SEC Tournament Taking Place This Week In St. Louis
Michael Porter Jr. Expected To Play Thursday For Missouri
The 2018 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament officially begins tonight at Scottrade Center in Downtown St. Louis. Thirteen games will take place over five days with the SEC champion determined on Sunday afternoon.
The Missouri Tigers, seeded fifth overall, will open play on Thursday afternoon against either Georgia or Vanderbilt.
The winner of this week’s tournament will earn an automatic berth into the 2018 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The March Madness Selection Show will take place Sunday evening on TBS.
In the latest edition of Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology bracket on ESPN, seven Southeastern Conference teams are projected to make the 68-team field.
Missouri Is #5 Seed In SEC Tournament
Auburn and Tennessee finished the regular season tied atop the SEC standings with identical 13-5 conference records. The Tigers are the tournament’s #1 seed by virtue of a win over the Volunteers back on January 2.
Florida and Kentucky also earned double-byes in the tournament as the third and fourth seeds, respectively.
Vanderbilt will face Georgia in the tournament’s first game tonight and Mississippi will face South Carolina in the night’s second game.
Mizzou will face the winner of the Vanderbilt-Georgia contest at 2:30 pm tomorrow. A win would pit the Tigers against the Kentucky Wildcats on Thursday afternoon.
The SEC Champion will be determined on Sunday afternoon at Scottrade. Tip-off for the championship game is set for Noon and the game will be shown nationally on ESPN.
SEC Basketball Fans Set To Spend Millions In St. Louis
The 2017 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament is in St. Louis for the first time this year after being held in Nashville from 2015-2017. The Nashville Sports Council estimated that the 2017 tournament was attended by 190,363 fans over its five days. The council also estimated direct spending in the city from those fans at more than $21.4 million .
Over the last three years an average of 188,429 spectators have attended the tournament’s games each year. The Nashville Sports Council estimated that tournament attendees accounted for more than $20 million in direct spending each year and occupied more than 14,000 hotel room nights.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey was in St. Louis earlier this month to tour Scottrade Center ahead of the tournament. Five years ago the conference awarded the event to St. Louis based largely on promised Scottrade renovations.
Had the first phase of the Scottrade Center renovations not been completed last year, this week’s tournament would possibly have been moved to another city.
Micheal Porter Jr Expected To Play Thursday
Heading into this week’s games, the Missouri Tigers are 20-11 overall and projected to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Coach Cuonzo Martin has the Tigers poised to play in their first NCAA Tournament game since 2013 in his first season as head coach.
Freshman Michael Porter Jr. was expected to lead the Tigers this season but instead left the team’s season opener less than two minutes after the game tipped off. The highly-touted prospect had back surgery in Dallas and was just recently cleared to return to practice.
The Michael Porter Jr. saga has been one that will go down in Mizzou history.
An ESPN report out today says Porter is expected to play in Mizzou’s opener on Thursday afternoon. How much the star freshman will play has not been determined.
“He could play 20-25 minutes,” Martin said. “It’s really how I feel, the flow of the game, and how he feels. I don’t have it in my head to say, ‘He’s play this many minutes and that’s it.’ … But I’d be surprised if he played 30 minutes.”
Porter Jr.’s return would give Missouri nine available players for the tournament. Seven of the available players are on scholarship while senior Brett Rau is a senior walk-on.
One of those seven, junior Jordan Geist, missed Missouri’s Wednesday shootaround with flu-like symptoms.
Junior Cullen VanLeer suffered a likely torn ACL on Saturday in the team’s final regular season game. The loss of VanLeer is just the latest for Cuonzo Martin this season.
Point guards Blake Harris and C.J. Roberts left the team during the season with Harris transferring to N.C. State and Roberts transferring to Texas Tech.
Junior point guard Terrence Phillips was dismissed from the team in late January after coming under the investigation by the University’s Title IX office.
Junior walk-on Adam Wolf is also out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in an early January practice.
Robertson And Jontay Porter Earn Postseason SEC Honors
A mix of newcomers and veterans have led Mizzou this season. Kassius Robertson, a graduate transfer from Canisus, and freshman Jontay Porter were rewarded for their play this season with postseason conference honors.
Robertson was named to All-SEC First Team while the younger Porter was named the Co-Sixth Man of the Year and earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team.
Robertson led Missouri in scoring during the regular season with 16.5 points per game while playing almost 36 minutes each night.
Jontay Porter, a year younger than Michael. reclassified to play for Cuonzo Martin this season. He’s averaged nearly 10 points and 7 rebounds each time out this season.
Porter was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the final week of the regular season after averaging 21.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and assists in Mizzou’s two games last week.
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