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By Les Johns | @KernelJohns
The SEC added two teams to the league this year (Missouri and Texas A&M), which added an extra round and an extra day of basketball to the annual post-season tournament.
The top four seeds have earned double byes, not having to play their first game until Friday.
The bottom four seeds, however, kick off the tourney in a Wednesday night doubleheader.
Game one: 12 seed South Carolina (14-17, 4-14 SEC) vs. 13 seed Mississippi State (9-21, 4-14 SEC)
7:30 p.m. – SEC Network (Channel WKYT 27 locally in Lexington) and ESPN3
These teams split their two regular-season meetings, with Mississippi State winning at home on Jan. 9, 56-54, and South Carolina winning the contest in Columbia on March 6, 79-72.
The winner of this game plays a streaking Tennessee team that needs another couple wins to potentially make the NCAA Tournament.
Either the Gamecocks or Bulldogs will meet the Vols Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
Game two – 11 seed Texas A&M (17-14, 7-11 SEC) vs. 14 seed Auburn (9-22, 3-15 SEC)
10 p.m. – SEC Network (Channel WKYT 27 locally in Lexington) and ESPN3
The Aggies won at Auburn 65-56 in these teams’ only matchup this season, riding 21 points from All-SEC senior guard Elston Turner.
Turner’s status is still unknown for this game, and the tournament, because of a broken finger on his non-shooting hand.
The Tigers have lost nine games in a row, and 15 of their last 16.
The winner of this game will close out the second night of the tournament Thursday against the likely NCAA tourney bound Missouri Tigers.