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Morning Coffee: Tournament time

Thursday, March 8

(Photo courtesy of SEC Media Relations)

The SEC men's basketball tournament starts today in The Big Easy, with four first-round games on tap.

Here's a look at the matchups ...

(All games will be televised by the SEC Network)

#8 LSU (17-13, 7-9 SEC) vs. #9 Arkansas (18-13, 6-10)
1 p.m.

Winner gets ... #1 Kentucky (30-1, 16-0)

LSU'S TRENT JOHNSON on the homecourt advantage in Nola: "No, because we're not playing at the Pete Maravich Assembly center. And again, this is a tournament. I'm one that has always said it before. It don't matter where you play, who you play, when you play. If we're not mentally tough and we're not mentally right, like I think we will be, you're going to struggle."

ARKANSAS' MIKE ANDERSON: "We're excited to be here and playing against an LSU team that we faced earlier in the year. We split, so it should be I think a competitive game, where guys are going to get out there and leave it on the line. ... This is when you want to get on a run and play some of your best basketball. We have had periods during the year, and hopefully this will be an opportunity we can really put some things together."

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#5 ALABAMA (20-10, 9-7) vs. #12 SOUTH CAROLINA (10-20, 2-14)
3:30 p.m.

Winner gets ... #4 Florida (22-9, 10-6)

ALABAMA'S ANTHONY GRANT: "Obviously, we're playing a South Carolina team that beat us in our only game that we played against each other earlier during the year, so we're very familiar with them as a team."

SOUTH CAROLINA'S DARRIN HORN: "It is always great to get to the SEC tournament, and regardless of how your season has gone -- and obviously ours hasn't gone as well as we would like for it to in terms of total wins -- you get a fresh start and a chance to start all over. And we have got a very challenging matchup in Alabama and in this first game."

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#7 OLE MISS (18-12, 8-8) vs. #10 AUBURN (15-15, 5-11)
7:30 p.m.

Winner gets ... #2 Tennessee (18-13, 10-6)

OLE MISS' ANDY KENNEDY: "We lost a close game in Auburn and won a close game in Oxford, so it should be a very competitive Thursday night. This team is playing well. We have won three in a row. We're trying to continue to garner momentum moving forward. We realize that if we want to play beyond this tournament, we need to win basketball games, and Thursday night presents an opportunity for us to do that."

AUBURN'S TONY BARBEE: "Ole Miss is a fantastic team. They're as big and as physical as any team in this league. Even though we matched up fairly well with them in both games this year, they were both games down to the wire, and so I wouldn't expect anything less."

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#6 MISSISSIPPI STATE (21-10, 8-8) vs. #11 GEORGIA (14-16, 5-11)
10 p.m.

Winner gets ... #3 Vanderbilt (21-10, 10-6)

MSU'S RICK STANSBURY: "It's a four-day season for you and you don't have to be the best team now for 30 games or 31 games. You just got to find a way to be the best team for, in our case, four games.
And before you can get to the second one, you got to get through the first one. That's always the most important one. Then after that, you worry about your second one."

UGA'S MARK FOX: "I really think that this tournament gives -- and every tournament, it gives everybody a fresh start. I think that every team has a chance to play their way in, and to win and advance. And I think that it gives a lot of teams a fresh chance to a new ending."

Quotes courtesy of ASAP Sports

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ON THE AGENDA

UGA's softball team begins SEC play this weekend with a trip to Starkvile to take on Mississippi State in a three-game series.

The Bulldogs were 18-2 entering Wednesday night's game against Furman and ranked No. 7 in the nation, having outscored opponents 138-34.

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TWEET(S) OF THE DAY

DONE WITH MATT DRILLS FOREVER. THANK YOU FOR RUINING THE MONTHS OF FEBRUARY AND MARCH FOR THE PAST FOUR YEARS! #GoDawgs

LB Christian Robinson

Man ima make sure i'm prepared for mat drills

WR commit Tramel Terry

Going my freshman year without mat drills #Winning

DE/LB Sterling Bailey

Hell with today.......#straightup

RB Ken Malcome

Good Morning to all of you beautiful women out there.

DB Corey Moore

Damn this my first day back to class since Thursday. I feel like I've been gone for weeks. #ilovebeinggraduated

RB Richard Samuel

Was just on 680 the fan and I told them UGA was gonna win the natty this year.

Former UGA DB Brandon Boykin

my mamma just sent me $70. im pretty sure all of it is going to be used for gas as i make this trip home next week!

WR Justin Scott-Wesley

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