear down. Coach Rick Barnes' 13th-ranked Tennessee team is like a Ford truck -- it is built to last.

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Tennessee plays tremendous defense, is tougher than a $2 steak and is more physical than a UFC fighter. Yes, the Vols stumbled a couple times in mid-February and can have problems making shots, but they have won six straight (4-2 ATS) and 13 of 15 (9-6 ATS) and should be ready.

Your SEC Champion and Spread Winner

Here are two things Kentucky and Tennessee fans know. The Wildcats have won 18 SEC conference titles since the Vols last won there's in 1979. But this Tennessee team has already beaten Kentucky twice this season and as luck would have it, the last time the Vols had a 3-0 sweep of their rivals was ... drum roll ... 1979 when they won the SEC. Look for history to repeat itself, as the tougher more physical Volunteers defeat Big Blue.

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