SEC Tournament Preview
By: Tyler Farmer
Looking to regroup after a tough loss last weekend at Kentucky, this weekend’s SECHC Tournament provides the perfect opportunity for the Ice Dawgs to return to form. Hosted at Nashville’s Ford Ice Center, the opening round will be played on Friday, the semi-final games on Saturday, and the championship game on Sunday. The full schedule is presented in numerical order by day and seed below. LSU, Mississippi State, and Tennessee did not qualify for the tournament.
*Times listed are in Central Time*
5:15- #1 Georgia vs #8 Auburn
8:00- #2 Arkansas vs #7 Vanderbilt
4:45- #3 Kentucky vs #6 South Carolina
2:00- #4 Florida vs #5 Mississippi
12:00- 7th place game
3:00- 5th place game
5:00- Semi-final game #1
8:00- Semi-final game #2
11:00- 3rd place
2:30- Championship game
As listed above, Georgia enters the tournament as the #1 overall seed. The Ice Dawgs will look to win their third SECHC Tournament in a row.
Georgia (15-4-1) vs. Auburn (7-7)
I’d have to turn in my staff ID if I predicted anything different here, but objectively, the Ice Dawgs should be heavily favored over the Tigers. Georgia is ranked #9 nationally and #2 in the South Region, while Auburn has seemingly struggled all season.
Arkansas (19-6) vs. Vanderbilt (4-10)
Arkansas is #6 in the Pacific Region (I promise it’s Pacific, I was confused too), while Vandy has had a rough season to this point.
Kentucky (19-8-1) vs South Carolina (9-11)
Kentucky has some serious momentum after last weekend, and South Carolina, from what I’ve seen in Athens, tends to struggle defensively.
Florida (11-5) vs. Mississippi (13-8)
This game seems like a bit of a toss-up. I’ve seen Florida first-hand, but I have not seen Ole Miss play. Based off that, Ole Miss must have better uniforms by default, so I’m going with the Rebels here.
Georgia vs. Ole Miss
The Ice Dawgs have not played Ole Miss up to this point. I like Georgia’s chances here, however, because the team should come out with a chip on their shoulder coming off the previously mentioned tough loss at Kentucky.
Arkansas vs. Kentucky
Both teams enter the tournament on five-game winning streaks, and momentum is everything in post-season play. I’ll take Kentucky in a close game to set up a more compelling final.
Georgia may seem like a questionable pick here given that Kentucky was victorious in this matchup last Saturday. The likely return of freshman goalie Emily Barber, however, will be the difference.