In & around SEC men’s basketball

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

Alabama Week 1 Recap 

Alabama has been inconsistent all season, and that hasn’t changed during conference play. The Crimson Tide knocked off Mississippi State at home but also lost to Georgia on the road. Alabama looks like a NIT team right now but has a chance to pick up two signature wins this week. The Crimson Tide plays at Missouri on Saturday (Jan. 18) and returns home on Thursday (Jan. 23) to take on Florida. 

Auburn Week 1 Recap 

After finishing 8-3 in non-conference, Auburn is off to a 0-3 start in SEC play. The Tigers lost road games to Ole Miss and Tennessee and lost at home to Missouri. Guards Chris Denson and KT Harrell are the only players averaging more than nine points per game. Auburn has trouble scoring in the post, and unless the Tigers are hot from three-point range, they’ll lose more often than they win. Auburn plays Florida at home on Saturday and travels to Starkville to take on Mississippi State on Wednesday (Jan. 22). 

SEC men’s basketball rankings

1. Florida (14-2, 3-0)

2. Kentucky (12-4, 2-1)

3. Missouri (13-2, 1-1)

4. Texas A&M (12-4, 3-0)

5. Tennessee (11-5, 2-1)

6. Ole Miss (11-5, 2-1)

7. Arkansas (12-4, 1-2)

8. Georgia (8-7, 2-1)

9. LSU (10-5, 1-2)

10. Alabama (8-8, 2-1)

11. Mississippi State (11-5, 1-2)

12. Auburn (8-6, 0-3)

13. Vanderbilt (8-6, 0-2)

14. South Carolina (7-9, 0-3)

Week 2 Previews and Predictions (Week 1: 4-3)

Saturday, Jan. 18

Florida at Auburn. Florida and Texas A&M are the only teams still undefeated in conference play. The Gators beat Arkansas on the road last week without Casey Prather, their leading scorer. Florida also beat Georgia at home. Auburn is still winless in the SEC but has been a much tougher team at home. Prediction: Florida 74, Auburn 66.

Tennessee at Kentucky. Before losing to Texas A&M, Tennessee had been one of the hottest teams in the country. The Vols are still in decent shape for the NCAA tournament, but a win in Rupp Arena would be monumental for Cuonzo Martin’s squad. Kentucky lost a heartbreaker at Arkansas last week but the Wildcats are still in good shape. Once this team gets more experience, they will be a force in the SEC. Prediction: Kentucky 68, Tennessee 64. 

Texas A&M at Mississippi State. The Aggies are the surprise of the SEC right now. Texas A&M has a chance to start 4-0 in league play, and every win helps boost its tournament resume. Mississippi State has made strides in year two under head coach Rick Ray, but they are still rebuilding. However, the Bulldogs did pick up a nice win over rival Ole Miss last weekend. Prediction: Texas A&M 61, Mississippi State 57.

Arkansas at Georgia. The Razorbacks lost a close game to Florida but rebounded with an impressive victory over Kentucky. Arkansas won the game on a put-back dunk with less than one second to play. If the Hogs want to make the NCAA tournament, they must win road games like this one. Georgia defeated Missouri and Alabama last week, although the Bulldogs did lose to Florida. Prediction: Georgia 55, Arkansas 53. 

Alabama at Missouri. Alabama needs a signature victory. The Crimson Tide played a tough non-conference schedule but they failed to pick up any big wins. A win at Missouri would be a huge confidence boost. After being upset by Georgia, the Tigers cannot afford to lose another home game to an inferior opponent. Prediction: Missouri 73, Alabama 67. 

Ole Miss at South Carolina. The Rebels started conference play with an overtime win over LSU, a loss to Mississippi State and a win over Auburn. Ole Miss played without Marshall Henderson against Auburn and Mississippi State. South Carolina has started 0-3 in conference play, and Frank Martin’s team has yet to show any improvement this season. Prediction: Ole Miss 65, South Carolina 60. 

Vanderbilt at LSU. The Tigers have been a disappointment thus far but have a chance to get back on the right track against a struggling Vanderbilt team. Injuries and off-the-court issues have plagued the Commodores, who have yet to pick up a conference victory. Prediction: LSU 77, Vanderbilt 65. 

Tuesday, Jan. 21

LSU 75, Missouri 71

Kentucky 82, Texas A&M 74

Wednesday, Jan. 22

Mississippi State 67, Auburn 62

Tennessee 63, Arkansas 55

Georgia 60, South Carolina 56

Ole Miss 71, Vanderbilt 66

Thursday, Jan. 23

Florida 75, Alabama 67

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