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It's impossible to ignore the fact that this has been a down year for the SEC. The conference ranks sixth in KenPom's adjusted efficiency margin and is expected to have just four tournament teams: Kentucky, Auburn, LSU, and Florida.
As we saw last year, though, capturing the SEC crown can jump-start a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Can one of those four teams surprise this time?
It's worth fading the top four seeds and taking a shot on the Gators, whom advanced metrics like nearly as much as they do No. 8 Kentucky and more than any other team in the SEC.
Florida lost by a single point to Kentucky in the regular-season finale, scoring 1.18 points per possession - second-most by a Wildcat opponent - and shooting 50% from deep. The Gators finished second in offensive efficiency (110.3) and first in 3-point percentage (37.6%) during SEC play, and they've consistently shown their offensive upside against the top teams in the conference.
Star scorer Kerry Blackshear could miss this tourney, but his absence for most of the Kentucky game didn't stop Florida from nearly pulling off the upset. The Gators' path to the title mostly rests on beating the Wildcats in a rematch. That's a bet worth making given how these teams matched up the first two contests.
You never want to rely on a team winning five games in five days, but Arkansas is overqualified for this role and certainly undervalued at long odds.
In a conference full of teams that can't keep opponents off the free-throw line, the Razorbacks rank first in SEC play in free-throw rate (47.2%) and are behind only Kentucky in the share of total points from the line (25.4%). Arkansas is subpar defensively but among the best in the conference at creating turnovers and preventing easy looks from beyond the arc - both strong signs for a giant killer in March.
With second-leading scorer Isaiah Joe healthy, this is a different team than the one that lost five straight in February. Can it win five in a row this week? I'd lay 65-1 odds to find out.
Other than suckering yourself into a big long-shot bet on Georgia (don't do it), the worst value on the board is Kentucky. The Wildcats have been the best team in the SEC but only by a hair, and their last seven games have each been decided by single digits, including a bizarre home loss to Tennessee a week ago.
We've seen the Wildcats lose inexcusable games this year (Evansville, anyone?), and their chemistry is in question with sophomore leader Ashton Hagans' status uncertain for the tournament. There are too many question marks to lay short odds, especially with three similar teams getting better prices.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.