The SEC basketball tournament is one of the longest-running men’s hoops tournaments in the United States. The first round of the 2013 SEC basketball tournament will get underway on Wednesday, March 12th in Nashville, Tennessee. The championship game will be held on Sunday, March 16th, which is the same day the field for the NCAA Tournament will be revealed.

History of the SEC Basketball Tournament

The first SEC basketball tournament was held in Atlanta, Georgia in 1933. Kentucky defeated Mississippi State, 46-27, in the inaugural SEC basketball championship game at the Atlanta Athletic Club. It was the first of a conference-high 27 tournament championships for the Wildcats, who last captured the tournament crown in 2011.

There was a 25-year lull in the event, as the tournament was abandoned in favor of a round robin schedule from 1951-1978. The tournament did return in 1979, with Tennessee outlasting Kentucky in overtime.

Alabama has the second-most tournament championship victories with six, but its last title came in 1991. In 2012, Vanderbilt defeated Kentucky to win its second tournament title. The winner of the current SEC basketball tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

When the SEC tournament resumed in ’79, the conference began handing out Most Valuable Player awards. Kentucky’s Kyle Macy took home the first honor. Other notable players to be named SEC Tournament MVP include Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley, Chuck Person, Allan Houston, Jamal Mashburn, Tayshaun Prince, Al Horford and John Wall.

Women’s SEC Basketball Tournament

The women’s SEC Tournament was created in 1980. In that year, Tennessee took down Ole Miss, 85-71, in the inaugural championship game in Knoxville. The Volunteers have won 16 SEC Tournament titles, including three straight from 2010-12. Vanderbilt is second with six tournament titles.

The women’s 2014 SEC Basketball Tournament will begin Wednesday, March 5th at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia.

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