In & around SEC basketball

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

Auburn Week 8 recap

The Auburn women’s team split pair of games last week – a road loss to Tennessee and a home win versus Missouri. The Tigers are now 15-12 overall and 4-10 in conference play. Auburn takes on Mississippi State on Sunday (Mar. 3) to close out the regular season.

Alabama Week 8 recap

The losing streak continues for Wendell Hudson and the Alabama women’s team. The Crimson Tide lost to both Mississippi State and Florida last week, and now have lost eight consecutive games. Ala-bama’s record dropped to 12-15 overall and 2-12 in league play. The Crimson Tide finishes the year at home on Sunday (Mar. 3) against Missouri.

On the men’s side, Alabama defeated Auburn, 61-43, on Tuesday (Feb. 26) in Coleman Coliseum. The win did not necessarily help Alabama’s NCAA tournament resume, but it certainly avenged the Crimson Tide’s prior defeat to the Tigers earlier this season. With the win, Anthony Grant’s team im-roved to 19-9 overall and 11-4 in SEC play. The Crimson Tide also moved within one game of first place in the SEC. Tony Barbee and the Auburn Tigers dropped to 9-19 overall and 3-12 in conference play.

SEC men’s rankings

 1. Florida (22-5, 12-3)
 2. Kentucky (20-8, 11-4)
 3. Missouri (19-8, 8-6)
 4. Alabama (19-9, 11-4)
 5. Ole Miss (21-7, 10-5)
 6. Tennessee (17-10, 9-6)
 7. LSU (17-9, 8-7)
 8. Arkansas (17-11, 8-7)
 9. Vanderbilt (12-15, 6-9)
 10. Georgia (13-15, 7-8)
 11. Texas A&M (16-12, 6-9)
 12. South Carolina (13-14, 3-11)
 13. Auburn (9-19, 3-12)
 14. Mississippi State (7-20, 2-13)

Week 9 previews and predictions
(Week 8: 9-4; season: 70-32)

Saturday, Mar. 2

Tennessee at Georgia. The Vols have won six consecutive games, and Cuonzo Martin’s team is now in position to make a run at a NCAA tournament bid. However, a loss to Georgia or Auburn next week would end the Vols’ tourney chances. Georgia has played well at home and defeated the Volunteers in Knoxville earlier this season. Prediction: Tennessee 63, Georgia 58.  

Kentucky at Arkansas. The Razorbacks suffered two difficult road losses last week against Florida and LSU, but the Wildcats picked up two crucial home victories over Missouri and Mississippi State. Arkansas is still undefeated at home in SEC play, and Kentucky has not won away from home without Nerlens Noel. Prediction: Arkansas 72, Kentucky 70.

LSU at Missouri. LSU defeated Alabama and Arkansas last week at home, and Johnny Jones’ squad has quietly won four of its last five games. LSU knocked off Missouri earlier in the season, but Frank Haith’s team is undefeated at home this year. Prediction: Missouri 80, LSU 71.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State. After inexplicably losing to South Carolina last week, the Rebels cannot afford any more losses to teams with a bad RPI. Mississippi State is among the worst teams in the country, and a loss in Starkville would end the Rebels’ tournament chances. Prediction: Ole Miss 75, Mississippi State 54.

South Carolina at Texas A&M. The Aggies lost a four-overtime thriller to Tennessee last week, and Billy Kennedy’s team has struggled to finish games in conference play. Neither team will dance this March, but both coaches will still be searching for improvement from their squads as they both head into the SEC tournament. Prediction: Texas A&M 67, South Carolina 60.

Vanderbilt at Auburn. The Tigers have dropped 12 of their last 13 games, including two back-to-back double-digit losses to Ole Miss and Alabama. The Commodores have won two straight games and defeated Auburn, 73-61, earlier in the season. Depending on how both teams finish the regular season, this game could be a preview of a first round matchup in the SEC tournament. Prediction: Auburn 61, Vanderbilt 55.

Game of the Week

Alabama at Florida. Alabama enters this match-up only one game out of first place in the SEC standings, and a win over Florida would move the Crimson Tide into a first place tie with the Gators. Florida, however, has not lost at home this season. In fact, the Gators have defeated every opponent at home by at least 13 points. Billy Donovan has yet to lose to Anthony Grant, his former assistant. That trend will likely continue on Saturday. Prediction: Florida 76, Alabama 62.

Tuesday, Mar. 5
    MISSOURI 74, Arkansas 68
    OLE MISS 62, Alabama 55

Wednesday, Mar. 6
    SOUTH CAROLINA 61, Mississippi State 53
    TEXAS A&M 67, Louisiana State 64
    FLORIDA 84, Vanderbilt 59
    Tennessee 65, AUBURN 57

Thursday, March 7
    Kentucky 65, GEORGIA 60

NCAA Tournament Outlook

In

Florida. The only question remaining for the Gators is whether or not they can get a No. 1 seed for the Big Dance.

Out
Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Georgia. There’s only one way that these teams can reach the NCAA tournament – win the SEC tournament.

On the Bubble

Alabama. The Crimson Tide certainly did not help their case by losing to LSU. For Alabama to make the Big Dance, the Tide might have to beat Florida, Ole Miss and Georgia to close out the year. Not an easy task.

Arkansas. The Razorbacks’ loss to LSU hurt them tremendously. Unless the Hogs can cure their road woes, they will likely be headed to the NIT.

Ole Miss. The Rebels’ loss to South Carolina was not a backbreaker, but it certainly should have been avoided. Beating Mississippi State and LSU are musts, and a win over Alabama next week would be in the Mississippi’s best interests.

Kentucky. The defending national champions have work to do if they want the opportunity to defend their crown, but the win over Missouri last week was crucial for the Wildcats. Kentucky cannot afford to lose to Georgia, and if the ‘Cats can beat either Arkansas or Florida, Kentucky will likely be included in the field of 68.

Missouri. If the Tigers can take care of business at home against LSU and Arkansas, they should have a panic-free Selection Sunday. A loss to either of those two teams, however, could cause damage to the Tigers’ tournament resume.

Tennessee. A month ago, the Vols would not have been considered an NIT team. After knocking off Kentucky and Florida in a span of 10 days, Tennessee now is right back in the mix for an at-large bid. Tennessee’s remaining schedule includes two tricky road games against Georgia and Auburn and a home game against Missouri. If the Volunteers can win all three contests, they will be in great position entering the SEC tournament.

 
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