In & around SEC men’s basketball

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

Alabama Week 7 Recap 

The Crimson Tide’s road woes continued in Oxford against Ole Miss. Alabama has yet to win a true road game this season, and the Rebels defeated the Crimson Tide, 79-67. Alabama picked up its most impressive win of the season last Saturday over Missouri. Alabama is 11-17 on the year and 5-10 in conference play. The Tide hosts Auburn on Saturday (March 1) and travel to Lexington next Tuesday (March 4) to take on Kentucky.

Auburn Week 7 Recap 

The Tigers split a pair of home games last week to Vanderbilt and South Carolina. Despite leading the Commodores by double digits in the first half, Auburn lost to Vanderbilt, 67-59. Auburn followed up that loss by defeating South Carolina, 83-67. The Tigers improved to 13-13 overall and 5-10 in league play. Auburn travels to Tuscaloosa on Saturday for a rematch against rival Alabama. 

SEC Men’s Basketball Rankings

1. Florida (26-2, 15-0)

2. Kentucky (21-6, 11-3)

3. Tennessee (17-11, 8-7)

4. LSU (17-10, 8-7)

5. Georgia (16-11, 10-5)

6. Ole Miss (17-11, 8-7)

7. Missouri (19-9, 7-8)

8. Arkansas (18-9, 7-7)

9. Vanderbilt (15-12, 7-8)

10. Texas A&M (16-12, 7-8)

11. Auburn (13-13, 5-10)

12. Alabama (11-17, 5-10)

13. Mississippi State (13-15, 3-12)

14. South Carolina (10-18, 3-12)

Week 8 Previews and Predictions 

(Week 7: 9-4; season: 58-25)

Saturday, March 1

Vanderbilt at Tennessee. The Volunteers are on the bubble but would be in the NCAA Tournament if it started today. Another loss to Vanderbilt, however, ends any chance for a postseason bid. Cuonzo Martin’s job might depend on whether the Vols can reach the Big Dance this season. Prediction: Tennessee 63, Vanderbilt 54. 

Mississippi State at Missouri. Missouri’s NCAA Tournament chances have slipped away after consecutive road losses to Alabama and Georgia. The Tigers likely must win the remainder of their regular season games, plus a couple of games in the SEC tournament, for an opportunity to make the tournament. The Tigers’ showdown with Tennessee to end the season will be a crucial game for each team’s tournament hopes. Prediction: Missouri 84, Mississippi State 59. 

Auburn at Alabama. Both teams have had disappointing seasons. Auburn and Alabama have only won five conference games, and neither team will play in a postseason tournament. But this rivalry game is still important to each school. The Tigers won the first meeting by 19 points in Auburn, but the Crimson Tide are capable of beating anyone in Tuscaloosa. A defensive game favors Alabama. If the Crimson Tide can hold Auburn to under 65 points, there’s a good chance they’ll win the game. Prediction: Alabama 64, Auburn 57.

LSU at Florida. Florida is the top-ranked team in the country for the first time since 2007, which is the last time the Gators won a national championship. The Gainesville squad is undefeated in SEC play and will likely receive a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. LSU remains slightly on the bubble, and this is the Tigers’ best chance for a signature victory. Prediction: Florida 72, LSU 63. 

Georgia at Arkansas. Georgia has at least a two-game lead on every other team for the third seed in the SEC Tournament, and the Bulldogs can lock up that spot with two more wins. Arkansas is still one of the nation’s best home teams, having only lost two home games in conference play. Prediction: Arkansas 71, Georgia 66. 

Kentucky at South Carolina. The young Wildcats are morphing into one of the best teams in the country. Julius Randle is a candidate for SEC Player of the Year, and the rest of Kentucky’s talented roster has performed better as the season progressed. The Wildcats should win their next few games before facing Florida in Gainesville to end the season. Prediction: Kentucky 79, South Carolina 57.

Ole Miss at Texas A&M. The Aggies have been tough to beat at home all season, while the Rebels have struggled away from the Tad Pad. Ole Miss was a potential NCAA Tournament team until four straight losses ended that chance. The Re-bels can still make the Big Dance if they win the SEC Tournament, but Marshall Henderson needs to play remarkably well for the Oxford squad to have a chance. Henderson just broke the SEC record with 61 straight games with a made three point basket. Prediction: Ole Miss 65, Texas A&M 63.  

Tuesday, March 4

Kentucky 68, Alabama 55

Florida 81, South Carolina 58

Wednesday, March 5

Tennessee 67, Auburn 64

Georgia 63, Mississippi State 50

Arkansas 75, Ole Miss 70

Missouri 74, Texas A&M 62

Thursday, March 6

LSU 72, Vanderbilt 65

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