In & around SEC basketball

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

Auburn Week 3 recap

The Auburn women’s team fell to 13-6 overall and 2-4 in SEC play after dropping two games to Tennessee and Kentucky. Coach Williams-Flournoy and the Tigers need wins and need them soon, or else AU will likely miss the NCAA tournament. Auburn plays LSU next Thursday (Jan. 31).

After starting 2-0 in the SEC for the first time in 10 years, coach Tony Barbee’s Auburn Tigers have lost three consecutive games. The Tigers were routed by Kentucky at Auburn Arena and lost on the road to Vanderbilt to drop to 8-10 overall and 2-3 in league play. Auburn plays Ole Miss on Jan. 26 and Georgia on Jan. 30.

Alabama Week 3 recap

Coach Wendell Hudson and the Alabama women’s team have struggled to start SEC play, and at this point in the season the Crimson Tide’s tournament chances are looking slim. Alabama is 11-7 overall and 1-4 in league play. Alabama plays Vanderbilt on Jan. 27 and Georgia on Jan. 31.

The Alabama men’s team picked up a pair of impressive home wins last week over Texas A&M and Kentucky. Coach Anthony Grant’s team is now 12-6 overall and 4-1 in SEC action. The Crimson Tide plays Tennessee on Jan. 26 and Arkansas on Jan. 31.

SEC men’s rankings
 1. Florida (15-2, 5-0)
 2. Ole Miss (15-2, 4-0)
 3. Missouri (14-4, 3-2)
 4. Alabama (12-6, 4-1)
 5. Kentucky (12-6, 3-2)
 6. Texas A&M (12-6, 2-3)
 7. Arkansas (12-6, 3-2)
 8. Vanderbilt (8-9, 2-3)
 9. Tennessee (9-7, 1-3)
 10. Auburn (8-10, 2-3)                                                                                                                                                                              11. South Carolina (11-7, 1-4)
 12. LSU (11. 10-6, 1-4)
 13. Mississippi State (7-10, 2-3)
 14. Georgia (7-11, 1-4)

Week 4 previews and predictions
(Week 3: 9-5; season: 23-11)

Thursday, January 24
    OLE MISS 84, Tennessee 70

Saturday, January 26

Arkansas at South Carolina. Arkansas is winless on the road this season, but the Razorbacks have a great opportunity to pick up a win on Saturday in Columbia. South Carolina lost four of five to start conference play, although the Gamecocks fell just short of upsetting Missouri last week. Both teams need a victory, but Mike Anderson’s Hogs will finally pick up a win away from Bud Walton Arena. Prediction: Arkansas 65, South Carolina 61.

LSU at Kentucky. The Wildcats dismantled Auburn on the road, but they were defeated by Alabama in a tight contest last week. Kentucky is still likely to be included in the NCAA tournament field in March, but they cannot afford any more losses to teams with a high RPI. LSU finally picked up a conference win as the Tigers defeated Texas A&M last week. Prediction: Kentucky 71, LSU 58.

Vanderbilt at Missouri. After being embarrassed by Arkansas two weeks ago, the Commodores are playing much better basketball. Vanderbilt nearly knocked off Ole Miss, and then defeated both South Carolina and Auburn. Missouri was embarrassed by Florida, and the Tigers narrowly squeezed by South Carolina at home. Missouri has been battling injuries, and forward Laurence Bowers should return this week after missing four consecutive games with a knee injury. Prediction: Missouri 76, Vanderbilt 63.

Georgia at Texas A&M. Georgia had the misfortune of playing Florida twice in the past two weeks, and the Bulldogs did not fare well in either contest. Georgia is 1-4 in the SEC but has an opportunity to pick up a much-needed road win this week over Texas A&M. The Aggies lost three consecutive games since knocking off Kentucky in Rupp Arena, and they too are in desperate need of a victory. Prediction: Texas A&M 66, Georgia 57.

Florida at Mississippi State. One of the worst teams in the league, the Bulldogs are facing a Florida team that’s been playing at an elite level since conference play commenced. The closest margin of victory in SEC play for the Gators has been 17 points, and they should have another relatively easy contest this week in Starkville. Prediction: Florida 82, Mississippi State 57.

Ole Miss at Auburn. The Tigers have lost three straight games and are catching an Ole Miss team that lately has been dominant. The Rebels are off to their best start in over 70 years, and Coach Kennedy’s squad should have no problem disposing of a downtrodden Auburn team. Prediction: Ole Miss 74, Auburn 63.

Game of the Week

Alabama at Tennessee. After winning four straight SEC games, including a victory over Kentucky, Alabama moved into second place in the conference standings. The return of forward Andrew Steele has helped tremendously, and the Crimson Tide have played inspired basketball the last two weeks. Tennessee stumbled to a 0-3 start in league play, but the Vols bounced back and defeated Mississippi State last week. Tennessee’s NCAA tournament chances have been severely diminished, but the Crimson Tide still have a realistic chance if they can knock off the Vols. Prediction: Alabama 64, Tennessee 59.

Tuesday, January 29
    TENNESSEE 61, Vanderbilt 54
    OLE MISS 72, Kentucky 66

Wednesday, January 30
    Auburn 65, GEORGIA 60
    FLORIDA 81, South Carolina 63
    Missouri 70, Louisiana State 64
    Texas A&M 67, MISSISSIPPI STATE 60

Thursday, January 31
    ALABAMA 60, Arkansas 53


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