The SEC as a whole had a great season on the hardwood, arguably its best basketball campaign in years. That success continued for the opening day of the NCAA Tournament.
Four SEC teams were in action on Thursday, and all four left victorious. It’s not necessarily a miraculous feat, as three of the teams were favored and 9-seed Alabama was only a small underdog.
But still, four wins on Thursday for the SEC tied a conference record for a single day in tournament history:
The SEC went 4-0 today, tied for the most wins in a single day in the conference's NCAA Tournament history
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 16, 2018
Tennessee crushed Wright State 73-47 early in the day. The Vols were led by Lamonte Turner, who managed 19 points and 9 assists. Kentucky held off a strong second half push from Davidson to advance to the round of 32. Collin Sexton led the Crimson Tide over Virginia Tech in an 8 vs 9-seed game, and Florida defeated First Four winners St. Bonavenutre in the night cap on Thursday.
Tennessee and Kentucky will be favorites again on Saturday, while Alabama and Florida will become the underdogs. The Vols get No. 11-seed Loyola Chicago and the ‘Cats will face No. 13-seed Buffalo. Both Buffalo and Loyola-Chicago look like solid Cinderella candidates after upsetting Arizona and Miami, respectively.
While the SEC thrived, the Pac-12 did not. With Arizona’s loss to Buffalo late Thursday night, the Pac 12 is out of the NCAA Tournament. UCLA lost to St. Bonaventure and Arizona State lost to Syracuse in the First Four matchups in Dayton. The Pac-12 also struggled in football’s postseason, going 1-8 in bowl games.
The SEC has four more teams in play on Friday, which would give them a chance to replicate Thursday’s record. The SEC is favored in every game:
Texas A&M (7) vs Providence (10) | 12:15 p.m. ET
Arkansas (7) vs Butler (10) | 3:10 p.m. ET
Auburn (4) vs College of Charleston (13) | 7:27 p.m. ET
Missouri (8) vs Florida State (9) | 9:50 p.m. ET
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