In & around SEC basketball

January 19, 2017 chris
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By Cole Frederick
Auburn Week 2 Review
Auburn split a pair of conference road games against Missouri and Kentucky last week and picked up their first SEC win of the season against the Tigers. Auburn trailed in the second half but overpowered Missouri behind freshman guard Mustapha Heron’s 16 points. Four days later, the Tigers traveled to Kentucky, and despite being competitive for most of the game, lost by a score of 92-72. Auburn (11-6, 1-4) hosts Alabama on Saturday (Jan. 21).
Alabama Week 2 Review
After a disappointing non-conference record, Alabama had an impressive start to conference play. The Crimson Tide knocked off LSU on the road, 81-66, after dropping a home game to Florida, 80-67. The Tide trailed at the half against LSU but Corban Collins’ 24 points off the bench propelled UA to victory. Albertville High grad Riley Norris chipped in 20 points in the win. Alabama travels to Auburn this weekend in the first of two meetings between the in-state rivals this season.
SEC basketball rankings
1. Kentucky (16-2, 6-0)
2. South Carolina (14-3, 4-0)
3. Florida (14-3, 5-0)
4. Georgia (12-6, 4-2)
5. Arkansas (14-4, 3-3)
6. Alabama (10-6, 3-1)
7. Mississippi State (12-5, 3-2)
8. Ole Miss (11-7, 2-4)
9. Auburn (11-6, 1-4)
10. Tennessee (9-9, 2-4)
11. Vanderbilt (8-10, 2-4)
12. Texas A&M (9-8, 1-5)
13. LSU (9-7, 1-4)
14. Missouri (5-11, 0-4)
Week 3 Previews and Predictions
Saturday, Jan. 21
Game of the Week
Alabama at Auburn. After the Tigers’ best start to a season since 1999-00, they have stumbled a bit to open conference play. Auburn squandered leads in home losses to Ole Miss and Georgia and was outmatched on the road at Vanderbilt. However, a win over Alabama could get the Tigers back on the right track. Alabama’s start to SEC play has been more positive than the Tigers, but the Crimson Tide has little margin for error if they want to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. Prediction: Auburn 74, Alabama 70.
Vanderbilt at Florida. While Kentucky is clearly the best team in the SEC, Florida and South Carolina have separated themselves as No. 2 and No. 3 in some order. The Gators are an NCAA Tournament team and can drastically improve their resume throughout the course of the regular season. Prediction: Florida 75, Vanderbilt 64.
Georgia at Texas A&M. A year after reaching the Sweet 16, the Aggies are in a rebuilding season. A&M stumbled to a 1-5 start in conference play, and though things can improve, at this point the postseason seems unlikely. Georgia already has the resume of a bubble team, so this is a game the Bulldogs can’t afford to lose. Prediction: Texas A&M 67, Georgia 65.
Ole Miss at Missouri. For the third straight season, Missouri is by far the worst team in the conference. The roster is lacking in talent and the future doesn’t look promising. This should be a win for Ole Miss, and it’s also a game that Andy Kennedy’s team can’t afford to lose. Prediction: Ole Miss 78, Missouri 73.
South Carolina at Kentucky. Kentucky is unquestionably the best team in the SEC again, and the Wildcats are the only team from the conference that can contend for the national title this season. South Carolina is a tournament-caliber team, but this isn’t a game anyone would expect the Gamecocks to win. Prediction: Kentucky 81, South Carolina 72.
Mississippi State at Tennessee. Mississippi State is a much-improved team in Ben Howland’s second season, and the Bulldogs could potentially be a bu-bble team. If the Bulldogs want any chance of contending for a tournament bid, they’ll need a win against the Volunteers. Prediction: Mississippi State 71, Tennessee 69.
LSU at Arkansas. Arkansas has been one of the biggest surprises in the SEC, and the Razorbacks are currently without any bad losses. LSU has been one of the worst teams in the league and can potentially spoil the Hogs’ season if the Tigers pull off the upset. Prediction: Arkansas 82, LSU 75.
Tuesday, Jan. 24
South Carolina 72, Auburn 63; Arkansas 76, Vanderbilt 73; Kentucky 85, Tennessee 71
Wednesday, Jan. 25
Mississippi State 70, Missouri 58; Ole Miss 81, Texas A&M 75; Georgia 68, Alabama 64; Florida 82, LSU 70