Who will WIN the championship?
#22 Auburn Tigers (25-9)
#8 Tennessee Volunteers (29-4)
Auburn Tigers: (+175)
Tennessee Volunteers: (-210)
• The line for this game is Tennessee by 4.5 points.
• It’s been 34 years since Auburn won the SEC Tournament, and six years longer since Tennessee accomplished the feat. One of those droughts will end when the Tigers and Volunteers square off in the championship game on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee is playing in its second consecutive SEC Tournament title game, but it hasn’t won the crown since 1979. Meanwhile, Auburn is playing for the championship for the first time since 2000 and seeking its first tournament title since 1985.
• The Vols rallied from an eight-point deficit with three minutes left and posted a 82-78 victory over Kentucky in Saturday’s semifinals, earning a chance to avenge last weekend’s 84-80 loss at Auburn. The Tigers also benefited from some late heroics, as Jared Harper hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to lift them to a 65-62 semifinal triumph over Florida.
• The Tigers have won six straight contests and eight of their last nine, including the home victory over Tennessee in which they committed only five turnovers – a season low until they had only four on Saturday. Auburn’s guard duo of Bryce Brown (15.7 points) and Harper (15.4, 5.8 assists) are lethal from 3-point range, and forward Chuma Okeke (11.6 points, 6.6 rebounds) also can step out and shoot from beyond the arc. The Tigers got it done with defense against Florida, though, forcing 19 turnovers – including 14 steals.
• The Vols have won five of their last six games, with the lone defeat coming at Auburn. Forwards Grant Williams (19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds) and Admiral Schofield (16.6, 6.2) combined for 41 points in the semifinals, and point guard Jordan Bone (13.5, 6.2 assists) kept up his outstanding play with 18 points and five assists. Bone has recorded 30 assists and five turnovers in his last five contests.
• Auburn has made an SEC-record 381 3-pointers, including 13 against Florida.
• Williams has made a school-record 204 free throws after going 9-for-11 at the foul line on Saturday.
• The Tigers are 15-2 when scoring 80 or more points.
Top Pick Record for Month: 11-6