In & around SEC basketball

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

Alabama Week 4 recap

Coach Wendell Hudson and the Alabama women’s team split a pair of games last week, including a 61-51 victory over archrival Auburn last Thursday (Jan. 24). The Crimson Tide lost a home game to Vanderbilt last Sunday (Jan. 27), dropping to 12-8 overall and 2-5 in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama plays Florida on Sunday (Feb. 3) and South Carolina on Thursday (Feb. 7).

By defeating Texas A&M and Kentucky at home last week, the Alabama men’s team added two solid wins to its tournament resume. However, the Crimson Tide inexplicably lost to Tennessee on the road last Saturday (Jan. 26), undoing any progress they made the week before. At 12-7 overall and 4-2 in conference play, Anthony Grant’s squad cannot afford any more unexpected losses if Alabama going to have a shot at making the NCAA tournament. The Crimson Tide plays at Vanderbilt on Saturday (Feb. 2) and at Auburn on Wednesday (Feb. 6).

Auburn Week 4 recap

The last two weeks of Auburn basketball have been abysmal. Collectively, the men and women’s teams have lost nine consecutive games. Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy and the Auburn women’s team have lost four in a row, including a disappointing loss to Alabama. The Tigers are now 13-7 overall and 2-5 in the SEC. Auburn travels to South Carolina on Sunday (Feb. 3) and Georgia on Thursday (Feb. 7).

The Auburn men’s team has lost five consecutive games. The Tigers nearly upset Ole Miss last Saturday (Jan. 26), but the Rebels’ Marshall Henderson converted on two late free throws to send Auburn to a 63-61 defeat. Auburn also lost on the road at Georgia last Wednesday (Jan. 30) to fall to 8-12 overall and 2-5 in SEC action. Auburn faces Missouri on the road on Saturday (Feb. 2) before returning home to take on Alabama on Wednesday (Feb. 6).

SEC men’s rankings
 1. Florida (17-2, 7-0)
 2. Kentucky (14-6, 5-2)
 3. Ole Miss (17-3, 6-1)
 4. Missouri (15-5, 4-3)
 5. Alabama (12-7, 4-3)
 6. Texas A&M (13-7, 3-4)
 7. Arkansas (12-7, 3-3)
 8. Tennessee (11-8, 3-4)
 9. Georgia (9-11, 3-4)
 10. LSU (11-7, 2-5)
 11. Vanderbilt (8-11, 2-5)
 12. Auburn (8-12, 2-5)
 13. South Carolina (12-8, 2-5)
 14. Mississippi State (7-12, 2-5)

Week 5 Previews and Predictions
(Week 4: 8-6; season: 31-17)

Saturday, Feb. 2

Auburn at Missouri. Both sets of Tigers have been disappointing lately, although Missouri still has a great chance of making the NCAA tournament. Auburn has lost five straight games, and the Tigers have struggled on the road all season. Missouri is undefeated at home this year, and Coach Frank Haith’s Tigers should have little trouble with Coach Tony Barbee’s Tigers. Prediction: Missouri 70, Auburn 58.

Georgia at South Carolina. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs have been among the SEC’s worst teams this season, although Georgia has been playing much better as of late. The Bulldogs defeated both Texas A&M and Auburn last week. South Carolina defeated Arkansas, 75-54, but the Gamecocks were then embarrassed by Florida, 75-36. Prediction: Georgia 64, South Carolina 61.

Alabama at Vanderbilt. This is the type of game that Alabama cannot afford to lose. Vanderbilt is notoriously tough to play against in Nashville, and this contest will not be easy for the Crimson Tide. Alabama needs this win to keep its tournament chances alive. If the Tide can prevent the Commodores from shooting uncontested three-pointers, they should be able to pick up the road win. Prediction: Alabama 67, Vanderbilt 62.

Tennessee at Arkansas. Arkansas is the SEC’s preeminent Jekyll and Hyde team. The Razorbacks are 3-0 at home in conference play, with an average winning margin of 19 points per game. The Hogs are also 0-3 on the road in league play, with an average losing margin of 17 points per game. Tennessee has played much better recently, as the Vols picked up two conference wins last week over Alabama and Vanderbilt. However, the Razorbacks will be too much for the Volunteers in Bud Walton Arena. Prediction: Arkansas 71, Tennessee 65.

LSU at Mississippi State. After a rough start to open SEC play, LSU has played much better over the last three games. The Tigers knocked off both Texas A&M and Missouri and nearly defeated Kentucky at Rupp Arena. Mississippi State has lost five straight games, and the road ahead does not get any easier for the Bulldogs. Prediction: LSU 65, Mississippi State 59.

Kentucky at Texas A&M. The Aggies were able to defeat the Wildcats at Rupp Arena three weeks ago, but have struggled mightily since that game. Kentucky has been up and down all season but is fresh off of their most impressive performance of the season. Led by freshman Nerlens Noel’s 12 blocks, the Wildcats defeated Ole Miss, 87-74, in Oxford. Elston Turner scored 40 points for Texas A&M in its most recent meeting with Kentucky. Unless Turner can duplicate that performance, the Wildcats should defeat the Aggies on Saturday. Prediction: Kentucky 73, Texas A&M 65.

Game of the Week

Mississippi at Florida. Ole Miss lost its first conference game of the season to Kentucky last Tuesday (Jan. 30) The Rebels must bounce back quickly to have a chance to knock off the red-hot Gators. Florida is 7-0 in the SEC, and the Gators’ average margin of victory in conference play is a staggering 28 points per game. Ole Miss will rely heavily on sharpshooter Marshall Henderson, who struggled to find his shot against Kentucky. If the Gators can contain Henderson, they should have no problem with the Rebels on Saturday. Prediction: Florida 79, Ole Miss 66.

Tuesday, Feb. 5
    Florida 72, ARKANSAS 62
    KENTUCKY 77, South Carolina 64

Wednesday, Feb. 6
    LSU 66, Vanderbilt 60
    Alabama 63, AUBURN 57
    TENNESSEE 62, Georgia 56
    OLE MISS 81, Mississippi State 62

Thursday, February 7
    Missouri 74, TEXAS A&M 70


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