The Southeastern Conference's top four teams had the day off Thursday, but that doesn't mean it was a boring day of basketball in Bridgestone Arena. Each of the four games on the slate proved to be exciting match-ups, which will translate to a huge Friday of tourney action with the top seeds opening up their postseason play.
Let's take a look at the results of each contest and what to look forward to for Friday.
LSU 68, Georgia 63
The Georgia Bulldogs came into the conference tournament with the SEC Player of the Year in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but that wasn't enough to move on past a solid LSU squad.
Caldwell-Pope notched a career-high 32 points, including 25 in the second half, and single-handedly brought his Bulldogs back from a 23-point deficit. What looked like a blowout early on turned into a barnburner in the final minute.
Then Shavon Coleman entered the fray. LSU's guard notched 25 points, including a clutch three late with the lead down to just two points. Though, the Tigers couldn't put Georgia away and gave them a chance to tie the game up late.
But Caldwell-Pope's deep three-point attempt to tie the score with 26 seconds left hit iron, and the Tigers were able to ice the game at the charity stripe.
LSU's victory celebration was short-lived. Friday at 1 p.m. ET, they'll face off against the conference's top-seeded team in the Florida Gators.
Tennessee 69, Mississippi State 53
Cuonzo Martin's Tennessee squad came to Nashville, Tenn. aiming for a deep tournament run to secure a bid in the NCAA's. The first step of that journey had few hiccups in an easy 69-53 win over a hapless Mississippi State squad.
The Bulldogs entered Thursday's contest with just six scholarship players on their roster, as injuries have hampered Rick Ray's squad as of late. They were just no match for Tennessee's motivated demeanor and determined spirit, not to mention the differences in athleticism and skill.
First-team All-SEC guard Jordan McRae led the Vols with 17 points – nothing new there – but his team struggled to hold onto the ball with 16 turnovers.
That lack of ball security won't fly in their contest Friday against four-seed Alabama. The Crimson Tide pulled out a close victory at home earlier this season over the Vols, which was secured by a suffocating full-court press forcing all sorts of turnovers.
The Vols will play at 3:30 p.m. ET in a game that could be a huge boost to their tournament hopes, as both teams sit firmly on the bubble.
Vanderbilt 75, Arkansas 72
The first game of the night session featured two evenly-matched teams, but Vanderbilt looked more the part of a quality SEC team early on. Their ability to hit the deep ball had them leading virtually all game.
But the pesky Razorbacks clawed back in the game late, trimming the lead to just two points with under a minute remaining. B.J. Young notched 16 points for Arkansas, but it wasn't enough to complete the epic comeback.
The 'Dores defense stood tall late and they were able to ice the game at the free-throw line. Rod Odom of Vanderbilt led all scorers with 20 points.
Unfortunately for Vandy, they turn around to face second-seeded Kentucky Friday night. Despite having the hometown advantage, there's little doubt that 'Dores fans will be heavily outnumbered by Big Blue Nation. In fact, they were outnumbered by them Thursday despite the Wildcats having a bye.
Missouri 62, Texas A&M 50
In a match-up between the two SEC newcomers, the better team had no trouble cruising to victory as the sixth-seeded Missouri Tigers showed why they're heading to the Big Dance.
The Aggies shot just 24.1 percent from the field, and at halftime only two players had converted a field goal. They did a good job of holding elusive guard Phil Pressey to just two points and five assists, but four Tigers scored in double digits.
Missouri also enjoyed a sizable advantage on the boards, out-rebounding A&M 40-26 on the night. Much of that was due to forward Alex Oriakhi, who notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The sixth-seeded Tigers will face the third-seeded Ole Miss Rebels in the late game Friday night. Tipoff is at 10 p.m. ET.