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Rare First Round Appearances for SEC Tourney

ATLANTA (AP) _ Kentucky has won more Southeastern Conference
titles than all the other schools combined. L-S-U made it to the
Final Four a year ago. Alabama spent a good chunk of the season
ranked in the Top 10.
So, why were these teams practicing at the Georgia Dome Wednesday, getting ready to play in the opening round of the league
tournament?
It's been that kind of year in the S-E-C, where the balance of
power shifted from month to month, week to week, day to day.
When everything settled, defending national champion Florida is
about the only team that followed the script. The Gators won the
conference in a runaway and have a first-round bye in the
tournament.
But no one could have forecast the other three teams that earned
an extra day of rest: Vanderbilt, Mississippi and Mississippi
State.
The tournament starts tomorrow with four games: Alabama (20-10,
7-9) vs. Kentucky (20-10, 9-7); South Carolina (14-15, 4-12) vs.
Arkansas (18-12, 7-9); Georgia (17-12, 8-8) vs. Auburn (17-14,
7-9); and LSU (16-14, 5-11) vs. No. 22 Tennessee (22-9, 10-6).
The other four teams will be waiting Friday in the
quarterfinals. Sixth-ranked Florida (26-5, 13-3) and Vanderbilt
(20-10, 10-6) finished 1-2 in the East, while Mississippi State
(17-12, 8-8) and Ole Miss (19-11, 8-8) were the top two teams out
West.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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