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Why SEC teams are going Over

By Greg Peterson  () 

In college football, the narrative is often that the athletes in the SEC have more speed than in any other conference. In college basketball, it is proven that SEC teams score quickly, which has led to the best Overs for conference play.

Entering Tuesday’s games, only Vanderbilt and Ole Miss had played more Unders than Overs, and Vanderbilt’s scoring problems can be traced back to leading scorer Aaron Nesmith’s season-ending foot injury.

The record for Overs in conference games being 53-24-2 typically would be the result of efficient offenses, but that is not the case in the SEC. LSU, Auburn and Mississippi State are the only teams that rate in the top 50 in most points on a per-possession basis.

Rather, you have a bunch of up-tempo teams, with only Texas A&M in the bottom 75 in the country in possessions per game. Overtime helps give a game more possessions, and seven games have gone to OT.

Typically, closer games have a lot of late fouling, and 44 SEC games have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Kentucky, Auburn and Texas A&M are among the top 10 teams in the country in free throw attempts per field goal attempt, and all SEC teams are in the top 150.

Getting to the free throw line is easier on shots inside the paint, and the SEC has just one team in the top 92 in 3-point shooting rate, which is the percentage of a team’s shots from beyond the

arc.

Close games, fast tempos and bonus basketball help explain why the SEC has had so many Overs in conference play this season.

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