SEC tournament final: Ole Miss vs. Florida
Ole Miss Rebels vs. Florida Gators (-11, 138.5)
Mississippi is one game away from taking its NCAA Tournament fate out of the hands of the selection committee. The third-seeded Rebels will face off against No. 1 seed Florida on Sunday in the SEC tournament championship game in Nashville, Tenn. Ole Miss entered the conference tournament as a bubble team and would like to ensure its spot in the NCAA Tournament by earning the automatic bid reserved for the SEC champion.
The Gators have had little trouble advancing to the championship game, blowing out Louisiana State in the quarterfinals on Friday and using a second-half surge to end Alabama’s tournament run on Saturday. Florida is playing for NCAA Tournament seeding, and is hoping a conference tournament triumph will put it into a No. 2 seed. To get there, the Gators will need to slow down Rebels star Marshall Henderson, who has averaged 25 points in the first two tournament games.TV:
1 p.m. ET, ABC
ABOUT MISSISSIPPI (25-8):
The Rebels have won six of their last seven games to surge back onto the top of the bubble. Mississippi had fallen off with a stretch of five losses in seven games from Jan. 29 to Feb. 20, which included a 78-64 setback at Florida on Feb. 2. Henderson scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half and Derrick Millinghaus scored with 1.1 seconds left to give the Rebels a 64-62 win in the quarterfinals over Missouri on Friday. Henderson went for 23 and Ole Miss had an easier time on Saturday with a 64-52 triumph over Vanderbilt. The Rebels were without point guard Jarvis Summers, who was injured on Friday, against the Commodores, and the sophomore is questionable for Sunday’s finale. Henderson hit seven 3-pointers en route to 25 points but the rest of the Ole Miss players combined to shoot 32.5 percent in the loss at Florida last month.
ABOUT FLORIDA (26-6):
The Gators shot 51.6 percent and had four players with at least 13 points in the win over Ole Miss and have used that same strong defense and balanced offense in the SEC tournament. Erik Murphy starred with a career-high 27 points in the opener against LSU and Kenny Boynton took over on Saturday, keying a 15-0 run in the second half and scoring all 16 of his points after the break in the 61-51 triumph over Alabama. Florida stumbled a bit with three losses in the final six games of the regular season but has turned things around after a series of tough practices earlier in the week. The Gators are trying to secure their first SEC tournament title since 2007.
* Underdog is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Under is 4-1 in Rebels’ last five overall.
* Gators are 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a S.U. win.
* Under is 7-1 in Gators’ last eight overall.TIP-INS
1. Mississippi has not won the SEC tournament since 1981 and has not made the championship game since falling to Kentucky in 2001.
2. Boynton snapped a 13-game streak of shooting under 50 percent when he went 6-for-12 on Saturday.
3. Henderson has hit at least three 3-pointers in eight straight games.