In & around SEC men’s basketball

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

Auburn Week 2 Recap 

Auburn continues to find ways to lose conference games. The Tigers dropped two more league games last week to Florida and Mississippi State. Auburn is now 8-8 overall on the year and a dismal 0-5 in SEC play. The Tigers’ main problem is scoring and defending in the low post. If Tony Barbee can’t find a way to turn things around quickly, Auburn might have to make a coa-ching change at the end of the season. The Tigers travel to Fayetteville on Sat., Jan. 25, and return home on Wed., Jan. 29, to take on cross-state rival Alabama. 

Alabama Week 2 Recap 

The Crimson Tide suffered a blowout loss on the road at Missouri last weekend. Alabama 8-9 on the year and 2-2 in conference play. With winnable games upcoming against LSU and Auburn, the Crimson Tide have an opportunity to get back on track. However, someone other than Trevor Releford will have to consistently contribute on offense. Alabama has had a winning record every year under Anthony Grant, but that steak might be in jeopardy this season. 

SEC Men’s Basketball Rankings

1. Florida (15-2, 4-0)

2. Kentucky (14-4, 4-1)

3. Ole Miss (13-5, 4-1)

4. Tennessee (12-6, 3-2)

5. LSU (12-5, 3-2)

6. Missouri (14-4, 2-3)

7. Texas A&M (12-6, 3-2)

8. Georgia (10-7, 4-1)

9. Arkansas (12-6, 1-4)

10. Alabama (8-9, 2-2)

11. Mississippi State (13-5, 3-2)

12. Vanderbilt (9-8, 1-4)

13. Auburn (8-8, 0-5)

14. South Carolina (7-11, 0-5)

Week 3 Previews and Predictions (Week 2: 12-1; season: 16-4)

Saturday, Jan. 25

Vanderbilt at Texas A&M. The Aggies started out the season 3-0 in conference play but lost to both Mississippi State and Kentucky on the road last week. The Commodores dropped two games last week, each by double digits. Vanderbilt lost to LSU and Ole Miss. Prediction: Texas A&M 67, Vanderbilt 60. 

Georgia at Kentucky. John Calipari’s Wildcats are finally starting to reach their potential, as the ‘Cats won two home games last week over Tennessee and Texas A&M. Georgia also picked up a pair crucial SEC wins within the last week in defeating Arkansas and South Carolina. At 4-1, Mark Fox’s team is one of the biggest surprises in the league. Prediction: Kentucky 73, Georgia 64. 

Tennessee at Florida. Not only are the Gators the best team in the SEC right now, Billy Donovan’s squad might be the best in the country. Also, Florida has yet to play a game with their full roster healthy and eligible. Tennessee, which has been up and down all year, lost to Kentucky and defeated Arkansas last week. Prediction: Florida 75, Tennessee 68. 

Mississippi State at Ole Miss. The Rebels are 4-1 in conference play, with their lone loss coming against Mississippi State a couple of weeks ago. Ole Miss won twice on the road last week, defeating South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Mississippi State beat both Texas A&M and Auburn at home. Prediction: Ole Miss 66, Mississippi State 54. 

South Carolina at Missouri. Missouri Tigers is the Jekyll and Hyde team of the SEC right now. The Tigers easily handled Alabama last week in Columbia, but followed up that win with a road loss to LSU. Missouri has conference wins over Auburn and Alabama but also has losses to Georgia, Vanderbilt and LSU. Frank Haith’s team still looks like a tournament team but cannot afford any more bad losses. The Gamecocks are still winless in conference play, and that’s unlikely to change this week. Prediction: Missouri 78, South Carolina 58. 

Auburn at Arkansas. Auburn is one loss away from tying the SEC record for most consecutive losses. Unfortunately for Tony Barbee’s Tigers, Bud Walton Arena isn’t a very welcoming environment. The Razorbacks are 1-4 in league play, and this is a must-win game if they want a chance at a NCAA tournament birth. Prediction: Arkansas 70, Auburn 62. 

LSU at Alabama. This season has been a disappointment for the Crimson Tide. A NCAA tournament berth almost certainly is out of the question, and at this point making the NIT might be a stretch. On the other hand, LSU is still very much alive in any tournament conversation. However, the Tigers must win games like this one on the road. Prediction: LSU 66, Alabama 64. 

Tuesday, Jan. 28: Arkansas 72, Missouri 70; Kentucky 76, LSU 73

Wednesday, Jan. 29: Georgia 57, Vanderbilt 52; Texas A&M 65, South Carolina 60; Tennessee 68, Ole Miss 62; Auburn 61, Alabama 57

Thursday, Jan. 30: Florida 81, Mississippi State 65

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